Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Library Card.

Yesterday, Ava and I descended upon unsuspecting library patrons to get little A her very own library card. We frequent the library multiple times a week - (usually 2-4 between storytime, returns/picking up holds, and needing an air conditioned place to kill time!), and so I felt it was high time. Also, you're limited to five holds per card, and mama needs to reserve the rest of the Game of Throne series, but I digress...

Y'all. I have never been more tickled by my child than at her reaction to getting a library card. She was so excited - you would've thought she was three or four given her comprehension of what was going on! The woman handed it to her after activating it and she kept picking up books and bringing them to the counter and handing her card over. It was SO cute! Anyhow, she was so proud to have her own library card, she wouldn't let it go!


In the carseat:


HA! So cute! I love my little bookworm so much!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Water Play!

I have yet to sign Ava up for swim lessons for this summer, if only because she starts gymnastics on Monday (my birthday!) and it lasts through August, but in the meantime, we've been getting down in the baby pool during S's swim lessons everyday:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wedding Planning = STRESS.

Here's the deal. I vow not to go all bridezilla on anyone, but even still, wedding planning is stressful. Particularly when we're paying for the entire wedding, reception and all the fixins entirely on our own. Whomp whomp.

Nonetheless, it's not all bad. In fact, aside from the financial woes implicit with wedding planning, I'm actually finding it quite fun and exciting. Here's where we stand:

My dress: I found it!!!!!! Saturday, my best friend Basil and I headed out to the extremely accomodating Balina Bridal and, ten gowns later, I knew I had found my dress. I would love to post a picture here, but out of sheer concern that David would see it somehow, I'm going to refrain :( I'd love some opinions, though, if anyone wants me to email them a picture? I'll give you this much - it's strapless, and it's fancy :) I've always loved me some lengthy train, and I took that into consideration when I was shopping. It also won't come back until September because it had to be ordered in my size, but I hear that's the norm!

Wedding party: It's a bit comical that I've found my dress, and yet we have decided zilch for certain regarding the wedding. We're oscillating between two very opposite ends of the spectrum: to head for the islands/the keys/somewhere beachside and romantic just the three of us to tie the knot, or to have a wedding with our friends and family here in Austin/surrounding areas. The latter would be ideal, but weddings are COSTLY. Holy cow! Anyhow, until we decide on a locale/wedding style, we can't really name many attendants, since we don't know if/how many we'll have. But, in the case that we have a ceremony in Austin, I knew that I wanted my "honor attendant" to be the very same friend who went dress shopping with me, and so I asked him to be my Man of Honor over post-wedding dress shopping celebratory drinks. He said yes :)

The only other attendant(s) we have set is my flower girl, which will obviously be Ava. Duh. AND...she has a gown!

Check it:

The best part? It was a steal! Like, seriously cheap! I've paid twice that for outfits! WOOHOO!

As for the other flower girls, I'm seriously considering asking the two girls I nanny for. While that seems obvious, here's why it is something I have to debate. I have three sisters. Three LITTLE sisters. Like, next summer (we're shooting for the date to fall within July or August), they'll be 12, 11 and 8.5. And I fear that their feelings will be hurt if I ask S & P. BUT....they're a bit old for flower girls, right? And, not only is it an additional expense on my family (who'll already be traveling from California, including their own five plane tickets and a hotel...$$$), but they're also only going to be here for a handful of days, aka making fittings/rehearsals/etc a total pain. And, sad as it is, Ava would follow S & P anywhere, which is the entire point of having additional flower girls. My sisters (her aunts), she's met once :(

So, my question is:

-What do you think of the flower girl dress?
-Am I being an a**hole?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Beef...It's What's For Lunch!

I recently had the exceptional opportunity to network and lunch with some of the loveliest local bloggers I could ask for. On top of that, I was hosted by the most gracious staff at the Texas Beef Council, and privileged enough to get to sample delectable cuisine from celebrity chef Richard Chamberlain of Fort Worth, listen to nutrition information and meal ideas from the lovely and knowledgeable Stacy Bates, and get to just let loose for an afternoon.

I learned a lot, which surprised me. Not that I didn't expect the luncheon to be inspirational and well done, but seeing as how I studied nutrition at UT for a couple years before changing to child development and psychology (whomp, whomp), I wasn't expecting to come away with a lot of new information. Wrong again :)

One of the most interesting things I learned at the event was that there are 29 cuts of beef leaner than poultry! Who knew?! Certainly not me! As a bride-to-be and general worrywart, I am obviously concerned with my figure, not to mention the health of my family, and so this was definitely reassuring motivation to prepare more lean beef dishes!

And what would this post be without pictures?! These are the last pictures taken of me as a non-engaged woman ;)

First, we had a demonstration by Chef Chamberlain that led to two of the tastiest dishes I've had in a while...

Then, after hearing from the nutritionist, we split into teams and prepared dishes of our own. My team prepared a farmer's market vegetable, beef, and brown rice salad that - despite not sounding like the best dish initially - was remarkable!

Our ingredients to prep:

The lovely ladies on my team!

