Tuesday, December 8, 2009

TodaysMama Meme

TodaysMama and Provo Craft are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.
1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year?

  • A DVR (i'm dreaming on this one, but its a "wish list" right?)
  • Lovely (by Sarah Jessica Parker)
  • Painting lessons
  • A nice camera (again, "wish" ing)
  • A purse that doubles as a scaled-down diaper bag that dosesn't LOOK like a diaper bag.
2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received?
  •  I treasure handmade gifts.  Paintings, jewelry, childrens clothing, hair clips, blankets it would pain me to choose a favorite!
3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle?
  • Vinyl lettering
4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child?
  •  I honestly loved getting new clothes

5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year?
  • Sadie has made it quite clear that she wants a "choo choo train" and a scooter
  • Jack will get something with balls

6. What is your favorite holiday food?
  • Can it be a drink? If so, hot chocolate!!!

7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays?
  • I can't say exactly because they might read this! A shadow box project and decorative wall art.
8. What is your favorite holiday movie?
  • 'White Christmas'
9. Favorite holiday song?
  • 'Silent Night'
10. Favorite holiday pastime?
  • I love baking for the holidays.

When you're done creating your post, make sure to email them a link to your post at info@todaysmama.com with “Wish List Meme” in the subject line.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Will it survive?

So the tree survived the drive home.  But can it survive THIS:

First he unraveled the ribbon from the ornament, then he ate it.  Like an apple.  In fact, he said "Ahh-pull" as he bit into it.  Yes, that is soot on his face.  He ate a candle before I caught him.  Of course, that was before I heard the crash of half the lights and ornaments being pulled from the tree.  Lest you think I'm a neglectful mother, all of this occurred within two minutes of me putting underpants on my two year old. Sad looking, isn't it?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

this is what happens when...

When its 9:30pm and you're tired.  There's a Saint's game on, but you're missing it because your wife insists on putting up the Christmas decorations tonight.  Home Depot has the bungee cords you need so that you can strap the tree to the roof of your car, but does not have a viable Christmas tree.  So you make your purchase and drive to another store to purchase the tree.  The tree place is closed for the night.  Your wife's throat lumps and she is about to cry.  The store workers have compassion upon her and allow you to purchase a Christmas tree, but you must act quickly.  You hastily pick a tree and while she is paying, you strap it, with your newly bought bungee cords, to the roof of your car.  Its going on 10pm.  Your kids need to get to bed.  You want to see how the Saint's game turned out (though you know they stomped the Patriots. Who Dat!) Your wife is thirsty, tired, and wants to start decorating the tree.  She pulls out of the HEB store parking lot a little too quickly.  And there, on Texas state Highway 281 your tree shoots off of the top of your car like a launched missile.  You scream explicatives and slap the dash as you watch cars dart around your newly purchased symbol of the Christmas season.  Your wife pulls over and you run out onto the 6 laned highway and rescue and recover the Christmas tree.  Your wife is on the roof of the car unlatching the worthless bungee cords.  However, you are not moving.  You are thinking.  She wonders why you are not moving.  She is cold and wants to get home.  You inform her you are contemplating the method of transport for the tree.  The decision that will allow you to get home to your Saint's game and warm bed? Shove the Christmas tree inside of the car.  Sit ontop of your children in the back seat of the car.  And then have your wife drive carefully home.  But not before stopping at Sonic to reward your hard work, perseverance, and cleverness.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Favorite part of the day.

I like TV. Most people consider that to be lowbrow, but I can't help it. I mean, I love to read and listen to classical music, and attend the theatre, and go to art museums, and write poetry too, but sometimes I just want my brain to be sucked out by good ole' american TV. I do NOT, however, like the commercials and its nearly impossible to catch every luscious moment of dry wit during 30 Rock with two children begging for your attention. So, thus enters my favorite part of the day (or night). The part where Jared and I put our kids in their cages beds and plug our laptop into our big beautiful TV and watch our favorite TV shows off the internet; the ones we missed while cleaning up poo, cooking dinner, and bathing babies. 

