Thursday, December 10, 2009

our stories

Our book group has been reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller's new book. Cory and I have been really inspired by it, and after I read a little I can't get it out of my head. Very simply put, it's about living a better story. I wanted to share an excerpt from the book that keeps bouncing around my brain. I keep going back to it because it rings so true.

He's talking about how through a series of events he ends up hiking the Inca trail in Peru. The trail is an "excruciating" hike, climbing up a 14,000 ft. peak, then down, then back up to 12,000, then back down toward Machu Picchu. I'm picking up the story toward the end of the hike:

"We didn't hike to the Sun Gate the next morning; we ran. We ran on blistered feet and sore legs. We got there, and it was fogged in, so we sat along the rock, on the ruins, and waited for the fog to burn off. We sat and sang songs. And it was like Carlos said, because you can take a bus to Machu Picchu; you can take a train and then a bus, and you can hike a mile to the Sun Gate. But the people who took the bus didn't experience the city as we experienced the city. The pain made the city more beautiful. The story made us different characters than we would have been if we had skipped the story and showed up at the ending an easier way.

"We walked among the ruins in the fog all morning, in the footsteps of the Inca's. We ran our fingers along the perfectly sculptured rock used to create the walls of their dwellings, rocks cut square to sit on rocks cut square, all built without mortar.

"It wasn't only the pain of the trail that made you appreciate the city; it was the pain of the landscape, steep in the mountains of the Andes, spiraled towers of natural rock, cliffs dropping for a thousand feet to the river. And the houses, the weight of them and the perfection of their lines, spoke of the many dead Incas who gave their lives to build the city.

"The pain made the city more beautiful. The story made us different characters than if we'd showed up at the ending an easier way. It made me think about the hard lives so many people have had, the sacrifices they've endured, and how those people will see heaven differently from those of us who have had easier lives."

It reminds me that pain has a purpose.
It reminds me that I'm one of "those...who have had eaiser lives."
It reminds me that, no matter the difficulties, I don't want to skip the story.

Friday, November 20, 2009

we're still here... little letters

Little letters idea stolen from Sarah. She's so great.

Dear oogey germies and illnesses,
Kindly stay away from me and my family. I am painfully low on sick days, and like it or not, I feel it is necessary for me to start working 5 days a week soon. I hate to be rude, but I am rooting for the many antibiotics and anti-bacterial soaps in my house to give you a sound thrashing.

Dear virus of the electronic kind,
You win. You have shocked us with downloading vulgar websites, annoyed us with incessant pop-ups, and wasted several hours of our lives. Please go away now. We would very much like to access all of the photos of our precious baby that are contained on that laptop. Not only do Cory and his productivity suffer, but the blog suffers also. And nobody wants that.

Dear job,
You're on thin ice, buddy. We're not married, and I think I need some space. It's not you, it's me...oh wait, no, it's you.

Dear 5th grader,
Thank you for the heart-shaped note that said, "The son shines in the ower of your teching."
I keep it in my desk drawer, and sometimes it's what gets me through the day.

Dear Thanksgiving,
Thank you for coming between me and aforementioned job. You got here just in time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

guilty pleasures edition

You know those days that are so hectic that you begin one task only to switch to another and then realize that you should have finished what you started in the first place, but before you get to it you find something else to do? They result in little storm clouds inside your head, like radio static in the folds of your brain. We've been having a lot of those lately. Just to illustrate my point, I'd like you to know that twice this week I have spilled an entire 16-ounce cup of water on the floor at school (with a room full of 10-year-olds who naturally cannot keep themselves from walking through it) and had nothing to clean it up with except for the paper towels that come from an automatic dispenser that expels 6 inches of paper at a time. Wave your hand in front of the sensor, six inches comes out, wait, wave your hand again, another 6 inches....you get the idea. It's frustrating.

It's at these moments that I think of my guilty pleasures, "and then I don't feeeel soooo baaaaad." The first one is Glee, the new show on Fox. It's fantastic- high school misfit drama meets perfectly cliched characters meets fun hip hop sing along musical. I cannot even think of the show without smiling. I look forward to it all week.

Next, if you've been around us lately, you've probably been annoyed by the Zombieland references. Usually it's just Cory plotting strategies for proper control of the undead, but I can't help but join in lately. It was the perfect role for Woody Harrelson, I would have loved about 10 more "Zombie Kill of the Week"s, and the celebrity cameo was both unexpected and delightful. It could have been the fact that we went with my brother and his gf to see it at the drive-in that added to the movie-induced euphoria, but I loved it all the same. Load up and go see it- just be sure to buckle up and check the back seat.

