Sunday, March 30, 2008

5 Year Celebration


We went to dinner with Simon and Stacy on Saturday. I had planned on taking pictures of them, but I'd lost daylight by the time I was able to get up and go. Instead, we opted to go to dinner. Originally, we were going to go to Maggiano's, but they had an hour and a half wait. On our way to Compari's, I suggested we go to Mi Piaci. My old favorite restaurant before we discovered (then lost because they closed) Paparazzi. I love this place because all of their food is fresh. Some of their entrees are heftily priced, but for the most part, I think they are reasonable for what you get.

We were celebrating 5 years of knowing one another. April 2 was our first date. While we don't normally celebrate it in an official way, we do like an excuse to get together and share in fellowship. To live it up, we ordered a bottle of wine to celebrate it. Actually, Don and Simon were going to drink it and Stacy and I were going to taste it, but our waiter, Gabriel, insisted we have our own glasses . I had my taste and this wine was delicious!
Here is a picture of the bottle of wine we shared. Anyway, now we need to talk about the food. Holy tastiness!!! We started off with fried calamari. First off, these are larger bits of calamari with homemade batter. They are light,, tender, and fresh! No fishy-ness. Only perfection. The red marinara sauce was a perfect touch too! I wanted to drink it like a soup. Actually, Gabriel brought us an extra bowl and I was slurping it like soup. LOVED IT!! We dipped our fresh foccacia and breadsticks in it. It was just incredible!
Next up, our entrees. BUT WAIT! We enjoyed their house salad. Field greens tossed in a balsamic vinagrette topped with gorgonzola and proscuitto. YUM! Gabriel knew we were interested in the Osso Buco, but told us they only had some from the day before and he refused to sell it to us because it wasn't fresh. However, he brought out some for us to sample and to show us why he wouldn't sell it to us. Well, this was the tenderest piece of meat so good and it melted on our palate. I could see why this was disappointing! (I'm being sarcastic!) Amazing. Better yet, we didn't have to pay for it. This was a free sample. Man, I love free food!
Next up, our meals. Stacy had the Spaghettini al Pomodoro. This was a bit on the sour side and I know it had to do with the pairing of the Roma tomatoes with the basil and garlic. Still very, very good. Don had the Chicken Cacciatore. OMG...the green olives were superstars! Perfectly paired with all of the spices used, it was even better the next day when we had it as leftovers. Simon and I made custom dishes of their in-house pastas: Tagliatelle Bolognese, Ravioli ai Funghi, Fonduta di Tortelloni con Granchio. The Bolognese was my absolute favorite. They over used the white wine and lemon in the truffle sauce on the others, but nevertheless, they were pretty darn good. My soul was beaming, I was so happy!!
And we couldn't stop there, no. Every good meal must, MUST have dessert. We opted to share a pistachio gelato and homemade biscotti with fresh berries. Don had a port and Simon had a limoncello. That limoncello was incredibly sweet, a little too sweet. The gelato was light, creamy, and satisfying.
All in all this was one of the best meals of my life. Both the food and company were divine. I loved our server and the ambiance was perfect. And what about our little beloved? She slept through most meal. Towards the end, she had a bottle. So she was able to partake in eating as well.
Fantastic! What are some of your memorable culinary moments?


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lucky 7!

Here's her 7 week picture! Love, love, love that smile!

Tonight we have our baptism class. Hopefully she'll be a trooper and hang out during the class. We didn't get a sitter because they said it was ok to bring an infant. I'm going to pack a couple of bottles just in case. We're baptizing her in Memorial day weekend. Fun stuff.

Have a nice day!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Ada!

Today is Ada's 30th birthday! We have a lot of running around to do before we go to her birthday dinner tonight at Uncle Julio's. I'm going to splurge too! On Monday's visit to the doctor, I discovered I was 2 lbs less than my first pre-natal visit. YAAAAY! Now it is time to kick it in high gear and start firming everything back up. I attempted to do pushups and could only complete 5. Hey, it's a start.


Also, the latest addition to our family, Alyx Renae, was born today. Both Mom and baby girl are doing great! When we were in Kansas, I took Lacey for a photoshoot. Two years ago, I took her twin sister's maternity pics and I promised her that I would capture hers when she was expecting. It was difficult to not want to repeat the same poses I did with Katie. Lacey has a very different personality from her sister and I wanted to capture that. I was able to get several great shots and this one is one of my favorites! Hard to believe that Salina, KS has a wonderfully colored graffiti strewn wall amidst the old downtown mystique. Since we were nestled between two buildings, we didn't feel the 40 degree weather chill (plus the wind).


