Live from Mokas

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I snuck away to a local coffee shop to gain access to the Internets. My MIL has a cable modem, but it isn't wireless and my computer doesn't have a connector for such a thing and I didn't want to spend too many of my brain cells trying to figure it all out, so I headed over here. Plus, their drinks aren't too shabby. Granted, they are no Gachet, but it'll do.

Anyway, MIL and I were some busy bees yesterday crafting away. Then again, what else are you supposed to do when it to too chilly dog outside to go running? :)

(sidenote: I'm watching some kids play around 3 and 4-wheelers in the icy parking lot across the street)

This first bit is a strap for a bag that I made for one of my besties as a Christmas gift. It's not ruining the surprise because she doesn't come on here are read what I post. ha ha!

How stinkin' cute are these pants?? I think they turned out pretty good considering we didn't use a pattern. Just sorta cut out the pants and sewed. By the way, Carol did all of the sewing and I did the cutting. We were a lean mean assembly line. I was channeling my inner sweatshop worker! Ok, ok, back to the pants. I found this material and fell in love. We had a bit leftover, so we went ahead and made her a dress out of it.
Speaking of dresses, I found this awesomely bold and bright corduroy material and knew that Mari had to HAVE something from it. A dress it was and here it is before we constructed it. (You can see the beginnings of the pants behind it too!)

Here is the happy baby modeling it. LOVE the little whale on it too! Don't mind the scratch on her nose. The first day we were here, she was playing in the pack and play and of the 4 teeny tiny exposed plastic parts, she found one of them while trying to climb out and well, that's where she got that little scratch. She is DEFINITELY my little one. And you would've thought she would have learned about climbing, but she tried to climb on the baby gate and knocked it and herself over. No bumps or scrapes, thank God! But it was a scare. I need to watch out for her, huh!!

We also put her Cricut to work!! I made several cards for the upcoming year and got a few items together for other little gifts I want to put together. I also made some of the favors for Mari's 1st birthday party! Whee!! Seriously, we were on fire! I have a couple of more bags to make, another dress, and maybe some more cards.

One of my resolutions is to not spend money, but to use what I already have. No more store bought cards or store bought stationery either. I must make do with what I own. We'll see how that works out! Now I'm off to make some more cake balls!

With that, MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Here's another photo of Mari with Santa. She's so stinkin' cute in her antlers, huh! Too bad Santa looks a little hungover. He was nice and asked me in advance if it was ok for Mari to have a lolli. I said, ok, but she had no interest in it. Granted, it was BEFORE I let her taste it, but I did wave it in front of her and she shoved it aside, so it's all good.

Hope you all have a safe and happy Christmas. More photos to come in a later blog!

on the road again

Sunday, December 21, 2008

traveling along I135 at 70 mph, the night is clear and serene despite the whipping wind dancing with road noise. as i pass a rest stop i notice bits of snow delicately draped on the ground like mother nature cooly kissed the day to night. in a matter of 10 min. the temp went from 4 to 0! brrrr... hope you have a great monday!

Fog Caroling Mari

Thursday, December 18, 2008

There is some serious fog out there folks! Driving to work this morning felt like a scene straight out of a horror movie. I kept casually looking over my shoulder expecting to see some sort of zombie. Thankfully, I saw none, but it didn't make it any less freaky. I glanced out of the window at work and snapped this photo at lunch time. Spooky, huh? You see that building in the distance, but you don't see the million other buildings in the distance. (And I'm on the 18th floor, I should see quite a bit!) This week was full of the most random weather. Cold, cold, cold, brrrrrrr weather, then rainy nastiness, and now this. I just hope it clears up before Christmas. I'm off to check the weather after this.

Today we had some very special carolers from St. Philip's School and Community Center swing by to perform 3 environmentally friendly Christmas Carols. They were going around to raise environmental awareness. They did such a snappy job and I was thoroughly impressed! Far from conventional, but I still felt the Christmas spirit. They were kiddos from 2nd to 4th grade, wearing their school uniforms (blue plaid skirts for the girls, khaki pants for the guys, blue button up shirts for both, and a navy blue sweater) and atop their heads was a homemade felt hat in the shape of a Christmas tree. It looked like they made it themselves. I was very proud of them and reminded the importance of song and dance in our daily lives. I'm glad that I'm a silly momma in my morning routine, singing and dancing for Mari while I get ready.
Speaking of the little one, here is a scan of the photo card I made for her teacher. We are going to give that to her as part of a Christmas gift we are putting together for her. I snapped two of these last night and she just wasn't having a smile! The one I caught on camera, I had low light, so there was quite a bit of blur! Blech! Oh well, these faces are just as prevalent as her smile. I can't believe how long her hair is getting. When I was brushing her hair yesterday, it actually had some tangles in it!! So moms, what did you use in your little ones hair? (lucky for me, she likes getting her hair brushed!)
Hope you all have a fabulous Thursday!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

  1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.
  2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!
  3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
  4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
  5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?
  6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
  7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.
  8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?
  9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.
  10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention.

Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

4th Picture Fun

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tag, I'm it!.

The object of the picture tag is to:

  1. Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer.

  2. Select the 4th picture in the folder

  3. Explain the picture

  4. Tag 4 people to do the same

NO CHEATING! (cropping, editing, etc!)

Yes, folks, what sits before you are Irish Car Bombs in lovely Coors Light glasses. It was a round of shots while we were in the LBK chillin' with some of our favorite 806 kids at McGillicutty's. I'm not exactly sure what we were toasting. Maybe it was because Steve-O was in school, or Zeke potentially had a date, or heck, maybe we were toasting their band Perfect Weather for a Stranger. It probably had more to do with the fact that we were in Lubbock, having a short night out while my folks watched the wee baby, and we were cramming in as much fun as could fit into a perfectly clear West Texas evening. This was the night that Zeke had his legendary Zoolander photo, Mikey-Mo busted out the new Tech Student ID while that Red Raider choir sang in the distance (aaaaaahhhhhhh), Steve-o humbly tried to hide his mack-daddy status, and Josh not only cooked up an egg for me, but also autographed for us an original work of art. Fun times!

For extra credit, here was another taken that night while we were hanging out at the Strip. Those of you who've had the pleasure of heading out to Lubbock know that it is a dry town and you have to go outside of the city limits to purchase alcohol. This is a literal beer barn and we are under it having fun. Notice the double T flags blowing in the wind? Nice!

I tag Jenna, CK, Lil D, and Zar.

White Rock 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bianca Fight Never Dies! (Notice my sweet Robin Hood shirt, too? and that Raider is for all you Tech fans!)

Our hair is a hot mess and I love it! It was at this point that my arches were a giant knot and I was ready to sit down for a nice healthy dose of carbs!

With My Michael! He was also in the relay.

It was a warm 66 degree day with an insane amount of wind everywhere. I hadn't put much emphasis into this race, it was purely for fun for me to guage how I'd be feeling just over a month after New York. There's a quick recap before bed:

  • Thank God for friends like Ada who call you at 7AM to ask where she should meet up with you. Why? Because even though I set my alarm, I didn't set it correctly, so it didn't go off!!! We hauled it to the race and when I got to the starting line, I realized that I had 10 minutes to spare, but I didn't have my cell phone, mp3 player, Glide, and other personal necessities!! eeek!
  • There weren't nearly enough water stations along the route, plus, they were only on one side of the race. This really irritated me and I had a big concern of people being properly hydrated.
  • I fell at mile 2, but thanks to Mom & Dad and their insistence on ice skating lessons, I fell gracefully and barely skinned my palms. Oh, and I was keen on avoiding any one else that could've potentially tumbled with me.
  • The turns were entirely too narrow and every turn I made, someone wiped out near me. Like a good, solid wipeout too.
  • Hills?, they were mini mountains and they were ridiculous. (Nearly as ridiculous as that devil in Plano roll at Sushi Rock!) I walked most of them, but walking up hill with that wind beating down on you is no joke!
  • Did I mention that the aid stations was a guy standing at a teeny tiny card table with cups of vaseline?? I'm trying to prevent chafing, I could've used a stick, but instead I got a cup. That slimy goo felt oh-so-yummy rubbing on the inside of my thigh, and I literally used my stride to spread it around because I refused to have any of it on my hands. There was enough stuff sticking to me as it was between the wind, the sweat, and the flying leaves and cups!
  • Markings for the actual race were clear, but not very big. They were just these flag things with no real numbers. I just wanted a large number telling me approx. what mile. Frustrating.
  • Lack of cheering from the onlookers. Few were willing to give high fives, not many were yelling, One very, very kind young soul gave me a chocolate which I nibbled on at one of the few hydration stations. They handed out oranges with two miles to go. I was like, really? This could've helped um...maybe 3 or 4 miles ago. Oh well.
  • They were really stingy with the fruit after the race, but if I wanted to snag 4 or 5 medals or t-shirts, I could have. WTF?
  • I was hacking up my lungs starting at mile 3 and it was nonstop for the remainder of the race. Not the most ideal run for me considering all of the surrounding circumstances, but I still persevered!


