Dec 24, 2015

Christmas Traditions

A few days ago I got very concerned with Christmas traditions. Cade is old enough to be totally in love with Santa and Rudolph now and I wanted to make sure this Christmas - and subsequent ones - was totally awesome for him. Ross' schedule throws in the monkey wrench of date inconsistency year after year and that was throwing me off. When would Santa come? How would we explain the ever-moving date? What could be consistent, even if the date moved?

I stressed sufficiently but eventually was distracted by something else. Like in the moment needs of caring for a family.

Today is Christmas Eve and what our tradition could be, should be, will be dawned on me. Since Ross is off for 48 hours, whenever it happens, our Christmas tradition is going to be just that. 48 hours of Christmas awesomeness.

It "came to me" because really, that's what we're trying to do this year. Ross is off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (jackpot!) and I really wanted to make the most of it. So we're spreading the fun out over both days. And while it is really awesome to have Christmas Eve and Day this year, I realized we can always celebrate for two full days. Every year. So that is what we'll be doing.

This year that meant Christmas music and stockings this morning. Stockings, for us we've decided, are from family. No Santa involved and they are done just the four (Mom, Dad, Cade & Lexi) of us. That's our own little private slice of holiday time. So at 8 a.m. today we busted into our stockings.

Aquarium trains for his train set, complete with water and toy fish and they light up!

Now we're laying low. Everyone is in pajamas; Cade is watching a Thomas Christmas movie, Ross is napping and I am drinking really delicious special Christmas wine. When Cade's movie is over, he and I will decorate gingerbread-man cookies for Santa and early this evening, we'll go to church with Nana and Grandpa Jack.

Tomorrow my parents will arrive, and after naptime, we'll have the big family Christmas party with tree presents and dinner.

It's all the normal things of Christmas, but I'm really enjoying stretching them out across two days instead of cramming everything into one. It also means we can do EVERYTHING: movies, stockings, tree presents, big dinner, and church. Literally all of the Christmas things.

In 20 years, when Cade is in college and everyone is talking about their Christmas traditions, I hope he'll say "we had Christmas weekend. It always lasted two days." Maybe he'll say "we did stockings just us" or "we had surf-n-turf for dinner," some of the little more traditional traditions we're slowly establishing. But if his story is we celebrated and had the best time ever for two days, I'll feel like I've done my mommy job on the Christmas front.

Dec 4, 2015

These Halls Are Decked!

We're still working on the outside (long story) but inside, we are festive and ready for Christmas!

The Tree

The Living Room

The Dining Room & Kitchen

My Favorites

More! More! More!

Dec 3, 2015

Technology for the Loss

Normally, I love technology. The past 48 hours though, not so much.

  • Work laptop was weird and SLOW. Took an hour to resolve yesterday.
  • Christmas lights tripped the electrical breaker. Again.
  • iPhone died an ugly and sudden death.
  • Conference call commands were wonky and caused 8 minute delay (with 100 people on the phone.)
First world problems for sure. But geesh. Isn't technology supposed to make things easier?

....she wonders as she types on a laptop connected to the Internet to post on a blog that people across the whole world can read for free...

Nov 19, 2015

Cade Black Eye

Cade Black Eye. That's what Cade told our neighbors his name was last week. Because...yeah he had a wicked black eye. He's almost back to normal now but, man, it was a doozie!

Almost two weeks ago now, he was running to the bathroom ("You can watch a movie after you go potty.") and tripped on the bathmat that is in front of the toilet and next to the tub. He tripped and went face first into the side of the tub. Talk about a big owie.

It didn't look too bad at first. He was screaming and crying his little baby head off but the actual bump spot was really mild. See?


 But then he woke up Saturday morning...


By Sunday morning the colors were vibrant. Fuchsia, black, blue. All kinds of colors that are beautiful in a painting but less than ideal on your child's face.

I took him to an urgent care clinic that afternoon just in case. And thankfully all was as our parent instincts told us that first night. He was fine. Banged up for sure, but nothing broken or fractured, no vision problems. Just an UGLY bruise.

We've gone through the bruised banana look now and though he's not back to perfectly normal skin tones, he's really close. And it certainly isn't bothering him. In fact, other than the first 5 minutes, it hasn't seemed to bother him at all (another reason we were fairly sure he was actually fine).

So yup, that's what's been happening around here. More blogging to come; I'll do my best to be less of a slacker on the blog front. Not just for you, my dear committed (five) readers but for us too. Because it is nice to have all these little stories recorded in-the-moment and easy to revisit.

Nov 8, 2015

Cade says

Cade has cracked me up today. Two gems

While watching the mommy and baby scene in Dumbo
Me: Oh look at those big birds and their mommy
Cade: No, that's ostriches

Getting into bed in red Christmas footie jammies
Cade: I llama llama red pajama and you llama llama mommy!

A few minutes later after calling me back into his room
Cade: I not llama llama red pajama any more. I big boy.

That little guy makes me laugh!