Then there's my guilty pleasure songs. Please do not judge my musical taste by these songs as I am embarassed by them. (Not that I have much musical taste anyway- I've been listening to the same 10 songs for like, 5 years now.) First up, "Toes" by Zac Brown Band: fun beach get-away song that immediately transports me to my happy place. Embarrassing factors include repeated mention of the word "ass" and a PBR reference.
Next, "All the Single Ladies" by Beyonce. It gets my hips shakin. I don't know why. I didn't think I liked it that much until I saw it on Glee, and then I couldn't get it out of my head for weeks. I can't believe I'm allowing the whole internet world to see this.
Finally, I am admitting that I find Taylor Swift adorable. Yes, her songs are silly teenagery love songs, but she writes them herself, and she's a teenager so it's ok! So, her "You Belong to Me" makes number 3 on my guilty pleasure song list.


Finally, I round out this post with my tasty treat indulgence, the Wavebender from Bahama Bucks. A 16 ounce coconut rum flavored smoothie topped with whipped cream and a cherry- it's heaven in a plastic cup. I think I could have lived off of Wavebenders and blocks of cheese when I was pregnant. Come to think of it, I think I could live off them now.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

six months




Catherine is now six months old! We ordered some of her birth pictures this week, and it was amazing to see how much she has grown. Now she's rolling all over the living room, and she's beginning to sit up by herself. She can stay balanced for 20-30 seconds before she tips over. She's getting the hang of eating; she especially loves green beans, squash, and bananas. She's always reaching for our cups, so I've been giving her sips of water or juice out of my cups.

This is a really fun age. She's so fun to play with because she laughs out loud at us, and she seems to enjoy interaction. Cory flies her around the room, and she loves it. A good game of horsie always improves her mood, and she's even fallen asleep a couple of times while he was bouncing her.
Happy half-birthday, baby!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

musical preference

So last night we were listening to Pandora while we were doing some things around the house. Then Cory started ordering some songs from Itunes while I was playing with Cate across the room. He had listened to several of the Guy Clark snippets before he bought the album, and Cate wasn't paying much attention. Then he moved over to Delbert McClinton's new album. When he clicked on "Mama's Little Baby" Cate wheeled her head completely around (just like a baby owl) and started giggling in the direction of the laptop. When he moved on to some other songs, she turned back and continued playing with me. We laughed and said that must be her favorite song. Then we played it again, and she giggled in the direction of the laptop again! It was fantastic.

So, it's official, Cate's first favorite song is "Mama's Little Baby" by Delbert McClinton. And while the title seems very appropriate, Cate, don't let me catch you shaking your booty all over town like the girl in the song.

Friday, September 18, 2009

pobrecita

Poor sweet Catherine is currently experiencing another first: First Stomach Bug. This is the 3rd day of it, and she's only been able to keep Pedialite on her stomach. Cory stayed home with her yesterday, and I'm home today. She's sleeping a lot, and just seems generally uncomfortable. She makes sad little noises just like a whining puppy.

She did smile last night. It was 3 in the morning, and I couldn't get her to go back to sleep, so I decided to give the swing a try. When I set her down in it, she grinned up at the metal frame, relaxed her little limbs and fell asleep. So basically, I was out-mommed by a machine. I thought that wouldn't happen until we hired Cate that Robot Nanny that has, at times, seemed appealing. Oh well, I'm just glad she was comfortable for awhile.

Say a prayer for my little one. The doctor says that it has lasted for a week in some children, and we don't want her to have to deal with it for that long!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

dove days


Pictures of the 25th Annual Dove Days are now uploaded to Cory's website. Drop by if you can't get enough of these lovelies. Above: Cate with her Uncle Bubba. Below: Cate plays with Mimi, wearing her first Dove Days t-shirt.


Ah, the lovely scenery:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

the giant by n.c. wyeth


This painting is posted in the hallway of my school next to the art room. The first time I saw it, I was just walking by when it brought me to a complete stop. I don't know what it is: the wonderment of the children, the beauty of the sky, the fantasy of the giant, or the fact that it takes place at a beach, but I think this painting in just fabulous. It's been stuck in my head for weeks now, the way a catchy song sometimes gets. Just thought I'd pass it along, and share a little daydream with you.

Monday, September 07, 2009

possibly the grossest picture of cate ever

goopy green mess: check
snot bubble: check
generally disgruntled demeanor: check
It's okay, sweetheart, we all have those days.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

two milestones


Cate has started eating cereal. It is a very messy enterprise. Luckily, after she spits the cereal back at me, she usually also slurps it off her hands. And yesterday she rolled over! She's growing so fast!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

four months











Ok, I know this is a lot of photos. But isn't she sweet?! And she can do so many new things. She is rolling over on her side, grabbing things with her tiny fists, and trying to stuff everything in her mouth. She grabs her feet, squeals really loudly, and laughs out loud occasionally. She's still not sleeping through the night, but she usually only wakes up once to eat. She is keeping us on our toes!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

water baby

Here's my little siren of the sea. She's so good on the water. Even though the life jacket is a little big, she took it like a pro.