  • I was very happy to get a medal and it was pretty. All of the volunteers working were really friendly, albeit, many of them disorganized.
  • I saw a lot of friends along the way and it reminded me that the running community is pretty amazing.
  • I need to write a personal thank you letter to a specific company because their product went above and beyond today. I won't mention it here, but they deserve some serious gratitude.
  • While I didn't use any, there was always an abundant amount of portapotties.
  • The finisher shirts were excellent!
  • My family and friends are amazing and I'm so very glad they were there.

Finally, the highlight of my running experience (totally ranking right up there with my NY finish), was running that last quarter mile with my sister. She's fighting a serious cold and I know she was fraught with fever. Ada spotted her and I had my camera in hand, ready to snap my pics. But what do I do, I hurdle over people and jump on the course. I get in her face and I start yelling things at her to motivate her. Things like: You're awesome! You're my hero! You're doing an Amazing JOB! Don't quit, time to kick! C'mon, I'll race ya! Think of your kids! All of that running, all of that training comes down to this moment!! Use it! Now show me some of that Raider Power! Get it Sam, get it! Finish in under 4:10! Finish strong!!!

And tears were streaming down my face, my heart was pounding, my voice was cracking from screaming and coughing, my feet were cramping, and that camera was feeling mighty heavy, but I didn't care, because for once I got to cheer on my big sis and help push her along the way like she always does for me! I love her and I'm so proud of her for not only running her portion of the relay, 6 miles, but doing it in about an hour and not to mention she was sick!!! Fabulous! Here she is with her kids. It was nearly 70 degrees out at this point and you see how covered she is?? Fighting off that fever, alright. Her kids were so ecstatic to see their momma and so proud of her too! We'd made a sign that said, Run Sam! and her son made one that said SFND! You got it, Samantha Fight Never Dies. How cute!

Next year, I'm going to probably volunteer to help with the race and not run it. People told me that once you run NY, nothing can really top that. And you know what, they are right. I was sorely disappointed in this race for so many, many reasons, but then I was reminded that had I not done NY, I probably wouldn't have had those thoughts. All in all, the day was ok and a good experience. I may run other half marathons, but for now, I'm just happy that my racing season is FINISHED!

For your Sweet Tooth

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Last night I busted out the camera to get the lovebug in motion. Here she is in motion, running towards me with her octopus paci!

What's this? A RARE occasion where I get both of my children in a shot, not moving, AND looking at the camera. See how big brother Guapo seems to protect her. He does this every morning when he gets out of bed, he checks her room to be sure she's safe. Good boy!

My big girl!

I absolutely love those eyes. And that cute little pout. Makes my heart melt!

Now that you've had your Mari-fix, you can go back to what you were doing. :D

p.s. Only 3 days to the half. Eeeek! I pick up my packet tomorrow, and yes, I still have the aches and sniffles.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer wasn't even worth the Netflix rental. Baaaaaad! I'm sorry if you liked it, but I'm giving it 1 star. On the other hand, Get Smart was surprisingly silly and much, much better end to our evening!

Toothy Sick Day

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Today, I woke up feeling like death. I couldn't even talk, it hurt to swallow, and my head throbbed. I literally crawled under the covers and communicated to Don with a series of blanket flaps and grunts. He called my boss for me because I couldn't even get out of bed to get my blackberry, let alone talk on the phone.

Don left Mari with me since we were unsure how she'd be feeling today. Fortunately, she let me sleep in until 9:30. Her crying perked me up and I seriously felt like I was going to faint. But I powered through to the bathroom and popped a lozenge in my mouth. Immediately, the cherry menthol soothed my throat, now if I could only get over the head pain and congestion.

I fixed us some oatmeal and Mari actually enjoyed it! I'm glad she did because I had no appetite whatsoever. We made a little nest in the living room with two giant comforters and our space heater and Guapo burrowed with us. I put on A Mighty Heart and I totaly forgot that I actually saw Daniel Pearl's beheading and this movie was emotional wrenching for me. It was good, but maybe not the best movie for me to watch while I was feeling lonesome and sickly. blehhhh

Mari slept for nearly 3.5 hours, so it gave me ample time to lazy around and rest and that's just what I needed.

This evening, after we'd eaten up the two different kinds of soups I made (both chicken, but one was a type of chicken noodle made in the crockpot and the other was a chicken-miso soup made on the stove), Mari was still unstatisfied. So we gave her more of her food. She power napped and woke up screaming, so I gave her another jar of food. That was 4 oz. of food in less than two hours!!! (And that's just counting the baby food, not the bread and soup she had with us. I'm thinknig growth spurt!!) Anyway, while I was feeding her, I noticed something scraping on the spoon. I was afraid that she'd found a piece of plastic and had it hiding in her cheeks. I carefully put my index finger in her mouth, remembering that I'd just washed my hands, so it was ok. And then I felt it....a tiny, sharp, happy tooth!!! HOORAY! Don verified and I just burst into tears.

Yes, I'm an emotional mess. My tiny toddling baby has hit the last big milestone of the first year. Hard to believe, and it is tough for me to stomach, but I know you momma's out there know how I feel. *sigh*

Even though I still absolutely and completely feel yucky, I have a bit of hope and happiness for the future. My baby is growing up!

Oh, and today she was signing "more" with a fury! I REALLY wanted some ice cream to soothe my throat and so I indulged in some. She ran up to me with expectant eyes, so I gave her a taste of my vanilla Bluebell ice cream. She thought it was the cat's meow! She threw the biggest hissy fit for wanting more and then I calmly told her (signing each word) "no, more/mas" and she kept on crying, even throwing herself on the floor and wailing. Well, she stopped, held her two hands together and I rewarded her with another taste. She kept signing more, more, more, until I pretended there was no more ice cream. She signed more, more, more with Daddy tonight when he was eating his chicken soup. My how she loves to eat whatever we eat!

The White Rock Half is this Sunday and I seriously hope I kick whatever this mess is that I have. I was shooting for a sub-2 hour finish, but right now I'd settle for 2.5. Wish me luck and send some get well vibes!

Happy 10 Month Birthday

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This past Sunday, sweet Mari turned 10 months old. I didn't do a 9 month update and I suppose I could go back and do one, but I'll just update here. Even though she was sick, we did manage to sing her happy birthday and I am thankful for being sick because it's been enough of a distraction from me to realize that she's officially been living outside of me longer than she was inside. *sigh*

Before we get started, here's some ghost cryptic Mari-blogging: [oi m78bg,

Ok, now onto the fun:

  1. Just after her 9 month birthday, she took her frist steps with purpose. Now she's toddling around, almost running. They are right, it doesn't take them long to learn.

  2. She's 18.5 lbs of atomic energy! lovesit.

  3. She's 28" tall. Don and I were thinking that she and Yoda are close to the same height. ha ha

  4. She still hasn't said dada, but I think she calls him papa. She will frequently say papapapa or popopopo for Guapo. I'm still trying to teach her sign language, but she's insistent on her own form of communication.

  5. She is fiercely independent and one of the many telltale signs she's sick is that she's extra clingy, highly unusual for her.

  6. Lately, she's been doing this lizard-tongue thing. I'm not sure what it means. Probably the same thing as her ever-increasing raspberry noises.

  7. SHE LOVES SHOES!! Maybe not so much wearing them (which she doesn't really mind), but she loves touching them and feeling the texture of shoes, especially my patent pumps.

  8. Unfortunately, she's a lover of TV and is a big fan of Wall-E, any action movie, and Baby Einstein.

  9. She's starting to develop her love of music. Often, when we are riding around, if I'm singing along to a song, so is she. Then again, she could be trying to tell ME to quit singing (LOL), but I think it has more to do with singing along. She will try to sing herself to sleep, as well.

  10. She loves to climb and pull up on things. We've blocked off all bookshelves and dressers.

  11. She's starting to undersatnd the grasp of self-feeding. She really enjoys it when I put an assortment of goodies in her bowl to eat: goldfish, crackers, and cheerios.

