Thursday, February 26, 2015

veggies and other randomness.

this week, hollis ate a baby carrot! and also a slice of raw bell pepper (yellow). this is exciting news in my life.

also, emme has started saying "bucks wild". i.e. "i'm going bucks wild"; "that song makes hollis bucks wild". it's my favorite.

also, how many times can we listen to uptown funk before i start hating that song? it's so catchy, but omg my kids cannot get enough of it. i also wonder if the language is a little questionable (probably intentional, but whatever), but have i mentioned they really reeaaallllyyy love it.

i'm ready for it to be warm again. and yes, i know how ridiculous that is compared to all the people basically everywhere else in the country. i get depressed and reclusive when it's cold.













Monday, February 16, 2015

mardi gras 2015.

we continued our annual tradition of heading to my hometown for mardi gras weekend this year, and it was absolutely the best time yet. the kids were soooo into it and we had a blast.



we got in late thursday night and hung at my parents' during the day friday. we ate judice inn (obviously), had gumbo for breakfast, let the kids play and hang out and watch movies all day, jb and my brother got out to play some tennis, and then we hit up the parade friday night. our tradition is to park in our area, walk over and get some pizza at this yummy spot, then back to our parade station and wait for the action. the friday parade was later than usual this year, but super fun. hollis loooooved the marching bands and the kids were both so cute waving their hands for beads. we caught a ton of stuff and by the time we got home, both kids were asking to go to bed. win!



saturday we took a nice long walk in the morning (after king cake for breakfast, duh) then headed to the fair. since they'd never really been to a fair, i had no idea how they would take it, but oh.my.goodness they were in heaven. we were there for less than two hours and spent an obscene amount of money as they wanted to play every game and ride on everything. it was awesome. some friends came with, one of whom is a 6 year old who emme loves and the two of them teamed up to ride lots of stuff. ek was so brave i couldn't believe it. she even convinced me and jb to take her on this terrifying ride called skater. she was so tough...i, on the other hand, was shaking and counting the seconds until that awful ride was over. ha.





after naps we headed back out. some friends of my parents have an awesome gathering saturday evening every year with all the food/snacks/wine/etc. this year they had cute crafts for the kids and we got to eat and chill and play before heading to the next parade. our friends met us and emme and amelia were thrilled to play and run around together. we caught another boat load of stuff, then let my parents take the kiddos home while jb and i headed over to the blue moon for some zydeco dancing. we saw cedric watson who was amazing, as usual. we also met up with some austin friends who were in town enjoying their first lafayette mardi gras.




sunday everyone was pretty tired, so we took it easy. more gumbo for breakfast and my mom fixed an amazing pork roast with limas and sweet potatoes and french bread, etc for lunch before we hit the road. i would have sworn the kids would sleep the entire ride home, but they were only out for about an hour. amazingly, for as tired as they were, they did great on the ride. we got back, got in jammies, and relished a restful night back in our own beds. laissez les bon temps roulez, indeed.



Thursday, February 12, 2015

happy valentine's day (almost).

the kidlets will miss the valentine's party in their classes tomorrow because we will be heading to my hometown for some mardi gras weekend action. ek was sort of sad about missing the party, but when given the choice, there was no question she wanted to hit up the parades.

luckily, their teachers said we could bring our cards in today and they'd collect cards for my kids tomorrow that they can get on monday. i procrastinated on these (should have made them over the weekend), but they turned out ok. the kids watercolored on paper, which i then cut into hearts. we needed 40 valentines total, so there was no way to let them cut out that many. i cut up some card stock and wrote their names and then emme and i rubber cemented the hearts on. call it good. ek can write her name (kinda), but it takes up basically a whole page and takes her 5 minutes to write it once, so i couldn't figure out how/when to get her to write it 23 separate times. sigh.


Monday, February 09, 2015

talking.

hollis is talking a ton these days. i love hearing how he expresses himself and thinks to convey what he wants us to know.

he's been snotty for about two weeks now, post flu, late winter awesomeness. he crawled up in bed with me the other morning early. he likes to whisper and tell me things at this time. that day, he was rubbing his leaky nose and he whispers "i need a nose napkin". obviously, it's been nose napkin ever since.

also, this weekend we were at a bookstore and i heard a mother talking to hollis. i turned around and there was a little girl - probably 12-18 months. i asked if her name was hollis (it was) and i looked at hollis and said "hollis! her name is hollis too! isn't that neat?". he looked at the girl, then looked at me and said "no."

