Jul 29, 2014


Cade's vocab is growing by leaps and bounds (which oddly enough are the things he does when not talking). Here are the interpretations on some of the lesser known words

  • Yeh-yee: Lexi
  • Yack: Grandpa Jack
  • Ugh: Hug
  • Rowey: Rowan
  • Mill: Milk
  • Bo: No
  • Pees: Please
  • A-boo: as in peek-a-boo
  • Aw-un: All done
  • Eee: Eat

And a few that do not require interpretations

  • Bubble
  • Dada
  • Mama
  • More
  • Yeah
  • Whoa
  • Wow
  • Book
He's pretty good at answering yes-or-no questions even if he can't say all the words to tell you the full sentence. He knows several signs too. One of the most impressive has been tonight when he signed and said "eee more pees." And then true to his word, he ate a full three course dinner. Not too shabby, baby, not too shabby.

Jul 28, 2014

Organization Frenzy

Ya know how when you don't have anywhere to be or anything to do, you manage not to do anything? But as soon as you're busy, you jump into high gear because suddenly time seems like a precious commodity?

That's where I'm at this week. Just one more week of my 30 hour workweek, all from home schedule. Quick! Do all the projects you've been putting off for the past 18 months! Hurry!

(If I've been procrastinating them for that long do they really need to get done right now? No, of course not. But doing them "next week" suddenly seems much less likely so...frantic summer cleaning mode.)

Cade's closet and the guest room closet are high on the list. Like take my toddler with me to Walmart for closet organization shelves and bins at 8 in the morning before preschool priority level.

While I normally appreciate the drama of before and after pics, the before was just too embarrassing to capture digitally, let alone, publish. So you'll have to settle for just an after picture.

The number one thing I learned doing this: we actually have more clothes that DON'T fit Cade than we do clothes that fit him. The diaper box on the floor, the blue bin, another (unphotographed) diaper box and a (also unphotographed) trash bag are all full of clothes that don't fit. With the the exception of the blue bin which is clothes he's not big enough for, they are all ones he's outgrown. We have a few friends who have recently announced they are expecting and a few more who hope to be expecting later this year. The first ones to announce it is a boy are getting a major windfall.

Jul 27, 2014

Playground of the Rich and Famous

When it comes to playground, we don't play around. Nothing but best playgrounds for my kid.

I picked Cade up from his sleepover at the Turner B&B this morning and we went to the Bridgepoint Elementary playground which is literally a $1M+ playground. Clearly we needed to see it and play on it for ourselves.

It's awesome. There are three big playscapes plus swings and some crazy rubber hill things. The ground is astroturf on some kinda rubber so it squishes a bit as you walk and I imagine is ultra safe for little bodies.

I busted out with the panorama feature on my iPhone and what I got wasn't too bad. As you can see, Cade was into the colorful hills. He played king of the mountain on them repeatedly but by the time I was taking this pic, needed a short rest. Doesn't it look like he's in a Dr. Seuss book?


UntitledMost of the pictures I took are of the back of his head because per the usual, he's running every which way and I'm almost keeping up (also I like to let him lead our activities so I happily follow). I did manage to get a few of his face though. Most importantly, this mama and baby park selfie. We're a cute pair if I do say so myself.

As you've seen via the blog this month, we've been pretty busy. I'm really loving toddlerhood and the increased freedom we have. I like to be out and about and Cade is very agreeable to it. Checking out parks, pools, splashpads and all the things in between is keeping us happy, busy and more or less outta trouble.

I think as the weather cools down this fall and he is that much older the fun adventures will continue. We already have Groupon tickets to go to the zoo. And even in the winter when outdoor activities might take a hiatus, I've got my eye on the Thinkery (Children's Museum), more library activities and maybe even a mom-and-me class. I'm looking forward to next summer too, when he'll be a year older and a year more able to climb playgrounds, go down big slides and all the other super fun parts of being a kid.