Oct 29, 2015


Good news folks! It seems that late last week was the low point of my eyesight (knock on wood). Since Sunday things have been much better. Not "better every day" but on average better. I do notice that after a day of working, these new eyes are tired. So I am trying to take breaks during the work day, either to have a laptop free meeting or go for a walk outside. Walks outside of course have triple benefits since 1) my eyes get a break, 2) the weather is lovely and 3) a few calories burned. The weekend is super good to me and Sundays feel pretty awesome.

Another weekend is almost here so I am looking forward to that. And actually on Tuesday I am in an all-day meeting. I'll definitely need to listen actively but I can probably get away with not reading the whole time so that should be a good break in the week too.

In other news, Ross has a week off! This time he's actually getting to rest on his vacation unlike his last one where he chauffeured me, did parent heavy lifting and helped his mom move. This one is more along the lines of play (video & board) games, have a Saturday night out on the town, laze around with Lexi, do Halloween things with the kiddo, experiment with new meals and cocktails. much more relaxing for him and way more delicious for me.

Oct 24, 2015


So I had my eye surgery on October 13. I can see but I am definitely still in the less-than-impressed phase.

I had advanced surface ablation, not traditional LASIK. I knew there would be a longer recovery time but I missed some piece of info somewhere. I was cleared to drive and go back to work after 4 days as expected. But my vision wasn't magically perfect after four days. I'm still dealing with variable vision and from everything my doctor and Google tell me, this is depressingly (though somewhat comfortingly) normal. And only time, the great healer, can fix it.

Patience and inaction are not my strong suits. This morning I did LOTS of Googling and besides a dozen articles that said "variable vision for 5 days to 6 weeks" with no cause, action, etc, I found one article that recommended staying hydrated to help keep your eyes moist. Since my doctor has told me to use artificial tears liberally, this seems in line. Thus I swear I have drank two gallons of water today. Like my potty training toddler, I've been running to the bathroom every 30 minutes.

The best analogy I can give for where my eyes are now is it feels like I should be wearing reading glasses. So if I don't blog for a few more days or you know why.

Oct 11, 2015

The Eyes of Texas

Wow - so much has happened since my Dallas trip!

The constant, and inspiration for this post title, is that my eyes are contact lens free. On Tuesday I have corrective vision surgery. Yay! So it's been glasses every day, all day for the past two weeks. I wish I had spent a little more on my frames and purchased something cuter but in a few days, that won't matter at all.

Next let's jump right to the best of all. Last weekend KEVIN WAS SENT HOME FROM DEPLOYMENT! Yay! Last Friday he texted me from Spain where he was waiting on his connection. Then to Virginia late that night. Saturday he was able to catch an earlier flight than expected and was all the way back to Seattle by lunchtime-ish. Yay! Carly and their dog Holly picked him up from the airport and they are all staying on Whidby Island for a week or so while he goes through all his discharge paperwork. Then back to northern California where she'll return to student teaching, he'll get to do some relaxing and hopefully quickly find a job. He has a strong lead in Southern California so we're all hoping that comes through soon and that he can start before Christmas. His Navy experience will be a real asset for that, or any, gig. And while he learned a lot and saw/lived in some new places, and truly had as positive an enlistment as one can have, I think there are smiles all around for his transition to civilian life. Yay Kevin! Welcome home!

Now know that that cannot be topped...

In other news, last weekend Ross worked a double. Boo! Cade declared it no nap Saturday but thankfully I had a sitter for the afternoon to help us get through that fun time. Sunday we went to the fire station to visit Ross and deliver football snacks.

Monday Cade was sent home from school sick and Tuesday he and I hunkered down at the house with movies. Ross had to be back at work so by the end of that day, we were all running a little thin. Hubby gone for 72 out of 96 hours and a sick kid will do that to a family. So I took my maiden voyage with Instacart and had groceries delivered that day. A bit too pricey for every day life but it was a unique circumstance, I had a $10 coupon and the first delivery is free. A perfect time and place. I'm pleased to report Cade recovered quickly from his little cold and was back to school on Wednesday.

Monday/Tuesday, while Ross recovered from his double and then Cade was sick, we added landscaping to the crazy. The same guy who did our awesome back porch stone-lined and cleaned up our flower beds. I added path lights tonight.
Yesterday was the return of the famous Mustache Party. The party was skipped last year as the hosts were prepping for the arrival of baby 3. But that's behind them now and it was time to party again. For the first year we brought Cade. All and all, he did OK. He declared yesterday no nap Saturday again (an unpopular trend) so I knew he'd be touch and go all afternoon. He had fun though, chasing their chickens, enjoying his first ring pop and playing with the awesome truck and dinosaur toys. He and I managed to stay until almost 6 p.m. He dozed the last part of our drive and was in bed by 7:15 p.m. yesterday. In fact, asking to go to bed.

These two were so sticky and so happy.
Also of note yesterday was Cade's official ability to climb out of his crib. ....yay? No, not yay. Stress! I was really hoping we could do that transition next month post eye surgery but he had other plans. So this morning Ross and I converted his crib to a toddler bed. The rail doesn't fit quite how I'd like so we'll be getting a new one as well as some new dinosaur sheets for his "new big boy bed."