When we drop anchor for a rest, she's so happy to be free of all that sea garb.



Of course, all of the new sights on the boat can be surprising.

Cate also played with her pappy on a party barge.
She's even cute when she's mad.
The best kind of summer is a summer on the lake.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

woes

Today was our first day back to work. For about a week now everyone has been asking me if I was ready, and I was sticking to the positive. I was believing that words and attitudes have power and that half the battle of being ready was saying that I was ready. Besides, I've been off for 4 months now, it's time to go back.

When I got to school, though, I felt a little bombarded with the tasks of a new school year. The rearranging, the planning, the deadlines, the test scores. And probably what overwhelmed me the most was leaving Catherine at daycare for the first time. I started out okay because I had psyched myself up for it. I didn't even cry when I dropped her off. I did okay through half a day of meetings, and then I went to visit at lunch. By the time I was back at work, looking at last year's TAKS scores on an overhead projector, I was shaky. By the time I picked her up, I had tears in my eyes just to be back with her again.
It was like someone tore my heart out and gave it to someone else to watch over. I guess maybe you can function without it for a little while but it eventually gets to you. For me, it wasn't an explosive, tearful moment; it was a slow ache.

Ok, I'll stop with the weepiness now. It's just that people warn you about these hard things about being a parent, and there's just no way to prepare for it or know what is going to be like until you do it. The silly thing was that I knew she would be ok. The babysitter is a sweetheart, and I can tell that she loves all of the kids that stay with her. She's been super supportive of me, and even called me to make sure I was doing alright. I guess I'm just jealous of her. She gets to spend all day with my awesome baby. I think I may have to have a talk with her... just to let her know that she's the one who should be paying me to hang out with Cate.

Monday, August 10, 2009

now, back to writing for pleasure...

So sorry for the hiatus. I know, it's been a whole month since I've posted pics of Cate, and the grandparents have endured with only minor grumblings. So for all of your patience, I submit this video, oozing with cuteness, of Cate's first giggles.
Soon to come: Catherine turns 4 months, Adventures of a water baby, and the parents leave the baby for almost an entire 12-hour period to tackle scenic Guadalupe Peak.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

brb

There is so much going on right now! I am currently smack-dab in the middle of two research papers. Summer school for me will finish up a week from tomorrow, and hopefully after that I'll have time for a proper post. I just felt bad because I just did Catherine's 3 month post, and the next one will likely be her 4 month post. I can't believe how fast this second part of summer is flying by. Now that I think about it, school starts 2 weeks from today. Yikes! I think I'll be ready to start back. I'm more productive when I'm working. A little more super-girl and a little less slouchy-troll.
So, apologies to all of those who so faithfully check on me! Be back soon!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

three months


I wanted a 3 month picture of Cate....just one was all I needed. But it's impossible to choose; I love all of her little expressions. She's so much fun now, smiling and moving around. She can now maneuver her fist to her mouth and make loud slurping noises with it. She even used it to snack on her ribbons, as you can see above. She really likes to kick the toys on her play mat, and she'll stare at them for awhile, but she hasn't reached for them yet. She holds up her head like a pro. She likes to stand up, especially with her daddy, and he likes to hold her while she "dances."
We visited a new daycare today, and we're trying to make a final decision. It's going to be so hard to leave her; I don't even want to think about it! Say a prayer for us that we'll choose the right one for her.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

video

I thought I'd try my hand at a little video. This is what Cate looks like when she's at her most active, all wiggly and cooing a bit.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

small victories

For two nights in a row now, Cate has slept from about 11 to 6:30, waking up only once to eat. (Cue the hallelujah chorus.) I'm also impressed that she'll wake up at night sometimes and fuss a bit but eventually go back to sleep on her own. I feel confident that she'll get a good sleep routine down just in time for us to go on our 4th of July trip and get her all messed up again, but oh well. It's nice knowing it's possible.

In addition to feeling a tad less tired, I actually put on some jeans this morning that buttoned! Hooray! There's lots of things they don't tell you about having a baby-even though I read an outrageous amount of baby books and websites- and one of those things is you'll be wearing your stretchy pants for months after the baby is here. Admittedly, I could have gone out to buy pants that fit, but there was this number in my head that stopped me. Women know what I'm talking about here- that number that they sew into the back of the jeans that can only go up a certain amount and be acceptable. I pulled a pair of jeans off the wrack that was in the uppermost limit of my acceptable range, had a wrestling match with them in the dressing room, finally forced them up over my thighs, stuck my tongue out at them in the mirror and left the store with an elastic-waist skirt. But today I reached a small victory. I'm not going to lie, I'm dealing with a bit of a muffin-top here, but at least the two flaps will come together in lovely, albeit strained, buttoned harmony.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

bath time!