Jul 25, 2014

Good Day Friday

Greeting The Breakfast Club
while waiting on Mom's drink
As the official referee of good days in mine and Cade's lives, I'd say today was a darn good day.

First we slept in, especially important since that crazy toddler was awake and talking in bed until 9p last night, a full 90 minutes after bedtime. So we slept in and then went to Starbucks before school. Honestly I didn't need caffeine but we're regulars and its just kinda nice to start our day with so many smiles. The staff knows us, they all loudly greet us (ie Cade) when we walk in and take turns talking with him while we wait for my drink. There's also "The Breakfast Club," a group of 4-6 grandparent aged folks who have coffee there every day around 8a. In the past few weeks Cade has really made friends with them. We always stop by their table to say hello and give out baby high fives. They tell him how cute he is and to be good for mom.

After Starbucks we had a few hours of normal weekday things. School for him, meetings and work for me. My meetings went well (always nice) and right before lunch I had two friends tell me they are expecting babies in January! I'm so excited for them, especially for one for whom this is long awaited news. Yay!

Eating snacks at the pool
After lunch, I got a pedicure and then picked up Cade from school. At first he was sad because his class was headed to the playground but then I told him we were going to the pool. I'm not sure he really got it but his teacher assured him that he was going to get to play outside and at a better place and with mommy and that it would be way more fun than the school playground. Something in that sold him and he perked right up.

We checked out a new pool, one with a huge kiddie pool. It was pirate lagoon themed so there was a pirate ship with water slides, a lagoon waterfall thingy and a crocodile and a shark that could be climbed on. It was the first pool Cade had been to with a graduated walk-in and that was shallow enough for him to walk around. After 10-15 minutes of warming up, he was sold. We had a blast!

Then home for Curious George, dinner (and no plate throwing tonight!), lazy TV, bubble bath and bed at 7:30p. Good day Friday indeed.

Jul 23, 2014

Mommy Favorites

Amanda is my favorite mommy blogger of all time and I am very honored to tell you I actually know her awesome self. She is besties with AJ (my college roomie) and she and I have been co-bridesmaids together. She now has no less than FOUR kiddos, including one whose age can still be reported in days, and yet she's going to splash pads and Costco. I can barely handle splash pads with my one kiddo and I can't handle Costco alone.

If you need a laugh or some mommy-inspiration, read her stuff. Also she's a damn good photographer so there are cute kid pics too!

Another fav: my favorite parenting advice article as of late is this one. Specifically this part

Set the bar low. As I wrapped up my first son's 1-year visit, the pediatrician said, "Your job this year is basically just to keep him alive." I laughed. He wasn't joking. I thought, "Really?! Just keep him alive? What about proper nutrition, developmental milestones and nurturing his growing brain with educational toys?" Then little Eli started walking... and running... and climbing... and jumping... and I understood the pediatrician's advice, even as I marveled at my little daredevil's ability to find danger in the safest of environments.
So yes, lower your expectations of yourself. Your sweet baby is about to go running into the world. Wear comfy shoes, try to keep up, and stock up on colorful band-aids.

Wild (God)Child

Go, go, go, go. Always on the move.
Ryan must think he has a wild child for a godson.

Last Tuesday he and Margeaux came over for dinner. Cade had gotten dinner and finger paints all over him so he was stripped down to his plaid shorts and diaper. For the whole time he was up, Cade was on fire. Run to Daddy, be thrown in the air, peel over laughing, get down, run around the kitchen island and repeat. Then to the toys. Pick up a ring from the ring stacker, throw it on the ground and yell "Woah!" Repeat. Laps between the couch and the windows. Climb into Mom's lap, outta Mom's lap, eat some Cheerios, back into Mom's lap.

Ross and I barely noticed the chaos til Margueax started laughing and said it was only funny because it was an hour out of their day, not every hour of every day. No wonder we're tired. Oh yeah, I guess he could appear a little exhausting to the unaccustomed observer.

