Thursday, March 29, 2012

Advice to a Newlywed.

Sometimes, I’d like to kill him. That’s the truth. When we argue, my stomach turns in knots and it feels like I am clawing out from the inside, and I want to escape. The closeness, the reality, the expectations… it’s all too much, at times. I yearn to run away, temporarily.

But then the morning comes, and the vestiges of that argument is washed away watching him sleep as I get up with our son. And when our son says, “Daddy, I yuv you” and I see the love reflected in my husband’s eyes, I melt inside. I don’t want to be anyplace else in the world.

His arms are my sanctuary; his back is strong even though he carries all three of us. My husband is the chicken and our family is the egg. It is overwhelming, knowing that you have pledged your life to this person and you are committed. The irony should not be lost on you that “committed” may sometimes remind you of a relationship and sometimes an insane asylum.

If you remember that, your arguments will be short-lived and you will stay on the same path. Remember that love is a VERB. Real love takes work, and you must remind yourself why you fell in love in the first place. What is it that you love about him? How did you arrive at this stop on your life journey?

There are many reasons my first marriage failed, including our own respective family histories. His parents divorced when he was 2, and he never had a strong model for a family unit. Every argument meant that he had one foot out the door, and our relationship balanced precariously on a seesaw. That became my new normal, and combined with my own family history of parents who had been married for over 30 years at that point, I thought that love meant that you stick it out, no matter what. There is a balance somewhere in there.

Divorce sucks, no matter what the reason is. For the salvation of yourself as well as your relationship, do everything you can to be present in your marriage, and seek help if you need to. There is no shame in finding a professional counselor when you’ve hit a wall. It happens. Remember that you have many years to go in your own journey, and you have much growing to do, along with your marriage, and your daughter. Your marriage will change as she grows as well, and each stage of life will bring new challenges.

Meet those challenges head on, with the knowledge that this is your family, and they have your back. Create your own set of rules that works for you. For instance, “Don’t go to bed angry” never worked that well for me but “Get over it and move on in the morning” works perfectly. Our arguments flare and flame out quickly. We say “I’m sorry” and mean it. We show each other a great deal of affection and respect, and we try to fight fair (it’s a learning process).

Have faith in faith. And in each other. And in this beautiful life you are creating, three souls woven together. Love, patience, and respect will carry you a long way. Always remember to show how much you love him and you’ll find that the tough times will be a little easier to take.

Best wishes, B! I am so happy for you and wish for you a lifetime of love.

Kristin is a mother of a sweet 2-year-old boy and wife to a fantastic 6th-generation Texan, living in Austin, Texas. Loves: her baby boy, airplanes, airports, classic cars, sports, Italy, and dessert; not necessarily in that order. You can reach her via Twitter @AustinKVS or via her blog, Two Cannoli

Monday, March 26, 2012

Who's Ready to (Bachelorette) Party?

We sure were, that's who! I had the best, best, BEST weekend! My BFF (literally, I've known her my ENTIRE life) flew out to Austin from San Francisco to spend the weekend partying it up and celebrating bachelorette style. On top of that, my other closest and most amazing friend, Basil, threw my bachelorette party at the W Hotel's Wet Deck pool, complete with a large cabana, bottle service, and non-stop fun! It was literally the best day ever!

Here are some pictures from Katy's first day and a half in town, before the bachelorette celebrations really got underway and started to wipe our memories - hehe!

Picking Katy up from the airport:

Shopping at the Domain (round one - we went back the next day for more!):

Boot shopping at Allen's on South Congress:

Ava joined us for as long as she could hold out, but there is only so much wedding dress fitting, venue checking-out, shopping and Mexican food eating that one two-year-old can stand, so after we ate a delish lunch at Guero's on South Congress, David took A home while Katy and I continued our shopping and then went to get tanned for the bachelorette festivities. There is so much to do to get ready for this wedding, I could have definitely benefited from training for pmp certification!

Once I was bronzed all over, we headed back to the Domain for an amazing Italian dinner at NoRTH (though why I wanted to eat a bowl of pasta and drink a bottle of wine the day before I was to be photographed and seen in a bikini is BEYOND me!) :P

Here are some blog-appropriate shots from the bachelorette festivities. Again, such an AMAZING time!

My best friend Baz (and my man of honor!)!

So. Much. Fun.

Oh brother...

Me and Katy!

Things may have gotten a bit blurry here (check the hat!)!
What? You don't frequently play Pin the Macho on the Man?!

I may or may not have been a dancing machine to Madonna's new album...
Me and Ava's godfather and his partner - two of the best guys I know!

Post-Vivo dinner:

Prom style picture with Erik

One of the best weekends ever! Now, all we have left is to actually tie the knot!!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Starting Next Week...