With the after effects of the Mustache Party/my at-home wine night and some wicked allergies (it feels like I have an elephant sitting between my eyes I'm so congested), today was a pretty rough day. Cade also decided to really embrace "terrible twos" which was rough on our already short patience. He went to time-out like five times and had one train taken away for bad behavior.  We made it to bedtime though and an hour in, bedtime in the big boy bed seems to be OK. Only time will tell.

Tomorrow Ross and I are both off but preschool is open. So Cade's terrible two tush will be at school and we will be taking care of grown up things. Like my pre-op eye appointment, dropping off a bag of donations and packing up Nancy. Super fun right? Cade doesn't know it, but he's winning by being at pre-school. However after all that I'm really looking forward to taking Cade and Holden to Fuddruckers for $1 kids' meal night and to play in the arcade a little. Ross and I like Fuddrucker's burgers more than any two adults should and we're happy to return the favor to Jenny and Jeremy (who took Cade to Chuck E Cheese this summer) by taking the boys there for dinner. Mommy's last dinner before surgery! Wah wah!

Surgery is Tuesday afternoon and I'll be pretty out of commission until Thursday morning. I'm not even going to see Cade Tuesday night; I'll just be locked in my room on pain meds. By Friday though I should be cleared to drive. And these eyes of Texas will NEVER HAVE TO WEAR CONTACTS AGAIN!

Sep 29, 2015

Girlie Getaway

Last Friday I hit the road for a girlie getaway to Dallas. Nik is probably my girliest friend so it is only natural that she planned the perfect girlie getaway. I ended up going to Dallas Friday morning and working the afternoon from her apartment (reverse of original plan). What a great remote office! City view, big windows, pumpkin scented candles. Totally perfect.

When both of our work days were done, we went out to a fancy girlie wine bar for drinks and appetizers. Then meandered down the block to rooftop patio and ended the night at a place close to her apartment famous for infused vodka/liquor drinks. Delicious! Super girlie, super different than a normal night out in Round Rock. Untitled

Because we're adults (read: lame) we were happily home by 11:30p. She actually stayed with her boyfriend which you might think was weird for me to be at her apartment alone. But no. We've been friends for 15 years. I have no problem making myself at home in her home. She has a cozy apartment, perfect for one person but a little snug for two. So being there by myself meant I could watch TV as long (or not) as I wanted, putter around uninterrupted and without interrupting anyone and just enjoy alone time. It was like being in the best stocked hotel suite in town. I LOVED it.

Saturday morning we went to another cute neighborhood in town (who knew Dallas had so many cute areas!) for breakfast and then went to yoga in the park. Yup, outside yoga in a downtown park. Can you think of anything more me!? It was awesome!


Love love love. Hands down my best Dallas trip ever. Cannot wait to do it again!

Sep 24, 2015

Oh Those Terrible Twos

Not to dwell on it because that's no fun but this past weekend, Cade was a hellion. Let me share one story to give you a glimpse of it.

Saturday night in the bath he splashed excessively despite me telling him to stop. So I pulled him out of the bath and angry about it, he hit me. Then I put his naked wet wiggly body down and he ran into the tent in his bedroom. I said "Cade, you come out of that tent to get your jammies on right now or you are going to time out."

He ran out of his tent, went behind the rocking chair (ie away from me) and then marched into the middle of his room and said "I pee." Then naked and defiant, he started to pee.

I ran toward him, put a towel between him and the floor and said "Why? Why are you peeing on the floor?" And do you know what that little naked butt stinker said to me?

"I pee because time out."

Needless to say, that necessitated immediate bedtime. "You are done in this town!" I told him and he was jammied and in bed wailing by 6:15 p.m.

I poured a glass of wine and left Ross to have any further conversations with him. Despite that sassy awful behavior, I am pleased to report that Ross had a man-to-boy conversation with him and Cade did apologize to me for hitting me and peeing on the floor.

So...yup, that was our weekend. Monday morning started with more of the same. I'm not sure what they did to him at school that day but thankfully the right kid, the sweet happy one I've been busy raising, was waiting for me at the end of the school day. Thank God.

Sep 20, 2015

Day Out with Thomas

Yesterday Cade had a magical experience: he rode Thomas the Train. "A Day Out with Thomas" came to Burnet (about an hour from us) and Nancy got tickets for the whole family. So after naptime (though no nap) we headed out to Burnet to see Thomas and take a ride.


We tried to explain to Cade on the dive that he was going to see Thomas, like for real. Not on the TV, in-person. He didn't really get it but when we got there and he saw Thomas, he was really excited. And he was psyched to go for a ride.


Sep 13, 2015

He's coming home!

We just received word today - my brother will be flown off his air craft carrier on October 1! After all the necessary travel, he should be stateside October 2 and then will have a couple weeks on base (paperwork I think). And then, THEN, his Naval enlistment is officially OVER!