Yesterday Ryan and Margeaux came over again, this time to deliver cookies. (Bless you Margeaux, you can bake too many cookies any day.) Again, Cade was stripped down to just his shorts, this time because we were recently returned from the pool. He showed off his screeching, played tug-o-war with Lexi, ran circles around the living room, asked to be picked up, demanded to be put down, enthusiastically ate snacks, sprinted to the windows, sat on the window sills, darted down the hallway. You know, your typical every day toddler tornado.

Then tonight Ryan called me about some work stuff and while we were talking I yelled "ouch!" and then "Cade! Don't bite Mama!". (Though biting is normal naughty toddler behavior, this was the first time Cade had done it.)

Given these last few interactions with his godson, Ryan probably thinks it is Lord of the Flies over here. It's more like Never Never Land but the fact remains: there's a wild child toddler tornado in the house.

Jul 22, 2014

Knock knock. Who's there? Opportunity.

Also, when opportunity knocks, you celebrate with a
(outlet mall) shopping spree, champagne and ($6) roses.
When opportunity comes a-knockin, you answer. And so I did.

I've been very happy living in self-employment land. Like any job, it isn't perfect (that's why they call it a job), but I really dig cutting out at 3p most days and noon on most Fridays. I dig the lack of expense reports, the uber-responsive IT department and the down-the-stairs commute. So needless to say, it would take a seriously sweet full-time job to put all that on hiatus.

Like most good opportunities, it started with a margarita and ended with a dinner date with my husband. Somewhere in the middle came a whirlwind interview, job offer and acceptance. To cut to the chase: I start as a Marketing Campaign Manager at Abila on August 4.

What makes Abila (Uh-bill-a) and this particular job so sweet I'd leave the land of yoga pants and short days you ask? Well, a lot of things.

First, I know my bosses already and I like them. Not only that, they are smart and I can learn a lot from working with they day in and day out.

Second, it focuses on a part of marketing I've only recently become acquainted with: lead generation. I've dipped my toe in that this year with a couple of my clients and I'm really geeky for it. Going right along with smart bosses, being down in the lead gen weeds day in and day out will be the best way to really sharpen that skill set.

Third, it's back in nonprofit world! You know how much I love nonprofit world.

Fourth and finally, it's a good logistical match. Only 15 minutes from home, health insurance (because it's not if the wee baby breaks a leg, it's when), family-friendly company, good vacay and potential for flexible scheduling (which lends itself nicely to yoga pants).

The odds of finding all four of those is practically unheard of so I did what any smart working mama would do: I jumped on it.

Big change for our family? Yup. Good change for our family? Totally. Excellent big picture decision? Absolutely.

Jul 21, 2014

Have you seen my keys? Yes.

UntitledI have big dreams for our family. Big dreams of organization and Pottery Barn-esque living. Of never saying "have you seen my keys?" again. Or at the very least being able to answer "yes" when someone does ask.

Well it isn't Pottery Barn (it's Target) and I doubt "have you seen my keys?" will be removed from our vernacular. But I'm hoping this little "Mom-Dad-Kids" cubby shelf will at least imply that our family is a wee bit more organized. Maybe it'll even catch on and keys, sunglasses and wallets will be at the ready when we're ready.

If nothing else, it matches the picture frame nicely.

Jul 19, 2014

Toddlers and Trains

UntitledThis afternoon Erin and I took our small people on a toddler sized train ride at a local park. It was great! The kids loved it! In addition to the train being great, the weather was great. It didn't even hit 90 today! This has been an unusually mild summer and freakishly cool couple of days in Texas.

(This picture is while we were waiting to go and per the kid usual, waiting was not their favorite part.)

After the ride around the park, they played on a train-themed playground and then a regular playground. Not a bad day to be a toddler in Texas.

This way

That way

PR is not all martinis and manicures

A girlfriend posted this article to Facebook today and it could not be more accurate.

