Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Houston is still in the midst of a LONG drought.  Rain comes infrequently, but - so far - not in enough quantity to cover current needs or make up for past shortfalls.

Not. Fun.

I have heard estimates that the city will lose half of its trees.  Kyle recently learned that oaks, particularly the live oak trees that abound around here, take three years to demonstrate signs of damage.  We have two gorgeous live oaks in our front yard.  They are lovely, gnarly, old trees.  I hope they make it.

Early in November, the city started marking, and then cutting down, dead and irreparably damaged trees. 

Our neighborhood park now looks sad and sparse. 

On Monday, driving to Miss Olive's school, piles of downed trees and debris littered another local park.  I wanted to snap a photo this weekend, an image so often being worth a thousand words, but today they were gone. 

Stumps, big tire ruts, and deep dark mud remain.  It makes me sad.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


At Thanksgiving, we eat, we drink, we laugh, we love, and some of us watch football. 

We also look back and around and forward to see where we've been, where we are, and where we are going. 

We can all find things to pick: the frustrations, the failures, the hopes dashed, and the faces missing from the table. 

But, when I shift my gaze, the negative things fade and I see how much there is to be thankful for.

I am thankful to live in the U.S. 

Thankful to agree or disagree with my government, and thankful to say something about it or to be silent.

Thankful for a roof over my head and a soft pillow under it.

Thankful to be surrounded - near and far - by family and friends.

Thankful for family who want the best for me. For kind and encouraging words - of praise and correction.

Thankful for friends I see every day, and thankful for those I don't see often enough.

Thankful for Kyle and Olive.  For time spent laughing and crying with them and for them.

Thankful for years spent with and wisdom learned from those who are Home.

Thankful for work and for learning new things.

Thankful for tails that wag and whiskers that dance.

Thankful to see the rainbow after the rain.  Thankful for rain. Thankful for sun. 

Thankful for prayers.  Thankful for grace.  Thankful for forgiveness.

Thankful for love.

Thankful for life.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday Haiku.

Thanksgiving tomorrow.

Family. Food. Fun. Fellowship. Thanks. 

Peace, love, joy and football?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Running. Fast.

Several years ago, we visited Kyle's family in Kansas City for Christmas. 

One evening, while we were enjoying time at Kyle's brother's house, Matt and Liz's oldest son - then an only child and just over two - was running loops of the first floor of their home, chanting:

"I Running! ... I Running! ... I Running!"

He was at the end of his day, using every last ounce of energy to stay in motion a few seconds longer.

Recently, this scene flashed vividly to mind.  Olive was enjoying some time outside.  She looked to Kyle, and said,

"I Running!  Fast!"

We both grinned.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Appliances!

Purchasing appliances - and being sad about the dollar signs associated with that purchase but really happy about the result - is something that I am certain makes me a grown up.

We - mostly I - have stalked washers and dryers for about six months now.  It hasn't been a constant pursuit, but we've kept our eyes open for good deals to make the purchase of quality, efficient machines more palatable.

Last week, I found a particular set at a particular store for what seemed like a good bargain.  Kyle agreed.  And we jumped on it!

After the sale, 5% off, free delivery and free haul-away, we got the set for just over the price we would have paid for one of the two machines.

We did reluctantly go for an additional warranty, which always feels like a rip off, but we took full advantage of a similar warranty with an appliance we purchased when in STL so ... it was hard to resist.

Even more exciting ... they are being delivered today!  Super fun.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Roll It!

This evening I spent almost 30 minutes watching, and infrequently helping, Olive while she (1) carefully spread her crochet blanket from my Gramma Headley out on our playroom floor, (2) smoothed out any wrinkles or bumps, and (3) rolled it into a long tube.

Over and over and over again.

She is a great roller.  I'm not sure that skill itself will be helpful in her life, but she does it carefully and slowly.  And her dexterity at spreading out a piece of cloth (bigger and bigger over the past several weeks) and rolling it up is really increasing.  Most of all she found a task that she enjoys and finds great satisfaction in completing.  All of those things are very good.

Fun times.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday Haiku.

Tacos taste like home.

Onion. Cilantro. Lime. Yum.

Glad for vecinos.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I will admit that only yesterday did I realize Thanksgiving is next week.


I am aware of the calendar date, but, in my head, Thanksgiving was at least two weeks away.

I think this is the part where I start freaking out because we are behind on all our Christmas planning.

Yes.  I think so.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vote For Durham.

This isn't my standard post.