In late October, Kev is coming to Texas for a long weekend. We're going to celebrate with a Houston Texans game! A "homecoming game" if you will. We are all SO excited!

Sep 10, 2015

Adventures in Potty Training

On Monday, Labor Day, we dove head first into potty training. Over the weekend we did little practices sessions, 30 minutes, an hour, two hours. But Monday it was go big, all waking hours in underwear.
"I get stickers, I get Toby train." Bribery was our chosen tactic.

There was SO SO much pee. Like gallons of pee. How does one little toddler boy body hold so much pee?

Ross and I took shifts but with all that pee, even with parenting breaks, we ended the day by ordering pizza and not saying much for fear of saying something not nice. Margeaux and Ryan stopped by in the evening and Cade proudly told them "I pee on the potty and on the floor and on the couch!" equally proud of all three locations.

Then at bedtime Monday night...well let's just say we had a miscommunication about potty training bedtime attire. I'll let you fill in the blanks about what resulted in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

Tuesday at school Cade went through every single change of clothes I packed. All five of them. Again I tell you - so much pee! But I gotta say, I am so so thankful for preschool. One day under house arrest with the peeing boy nearly broke our family. Without preschool, who knows where we would be.

Yesterday he went through four changes of clothes but two of them were like half accidents. He sat on the potty, said he was done, got his shorts on and then oopsies - went a little more. So school changed him (as they should) but it wasn't a full on pee all over everything.

Then today. Oh today. Little Cade Daniel woke up on the WRONG side of the crib. He was a sassy pants. He yelled at Ross, fought getting dressed and had to go to time out, all before 7:45 a.m.

He did OK during breakfast but then screamed, cried and yelled "I wanna go back home!" the whole drive to school. I had to carry him kicking and screaming. Let me tell you, carrying a kid who is melting down into school is not fun. Carrying a kid who isn't potty trained but is wearing underwear, well, that's stressful too. Combine the two and I broke a sweat going into preschool today. Thankfully a classmate was wearing a football shirt (just like he was) and discovering that was enough of a distraction for a successful hand off to his teacher and a Mommy escape. Then I went to Starbucks for a big drink. Too early for booze so caffeine and sugar would have to do.

Ross picked him up and when I got home, Ross says to me "no accidents!" That's right ladies and gentlemen, our boy had ZERO potty accidents at school today. ZERO! He came home in the same clothes we sent him in. HOLLA!

He'd gone to HEB with Ross so was in a Pull-up after school but when he told us during dinner that he needed to go, we made the pleasant discovery that the Pull-up was dry too. CHAMP.

We ultimately had one little (messy) accident today. But he was so close! We were playing outside and he told me he had to go. But we couldn't run into the house, get around Lexi (who decided the bathroom doorway was the only place in the whole 2700+ square foot house she wanted to stand) and to the potty in time. But he knew he had to go and he told us. I still take it as a win.

When we started this adventure, we said "Monday-Friday, then we'll see." If it wasn't taking, I wasn't going to drive us all to the looney bin to get it done. He isn't even 2.5 until Sunday after all. No pressure. But we're making definite, significant progress. So potty training continues - to infinity and beyond!

Proud boy at the end of his best potty training day

Sep 4, 2015

Friday Date Day

I took a vacation day today for a very important activity: date day with the hubs.

Our second date was FABULOUS. Like set us on the road to marriage wonderful. We recreated it once a few years ago and today we did it again, with very minor tweaks.

UntitledWe had lunch at Maudie's on South Lamar and like that original first date, both ordered prickley pear margaritas. When we had them on our second date, they were the drink of the month or day or something and in addition to being bright pink were garnished with an umbrella and a flower. Ross had never looked so macho. But dang it, if those fruity pink girly drinks aren't delicious.

I had the same entree (shrimp stuffed avocado salad) partly because it makes me all nostalgic but also because it has become my favorite dish at Maudie's and we maybe make it to one of their locations once a year. I gotta get it when I can!

On the original second date, we walked around Zilker Park and had sno-cones after lunch. On our recreations, we go swim at Barton Springs because, well, it's just too hot to walk around the park in the middle of the afternoon and we know better now. So we hopped over to Barton Springs and went for a quick dip in the icy icy water. We haven't been down there since the first date re-run so it was a nice Austin-y outing before summer ends.

Sounds like an awesome day right? It was and even better than everything I just told you is that Ross surprised me with a huge bouquet of flowers this morning and chocolate Blue Bell ice cream. I'm telling you, this guy is a keeper.

Sep 3, 2015

Book-tastic Summer

I have been a reading FIEND this summer. Though I wish I could say its because I'm expanding my horizons and bettering myself through reading, in truth, it is because of the dismal summer TV lineup.

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to read a book per month. I'm not sure if I'll keep up that pace in the fall with the return of trashy TV, my eye surgery and the holidays but the net-net of this year is easily 12 books.