  12. Still no teeth, but when she does, I'll look into doing bento box lunches for her for school! (Have any of you tried that?)

  13. She's an awesome assistant in the kitchen. She helped me measure out the ingredients for the cookie dough we handed out as favors to the party, she frequently helps me prepare her meals and our dinners, too!

  14. She is such a wonderfully social baby and we are so very, very blessed!

4 Shy of the ENTIRE Sleeve...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Stupid Thin Mints.
I'd had them tucked away in my desk in case of emergency. Today, I had a pity party for myself and I dished up thin mints, which my ass promptly screamed at my brain to devour. *sigh*

So why the pity party? It all starts last week. Yes, readers, all three of you, have probably noticed that I haven't done a whole lot of writing lately. Have I fallen victim to writer's block? Nope. Did reality finally slap me in the face, clueing me in that people don't want to read about my mundane life? No. Then what? Well, it seems that I've bitten off waaaay more than I can chew. Honestly, life is one ginormous mess of fun for me, but once in a blue moon, everything collides together into a fantastic trainwreck and I sit stand there, as best as I can, to endure.

Last week, on Monday, I was still recovering from the Thanksgiving festivities. I knew I wasn't well rested, but that wasn't any differently from normal. That night, Mari started her unusual sleep pattern (one that continues to go on as we speak!). I went to bed far too late and got up early when she couldn't seem to get comfortable. I should've gone running, but I didn't. It seemed too much of a pain to dress her for the cold outside, load her up in the jogging stroller, then meet my buddies. Tuesday, I was out late for a work thing, which caused me to stay up faaar too late and again I was up too early on Wednesday morning. It didn't help that we'd rented Hancock and I actually liked it. Not enough to have shelled out money in the theater, but it was worth the rental. I swear during one of the scenes, I saw the creature from Cloverfield walking around in the back.

I had to leave work promptly that day to pick up baby from school. She and I went off in search of the Indian market for some paneer because I stumbled upon an easy breezy palak paneer recipe (video!) at I had wonderful fun, so much so that I went up every aisle in the small store, taking a mental inventory of all they had to offer. They even sold Bollywood movies, and I bought one for my friend CK as a gift for our date later on in the week (more to come on that one). I get home and 4 GIANT boxes smiled at me as I struggled with Mari's carrier into the house. They were filled with the Pampered Chef goodies and you know what that means, right! New cookware AND other goodies. I was foaming at the mouth to dive into the kitchen to cook my palak paneer with the new kitchen tools, but my OCD kicked in hyper drive and I had to sort all of the boxes. BOO!! Poor Don patiently reminded me that it was already much, much too late for dinner and shooed me off into the kitchen to prep the meal while he took over the sorting. I held Mari in my arms while I used the food chopper to dice the onions. Initially, she laughed hysterically at it, but that laugh quickly turned into a cry because somewhere along the lines it scared her. MMmmm...I was so proud of my efforts that I should've taken photos. It wasn't true palak paneer b/c I failed to write down the spices they used, so I improvised making Bianca Paneer. Delish! The house was blanketed with that amazing Indian cuisine smell, even burning my nostrils the next morning! Again, I went to sleep entirely too late, only be up and at 'em on Thursday. I blame Dexter! We're catching up on our series on Netflix and well, when I get a taste of something, I just want more. I need to learn how to devour my moving pictures in bite sized nuggets. I have the same problem with food. What can I say?

I don't really remember much of Thursday. I was a walking zombie! I knew I wanted to make some more palak paneer (see the above comment in regards to gluttony). When I got home, I grabbed the coupon envelope and as a family, we dashed out the door to return the movies, grocery shop, and run by Barnes & Noble to pick up The Birthday Book: A Keepsake Journal for Mari. Yes, I'm already doing birthday shopping for her knowing it isn't until February. My excuse: I was also doing birthday shopping for a couple of my besties and figured I'd knock 'em all out. I got home and lucky for us, we bought a rotisserie chicken (which was the size of a turkey...seriously!) for $3.99, but didn't have a veggie side. I jumped up waving my hand like I knew the secret answer hollering to Don that I'd happily make some more Bianca paneer. This time I remembered to add real garlic cloves, but used tomato sauce instead of paste, so it was runnier than I wanted it to be, but still good. I made a mental note that our new cookware is BOSS! More Dexter indulgence ensued, and next thing I knew I was passed out in the special brown lounge chair, while Don gently shook me, coaxing me to sleep in our bed. I only saw Mari briefly awake and I knew something wasn't quite normal. The next day was big date night for me and I was feeling a tad bit guilty that I didn't enough play time in to make up for Friday.

Friday came in a hurry and I was swamped at work, which was a good thing. But, 5PM came so fast that I struggled with wrapping things up to make it home in time to pretty myself up. Don was so good and had already been home picking up and had Mari settled in. (I love that man!) I flew into the house and threw on my fancy gold dress and black cashmere sweater. I dressed it up with a pretty silver/gold necklace and wore my mom's old animal print faux fur coat. I felt beautiful! My beloved kissed me goodbye and I was out the door. CK looked stunning in her black pants and red sweater. She loved the movie I gave her and we had such fun at her company holiday party. They kept handing out these random blinky things: bracelets, microphones, pins, tambourines, as well, as Santa pimp hats. I swear, Oriental Trading Company threw up in this fancy party. It was a bit out of place, but somehow it worked. They also had butt sketches (random), which all looked the same! They also had these fabulous 7 second flip books! We made 4!! And I had one that I'd made just for Don too. It was fun and cute...hands down my favorite part of the evening! It was already Saturday by the time I got home and Mari was still passed out. I prepared myself for an early morning.

By 8:30 she was still sleeping and I was worried, but I desperately needed another hour of sleep to make up for the 3 hours I had from Wednesday night. I propped up at 9:30 to write out our Christmas cards. I nearly had them completed with Mari awoke. 15 hours!!! That was the longest she's ever slept. EVER. I felt her tiny forehead and there was no fever. I guess she was just worn out, too! I got her dressed and she and I went off in search of a pair of everyday shoes for her, tights, and maybe a gift for my dad. Then, I went to have the friendly folks at Wolf Camera check out my flash. (I needed new batteries!) Off for a mani/pedi and I shamefully admit that I ate McDonalds. bleh! Mari had yogurt from there and she seemed to like it and I couldn't help but wonder if they have HFCS in that too! I felt like a horrible mom. I was looking good and it was time to jet on out to the W for my company's holiday party. SWEET! We checked in the room and I met my friend with her family for a quick portrait session before our party. I even indulged in a cafe caramel from Gachet! Seriously, it was much, much, much too much fun! I'm actually sore from all of the dancing and I'm extra smiley from the many Julie's Awesome shots that were consumed during the not-so-post-party party. Our bartender's name was Julie and she truly was awesome! Don and Mari were spent and for some reason I was wired for sound. With husband and baby safely nestled in our luxurious king sized bed, I ordered fries from room service and borrowed Chocolat from their movie library. I had my own lively party of 1 and it was really fun and great. (I was waiting on the cow couch just outside of our room so when room service came a-knocking wouldn't wake my slumbering family. That was the previous blog post to this one.) I showed that enormous plate of fries who was boss, including the fancy mustard, ketchup, and ranch that came with it! The little chocolate was delish too. I downed my big glass of water and passed out!

Again, 2AM when I sleep. For whatever reason, my body propped up at 7AM and I took a 30 minute vacation in the rainfall shower. (I don't EVEN want to think about all of the water I used!!) It was heaven. I watched the 2nd half of Chocolat and waited for breakfast to be delivered. Mmmm....when it arrived, Mari was up and she helped me to tear it up. Don ate a bit of his and went back to sleep. With our bellies full, we all tucked back into bed and I waited for my friend to call to see when/if she wanted pics taken. We were watching the new TMNT animated movie, so I was happy when she called. I took a 20 minute nap, then met her and her beautiful family for pics.

Upstairs, I went and we loaded up to head home. And that's when it began with Mari. Our unbelievably happy baby from Saturday was replaced with an inconsolable, fussy baby that I'd never seen before. I felt helpless! What to do? What to do? We let her sleep it out for a bit, but that didn't last. Meanwhile, I was cooking a turkey and other foods for our party that night. (yes, yes, I'm on crack.) The party trifecta, a literal turkey for you sports buffs, or a 3-fer-3! It was our annual White Elephant party. We tidied up as best as we could and when we pulled out our tiny Charlie Brown tree, I was sad to see that it was even more pitiful than normal. Not only was it teeny tiny, but it was bent. Not lopsided, but bent. We made the call to get another tree and headed out to Decorators Warehouse. The minute we walked in, Don and I both said in unison, "OMG, Christmas threw up in here!!" We were afraid, very, very afraid. We tediously walked around knowing that we weren't going to find what we needed. We tiptoed outta there as fast as we could and jetted on over to Big Lots. $20 later, we found our perfect Charlie Brown Christmas tree (CBCT2) to replace the other. This time, we upgraded from 4 ft to 6 ft! LOL. It only had the two ornaments that I'd bought this year, I don't know where our other 5 ornaments are, but we'll find them before Christmas, I hope.

