Friday, May 29, 2009


Geek up the nursery with artist Tiffany Ard's hilarious and brilliant flashcards for your little nerd-to-be. The complete set of 26 alphabet cards teaches young scientists their ABCs. A is for Atom! H is for Hydrogen bonding! While this set of 12 illustrated number cards will help your baby c...

Not just for whimsy

Mrs. Bianca Texas 5/29/2009


4 5

Gift: Yes

Pros: Durable, Easy To Use

Best Uses: Every Day Use

Describe Yourself: Quality Oriented

Primary use: Personal

I bought these flashcards as a novelty item for my Physics teacher husband to use with our 15 month old daughter. I didn't know that we'd actually use them...and often!

The cards are very durable especially since our daughter loves to clutch things tightly and put everything in her mouth. The artwork is pleasing to us and to her, capturing her attention through the entire alphabet. She really enjoys flashcard time. Also, I like the bag the cards came in.

Our only regret is that there isn't another set with a different group of items for each letter.


Dining Al Fresco...with my friend Jose and about a hundred mosquitos as well

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tonight Primo and Prima came over and we all enjoyed a delectable dinner. It was so nice outside that we decided to eat al fresco. Other than the mosquitoes that delightfully nibbled all up and down my legs, it was fabulous. (Yes, I burned an ample supply of citronella candles.) We had limon tacos with succulent beef, cabbage, and tomato, with arroz. Oh, and I can't forget the homemade margaritas. We squeezed 11 limes, infused them with simple syrup, followed by Patron Citronge and Jose Cuervo Platino. DELISH!!!

Here are the photos from our amazing evening:
While Primo made some HOT, HOT amazing salsa, I did rely on old trusty, Santa Fe medium salsa.
Happy Thursday! I'm so grateful to share a wonderful meal with family. I think sitting down for a family meal is a lost art, and should be treasured. I hope you all get to sit down to share a meal, even if it isn't around a formal table. :)

Graduation Photos

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I had the wonderful pleasure of taking the beautiful Miss Lily's graduation photographs. She was a doll and so sweet! These are my favorites from the session. I must add, that it was a thousand kinds of warm out, especially in the sun (I completely picked the wrong time for pics b/c of the lighting), but I think she still rocked the pics! Congratulations Lily!

I may have another grad session coming up. I need to showcase the photos from Memorial Day weekend.

Cheers to You Mr. Shirtless Blue Shorts Wonder!

Hello friends! Some of you may remember that on Tuesday nights, we head on over to the track to log some running miles. Today was sprint workout day, so that means it was chock full of sucking air. Yes, I'm far from where I should be, but I'm closer than I thought I was. Plus, yesterdays wind and humidity was so fierce, that all of my little hairs were wildly blowing like tiny Medusa tendrils! Yikes! (I'm just happy that in my excitement and zippy running, I didn't have one single "accident," which has always been a problem for sprints. I have that situation under control for distance running, though! woohoo!)
Anyway, while the track was working me, I saw some of the regulars: Black shirt , redheaded lady, with OBAMA written across her chest in Swarovski crystals. (Who said you couldn't be glam while sweating...I mean glistening?) Then there's the black shorts twinkies, a couple of middle aged men who zoom around the track for a bit, throw on some shirts and walk around the school, only to return to the track to take off their shirts and do a few more laps before finishing up with stretches. I like to tell them "good job" and give them a thumbs up for their efforts. But yesterday, there was a new face (cue some old school Ray Charles "What I say")...
Dark haired, sunglass sportin' (even though it was so overcast, sunglasses were FAR from necessary), ipod wearing, bright blue shorts, with a tan so unnatural that Speidi would be jealous. He was doing his best to work that track. Sprints, shuttle drills, pushups, excessive heaving and huffing, more twists and turns, followed by old school leg stretches that I've only seen performed by professional sprinters and soccer players PRIOR to a workout, but whatever. Dude was out there and owning that track! My favorite part was when I would start to come up on him on my sprints and he would go a little faster to catch up to me. It made me go just a little faster for a little longer so I could "beat" him to the next line. Silly, I know, but it's good to have someone that competitive out there because it pushes you to your limits. Cheers to you Mr. Shirtless Blue Shorts Wonder...hopefully I'll see you next week!
And then I pulled up and decided to play with Mari and push Don with his workout. I was very proud of my MIL who not only went out there with us to walk, but she also got in a few sprints of her own! Then, Mari was a little wiggle worm, itching to get out of the jogger and get in her own sprint workout. Wouldn't you know, Little Miss ran an ENTIRE lap!! Yes, folks, her little legs moving at a fast pace, her arms pumping wildly, she was in charge, only distracted a few times by the grass, a discarded styrofoam cup, or the concrete sidewalk. But I was really proud of her. She wanted to go further, but we had to get going to head to the grocery store since it threatened rain. After we got back from the store, she passed out and slept straight through the night, completely uninterrupted despite the thunderstorms and the transformer down the street exploding! :)
Happy Wednesday!

The Sour

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I felt this part of parenthood deserved a post all on its own. I love my daughter. I'm so blessed to have her in my life. She's at a point in her life where it is difficult for her to express what she's feeling. Her little tantrums are precious, and often times hilarious! But then there's those few times where she's uncomfortable, irritable, tired, yet insatiably curious and alert. These are the sour moments that are quickly forgotten, but that very moment they occur, well, it's REALLY, REALLY tough.