Starting next Wednesday, I'll be taking a brief hiatus so that I can tie up a bunch of loose ends and take care of some last minute wedding planning and preparation before our big day. As such, I'm having a group of amazing Austin bloggers (and just some all around lovely ladies!) that are going to be guest posting for the week leading up to our wedding on the topic of - what else? - marriage!

I'd love for you all to tune in and read what they have to say. It's a diverse group - some have been married only a year or two, some over ten years, all with wonderful things to say and great advice to send me off into marriage with!
These ladies are wise beyond their years and know so much, I'm pretty sure
some should become a counselor.

In the meantime, I'm out getting my bachelorette on over this weekend - pics and stories to come Monday!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Southern Bloggers for Babies!

Wow - it's been eight days since I've posted. Holy moly - time is flying by! To be truthful, that's probably going to be the norm over the next three or so weeks while I'm heavily engrossed in wedding preparations, bachelorette festivities, and post-wedding decompressing, so please bear with me!

In the meantime, I'm so, so excited to share with you all that I'll be participating in the March of Dimes March for Babies for a third year now, this time as part of an organized team called Southern Bloggers for Babies. We would love to have anyone in the area (or who is planning to come to Austin for the march on Saturday, May 5) join up with us - the more, the merrier!

Like I said, the March will be taking place Saturday, May 5th, beginning at 9am at Auditorium Shores - a gorgeous location - with the march proceeding through downtown and up to the Capitol building. It's always a great time, and what better cause than healthy babies?

Even if you don't want to join the team, please consider donating to our team goal of $1000 - every dime counts in ensuring that all babies have a chance at a healthy start!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Things That Make Me Laugh.

I know many of us can relate to this one:

This just cracked me up:

And how Southern is this?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

PBS Kids Interactive SXSW Brunch.

There are many reasons why I love living in Austin, and SXSW is undoubtedly one of them. SXSW (or South by Southwest for those of you not familiar with the festival) is a celebration of independent and up-and-coming filmmakers, musicians and corporations, some of which I'm sure attend graphic design college to become more proficient in their craft.. In my childless days I frequented the many day parties that are part of the music scene, taking full advantage of the open bars and free food, but now that I have a little person to answer to (and cook dinner for, and wake up early with, etc!), I've taken to participating in the interactive portion, which takes place over the first few days of the festival. Today, in fact, I had the extreme good fortune to be able to attend a brunch given by the lovely folks over at PBS Kids, and it was a wonderful start to my Sunday morning.

The brunch, held at the Austin Hilton's own Finn and Porter restaurant, was not what I was expected. Trolling the internet for ideas about what to expect (and, ahem, wear) beforehand turned up info about previous years speakers, but little about the food served - something I'll confess I was equally excited about. I didn't know why this was, until I arrived myself. While the food was certainly tasty (who can complain about staples such as scrambled eggs, croissants, BACON, hash browns and little yogurt parfaits? Or just a breakfast that I didn't have to cook myself?!), the speakers were definitely the star of the show. We were treated to talks by the lovely Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS Kids Interactive (and a Tina Fey lookalike!), as well as Angela Santomero, Chief Creative Officer at Out of the Blue Entertainment and co-creator of Blues Clues and Super Why! What a treat!

While Sara talked about PBS' mission to provide educational and strong moral programming, Angela really brought the brunch alive talking about her passion for educating children and for helping to develop educational and entertaining programming to reach out to children of all incomes and backgrounds. Her latest project, entitled Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, is a tribute to the legendary Mister Rogers neighborhood, and pays homage to the late Fred Rogers, a mentor or Santemero's.

We were treated to a short debut clip of the show, which is an animated recreation of the characters from Mister Rogers Neighborhood, though they're now grown and have preschoolers of their own, which the show focuses on. Perhaps it just appeals to my sentimental side, but I personally was quite taken by the idea, and found the clip engaging and the music sure to get the attention of any preschooler! The show debuts this fall, but in the meantime, you can catch clips and stay up to date with developments in the show's creative process at PBS Kids. Ava and I will certainly be tuning in!

Though getting to see the behind-the-scenes workings of a PBS Kids show was fascinating, one of the other main things that really stuck with me was DeWitt talking about something they referred to as the "app gap". Given the technology gap that low income families face, not necessarily being able to afford the more expensive gadgets such as an iPad, iTouch, etc (we certainly don't have any...yet!), PBS has recognized that lower income children don't have the access to educational and character-based apps the way that more affluent children do, and have therefore partnered with Head Start to remedy this issue. Whether providing iTouch devices when possible, or app codes for devices that other programs may already have, PBS and Head Start are doing their part to close the "app gap", and to help all children, regardless of income and/or situation, have access to the same school readiness curriculum.

