Horsey!

Friday, December 30, 2011

OK, so I got all kinds of deep yesterday.  But seriously, if you haven't watched those videos, do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200.  Go watch them now.  I'll wait. 

[waiting]

Pretty awesome, right?  I told you so.  (And I'm not one to say that.)  (Yes, I am.  Nevermind.)

That means today will take us from the sublime to the ... well, ridiculous.  Because Jack is now a seasoned horseback rider.

Thank you, Aunt Cherry and Aunt Hollace for the new addition to Jack's little brood, aptly named "Neigh Neigh"!


As you can see by this (bad) picture, taken by the low light of the Christmas tree, they are getting along famously.


I mean, I love to wear a rugby shirt and chill by the Christmas tree with my new friend.  Especially if that friend sparks my imagination and makes me look hella cute when we're photographed together.  You know?

Hope you have a buddy to enjoy this New Year's Eve with,
Heather

A New Year

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ben Breedlove was a teenager in Austin, Texas who made this video (two parts).  He died on Christmas Day.  His parents found the video afterward.  His story was featured on the Today show.

I've started thinking seriously about my goals and commitments for this coming new year.  Seeing Ben's video touches my heart and makes me think about them with more gratitude and focus.






It's resolution time.  And life time.

Heather

Breakfast Buddies

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jack has been in the same school since I returned to work after maternity leave.  As a result, he's grown up with a handful of best buddies who have done the same.  It makes my heart happy every day to see him greeting Gabe, Linley, Eli, Mac, and Jazmin, among others.

As luck would have it, Gabe recently became a big brother.  (Yay to Gabe and his awesome parents!)  And as fate would have it, Gabe's little sis decided to come late in the evening on the night before she was to be coaxed out into the world, aka, induced.  She knew she was being evicted, that is.

So, Gabe's parents dropped him off at Casa de Jack so they could rush off to the hospital and become a family of four.  Jack and Gabe were in for a pleasant surprise the next morning, when they realized they'd just had their first sleepover!  We hooked them up with yogurt and sippies of milk and let the fun ensue.

Gabe!  Gabe is here, Momma!
WAY too excited to eat breakfast.  Seriously, this is so cool!
After the pure adorableness of breakfast, imagine our delight when we realized that Gabe's momma had carefully packed an outfit for him that included the Very Same Shirt we had just bought for Jack!  As we dressed them (divide and conquer, also known as man-to-man defense), I hollered upstairs to Durel to put Jack in the same shirt.  Because I think I'm funny like that.

Thing 1 and Thing 2?
I am happy to report that Gabe and his *entire* family are doing great.  Jack wants Gabe to come over for another sleepover soon.  And I think breakfast with a best buddy is one of the best things in the world.

Hope you do, too,
Heather

Oh, Christmas Tree...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

We did it!  Jack's second Christmas was a fabulous success.  Gifts, pie, family time, cocktails, and happiness were shared by all.  I didn't take nearly enough pictures, but the ones I did take are stacking up to be shared. More to come; promise.

As I mentioned, we rocked it out with two trees at our house this year.  And while the kitchen tree featured our "hobbies," The Saints and Vegetables, the big tree in the living room was a hodge podge of ornaments that reflect our families, our childhoods, and our shared experiences as a family.  

Sure, I see Christmas trees that are symmetrical, themed, and pristine.  And I think they're cool.  And I have the fleeting thought that our tree should be like that.  And then I remember our cool ornaments and how personal they are, and I perish the thought of changing anything about how we decorate for Christmas.  Which is all about family, you know...

Cristy's handmade felt ornament, an homage to our new home state.

A gift from my mom, to commemorate the year we got married, and our first home.
Our rental house even had a red door!

Ornament handmade by my Grandma B. during the Great Depression.
Not even kidding.  Times were tough. Sequins and pins, people.
Handmade ceramic ornament from Jenny to honor
Pablo's first Christmas with us!

Our tree, 2011.

Pretty cool, huh?  I love it.  It's a reflection of us.  And, you know, as Type A as I am every.single.day of the year, I can go a little bit crazy on my Christmas tree.  

And no, I don't for a minute think that's really "going crazy."  

Just joshin' ya.  Hope your trees reflect who you are, too.
Heather  

Red Alert

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa came to visit Jack's school this year.  He obligingly posed with all the kiddos for their individual pictures with Santa.  

Only, it wasn't really Santa.  It was a mere mortal who probably buys Alleve by the truckload to help him recover from his blinding headaches, which are brought on by the non-stop screaming and wailing of toddlers who don't want any part of this exercise, thankyouverymuch.


I commend Jack's school for attempting this, and thank them for providing me with this picture, which will prove extremely handy in mortifying Jack in front of his first girlfriend when he's a teenager.

Because Santa or no Santa, you've got to think ahead.
Heather

Caption Contest Winner!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Here it is, by "Unknown," who I sure wish would identify themself.

Thanks for capturing the je ne sais quois of the hat and chicken finger combo, Unknown.  You hit the nail on the head.