And though I once aspired to write book reviews here regularly (like a million  years ago, BC even [Before Cade]), I now have much more realistic goals. A quick run-down of the books I've inhaled recently and a simple yay or nay on if they are worth a read.

Summer Sisters -  Yay. Judy Blume, yeah like Judy Blume of the tween books fame. Who knew!? The prologue scene had me skeptical because it just sounded too much like every fluff girl book I've read about some rich girl who lives in NYC and works at a PR firm. But I was determined to read at least a quarter of the book before giving up and I'm glad I did because it got better. It reminded me of a Kristin Hannah book in that it centered around the story of a lifelong female friendship with between two really different girls who have lots of ups and downs. It ended much differently than I expected and in a less fluffy way.

The Boston Girl - Yay. The life story of a Jewish woman who goes against the grain and works in an era when few women worked; who vacations with her single girlfriends and marries for love and only love.

Leaving Time - Yay. A story of a teenage daughter looking for her long-lost mother with the help of a washed up psychic and equally washed up detective. But I gotta tell you, this one ends very surprisingly. Like if you are super mushy about motherhood, maybe don't read this one. I literally had to go into Cade's room while he was sleeping to look at him I felt so mushy when this book ended.

Big Little Lies - Double yay. First the author and characters are all Australian and THAT is always fun. It's one of those books with multiple plot lines that all intersect at the end. Much of the book is fun and light hearted but the story that is ultimately told is deep and serious. I liked the combination.

Yellow Rose Beauty Shop - Nay. Truth be told, I couldn't finish it. Maybe I read a quarter? It's set in Texas and the accents and folksy sayings are just way way way too over the top. It made me gag.

The Rumor - Yay. This one was delicious. The author, Elin Hilderbrand, is one of those author's who has found her genre and sticks to it. Not quite a series but she did have a small reference to characters from another of her books because they all take place on Martha's Vineyard and, as the books rely on, it's a small island where everyone knows everyone. Anyways, this was a fun look at how rumors start ("she leased an apartment - did you know she's leaving her husband?") and how sometimes the actual truth is way different and even juicier than the rumor.

The Deep End - Yay. Total fluff. Rich lady is swimming at the country club and swims right up to a dead body floating in the pool. The body of her husband's mistress. I mean, c'mon. FLUFF.  But fun.

Room - Yay. A young woman is abducted and held in captivity (the "room") for years during which time she gives birth (a product of the rapes). A totally creepy premise almost made creepier in the sense that it is told from the perspective of her son who for the first third of the book or so doesn't know that their situation is a bad one. The book has to distinct halves: before their escape and after (which is written on the summary so not a spoiler alert). Very intense but I liked it.

At the Water's Edge - Meh. It wasn't awful but it did not captivate me. It starts with a scene that does not make sense relative to the rest of the book for a really long time. Instead of being intriguing, I found that distracting.

Curious George Chases Waves - Ok ok not my summer reading list but in addition to the above, we've read a LOT of Curious George and Thomas the Train books this summer. Given the frequency, I would have to say Cade gives them all a "yay."

Aug 31, 2015

Happy 90th Birthday Grandma!

We spent the past weekend in Houston to celebrate my Grandma's 90th birthday and my Dad's 60th birthday. These landmark birthdays were extra special because Carly, my sister-in-law visited from California for them. Cade and I hadn't seen her since last January and Ross hadn't seen her since she and Kevin got married in May 2013.

Saturday we arrived in town and had a family dinner at my parents' house. After dinner Melissa joined us, only fitting since she is basically family. She just received a promotion at work so we had a bottle of bubbly to celebrate that too.

On Sunday we spent the morning playing and then after nap headed to the big 90th birthday party at my aunt and uncle's house. I think we had 12 adults and 3 kiddos so a pretty good crowd. Of the folks who could not join, the Alabama crew visits next weekend and hopefully Kevin will have a trip to Houston sometime after his deployment. Not sure when Alan makes it back to town but he's pretty good about visiting so I'm sure Grandma will see him soon.

For much of the weekend Cade practiced singing "Happy Birthday Great Grandma" which ended up sounding a lot more like "Happy Birthday Great Mama" and frankly, that is even cuter. In addition to singing at her party, he stood in his chair at the dinner table, in just his shorts, and showed everyone his muscles. "Grrr I big boy Cade" he said while flexing. As Robin said "I didn't know Grandma's party included a gun show." Ha!

Did I take any pictures? No. But thankfully my cousin Megan got this great one of the birthday Grandma looking her birthday best. Happy birthday Grandma!

Grandma's 90th

Aug 25, 2015

The Greatest Show on Earth

Sunday evening, Ross, Nancy, Cade and I went to the circus! Cade loved it, especially the elephants and motorcycles. It isn't often that we all do something - Nana included. Often if Nana and Cade are hanging out, Ross and I are doing grown up things. So this big family outing was really nice.

He was too interested in the show for a selfie
Last year of elephants in the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus
Taking it all in with Nana

Aug 23, 2015

I go to fire station!

