Monday, April 30, 2012

gooles' birthday

Pete and I spent last weekend at L’auberge Du Lac in Lake Charles, LA.  The weather was PERFECT.  The resort was awesome – included a LAZY RIVER with a swim-up bar.  Most importantly, it was my Jules’ 19th anniversary of her 21st birthday.

After the initial high of ditching my responsibilities, I missed my kids. Maybe not in the first few hours but definitely by the evening.  The older two were in DC for a wedding.  And Reef…he seemed totally fine. The boy has no separation anxiety whatsoever— which is probably one of the reasons we are okay with leaving him with Gigi and Papa.  Reef was thrilled to be with Papa Roach (a man who would makes our son the focus of his day) and didn't have a moment to pine for his parents…not with an action-packed schedule and new toys to keep him busy.

But back to Jules.  If I remember correctly, shortly after her initial greeting, the big announcement was “I’m bringing ‘bite me’ back.”  It might’ve been the booze talking (they were an entire day ahead of us), as I don’t recall hearing that phrase thereafter.  I feel it’s a good comeback, nonetheless.  

At dinner, Jules and 5 others burst into some random rendition of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'", right there in the middle of the dining room, full out Glee-style, hand movements, cheesy faces and all. 

Don’t change, lovelies!

Nevertheless, Julie rocks THE FORTY -- crazy good-looking with a phenom personality.  I am so lucky to call her my friend for 15 years.  Plus, she's the reason I'm now Team Brazil.  ,)

Pictures coming soon.  You’re welcome!













Friday, April 27, 2012

conservationist rednecks in training

Nearly forgot to share this story from a colleague.  So, as you probably know, Arbor Day is among us.  Apparently, her children care about the Earth.  AND they have lived in Arkansas for most of their lives.  Hence the following exchange:

“Hey, Mom, did you know we saved three gallons of water today?”
“How did you do that?”
“We pee’d in the yard.”


Maternal pride swells in moments such as these.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

our story

You may visit our wedding website here: www.weddingwire.com/mandiandpete

HIS STORY:

Our story goes a little something like this, "I saw her across a smoky room, the smell of wine and cheap perfume....."

Actually our meeting was not glamorous or planned. We were introduced at work by a mutual friend during a lunch outing. From there we became friends...who could talk about anything and everything. And though neither of us was looking for a relationship, magnetic forces were pulling us together. We soon realized we had so much in common. We often joked about sharing a brain or being my female counter part, we would say things like “get out of my head” often finishing each others sentences and thoughts. It was a connection that I have never shared with anyone. I knew after a short while that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Mandi. I could not imagine waking up without her by my side. I was head over heels in love.

The proposal:

As for the proposal, I knew I wanted to do something special. In 2010 we planned our first family trip to Colorado. We scheduled some tubing at Keystone on January 14, 2011. I had the ring ready, now I just needed to find a romantic spot. As faith would have it, the spot kind of picked us. The location was at the bottom of a tubing hill, along a path lit by beautiful Christmas lights. Mandi had mentioned how romantic it was so I took that as a sign for the perfect opportunity. And though a little dizzy from the previous ride, I held Mandi’s hand and slowed her down as she was racing back up the hill for another thrilling ride. I looked into her eyes and told her I loved her, and suitingly she replied “stop acting silly” with a giggle. I told her to give me a second and I continued, professing my love for her as her eyes filled with tears of joy, I dropped to my knee and asked Mandi to marry me.
One of our favorite parts of the proposal is that Bailey was standing nearby me, overhearing the proposal.  On the way back up the hill, Bailey said ”when a man says words like that...you just know," and we both laughed and thought that was the cutest thing.

Each day gets better and better and I am so happy to have found the love of my life. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

HER STORY:

Better Together!

There are stories in life that are easy to tell, and many that are difficult to tell, shared only with close friends.  Then there is of course another class of stories that are so precious that you feel the need to treasure them, holding them close, yet knowing that they are too great to keep to yourself.  Such is my own love story.  To be sure, everyone should think their own love story is the greatest, so mine may not be as unique as it feels to me.  When, in fact, I had little to do with my love story.  The true composer of this symphony is God, and I’m learning to give Him as much credit as my voice will allow.

I, like many young women, always imagined that I would end up with the perfect man for me. Unfortunately, I had no idea what that was supposed to look like.  It’s a dreadful temptation to look for the male version of yourself, which would not only be a redundant addition to my life, but more than likely a horrible fit. At various moments in life, I found myself looking but never quite finding what I was looking for.  This became so routine, that I became pretty oblivious to any sort of signals by a member of the opposite gender.  Many of my friends knew stories of my complete ineptitude to recognize when I was being flirted with, and I was quite happy to be oblivious for I assumed disappointment would ensue.  I reached a point in which the mere idea of a companion was low on my list of priorities. 