Like I said, I had some running around to do. I went to Ulta to return my Chi blowdryer. If I hol it at a funky angle, it makes this sound like a table saw grinding wood. Not what you would expect from a $150 blow dryer. They agreed to exchange it as soon as I provided a receipt. So off to home to figure out where I put it. Then to Discount Tire to get a new tire. Well, turns out they couldn't patch it up, so I did indeed have to buy a new tire. I purchased the extended warranty on the rest of the tires and paid the $15 to replace the one that was punctured. There was this shiny piece of metal rebar-like material about 2 inches long shoved smack dab in the middle of the treads. Turns out my other tire had a fairly large screw in the middle of it as well. They were able to patch that one up too, and I felt confident buying the warranty, because I'm quite certain that I may have to replace another tire prior to us getting our next car.

After that, we headed up to Run On McKinney to sign up for a 5K that we'll be running next weekend. I don't think I'm prepared for this, but luckily it is a Run/Walk. The most I've run since giving birth is 2 miles, so I won't feel bad if I have to stop and walk. Heck, this week when I tried to jog, I couldn't go more than half a mile without having to stop and hack up bits of my lung. I guess I still have a bit of lingering "cold" from last week. Then, I went to my chiropractor. FABULOUS! Refreshed, aligned, and relaxed, we headed to Wal-mart to get a gift card for Ada and some plumbing essentials. Ada mentioned that she wanted to buy a bicycle, so I bought her a bell with a compass on it.

Finally, we headed home to get ready for the dinner. We were late and I forgot the camera! Eeeek! Luckily, us being late was actually early by our friend's standards. We arrived just as they were going to seat us. The food was overly salty, but I didn't mind because we were surrounded by really great friends. I can't wait to get some pictures to post. Oh, and I had my first real taste of alcohol since having Mari. Turns out, I wasn't prepared for a tequila shot. I had less than half of it and gave the rest to Don. I ordered their classic margarita and after the first sip, I knew I didn't want to drink it. Again, Don was a trooper and finished it for me. It was like pure Patron on the rocks with a splash of sweet and sour. A year ago I would have loved it, but this time it just tasted like battery acid. I guess I'll stick to my shot of red wine for a while.

Julie tagged me, so here are 10 random facts about me:
  1. I really enjoy taking photos and learning about my camera. A few times people have asked me if I do this professionally, but I always reply no. I just really enjoy capturing moments and the emotion conveyed. One of these days I'm going to take a bonafide class to learn more.
  2. When I was younger, I really, really wanted to be a fashion designer. I used to design my own clothes and my grandmother would sew them for me. In high school, I continued to draw and color, but somewhere along the line I lost that. I'd like to take a dresssmaking and pattern constructing class, but I've yet to find any that aren't part of a large fashion program. JoAnn's doesn't offer the in-depth classes I'm looking for. If you know of any, give a suggestion.
  3. I'm seriously OCD about the most random things. I spent 4 months researching strollers and baby travel systems. I compiled my findings in a PDF and excel spreadsheet. I'm doing the same for the car we are going to purchase next year. WHY??? Why can't I put this much effort into organizing our home?
  4. I can stuff over 100 popped kernels of popcorn in my mouth.
  5. When I had the chicken pox, I took great care in not having any scabs so I wouldn't get a scar. Down to the last two on my body, it hit me that I wouldn't have any reminders of that experience and for some strange reason that struck me in a melancholy way. I slowly scratched them to create a scab. I did them both in the event that one or the other wouldn't scar over. The scar on the back of my left palm and on the outside of my right thumb are the only remnants of when I had the chicken pox. Cut me some slack, I was 7.
  6. I absolutely love listening to people's stories. I look forward to hanging out with my father because he has the best stories. I think this is why I was such a barfly. You hear some really interesting stories, especially when the alcohol is flowing. People are such interesting creatures and it is so great to hear their experiences. Most people dread sitting to strangers on a plane. Most times, I don't. The only stories I don't like hearing are the negative-woe-is-me-life-sucks stories. I don't have time for such negativity.
  7. I absolutely love sports, especially college football and baseball. I really hope to share this passion with Mari.
  8. I'm in love with my DiorShow mascara. You know you have something that always makes you feel pretty and sexy. Next to my power shoes (which are currently a bit too snug on my feet), my mascara will do the trick.
  9. I used to love to play dress-up a lot when I was a kid. Hyper-active imagination and all, but I haven't done that in ages! Several years ago, I set some time aside and went to the mall. I did one of those make-up makeovers and treated myself to a new outfit, complete with undies, shoes, handbag, and sunglasses. Earlier that day, I'd gotten my hair cut and had a mani/pedi. It was definitely one of the best ways to kill an entire day. I don't know if I'd do that again, but it was fun to look at. I usually do these sorts of things with friends, never solo. So this outing was highly uncharacteristic for me, but I do believe having a date with yourself is important.
  10. Even though I have no problem meeting strangers, I get serious anxiety when I have to hang out with acquaintances. At the end I will always have a great time getting to know new friends, but I still freak out. Much of this has to do with a party I went to when I was 8. I had a very good friend from my school who was two years older than me. She had a slumber party that actually started out as a co-ed party. At that time, I was uninterested in boys "in that way." They were more mature and thought otherwise. Well, they were playing spin the bottle in the garage (converted to a game room), and whomever the bottle landed on, the couple went to the closet to make-out. I wasn't ready for that sort of thing and I felt very uncomfortable about it. I feigned a stomach ache and went back to the living room to watch movies with her mother. She called for my mom to come get me because I wasn't feeling well. I couldn't admit that I didn't want my first kiss to be with some random boy, let alone when I was only 8. I guess I just knew I wasn't ready to grow up so fast. To this day I get that anxiety feeling because I never know what to expect.