Yo mama! These chicken fingers are totally dope!

Hope your day is dope,
Heather

Every Day I'm Cuddlin'

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Last weekend, I had the much-needed chance to bake cookies, drink champagne, and hang out with some fabulous friends.  It rocked.

One of these fabulous women also brought her fabulous son with her to hang out.  He did pretty well, since all the cookie baking ladies save one are mamas.  There was no shortage of arms to hold him, let's put it that way.

He and I totally bonded.

Talking things over.  I was telling him how awesome life is when you get more teeth.
He listened politely.

Me with my new buddy.

Failed attempt at self-portrait.
In fact, we had such a good time with our pal, our cookies, and our champagne, that I have no other pictures of the evening.  (Promise.)  

Hope you have such a good time this week that you forget to take pictures,
Heather

5K

Monday, December 19, 2011

Completing a half marathon has been a personal goal of mine for years.  About a year ago, I decided that it was time to make it happen.  I chose the 3M Half-Marathon in Austin on January 29, 2012.  And then, I did nothing.

My time for a year long training plan passed me by.  My time for a six-month long training plan also passed by.  What was left?  A 12 week training plan.  Sure, it sounds short, but considering that 12 weeks is also the amount of time I had to figure out life with a newborn before returning to work, it seems more doable.  I already *know* how to run.  I did not know how to swaddle, diaper, or handle a blow out (veeery different than just changing a diaper.  Veeery).  Regardless, I'm a quick learner.

Last Sunday, my training plan required me to do a 5K.  No big deal, right?  It's 3.1 measly miles.  But it was also the first race I had run in over 2 years.  The first race since Jack was born.  And a race that was actually prescribed to me by my training program.  I also happened to be recovering from bronchitis.

So, what happened?


I rocked it.  And it was clearly as much a mental victory as a physical one.  And no, I'm not telling you my time because it was slow as molasses going uphill in January.  But you know what?  I wasn't last.  I wasn't even in the last group of people to finish.  I was about halfway.  And to me, that's super awesome victory.

Zoom zoom,
Heather

Caption Contest!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Caption this picture of happy Jack!

What will you win:  My wholehearted appreciation and lifelong devotion.  (I don't have any extra iPads laying around to give away.  Sorry.)


Why:  Because, this picture is begging for it.

Ready?  Set?  Go!

Shirtless

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Last night, Jack decided that he wanted to enjoy his dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and corn, without his shirt on.

It struck both Durel and I as funny.  It's pretty down home behavior.  And so, we immediately looked at one another to blame it on the genetic material of the other one.  We like to tease one another for the cultural underbellies that each of our home states has.  

Me:  It's like we're in Louisiana...
Durel:  It's like we're in Maryland...

Jack:  [I don't care where we are, so long as there's chicken, potatoes, and my shirt is off.]


I hope you don't care where you are today,
Heather

Christmas is Coming

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

We're going big this year for Christmas.  How big, you say?  Two trees, I say.

We've put up the first one.  It's small, and in the kitchen.  And it has a theme.

Geaux Saints and Eat Your Veggies

Granted, it isn't a connection that readily comes to mind.  When I think about New Orleans, I do think about food, but more of the breaded and fried variety.  However, this combination makes sense if you think about it.  It represents two of our passions as a household:  The Saints (Durel) and food (me).

And, it's a pretty cool tree.  Here's a sample:



May your day be merry and bright (and have some veggies in it?),
Heather

Writing in Books

Thursday, December 1, 2011

As many of you know, I am utterly, hopelessly smitten with and addicted to Pinterest.  I pin fashion ideas, pictures I love, recipes, decorating ideas, crafty crafts, baby things, toddler things, you name it.  Oh, the things you'll pin!

Months ago, I pinned this image.


It was accompanied by this idea:  

Buy this book, then at the end of each school year have your child's teachers, coaches or other important mentors sign it or write notes in it. Give it to them upon HS graduation. Love it.

Well, damn.  That is a great idea.  I decided instantly that I would do it.  (Lest you give me too much credit, when you're addicted to Pinterest, you "instantly decide" to do a lot lot lot of things.  Whether you actually do them?  Remains to be seen.)

However, my brain kept percolating about this idea.  I kept thinking what a great book it is.  And how often I've given it as a graduation gift over the years.  And how it contains Totally Awesome Nuggets of Life Wisdom, like this one:


So, lo and behold, I managed to get over the one hurdle to accomplishing this (ahem).  I bought the book.  I sat down to figure out the best way to present it to the teachers at Jack's daycare, and decided that if I was asking them to write in a book, then I might as well start things off.  

Here's what I said:


I took it to daycare the next day, excited but slightly apprehensive about the response I would get.  Look, I try hard to forge good relationships with Jack's teachers.  And for the overwhelmingly large part, I have been very successful.  And I do believe that they really love Jack.  But what if they thought this idea was weird?  Or what if they wrote things like, "Best wishes, Love, X?"