It was during that point in life, when I was disinterested in any potential relationships, when Pete and I met at a work outing through mutual friends.  Though we worked at the same company for quite some time, we hadn’t really interacted with each other until then.  It is not unusual for a young, single, gal to be faced with people trying to set you up.  Though, I continued to treat Pete with the usual conversational cordiality without becoming too attached and moved on. However, when several people would say the same thing about Pete and I being perfect for one another without conspiring, my ears did in fact perk up. 

In a few shorts weeks, group outings turned into a whirlwind of dates, blossoming into a love that neither expected – fantastic serendipity. We fell so in love, constantly amazed at the wonderful things we were discovering about each other.  Things that we never knew existed in another potential mate – indeed, the male and female version of the same person.

After meeting and falling in love in 2009, our lives together have been fulfilling and exciting. Three years later, there still exists the exhilaration for each other that we had on that very first date.  There’s always this certainty that we know what is real and true. And that is that we love each other and we’re determined to be there for each other every day.

Pete’s my best friend. The one that I tell everything to. The one that I can cry to and the one I rely on. He’s the one who I want to share the good and the bad and the happy and the sad.

I feel incredibly blessed to have found love. …rather, I think it found me when I was ready for it.  When I was able.  And willing to accept it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

all there is

Guess what he just did?  Just guess!   

Let me preface this entry with the fact that I’m addicted to pistachios.  I eat them all day.  Nearly.  But there always remains a handful or so whose shell I can’t crack.  I don’t know how he did it, but Panky cracked each one of them open, unshelled them, and delivered them to my desk.  It's the little things, people!

Here's a snap shot of the back of a book that I saw while in a book store once.  It was so sweet that it nearly made me cry when I read it.  The book is entitled "All There Is" and it's a compilation of love stories from StoryCorps.  The back cover has a story about a man reflecting on his marriage of 53 years with his late wife, Vivian.  He shares six things to always say to your spouse.  Oh, this is good stuff...there are few things more beautiful than an older husband and wife who still have so much love for each other.


This reminds me of a line that Petey asks me nearly daily...and he says it so very sincerely every single time:  "Is there anything I can do/get for you?"  I don’t think he even puts forth much effort in the asking -– he’s just so service-oriented that way.  Regardless, it makes me melt to pieces every time he does it.  I hardly ever have something for him to do for me (cause he already does so much) but I still love that he still asks...it really does make me feel loved. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

it's a bad day; not a bad life

It’s one of those days, y’all.

I overslept. And I’m still zonked. I skipped my run that I planned for. On purpose. Forgot my Claritin. The dang allergies have my eyes all puffed up like a freakin’ drug addict who hasn’t slept in days. My Panky is developing the sniffles. Even had traffic on the way to work. Got attacked about project updates within 5 minutes of walking in the door. My kids have STAAR testing and projects galore, so they’re screaming, hyped-up whackjobs this week. I’ve already been head butted, spit at, and scratched so hard I bled. And it’s only 11:00 A.M.

Normally, I would just write off the day. It’s clearly not going to get any better, so why bother? Let me just phone it in and hang on by the skin of my teeth.


Not today, my friends. Not today.

Something won’t let me half-ass things today. Something is pushing me to adopt my good friend’s life philosophy of “you will not beat me”. And you know what? I think it’s probably the start of something big. (Okay, so part of it is a little bit “f you”-based, but you get my point, right?)

There’s a lot of little stuff that keeps me busy far beyond the hours I put in as a corporate America slave, and some days I just plain don’t want to bother with it. But it needs to be done, so today I will do it. I’m not making one of my checklists with 43 things on it, of which I’m bound to only accomplish 2. I’m not going to get mad at myself when I just want to go to sleep instead of making myself crazy trying to finish this one little thing.

I’ll make up the run I skipped this morning.

Because shit needs to get done, and -- crappy day be damned -- I’m going to do it.

But not before turning up some ridiculously loud Temper Trap.

Friday, April 13, 2012

PLAY HELMET

Before Reef was mobile, I had a good long laugh with Pete over this…and I quote…”reeee diculous!” play helmet we saw in the One Step Ahead catalog. “Seriously, what kind of crazy overprotective parent puts their kid in a helmet during play time?”

ha! ha! ha! we laughed, pointing at the photo and shaking our heads.

And then Little Mister started crawling, and now he’s standing and even cruises up the stairs – like he owns the place. He’s letting go and standing and FALLING DOWN EVERYWHERE. Even with our newly improved super-speedy parent arms to try and catch him, sometimes we’re just not fast enough. 

My nerves are shot.

I need some Inspector gadget go-go gadget arms immediately.

and in my head, I keep picturing this ridiculous helmet. I keep saying ” YOU CAN NOT PUT YOUR CHILD IN THAT STUPID HELMET” and then our peanut runs into the wall because he’s crawling while watching a cat, and gets a bump and it’s all I can do not to race to the computer and put in my order.