Friends started arriving and we had a blast. I was running on low energy and I didn't know why. I mean I did, but I genuinely felt spent. Mari was still feeling needy and fussy and just off. I was passed out by 11PM and by 1AM, Mari was up every half hour until 5:30, which she was getting up every 5 minutes. We gave her some water. Poor thing was burning up and when we took her temperature, it was 101. We gave her some Tylenol and Don made the executive decision to stay at home with her. He, himself, wasn't feeling up for anything. I wasn't 100% and I chalked up the sore throatyness to allergies (yeah right!). But c'mon! I have a half marathon on Sunday and now isn't time to punk out. Early to bed for me (at least that's the plan and I'll try to stick to it), so why the pity party? Because I don't feel well, I have photos I need to deliver (because I'm ever so eager to share them!!), Christmas cards to mail, and an HOA newsletter to get out the door. See what I mean about trainwreck? :D Add punishment to my growing list of gluttony! You'd think I'd learn.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Waiting on my movie and room service. I know i'm outta my mind but this cow skin couch is quite comfy!

Thanksgiving Day

Monday, December 1, 2008

Always a special time for our family, I would have to rate Thanksgiving as one of my favorite holidays. Some people dread spending time with their families, but not me. It's an opportunity for us all to get together to give thanks as a family, something we neglect to do much of the rest of the year.

Usually in September, we begin coordinating our efforts, answering all the important questions:
  • Where are we going to gather?
  • Who is bringing what?
  • When are we doing the big feast?
  • Who all plans on being there?

This year is the first year that Brother was no longer living in Lubbock, so we decided waaay back in July that we'd be spending the big day in Austin. So let the planning begin!

In September, I sent out an SOS on Craigslist in search of a house in Austin for us to rent. We wanted a place where we could all stay, with a kitchen so we could cook. That ruled out extended stay hotels, simply because a suite wouldn't be large enough to Lucky for us, I found an amazing new friend, Laura from Argentina, who agreed to "rent" her house out to us. She's a newlywed, studying for her Ph.D at UT. Over the next few months, we chatted via email and I gained a feel of her personality. She was kind enough to send us photos of her house and it was a good agreement. They don't normally rent out their house (I think we were the first), but the arrangement was perfect because they were headed out to West Texas to celebrate Thanksgiving with her in-laws. I figured, 'eh, why not? When I ran the idea across to my father, he went along with it. Yeah, I guess I could see why it could be seen as "creepy" that we were sleeping in a stranger's house, but I didn't think of it that way. I was being selfish because I wanted to sleep in the same house as my family, just like it was when we were younger. It didn't matter the place, just so long as we were all together. Laura and I worked up a paying agreement and all we had to do was wait.

Wednesday night, we were all together! We'd snuggled in to the cozy house, gathered around the television, watching Mari do her best impression of a little borracho. We all giggled watching her persistence in getting up, taking a few steps, teetering to the side, then falling, doing it all over again. By the end of the night, she finally had the hang of it, darting around the room, from couch to couch. I was so glad that we brought along her tiny shopping cart. She was having a blast zipping around the hardwoods with her walker. That night, I passed out pretty hard and when my alarm went off at 6:45, I knew it would be a long day.

My sister had sprung up and we were both pretty darn groggy. As I stared off into the dim light of the mini blinds in the room, I happily gazed at the shadowy figures sleeping next to me. And then, wouldn't you know it, little bean stands up like an alert muskrat, moving her head around. I just chuckled and got up. Don did his best to hold her, but after I was dressed, I took her into the living room and my folks happily kept an eye on her while we made our run to Luby's in South Austin. We were there at 7:02, record time and I was happy that Austin wasn't as big and congested as Dallas could be. We lingered around for a bit and then Brother came bounding towards us, enveloping us in his giant bear hug. He was mighty chipper. (Melissa later told us that he'd had a Red Bull or two by that point.) I was happy to see him in his element. He disappeared again for a few moments, then emerged with this HUGE box, with the Luby's logo emblazoned on the side. Two mac and cheeses, 2 dozen rolls, a turkey breast, a spiraled ham, 2 stuffings, cranberry sauce, gravy, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and 3 pies. Holy cow! He loaded up Lucky and we headed back to the house. On our way there, Brother called to let me know that he forgot to give me the reheating instructions. I told him not to worry about it since Mom would know. After all, she worked in food service for a few years, so she would know what to do. We had to make a quick stop at Fiesta for some last minute goodies and to pick up a paper for the Black Friday sales!

We pulled in and I couldn't get over the fact that we felt like we were camping. The house layout was very similar to some of the cabins we'd stayed in. Also, the outside had wooden slats that gave it a more cabin-y feel. The inside was cozy, hardwoods throughout, several pieces of artwork adorned the walls, the 3 beds were super plush, but because it was an older house, there weren't built-in closets in the rooms. There wasn't a pantry either. Everything was delicately placed on shelves, each thing had its place. She had pictures everwhere. Smiling faces of strangers, I felt like a wandering ghost. I knew that if I met Laura on the street, she and I would be great friends and I hope we continue our correspondence!

Anyway, we unloaded the food and completely unfolded ourselves onto the sofas. Sam thumbed through the ads and handed me the Office Max ad when she was done browsing the pages. I don't know what it is with me and Office Max. I seem to find the best deals for me, for things I never knew I wanted. They had a 1 TB external hard drive on sale for $169. It was a younger sibling to our existing hard drive, that we totally loved, and Don and I decided that if they had any left, we'd pick one up so that our current "Seabiscuit" (as named by Mikey-Mo) would be the ultimate back-up to be stored away in the as-yet acquired fireproof safe. They also had office chairs on sale, which was a big bonus. Don's been needing an office chair for nearly 2 years now. This one, literally on its last legs: if you don't sit in it properly, the arm would fall off, causing the back to collapse to side, pretty much guaranteeing that you'd fall out of the chair as well. They had some other items that I can't mention because they'll be Christmas gifts for some of my readers and I don't want to ruin the surprise for them. Unfortunately, we couldn't figure out what time they opened on Friday, even after calling the numbers and searching online. The best we could determine was that it was business as usual for them, with no extended hours. Hooray! No need to wake up ridiculously early. With that, my belly grumbled and I knew I needed breakfast.

I pestered Daddy until he put on his shoes and we headed on over to TC, Taco Cabana, for some breakfast tacos! Mmmm...I remembered the barbacoa taco I'd had the night before (Dad goes gangbusters for TC and they don't have 'em in Lubbock any more, so we eat there everytime we are together.) We traveled up MLK to get there, passing the UT baseball field and Memorial Stadium, where the big football rivalry game would be played in a few short hours. Already, the fans were convening in small tailgating clumps, burnt orange flags waving in the wind. We loaded up on breakfast and headed back. All of the food was laid out, and everyone happily munched away at our treat. I was exhausted, so I settled in bed to take a brief nap. Well, nearly two hours later, I awoke and flew into the kitchen to begin prepping the feast. I unpacked everything from the big Luby's box and stared at the contents. I ran over to the other bedroom and found mom lounging, while reading a book. I hated to interrupt her, but we had less than two hours to prep everything! I asked for her help and she darted up (well, darted up for her, anyway) and made her way to the dining room. I'd already set up a chair for her to command. I'd already had my eggs boiling on the pot, using the new technique I'd read about on Honeyed Hashette. Unfortunately for me, I don't follow directions very well, so my deviled eggs didn't quite turn out how I wanted. Anyway, I directed everyone to open all of the windows and turn on the fans because it was about to get HOT in the house. I fired up the oven, and the burners on the stove. Eggs were boiling, gravy was bubbling, sweet potatoes were boiling, and all of the sides were warming in the oven. I even ran the microwave! Don set up our roaster and put in the turkey breast, as well as the full turkey that mom had made two nights before. The house smelled HEAVENLY!!