I shouldn't have worried.  As the book was passed from teacher to teacher, per my request, the buzz amongst them was very real.  They were so excited with the project.  They were excited to see who would get the book next.  They very diligently thought over their messages, wrote them, and shared the book.  When they were finished (I've now caught up with every teacher Jack has had thus far in his life; not too shabby), they gave it back.  

I took it home like a yearbook that's been circulating.  What will they say?  Do they like me?  What did they write?  

Out of respect for the fact that their messages were to Jack, I won't share them.  But, y'all.  (I've lived in Texas for a decade.  It happens.  If you didn't catch that, nevermind.)  Y'ALL.  Tears.  They wrote the sweetest things.  They love Jack so much.  Their sentiments were poetic, sincere, loving, aspirational, and totally moving.

I would never wish for the precious time of Jack's life to pass more quickly.  And I love his current teachers, so will have serious mama heartburn when he gets promoted to the next classroom.  But on the other hand, I am so excited to see what his future teachers will write, as he grows, learns, speaks in sentences, pees in the potty.  And, for that matter, as they held to shape him into the Little Dude he is.  

It's big stuff.  All you mamas out there, I can't recommend this highly enough.  

And, as if we hadn't enough proof of Dr. Seuss's awesomeness, there is a sentiment for just how this made me feel.


Smiling.  For sure,
Heather

The Cute Spectrum

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My third grade school picture is really bad.  Not in that way where I'm still cute but it was an awkward moment.  As in, that way where you question whether my parents displayed the photo in their home, or kept my second grade photo up for two years.  (They did the latter, as I recall.)

They do "school pictures" at Jack's daycare, which I find funny.  Not because I don't consider it a school, because I do and it is.  But because, well...they're still babies.  I mean -- Jack's a toddler, yes.  He is no longer an infant.  But he's still at the age where it's acceptable to count his age in months.  And he doesn't have extracurricular activities, unless he's the president of some Yo Gabba Gabba club or Pooping Your Pants club that I don't know about.

Anyway, here are the proofs:

Who are you and why are you taking my picture?

Are you sure I should be sitting in these fake leaves?

Is this cute enough to make you stop?
I'm pretty sure I am going to purchase a few prints of that last one.  I mean, the one in which he looks like an (almost ginger, by the way) Irish hooligan whose soccer team just lost the game.  

Does that mean they're all headed down the pub for sippies of milk?

I bet it does,
Heather

Thanksgiving by the Numbers

Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkeys I cooked this year for Thanksgiving:  0

Turkeys I purchased from Central Market to reheat and serve:  1

Ranking of the quality of that turkey, on a scale of 1 to 10:  10

Number of pictures I took this Thanksgiving:  0

Number of pies I baked this Thanksgiving:  5 (4 pumpkin; 1 cherry)

Number of large pieces of pumpkin pie Jack ate in one sitting:  2

Number of pieces he would have eaten if we hadn't cut him off:  Unknown

Number of guests we had for Thanksgiving:  5  (Grammy, Pop, Cristy, Dagwood, and Schatzi, their adorable dog)

Number of nicknames we considered for Cristy:  1.  She is now known to Jack as "Kiki."

Number of nicknames we considered for Dagwood:  0.  Jack has, practically enough, simply shortened his name to "Dag."

Number of books read to Jack by Dag and Pop this weekend:  Unknown.

Photo by Dag.  Because I didn't take any, remember?
Hope your Thanksgiving numbers are off the charts, too.
Heather

Relaxed

Monday, November 21, 2011

If you look up relaxed in the dictionary, this is what you will see after this weekend:


Little Dude and Durel hung out with Nonna and PapaDu at their cool new house this weekend while I was a whirlwind of activity, volunteering at the Junior League of Austin's Christmas Affair, and hosting a pre-baby party for a dear friend.

While I was a dervish of holiday and hostess-ness, the dudes chilled out, sucked thumbs, held spoons, and watched football.

Good times were had by all.

Here's to a short week,
Heather

Learning As I Go

Friday, November 18, 2011

The playground in our neighborhood is Jack's new favorite thing.  Each time we pass it in the jogging stroller, he starts pointing and gesturing wildly, while repeating, "SLY?  SLY?"  (That means "slide.")  So, we stop and slide.  And it is awesome.  

The other option would be to tell him that we'll come back to the playground later.  That we don't have time to play right now.  That Mamma needs to check her email/make dinner/do a few things in the house.  

You know what?  That option is a big biscuit.  

Because my heart already aches with how quickly Jack is becoming a big boy.  And I know there will come a time when hanging out with Mom is the last thing he wants to do and that playground is for "babies."   And when that time comes, I do not want to regret the days that he wanted to slide and I told him I had to check my email instead.

Just sayin.'


Have a fabulous weekend,
Heather

Cead Mile Failte

Thursday, November 17, 2011

In Irish, cead mile failte means, literally, one hundred thousand blessings.  It's a common way to say hello or welcome.  Oh, and it's pronounced like this:  SEED MEAL FAIL-chuh.