For my birthday, I bought myself an extra large, super soft throw for the couch.  I nuzzle into the corner of the sectional with said cuddly throw, sometimes a yummy treat, and my sweet hubby.  I'm giddy with excitement and anticipation.  What sort of inappropriate HR nightmare will Michael Scott get himself into this episode? How manipulatively crass will House be as he attempts to properly diagnose a medical mystery? When will Mr. Shue find out that his wife is faking her pregnancy?  SHHHHH!!! Its starting!

And then, ::thump, thump, thump::
"Do you hear that?"
"No. That was me tapping my foot on the couch."
"No. Sadie's awake."
"Well go check on her, then." I say, slightly annoyed at the interruption of my brain sucking session.
I feel bad that I'm annoyed so I follow Jared up the stairs just to make sure Sadie's okay.
She's got the light on, toys on her bed, and she's reading to herself.  My heart smiles and projects itself onto my face.  Jared and I look at each other beaming and head back downstairs.

We start the shows again.  A little later I hear "MAAAAAMAAAAAAAA!"  The shows are over now.
I run up the stairs and see Sadie.  "POOOO POOOO! I gotta go POO POO!!"
We go to the bathroom, handle up on business, and Jared returns her to her room while I shut things down in the kitchen.  I head up the stairs to hear laughter.  Jared and Sadie are tucked into her little bed talking and laughing.  I decide to join them and wiggle my way through the covers and jam myself between the wall and my Sadie bug. 
"Mama, you want to cuddle with me?"
"I gonna be the choo choo train and we gonna go to the tunnel, right Mama?"
"Sure, Sadie!"
"Choo choooooooo"
She's smiling because she's smooshed in a love and adoration sandwich. Jared and I can't help but smile and exchange glances back and fourth when Sadie does or says something cute. 
"I love your eyebrows, Mama."
"Well, I love your nose, and your eyes, and your hair," I list off, "and your lips, and your hands, and your feet..."
"And my boogers? You love my boogers, Mama?"
We roar in laughter as we answer.
Jared says "Eweeee...boogers. No, silly."
I say "Yes, Sadie. I love your boogers too."
Somehow the thought of not loving even this child's boogers makes me feel sad.  I mean it.  I love every piece of her.  Even her boogers.  And if one day Jack asks me about his boogers, I'll tell him the same.  I love every bit of you.  EVEN the boogers.

Come to find out, my favorite part of the day isn't really my favorite part at all.  My favorite parts are all the parts that I get to love and be loved by my little family.  Nothing on TV can beat that.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


There were three less people in our family last time Jared and I went to California for a visit back in 2006. Its hard to believe Sadie, Addison, and Jack were mere wishful thinking at the time.

Uncle Dale and Aunt Laura flew us out to visit them (and finally meet Addison!) in September. Anyone who has known me for a while has most likely heard stories of my summer/winter visits to California. And if you were listening, you probably figured out that those summers/winters hold some of the best memories of my life. Everyone should have happy places that they can retreat to and find refuge from the storms of everyday life. I am fortunate to have a couple of safe harbors where I can be myself despite any shortcoming, personality flaw, or failure. My family in California is one of my "happy places."

While there, we did lots of fun things. Of course, we didn't go there for the fun, we went there to spend time with our family. It doesn't hurt that they live in a place I'd call paradisaical, but i'd visit them if they lived in hell or even somewhere like the westbank of New Orleans (aka hell).

One of the first things we did was to visit a farm. I forgot the name, but the name didn't matter. This place was so cool! It was a working farm and you could buy what they grow at a little open-aired market at the front entrance. The pumpkins weren't up for show for a few days, but feeding the animals kept us plenty busy. Here, Jack is enjoying a pony ride.

Sadie, however, did NOT enjoy the pony. At all. Not. one. bit.
I love John Deere tractors. Not for any practical reasons, but more so for the image of being a cowgirl workin' the farm. This comes from a girl who once pointed out a horse that turned out to be a sheep. Here we see two cowgirls (Addison and Aunt Laura) workin' the farm on a mini John Deere.