Thursday, February 05, 2015

brrrr.

our heater went out yesterday. huge bummer, but this time around the fix isn't too crazy - we just need to replace the ignitor. apparently our furnace is 16-17 years old, though, and 15 years is considered unbelievably great, so...it's likely it will give out in the near future (hopefully that means we can get 2-3 more years out of it...). so that will be $7-12K. which is an astronomical amount of money. yikes. maybe we will win the lottery before then!

anyway. stuff like this makes me super appreciative of a lot of things. where we live - seriously, if we lived in another state, we would have much crazier winters and this would be a huge ordeal. it only got down to 39 here last night, and it stayed a balmy low-mid 60s in the house. we bundled the kidlets up in flannel footie pajamas and let them sleep in ek's bed with the space heater. and jb and i just rocked lots of blankets. but all in all, no worse for the wear. definitely wouldn't be the case if we were dealing with temps in the teens and below.

i'm also just grateful to even have a house and warmth and all those modern necessities that we take for granted. it's crazy. there are so many people who don't have a place to live at all, and this time of year has got to be just awful - even in (mostly) sunny texas.

here are the kids last night and this morning. in spite of the chilliness, they are very resistant to wearing winter-appropriate clothing. also, gumbo makes everything better.





Tuesday, February 03, 2015

menu.

i've been doing a decent job of menu planning lately. except when jb was traveling, but whatever. most of the stuff i've been making is very vegetable-heavy, so i'm in heaven. i am a veggie lover (much more so than fruit, which i can take or leave).

anyway. the hardest part about this is that the kids aren't super veggie eaters, especially in their current picky phase. i want to be a hard-ass and only serve what i'm cooking for the adults to them, but somehow i just know they're not going to eat a brussels sprout salad or cauliflower veggie stir fry. so, i cook two meals most nights. maybe if they just see us eating healthy stuff, it will normalize it for them a little?

the food is pretty, i think. points for trying.

asian noodle jar salad (modified a little).

steamed veggie salad with macadamia nut dressing

emme & cate.

we met cate and her parents at ek's dance class a couple months ago. turns out they live around the corner and they are awesome. emme loves cate and it is super nice and convenient for her to have a neighborhood buddy that's her age (and whose parents we also like).

hollis loves cate too - every time we walk or drive by her house, he says "i wanna go cate's house right NOW!".





Friday, January 30, 2015

anatomy lesson.

hollis has been interested in body parts lately. particularly his nipples, which he is confused about. are they a belly button? a penis? no, something else altogether.

this morning he was walking around naked after poo-pocalypse 2015 and he pointed to his nipples and said "this is nipples!" and i said "that's right!" and then he pointed to his navel and said "this is beebo! where other one beebo?". if you've got two nipples, you need to belly buttons, right?




Wednesday, January 28, 2015

the chair story: a real conclusion.

you can read the chair story in full here: part 1 & part 2.

so we got the chair back in september, amazingly. aaaannnndddd...it was gross. so we stuck it in the shed and it was stinky and gross in the shed and in the back of my mind. can you say square one?

in december, jb was clearing out the shed for our holiday party and obviously the chair had to go, since it was not fit for humans to sit on. so it came inside, into the laundry room. again, not a solution, but who has time to deal with all these things? so it annoyed me in the laundry room for a few weeks until i asked jb to bring it elsewhere. and then it moved to the back porch, where it hung out for another week or two.

and then my need to complete tasks took over and i decided to handle it. months ago, right when we got it back initially, i had contacted a business called cardenas upholstery near our house. this place has exclusively 5-star yelp reviews, but all the reviews said it was sketchy and weird but to deal with that because they do great work. i figured i had already experienced the sketchiest scenario imaginable, so i emailed them pics of the chair and asked for a quote and how much fabric they would need. they got back to me, but i just dropped the ball - didn't feel like trying to decide on fabric, etc etc.

but. this was the time. so a couple weeks ago, i emailed cardenas's shop back asking if the quote was still good. they said sure. i looked at the entire internet for a few days and then just bit the bullet on a fabric that seemed reasonably priced and like it might look ok on the chair.