I'm tagging Shannon and El Jefe.

Have a fabulous day!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

windy

Blogger isn't being so nice. I had a longer Easter post, but it kept freezing the screen. When I hit back everything that I added had been erased. Oh well...it was rather windy today, but a gorgeous day otherwise.

Anyway, I can't believe how big Mari is getting. It really is going by fast. I've now past the halfway mark of my maternity leave and I can't believe it has been 6 weeks. She's starting to be so animated, I know it is going to break my heart when I go back. Several times a day, she's so alert and coos and smiles at me. Today she's been unusually clingy. Every time I put her down, she fusses. Heck, there are times where I cradle her in my arms and she grunts and starts her heavy panting that will eventually erupt into full on cry. So, I balance her over my shoulder and walk around. She seems content with it, and I've grown accustomed to her drooling on my shoulder.


Today i hopped on over to the outlet stores in Allen. I wanted to swing by Carter's and Le Creuset. I heard that Carters had some really great deals on children's clothing. When in Vegas, I realized that Mari didn't have a hat to shield her from the sun. With warmer weather around the corner, it is essential for her to have a sun bonnet. I've been unsuccessful in locating these at both Target and Wal-mart. Sure enough, they had exactly what I was looking for so I bought one for now and another for when she's about a year old. Several of the dresses were on sale too, so I bought her 2 really cute sun dresses to wear on Sundays. She's outgrown 1 dress and only has 2 dresses that she fits in. I figured 4 dresses total would work for the next couple of months. We then swung by the Le Creuset outlet. I've been wanting a 5.5 quart round french oven for several years, but I've never priced them. Well, even in the outlet store, at the discounted price (and 2nd rate) it cost $183. I don't think that is entirely unreasonable if you use it every day, but right now it is still a luxury item that I'll hold off on. I love the green one pictured and I like the turquoise ones too.
On the way home, I heard a fwak-fwak-fwaking. I just chalked it up to road noise. Since Mari was fussing I skipped going to the grocery store and planned on coming home to nurse her first then head back out. Well, we did all that and I loaded her into her carseat. I got all set, started the car, and put it in drive. Well, I felt an odd wobbling sensation and a loud grinding noise. I put the car in park, ran around to the side and my passenger rear tire was completely flat! CRAP! So no grocery store for me. I sent Don a text asking him where we got the tires, since they were less than a year old. I planned to put Mari to sleep in her swing, go out to put on the spare, then load her up and run to wherever to get a new tire. I called shortly thereafter and told me to stay put, that he'd do it when he got home. He made it home and changed out the tire and we then headed to Discount Tire to see about getting a different one. Unfortunately, they were closed, so I added that to my list of things to do tomorrow. While we were out, we went ahead and headed to the grocery store for some essentials, then came home.
We finished up the first DVD of The Planet Earth series. It's pretty amazing to watch, especially in hi-def. I highly recommend it if you like that sort of thing. I enjoy traveling and I know I won't be able to see some of these places, so this is the next best thing.
That's all for now! Have a super day! Oh, and I apologize for all of the grammatical and spelling errors. I do see the irony in that, considering I'm a writer. Of course, I don't take the time to go back and edit what I've written because invariably I will change it and the 30 minutes I allot for blogging will blossom into several hours. Thank you for your patience!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Feliz dia de Pascua!


Yes, yes! Happy Easter!! I hope the Easter bunny brought you all sorts of sinful indulgences. Look what the bunny left for me in my basket! I think she's a keeper. Easter is hands down my most favorite holiday of the year. I don't know what it is. Maybe it is because I've always been around loved ones and after long Lent seasons, it's so rewarding to enjoy things that you've sacrificed for 40 daysI love this time of year, because everything seems to wake from the long winter's nap. Trees bloom, flowers wake up and smile at the world, and fashion is filled with intense spring colors. All seems cheerful, happy, and bright again. Don't get me wrong, I do like the winter weather, especially because my allergies aren't in full gear, but the spring is phenomenal.


We were up pretty late on Saturday struggling to acclimate back to the time change. I was wired, hopped up on Mexican coke (my current favorite guilty pleasure!)

Mexican Coke - it has all of the yummy nastiness from coke, but made with real cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. It's also packaged in glass bottles. Quite frankly, there's this overwhelming feeling of nostalgia when I sip on it. I'm quickly taken back to my childhood filled with hot, hot summers, grandma's cooking wafting from the kitchen, and gentle breezes kissing my body while gliding on my swingset. Ahhh...to be a kid again. I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I'd like to buy the world a coke and keep it company. I'd like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love, grow apple trees and honey bees, and snow white turtle doves. I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I'd like to buy the world a coke and keep it company. C'mon, you know you remember that song and you loved it!