Two of my cousins, Lexi and Addison.

Speaking of "fun things, Uncle Dale let Jared go for a ride in this thing. I think it goes 0 to 60 in like 3 seconds. We went to the Santa Barbara zoo while we were there. It was small, but BEAUTIFUL. The weather was perfect...not too hot, not too cold, blue skies...pacific ocean on one side, mountains on the other. They even had spa-like music playing in the background. We were able to get up close to most of the animals. Here are my two favorite monkeys:Sadie and Addison were great buddies. Where one was, the other followed. If one left, the other missed her. The air conditioning vents are in the floor of my aunt and uncle's house. Sadie thought this was quite amusing. Sadie really enjoys being outside. She'd take Addison's watering can and "water her garden" in the back yard.Jack liked to water the dogs.
We also took a trip to Disney while we were there. My cousin Cait goes to school near by and she met us there.
Little Minnie.This was the pinnacle of of the whole day. We stood in line for a very, very, long time because I knew it would be worth it to her.Waiting in line for Finding Nemo. L.A. was around 101 degrees that day, which is unusual. San Antonio was unusually cool. Of course, that's how it works, right?
Jack was pooped by the end of the day. This is how he rolled out of Disney.
It was a wonderful trip that felt waaaay too short. It took me a couple of weeks to shake the "sad to be home" blues. Thankfully, Uncle Dale, Aunt Laura, and Addison are coming to visit us here in San Antonio soon. Knowing that helped.
I'm breaking the drought. Too many thoughts have gone unwritten out of fear that they aren't good enough to be shared. When did I forget that this is MY blog and I write it in for ME and not to please anyone? But I do. I do try to write to please. So then I don't write at all.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

She is three

She...is THREE! It seems like we've had her forever, though. And I mean that in a good way. In a "you-are-so-woven-into-the-fabric-of-my-very-being-I-can't-imagine-life-without-you" way.
Sadie is such a sweet, sweet girl. Rarely is she a handful, but rather a helping hand. Smart and curious, focused and thoughtful, filled with life. Lately, she's into making funny faces.She's also into "treasures." Treasures = anything shiny, small, and capable of fitting into a box that she can tote around and, to anyone who listens, proudly display her bobbles and trinkets. We took her to "the birthday store" (as she refers to it since its the toy store we frequent for friend's and family's birthday gifts) to pick out her present. Sadie, you see, rather help make the cake or pick out the present rather than simply eat the cake or rip into the paper wrapped gift. Here she is showing me a "treasure" (ring) she picked up in the toy store.

I love this store! They are so kid friendly and encourage the kids to play with the toys and explore the store. Jack found this awesome shopping cart. Its built EXACTLY like the buggies you'd find in a real grocery store...heavy metal, sturdy, swiveling front wheels.

Here's another Funny Face!
Sadie picked out a microphone the other day for her cousin Addison's birthday (which she shares with Sadie). She couldn't stop talking about it so guess what one of her gifts was...
They have a great train set up for the kids to play with at the store. Sadie L.O.V.E.S trains. Too bad a train set is super expensive. One day Sadie, one day.
Jammie, KK, and Kyle sent Sadie a package today. She was so excited to open it by herself and even frowned a little when I had to cut the taped box with a steak knife. I had to be super careful not to knick her anxious little fingers that kept creeping their way back to the box as I worked at opening it. Inside, there were all sorts of "treasures!" Bowls, place mats, a cell phone, color sticks, CDs, and oodles of cute clothes.
I'd say it was a pretty happy birthday for our little Sadie bug. I tried to celebrate her in every moment today...give a little here, give a little there, let a few things slide (like ice cream before dinner and staying up past bedtime). I'm so proud of her. And look forward to watching and helping her grow into a 4 year old.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Little Rabbit

Its baby Jack's birthday! Hip hip hooray!!