By 2:30, the food was prepped and just in time, because my aunt and cousins arrived with their families. Even though they'd already eaten, they'd brought food for us to share. Per my request, there was some spanish rice and broccoli cheese rice casserole! YUM! What Mexican Thanksgiving is complete without arroz and tamales??

We all gathered in the living room in a circle, holding hands, each of us proclaiming our gratitude for the many gifts we've received. Melissa hadn't arrived yet, so we phone conferenced her in. The battery on my phone was about out of juice, and so it was doing this annoying beep noise, but we were still able to hear Melissa's Thanksgiving prayer. After every said what they were thankful for, we closed with The Lord's Prayer. I said bye to Melissa and it was about that time when Brother sent his thankful prayer via text! I love technology! :D Even though he had to work on Thanksgiving day, he was still there with us! We dove into the feast and an hour later, we were food drunk and high on tryptophan! Even Mari got in on the action, eating turkey, spanish rice, and mashed sweet potato. She was lovin' it!

Again, we surrounded the small television like sleepy vultures, watching and listening to the Cowboy game, as the kids ran around outside playing with the dogs and chasing one another. We'd all pitched in some money for the football pot and Mari won a dollar for her square and Tia Vicki won $20! My nephew Cristian won $6, one of which he shared with his sister. (On Black Friday when I was up early and his mom was still out, he asked if he could go with me to Target because he saw an ad for something on his wish list that cost less than $5 and that would be one less thing that either Santa or his parents had to get him for Christmas.) The family started to leave and I wanted pumpkin pie. We must've had like 6 different kinds of pie, none of which were pumpkin! Now how in the world did that happen? I sent Brother a text asking him if we could come for a visit and maybe eat some pie. He readily responded, "Sure!" Off we headed to Luby's, me, Don, my sister, and Melissa, while my folks stayed at home to watch the kids. Little did they know that we were bringing them a special delivery, and it wasn't pumpkin pie. It was Brother!!! He was able to get off an hour early, so he happily came over to celebrate the rest of Thanksgiving with us.

And there we all were, hanging around in the living room, while we were watching some random thing on TV. Several of us were lazing around on the floor, others squeezed in tight on the couches, and a few were sitting in the dining room chairs that we'd brought in from the kitchen. We were chatting and celebrating and when it came time for us to leave, I insisted that we grab a photo of all of us to remember the day. I balanced the camera onto the television and we all squeezed in tight. I set the timer and jumped in on the picture. So here's my family, all together! Guapo included!

It's so nice to be around family again! How was your Thanksgiving?

Austin Road Trip

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We're headed down to Austin right now, but we had a bit of a later start than planned because I had some unexpected things come up at work. Traffic in Hillsboro was a nightmare for no particular reason at all.
This year I'm thankful for so very many things. My friends and family, of course, especially Mari-Jul. This past year with her has been amazing, so much that I can't describe it into words. I'm truly thankful for Mike Leach and my fellow Red Raiders even though we were slaughtered last weekend. They have made it such an exciting football season! I'm thankful for my job and the opportunities presented to me. I'm thankful for discovering Stephanie Meyer not because i'm THAT in love with her series, but rather her inspirational story. She gives me hope that someday i'll not only finish my book but get it published as well! There's more but I've run out of room on mobile blog.

My Top 5 Concerts

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In honor of the movie High Fidelity, I was thinking of my top 5 concerts of all time. This is very, very tough for me to answer simply because I'm a super fan of live music and I've been to more than 5 concerts. Now that I'm thinking about it, it would've been easier to list the 5 worst concerts. LOL Now I really want to go to a concert!

Without further adieu....

  1. Jack Johnson and Ben Harper - 2003 SDSU...It was a clear August night. We were sitting on a football field that was a natural amphitheater. I could smell the ocean in the air, but I had no idea how close we were. We became fast friends with everyone surrounding our little blanket. While this easily could've been one of my worst experiences (since I lost my friends for about 20 minutes when I went to the bathroom and I didn't remember the exact location of where we were sitting), I made the most of it by walking to the beer garden. I love my friends for this reason, because, like me, they enjoy their drinky-poos, and that's where I found them and they walked me back to our spot. The music was phenomenal and I seriously felt like I was in heaven.
  2. Dolly Parton - AAC...My father and I shared our love of Dolly Parton. The first time she came through Dallas, we wanted to go, but we didn't get tickets. The next time around, I was sure to get them and I loved it!!! My father and I had a wonderful date night. We had floor seats and we were just 15 rows back. It was such a fun and mellow concert, but I surprised myself with knowing almost every single song. Dolly is larger than life and it is my hope to be that vibrant when I'm her age.
  3. U2 - 2000 Reunion Arena...My first job after Tech was amazing. My cube was just outside of my manager's office. She was chatting it up with one of the other manager's who casually said, I have an extra ticket to the U2 concert tonight, do you know of anyone who would want to go? I about pee'd my pants right there and then. I jumped up and tried to maintain my composure as best as I could. I walked over to him and said, "I'd love to go!" He said, "Great, meet in the parking lot in about an hour?" I swiftly ran home, changed clothes, and headed out. Then, panic set in and I was like, OMG! I don't have any cash to pay for the ticket! I don't even know this man. My mind started racing and so I quickly called my sister to let her know I was going to the concert. At least if I didn't turn up later, someone would know I was missing. We met in the parking lot and he said he'd drive us. It felt like a date, which was more than awkward since he was a manager in the company and quite a bit older than I was. We sped down the highway in his silver 2-door Mercedes, and all worries and anxiety disappeared because I was going to FINALLY see U2!! We met up with some of his friends for dinner then went to the most amazing concert! I held up my cell phone when they played Beautiful Day, I called my sister, with tears streaming down my face. She was pregnant with her daughter at the time, and everytime this song played, Zeni would kick her belly. I believe this song was playing the first time she felt her kick. Anyway, the concert was over and when I asked him what I owed him, he said, "Nothing! The pleasure was all mine. My wife cancelled at the last minute and was held up at work. If you wouldn't've come, the ticket would have gone to waste." What luck! It was a fabulous night!
  4. Alicia Keys - 2008 Nokia Theater...This was mine and Don's first real date after Mari was born. At first, the sound was off and I was genuinely upset with it because I thought this was going to be an amazing concert. Well, the 3rd song into her set they fixed the glitch and holy cow! This woman is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! She sounded better live than she did in person and it's rare that you find that. We were two rows from the top, but it felt like we were in the front row. We also got to catch a couple of songs from Jordin Sparks set and she was such a cutie and had a great voice as well. The moments surrounding this event made it that much better. After the concert, we were caught in a monsoon. I was wearing my white linen suit, but it didn't matter how saturated I was. I was dancing in the rain with my husband and we were drunk from Alicia's voice. This was one of those moments that is forever etched into my memory: Seeing my husband's face behind the raindrop curtain, his arms wrapped around me as we're kissing under the street light, the water rising well past my black pumps, but it was warm enough out that it didn't matter. ahhh...
  5. Dave Matthews Band - 2001 Texas Stadium...My BFF already had plans to go to the concert with another friend. I desperately wanted to be there too, so I looked up some last minute tickets on ebay. I won them with the Buy It Now feature and had them overnighted to me. Another friend of mine and I went. We located our friends on the other side of the stadium and made plans to meet up with them eventually. I was scoping out the arena to see where we could find 4 seats so we could sit together. I found them. Immediately to the left of the stage, there was an ENTIRE section empty and it wasn't being guarded. So we raced to our friends, picked them up and convinced them to come with us. We hurried on over to the section and flew down to the 3rd row. We were about 15 feet from the stage. SCORE!! Better yet, we were seats away from G-Love and the Special Sauce. Apparently, we were sitting with the rest of the tour's entourage and it was a lovely time. Dave and his friends put on an incredible show and right there and then, I decided I would be going to more of his concerts because they were so laid back, it was like being at a giant party. Sure enough, a few years later, I went to another of his concert's with Brother, who is probably, hands down, the biggest Dave fan I know. Glad we were able to share that experience.