As some of you know, I lived in Galway, Ireland for my junior year of college.  I took a leave of absence from my college and attended University College Galway (now known as the National University of Ireland) as a visiting student.  I booked my own plane ticket; registered for my own classes, and found my own place to live.  For the year, I shared a flat with two Irish women and another visiting student from Spain.  Good stuff.  

The main quad at NUI Galway.
To be fair, most of my classes were in a more modern building across campus.
However, the student bar was located in this building.  That's right.
The student bar in the quad built in the 13th century.  Awesome.
While there, I fell in love with my heritage and the Irish country and people.  I took about half a semester of Gaelic (I can still count to ten in Irish) and traveled as much as possible, while taking the full Irish course load of ten classes per semester.  Yes, you read that right.  There was no slacking off on my part! (Once an overachiever...)

Downtown Galway.  Image credit
I am tremendously proud of my Irish heritage.  I look forward to teaching Jack to be proud of it, as well.  One of the joys of parenthood comes in the non-stop realizations of things you get to teach these awesome little people.  For me, today's epiphany is heritage.  And that rocks.

This Gaelic lesson has been brought to you by my Irish heritage, and my little leprechaun.


Top of the morning to ya,
Heather

Dee-Da

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Back before I knew anything about having children, I was of the opinion that you could "get around" a child having a lovie.  I thought that if a child had several stuffed animals, blankets, etc., that they loved, then you could avoid the red hot panic of losing, forgetting, or misplacing One Particular Thing.  I went so far as to presume that might be good for a child.  Who needs a lovie, anyway?

Um, yeah.

I have been rewarded for this uber-rational but utterly unrealistic line of thinking with a child who has a lovie.  Just one.  And it's mandatory.  He really doesn't go from one room to another without it.  And perish the thought that he could sleep without it.  That's just crazytalk.

World, meet Dee-Da.



All images courtesy of the brilliant and talented Betsy Peticolas.
Obviously, DeeDa is a dog.  DeeDa is named after Jack's phase of babbling and labeling everything as "deedah."  Even after the words started to come, his black and white dog buddy retained the name.

To Jack, DeeDa makes everything better.  He's like Hobbes to Jack's Calvin.  Adventures are best undertaken with a truly awesome sidekick.

Hope you all have awesome sidekicks today,
Heather

Dating

Monday, November 14, 2011

Yup, he's already dating.


Jack has excellent taste in girls.  Linley dresses well, gives good hugs, and rocks the best pigtails in the competitive under two set in Austin.  

As an added bonus, neither of them seemed to mind that *both* moms accompanied them on their dinner outing.  

Hey, someone had to drive.  And refill the sippy cups.

They grow up so fast, don't they?

Heather

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

(Photo by the smart and talented Betsy Peticolas)
Take that, ovaries.
Heather

Pho

Monday, November 7, 2011

Durel and I love pho.  We could eat it every day.

[Quick side note:  Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup.  It is magically delicious.]



Yesterday, we were feeling lazy and like eating huge bowls of soup.  So, we got pho.  As we sat around the table, lunching, we gave Jack some.

First, we gave him some noodles in his bowl.  That went pretty well, which is amazing, because he doesn't like pasta.  I stand corrected.  He *likes* rice noodles.  He has a discriminating palate.

Then, since that was going so well, I gave him some of the soup in a cup.

What is this stuff?  [Note the noodles on his face, arm, the table...]
You guys have been holding out on me!  This is GOOD!
More!  Get in my cuppy!
I'm not gonna lie.  I was kind of amazed that he liked it.  Yes, it's delicious.  And yes, he eats like crazy, and enjoys most everything.  But to see my 20 month old Little Dude slurping down beef pho like it was, well, totally delicious, blew a little bit of my mind.

What's next?  Sushi.  (Not kidding.)

Hope your weeks are filled with yummy soup,
Heather

Halloween

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Durel, Jack, and I took a pass on Halloween this year.

What?  But you guys love Halloween!

We do love Halloween.  And Durel and I have outdone ourselves with costumes in the past.  But this year, things were different.

This year was the first year in several that Durel didn't have a huge work event at Halloween.

This year, Jack was under the weather for Halloween.

This year, I am crazy busy at work.

So, collectively, we decided to take a pass.

How did that make us feel?  I was probably the saddest of the bunch.  I really enjoy the Halloween party at Jack's school, and was sad that he missed the chance to parade with his buddies past all of the baby rooms (where he used to be) in his "big boy" costume.  

To symbolize both how sad I felt and how inappropriate it would have been to try and make Sicko enjoy this holiday, I provide the following:


And I had asked him to smile. 

Hope your Halloween was terrorific,
Heather

It's November First!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This means several very important things to me.


It means the red Starbucks cups are here!  (Look.  I love coffee and Christmas.  This is the two, combined.)

It means that I can start listening to Christmas music!




It means that it's time for me to start planning my Thanksgiving feast!