So anyway, back to the Easter celebration...DELIGHTFUL! Like I said, I didn't go to bed until late, I'm thinking like 3AM and was up at 7 because Mari was ready to eat. I probably could've gone back to bed easily, but when you have a tiny infant cooing and smiling at you, it's really hard to go back to bed. Half asleep, I stayed up and played with her. When she went back to bed, I started to clean the living room area. After that, I wen tto clean her G diaper. I'm so glad we are back home and using them. I don't have anything against more traditional diapers. They get the job done, but because they are so absorbent, I can't always tell when she needs changing. Here's an example: When I took her swimming, I kept her Pamper Swaddler on. Back up in the hotel when I changed her, this diaper was like a large water balloon! It was thick, heavy, and voluminous! OMG...talk about super absorbent. If I ever cut myself and all I had around was a diaper, I'd be using it instead of a towel because they are better than Brawny. I digress...so back to cleaning the G diaper and prepping the next round of them, I quickly realized just how fast she'd been growing. I went to measure her, and sure enough, she's 23 inches long! Hard to believe she's stretched out so much. I can't believe she is nearly 2 feet long. She's so tall. :)


I WAS EXHAUSTED. I went back to the room for a 15 minute power nap. I realy wanted to do my hair before church, but at this point, I didn't care. I valued sleep more. A couple of minutes before the alarm went off, Mari began to stir, so I got up to nurse her. So much for 15 minutes, but again, she paid me with an incredible gummy smile, I couldn't be angry. After nursing, I put her in her Easter dress and quickly went to get dressed myself. Don had already gotten snazzy and I must say we were quite an attractive family. Too bad I didn't grab a photo! After church, we went to eat at Great Wall in Plano. We'd just left the land of buffets, why on earth would we go eat at one? Well, Great Wall is definitely that good. I swear they dip their crab rangoon in honey before they fry it because it has this luxuriously sweet quality to them. YUM!


Anyhow, back home and I was going to prep for our guests when Don insisted I take a nap. I fighted the urge and realized that I was probably being like Mari gets when she doesn't want to sleep. I fought the fussiness urge and complied quickly. 45 fast minutes later and my sister was there with Mari in her arms pulling me from my slumber. I was grateful. I threw on some clothes and half asleep, I proceeded to take an inventory of what had been done and what we still needed to do. I didn't have candy for an easter egg hunt, nor did I have eggs for deviled eggs. Sam and I headed to the store to get some essentials. By the time we'd returned, Lindsey and Jennifer and Mia had arrived. Simon was knee deep in prepping the guacamole, fajitas, and sopa. My niece and nephew running around enjoying the brisk afternoon. We prepped the plastic eggs and laughed and joked. After what seemed like hours, we finally agreed to get the Easter festivities started.


CASCARONES - First off, cascarones (confetti filled eggs that we crack on each other's heads) in the back yard. Each person was armed with a dozen brightly colored eggs, the kids energetically cracked their eggs on the adults. There was this frenzy of bold confetti colors flying everywhere. It was chilly out, but despite the runny noses, we were all panting and puffing air and laughing hysterically! I went to get my sister and I used some pretty fierce force, but that egg didn't crack. I think I successfully achieved a mini bump on her head! LOL. I finally just broke it in my hand and sprinkled the confetti on her head. Everyone blessed Mari with her confetti and I even got Guapo too. Everyone needed their Easter cascarone good luck.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Viva Las Vegas!

Yes, we are "those" people. We took an infant to Sin City. Right, I know you are sitting there thinking, are these people on crack? Not quite. You probably remember me talking about my Godmother, Margie. Well, we were there to not only celebrate her 40th birthday, but also to rejoice in the fact that she beat cancer!