Honorable mentions:

  • Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, and Metallica @ Texas Stadium, 2003...the first concert Don and I went to and with VIP passes, which were all COMPED. Fabulous!
  • Fuel @ the Bronco Bowl, 2000 where I was in the moshpit. A concert so good that somone actually got sick. Unfortunately, my buddy Al and I were the victims of that disaster. Al, remember the shirts we made???
  • Linkin Park, Hed PE, and POD @ the Bronco Bowl, 2000...the first concert that I actually crowd surfed and special kudos because I met Chester and Mike afterwards. I became a loyal follower shortly thereafter.
  • Lenny Kravitz @ New Orleans Jazz Fest 2004...Lenny put on a fabulous set while we munched on beignets from Cafe du Monde. Mmmm...delish. That entire trip was so memorable, especially with all of our walking "4 blocks" LOL!!
  • John Mayer and Counting Crows @ 2002 Smirnoff...These two girls were screaming their heads off for Counting Crows, then up and left after the set. It was hilarious. JM put on a ridiculously awesome show, even though he said he was sick. Personally, I liked him at this concert more than when I saw him the next time around.
  • Mana @ AAC 2007...another free hookup! Woot. I have so many pay-it-forwards that I owe. LOL! I've been wanting to see these guys since 1996 and I finally had that opportunity. Mari-moo was in my belly and kicked like crazy when they played Bendita tu Luz. Gracias Danika!!
  • Muse @ Nokia 2007...we were supposed to have floor seats, but I couldn't fathom the thought of standing for an entire set while pregnant. We found these perfect seats that were just off the floor, but in the front row. We pretty much had the ENTIRE row to ourselves and wow is all I can say about Muse. If they come through again, I'm so there!
  • Deftones @ Texas Stadium 2006...I'd been wanting to go to a concert with my cousin Mikey-Mo forever. And we finally did it! It was a mini-concert, but I must say, it was fun, but not quite a true concert experience.

So what about you? What are some of your favorites and why?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Testing mobile blogging. This is only a test.

2008 Summary

Stolen from CK's blog. Fill 'er out if you're reading this. Requires some thought! Man, there were so many others that I thought after this, but these were the first that came to mind.

Great Finds 2008...
  1. - random music based on an artist or genre, it's goodstuff!
  2. Running...who knew I'd fall in love with it all over again?
  3. Chevy Equinox - I heart my Lucky! The road trips we've taken so far have been awesome!
  4. G Diapers - I love these things on Mari and she likes them too!
  5. XM Radio (and the Sirius merge, too) - We were on a road trip when the Veep debates were broadcast and I was so glad that we were subscribers. The same has happened on football Saturdays and Sundays and we haven't had to miss listening to the games. Plus, I've found amazing 90s music that I've totally forgotten about. (The Return to Innocence by Enigma...that's for you Gen!)
  6. Nail That Nut - What a hilarious phrase that was born out of miscommunication. LOL! I heart you, Will!
  7. Facebook - While I resisted for a long, long, long, while, I finally gave in and I love the reunion! It's great to see so many faces that I'd not thought about in well over a decade.
  8. Sigg Waterbottle - I bought mine at the Whole Foods in NY and it is so cute and fun! I like that it doesn't "sweat" and leave rings on the table. Plus, it fits perfectly in my cupholder, purse, and waterbottle holder on the bicycle.
Continued Love for....
  1. Indian Food - mmmm...yummy, who knew I'd have an addiction to this stuff? It just gives me the happy-happies
  2. Sprinkles cupcakes - red velvety bits of heaven
  3. Starbucks fun drinks - overpriced, yes, but something about 'em soothes me after a long, long day. Plus, I love the "talks" I've shared with friends/family when visiting a SBUX (yep, that's you Danika, Jeev, Camille, Mikey, Will)
  4. Blogger - yes, I love that I have this medium to write and write and write to my hearts content, even though 90.7% of it is crap. Thanks to you all who continue reading it.
  5. Pyrex - I love storing leftovers in them and how neatly they stack in the fridge. It makes me happy to see all of the smiling pyrex meals waiting to be explored. Best of all, I just peek through the side to see the contents, unlike old school Tupperware, where I had to open and guess and pray that the contents were spoiled and moldy...yuk!
  6. Family Table & Dining Room - I absolutely love our dining room and family table. We put it to good use and there are so many memories made in that room.
  7. Stampin' Up - Well, really, all things creative, but I do like the new stamps and making cards for birthdays and such.
  8. No TV Tuesdays - I thought this would be harder to do, but actually, I find myself looking forward to Tuesday nights to catch up and spend time with my family. I'm actually busiest on Tuesdays and it's fun!
Greater Appreciation for...
  1. My blender - Not only does it crush ice to make AMAZING margaritas, but it can puree food like no other to provide for wholesome meals for Mari.
  2. Don - My husband is Super Dad. No really...he gets even less sleep than I do, and still manages to wake up early to prep Mari for the day AND make it on time to school and prep for whatever he has to teach that day AND make me feel oh-so-special and beautiful!! Oh, and he's finding the time to train for a sprint triathalon, too!
  3. Texas Tech Football and Mike Leach - What an incredible season. We have the biggest game this Saturday and it's been an exciting ride so far. Love it!
  4. My tiny MuVo mp3 player - This little guy has been tossed around and traveled to many places with me and all it requires is a teeny tiny AAA battery to keep going. Best of all, it plays music, records voice memos (or Mari's laughter, which I adore!!), stores data, and broadcasts the radio. I've had other mp3 players and even an ipod, but I always find myself going back to this guy.
  5. Empty boxes - they keep Mari occupied for hours on end and it is just an empty box! I'm getting her several of these for Christmas.
  6. Nurses - If it wouldn't have been for awesome nurses, I doubt I could've had a natural childbirth without drugs. They are super patient, understanding, and empowering. Plus, they always do their very best to explain what is going on, even when doctors forget to tell you. If you know a nurse, thank them and give them hugs!
  7. - Well, any photo sharing site, but this because I've been using it since 2003. They continue trying to innovate and I do have love for Picasa, I like KodakGallery b/c it is familiar. Especially because I like it when my friends share their adventures on there and I can save them in one place. (Thanks Kelly, Matt, Lindsey, and Michael!)
  8. My Mom & Dad - They're just awesome. So is the rest of my family, but especially this year, I've leaned on my folks for support, especially with being a new parent myself.
Ready to part ways with...
  1. Dust - Seriously, I dust and dust and dust and it never fails that the next day there is more there. WTF?
  2. Huggies diapers - They triggered the absolute worst diaper rash on Mari and that's it. I'm done with them. They work well on other babies, but not on mine, so I bid them adieu.
  3. Green Mountain Energy - After the ridiculous bills we received this summer, I couldn't possibly understand why our rate was going up, up, up, and up!! Yikes! I like their idea, but the cost of Wind energy doesn't rise. We've not parted ways yet, but I'm actually entertaining the idea now.
  4. Negative Attitudes - Don't bring me down. Yes, you're allowed to be frustrated, mad, angry, upset, but not everyday for the rest of your life!!! Get over it and move on. Life's too short to not appreciate the positives.
  5. Cheap Baby Shoes - I like them and they can be cute, but they don't stay on Mari's feet. She manages to kick them off. One of the straps broke within the first 24 hours of having it as well. Bleh! Talk about wasted money!
  6. Leaves - I love our beautiful trees around our house, but man do I hate the leaves!!! They just pile on and on and on and next thing you know, it's time to rake again!
  7. Allergies - yeah, this will never go away. I know it. But that doesn't mean that I wouldn't like them to go away.
  8. Diaper Rash - Awful.

Clean and Shiny

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nothing like having a deadline to make you busy. I volunteered to host a Pampered Chef party on Thursday. I love hosting these types of things and it has been too long since I've entertained. Anyway, I'd been doing so much running that something had to be neglected. Unfortunately, that was cleaning. I feel like I've finally come out of a "training fog" and reality has set in.

This weekend was the time to do it. Don and I set out to do a massive cleaining and I'm really proud of what we accomplished. There's still plenty to go, but I'm very, very hopeful! We definitely got an early start on our annual donations. We donated 3 large bags of clothes and 2 smaller bags. They were compacted in too! Our closet was looking bare, but then Don found my winter box, which had been missing for an entire year!! There were my boots, skirts and sweaters. Hello friends!! I feel like I have a brand new wardrobe!! Speaking of clearing out closets...I also hit Mari's closet. I emptied out about half of it because she's just outgrown everything. I can't believe how fast they grow. I tucked everything away into a vaccuum bag (in the event we have another girl for the next go-'round) and was happy that she wore all but 1 outfit. Not too bad, I thought. With a half filled closet, I realized I needed to go shopping for her because she doesn't even have a coat! I hit up Kohls because they were having a monster sale (when are they NOT having a sale???). I picked up about 12 new outfits, a coat, and some jammies for her and all of that for less than $100, easily! I love it when everything is on sale and then you get more of a discount for shopping early and then an extra 15% for using your card. Brilliant!