Lets have some cake. Mama made it juuuuuust for you baby Jack. Big sister Sadie will help you blow out the candles. She's been looking forward to it for weeks!
Daddy helps baby Jack figure out what to do with his cake.Jack's a fast learner!

Its time for presents! Mama helps to open them.

Everything was so much fun! Baby Jack wanted to play with each toy right after he unwrapped it. Keeping him on task was a big job.Baby Jack loved all of the attention. He sure did have a great birthday!
A few things about Jack to mark his special day.
Jack is an amazing kid. He has got to be one of the happiest babies ever. He's always quick to smile and loves to cuddle. My favorite face is the one he makes when he crinkles his nose. Jack is very tactile and bold. He likes to "jump right in" to whatever we are doing and is very social. Nothing slows him down! He's been walking since he was 9 months old, following around his big sister and anyone else who will play with him. I love my little rabbit. I can't believe he's a year old already!

To be terrified or not to be terrified. That is the question.

Ten years ago... before the house... before the babies...before the husband...I didn't think about it. I was uninterested. I was bored. It didn't matter and I didn't care.

I'd never have sick kids. My parents would never retire. My grandparents would never near the winter of their years. Taxes never crossed my mind. The price of oil didn't have a bearing upon my travels. Environmental consciousness was nothing more than putting trash in a can rather than on the ground. There was no 9-11 and the aftermath there of with its wars and level orange terror alerts. Unemployment? I live in AMERICA! Where dreams are born and you grow up, find a job, and get your white picket fence. There was no need to be concerned about that. I was, like most near 16 year olds, immune (more like ignorant) to the effects of politics. I didn't understand that the decisions our government make directly impact our quality of life. And in some cases, the length of it.

After seeing all of the contentious town hall meetings and near riots between concerned citizens and elected officials regarding healthcare reform, I decided to do a little research. A friend of mine on Facebook was quoting comments she had read about the bill on LC.org so I went to the site and read everything written on HR3200. And then I was afraid. My mind wandered to a gray, smokefilled-skied America where people wandered the streets half- dead looking for healthcare wearing tattered clothes reminicent of the depression era. I thought of my precious grandparents; tired and worn, sitting face to face with an "end of life counselor" to plan out their deaths. I saw myself frustrated and scared not being able to make a doctor's appointment for a sick child because of the massively long lines for care. I hypothesised a medical crisis. A crisis that's outcome would be determined by my government and how much healthcare would be rationed out to me or my family. I shivered.

And THEN, I went to whitehouse.gov and watched a couple of videos made to quelch the uproar and felt all better. For a moment. Opposition for the bill says one thing and proponants say exactly the other. "You will be forced into the "public option" or government healthcare" the opposition cries. "You will have the opportunity to maintain your private insurance." the white house says. "there will be rationing of services and the government will decide who gets care and how much." the opposition says. "the insurance companies already ration our healthcare and make that very same decision." the white house argues.

I'm confused. And I feel mislead by SOMEONE. But who? What do YOU think? Really, I value your opinion and if you can help me to make an informed decision on whether or not to be terrified, i'd appreciate it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

sleeping with a hero

It was going on 1am when I shuffled up the stairs.
"You comin' up?" he had called to me on his way to bed a little more than a hour before.
"Yeah. I'll be up in a bit."

Writing felt important...more important than sleep at the time. I needed the quiet....the stillness of a sleeping house. I needed to think.

When I walked into the room, I noticed he had left the light on in the bathroom. I felt relief and a wrench of sadness in the same moment. It was like a lighthouse guiding a sailor to shore, except the sailor was an hour later than expected. Did he fall asleep waiting? I hoped not.

I turned off the light and blindly felt my way to the bed; trying to avoid toys abandoned from the day and a moat of pillows surrounding it. It seems that no matter how careful I am I wind up bumping my right shin on the foot of the bed or tripping onto the mattress and fumbling upon one of Jared’s outstretched limbs. He lay there; seemingly undisturbed by my bedtime dance. I nuzzled my cheek on the valley of his back- the place where what some refer to as “angel wings” meet. I wanted to curl up inside of his warmth. I wanted to be rescued from my thoughts.