friday the 16th i was working from home, so i drove the chair to the shop on my lunch hour. let me pause and describe this place for you. there are no signs. there are not actually doors. it's on a random dead-end and is in the same lot as an auto repair shop (from what i can tell) and there are pieces of machinery and cars and random other stuff everywhere. so weird. i get out of my car and a dude comes out of the tent-like structure to my left. i told him i had a chair. he said "did you call?" and then pulled my chair out of my trunk and brought it inside. i followed him with the fabric and he plops the chair down on a surface. this place is covered in torn-up boat seats and every furniture piece you can imagine. there is foam all over. it's dark. there are some tools and a desk with 800 things on it, most of which probably don't belong on a desk.

so, my confidence isn't super high at this point. dude hands me a spiral notebook that looks like it's come out of a seventh grade boy's backpack at the end of the school year. he tells me to write my name on it, so i put that, my email, cell number and a description of my chair and fabric, figuring at least i can do what i can do...and i leave.

i don't have any indication of how long this process will/should take or when/how i can expect my chair back. but i figure it's been through worse, so...here we go. then yesterday afternoon, my phone rings. i answer and the first words i hear are "what side of the fabric do you want us to use?" i was like...whaaaa? and then i remembered the chair and told him to use the side i preferred. he hung up. men of few words over there. i figured at least it was a good sign that they seemed to be associating my fabric with my phone number, and i assumed it would be another week or so.

oh, no. i got off my 8am conference call this morning and had missed a call on my cell phone. i called back and the dude says "your chair is ready".

boom.


it looks amazing in real life. they did an unbelievable job. they charged half of what any other place in town quoted me. one year later: victory. 

the end!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

bikes.

oh, austin. how i love your 72-degree days in january.

jb is out of town this week (left this morning), so we decided to bike the kids to the park after school yesterday.



feeling better.

i still have a voice that sounds like i've been chain smoking for 42 years, and hollis is still a wee bit snotty, but other than that we are basically better. whew. i never get sick and i don't do well with it. i think i've gotten sick more times since i had kids than the entire rest of my life combined.

anyway. this weekend was gorgeous and it was so amazing to be feeling better and not contagious and get out of the house. i stayed home with hollis on friday so we could have one more day to convalesce. i was still fairly sick that day, so since i was sticking close to home anyway, i kept him with me. we did have a hot date to whole foods while our housekeeper was there and that was nice, even if it involved driving around town in the pouring rain.


friday night we took it easy, but saturday morning we had a birthday party for one of our neighbor's kidlets. they had a fun jump and cupcakes, so the kids were in hog heaven. hollis discovered tee-ball and we realized we have not been exposing our kids to enough sports. 


both kids took great naps on saturday since hollis had had a rough night the night before. i used that time to rest a little and straighten up the house. when emme got up, she helped me clean the porch, which is always fun - i love to do projects with my little helper. 



saturday evening we went to one of my co-worker's house. his family has two girls on either side of ek's age, and they also have all the toys, so the kids were in heaven. i always feel like we have way too many toys, then we go to other peoples' houses and i feel like we are depriving our children. sigh. 



sunday morning we woke up and walked around the corner to cate's house (after some quality burrito time, of course). it was marathon day (the half i said i was going to run and then never did distance training for...), and their house is on the route, so we had breakfast and half-watched the runners. the kids are obsessed with cate's house. 


and we ended the weekend with friday night meatballs (on sunday) since i didn't feel like anyone should be exposed to our germy house on friday. emme loved having buddies over - this is her friend oliver, the sweetest boy ever. 


yay for good weather and wellness! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

things i hate about the flu.