It also means that, like it or not, decorations will start popping up everywhere.  In Texas, it looks more like this:


than like this:



But I still love it.

Happy {my favorite month} November!
Heather

Friday, December 30, 2011

Horsey!

OK, so I got all kinds of deep yesterday.  But seriously, if you haven't watched those videos, do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200.  Go watch them now.  I'll wait. 

[waiting]

Pretty awesome, right?  I told you so.  (And I'm not one to say that.)  (Yes, I am.  Nevermind.)

That means today will take us from the sublime to the ... well, ridiculous.  Because Jack is now a seasoned horseback rider.

Thank you, Aunt Cherry and Aunt Hollace for the new addition to Jack's little brood, aptly named "Neigh Neigh"!


As you can see by this (bad) picture, taken by the low light of the Christmas tree, they are getting along famously.


I mean, I love to wear a rugby shirt and chill by the Christmas tree with my new friend.  Especially if that friend sparks my imagination and makes me look hella cute when we're photographed together.  You know?

Hope you have a buddy to enjoy this New Year's Eve with,
Heather

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A New Year

Ben Breedlove was a teenager in Austin, Texas who made this video (two parts).  He died on Christmas Day.  His parents found the video afterward.  His story was featured on the Today show.

I've started thinking seriously about my goals and commitments for this coming new year.  Seeing Ben's video touches my heart and makes me think about them with more gratitude and focus.






It's resolution time.  And life time.

Heather

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Breakfast Buddies

Jack has been in the same school since I returned to work after maternity leave.  As a result, he's grown up with a handful of best buddies who have done the same.  It makes my heart happy every day to see him greeting Gabe, Linley, Eli, Mac, and Jazmin, among others.

As luck would have it, Gabe recently became a big brother.  (Yay to Gabe and his awesome parents!)  And as fate would have it, Gabe's little sis decided to come late in the evening on the night before she was to be coaxed out into the world, aka, induced.  She knew she was being evicted, that is.

So, Gabe's parents dropped him off at Casa de Jack so they could rush off to the hospital and become a family of four.  Jack and Gabe were in for a pleasant surprise the next morning, when they realized they'd just had their first sleepover!  We hooked them up with yogurt and sippies of milk and let the fun ensue.

Gabe!  Gabe is here, Momma!
WAY too excited to eat breakfast.  Seriously, this is so cool!
After the pure adorableness of breakfast, imagine our delight when we realized that Gabe's momma had carefully packed an outfit for him that included the Very Same Shirt we had just bought for Jack!  As we dressed them (divide and conquer, also known as man-to-man defense), I hollered upstairs to Durel to put Jack in the same shirt.  Because I think I'm funny like that.

Thing 1 and Thing 2?
I am happy to report that Gabe and his *entire* family are doing great.  Jack wants Gabe to come over for another sleepover soon.  And I think breakfast with a best buddy is one of the best things in the world.

Hope you do, too,
Heather

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree...

We did it!  Jack's second Christmas was a fabulous success.  Gifts, pie, family time, cocktails, and happiness were shared by all.  I didn't take nearly enough pictures, but the ones I did take are stacking up to be shared. More to come; promise.

As I mentioned, we rocked it out with two trees at our house this year.  And while the kitchen tree featured our "hobbies," The Saints and Vegetables, the big tree in the living room was a hodge podge of ornaments that reflect our families, our childhoods, and our shared experiences as a family.  

Sure, I see Christmas trees that are symmetrical, themed, and pristine.  And I think they're cool.  And I have the fleeting thought that our tree should be like that.  And then I remember our cool ornaments and how personal they are, and I perish the thought of changing anything about how we decorate for Christmas.  Which is all about family, you know...

Cristy's handmade felt ornament, an homage to our new home state.

A gift from my mom, to commemorate the year we got married, and our first home.
Our rental house even had a red door!

Ornament handmade by my Grandma B. during the Great Depression.
Not even kidding.  Times were tough. Sequins and pins, people.
Handmade ceramic ornament from Jenny to honor
Pablo's first Christmas with us!

Our tree, 2011.

Pretty cool, huh?  I love it.  It's a reflection of us.  And, you know, as Type A as I am every.single.day of the year, I can go a little bit crazy on my Christmas tree.  

And no, I don't for a minute think that's really "going crazy."  

Just joshin' ya.  Hope your trees reflect who you are, too.
Heather  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Red Alert

Santa came to visit Jack's school this year.  He obligingly posed with all the kiddos for their individual pictures with Santa.  

Only, it wasn't really Santa.  It was a mere mortal who probably buys Alleve by the truckload to help him recover from his blinding headaches, which are brought on by the non-stop screaming and wailing of toddlers who don't want any part of this exercise, thankyouverymuch.


I commend Jack's school for attempting this, and thank them for providing me with this picture, which will prove extremely handy in mortifying Jack in front of his first girlfriend when he's a teenager.

Because Santa or no Santa, you've got to think ahead.
Heather

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Caption Contest Winner!

Here it is, by "Unknown," who I sure wish would identify themself.