The first thing Cade said when he woke up from yesterday's nap was "I go to fire station!" and he was right! We went on an afternoon adventure to visit Ross at the fire station. It was hands down the most fun Cade has ever had there.


It melted my mommy heart to see my two boys playing together. And then it did a double melt later when Cade told "Dad is hero! He rescue anybody when he at work." Oh yes, little boy, your dad is a hero. He does rescue anybody who needs it when he is at work.

Aug 16, 2015

The Week That Was

This week, Cade wore a LOT of Thomas clothes and of course, really cool sunnies.

And on Monday, he had a very "spirited" morning complete with total ecstasy over his (terribly ugly but also awesome) Thomas outfit, a complete meltdown because his free cheese danish sample at Starbucks had cheese on it and finally, with having to literally be dragged on his belly into preschool crying and screaming. Oh how I wished my frappuccino had had liquor in it at that moment.


Thankfully from Monday, things got better (heck, they couldn't get much worse.) Last night he hung out with Rowan, which included trains, dolls and a Disney movie.


And tonight he was rewarded with a Gordon train (of Thomas & Friends fame) for having his first poopoo on the potty! Yay Big Boy Cade! He Facetimed both of his grandmothers to tell them about the event.


As a side note, during all these goings on, it was really, really, really frickin' hot. What you see below isn't even the worst from my car thermometer; just the worst I could safely capture while stopped.


Aug 10, 2015

Sunday Funday at the Thinkery

Yesterday was totally a Sunday Funday. It started with a duck pond walk with the neighbors. Then it was Mommy Morning Off during which I read at Starbucks for almost 2 hours, did a quick return at the outlet mall and then hit up yoga class.

For the afternoon, my favorite toddler and I went to the Thinkery (ie Austin's children's museum). He hadn't been in about 6 months and he's still young enough that in 6 months he's like a whole different kid. We had so much fun! It was our longest trip and our most engaging.

Probably his last time in the babyroom (0-30 months...he's 29 months).
We're officially in tat phase of not knowing how to smiley nicely and consistently
He was really into the tumbling space. That's not the official name but it is a room with mats of different sizes and shapes, hula hoops and the like. Basically the perfect place to run and crash which is his most favorite thing in the world. So naturally, very popular.

There were even some forward rolls down the stairs.
And even though he's dramatically different in so many ways, one exhibit continues to come out on top: the toy train table.

Aug 6, 2015

One and Done

At the beginning of our vacation, a post I wrote (over the course of almost 2 weeks and with about 6 rounds of revisions) posted on the Austin Moms Blog. In short summary...

The real reason, the bottom line for why we’re strongly leaning toward one-and-done is actually pretty simple and I would guess it applies to many other one-and-done couples. Our life with one child feels complete, happy, satisfied and balanced.

I was a little nervous about writing it. It is after all, a fairly personal topic, as family planning should be. But also I've heard several opinions that make it sound "wrong" to have an only child. Personally I think to call any conscious family planning decision "wrong" is just crazy. If anything conscious and purposeful family planning is responsible.

But I digress.

So anyways I wrote it, revised it (and revised it 5 more times) and then it published. And to date, it has 1484 Facebook likes! That, ladies and gentlemen, is a personal all time high.

If you would like to read One and Done, you can find it here.

Aug 2, 2015

Beach Vacation!

Hi, hi, hi!

We did it - we took our first family vacation! It was great! Both kiddos did overwhelmingly well and LOVED the beach. We built sandcastles, crashed in the waves, ran in the water and really just had a great time.

Since Cade is just a tiny guy still, we only did 2-2.5 hours each morning at the beach. Then he was just about beached out and it was creeping close to lunch and nap time. So back to the condo to eat and nap (except 1 day when he went on a nap strike). It was also nice to be out there in the early morning when it wasn't 1000 degrees out, before the beach was crowded and actually before the park rangers came by to take payment for the beach pass. $12 saved per day :)

Ross had the good idea to buy a dinosaur kite before the trip and he and Cade had a ton of fun flying it. Cade is still talking about it. We had sandcastle toys galore and by about the middle of the first day he'd figured out how to build them. Also of note is that Cade slept in a regular twin bed for three nights! He did really well. Two of the nights he slept the whole night; the other he woke up several times but didn't do anything dangerous. In fact he didn't really get out of bed. So I think our transition from crib to toddler bed may happen a little sooner.

Lexi chased crabs and even splashed in the water. For a dog who has always been anti-water in every form or fashion, the ocean sure fit her nicely.

For the Austin Moms Blog, I've written a post with our bloopers from the trip. (There were several.) So once that publishes I'll share a link to the post. Until then, enjoy the pictures.

First night, after dinner beach walk; Cade loved splashing in the tidal pools
Discovering sand
Trip to Texas State Aquarium
They are TWINS
We said smile but he chose roar

Jul 27, 2015

Staycation Part 1

Cade came back from Nana Camp today!

And we spent the staycation day having fun and relaxing. Including with a trip to our favorite city of Round Rock pool. It was Ross' first time to join us there and he agreed - we didn't have awesome kiddie pools like this back in the 80's. Kids today have all the luck.