Having had my hand in the PR cookie jar in all my jobs, I can tell you, there aren't nearly as many martinis, manicures, happy hours or other fluff as most people think. There's a lot more prepping executives, writing and rewriting, calendar balancing, position statement creation, crisis communication planning and other non-alcoholic activities involved.

So why martinis and manicures the first thing that often comes to mind? I especially like this paragraph and its contribution to the explanation
On a New York Observer list of fictional publicists in pop culture, every notable character since the mid-'80s is a woman — typically sharp-tongued but not supersmart. Think Jennifer Saunders on Absolutely Fabulous, or Debi Mazar on Entourage. One of the most popular sketches on Comedy Central’s Kroll Show is "PubLIZity," a reality-TV parody starring Nick Kroll and Jenny Slate as vapid pseudo-professionals in neon heels. Even when they’re portrayed as savvy, like Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones, PR people are never intellectual heavy-hitters. They are the working world’s sorority girls: salad-eating, prosecco-ordering up-talkers, manicured to the hilt.
TV shows aren't where it ends though. The number of chick-lit books featuring women PR, advertising or other communication pros living in London, NYC, and LA and hopping between social and work events with no discernible differences doesn't help either. They are always being woo-ed by mega-watt smiles from millionaire men (sometimes married) and sneaking off to the coffee shop to gossip with their girlfriend co-workers. While my career has definitely included some coffee shops, the flirting millionaires have been notably few.

Even in college, the number of peers in the COM who told me they wanted to do food, beverage, fashion and entertainment PR kinda killed me. I mean, yes, I want to get paid to peddle wine too. But there are only so many jobs in those arenas. Much less glitzy fields like investor relations, nonprofit (my fav), tech (my other fav), education, energy, and health are where the bulk of the jobs are.

I suppose this whole soapbox is to say two things

  1. The marketing and PR department at your company is not fueled by martinis. They are most likely sharp, talented individuals who could write a whole newspaper's worth of content before most of their non-marketing peers could spell their names.
  2. If you are considering a career in marketing or PR, remember, most of the jobs are not glitzy but they can be rewardingly geeky.

Jul 18, 2014

Cold Day in July

UntitledLike seriously, a cold day in July. I went on a run (ie walk) at 1p today and it was as cool outside as inside. As in well below 80 degrees.

Never in all my days as a Texan have I known a sub-80 afternoon in July.

Seriously. The weatherman said we set a record low for the month.

Jul 17, 2014

Big Tex

UntitledLast week was Texas week at pre-school. Check out the art project/photo shoot the kiddos did.

Cutest cowboy around.

In other cute news, last night Ross and I had a dinner date and Meg watched Cade. I told her he goes to bed at 7/7:30 and so at about 7:15 he was looking pretty sleepy. They were watching a cartoon and she says to him "Are you ready to go night-night?"

He says "yeah," grabs his stuffed monkey, walks to his room, points to the pacifier basket and signs "more," grabs himself a paci and marches right to his crib.

I know, my kid is the kind that other parents dream about. It's awesome.

Jul 12, 2014

Happy Birthday Neighbor!

Checking out the big water slide together
We spent approximately 100x more time outdoors today than the typical July day. Early this morning we had a family outing to Lake Creek Park which has a dog depot (dog park) and a kid park. There were so many more dogs than when we usually go during the week. Since Cade has recently learned to say "puppy" he was on speaking overdrive. "Puppy, puppy, puppy, puppy."

After nap time, we went across the cul-de-sac to celebrate our neighbor boy's second birthday. It was shark themed and included tons of summer water things. They had two kiddie pools, a giant inflatable water slide, their backyard playscape/swing set, a misting fan, three bubble machines and tons of balls. What a great toddler party!

Cade was in heaven. He's taken a while to warm up to pools this summer but pools with slides are apparently his thing. It's all he wanted to do!