The only negative thing I could say, and this was not a big issue for me personally, was that the venue set-up proved a bit challenging, with the speakers being situated in a way that made some people have to turn around for the entire presentation, and left others in a position where it was difficult to hear. Finn and Porter is a lovely restaurant, but isn't set up for a group of our size, which probably reached nearly 100 people. That, and some woman hogged all the Dr. Suess hats and wouldn't give one up for me to take home for Ava. Meh. You win some, you lose some. For the most part, I was surrounded by some lovely local ladies, many of whom have blogs that I adore reading:

All in all, I had a great morning!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ballet Austin's Hansel & Gretel

Have I mentioned how obsessed with the ballet Ava is? Ever since we took her to The Nutcracker back in December, she's talked about little else.
Maybe she will grow up and pursue a mfa degree! She wants to wear tutus, her ballerina pi's, and ballet shoes every single day, and I'm happy to indulge her - it's pretty adorable.

Anyhow, I found out last Tuesday that Ballet Austin was doing a run of Hansel & Gretel. At just under an hour in length, along with some of the scarier parts (attempting to bake Hansel in the oven, specifically) being modified, it was the perfect show for kids, and so I immediately bought tickets and Ava and I spent the afternoon this past Saturday having a girls day at the ballet. So awesome.

We got all dolled up, and headed downtown to the Butler Dance Education Center that was recently erected on W. 3rd Street. The facility itself was gorgeous, and the performance was held inside the intimate Austin Ventures Studio, holding about 100-150 people and allowing everyone to have an amazing seat. We were in the fourth row, and sat next to the most delightful elderly couple who just thought Ava was the cutest thing ever. I'm biased, but I tend to agree :)

Here's Ava and I inside the studio (Pardon the blurriness, the older man was taking the photos after being specifically told not to - thank you, sir!!!):

I know the pictures are awful, but the memories are amazing <3 I was so born to the mother of a little girl!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tiny Tails to You Petting Zoo Storytime at BookPeople.

Have I mentioned lately that I have the best moms group in the world? Seriously. They have the best ideas for things to do with the little ones, and I have met some of the greatest ladies, not to mention some great playmates for little A!

Anyhow, I had the good fortune to take Ava to our local bookstore, BookPeople, where a local traveling petting zoo called Tiny Tails held a petting zoo storytime. Ava loved it. LOVED. They had an orange guinea pig named Bevo, and Ava charmed the pants off the guy in charge of the animals when he said the guinea pig's name and she shouted "Hook Ems!" She had him wrapped around her finger by the time we left :) I, on the other hand, left my heart with a teeny tiny baby hedgehog! OMG - had I been allowed, I would've slipped the baby into my pocket and taken it home. Did you know that baby hedgehogs live underneath their mother for the first three weeks of their life? The one we got to meet had only just come out days before!!! So adorable!

Here are some pics. We'll be going back to the next one in a few weeks, although this time it'll be me and FOUR kids. Glad I got to enjoy it the first time - lol!

Baby bunnies! I had a couple growing up, and there may be one in our future, judging by A's reaction!

Bigger bunnies:

Bearded Dragon:

Ava's buddy, Bevo. She's been saying, "Miss Bevo! Miss Bevo! ever since" Aww, she misses him!

Silk Chickens:

Tortoise (Did you know the difference between a tortoise and a turtle is that turtles need to partially live in water to live and tortoises don't? I didn't!)

Awwww - love this little fella!

Ava loves the skyline!

In case the animals weren't awesome enough, we also (true to the story time name), read animal stories, and did an animal themed craft appropriate for toddlers (we made elephants out of pre-cut hearts - too cute!). The cost? $10 and an RSVP. Totally worth it! We can't wait to go back in a few weeks!!!!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Peek at the Park.

We've been spending a lot of time at an area park in the Rosedale neighborhood lately, and Ava has mastered the playground! Steps carved into the side? Check. Climbing up the rock wall? Check. Monkey bars? "Mommy help!" We're getting there :)

Anyhow, here are some cute pictures I snapped of her at the park Friday:

And I thought these two curly haired beauties were too cute not to take a photo of:

Curly girls gotta stick together!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ava's Big Girl Bed!

From this:

To this:

To answer the inevitable question, she hasn't slept in it yet, and I'm not sure when she will be. Basically, we want to talk it up and get her excited about it (which she is), but we're also coveting the end of our time all sleeping together. I'm sure non co-sleepers don't get it at all, but we'll definitely miss having her. She is such a little snuggler, and we both love it :)

She definitely loves her big girl room, though, and she napped on her bed the first day that it had blankets on it, and took one of the best naps! It is a little high off the ground, so we did manage to get our hands on some great rails to slip under the mattress to ensure she doesn't roll off, but she is very used to sleeping in a bed, so I bet that will be an easier switch than if she had (ever) slept in a crib - ha!
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