I spent the better part of the night before we lept skittishly running around packing, sorting, and general running in circles. I was unsure what to pack. I had a better idea since we'd just gotten back from Kansas, but I knew the weather would be a thousand times better. We knew for sure that we didn't wnat to take the big stroller, but that was about it. We needed the carseat, her special mattress positioner, some blankets, diapers, wipes, and what about me? What would I pack for myself. I was totally excited that I could fit into my shorts again! Wahoo!! Anyway, the plane ride was relatively smooth. Don and I were completely impressed with US Airways. Talk about ridiculously friendly customer service all around. This from the baggage check, gate check crew, and flight attendant staff. I hadn't pumped any milk, so I did a quick pump at the airport. We had to pay some $$ because I couldn't find a private enough outlet. Instead, we seated ourselves in a massage chair, that not only played music, but would charge any electronic device. So I got a short massage during my pump session and Don was able to enjoy a few minutes of relaxation while I prepped the bottle. As for the plane ride, Mari was INCREDIBLE!! She ate on the way up, sucked her paci all the way through, and sucked on a bottle during the landing. She fussed shortly during the trip and we quickly realized she was hungry. I took out my wrap, and fed her right there in the center seat, completely covered. I knew everyone around me knew what I was doing, but it's kinda like when I would change jerseys in the middle of a gym when we had back-to-back games at tournaments and didn't have time to run to the locker room, but couldn't stand to be in a funky wet shirt. Anyway, we were so lucky! Then came the aftermath. Baggage claim was a breeze, but hailing a cab, not so much. First, there was a 2 mile maze of a line, filled with other anxious travelers. The difference was that they had 1 travel bag and maybe 1 personal item. Meanwhile, we had half of Mari's nursery and a small portion of our own closet: 3 rolling suitcases, the umbrella stroller, carseat with base, Don's backpack, the nursing bag, the diaper bag, and my purse. I'd wrapped Mari in my Moby, had the backpack, the nursing bag, my purse, and one suitcase and Don amazingly carried the rest! We finally made it to the front of the line. The cabbie loaded the bags while Don installed the carseat base. Meanwhile, I loaded Mari into the carseat.

We made it to our hotel: The Signature at the MGM. OMG...when the cab driver turned the corner into the entrance, I realized that this place was going to be worth every penny. There was a guard protecting a large swinging privacy gate admitting only those who were priviledged to enjoy this experience. It was a gorgeous Nevada afternoon and I couldn't wait to relax. My wonderful cold that'd I'd picked up in Kansas kicked into high gear. I was so angry with myself for not packing the medicine, but I didn't want to be drugged. I knew my natural defenses would kick in and I could beat whatever I had faster than any meds. We checked in and went up to our room. It was plenty spacious, the bed inviting, the bathroom like a dream (HUGE jacuzzi tub, incredible shower, double vanity with marble floors, granite counters, a small personal TV perfectly tuned to the fireplace channel, and plenty of plush towels!), an incredible view of the mountain range, a small kitchenette, and many breathtaking pieces of art! Shortly after our arrival, my father came to get us. He was rollin' in a brand new 12 passenger van. It was pimp! We headed to the store to pick up essentials. No sense in paying to eat breakfast at a buffet when we could make it in our own room. Then, we headed Downtown. First off, I ADORE downtown Las Vegas. It is old, seedy, and like Don says, reminds you perfectly of the sin you are committing. You are surrounded my decades old smoke, people who are perfectly aged, you know they've lived a life that could rival much of the imaginary people I create in my head. Too bad I felt like crap-ola! Bleh! My fever was climbing, my chest heavy, my air passages shrinkingy fast, and I was wearing my extra large cranky pants. I was so happy to see my Mom cheerful and greeting me. For a few moments I felt better when she hugged me. This poor woman is not feeling like herself and still her touch miraculously heals me after all these years! Don and I headed to a buffet while Dad and Brother went to play. While the buffet was nothing to brag home about, the level of service our waiter gave was terrific. I think he knew I was under the weather and when I asked for hot tea, he gave me honey and lemon instead of cream and sugar. LOVED IT!! I drank two hearty glasses of that and felt oh so much better! Not quite good enough to go gambling, but well enough to relax and hang with my mom.

After a bit, Dad took us back to the room and told us of the plan for the next day. That night a drew a hot bath and filled it with shower gel for bubbles. Well, I'd never sat in a jacuzzi tub that worked, so I fired up the jets. Little did I know that you shouldn't have bubble inducing agents when running the jets! About a foot of bubbles later and I turned them off. I was like a kid again, swimming in bubbles! It was like a foam party all over again. ha ha! I let 'em simmer down a bit and put Mari in the tub with me. I think she liked it, well, she liked the warmth so much that she peed in the tub. I guess the warm water relaxed her something fierce!

The next morning I got up and made us some breakfast, while Don went to go workout. We put on our matching "Lordy, Lordy Margie's 40!" black t-shirts. The whole group was wearing them and Margie's shirt was bright pink. Dad came by and dropped us off at Bally's. We walked over to Margaritaville and waited for the rest of the crew to arrive. We had a hearty lunch before heading over to The Price is Right Live Gameshow. While none of us was picked to compete for the prizes, my mom and my cousin Tony won 1000 total reward points at Bally's. After the show, we met the host. You can see us here with the host. Yes, Mari has a nametag too! We took her with us! Her very first Vegas show! After that, we went to the hotel to relax by the pool. This being Mari's 6 week birthday, we figured the fun shouldn't stop. She took her first dip in the pool. While she didn't mind the water (it was a heated pool), once the wind hit her skin she was angry. I made sure to keep her held tight to my body. We were in for about 10 to 15 minutes and then I came out and swaddled her in those enormous beach towels. Later on that night, we went to have sushi at Shibuya. We enjoyed a flight of premium sake and I realized that I appreciate premium sake just the same as I enjoy cheap $1 table sake! While chowing down on the yellowtail tuna jalapeno roll I felt like an actual bonafide grown up. So weird. There I was eating sushi, in sin city, with an infant, and my beloved next to me, and I was so happy. I didn't want the night to be over yet. So when we got back to the room, I called up Daddy to see what he was up to. He came by to get us and took us to the Hilton. Mom watched the baby and we gambled for a few hours. I didn't win significant money, but enjoyed the time and relatively broke even. Dad did well for himself and quite frankly, I enjoy playing slots with him. When he gets to the bonus round, he lets me pick and play along. I get that dopamine high from winning without the risk of losing my own money. Of course I don't win any either but just spending time with my father is worth it. That night we went back to the room and all of us were plain exhausted. While I was hacking up all sorts of nastiness, I felt better and slept so soundly that night!