This past weekend, I was much like a single parent. I was instantly grateful for Don and finally realized how much we work in tandem with Mari. It is moments like these that frighten me to have another little one. But some how you get through it. So case in point, we were out to dinner. I was sure to order a tortilla and a little plate of for Mari. She was halfway through her tortilla when she turned into a screaming, biting, throwing, inconsolable little thing. I really don't know what set her off. At that moment, our food arrived, so I put my hand on her head to stroke her hair and calm her down. We were trying our best to direct where to put the food, when her cries were muffled. She turned her face and bit down on my hand. She was like a little vicious animal, clamped down on me and still screaming. Angry tears streamed down her face and it took everything in me to not cry too. I stared around looking for help, but everyone just stared back at me with a knowing look, like they'd been there before. Yep, this is a lesson I need to learn how to deal with, as with Mari, too. Here's a shot of the hand.
At that point, I was spent. I was just hungry, tired, and worndown from the day. I loaded up a little plate of food and that seemed to satisfy her. She didn't really want her rice. She was all about throwing that around. She did, however, want a tamale covered in a small mountain of beans. That seemed to really satisfy her. We left the restaurant and her face was covered with beans. They were in her hair, near her ear, and I didn't even want to look back at the spot where she was sitting. I threw a few extra bills on the table as a tip for the clean up effort that would have to take place. I felt bad.

The next day at the wedding, she did NOT want to be in the church. Granted, it was warm for her, and I actually snuck out at the beginning of the ceremony to let her run around freely. She seemed really pleased to explore about the church grounds. She even found a dandelion that fascinated her. She kicked at it and all of the seeds fell to the ground. She brokedown again, upset that she didn't have seeds to blow. I was amazed that I couldn't find another dandelion around us for her to blow. I comforted her as best as I could, but unsure how I could explain to her that they seeds were gone and I couldn't just put them back on.

There's no better way to feel inadequate than to be a parent. Every day presents a new challenge and because of her, I'm always trying to up the ante, be better for her, know more things, and do my best to be patient during these bitter moments. Because when she calms downs, it's worth it. I glance in my rearview mirror and see her there, with her comfort aides: her dog, her baby, and a paci.
And the scratches, bite marks, and scuffs on my ego will disappear. Especially because she has the face of an angel while she sleeps.
Parenthood really is amazing. Even when I'm tired, arms sore from carrying her nonstop, I must admit that it warms my heart that after a long day, she still reaches out those tiny arms for Momma. And it is Momma that she wants...I'll treasure these moments because I know in the not so distant future, we'll still quarrel, but she won't want to retreat back into my arms. Such is life, though, right. I think that sour will hurt more than these moments I'm experiencing now. *sigh*

I have an even greater admiration for all of the mothers who have gone before me. Thank you for all of those sacrifices. And Momma, thank you for always giving me hugs and refusing to let go, even when I would push away.

Memorial Day Weekend

Monday, May 25, 2009

Whoosh...that's how my weekend went.

I'll just write stream of consciousness, so sorry if it doesn't make sense or if it suddenly ends.

Friday morning came bright and early. The alarm went off at 5:15. I jumped in the shower and quickly threw on my clothes. Don dressed Mari and we were off to Love Field. I had to stand in line to get an infant boarding pass. We were patiently waiting behind an entire baseball team. I imagine they were heading to a tournament. The thing that cracked me up was that they were each exchanging bags that they were checking in on behalf of someone else. So much for those old school safety questions (if you remember them from a few years back) and promising that the contents are your own and no one elses. ha ha! We got the pass and headed on over to the security line.

There was a long enough line that I started to worry if we would make our flight. A mother of 4 helped me get through security. I was grateful. The security crew were also nice and helped me get through rather easily. I must say that I fell in love with our Britax car seat, my Delsey carry-on, and this strap that joined them together that turned the two pieces into a rolling stroller. It was AWESOME!! I flew through the airport and made it on the plane RIGHT ON TIME! The flight was less than 40% full, so Mari could sit in her own chair. Both the flight attendant and gate check person helped me on the plane. They loaded my roll on, sat the chair in the window seat, and made sure I was ok before they left me. They even held up the boarding process so I could get settled. I figured out the seat and buckled Mari in. I called Don to let him know we were on the plane and give some last minute loves when the guy in the row in front of us shot me an unapproved look. I hurriedly told my goodbyes to Don and when he saw I was off the phone he shot at me, "That was inconsiderate!" I told him, "Excuse me?" Mari happily chatted in her seat, while kicking in time against the tray. She wasn't kicking so hard that she moved the chair, but you could her the noise. I kept trying to stop her, but the man in front of us was really upset. "That was really inconsiderate of you to sit right behind me. I was here first. I have a 1 year old at home and that is ridiculous." Then he rolled his eyes. I was apalled. I looked at him and shot back, "Excuse me, but I would've been here BEFORE you even arrived, but as I recall, I was probably here just moments after you arrived. Regardless, you are MORE THAN welcome to move, sir." He shook his head and firmly planted himself in his seat, continuing to huff and puff. Mari kept happily kicking along and I tried stopping her again. He turned around in a huff and said, "You REALLY need to make her stop!" I followed up with, "What do you want me to do? Really? Please, get up and move two rows in front of you. There's an empty seat in the same exact position. Clearly you've never traveled alone with your own child, otherwise you would understand." (at which point Mari started to fuss...perfect timing, as I'm certain she could sense my irritation with that man) I then said, "In addition to the kicking, you now have this. Thank you for that. But you know, it's Friday morning to a wonderfully long weekend. May God Bless you, because there really isn't any need for your irritability. If you can't handle things, just get up and move. Simple as that." With that, he shrugged his shoulders and threw on his earphones. At which, the flight attendant came by to ask if I was ok and I shot her a smile. She looked at the man and knew that we'd had words and she cheerily smiled at the man and shot at him, "You need to take those headphones off!" And walked off before he could respond. I was very grateful.