Thanks for capturing the je ne sais quois of the hat and chicken finger combo, Unknown.  You hit the nail on the head.


Yo mama! These chicken fingers are totally dope!

Hope your day is dope,
Heather

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Every Day I'm Cuddlin'

Last weekend, I had the much-needed chance to bake cookies, drink champagne, and hang out with some fabulous friends.  It rocked.

One of these fabulous women also brought her fabulous son with her to hang out.  He did pretty well, since all the cookie baking ladies save one are mamas.  There was no shortage of arms to hold him, let's put it that way.

He and I totally bonded.

Talking things over.  I was telling him how awesome life is when you get more teeth.
He listened politely.

Me with my new buddy.

Failed attempt at self-portrait.
In fact, we had such a good time with our pal, our cookies, and our champagne, that I have no other pictures of the evening.  (Promise.)  

Hope you have such a good time this week that you forget to take pictures,
Heather

Monday, December 19, 2011

5K

Completing a half marathon has been a personal goal of mine for years.  About a year ago, I decided that it was time to make it happen.  I chose the 3M Half-Marathon in Austin on January 29, 2012.  And then, I did nothing.

My time for a year long training plan passed me by.  My time for a six-month long training plan also passed by.  What was left?  A 12 week training plan.  Sure, it sounds short, but considering that 12 weeks is also the amount of time I had to figure out life with a newborn before returning to work, it seems more doable.  I already *know* how to run.  I did not know how to swaddle, diaper, or handle a blow out (veeery different than just changing a diaper.  Veeery).  Regardless, I'm a quick learner.

Last Sunday, my training plan required me to do a 5K.  No big deal, right?  It's 3.1 measly miles.  But it was also the first race I had run in over 2 years.  The first race since Jack was born.  And a race that was actually prescribed to me by my training program.  I also happened to be recovering from bronchitis.

So, what happened?


I rocked it.  And it was clearly as much a mental victory as a physical one.  And no, I'm not telling you my time because it was slow as molasses going uphill in January.  But you know what?  I wasn't last.  I wasn't even in the last group of people to finish.  I was about halfway.  And to me, that's super awesome victory.

Zoom zoom,
Heather

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Caption Contest!

Caption this picture of happy Jack!

What will you win:  My wholehearted appreciation and lifelong devotion.  (I don't have any extra iPads laying around to give away.  Sorry.)


Why:  Because, this picture is begging for it.

Ready?  Set?  Go!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Shirtless

Last night, Jack decided that he wanted to enjoy his dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and corn, without his shirt on.

It struck both Durel and I as funny.  It's pretty down home behavior.  And so, we immediately looked at one another to blame it on the genetic material of the other one.  We like to tease one another for the cultural underbellies that each of our home states has.  

Me:  It's like we're in Louisiana...
Durel:  It's like we're in Maryland...

Jack:  [I don't care where we are, so long as there's chicken, potatoes, and my shirt is off.]


I hope you don't care where you are today,
Heather

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas is Coming

We're going big this year for Christmas.  How big, you say?  Two trees, I say.

We've put up the first one.  It's small, and in the kitchen.  And it has a theme.

Geaux Saints and Eat Your Veggies

Granted, it isn't a connection that readily comes to mind.  When I think about New Orleans, I do think about food, but more of the breaded and fried variety.  However, this combination makes sense if you think about it.  It represents two of our passions as a household:  The Saints (Durel) and food (me).

And, it's a pretty cool tree.  Here's a sample:



May your day be merry and bright (and have some veggies in it?),
Heather

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Writing in Books

As many of you know, I am utterly, hopelessly smitten with and addicted to Pinterest.  I pin fashion ideas, pictures I love, recipes, decorating ideas, crafty crafts, baby things, toddler things, you name it.  Oh, the things you'll pin!

Months ago, I pinned this image.


It was accompanied by this idea:  

Buy this book, then at the end of each school year have your child's teachers, coaches or other important mentors sign it or write notes in it. Give it to them upon HS graduation. Love it.

Well, damn.  That is a great idea.  I decided instantly that I would do it.  (Lest you give me too much credit, when you're addicted to Pinterest, you "instantly decide" to do a lot lot lot of things.  Whether you actually do them?  Remains to be seen.)

However, my brain kept percolating about this idea.  I kept thinking what a great book it is.  And how often I've given it as a graduation gift over the years.  And how it contains Totally Awesome Nuggets of Life Wisdom, like this one:


So, lo and behold, I managed to get over the one hurdle to accomplishing this (ahem).  I bought the book.  I sat down to figure out the best way to present it to the teachers at Jack's daycare, and decided that if I was asking them to write in a book, then I might as well start things off.  

Here's what I said:


I took it to daycare the next day, excited but slightly apprehensive about the response I would get.  Look, I try hard to forge good relationships with Jack's teachers.  And for the overwhelmingly large part, I have been very successful.  And I do believe that they really love Jack.  But what if they thought this idea was weird?  Or what if they wrote things like, "Best wishes, Love, X?"