The next day was Margie's proper birthday. Don was heading Downtown to play in a tournament and I was hanging at the hotel. Danika was coming by so we could walk to Bellagio. My mom hung out with us at our hotel for a little while. She stayed back when we went off on our little adventure! We walked through the MGM Grand and up the Strip, past the Miracle Mile Shops, past the crazy construction, and finally to the Bellagio. Once inside, we soaked in all of the beauty. Their garden had been transformed to an Easter flower room. It was so vivid and bright, I'm glad I got a few pics! Here's one of Mari next to the fun tree. Oh and while there, we saw the largest and longest chocolate fountain. It was heavenly. I wanted to be like that kid in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and put my mouth in it, but I didn't. Well, actually, I couldn't...ha ha, it was in an enclosed glass area. Oh well.

We later went to Paris for lunch and to pick up a simple birthday present for Margie. They were coming by our room for cake before the evening's festivities. Like I said, we walked back and tidied up the room for all of the visitors. Don called to tell me they were on their way and that he'd gotten 5th place out of 51 at the tournament! On the downside, Margie had lived it up quite a bit and stumbled into a table. Even though you can't tell from this picture, I'm quite certain she was in a significant amount of pain. She didn't make it to see KA, but Don I and I did. I loved the show and was impressed with it. We met up with my folks briefly afterwards and headed back to the room to get ready for the journey home.

The next day came really early, but we were ready to go home. We managed to consolidate our bags and only had 2 rolling suitcases. We had a better system in place and we were prepped to brave the normally ridiculous security lines. We were quite surprised when we got to the airport to find that there wasn't any line. We made it to the gate and was one of the first to arrive. Unfortunately, about half an hour later, we learned that the flight was delayed for an hour and a half. The plane eventually arrived and we departed Vegas. Again, Mari traveled like a champ! I couldn't ask for a more cooperative baby. We fed her the first pumped bottle on take off. Unfortunately, shortly afterward she got sick all over herself. We changed her clothes, but that didn't curb the emptiness in her belly. So out came the wrap again, and I nursed her on the plane. She and I both napped for the remainder of the flight and she completely slept through the landing.

So now we're home and so glad to be here! Tomorrow is Easter and we'll be spending it with family. I can't wait. That's it for now and Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

6 weeks


And just for grins and I thought it deserved its own post. Here is her 6 weeks photo. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kansas and such...

We had quite an adventure on the road to Kansas. This was Mari's very first road trip and we weren't quite sure what she'd need. I spent too much time obsessing over packing the wrong things. It was cold as hell up there and while I packed warm clothes for the baby, I clearly didn't pack enough of those things.


Anyway, the car was overloaded with things we needed to take up there for the rest of the family. Poor Maggie Honda chugged along, despite being weighed down more than she's ever been. My strategy was to wake up super duper early, chug a Starbucks and the next time I nursed, maybe the bit of caffeine would pass on to baby and she'd stay awake the entire day, thus wanting to sleep the whole night. Well, I was wrong!! She slept the entire day and was up a good portion of the night. Of course, she did a terrific job on the road trip. The only time she fussed was when she was hungry. Thanks to the car adapter, I could pump and feed her. We got quite good at it and by the end of the trip, we were old pros. We got in just after midnight and Grandma Carol was eagerly awake to meet her granddaughter. She was able to spend the next several days in her arms and hanging out.