I comforted Mari and she quieted down. I took off her shoes so her little kicks would be muffled. Shortly after take off, she passed right out. I read a wonderful article in the free Spirit magazine about a book called Broken. Loved it. Then, quick as we took off, we were landing. I waited to get off the plane so I wouldn't have to see angry man from row 8, window seat.

I had to change Mari's diaper and use the facilities myself. Well, the little Houdini managed to sneak under the bathroom stall while my knickers were around my ankles. I was horrified!!! But luckily, a really nice lady who had sat right across from us kept her distracted long enough to pull my jeans up. My heart racing, I breathed a sigh of relief to know she hadn't run out the bathroom all together. I put everything together and we went to see my mom, who was patiently waiting for us.

She had Taco Villa waiting for me! My whole goal of going out a day early was to spend it with my mother and father. I don't get much time with them and I really wanted dedicated time with them. We headed to my cousin's school for a manicure, but they had a substitute teacher and couldn't offer any services. Instead, Mom took me for a tour of the new construction by Tech. We found a salon and I had a blow out while Mom got a hair cut and style. I threw on a wax since I was looking like Wolverine's sister. When I went to pay, I was overwhelmed by the price. Shocked was more like it. I paid less than what I do for a plain haircut and style! Heck, the total of all the services was still waaay cheaper than what I would've paid for the blowout in NYC! Almost made me consider coming back every few weeks just to get my hair done!

Mari and I walked around and played while Momma finished up. We then headed on over to meet up with Daddy. We met his fellow co-workers while Mari tore up his office. Then, we went to lunch at One Guy. I forgot how much I craved their calzones!!! Even better, they had fountain cherry Coke!!!!!! Woohoo! I was stuffed and sleepy. We dropped off Daddy back at his office and we headed home. Mari and Mom took a nap, while I headed to the store to pick up some essentials and a wedding gift. I came home and since the house was quiet, I passed out for 45 minutes. I was exhausted. We just hung around for a bit, then headed to Walmart to get a gift bag for the wedding gift. Afterwards, we headed on out to Jalisco's for dinner. YUM!

I had my fill of food for the day and made one last trip to Target because I'd forgotten jammies. Mari had long since gone to bed with my Momma. Daddy and I watched some TV, just like old times. I missed those quiet nights of random TV and clicking of computer keys. We said our goodnights and I took Mari to bed with me.

At 7AM, she popped her eyes open and was ready for the day. I was awoken with a tiny hand to the face, a slobbery kiss, and a "M-M-Mama!" I couldn't help but smile, even though my body was sore! I made her a bottle and we lazied away much of the morning before breakfast. Once again, Taco Villa. LOL! Mari didn't mind. Afterwards, I wanted to go for a run, so Momma and Daddy were up for a walk to the park so Mari could play. But she passed out on the way there and slept while I ran a couple of miles and walked a mile with Daddy. We walked back home and Mikey ran over. We chatted for a bit, I made him a snack, and then later we went to Dairy Queen for some afternoon treats.

I took Mikey back home and when I got home, Tamera was there with Madi, who is less than a day older than Mari. I quickly showered and prepped for the wedding and then I got Mari up to dress her while she played with her cousin. They were so cute. It was a short visit, but so great.

Then we headed to the wedding. I was uncertain how Mari would be since her nap was interrupted. I figured she would sleep through the ceremony. Unfortunately, the chapel was a bit warm and she had too many layers on. I changed her outfit and she was a lot more comfortable, but still fussed. My arms were DEFINITELY getting a workout this weekend; I was sweating up a storm! And all of a sudden I heard it. A calm, soothing voice, melodic, pure, and honest. It calmed me, it soothed Mari, and then there was another voice: stronger, harmonious, and pleasant. I think it was the bride's voice, in harmony with the leader of the song. And then I felt it: the presence of the Holy Spirit! The wedding was simple and elegant, but never before had I been to a wedding where there was so much singing by the entire congregation. It gave me shivers! I could feel the love of the young couple and I was so happy to be witness to such a blessed event.

We went to the reception and had a few dances before it was time to go. Mari had a power nap while I was lucky enough to have an impromptu photo shoot with some beautiful models. The LIGHT was fantastic. We stopped by for a super quick visit to see my Aunt Frances. I was happy to see her. Then, we went home, each of us totally spent! I packed up all of our stuff, and Mari was bouncing off the walls from her nap. At 11:30, she finally passed out.

Her little eyes popped open at 8:15 and I was already getting everything together. I dressed her and we loaded the car. My folks took me to the airport and we were there in plenty of time. Security was an adventure. I made the mistake of putting Mari in overalls, which set off the machines. So, each article that I'd carefully packed was checked. I won't make that mistake again. We survived, though.

I let her run around for a bit and then we boarded the plane. This time, she had her own seat and didn't kick. Didn't even try. Just happily chatted in her chair playing with some bread. Immediately after take-off, she was out like a light! I had a wonderful chat with a gal who was at the wedding the day before. That flight crew was hilarious! It made the time pass super fast and they were so kind to help me when I got off the plane. I heart Southwest Airlines! Why can't American be that accomodating??