Cate has gone from experiencing bath time with careful wariness, to a cacophany of terror, to a pleasant...dare I say it? glee...if she's in the right mood. Usually if she so much as cracks a smile I run and put her in the bathtub, anxious to get the bath in while we both might actually enjoy it. Sometimes by the time I get the whole thing set up she's already peeved...or asleep. But here is some awww-inspiring evidence that she occasionally enjoys being clean...








Kuddos to my husband, the photographer, who so graciously let me post these pictures instead of keeping all his fabulous artwork to himself.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

break

We made it to about 10:30 this morning before we called in reinforcements.
Let me explain. It all started yesterday when I was making my 53rd lap around the house bouncing a complaining Catherine from window to window. She didn't scream, just threated to, by constantly frowning and yelling hey! every couple of seconds. (She really does this.) She was just letting me know that if I so much as thought about sitting down she was going to really let loose.
So I was feeling rather unproductive because I had had hopes of working out...or doing homework...or writing on that novel that keeps edging further out of my grasp. I was pouty and grumpy as we loaded up to go to dinner (an intelligent ploy by the man of the house to give his ill-tempered ladies some change of scenery).
Cate was content in her car seat- just looking around and being rather quiet. Then she started spitting up. So at a stop sign, I shifted into the backseat and started cleaning her up. She was not bothered by being covered in vomit, in fact, she was ecstatic. When I got into her line of vision, she grinned and cooed. Her eyes got big and she opened her mouth into the biggest smile her tiny face can muster. She looked at me like I was the coolest thing she'd ever seen. (She looks at the ceiling fan with the same unbridled joy, but nevertheless...) It gave me the shove I needed to get over my moodiness.
So today it was Cory's turn. I vowed to get out and do something today. So I left Cate with her daddy and went jogging. I also insisted that he let me mow the lawn today...I was just so tired of being cooped up. But when I came back from the park, Cate was doing the same face-scrunching, half-holler thing to him and he had that crazy look in his eye. That she-won't-stop-screaming, why-does-she-hate-me, where's-the-tequila look. I knew it because I had it yesterday. So yeah, back to the reinforcements- we called grandma and granddad, who along with Cate's aunts, were all too happy to take over for a few hours.
Sometimes this whole mom-thing comes so naturally, everything falls into step. It's easy- this new life that is just a shadow of the one I used to have. It just makes sense that everything is about her. And then there are days like today. I feel a little bad, because it hasn't even been that long since we had a break. Cory and I got to go to dinner together last weekend in Austin. I'm not one of those martyr mothers who lament, "Gosh, I haven't had a moment to myself in...who knows...16 years." I guess since I still have a little selfishness left in me, it's a good thing there's such a huge amount of people just dying to spend a little time with Cate.
In our time away, we got a few things done around the house and caught a movie (Star Trek) that we've been wanting to see for awhile. It took all of about 5 seconds before we were missing her and thinking about going to get her.
One last thing- I want to post some pics we took a couple of days ago. Cate's such an outside baby- she loves to be going places and looking at the trees and lights. We were about to go out walking and exercising when we took these. She was intrigued by the brim of her hat.



Tuesday, June 09, 2009

champion


We spent a lovely weekend in Austin- our first overnight trip away from home. It was a looong drive, but Catherine was awesome. She's such a good traveler. Tons of family gathered in a hotel and watched my cousin Jaylen run in the state track meet. It was really hot, but everyone pitched in to make Cate more comfortable. Mom sat under the bleachers (where it was very stuffy) with her out of the sun, and Aunt Nana and Aunt B followed her about with handheld fans. Of course, everyone was ready to lend a hand to carry her around. Then she went back to the hotel and relaxed by the pool with her Mimi and Pappy.
She also made her debut to her cousins (or aunt and uncle, depending on who you ask) Cody and Laura, Tom and Mallory, and her great-uncle Gary. She even got to spend a little time with Uncle Jess. It was a little hectic, having so much family in the same space, but we had a good time.
Coming home was hard because I was so tired from the trip, and I had volunteered to sub for summer school for a couple of days. Of course, Cate was off her schedule, I was off mine, and our house was (and still is) a total disaster. Thankfully, my summer school days are over now and we can start recovering from the trip...packed bags are still lingering all about the house. Someone asked me as I was leaving to sub for them in a few days, and I actually told them no! Go me!
So anyway, I just wanted to post this picture of our beautiful state champion (1st in the 800m, 3rd in the mile relay). Hopefully those medals will rub off a little good luck (and perhaps athleticism?) on our little daughter.