Anyway, we went to celebrate our Grandma Wiggins' 80th birthday. It was great seeing everyone in the family. I'm glad we took the time to get as many pictures as we could. Unfortunately, there were several little ones running around with sniffling noses, coughs, and one cousin in particular was knocking on the door with the flu. I was concerned that Mari would pick up a cold and sure enough she did. (BIG FROWN!!) Of course she had to get her first cold some time, right? Fortunately, it was just a bit of a cough, lots of phlegm, and a good dose of sneezing. I was the one battling a full on cold, but more to come with that one later. Here is Mari meeting her great grandmother Wiggins for the first time.
That evening, we took the baby to meet another great grandma: Great Grandma Skip. I absolutely love this woman! Don't get me wrong, I have love for all of my in-laws, but I have a special fondness for Skip. She's such an incredible woman and from the first time I met her, I knew she was one of those treasure troves of wisdom and life. This night in particular was very special. It was one of those handful of nights that you are blessed with having only every now and again. The hours flew by and Don and I were so impressed with her stories. I didn't want it to end, but it was getting late, I was exhausted from the day, and I felt a small tickle in the back of my throat (I'm allergic to her cat, Lucky.) Mari was really good in her arms and I think she had a great time that night too. She recently got hooked up to the internet and has email. I love that she signs her emails "g.g. skip." I think we'll teach Mari to call her GiGi Skip in that regard.
The rest of our trip there was difficult because it was so cold. I didn't bring enough warm clothes for myself, but we made to. The really great thing, though, is that we took some family pictures in the park. Also, we discovered an incredible taqueria! And Mari got to meet a lot of her family, and her Grandpa Pete, who was freshly returned from his trip to Africa. The really cool thing was that he held her, albeit, with a slightly uncomfortable look on his face, but his arms said a different tale. I would've guessed he'd held thousands of infants.
Anyway, we made it back to Plano and time to do a quick turnaround to head to Vegas!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spoiled...5 weeks already

Spoiled already, you say? Not the baby, but me. She spoils me. She's been doing so fabulously sleeping soundly and only getting up once for a feeding during the night. I can't believe it. I'm actually on more of a routine and I'm getting some much, much needed sleep. I feel like it is too much sleep sometimes. For a month, I was going on 1-2 hours of sleep at a time, getting no more than about 4 hours a day. Well, now I'm up to a whopping 2-3 hours at a time, averaging 6 - 8 hours a day. [knock on wood]


We've had some adventures this past week: snow, a few walks in the park, nursing in the park, a visit to the chiropractor, shopping (first mall visit), and overall busy-ness. We've been some busy little bees getting out the birth announcements, prepping for next week's trips, and she's been growin', growin', growin'.


Oh, and speaking of the chiropractor, Mari was adjusted for the first time yesterday at the visit. It was quick and easy and I think she liked it. She cried at the time, but that was more because she was hungry. Immediately afterwards, I nursed her for 8 minutes before we headed home. We got home, she ate a bit more, slept for 3 hours, nursed again, and slept for nearly 5 hours. WOW! I'm appreciative of that adjustment. And me, well my beloved surprised me with an hour long massage. Actually, my next 10 visits are an hour each! Again, he spoils me too. And that massage was INCREDIBLE! I absolutely love Mary, the massage therapist. She got me through my pregnancy, keeping me relaxed and working those knots. 5 weeks since I last saw her, again, she worked her magic and my tired back muscles from carrying my wee baby. She commented saying, "yes, those are mommy knots!" snap, crinkle, crinkle, crunch...sigh! I wanted to yell out during some of those "hurts" but I was thankful she was getting rid of the soreness. I just breathed through it and focused on channeling the negativity out of my body. BRILLIANT.
I'll be out of commission the next week, but I promise to write in Word and copy and paste when I return. Have a safe and happy St. Patty's Day!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fancy Clips for 4 Weeks


Happy 4 week (1 Month) birthday to my baby. Man! Time is flying fast! I can't believe that I'm 1/3 through my time off and it just seems like the weeks have whizzed on by. It all seems like just yesterday, but here we are. We've survived! She's nearly 8lbs and almost 21 inches long. I can't believe how much she's stretched out. Anyway, it's been quite amazing and I've been enjoying every single minute of it.

WEATHER
We've been experiencing some traditional Texas weather: UNPREDICTABLE. Yeah, this is what Mari thought of the weather. LOL...don't you just love that face? Yesterday was a gorgeous 70+ degree day, today, snow. Not just some wispies, but some serious fat snowflakes! I had some errands to run and I did think twice about going out and about because of how nasty it was. Of course I wasn't the only one who was out, so I was extra aware of the drivers. When the flakes hit my windshield, I could tell my little car was putting its best effort forward to prevent it from freezing. C-R-A-Z-Y! This weekend we are supposed to be back to that gorgeous Spring weather. I know Spring is right around the corner, my irriated nose is telling me so.

HAIR CLIPS
The other day I was at Target and noticed they had some of these cute clips made from ribbons and a single prong alligator clip. They were priced at $9.99 for 2 pair. While they were cute, I didn't agree with that price. Especially since I didn't think she'd actually wear the pair at the same time. I did a quick search in the Etsy shops and saw they had some for sale there too. Then, I happened upon another blog that had the directions so I can make some at home. I had loads and loads of ribbon, I just didn't have the clips. I went to the beauty supply store and bought them. They were $1 plus tax. I bought 2 packs and set out to make some fancy clips for Mari's birthday. You can see one of the clips I made in the above picture of her. Here are pictures of the alligator prongs, my ribbon assortment, and the gluing process:

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Girls Day Out

On Saturday, Don told me that I had to get out of the house. I needed to get away for a few hours and have some "me" time. I was really nervous because this would be the longest I'd been away from Mari since she was born. I know I had to do it, but I still apprehensive. Lindsey and I had a full day planned and I couldn't wait!
First off, we went to Arbor Hills and walked the 2.25 loop. It was really refreshing and felt good to walk off the soreness I'd been feeling from the day before. It was like old times to walk and catch up with her. Plus, the weather outside was perfect.
Afterwards, we went to a consignment shop called Kid-to-Kid. We found some really great buys! I bought a couple of jean outfits and a really cute lime green jumper with brightly colored striped onesie under it. It is a 6 month outfit, and I can't wait to see her in it! Lindsey found some really cute onesies for little Hayden.
Then, we popped into Whole Foods so I could buy another starter pack of G Diapers for Mari. Yep, she's big enough to use them and so far no complaints. There's a bit of leakage on the sides, but it only gets on the liner part, not the actual outer part. They fit her pretty good. Our plumbing in the house is not up to par, so we aren't flushing the diapers. We're just tossing them in the trash. They are already breaking down when we toss them, so both Don and I feel like we're doing something good for the environment by using these. We still use the other diapers we were given as gifts. We primarily use these at night when we don't want to immediately wash the liners of the G diapers. She seems to like them and like I said, they really fit snugly! I'm going to write them to see if they have any tips for me to better load the liner.

We were getting hungry, so we headed on over to Chick-Fil-A before going to Sprint. My current fave is the 2 strip kids meal, with lemonade and fruit. It fills me up and is very delicious! Plus, I won't overdo it with the Honey Roasted BBQ Sauce! It's like a party for my mouth. Wahoo! Don enjoyed the lemonade so much that I bought a gallon of it to take home. Imagine my surprise when I later looked at the price of the gallon of lemonade: $8.35! Holy crap. That stuff is good, but not that good. Oh well, it was supposed to be a delightful surprise to Don as saying "thanks" for forcing me to get out. At this point, I wasn't missing the baby just yet. I was just happy to be out and about.

Well, then we went over to Sprint to see about getting Lindsey a new phone and possibly adding Don to my line. We were both pleasantly surprised when it worked out for us both. She got a snazzy new phone and Don was added to my existing plan and got himself a brand new toy too! He'd been eyeing the PDAs and hadn't quite settled on one. Will had recently gotten a Palm Centro and the only complaint he had were the keys were small, "but you get used to it." Don played with his briefly when he arrived on Friday and was sold. He knew he wanted to get one, we just weren't sure how we'd do it. Either online, via phone, or in the store. Well, when I was there, I got a pretty good family plan with a ton of amenities for us both. He has unlimited data, so he can surf the net to his heart's content.Plus, we have unlimited texts, so we can send out mass texts and not have to worry about being charged stupid fees as a result. The best part is that he doesn't have to worry about going over his minutes any more! Hooray! Lindsey had me send her a text and a picture so she could test her phone. Well, when I looked in my albums, I saw a picture of Mari and I got a bit choked up. I missed her. I hadn't been gone that long, but I just wanted to hold her in my arms. I could've called off the last errand, but no, I had to do this for myself, so off we went.

We then headed to Nails! Nails! to get the ultimate treat: the Baby's Butt Pedicure. I hadn't gone since before the baby arrived and my feet NEEDED it. Oh man, I was so happy. I even had a simple manicure to clean up the cuticles. The massaged and massaged and massaged all of the knots out. My feet felt like silk and my tired hands were refreshed! Ahhh...much, much better. Time to go home and pump because Mari hadn't nursed since the morning.
I get home and Don didn't stand up to greet me. He then told me that he tweaked his back muscle loading the baby into the car. He just twisted wrong and he wasn't sure how it happened. I felt bad for him and wasn't sure what to do. I rounded the corner and saw a surprise! He'd gone out and purchased the jogging stroller I'd been looking at! This was definitely a surprise! Especially because I didn't think we'd buy it until May or June. I was so happy, but looked at him like, what?? I thought we were going to wait to get it. He told me that when I told him I was jogging, he wanted me to have better equipment to do so and not just the regular stroller. He said I needed equipment designed for jogging, not just everyday use. I love this man! And I love that he "gets" my need for gadgets. This stroller is PIMP! It comes with the weather shield, the tires are real tires that need to be inflated, just like a bicycle, it has a built in odometer/spedometer, and the best thing is the pre-wired stereo system. I can plug in my ipod/CD player, any music device, and the sound comes out of the speakers that have been built in. LOVE IT!
That night, I went to an in-home party for greeting cards. The company is called CardScentz. These are embroidered cloth greeting cards, that have been scented. The incentive with these cards are to create a memory with your note instead of just tossing the greeting after you've read it. I bought a few of them to send to the grandparents. This was their inaugural party, so it felt good to be a part of their journey.
When we got home, cousin Simon created a delectable feast as our final dinner with Danika and her family. The food was so good and it was so nice to sit around the table and reminisce with good friends and a fabulous meal! It was an amazing day!

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