I was happy to see my beloved waiting for me. We loaded up the car and cruised through Highland Park gawking at the gorgeous houses. We made a quick turn and treated ourselves to some Sprinkles for later. My MIL was coming to town and since her bday was a few days earlier, she needed to have cake, right? We turned around and picked her up and headed on over to Mooyah. Mari devoured half of a burger and some of my red velvet cupcake. She was happy. I was in heaven with my burger and cupcake.

Later, we headed to Ikea to straighten out the den. Mari's toys were in desperate need of organization because the cardboard boxes weren't cutting it. We all chipped in to help put it together. The finished product was awesome! We could've gone to sleep after that, but Don and I went to see Terminator: Salvation. (movie review to come later)

I got home and passed out! At 7:30, my eyes popped open. Why?? Why? Why? I started catching up on things and made a plan for the day. We cooked some breakfast, ordered a vinyl decal, and hit up the craft shops. I'm taking almost everything that I bought back though. No amazing deals, so back goes the stuff! We then went to Lowe's to get a new door and toilet seat. Don spent the rest of the day installing it and I headed on over to do a graduate's photo shoot. I picked the wrong time of day by 2 hours. :( Nevertheless, though, I got a few good shots.

I came home and caught up on my HOA stuff, since I've been elected to be President. A week ago I was set on no longer being a part of it and now I'm going to lead it. That's the way I roll. ha ha!

So that's it. A weekend packed full of stuff, just like I like it. I hope you all had a wonderful time. A special thanks to all those who served for us, let us remember them and celebrate them on Memorial Day!

Tokusatsu udutra

Thursday, May 21, 2009

One of my friends has branched out into fashion. He's always been a very natural artist and I'm glad to see that he's putting some of his work onto tshirts. I like "different" run of the mill shirts. Recently, I've been in search of such shirts because I'm tired of wearing the same ol' same ol. I even got to the point to where I was just going to buy a bunch of blank American Apparel shirts simply because their colors last and the shirts are uber-comfy. Anyway, I thought I'd share his designs and promote his work. Check it out:

make custom gifts at Zazzle

Celebrating Don & Sias Track Meet

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What is this? A rare photo of me in front of the camera. And what is that mischievous look on my face...well, today I wanted to surprise Don. Most of us in this house aren't feeling up to snuff. I know you are probably tired of hearing me incessantly complain about our health. So instead of getting caught up on what is wrong, I wanted to focus on something wonderful: my husband. Reading up on Jenna and how she has expressed herself recently with her relationship with her husband inspired me to examine my very own beloved. We were a little more than disappointed with the turnout from his party (yet, were EXTREMELY grateful to our friends and family who could be there!). Plus, I felt bad because we had talked about the menu that morning and he mentioned that he wanted some crawfish and that wasn't anywhere near what I'd already gotten for the party. So today was the day I outwardly expressed my love and appreciation for him.
I enlisted the help of my fabulous Primo...
And he whipped up some sushi appetizer. Maguro sushi with jalapeno tuna rolls.
Followed by a mudbug jambalaya of sorts (even though Primo said it was far from being a jambalaya!). Those are crawfish. I LOATHE those "roaches of the sea." But we bought them from Capt'n Dave's along with the andouille sausage and tuna. Primo said I wouldn't have to worry about them. I screamed like a 9 year old girl and burst out into tears when I noticed that one had escaped and was crawling across the floor. (EEEEEEEEEEK!!!!! I'm getting the heebie jeebies thinking about it. ) Seriously, I nearly stepped on it, but Simon rescued it before throwing it in the scalding water. Having those crawly creatures willingly in the house is a HUGE sacrifice for me, but I knew that it would make Don happy! And it did!!

He was really surprised and loved it all. And for dessert, he had some lemoncello cake from Cheesecake Factory. Happy Birthday, Love! We can have a birthday month for you too! :D

(of course, while we were at Cheesecake Factory, I picked up some Linda's Fudge Cake. I wanted Primo to taste it so he could replicate it for my very own birthday.)

And I didn't have my camera with me during our Tuesday night Track night, but I wish I had. I have to brag. Mari nearly ran a half of a lap!!! Seriously, she ran a full 100 before sitting for half a second, then getting back up and going full speed again. She's a fast one, that little girl! Already hard core training. Maybe by the end of the summer she'll be running with us. I did make a mental note to make sure she wore her sneakers for the next time we go. This time she had on Crocs, which aren't as supportive as her sneakers will be. Hooray for family exercise!!

I think we're all going to sleep pretty good tonight, much better than we have in days.

Bronchitis Baby

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mari has had a minor cough for a couple of weeks, but this past weekend it was really bad. Yesterday morning, they were those deep rooted coughs that feel like a giant piece of duct tape is being ripped from the insides of your lungs. She couldn't tell me, but her screams after coughing were enough proof that she was in some serious pain. But then she calmed down for a while and had a little cough here and there.

Yet at night when it came time to sleep, she was coughing again. Poor gal slept, but not well enough. She woke up coughing even worse and we decided to take her to the doc. Since we've decided to no longer use the other pediatrician. I was happy to hear that my new doc watched little ones too. This would be Mari's first visit and I was very impressed!