Our local elementary school, Durham Elementary, is a nominee in the Power a Bright Future grant program sponsored by The Clorox Company.  One school will be given $50,000, and three others will receive $25,000!  Three of the four cash prizes go to the highest vote-getters.  The last prize is a "judge's choice grant."

Now through December 9, 2011, you can vote for Durham Elementary, Houston, Texas.  You can vote once each day. 

Go online:

or text: clorox9200 to the phone number 44144.

That's it!

Vote early and often. 

(And, yes, our little one won't be starting school there for another few years, but the school could really use the funds.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I enjoy cooking, and have always loved to bake.  I'm no pro, by any stretch, but it makes me happy, keeps my hands busy, and the results are edible (most of the time).

From time to time, although not anytime recently, I try my hand at making bread.  The smell of yeast is one of my favorite aromas, and I really do enjoy the slowing down that (for me) waiting for all that rising requires.

Recently, Olive's school asked parents to bring in a few things.  We rotate bringing flowers to keep the classroom cheery and to teach the kids something about tending plants.  We also bring in apples, carrots, bread, etc. for food prep lessons.  I am not entirely sure what toddler food prep entails, but I volunteered to bring in a loaf of bread tomorrow morning. 

Sometime last week, I convinced myself that this weekend would be a good weekend to do some baking and that I should bring Olive's class come home baked bread. 

Taking advantage of Olive's epic weekend naps, I selected a cinnamon raisin milk bread.  So far, so good.  It is rising in the kitchen for the second time today.  (Technically, I am making cinnamon cranberry milk bread, because I had a bag of dried cranberries and only small boxes of raisins.  Although I was in the mood to fiddle with bread making, I was not in the mood to fiddle with all those little raisin boxes!)

I really hope it turns out.  I do have a back up Hawaiian bread loaf that I picked up at the grocery store, just in case my homemade cranberry cinnamon milk loaf doesn't cut it.


Olive has a toy cell phone.  She's had it for about a year, and it is still one of her favorite toys. 

On our way home from church today, Olive was playing with her cell phone in the back seat.  Kyle and I were chatting as we drove along.  Then we heard Olive say, "pancakes and syrup."  Kyle asked Olive who she was talking to, "Kate." 

We smiled.  Olive kept talking, and Kyle and I started listening to her little voice in the back seat. 

Olive checked in with Kate, Aunt Emily, Grampa, Papa Hoop, Uncle Blake, and Zoe ... and a few other people whose names we couldn't quite pick out.  She said, "Hello," to everyone, and told stories about her pancakes and syrup (our breakfast this morning) and our drive home from church for lunch and naps. 

We were in the front seats grinning away listening to her running through her mental rolodex and (without our prompt) picking a few people to 'touch base' with. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bumper Free.

So.  There are all sorts of issues with baby crib bumpers.  In October, the American Academy of Pediatrics joined other pediatricians around the world in recommending that infants sleep in cribs without bumpers.

We went without bumpers until Olive was about one, added them for a bit and then took them back out this past summer.  Yeah.  We had trouble making up our minds, and deciphering 'expert' advice.

I've thought that colored/patterned crib sheets would be a good solution to the safe for kids but also colorful, cute and pretty.

Apparently, others have had that super clever thought.  The folks at Skip Hop recently introduced a line of bumper-free bedding.

This one is from the Animal Zoo line ...

It is hard for me to argue with safe AND cute.


Thursday, November 10, 2011


Olive is a great sleeper.  Even so ... often ... she chats to herself for awhile as she heads to or from dreamland.  I love listening in.

Sometimes it is incomprehensible babble.  Probably most of the time for non-parental ears.  She tells her animals what she did that day. 

"Olive. park! walk self! stairs. slide.  jump cracks!" 

(Olive went to the park.  She walked by herself - on her own two feet, not without her parents.  She climbed the stairs and went down the slide.  Then she jumped the cracks in the sidewalk on the way home. Yup.  All. The. Way. Home.) 

This morning she chatted to her animal friends about her coming day. 

"Olive. school. friends.  Chloe. Gracie. Abby. Jack. Wyatt. Miss Ethel. ... um.  Caroline! ..." 

(Olive is going to school.  At school, she will see her friends: Chloe, Gracie, Abby, Jack, and Wyatt. She will also see her teacher, Miss Ethel.  Oh, and.  Her friend Caroline will be at school too.)

Love. It.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Brain Dead.