3/4 of us got the flu shot this year, and 3/4 of us have the flu right now. it's super fun. emme got the shot and does not have the flu, but our rad pediatrician put her on tamiflu as a prophylactic measure anyway, so i hope she stays safe. hollis and i are plowing through - it's not as bad as it could be, i guess. they said we will likely have a milder and shorter case since we were vaccinated and hooked up the tamiflu in short order. i am not messing around with sickness.

i hate feeling insanely tired and energy-less, and i hate it even more when it's accompanied by an inability to get sound sleep. hollis barfed last night (i think it was from coughing so hard - poor dude) all over his bed, so he came into our bed, jb headed to the couch. sleeping with a toddler is like having a magnetized bowling ball with toenails in your bed. he's an insane person, for real. my jawbone wrist band thing told me i was up at least 6 different times during the night, and i feel like that's a conservative estimate.

i hate when i'm sick too because my need to deal with all the germs by washing all the things falls to me, but i feel crappy and want to just lay on a couch.

i hate the achy body stuff because i know my kidlet is feeling it in his little body and that makes me super sad.

i hate that i'm not "working", but i'm also not doing anything productive.

i hate coughing. hate it.

is this enough whining for today?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

icing.

when we woke up a couple days ago, there was frost on the roofs and in the grass in our neighborhood. emme walks justin out when he leaves for work every morning. she ran inside (still in pajamas):
"mommy! mommy! there's icing everywhere! there's a lot of icing on miss faye's house and a little bit of icing on the other house and even some icing in the grass."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

how to blurb a blog.

this is a DIY post. what what?! it's mostly for emma, but i thought maybe there are some other people who might want to do this too.

i've been making our blog into a book since 2010, so this year's will be our fifth book. it's awesome. it is totally the best/easiest way for me to record/keep track of our lives (mostly) and have something pretty and nice to show for it. plus, i think it will be a nice thing for the kids to look back on in years to come since, let's face it, it's mostly about them.

so. here's a brief tutorial on what's worked for me. i use blurb's booksmart application and have loved it so much/been so pleased with the results, i haven't tried anything else.

step one:
go to blurb.com and click on booksmart under the "create" tab.

step two:
download booksmart!
step three:
the booksmart app will launch and you should choose "start a new book". one of the best things about this software is that it auto-saves your project so you don't have to freak out if things are buggy. i will say the software can be kind of slow/buggy, but just give it a minute...it's going to space.

step four:
slurp your blog! i use blogger and just enter my email address and pw for that and click continue.

step five:
choose the blog/blogs you're making into a book. i have a second random blog that i don't publish from or talk about, so i de-selected that one and clicked continue.

step six:
select all your entries. this is awesome the first year (select all! yay!) and less awesome in subsequent years. i choose select none and then manually check all my posts for the year i am documenting. click continue!

step seven:
get coffee or tea while photos are importing. this can take a while, especially for a whole year.

step eight (optional):
if you forget a post or posts, you can highlight them in the left tool bar and click "add to book" and it will add them. make sure you have selected where you want to add them (chronologically or whatever) in the book or it will be a pain to move the posts. this year, i started the 2014 book in june and uploaded the first half of the year then and just added the rest of the year. it may help to batch-add posts (highlight 5-10 at a time, then click add, and so on) if you have lots of posts because it is pretty slow during this part.

if you are uploading everything at once, it just takes a while, but you shouldn't have to use the "add to book" feature - you'll just select your template and go from there. i always use the viewfinder template/theme because it's simple and clean and i like it. but there are some other nice ones too.

tips:
you'll get some warnings/heads up stuff from blurb. they'll tell you your book has 9 million pages and you'll need to pare it down. duh, you haven't even started editing yet. just click ok and move on. cool your jets, blurb.


step nine:
edit! you really will need to go page by page. editing is neither quick nor painless, but it's also not awful. the drop downs under each post have the text and pictures separated so you can move them when you pick the layout you want for the post. i use the text layouts for my pages of wordiness and then throw in cute montages from all the picture layouts usually at the end of the word parts of my posts.

possibly the best thing in booksmart is the edit layout piece. it's helpful to start with a layout that looks close to what you're looking for, then edit from there. you can adjust picture sizes, text boxes, etc. then, you can save your layout and use it again and again by going to "my page layouts". this is especially great for stuff like instagram photos which are square and don't fit into the pre-fab photo templates in the existing layouts.


and that's basically it! i usually do my covers last and i delete extra pages as i go. my 780 page book will likely be pared down to about 120-200 pages. at the end, you select what type of pages you want (matte, glossy, etc). i think i've always done matte on standard paper and been totally pleased with it, though i'm sure the premium paper is a lovely upgrade. 

good luck and let me know if you have any questions!



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