She spent a lot of time engaging Mari and trying to earn Mari's trust with the different instruments she was using to inspect her. Well, after a long time of listening to her congested chest and coughs we had the verdict. Bronchitis. She said Mari is a tough little baby and she was really amazed with her body. The fact that she was so uncomfortable, but not fussy was pretty remarkable. And over and over again she said how good Mari was. It warmed my heart!

Tomorrow, I'm working from home while the antibiotics, garlic, juice, and probiotics do their thing to make Mari better. Here's my baby from today. Look at that wild hair! :D She's showing off her clapping skills. (Mind you, the prescription isn't ready yet, so this is a 100% unmedicated child. I've just been pouring my love and prayers all over her.)
But this is what it is like for a couple of moments after she coughs. Poor baby. :(
But big brother, Guapo, steps in to try to save the day by snuggling on her and sacrificing himself to her. (She loves to love on him!)
We all shower her with our love, and I even think her pacifiers are happy to provide comfort to her as well!

On a side note, I'm still wheezing as bad as I was last week. I don't feel as lethargic, but breathing is a little difficult, especially when I've been laughing a lot. I have some Advair to help me for the next 10 days. I can't imagine what running will be like when my air passages are finally cleared.

Heck, I'll be thankful when we're all healthy again. Closing for now to enjoy my laughing baby. She's wrestling with Daddy right now. Her laughter is the BEST medicine!

My Very Own Triathlete

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My husband and our buddy, Will, competed in their first triathlon this past Sunday. It was a beautifully crisp morning. It was hella early for me, Mari, Mo, and Zeke, but we wanted to be there to support them, so we made it out! (my alarm went off at 5:45 AM and while that normally wouldn't be a big deal, we went out to see Angels & Demons the night before and because I'd had a Coke, I didn't pass out until 3.)

Anyway, I strapped Mari on my mei tai, and we ventured into the swimming area to find our darling duo. Here they are. Woohoo!! Don't they look like super athletes?
Their numbers were marked on their left arm and left leg. Their age was marked on their right arm and right leg. On their right ankle they had this chip thingy that tracked their time. So they swam 300 yards. Don did it in 6:38. That was really great for him. He was channeling his inner Michael Phelps, zipping past several other swimmers along the way. I was really impressed! Will swam in 7:07.

Then, they transitioned to the bike area and threw on a shirt, some socks, shoes, and a helmet. Don biked 14 miles in 47:48!!! White Lightning!!! The longest I've ever biked continuously has been about a mile. I inevitably have to stop to prevent a crash or really heinous wreck. I'm going to have to work REALLY hard on my biking skills for September. Will biked in 50:10.

Next up, the guys had to run 2.9 miles. They pulled their bikes into the transition area, took off the helmets, and took off running. Because it had rained so much the days before, much of the trail was incredibly muddy. REALLY, REALLY, REALLY muddy. So muddy that when I was walking along the path to cheer them on, I nearly ate it a couple of times. My pants were covered in mud bits from when I would pick up Mari after I let her run around in it. Thankfully, she has a bit more balance than her momma and didn't fall!

Will was on fire!! He ran in 22:29. See how fast he's going, the water is flying out of the cup.

It's like you can hear the power boosters kick on in this picture. Swoosh!
Don pushing through with a smile. Go babe go! He ran it in 26:18.

Total time for Don was 1:24:53, which includes the transition times between each event. Will's final time was 1:22:39. Don had a goal to finish in under 1:30 and He did it!! I was so happy to be there for him and proud that he achieved his goal. Yaaay!!

And no post is complete without some Mari cuteness. Here she is enjoying some post-race pizza and holding tightly to her sippy cup.

And I just love this shot of her. She's getting so big! Don't you love that adorable pink and gray henley from American Apparel? She worked it!! And this humidity is making her hair extra curly and I love it!
Cheers to goals that push us along the way. :) Thank God for giving us the strength to achieve those goals, too. (and for people who support you along the way)

As for my next adventure in September? I've started running again in preparation of the triathlon. I'm doing 2 miles at a time and my body is feeling it! My goal is to get my average mile to less than 9 minute miles for 3 miles. I'm nearly there! I'll have to actually test my bike speed (and endurance, no less) and swim more than 1 length of a pool. Don and my sister are also going to do this triathlon and Will is saying that he wants to do it too. Maybe we can be like one of those fancy tri teams with cool matching shirts! I like the idea that Don, Will, and Sam will be there at the finishing line cheering me on! :D


Friday, May 15, 2009

We all know how much I love giving back. I'm a semi-stalker on a photographer's crafty blog and came across this nifty pink button. I clicked it to learn more and I was so excited to donate. (I'd planned on donating anyway, but the chance a winning a photo shoot was even more thrilling!)
Anyway, you should go out and donate to support a great cause. Every little bit helps! It wasn't so long ago that I was raising money myself, and let me tell you, a bunch of $5 donations add up pretty quickly!
Go on out and donate to help SAVE 2ND BASE!

If you're happy and you know it...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I can't take credit for the quote above. I found it on the Internets, but this is something I would've totally said. Growing up, I was too smart for my own good. Daddy taught me strong, big, powerful, 50 cent words. They were so advanced that my 1st grade teacher had a difficult time understanding what i was talking about half the time. As a result, I decided to talk less.

Somewhere along the way, I forgot those words. I know they are tucked away in my brain somewhere. But when it came for me to use them, when it "mattered" most (aka SAT and other college entrance exams), they escaped in the night. It's ok. I got along just fine.

And then yesterday, something brilliant happened. Don paused me for a half second and said watch this...