All in all, it was a good and uneventful weekend. Oh, but we did get to hang out with some friends last night and I forgot how much we enjoyed being social. Ahhh...I hope we don't have that much time before I get together with all of them again. AND my sister and her kids came over this afternoon. We took a break from cleaning and we were able to eat lunch together. I also helped my nephew/Godson with one of his school projects. It was very creative and I was happy to help him out.

Have a great week! Next week is Thanksgiving! Woohoo!!

Bianca's NYC Marathon Experience Part 4

Friday, November 14, 2008

I know, I know, you've been patiently waiting for the rest. Here's some more...

Mile 13 was staring me in the face. Honestly, when I was at this point, I thought, Wow! I'm at the halfway point and I would've been finished by now. I'm gonna rock in the White Rock Half! High five to myself!

When I came upon the Pulaski Bridge , runners all around me were taking separate assessments. Some were struggling to walk, others were running their pace, and the rest of us were simply walking and taking the whole experience in. All of the bridges were really quiet. They didn't allow people to linger on the bridges to cheer on the entrants, so all you could hear was shuffling feel and the conversations from the runners.

I took this time to open my pack and pull out a few index cards. Immediately I recognized Lindsey's handwriting. She wrote two thoughtful notes and I remembered that just two evenings before, on Halloween, she and Hayden were hanging out in our living room. That moment seemed like an eternity ago! Next up, was Danika's note that Don had printed off. Oh no...not the waterworks just yet! I fought them back and read the notes from Don. He actually put together a couple by proxy from Carol and Will. My legs were impatiently wanting to run, but I told myself to hold off until the end of the bridge. I read his notes that he'd written on behalf of Guapo and Mari. Tears flooded my eyes and it became very difficult to breathe normally. My nose was running, so I carefully tucked the notes back in my pack and pulled out the next set from Julie. Julie, thank you so very much for your thoughtfulness. I was so very, very blessed to have read your words and the effort you took to put together that packet. Well, needless to say, I've dug out my hole punch to make a booklet of your notes and they are going in my marathon shadowbox! Each note was laminated with packing tape. She'd printed off pictures and mounted them on lavender paper. On the back in colored ink were quotes and verses. Each pictures was carefully selected with a specific purpose in mind. They were sweat proof, but more importantly tear proof! The tears were falling like fat rain drops from a cloud on a sunny day. That last picture of Don and I in shadow...well, you were right: Don was waiting for me and I had to get to it!

Two women stopped me to ask if I was ok. I smiled at them and just nodded my head while pointing at the letters. Simultaneously, they let out a huge, "Awwww....!!!" I tenderly held the notes to my heart and waved goodbye to the women. I tucked the letters back into my back and opted to save the rest for the next bridge. I noticed the photo of Margie that I wore in the Komen 5K a few weeks earlier. I said a prayer for her, and her strength flooded my entire being and in true Margie fashion, my body got going. She's not one to rest on her laurels to wait for something to happen. She makes things happen.

Mile 14 came along. Only 6 more miles until I see my family. I felt so alive and carefree. I had wings to fly and my legs felt so lightweight. Next thing I knew, my arms were outstretched like JET from the Mavs and I was fly-running just like when I was a kid, playing in Grandma's garden. Whoosh, whoosh were the sounds in my head as I glided side-to-side (where did all the people go?). This was just the stretch I needed! I saw a little abuelita and abuelito on some steps waving. I waved back and hoped that my greeting flew all the way to El Paso. I was in Queens, the 3rd burrough of 5.

Mile 15 was filled with lots of turns in an industrial area. This is Daddy's mile and I feel good. Run Bianca Run! I focused and it was during this mile that I saw a small gang of homeless people cheering from the sidelines. Even the homeless can make time to cheer! How awesome is that? There were more water stops that usual and I wasn't sure why, until...

The Queensboro Bridge, aka the 59th Street Bridge...mile 16. This bridge broke some people. Seriously, it was long and eerily quiet. Lots and lots of shuffling feet. I paused at the top of the bridge and snapped a photo.

See my shirt? I've managed to lose the "I" along the way. Oopsie! After this shot, I read more letters! I looked over the words I'd written down from Ashley. Earlier in the week, I had an IM conversation with Catherine M. and I'd written her words down on an index card. She gave me a really great quote that I had to have! I read all of Ada's notes on red construction paper. They made me cry and I didn't care. This was 100% raw emotion, this is what living is about. And my favorite: BIANCA FIGHT NEVER DIES! I didn't know it at the time, but that phrase became my mantra. I opened my sister's letter, but couldn't read it. I knew it'd break me down, heck, just looking at the pictures made me tear up (and makes me tear up as I think about it!), but just touching it, I knew I had her strength. I put them all back in my pack and I was upon the descent, so time to run some more! I saw a large pile of hay bales and wondered, man, I could be running so fast that on that turn, I'd NEED those hay bales. LOL! Not really, but I was traveling pretty fast. And then it happened. The quiet went to REALLY loud hoots and hollers! We were in the city! So very, very many people cheering and I thought of my friends. Cheers to all of you guys!

The bottom of the bridge was mile 17 and it flew by like a blur, much like the time that I spend with Jeev. You have such a great time with him that 3 hours passes like 5 minutes!

At mile 18, there was the First Avenue Baptist Church choir in dress robes singing a BEAUTIFUL gospel tune. My Lord Jesus filled my soul and I gave praises to HIM. I mean c'mon!! How often can someone say that they've been serenaded by a full choir while running in one of the greatest cities in the world. Talk about surreal!
At the end of Mile 19 was another bridge: Willis Avenue Bridge. This one was interesting because it was comprised of grate like materials and covering the grates was orange carpet. It was a strange feeling on my legs, but I didn't mind. I actually ran this bridge because it wasn't much longer that I'd see my Beloved and family. Fly feet fly!!

"Welcome to the Bronx, Bianca!!" Mile 20, where is Mari-moo? I saw the giant TV screen at the Robin Hood block party. Everyone was wearing bright green shirts and pounding their thunder sticks along to the beat as Eye of the Tiger blared in the background. Yes, yes, yes!! But where was my family??? I paused to whip out my cell phone and called Don. His familiar voice ignited my already palpitating heart. We're just around the corner, babe. Come find us. Sure enough, there they were. Don didn't see me, but I flew into his arms. Unaware of the tears streaming down my face!!! I love you, was all I could say when I gave him the hug. I swiftly kissed him and my baby.
I ran over to my mom gently perched in her wheelchair, rocking her white sunglasses! I hugged and had to go. I was a ball of tears and happiness. I waved goodbye, while the police officer in the following picture beamed at me. He hollered, GOOD LUCK BIANCA!! I glanced down at my watch. I was one minute off pace from coming it at under 5 hours. Holy cow! I think I can do it. I can make up 1 minute. ONLY 6 MILES TO GO!!!

Seeing my family ignited something inside of me, because I started to open it up. This is just like my early morning runs. I can to this. Time to run with my heart! I crossed the Madison Avenue Bridge into Harlem. Mile 21, I was in Harlem and let me tell you that the smell of BBQ coming from the white tent in the distance was HEAVENLY. I secretly wished that someone would hand me a chicken leg. ha ha! Harlem was my 2nd favorite place to run in!