Cooking area:

All of our dishes lined up for presentation:

Our completed dish:

Afterwards, we got to eat what we made, sampling all six dishes and washing it down with what else? Sweet Texas tea and cake balls! Delish! I have since made two of these dishes at home! That's how easy they are!

I would be remiss if I left out how much amazing swag we picked up while there, including a signed copy of the Healthy Beef Cookbook. Score!

Thank you so much to Gigi at A Kludgy Mom and the Texas Beef Council for making this all possible!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Our Proposal Story!

First and foremost, we're engaged!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy cow, y'all, that is still blowing my mind! I cannot believe it!!!

Since so many of you have asked, here's a short and sweet version of the proposal story.

Friday was a lonnnnng day. A great day, but a long day. I got up bright and early to get a bit of work in before heading off to a Blogger event at the Texas Beef Council (more on that tomorrow). I spent the majority of the morning and afternoon there, where we did a bit of cooking, a bit of listening, and a whole lotta eating, and then headed to work. I normally only work a handful of hours on Fridays, but I had offered to stay late that night for some extra money, so I was looking at being at work for 9+ hours, with a teeny break to see Ava and David for dinner and so I could nurse, putting me out of the house for an exhausting 15 hours.

That's where this story starts.

I got home just before midnight, after a drive home that left me muttering to myself, Just stay awake. Just stay awake. I had long since told David to go to sleep and not bother waiting up for me, so imagine my surprise when I opened the door to find the most beautiful sprinkling of roses and candles on the staircase.

At this point, I obviously was tuned in to something going on, but I honestly could not believe that he would actually propose!!! Then, I got to the top of the stairs, where there were more rose petals, candles everywhere, two gorgeous bouquets of roses, hydrangeas, daisies and baby's breath, and - to really spoil me - five of my favorite desserts from places around Austin, including my absolute fave: Romeo's Tiramisu. The room was absolutely glowing with candlelight and smelled so beautifully of roses, and there, in a suit and tie to my 15 hour old dress and tights (thank God I bothered making somewhat of an effort!!!!!), was David.

He approached me, saying the most beautiful things about how he wanted to spend his life with me, wake up and fall asleep with me, grow old with me, and how much he loved me even more than he ever could have thought as he saw me with Ava, and then he got down on one knee and proposed.

I held it together surprisingly well considering as I told him that yes, of course I would marry him, but inside I was a mess. I never in a million years would have thought he would be able to surprise me with a proposal, as I'd been on the lookout and so incredibly hopeful, but after our friends got engaged two weeks ago, I had really felt hurt and discouraged, accepting that this may not happen for us. Little did I know that David also had felt hurt and discouraged by their engagement, as he had originally planned to ask me two weeks before when I had to work late but got sick, and then, switched it to Easter, before we got the call came that our two friends had gotten engaged that day!!!!

I am so insanely, incredibly, over-the-moon happy. No date has been set yet, but once David gets through his final Thursday we'll start talking about it in more detail, and of course, if you thought I was detailed and crazy about my pregnancy...just you wait, friends.

First things first, check out my super gorgeous ring:

It pains me physically to have had to hand in over on Sunday to be sized, as it was taken down to a 5, but my child-sized hands were still too small for it, so it's out for two weeks getting taken down to a 4.5 :( Super sad face, but a small price to pay, eh?

First order of wedding-planning business: My dress. Can't wait to keep you guys informed of how the hunt is going!!!!!!!!

I'm so, so happy. Thank you so much to everyone that offered me words of advice, support, love and wisdom during the journey that took us from August 2007 to where we currently are. And, though unconventional to have a family before the wedding, I'm so happy to be able to include Ava in the ceremony, and to have her get to be present.

I'm the luckiest, most blessed person I know :D

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

So many things to say. For now, until tomorrow, I'll leave you with a photo, as well as the sincere wish that all of you are having the type of Mother's Day weekend that I've had so far. That is to say, the best best BEST weekend ever. EVER. The last time I was this happy, I had a newborn Ava in my arms :D

Friday, May 6, 2011

What The....

This morning, as I was trying to get a bit of writing in/moreso messing around on Twitter, our dog started going nuts! He's not a barker 99% of the time (hence why I chose him at Town Lake Animal Shelter), so I figured something was causing the racket. This was definitely not my first guess:

The suburbs are a crazy place, plain and simple.

If you haven't yet, please weigh in on my post about whether or not to add a second child to the mix...mama needs some advice!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Only-Child Families: Pros and Cons

It's no secret that I am seriously considering never procreating again. It's not that I had a terrible pregnancy, nor is it anything Ava has done. In fact, A's practically perfection (remind me of this when it bites me in the ass later). We went to a large playgroup yesterday, and compared to all the other kids there, she was the most well-behaved, happy, content little girl in the entire group. My heart swelled with pride at how good she was, and that's more of the norm for us than the opposite (if you feel like you might vom, though, given my sugary sweetness, rest assured she can be a crazy hellion when it's just the two of us sometimes. Nobody's perfect!).