He had Mari perched on his lap. I was fully expecting him to toss our little one in the air and for her to do some insane back flip with a half twist. (yes, because don't most fathers like to play cirque de soleil with their toddler, no? hmmm...) Instead, he started singing.

if you're happy and you know it...

And she clapped her hands.

If you're happy and you know it clap your hands. If you're happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it! If you're happy and you know it clap your hands.

With each little utterance of clap and the melody, she clapped her hands. And it was genius! Yes, I was a bubbly mess, but I can't tell you how proud I was. This song was and always has been a favorite of mine. Many times when I was growing up and I felt like a loner, I would sing this song to cheer myself up. And just like that, little Miss made my day. What do you know, I didn't feel as sickly and life was a whole lot brighter.

Now, I can't wait for those Nerd Flashcards to come in from Uncommon Goods! I will teach my daughter 1 billion words. Special words. Funky words. Words in different languages. Yes, I'll teach my daughter 1 billion words!

What does severe upper respiratory infection mean?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yesterday, I finally bit the bullet and decided I needed to suck it up and go to the doctor. I was in a complete haze, walking around like a zombie. The funny part about the appointment was that I had lost my doctor's number. I finally went out to the provider's website to find it and I was glad.

I got there and the nurse did an immediate diagnostic of me. She gave me a "you poor thing" look and I waited for my doc. When she came in, I couldn't articulate how bad I felt. I just said, I'm wheezing and it is difficult to breathe without coughing. She pulled out her stethoscope and sure enough, heard the wheeziness, but it was difficult for her to hear that over my coughing. I felt awful. :(

Immediately, she gave me an albuterol breathing treatment and told me she would be back later with the magic bullet shot. After 5 minutes of breathing in the albuterol (which honestly reminded me of smoking a hookah), I could take in a deep breath without coughing. This was the first time I could do that in almost a week! She busted out her stethoscope again, and there was still the intense wheezing. She wrote out a prescription for an albuterol inhaler, another for a week's worth of antibiotics, and finally, a super cough suppressant with hydrocodone (yes, that's a narcotic). The nurse came in and gave me the magic bullet in my hip. Actually, it was in the lower part of my back where my lovely love handles are. I felt a slight nip and a burn as the medicine went in. Nothing like the flu shot, but but there was still some pain. The cocktail had vitamin B-12, a steroid, and an antibiotic. She let me know that I'd feel better for a bit, and then I'd feel jittery like I had a few too many Starbucks, and then it would be time for me to take the meds.

Sure enough, she was right. I took my meds and cleared my schedule for Tuesday. I should've turned my phone off because I was getting texts and calls all day long, wishing me well. I appreciated them, but I probably should've napped more. Oh wel. I did have my movie marathon, and continue to consume my meds. I still feel congested and it is all in my ears now, mostly. I'm still wheezing, but I'm actively using my inhaler and things are looking up. I'm going to attempt to go for a run tomorrow (equipped with my inhaler, of course!). Hopefully I can get this junk out.

On with the movie reviews, here they are in the order I saw them:

This was a movie about Harvey Milk. I thought Sean Penn did a wonderful job in it. Actually, the entire cast was phenomenal. I left feeling like there was something missing. I knew it probably should've pulled at my heartstrings more, but it felt like they were spoon feeding me my emotions. I didn't like that forced feeling. I do like Harvey Milk's story and I think he was a true inspiration of hope and the movement. It was a good rental.

The Boy in Striped Pajamas

Wow. I knew this movie would make me want to jump off a bridge, but I had no idea that it would make me angry. As a mother, I believe you should follow your instincts and I was upset with the mother for not going with her gut earlier. It was beautifully shot and worth a rental.

Bedtime Stories
I started watching this on a plane when I was on my way to NYC last time. Unfortunately, I didn't get to finish it. It was halfway when it stopped and I wanted to see how it ended. The beginning was better than the ending. Oh wel. I'm glad I found out what happened. I can't wait to watch this with Mari some day and hopefully I can come up with wonderful interactive bedtime stories when she's older.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
This was a tough movie to watch because we constantly had to pause and restart since Mari was running around on fire. We liked the concept of the story, but at times it was slow. Oh my goodness, and does Cate Blanchett every NOT look flawless? And I guess Brad Pitt was nice to look at also. :D It was worth the rental, but make sure you have the time to watch it uninterrupted. It probably would've been a better experience for us.

So all of them were worth a rental, but I wouldn't say I would necessarily have been happy to watch them in the theater. There you go. I'm back at work tomorrow and looking forward to this weekend!

The doc assured me I should be back to normal by Friday, Thursday at the earliest. I know I take good health for granted sometimes, so I'm excited to be back to normal! Thank you all for the well wishes and prayers!!

Happy Birthday Don!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Don's birthday fell on Mother's day this year. Every few years, his will fall on Mother's day and mine will fall on Father's day. Interesting how that is. Anyway, in our family, birthdays always trump any other holiday, so I'd made plans to celebrate it in a very special way with our close friends and family. Don shares a birthday with Jorge and so this year to commemorate it, we combined forces to have a joint party. Our friend, Rich, was so very kind to offer up the location. We had it at this gorgeous clubhouse!! It was two stories, with a pool tables, tvs, exercise room, tons of open space for Mari to run around (and she did!), and best of all, my dream kitchen! ahhh...