I shouldn't have worried.  As the book was passed from teacher to teacher, per my request, the buzz amongst them was very real.  They were so excited with the project.  They were excited to see who would get the book next.  They very diligently thought over their messages, wrote them, and shared the book.  When they were finished (I've now caught up with every teacher Jack has had thus far in his life; not too shabby), they gave it back.  

I took it home like a yearbook that's been circulating.  What will they say?  Do they like me?  What did they write?  

Out of respect for the fact that their messages were to Jack, I won't share them.  But, y'all.  (I've lived in Texas for a decade.  It happens.  If you didn't catch that, nevermind.)  Y'ALL.  Tears.  They wrote the sweetest things.  They love Jack so much.  Their sentiments were poetic, sincere, loving, aspirational, and totally moving.

I would never wish for the precious time of Jack's life to pass more quickly.  And I love his current teachers, so will have serious mama heartburn when he gets promoted to the next classroom.  But on the other hand, I am so excited to see what his future teachers will write, as he grows, learns, speaks in sentences, pees in the potty.  And, for that matter, as they held to shape him into the Little Dude he is.  

It's big stuff.  All you mamas out there, I can't recommend this highly enough.  

And, as if we hadn't enough proof of Dr. Seuss's awesomeness, there is a sentiment for just how this made me feel.


Smiling.  For sure,
Heather

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Cute Spectrum

My third grade school picture is really bad.  Not in that way where I'm still cute but it was an awkward moment.  As in, that way where you question whether my parents displayed the photo in their home, or kept my second grade photo up for two years.  (They did the latter, as I recall.)

They do "school pictures" at Jack's daycare, which I find funny.  Not because I don't consider it a school, because I do and it is.  But because, well...they're still babies.  I mean -- Jack's a toddler, yes.  He is no longer an infant.  But he's still at the age where it's acceptable to count his age in months.  And he doesn't have extracurricular activities, unless he's the president of some Yo Gabba Gabba club or Pooping Your Pants club that I don't know about.

Anyway, here are the proofs:

Who are you and why are you taking my picture?

Are you sure I should be sitting in these fake leaves?

Is this cute enough to make you stop?
I'm pretty sure I am going to purchase a few prints of that last one.  I mean, the one in which he looks like an (almost ginger, by the way) Irish hooligan whose soccer team just lost the game.  

Does that mean they're all headed down the pub for sippies of milk?

I bet it does,
Heather

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving by the Numbers

Turkeys I cooked this year for Thanksgiving:  0

Turkeys I purchased from Central Market to reheat and serve:  1

Ranking of the quality of that turkey, on a scale of 1 to 10:  10

Number of pictures I took this Thanksgiving:  0

Number of pies I baked this Thanksgiving:  5 (4 pumpkin; 1 cherry)

Number of large pieces of pumpkin pie Jack ate in one sitting:  2

Number of pieces he would have eaten if we hadn't cut him off:  Unknown

Number of guests we had for Thanksgiving:  5  (Grammy, Pop, Cristy, Dagwood, and Schatzi, their adorable dog)

Number of nicknames we considered for Cristy:  1.  She is now known to Jack as "Kiki."

Number of nicknames we considered for Dagwood:  0.  Jack has, practically enough, simply shortened his name to "Dag."

Number of books read to Jack by Dag and Pop this weekend:  Unknown.

Photo by Dag.  Because I didn't take any, remember?
Hope your Thanksgiving numbers are off the charts, too.
Heather

Monday, November 21, 2011

Relaxed

If you look up relaxed in the dictionary, this is what you will see after this weekend:


Little Dude and Durel hung out with Nonna and PapaDu at their cool new house this weekend while I was a whirlwind of activity, volunteering at the Junior League of Austin's Christmas Affair, and hosting a pre-baby party for a dear friend.

While I was a dervish of holiday and hostess-ness, the dudes chilled out, sucked thumbs, held spoons, and watched football.

Good times were had by all.

Here's to a short week,
Heather

Friday, November 18, 2011

Learning As I Go

The playground in our neighborhood is Jack's new favorite thing.  Each time we pass it in the jogging stroller, he starts pointing and gesturing wildly, while repeating, "SLY?  SLY?"  (That means "slide.")  So, we stop and slide.  And it is awesome.  

The other option would be to tell him that we'll come back to the playground later.  That we don't have time to play right now.  That Mamma needs to check her email/make dinner/do a few things in the house.  

You know what?  That option is a big biscuit.  

Because my heart already aches with how quickly Jack is becoming a big boy.  And I know there will come a time when hanging out with Mom is the last thing he wants to do and that playground is for "babies."   And when that time comes, I do not want to regret the days that he wanted to slide and I told him I had to check my email instead.

Just sayin.'


Have a fabulous weekend,
Heather

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cead Mile Failte

In Irish, cead mile failte means, literally, one hundred thousand blessings.  It's a common way to say hello or welcome.  Oh, and it's pronounced like this:  SEED MEAL FAIL-chuh.