After a few moments, I left him to sleep.

“Are you okay?” I heard him ask softly. Was he awake that whole time?

“I feel better now that I was able to write.” I told him, unable to articulate what I was feeling.

“Oh, good.”

“Its just…I don’t feel like I’m good at anything.” I blurted out. It was an awkward thing to say at 1am. Saying things like that usually ignite long, drawn out therapy sessions. It’s like buying a gallon of milk the day you leave for a month long trip. You know you don’t have time to drink it all before you leave. I almost regretted it immediately. I knew morning would come and I didn’t want to be responsible for him feeling sleep deprived anymore that he already was.

“I’m sorry, Sweetie. I think you’re good.”

He placed a warm hand on the small of my back and soothed my skin. It felt like a heavy paperweight keeping me from floating away and for some reason it spoke more to me than anything he could say. I felt my heart unclench. My hero. My angel. Nothing mattered but that I am loved by this amazing man. Armed with the comfort and the knowledge that he loves me for a reason, I put me feelings of inadequacy and self doubt to rest, if only for the night, and drifted to sleep.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

reflection of self

I find it vital for growth to pause from time to time and look at who you are at the moment, while remembering back to the person you were...say...five years ago. That way, you can evaluate how far you've come. Have you deviated from where you thought you'd be or who you thought you'd become? Are there people in your life that you didn't know existed a few years back? What about the ones that used to be there that aren't? What goals have you accomplished and how have they changed as you've changed?

If we don't reflect on who we are, then how do we know who we are? How do we change what we are becoming? Maybe you like who you are becoming. Maybe you've lost track of yourself and forgot who you want to be.

I do this every year. Usually its around New Year. This year, for some reason, this contemplation of self awareness has consumed my year to date.

The "good" reflection of myself: I am married and in a healthy, functional, loving relationship that, thus far, I have managed to not screw up. I pushed two babies into this world and use my every day to fill their cups with more love than they can hold. I have a more solid sense of spirituality and how to continue to enrich it. I've managed to help Jared get us into a house that, only a year ago, we didn't think we'd have for years to come. And most importantly, I've grown more emotionally mature. I owe this to marriage and to birthing two children.

The "not-so-good" reflection of myself: I've realized that after years of marketing myself as a non-judgemental person, I still have judgemental tendencies that stem from wanting to quickly identify and categorize others so that I can avoid getting hurt. I'm working on this. I have abandoned many of my talents. I no longer paint, make jewelry, dance, or sing. Poetry has fallen by the wayside. Run 5 miles straight with out stopping? Ha! I can't run to the mailbox without stopping. And theatre...oh my beloved theatre. I miss you so. Where's my spontenaety? Where's the Courtney that ran from security guards down hotel corridors or traveled down roads just to see where they ended?

The marrying of the two: In order to achieve the "good" i've had to let go of pieces of myself. Its just not practical to travel the world performing on stage while jumping out of airplanes between shows when you have a husband and two kids. I must say, the original plan years ago didn't include a husband and kids. It was soley stages and airplanes. That, in itself, is a huge deviation in plan and I'm grateful. Children don't work well without routine and that leaves little room for wandering. And when your whole day revolves around two little people that are (appropriately) self-centered, it makes it hard to work on yourself. Still, others do it. Why can't I?

I find myself in a creative rut these days; my brain sucked into a holding pattern. I used to be braver; more expressive. I didn't second guess my ability to create. I knew I was an artist. In that sense, I miss younger Courtney. Have you ever felt like parts of you have drifted or died? Parts that you want back? I've become obsessed with figuring out where they've gone and how to retrieve them.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I pushed my nose up to her nose and she wrapped her tiny arm behind my neck. I could feel her breathe like a soft warm breeze as she laughed from excitement.

"I love you, Sadie."

We were curled face to face right before bed. I traced the side of her face and tucked the delicate wisps of hair behind her ear. There are few moments when I have the opportunity to lock eyes with my two year old. She's always bouncing from one thing to the next; bursting with life. I never take these moments for granted.