Jul 26, 2015

Summer Vacation is Here!

At long last, our family summer vacation!

We kicked it off Friday with Ross picking Cade up from school early and me having happy hour with Haila. Then yesterday, Cade shipped out for two days at Nana Camp. I spent the day poolside with Nichole and Brittany and then Ross, Mike and Lindsey joined us downtown for a few drinks.

Today started with activity and then turned to been lazy lazy lazy. We started with a long Lexi walk down the Brushy Creek Trail. Afterward I finally finished decorating the game room! Check out the pics.

Framed board games were the final touch

Cute cubbies and Fort Cade were earlier this summer

Then we ran a few errands in prep for the beach and then vegged out. I've watched two movies (Bridesmaids and Labor Day) and two episodes of another show. I think Ross has been playing computer games and napping.

I'm going to finish my night with an exhilarating combination of kitchen cleaning and reading. Tomorrow I pick Cade up at 9:30a and we're spending the afternoon at the waterpark.

Vacation, full of fun and relaxation, is definitely here.

Jul 22, 2015

A La Casa de Negra

Back at the Black Family Home (a la casa de negra)...

We are looking down the tunnel to vacation! Just two school days for Cade, two works days for me and one shift for Ross stand between us and VACATION!

We are SO ready.

Stayin' cool in the hot, hot, hot summer
And pretty unrelated but also, it is 102 here. H-O-T hot. So in addition to looking longingly down the tunnel to vacation, we're also looking for ways to cool off. I have spent more time in my swimsuit the past 2 weeks than I have in years. There have been pools and splash pads and sprinklers galore. Luckily we've had some nice nights but those hours after work and before Cade's bed time are just scorchin' hot. I figure we have 4-5 more weeks of crazy hot before it will simmer back down to just plain hot for a month and then by early October we'll waltz into warm.

Also on the homefront, Cade is super into me right now. Which is very sweet. But we firmly believe in shared equal (but different) parenting so Ross is pushing through some tears to handle bedtime. After all, they need father-son time and Mommy has dishes to wash before she can zone out to 30 minutes of trashy TV. Last night was worse, tonight was better. One of many phases in childhood I assume.

I think that covers us. Over and out.

Jul 17, 2015

Look at those pearly whites!

Yesterday Cade had his first trip to the dentist and he did GREAT! He happily climbed in her "magic chair" and was thrilled to watch the Disney Channel while she poked around in his mouth. She told me our top goal was just to look at his teeth and any more beyond that would be gravy.


Not only did he let her look at his teeth, she was able to floss and give him a polishing. She told me most kids don't make it that far til they are 3 or even 4. Cade isn't even 2.5 yet; he is clearly advanced in every way.

And when it was all done, he was rewarded with his first (sugar-free) lollipop.

Jul 12, 2015

Theatre Date

My cultured toddler
Yesterday afternoon Cade went on his first trip to the theatre! We saw "Sarah the Dinosaur" with Brittany and Kenneth down at the Long Center.

When we first went into the performance hall, Cade was really restless so I started to wonder if this was a big fat fail. We ran between our seats and the lobby three times in 10 minutes.

But once the show started he was really good. He sat in his seat or in my lap for the whole thing and only talked with appropriate commentary. "She a dinosaur!" and "What's happening?"

He was a great date - I'll take him out again for sure!

Jul 7, 2015

Staycation Days 8 & 9

A little late but that's because 1) we were enjoying staycation and 2) staycation is over now so back to the usual crazy :)

Untitled July 4 started with Facetiming the grandparents, a flag photoshoot (he was super enthusiastic about it, continually telling me "more flag Mom") and then a trip to the park.

After that, Cade decided it was just too exciting of a day to nap. Sad face for Mommy and Daddy. But despite being nap-free he did pretty well at the afternoon pool party. He alternated between playing and watching a movie. We brought out the mattress from his pack-n-play, laid it under the porch and streamed a movie for him on Netflix. Not exactly what I planned for our holiday, but Mr. SleepyPants couldn't handle a whole afternoon of playtime so quiet movie time was a nice option when he needed it.

On Sunday we went to the duck pond, had morning playtime with Holden, went to the gym/Kids' Club and gym pool. All before lunch. After a FANTASTIC almost 2 hour nap, he had an afternoon playdate with Holden and our babysitter, Emily, while Jenny and I went out for a very high quality, family friendly moving. Magic Mike XXL. Alright, not so family friendly, but tons of fun! And Emily said the boys had a blast playing together for 3.5 hours. I think it was win for everyone.

Jul 3, 2015

Staycation Day 7

Ah, a Friday that felt like a Saturday. Coffee and coloring on the back porch, play time in the gameroom, gym/Kids' Club (a pilates class that isn't offered at times I can normally attend - so good to go today!) and then home for lunch. After lunch I ran errands while the boys played. From what Ross says, lots more running from Lexi Bear. Then a pre-dinner play time with Holden and after dinner, the main event. America's Birthday Storytime at Barnes & Noble!