The giant inflatable slide is at their house all weekend and we've been invited back over tomorrow to play on it and eat the leftover cupcakes. It is very very very likely we'll be doing that after nap. Because honestly, I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than eating sugar and going down a huge water slide. Can you?
Up the slide, down the slide, up the slide, down the slide

Jul 6, 2014

Summer Vacation, Days 8 and 9

Pajamas at the park pre-party
These last two days of Cade's summer vacation have more or less been like any ordinary weekend. Parks, shopping, cartoons. The special occasion of the weekend was Will and Laure's engagement party in Buda. Last time we saw them, I was still pregnant so it was quite a treat to take Cade to meet them in person.

He only lasted til about 7p at the party but since he'd been up late the night before at the wedding, I don't think that's too shocking. Still, a short appearance is better than no appearance.

Today, unfortunately, started a new activity that I don't think Cade is too enthusiastic about. Pacifier weaning. We've been trying to gradually get him to use it less but no real hard and fast rules. This morning though Ross decided that his demands for the paci were a little too demanding and not nice at all. So the adventure of weaning him down to a paci only for sleeping began. From what I hear the morning (while I was at the gym and grocery store) was worse than the afternoon. I employed the strategies of cartoons, snacks, bubbles and his beloved monkey toy to get us through and it seems to have mostly worked.

Paci weaning aside, I think Cade had a good summer vacation. We stayed busy with activities and social events so I don't think his brain turned totally to mush. Tomorrow morning - back to Montessori!

Jul 5, 2014

Summer Vacation, Day 7

Wedding day!

Last night our dear family friend, my pseudo sister if you will, got married! Bryanna married her Army officer college sweetheart, John, in a patriotic 4th of July wedding in the Texas Hill Country. Talk about perfect!

UntitledDuring nap time, I loaded Cade in the car and started the drive down San Antonio way. He slept solidly for 45 minutes and then dozed/had quiet time for the following hour. We went to my parents hotel for a few hours to get some wiggles out. They took him swimming and he did much better than I expect. It must be the grandparent touch.

Now, my family is pretty low maintenance. We're not fussy people. But still, I think it is noteworthy that we got 3 adults and a toddler ready for a wedding sharing one hotel room in 40 minutes. And we all looked pretty sharp if I do say so myself.

Up the road to the Don Strange Ranch we went for wedding festivities. Cade fell asleep on the 15 minute drive so I sat in the car letting him rest until the last second possible. Cade did really well in the ceremony. A little fidgety, but that's part of being a toddler. My dad sorta walked and rocked him in his stroller to help him make it through and it worked! The only crying was at the very end but we think that was because all the whoopin' and hollerin' from "I now introduce..." scared the wee boy. A mom hug was all he needed to recover though.
A few notes from the actual wedding. The venue had these cool chandeliers made from branches and sticks. They were really pretty. I had heard the ceremony was going to be more formal than the reception but I wasn't really sure how the difference was going to be shown. Um by a FULL BRIDAL PARTY WARDROBE CHANGE that's how. I knew the long skirt on Bryanna's dress detached and she would have a short dress for the reception so I was expecting that. I wasn't expecting the bridesmaids to transition from identical navy dresses to "your own style" red dresses and boots or the groomsmen to go from their navy blazers (in many cases part of their Army dress blues) to jeans and white button downs. Even the mother of the bride transitioned from heels to flats. It was pretty cool. As a final non Cade note, I feel like I had a tiny part in the festivities and their years of good luck. Bryanna's "something borrowed" was my Swavorski earrings from our trip to Austria two years ago. I think they complemented the sparkle in her lace dress very nicely.

OK back to Cade. For the reception, he basically just ran around like a toddler tornado. Mom, Dad and I took turns chasing him while the others rested or snacked. I did get off relatively easy on the baby chasing front. In addition to just loving their grandson, their drive into town had been unusually long and I think they were both still anxious to do some wiggling themselves. I didn't take many pictures - I enjoyed my downtime as just plain downtime - but as is no surprise, Cade flirted with the photographer so I think we'll have at least a couple candids of us from the wedding, plus our family picture with Bryanna.