Not in the serious sense, just in the ... it was a day and the phone kept ringing just as I was getting into a groove and I responded to the questions and found my way back to that groovy place again and again and again and at the end of the day I had accomplished a lot but not the one thing I had hoped to accomplish and my brain is tired tired tired ... sense.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Because we don't say it enough.

I love my little one.  Seriously, more than I ever imagined I could.  And more than that every day. While Kyle and I both knew we loved her before she was born, she has shown us that we can love like we never imagined we could.

Even so, being a parent is hard.  Which doesn't mean that I love her any less.  It does mean that when Olive is in a MOOD at Target, I grit my teeth and sometimes wish that I was by myself.  Slowly walking.  Aisle after aisle.  Dreamily.  Carefully considering my purchase.  Without my toddler/banshee in tow.  

(By the by, on the trip I have in mind, she threw a fit because I refused to change her diaper in the middle of aisle 29, on the cool, dirty floor.  I picked her up and carried her--under. my. arm. kicking. and. screaming. all. the. way.--to the bathroom for a change.)

We all know it is hard.  Rewarding and wonderful, but hard.  But.  We rarely say it.  We smile, and put on faces that make other people think we have it all together.

Not long ago, Olive and I met a few friends at our local park.  One of our friends didn't stay long.  She arrived, unloaded her girls, managed one while the other got into a jam, watched tears flow all around, packed up and returned home.  The look on her face as she pushed her girls away in their stroller killed me.  I know she made the choice that was best for her family.  But.  I know she was hurting, and we all missed them.  She is an awesome mom.

We all want our families to work.  Our children to behave well, to be clean, and to obey.  To look as together as everyone else appears to be. 

But, the truth is this: no one has it all together.  No one.  No matter how 'together' they may seem, chances are high that they just finished mopping up their own explosion of crazy.  At the park.  In the middle of Target. Or. In their own back yard.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Playtime Outside!

We've had great weather recently ... so, we've been spending tons of time outside on the playset!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Daylight Savings Time.

Falling back.

It used to be so wonderful.  An extra hour. 

But today. 

Olive woke up at her usual time, without regard for the clock.  She raced full speed all day.

By the end of the day, we were struggling to keep up ... and to keep her up until her standard bedtime.

So that maybe, just maybe, her standard waking time will coincide with a more appealing hour of the morning.

Who knew that one little hour could make such a difference?!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Yesterday, I stepped away from my desk around lunchtime.

I decided to visit a local grocery store (1) to pick up some muffins for Saturday breakfast and (2) to find a quick bite for lunch.

Near my office, there is a giant HEB.  The selection is great, they have tons of prepared food, and they have a great bakery. 

I figured I would grab a salad or a cup of soup, but ...

They were sampling pot stickers.  I enjoyed the sample, but was disappointed to find the only pot stickers for sale - cooked, but cold - in a case near the vendor. 

However, I asked the vendor if she had any hot pot stickers for sale.  She got me some fresh from the steamer, and, two minutes later, I was headed to the cashier with warm pot stickers (and yummy muffins from the bakery).

Friday, November 4, 2011


One last Halloween inspired post.  I promise. 

I followed a 'pin' to this awesome jeweled pumpkin. (Ah, Pinterest.)  Inspired, I found a few foam pumpkins on sale, convinced Kyle to wield some matte black spray paint, and hot-glued some rhinestones. 

I LOVE the results.  I think they look especially great as a centerpiece on a white table cloth.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Costumes at the Park.

Last Saturday we got gussied up and headed to the annual fall festival that our neighborhood sponsors.  Olive jumped (literally) at the opportunity to wear her Minnie Mouse costume again.  She enjoyed eating pizza and cookies, and running around the park with her friends.  She even gave the sack race a try!  (Kyle lent a hand, but our girl loves to jump.)

The weather was beautiful, and it was great to hang out with so many fun people from the neighborhood. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Fun Prize!

Earlier this month, one of the blogs I follow sponsored a giveaway.  The prize was a cute, ceramic, egg 'carton' from Anthropologie.  I entered because well it was worth a shot and the prize was appealing, and, then, I promptly forgot about it.  I just don't win these things.

But this time I did!  So fun!  The ceramic pretty arrived late last month, but it took me a bit to get some snaps. 

Thank you very much, Whitney!  I love it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


On Halloween, we took Olive to a few houses in our neighborhood.  Before we set out, she hopped around our house in anticipation.

Olive was a bit shy with her "trick or treats", but she followed up nicely with "thank you" each time.

As we walked from house to house, Olive would gaze into her bucket and whisper, "candy!"  or, sometimes, "awesome!"