It was the first time we've gone to storytime and had Cade actually sit through it and pay attention. In fact, he did REALLY WELL, Four books were read and he sat without wiggling for the first two. On the third, he talked but only to say "Mom come sit with Cade." (Yeah, I'm "Mom" now. Not "Mommy" any more. I hope I go back to "Mommy" soon.) And when all the books were done he said thank you, gotta go, night-night. Because he is awesome.

Jul 2, 2015

Staycation Days 5 & 6

Hello July! Knock on wood, but two days in and you've been unseasonably pleasant.

Cade's staycation yesterday started at Nana's, took a turn in Aunt Meg's pool with Daddy and ended with some blissfully normal cul-de-sac playtime. No shirt and PJ pants in the middle because hello - it is summer vacation!


Today we ventured to Starbucks and then he spent a couple hours on a play date with Holden while we worked. As you can see, they made totally awesome robot masks. Then some afternoon movie time before the gym/Kids' Club and the pool.

My favorite today was the running-from-a-bear game he made up after dinner. And then Lexi became the bear. Sometimes the monster bear. We had to run away from her (duh - she's a bear) and then run back to her (duh - she's Lexi). And we had to do this running along the painters' tape road I made for matchbox cars on the carpet (and here I thought we'd be playing cars). Trust me, to Cade, it all made perfect sense. Watch the video and see. 

Also in the category of active imagination were the dinosaurs who he shared his sippy cup of water with before bed. And who also did not want to go to sleep but who he eventually agreed had to sleep, just like him. So glad we sorted that one out.

Jun 30, 2015

Staycation Day 4

Brass Tap for after dinner drinks
Well...I have no pictures from Cade's Staycation Day 4. Because he is having a party with Nana and Grandpa Jack.

But I do have a picture of us on date night. Does that count?

Rumor has it that while Mom and Dad are out for dinner and drinks, Cade is wow-ing Grandpa Jack with his phenomenal number recognition and coloring pictures to cover Nana's fridge. Win-win I'd say.

Jun 29, 2015

Staycation Days 2 & 3

Fort CadeThe big news of Staycation Day 2....a FORT!

Ross put up Fort Cade in the corner of the gameroom with a stylish shower curtain and bowed rod. Inside lives a nightlight, little rug and a pillow. Soon to come is the Fort Cade sign, book rack and pillow. The wee boy is pretty excited about his fort.

And today on Staycation Day 3 we were BUSY. It started with an early morning (6:15a!). I took the morning off to hang out with him so we went to the duck pond, Starbucks, by the office to say hi to my coworkers and then on a playdate with Rowan.

The afternoon was equally exciting though not quite as successful. Naptime was a no go which is entirely the wrong kind of exciting. But despite that, Jenny said he was very well behaved on his afternoon playdate at her house with Holden. Then later in the evening we went to the gym/Kids' Club and had an evening swim. He LOVED the gym's pool with its bubblers, sprinklers and shallow kiddie area.

He was the cutest little frog there, just jumping around in the kiddie area.

Jun 27, 2015

Staycation Day 1

UntitledCartoons in bed, swim lessons with Dad, library with Mom, painting with Mom, play time with Holden.

Also tried to eat a Nerf football and some sidewalk chalk but...what doesn't kill you makes you stronger right?

Jun 26, 2015

Summer Staycation Day 0

As of 4:56p today, Cade is on summer break! His summer staycation lasts 9 days and includes the July 4 holiday.

We kicked it off with a serious/celebratory discussion about the legalization of same-sex marriage. (Isn't that how every kid starts his summer break?) I told him that today some very powerful and important people decided any adults who love each other can get married. Like how Mommy loves Daddy and Daddy loves Mommy and they are married. His reaction "I love Mommy too." Good deal. (Obviously I know he won't remember this conversation but I thought it was still important to have with him, being that he's alive for this significant event.) Then I said "It's a big day!" to which he replied "Big day! Choo-choo store!"

UntitledAnd even though that wasn't the big day I meant, he was right. We kicked off summer staycation with a trip to Barnes & Noble so he could play on the train table. Then home for cul-de-sac play time, a late dinner, cartoons in Mom's bed and off to sleep.

This year's staycation doesn't feel quite as organized as last year's. But when I think about it, even if it doesn't feel organized, it probably is pretty awesome if you are two.

Swim lessons, library and Daddy time this weekend. Playdates with Rowan and Holden on Monday. Tuesday afternoon/night and Wednesday morning with Nana. Thursday playdate with Holden. Friday TBD, July 4 on Saturday and next Sunday TBD. And probably near daily trips to the gym to hang out at the Kids' Club (which he likes so much he asks to go to) while Mom works out.

Am I excited to have him home? Yes. Am I excited for some extra work-from-home days this week? Yes. Am I excited for a short holiday week? Yes. Am I excited to work out more than I have in at least 3 years? Yes. #StaycationForTheWin