Dinner included grapes and mac n cheese so Cade was in food heaven. I think he grazed constantly from 4:30p at the hotel to 7:30p when we left the wedding.

The wedding was beautiful, the bride stunning, the groom lucky and my toddler was well behaved. 4th of July win!
Bride's family

Jul 3, 2014

Summer Vacation, Day 6

Full speed ahead!
More summer vacation!

Cade better be having the time of his baby life because we're pullin' out all the stops. This morning he and Ross fed the ducks again, went to the park and then the grocery store (OK so that last part isn't super wow, just regular life. But still.). They were go-go-go all morning and Ross said Cade had a blast. Then it was a French lunch of bread, cheese and grapes. Yum. The life of a baby.

After nap and snack, Cade and I went to the library to run around. I don't think running laps is exactly what the children's section is for but we got away with it.

Then we went to a toddler arts & crafts class where we sang songs, drew pictures of fireworks and...wait for it, wait for it...the best part...played with hundreds of bubbles from the bubble machine! It totally made his year.

UntitledThis was the second activity we did at BabyEarth (the first didn't go so well). I think what made this way more successful was 1) the organized activities and 2) the kids were much closer in age. Cade was a toddler tornado per the usual...but so were all the other kids. And bubbles are universally awe inspiring for the under 3 crowd so that helped too.

Also...though unplanned, our whole family wore football shirts today. We didn't realize it until almost 3p. I guess you could say we are ready for football season. (And of course per the usual, though we were all in football shirts, Cade was the best dressed. He literally matched all the way down to the stitching on his sneakers.)

On tap for tomorrow: morning work out and evening wedding!

Jul 2, 2014

Summer Vacation, Day 5

UntitledToday is Wednesday and per the usual, Wednesdays are our busiest day of the week. (It's when I tend to have many if not all my client meetings for the week.)

Thankfully Cade's Nana saved the day! He spent the day with her and learned how to read while there. Clearly he's the smartest toddler on the planet. And Nana washed the clothes he got messy in. 10 grandparent points to her :)

Post Nana playdate, the three of us had happy hour on the deck. I speak for Cade and I when I say, it was a good hump day.

Jul 1, 2014

Vacation 2015

In addition to having Cade's super awesome summer vacation week, I've been planning my next year vacations a bit. This was kicked off in Pennsylvania when we started talking about the 2015 Delta Vacation.

Let me tell you this: it is lookin' good. Are you ready for the big reveal? OK here it is...

Delta Vacation 2015 is.... Nashville! We're going for a three-day weekend in early June. As a bunch of Type A sorority girls, we've picked the city, the weekend and have a top pick for our lodging. (Val found us this great house.) I suspect by the end of this month, the house will be secured and only plane tickets will be left to purchase...which is really just a matter of waiting on Southwest Airlines to make June 2015 dates available.

Cabo - what's not to like?
30th Birthday Trip is.... Cabo! I had two requirements for my 30th birthday trip: tropical and accessible via direct flight. God bless Southwest Airlines because in November they'll start flying direct to Cabo San Lucas which doubles the number of tropical locations accessible via direct flight from Austin. This is as far as I've gotten on these plans. I know I want an all-inclusive hotel and to go the actual weekend of my birthday (which falls on a Saturday this year). I'll sort out the details this fall when Ross has the vacay days secured.

2015 travel is looking pretty freakin' awesome. Hurray!

Summer Vacation, Day 4

10441258_10104749409512140_7700425925867472399_nToday was more like a normal day than the other days of summer vacation...except instead of school like a normal day, Cade had an all-day play date with Rowan. WOOHOO!

Erin took the kids to the park and set up the kiddie pool for them in the yard. Just look how much fun these two cuties had spending the day together. Baby BFFs if I've ever seen it!

It gets sweeter though. Erin's Timehop app showed her a pic from one year ago today...the first day she watched Cade for us. It's like their playdate anniversary!

We're so lucky to have great friends like them and to have kids who hit it off so well. Yay Baby BFFs!