Mile 22 was a long, wide, and beautiful downhill just upon Central Park. I felt the love from the city and I was on a HIGH. People all around me were starting to waver. I felt like I was in a good place and I knew I could meet my goal! Loudly, people were yelling, Go Bianca! You can do it, Bianca! Looking good, Bianca! I swear I heard Ada screaming from Dallas.
And then there was mile 23. I told myself, only 3 more miles to go, but everyone around me was falling, stumbling and fading. This woman next to me was hyperventilating and out of nowhere came someone who loved her. He struggled to carry all of the signs and cameras, but he ran next to this woman. He was lovingly yelling in her ear. "Don't you give up! Don't you give up! You only have 3 more miles. This hill is NOTHING! Only 3 more miles. Think about your kids. Think about how long you've been training. You can beat NY!" I needed to hear that. I was fighting that hill. And so I picked up my legs and mustered up the energy to yell outloud (because frankly I didn't care who was listening), BIANCA FIGHT NEVER DIES! I bared down and focused. This is the last 5K. After this, I will own the streets of NY. Bianca Fight Never Dies. Bianca Fight Never Dies. Bianca Fight Never Dies. Over and over I repeated it in my head.
All of mile 24, I said it over and over in my head. I prayed for strength. And then I saw the Texas flag, it reminded me Ashley. I threw up my guns up! And this woman called out to me. You're from Texas, right. I saw your Double T earlier. I reached up to touch that worn out piece of athletic tape that still dangled from the safety pin. She was from Lubbock, running in her 8th marathon, but her first NY. She told me that I looked good and was surprised to hear that this was my first marathon.
We hit the drink stop at Mile 25, but kept running. Together we chatted, when she told me: "Take off. If you can run, then run!" Finish. I glanced at my watch and I knew it would be close. I asked her if she minded and she said "No, go run your race!" It was a bit of a downhill and the fall foliage in Central Park was beautiful. The oranges, reds, and browns passed by in a blur. I waved bye and came upon these two friends.
One was struggling and the other was encouraging him. They were African American and looked like they were football players. I jokingly punched the one guy in the arm and told him, "Don't you give up on your friend! You get him going!" I glanced over my shoulder and stared at the one who was struggling. "C'mon! Don't you let me beat you! Don't you let me beat you!" He picked up the pace! And that's how it went for the last bit. Us leapfrogging.
400 yards to go! Bianca Fight Never Dies. My legs are screaming at me. I look at my watch and I can do it. I have 6 minutes before the 5 hour mark. Get it in gear, Bianca. Run Bianca Run. 300 yards to go. Bianca Fight Never Dies. Bianca Fight Never Dies. 200 yards to go...Bianca Fight Never Dies. I'm running against the clock. My buddies open her up and they sprint like gazelles. 100 yards to go. They throw up their Kappa sign to the cameras. Bianca Fight Never Dies! I throw up my guns! I cross that finish line and tears are streaming down my face! I did it. I did it!! I did it!!!!!!

4:58:37...officially. 1 minute and 23 seconds to spare.
Someone draped the medal over my neck and directed me over to the photo booth. I smiled, face puffy, and I felt this accomplished just 9 months before when I met my daughter for the first time.
Then, they draped the foil around my shoulders and I felt like royalty, no, like supermom and this was my magic cape. It truly was a magical experience, unlike anything I'd ever done in my entire life. I could write more, but this is where I'll finish the race portion. I heart NY and I love you all who supported me!
An epilogue to come...

Crazy 8s

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

8 TV Shows I Love to Watch:
  1. The Big Bang Theory
  2. How I Met Your Mother
  3. Dirty Sexy Money
  4. College Football - yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it isn't a TV show, but it is to me! And I watch it at least once a week for 3 - 4 hours at a time.
  5. Brothers & Sisters - but not really all the time
  6. Ugly Betty - I just found out that I can watch it on my On Demand station with FiOS
  7. Dexter - On DVD via Netflix
  8. ......nothing else

8 Favorite Restaraunts:
  1. Chettinaad Palace - love that Indian Food
  2. Mooyah - yeah, it has its very own post, that's how much I like it
  3. Simon's kitchen - so what if it isn't actually a restaurant, I get 5 star food at a reasonable price
  4. Paciugo - so what if it isn't a restaurant, I like the gelato. it's amazing!
  5. Chola - Don and I ate here on our date night in NY and the food was so good! I wanted to dive into my bowl of palak paneer and swim laps.
  6. Cheesecake Factory - Linda's Fudge Cake, 'nuff said
  7. Taco Diner - I bet they put crack in their tacos
  8. La Duni - Seriously, the reason this even made the list was because of their Lemon 43. Their food is far from what I crave, but I have dreams about this drink!

8 Things that Happened Today:
  1. Went to the bank.
  2. Ate some Paradise Bakery
  3. Enjoyed some strawberry filled organic mini wheat cereal
  4. Played with Mari moo before school
  5. Hugged my darling husband
  6. Petted Guaptastic
  7. Sat in traffic
  8. Planned some more Thanksgiving details

8 Things I Look Forward To:
  1. A clean house!
  2. My Pampered Chef party - wanna come? LMK, I'd love to have you over!
  3. White Rock Marathon on December 14 - I'm running the half and my sister is in the relay. CK is running the full and My Michael is on a relay team as well. It's gonna be fun!
  4. Tech/OU game - RAIDER....POWER....RAIDER....POWER!
  5. Thanksgiving with my familia
  6. Christmas with my other family
  7. Mari's First Birthday - February is RIGHT around the corner!! eeek!
  8. My photo shoot next weekend - man, seriously, I need to quit eating all of the junk food!

8 Things on My Wishlist:
  1. This Cashmere Sweater dress from Banana
  2. A maid for a month - who are we kidding, I'd get used to it and want them to linger for longer!
  3. A beach vacation or cruise
  4. A new TV, much like the one we used to take care of for Primo
  5. A fancy schmancy backyard, complete with fence
  6. A bigger closet
  7. For my mom to feel better
  8. To see my family that I haven't seen in a long time

Tag, you're it: Chae, Jenna, Shannon, Gen, and anyone else who needs a good time waster-er

first steps

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Last night was dark and stormy. It was the perfect night for some beef stew and I was so thankful that I had the foresight to shove all of the ingredients in the crockpot the night before.

Don and I piled in front of the television to watch our Monday night lineup. Mari immediately crawled over to us both, glaring at us both with expectant eyes. The stew was so tender and delicious, that we both gave her tiny spoonfuls of broth or carrot. She really enjoyed it. She easily maneuvered back and forth and while she's been doing quite a bit of cruising, on this particular evening, she was doing it with more ease and grace.

Well, Don had to go into the office to work on a test, so Mari and I played on the living room floor. We wrestled and laughed. I tend to laugh so hard with her that I start crying. Anyway, something inside told me that tonight was the night. She was barefoot in her black long sleeved onesie. I gently placed her about three feet away from me. She stood there, not wobbling at all, and I motioned for her to come to me. She smiled at me and proceeded to walk forward to me and into my arms. I hooted and hollered and was utterly amazed. I drowned her with kisses and hugs, and immediately burst into tears. November 10, 2008: MY BABY WALKED! She walked with purpose and authority and it was incredible! Don rushed into the room and I balanced her up again and he called out to her. This time she only took a couple of steps, but I could see her determination.

It's so cute, because she takes these Frankenstein-mixed-with-marching-band-member-like steps. I did my very best to grab video of it, but I was unsuccessful. I'll try again tonight. Oh, and she just celebrated her 9 month birthday last Friday. (another post i'm in the process of writing)

Anyway, hope you all have a fabulous Tuesday!

Hello lovely...

Monday, November 10, 2008

My super duper fantabulous husband gave me gifts galore for my running accomplishments. He was side-by-side with me all through my training being so very supportive AND takes great care of our lovely darling daughter, but he goes out and is just sweeter than sweet.

First off, two new handbags! One is a red leather business-like shoulder tote. The other is a sassier black leather shoulder bag with metallic detail. They're utterly delish!

Here's the red one:And then, he told me that he wanted to get me flowers when I finished, but the whole ending was kinda congested, and well, you'll read the story in one of the marathon installments. Anyway, he did get me one flower. Yet, it isn't a conventional flower. It is the new LG Lotus from Sprint! My poor phone was literally on its last legs when I returned from NY. It was randomly turning itself off and when I went to text, for whatever reason when I hit the number 5, it just powered off. Crazy!

So, I earned a fancy schmancy new telephone and I love it!!!

Christmas came just a litle bit early! Thanks babe! You're amazing!

So to say thanks for all of his support, I got him a little surprise. Don is all about biking and what not. I myself am not the biker, but I try. Anyway, before the race, I bought Mari a helmet, with the intention to buy a bike trailer for him. Some day, Don would like to compete in a triathalon and what better way to prepare than to take your daughter for a ride as extra resistance? Here she is in her helmet.

Turns out that the Richardson bike mart had the Trek Gobug trailers on sale, so upon our return, we headed on over there to check it out. He loved it and we bought it! That afternoon, we strapped in Mari with her new helmut and loaded Guapo in the back. As a family, we set off for the trails. We only rode for about 2 miles before I wimped out and had to go home. I don't do so well on a mountain bike and I'm insisting that I get a beach cruiser or some old school Huffy (do they still make those??) to ride. Anyway, Mari immediately passed out in the trailer, so that was a good sign. Even tiny Guapo who was cramped in the back, happily roamed from one side to the next, and even peeked his head to the front to see what was going on. Thumbs up from the family and that was our first official bike ride as a family. Some specs on the trailer: it seats two children and has a 5 point safety harness for each child. The seats are padded and it is very lightweight. We intend to buy the stroller conversion kit, so it will double as a double-jogging stroller. We currently have a single jogging stroller and someday we hope that Mari will have a sibling to love/torment while we are out exercising! :)
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