"Soooo, so much. Do you know that? You're my baby girl. My most favoritest girl in the WHOLE world! Do you know that?"

"Yes. I your girl. I lob you too, Mama."

I wanted to study the moment and tattoo it inside of my heart. I knew the reality of the situation. A sadness panged my heart and knocked the breath from my chest.

She's going to grow up. She'll change and blossom and this little baby girl will become a big girl. She won't need me to read her stories before bed nor will she request the "Sunshine song" or "Sleep, sleep Sadie" or "Lullaby" to lull her to sleep. She won't cry for me in the morning to pull her from her bed.
This little girl will disappear, and though I will love whoever she will become, I can't help but feel crestfallen to one day lose who she is now. I try not to think about it. Not how my Mama did it with me and her Mama did it with her; and the ghost- like feeling of remembering your past. I try to stay in the moment with both Sadie and Jack. Always keeping in the back of my mind that these moments are priceless and not to be taken for granted.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

florida pictures

It was a Walden vacation. Much needed and a long time comin'. And they invited US!!!! Mama suggested we rent a condo in Destin for a couple of nights and hang out on the beach. Aside from the corneal abrasion from Jack scratching my eye, it was an awesome trip! All of these pictures are from the first day since I couldn't open my eyes on the second!

"Pick me up." "What? like this?" "Both of you! Pick me up like sideways." "Why?" "Just do it!" I always wanted a picture like that. :)
Me and Mama and Daddy.
Little Rabbit...
...eats the sand. And LIKES it.
My cute little Mama!
The water is the way it should be: Clear with an emerald tint and warm. None of this cold brown water shtuff! I grew up going to Pensacola Beach with its beautiful sugary sands and gorgeous waters, so my standards are pretty high for what is labled "beach." Plus, I'm particularly picky about any water that I play in since i'm afraid of what I can't see. You could see the fish swimming!
It was the perfect summer evening; warm with a setting sun. The sunlight was beautiful on my baby.
Sadie couldn't get enough of the sand. A month later, she's still asking to go to the beach. When we go to the car in the garage to go somewhere, she passes her pail and shovel and says emphatically "WE GO TO THE BEACH TODAY!!!!"
Uncle KK and the little Rabbit. KK looks like he's a fun guy judging by the smile on Jack's face!
Sadie, so tired after playing in the waves and the sand. Uncle KK's shoulder is the perfect place to rest.
JJ took Jack into the ocean for the first time in his whole life! JJ would help him to jump the waves. Sometimes a wave would sneak up on them, though, and clobber them in the face. Jack didn't seem to mind much. He's so tough!
I was excited to have a picture with Jared. We rarely get the opportunity to take a picture of just us.
Hey! I'M supposed to be the "big sister!" But Kyle's becoming my "big brother!" I think he could bench press two of me.
Good times. Good times.

Kevin at sunset. I like this picture because I feel like I'm talking to him when I look at it.
We took this picture right before Daddy left for the airport to return to Iraq. We went out to eat at the Pensacola Alehouse and took this in the parking lot. I cried when i got to the car. Right after Jared, the kids and I got back to Mimi and Papa's, Kyle called me asking if I wanted to ride with him to pick Daddy up from the airport. His flight had been canceled! He was stressed, but I was secretly (and openly!) excited to have one more night with him. We had to leave the next morning, but I got all of the crying out the night before so it made leaving a tiny bit easier.
On the way home we passed through Baton Rouge. I was feeling really mushy and sentimental and made a last second decision to exit I-10 at Acadian. We found that we couldn't drive around campus because there (new? or new to us?) guard gates blocking the through streets. We parked in front of a garbage dumpster and I ran out with Sadie so she could see Mike. He was sleeping in the corner right next to the gate so she was able to see him pretty up close. There was a big bush in the way of posing her in front of him for a picture so we took one in front of the statue. I sure do miss Baton Rouge. We stopped off at our buddy Matt's house and talked with him for a while. It was wonderful to be back there.