I know this is something that all children go through. That falling down and bumps and bruises are a normal part of the process of learning balance and walking… but how do I do it and still save my sanity? I’m hard wired to protect him from pain and injury and while we’re doing the best we can to prevent it, unless we pad our entire house, the bumps and falls are still happening.

I need advice. and I need someone to talk me down from the “click here to purchase” padded helmet ledge that I am now teetering on.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

products i love: the bob

I should have blogged this months ago.  About this Bob Revolution Stroller.  I mean, it’s so freakin’ fantastic!  I guess you might say, “it’s the Cadillac of strollers.”

Even if you’re not a runner, it’s great on sidewalks, stores, parks, festivals/fairs, going over curbs, and in the woods.  I love the big sun shade.  I love the one-handed ease of movement.  I love the smooth ride and suspension.  I love the ease of fold.  Let’s just say I haven’t found anything I don’t love about this stroller.  There is nowhere that this stroller can’t handle with ease and maneuverability.  The “revolution” option is a MUST-HAVE for those of us who jog, making it easy to steer and take corners.  This puppy practically drives itself!

We didn’t buy it upon Reef’s arrival due to its price.  My mistake!  Trust me, folks -- it’s worth every penny.  My only regret is that we didn't buy it sooner.

Monday, April 9, 2012

a little sumpin sumpin

It’s fun to online window shop, isn’t it? I think I currently have 10 or more “virtual” shopping carts loaded down with things I wish I could buy. Sometimes it feels really therapeutic to fill them up and then close out the screen - all the fun of shopping without the buyer’s remorse!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

easter 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

19th street

Are you on the mailing list for Shop The Heights 19th Street? The "Word on the Street" newsletter will keep you up to date on all the latest happenings on 19th, our own little downtown in the Heights where I grew up. Swoon!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

i miss age 2

I kind of miss the way my kids smell when they were little. Now they just have body odor and morning breath. I like the 'after-nap' smell of when they were 2 years old. Kinda sweaty behind the neck and sweet and peach fuzzy. I don't miss the toddler years, but sometimes I just wish they could smell like that again. And take naps. And not talk back. And do their homework.

Monday, April 2, 2012

ODE TO 34

But before I go on and write ad nauseum about my birthday weekend, I want to thank everyone for the online and offline birthday greetings.  Most of them were quite touching, and there were some definite heart-felt moments in the expressions of my most cherished people.  It’s a joy having you in my life!

Moving on, it was a full birthday weekend! I have no shame in drawing out my inevitable creep towards 34 into 72 awesome hours. You heard me. We celebrated from Friday to Monday. Wait…That’s more than 72 hours. Whatever. You do the math. And I’d like to share some camera phone images of the weekend with you. You’re welcome.

Pete attempted to have me “relax” all last week in an effort to begin a celebration he called my birthweek.  Realistically, though, going into the office breaks up any momentum we have gained in celebrating, so we’ll just say the fun began on Friday when my boys met me at Mi Cocina for lunch.  Little Mister was all grins, which always brighten my day.  In addition, Pete surprised me with a suit and bowtie for our son to wear at our wedding, and an inconclusive statement that the weekend would ensue a few more surprises.


Friday night dinner at Uni Sushi went smoothly, given that there is typically a waiting list. Pete used his reservation phone app wisely this time! Little Mister joined us, and was quite the gentleman , exhibiting table manners and all!  The meal concluded with a fried cheesecake -- a veritable heap of fat and cholesterol with little redeeming nutritional value. Yes, this is coming from the same person who lived a nearly vegan existence in Texas at one time…long, long ago. 

Saturday was unbelievable! The weather - oh em gee - was gorgeous, so a bike ride to breakfast was an absolute MUST.  This was honestly the best birthday weekend ever. Not because it was super exciting, but because I've never been at a happier or more peaceful place in my life. No one's life is perfect, including mine. We all have our ups and downs and trust me, I've had mine. But oh girls, hanging out with my Panky as we laughed and cut-up -- that trumps any wild night in a club or huge birthday bash, (I've had those, too.)

The day was a bit of whirlwind of things to do, but date night at Spencers Steakhouse was…well, a night to remember to say the least. The food…ah…dee-lish. But more importantly, Pete RE-proposed to me with my new engagement ring. (For those of you who don’t know, my first engagement ring was stolen.) Oh, how it sparkles. And I swear it said “momma” when I opened the box. I was bummed leaving the house without doing my nails, so when a ring was being placed on my hand, you can bet I was really kicking myself.

Yesterday morning, I got my funemployed butt out of bed to a morning brunch with a few of my besties. There must have been a secret ingredient – LIKE CRACK – that they added to the drink mix because it was so delicious and smooth.


All in all, it’s been a great celebration, and somewhere between the forward folds and the breath of fire, I started feeling the effects of the weekend excesses. Hee hee!  I love spending time with my family and friends, regardless of birthdays.  And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Anyone have today off?  I sadly do not.  Though the idea of sleep was at the forefront of my priorities, I made a herculean effort to be here today.  J
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