Oh and patio and pool area was divine! I've never seen a pool with an island in the middle of it. It provided for some nice shade. We were very lucky, because it was supposed to pour all day long, but right at noon, the skies cleared and we had a GORGEOUS afternoon to celebrate the day.
Here's some of who showed up. This was the last shot taken before we headed out. Notice my beautiful orchid corsage? Don and Mari got that for me for Mother's day. :D
Here's my beloved. It just isn't fair that the older he gets, the better looking he is. But I can swoon all I want at him because he's mine.
The other birthday boy. Aren't they sweet? This was my favorite one of them.
And with all of my planning, there's always something I will forget. This time it was the candles! Instead, we improvised with Cheetos. Who knew they could act as candles?? (beware, the burning stink isn't so pleasant! kinda like plastic, which makes you wonder what exactly they put in cheetos, hmmm.)
And since we were in a wacky mood, here's Primo with Mari's new sunglasses. If I would've known he enjoyed them so much, I would've picked up a pair for him! LOL

The birthday weekend was a blast! We had our monthly wine dinner on Friday night. I was so proud of myself because I made it all the way to course 4. Normally, I can stomach all of the courses, but since I've been sick, I wasn't certain how I would handle it. Then, on Saturday, Mari and I went shopping and I gave her a baby pedicure. I painted her toenails for the first time. Later she had a birthday party to attend (and we were invited too). She was worn out from all of the excitement. I called in a favor to my cousins to watch Mari and they did! Don and I went on a bonafide date. We ate some really bad Indian food (we'll never cheat on you again, Chetinaad!), then went to watch Star Trek*! Sunday morning, Don let me sleep in a little bit and made me breakfast in bed. Mari happily joined me because she loves eggs! She also gave me some artwork that she'd collaborated with her daddy, which was even more evident by the markings on her little arms and legs! ha ha! We went to church, then had the party. All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. But boy do I need some rest! I'm making an appointment with my doctor as soon as I find her number.

*Movie Review - Star Trek
Wow. No really, wow. Run, don't walk, run to the theater and watch it RIGHTNOW! If I knew of someone who hasn't watched it yet and they wanted me to go with them, I would plunk down more money to go. That's how much I really enjoyed it. The entire cast was stellar. I told Don that I fell in love with Spock all over again. :D But seriously, I really, really liked the storyline. I though Eric Bana did a phenomenal job as a villain. I hadn't had that much fun watching a Sci-fi movie since Serenity. If you saw it, what did you think?

Happy Mother's Day

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mom is so great because she is the epitome of unselfishness. She's always been generous of her time and talents and most importantly, has never met a stranger. Few people leave mom's grace without feeling better about their entire outlook on the world. She just has that high level of positivity that has been imparted to both my sister and I, as well. Several years ago, she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Despite being reliant to her wheelchair (and she's still, very, very young, less than 60, in fact), she's very grateful to be mobile in her chair instead of "having to be confined to a bed." (Which she, consequently, experienced a couple of years ago for about 6 months.) Mom volunteers with a local girl scout troop and has traveled to Europe and Washington, DC with them. She cheered me on in the NYC marathon, as her wheels gave me wings to fly. She also participates in an arthritis walk to raise money. Even though she can't walk, she's determined to complete the race with the help of someone pushing her. I'm gladly volunteering for that honor (but I think Dad has stepped in).

Growing up, we were immersed with ideal TV moms. These were mothers who didn’t work, stayed home with the kids and in some cases, they even had a maid to help out. Mom was always there for us, but she did work. When I was really young, she worked the graveyard shift for Levi’s. She’d be awake for us at home, and when we were going down to sleep for the night, Mom was clocking in, getting off in time to make us breakfast, pack Daddy a lunch, then sleep for a few hours. On cold, winter mornings’, we’d wake to freshly made hot chocolate, and there was never a shortage of marshmallows. More often than not, she’d have some sort of fresh baked cookies, especially during the Autumn. When I was older, mom went back to working in the food service industry. She worked for Furr’s Cafeteria and our school cafeteria. When I was in Middle school, I was happy to be able to see her in the middle of the day. Many times, I was able to see my mom, and through the doors, I could peek in and see my brother too (our schools were connected by the cafeteria). I don’t know where mom found all of the energy for it. Because on top of work and home, she was an active PTA volunteer, was a Girl Scout Troop leader, taught Sunday School, coached our volleyball/softball/soccer teams, played in her own adult sports leagues, and managed to do it all looking beautiful and graceful throughout. Oh, and let’s not forget that not only would mom look gorgeous, but my sister and I were always presentable, hair done, dressed like little ladies. Having a daughter and trying to get ready myself and then having to get Mari ready and be finished on time, well, that’s a feat I was totally unaware of until recently. (Now you know why I keep going and going and going!)

But despite the many things that mom did, the biggest gifts she gave us were things you can’t buy and were really hard to give. Mom enriched our Faith and led by her own example. She has a very personal and enriched relationship with God and I’m glad she introduced us to it so early on. She really fostered our creativity. We may not have had an entire craft room filled with paints and what not, but she made do with what we had. Early on, I was happily constructing kites from leftover yarn, sticks from the yard, and old newspaper. We would “color” the sidewalks with the crabapples that fell from our crabapple tree. My Barbie didn’t have a fancy Barbie pool, but the silver bucket we used to wash the car doubled as her pool. And the stories, oh the stories I would write…and she never tired of reading or listening to them. She would always make extra effort to read in voices, theatrically infusing each character with a very different personality. Growing up as a middle child, I would often get tired of wearing my sister’s hand-me-downs. Many times I didn’t mind, but I would get jealous of my classmates that had new clothes practically every week. Mom would tell me that she loved me too much to just give and give and give. That I needed to know what it meant to earn something and to value what I had. Telling me No was going to pay volumes in the long run. At the time, I didn’t like it. Not one bit. As a mother, now I know what she means.