Anyhow, the point is that it's not because her behavior has scarred me for life, making me want to sew my uterus (and accompanying parts) shut and calling it a day. It's just..well, I have so many conflicting emotions about adding to our family. And, if you feel so inclined (please do!), I'd love for you all to share your thoughts, whether you have an only child, are currently thinking of adding to your family, currently are surrounded by a plethora of your own offspring, or were raised an only child. All opinions welcome and needed!

Here are a handful of reasons why I feel about 80% that A should stay an only child:

-Ava is SO good, that I feel that with the law of averages, my next baby is almost guaranteed to be Satan's baby. Like full-fledged colicky, sleep-resistant, hates-life-and-mommy baby. Eek!

-If you can't afford to add to your family in a way that allows you to live comfortably and support them (which, to me, includes contributing to their college education), you shouldn't. As it stands right now, A has a comfortable life, but this is due in large part to the fact that I have a huge support group of mamas I've babysat for that have given us things for A.

-We live in a school district I...don't love. With the housing market what it is, we're not likely going to be able to get out of our house in the next few years before A starts Kindergarten, which could mean private school. Gulp.

-I love my current job, but this is it for me. I have no dream of having this corporate career where I work my way up the ladder and make tons and tons of money. Well, that last part is in my dreams, but not because I want to be in the workforce. To me, if I couldn't take A to work with me, I wouldn't work. That's my ultimate destination. So our income will shrink before it grows (D's currently working towards a career change, though it could be lengthy..).

-I love, love, love spending time just the two of us, or three of us with David. I can focus my full attention on her when we play, and can provide her with what she needs without the guilt that I'd have if I split my (already stretched pretty dang thing) self with another.

-There is the standard how-could-I-ever-love-anyone-as-much-as-Ava thought process. I know all moms do; that the heart is an organ without a capacity, but I'm not sure how much of me I have left to give.

-I have ZERO interest in ever being pregnant again.

Then there's the opposite side to consider:

-I grew up an only child. And while I am an intelligent, well-adjusted adult now, I had to work at that last part, spending the majority of my childhood feeling alone and isolated. My social skills in middle school and even into high school needed some work, as I wasn't used to having to accommodate others, or how to interact in certain situations. It was a huge shock when I went to college. Even now, some days I just want D to go the hell away and leave me in peace and quiet to be alone and do "me" stuff. Selfish, right? I don't want A to be lonely, nor do I want her to be social maladjusted.

-If we die, I don't want her to be alone. Even if it's later in life and not untimely, I want her to have the unique social support that are sibliings.

-I hate to even allow this thought to cross my mind, but if God forbid something ever happened to her, I would still want to be a mother. I hate hate hate having even written that, but to me it is a big consideration. To counter, though, please God do not ever let me find myself in a world where Ava is not in (physical) existence.

-You know who I bugged to play with me every second that I felt lonely growing up? The adults in my life, namely my mother. Some might say the sole purpose of having more than one child is to provide them with a playmate.

What do you all think? Where do you stand? How do you feel? Please feel free to share your thoughts. Clearly I need all the help I can get!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In A Funk.

Please excuse my absence over the last week. I've been in a serious funk, due in significant part to last Monday's post, and just haven't felt like bringing my readers down with my melancholy dribble. I'm still feeling a bit of it, though not as bad, so instead of focusing on family stuff, here's just a random tidbit of things currently going on in my head (the not-so-serious stuff.)

In news that makes me feel all Chester Molester, the D's recently got new neighbors, and they have a son that is totally swoon-worthy. The kid is all of 19, but mmmhmmmm. He's been strutting his gorgeous tushy around moving furniture into the house, shirtless and glistening with sweat. Seriously, this is what fantasies are made of. On a side note, when the hell did teenagers start looking like this (I'm looking at you right now, Taylor Lautner!)! When I was in high school and my first years of college, guys were basically skinny, or at best, slightly filled out. Where on Earth did these ripped 18-year-old kids come from? And how on Earth can I strike a deal to go back to high school and relive my senior year?! Yikes.

Also on my mind: Osama Bin Laden. Duh. He's on everyone's mind. But while the rest of the U.S. is currently buying one another shots and patting themselves on the back in celebration, I've taken a stance which is clearly going to bring me under attack. To those who don't like what I have to say, feel free not to read.

I know firsthand the pain of losing someone to the reign of terror that was Osama Bin Laden felt by those who lost someone - either that day, or as a direct result in the war. I lost my uncle, and while I was younger and we weren't best buds, I still think about him all the time. And yet, despite being directly affected, I cannot and will not ever be the kind of person who can rejoice in the point blank assassination of another human being. Yes, he was a horrifying individual, with crimes against humanity too numerous to list. But I do not believe that in pilfering villages and causing thousands of casualties in our search for him for TEN YEARS, losing countless of our own soldiers to "the cause", and killing him and several other people, we can claim a victory. He took hundreds of lives directly on 9/11, and we in turn gave thousands more, and took countless many lives of innocents, many women and children, in return. How is that justice? How are we ending a reign of terror? To those who shook in fear as our planes ransacked their skies, taking out hundreds at a time, we ARE terrorists. It pains me to see people out there "thanking God" for Osama's death. I don't think that God is rejoicing and celebrating that his children are out there taking one another's lives in his name.

"An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." - Mahatma Gandhi
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