As some of you know, I lived in Galway, Ireland for my junior year of college.  I took a leave of absence from my college and attended University College Galway (now known as the National University of Ireland) as a visiting student.  I booked my own plane ticket; registered for my own classes, and found my own place to live.  For the year, I shared a flat with two Irish women and another visiting student from Spain.  Good stuff.  

The main quad at NUI Galway.
To be fair, most of my classes were in a more modern building across campus.
However, the student bar was located in this building.  That's right.
The student bar in the quad built in the 13th century.  Awesome.
While there, I fell in love with my heritage and the Irish country and people.  I took about half a semester of Gaelic (I can still count to ten in Irish) and traveled as much as possible, while taking the full Irish course load of ten classes per semester.  Yes, you read that right.  There was no slacking off on my part! (Once an overachiever...)

Downtown Galway.  Image credit
I am tremendously proud of my Irish heritage.  I look forward to teaching Jack to be proud of it, as well.  One of the joys of parenthood comes in the non-stop realizations of things you get to teach these awesome little people.  For me, today's epiphany is heritage.  And that rocks.

This Gaelic lesson has been brought to you by my Irish heritage, and my little leprechaun.


Top of the morning to ya,
Heather

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dee-Da

Back before I knew anything about having children, I was of the opinion that you could "get around" a child having a lovie.  I thought that if a child had several stuffed animals, blankets, etc., that they loved, then you could avoid the red hot panic of losing, forgetting, or misplacing One Particular Thing.  I went so far as to presume that might be good for a child.  Who needs a lovie, anyway?

Um, yeah.

I have been rewarded for this uber-rational but utterly unrealistic line of thinking with a child who has a lovie.  Just one.  And it's mandatory.  He really doesn't go from one room to another without it.  And perish the thought that he could sleep without it.  That's just crazytalk.

World, meet Dee-Da.



All images courtesy of the brilliant and talented Betsy Peticolas.
Obviously, DeeDa is a dog.  DeeDa is named after Jack's phase of babbling and labeling everything as "deedah."  Even after the words started to come, his black and white dog buddy retained the name.

To Jack, DeeDa makes everything better.  He's like Hobbes to Jack's Calvin.  Adventures are best undertaken with a truly awesome sidekick.

Hope you all have awesome sidekicks today,
Heather

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dating

Yup, he's already dating.


Jack has excellent taste in girls.  Linley dresses well, gives good hugs, and rocks the best pigtails in the competitive under two set in Austin.  

As an added bonus, neither of them seemed to mind that *both* moms accompanied them on their dinner outing.  

Hey, someone had to drive.  And refill the sippy cups.

They grow up so fast, don't they?

Heather

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pho

Durel and I love pho.  We could eat it every day.

[Quick side note:  Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup.  It is magically delicious.]



Yesterday, we were feeling lazy and like eating huge bowls of soup.  So, we got pho.  As we sat around the table, lunching, we gave Jack some.

First, we gave him some noodles in his bowl.  That went pretty well, which is amazing, because he doesn't like pasta.  I stand corrected.  He *likes* rice noodles.  He has a discriminating palate.

Then, since that was going so well, I gave him some of the soup in a cup.

What is this stuff?  [Note the noodles on his face, arm, the table...]
You guys have been holding out on me!  This is GOOD!
More!  Get in my cuppy!
I'm not gonna lie.  I was kind of amazed that he liked it.  Yes, it's delicious.  And yes, he eats like crazy, and enjoys most everything.  But to see my 20 month old Little Dude slurping down beef pho like it was, well, totally delicious, blew a little bit of my mind.

What's next?  Sushi.  (Not kidding.)

Hope your weeks are filled with yummy soup,
Heather

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween

Durel, Jack, and I took a pass on Halloween this year.

What?  But you guys love Halloween!

We do love Halloween.  And Durel and I have outdone ourselves with costumes in the past.  But this year, things were different.

This year was the first year in several that Durel didn't have a huge work event at Halloween.

This year, Jack was under the weather for Halloween.

This year, I am crazy busy at work.

So, collectively, we decided to take a pass.

How did that make us feel?  I was probably the saddest of the bunch.  I really enjoy the Halloween party at Jack's school, and was sad that he missed the chance to parade with his buddies past all of the baby rooms (where he used to be) in his "big boy" costume.  

To symbolize both how sad I felt and how inappropriate it would have been to try and make Sicko enjoy this holiday, I provide the following:


And I had asked him to smile. 

Hope your Halloween was terrorific,
Heather

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's November First!

This means several very important things to me.


It means the red Starbucks cups are here!  (Look.  I love coffee and Christmas.  This is the two, combined.)

It means that I can start listening to Christmas music!




It means that it's time for me to start planning my Thanksgiving feast!




It also means that, like it or not, decorations will start popping up everywhere.  In Texas, it looks more like this:


than like this:



But I still love it.

Happy {my favorite month} November!
Heather
 
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