Thank you mom for fresh baked goods, constant patience, cultivating creativity, fostering hope, spreading joy, and especially for teaching us the importance of enjoying life. Happy Mother’s Day!
*I'm about 2 years old in the picture and my mom is 27.

15 Months!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Time has flown by! Today, Mari's personality was really glowing!! This morning, I kissed her goodbye on my way to the Habitat for Humanity volunteer day. On my way there, Don sent me a picture of Mari-Jul petting our decorative frog out front. She loves to help out, so you can see her trying to carry Daddy's lunchbag too.

I picked her up from school early and she danced all around me while I relaxed. All of a sudden, things were too quiet. I found her behind me, smiling a big fat chocolate-y grin. She found the chocolate stash. I forgot that I'd left it within reach (her reach has increased quite a bit recently!). She was happily munching away, smearing the chocolate every where within reach. I laughed and laughed and snapped this picture. That's my girl!

  • She's talking up a storm. She doesn't really speak English, but he's very effective at communicating.
  • For example, she'll pucker her lips and smack them when she's hungry.
  • She also likes to communicate with a series of growls and eeeeees.
  • Tantrums are full-fledged. The funny ones are around dinner time when we're trying to feed her. If we try to give her something she doesn't like, she'll throw herself on the floor and "hide" while wailing for a few seconds, then pop back up smacking those little lips, and will continue to do this until we take off the piece of food she doesn't like.
  • She's in love with buttons. The TV button, the remotes, the DVD player, radios, computers, phones...anything that has a button, she'll want to press it.
  • We tried to transition to sippy cups, but haven't been 100% successful. She still takes two milk bottles each day, but all other liquids are in a cup.
  • She starting to "hide" when she poops.
  • She really enjoys stacking. We've had a lot of fun with her blocks lately.
  • Her teachers say that she loves to climb. Even though she's the smallest in her class, she's the first one to race to the slide, climb up and go down. I let them know that she's quite a climber and has been climbing since she was 6 months.
  • She also likes to climb on Momma! No matter where I am, she insists on climbing on me like I'm her personal jungle gym.
  • She LOVES to dance!!! We watched High School Musical 3 and I swear I've never seen a little baby move like that. She owned the living room and was dancing so fast and so much, she had to brace herself against the couch to keep from falling down.
  • She's quite the slick baby. She knows how to get in and out of things and to get around the obstacles I put in her way. Crafty...
  • No really, she loves crafts! Painting and coloring...Mari enjoys giving the world a little bit more color.
  • She has the most infectious laugh. We'll have our little wrestling matches, and she just cracks up and we crack up with her.
  • I think my favorite thing she does is she'll wiggle herself into my lap, my arms, anywhere she can find a spot!
I'm certain there are a few others, but these are the ones I remember right now. She's such a joy to be around and so much fun! Ahhh...I love her so much!

1st Communion

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Many of you know me in real life and those of you who are in near enough proximity know that I've been out of blogging commission because I've been sick. No swine flu here, but I have been feeling like death crawled into my belly and died. Blehhhh...

Anyway, this past weekend, we went to my niece's first communion and stepped in to act as her Godparents. We were very, very honored and happy to be a part of the day. I got up early that morning feeling all sorts of out of wonk, but I sucked it up and knew this was too important to miss. These photos were taken a few hours before my body took over and forced me to stay in bed. I've consumed mass quantities of Gatorade, Jello, and yummy broth! On the bright side, I've lost some weight that my clothes are fitting a little loose. Woohoo! This is just the jump start I needed before the work weight loss challenge. Get fit, stay fit! Yaaay!!! (is it me, or every time I read or type yaaay, I think of Animal from the Muppets? Can you picture it?) I love seeing First Communions and it makes me excited thinking about Mari's First Communion. I wonder what kind of dress she'll want. I wore a veil, white gloves, and this lacy dress that I remember being itchy. I didn't love the dress, but Mom loved it, so I wore it. I remember going to have my photo taken for it. Mom sent it to Grandma and she had all of her grandchildren's First Communion portraits lined up together. EVERY single one was serious, pious, then there was mine, smiling a thousand kinds of kool-aid! I never knew how to take a proper serious portrait. (Honestly, there only exists a small handful out there.)

I digress, enough of me, on with the lovelies! Here's my niece with one of her fellow first communicants. She's a tall gal, but her friend is also small too. Aren't they sooo cute?
They have this amazing fountain in their church's courtyard, and back when I would go to church with them more often, I always gave my nephew a coin to throw in the fountain, because it is a crime for a child to walk past a fountain without making a wish! On this day, I gave her a coin to throw as well. Isn't this a fun shot? Ada took it and I love the look on everyone's faces! I also love how happy Zeni is.
Afterwards, we headed to the luncheon. Mari was in love with the first communion doll. I can't believe how big she looks in this picture!
That's my girl! I loved how her hair turned out! So cute and curly!!

I'm still consuming excessive amounts of Jello and Gatorade. Although, I fear I'm losing the hydration battle. :( Poor Mari and Don have had this nasty cough too, so we're all a little over being sick. Here's to hoping that we're in top shape for the weekend. Not only Mother's Day weekend, but Don's birthday too!
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