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?

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