Monday, November 28, 2011

Canine visitors

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend.  It was so nice to have Zach home for 4 whole days in a row.  Also, his parents have been in town, along with his brother and brother's girlfriend who drove in from San Francisco.  So the boys have been having a ball playing with all the family, especially D.  The older he gets the more his love of his grandparents shines through, and it's really amazing and heart-warming to watch.

We also had some canine visitors this week.  Our friend Sasha was dog-sitting 2 dogs all last week, and both got to visit our house a few times.  The boys LOVED the dogs, seriously head over heels.  It was one of the first times that I felt a really strong tug at my heartstrings and desire to get a dog ourselves (which was then quickly squelched by remembering about our tiny yard, our unstable lifestyle, and the fact that I already have 1 kid who just left toddlerhood and another who's just entering, I do not need to bring another highly-dependent creature into our home anytime soon).

Anyway, it was very fun to get to hang out with the dogs, and watch the kids enjoy them so much.

Isn't he gorgeous?

  He also totally thinks he's a lap dog.

  Donovan walking Fox the dog 
One of the most precious things I think I've ever seen.

Along with this.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

(almost) One year

Quinn's first birthday is just over two weeks away.

It is with only a twinge of guilt that I confess that I've been looking forward to this milestone for the entire past year. It's a strange thing to see all the parents around you lamenting the passing of time and begging for it to slow down, while you yourself are cheering it on and hurrying it along. It's not that I haven't enjoyed this first year with Quinn at all-- I have. There have been many amazing moments with him, and watching he and Donovan learn to be brothers.

But this year has also been probably the hardest of my life. I don't know if it was the shock of caring for two souls instead of just one; me not exactly being a "baby person";  Quinn being a bit of a "high needs" baby; or experiencing what might have been mild depression...or a combination of all these. But this year chewed me up and spit me out. I have never felt worse about myself, as a mother, as a human, than I have in so many moments this past year, often questioning why I even decided to have children to begin with and why in the world did it have to be so damn hard.

As many of you probably remember from all the whining I've done here and on twitter.

I knew it would get better as time went on. As Quinn became more able and independent, as he began to crawl, to walk, to talk, able to entertain himself, etc. And it has. That light at the end of the tunnel has been shining and visible, especially lately, and it's coming closer. Already many things have gotten easier, and I enjoy him and my time with him so much more.  I know the years ahead will be filled with other, different challenges, some I can foresee and many I probably can't yet fathom, but in my limited experience so far as a mother I feel that I deal so much better with the challenges of a toddler than those of a baby. At least I think so. I don't know.

I realize I'm not alone here, and that many parents face far greater challenges than I, and with much less support, too. I'm not trying to get pity and I don't mean this as a "woe is me" post. I also don't feel shame in admitting that I am probably a less capable, less resourceful, less patient mother than many others out there.  I am trying my best, and for better or worse this is the mother my children have. I'm ok admitting my limitations, maybe because I know (or, at least, hope) that my strengths will be enough to carry me, and them, through.

(As an aside, I am suddenly reminded of all the times I've heard my mother lament how she made this or that mistake with us, how she wished she'd done better. I always thought she was so silly so thinking those things as clearly she was a great mom to us growing up.  Like with so many things, now that I have my own kids... I think I get it.)

I am glad to have all the pictures, the letters, my writings from the past year so I can remember and cherish the good parts- the sweetness, the triumphs, the love. And I am more than happy to hold them while closing this chapter and saying "Good riddance!" Here's to what's ahead.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

a brief love post

For some reason we never made note of the exact date, but it was around this time of year nine years ago that Zach and I sat together at Matt's El Rancho restaurant in Austin.  We already had 3 years of dating experience under our belts, along with two more years of fairly tumultuous on-and-off status.  And there we sat, over tex-mex food and margaritas, and decided to give our relationship another go.

I didn't realize it at the time, but he already knew that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.  At the young age of 22 that may seem odd to many people, but he knew.  I was still unsure myself, but quickly realized what I wanted, too.  That was sometime in November.  In March, he asked for my hand in marriage.  In May, we graduated college, soon moved to California, and married that following January.  We have not looked back since.

This January we will celebrate 8 years of marriage.  Still young, I know, but eight years is still something to be proud of.  I know many, many more will come.

I adore my husband.  He may infuriate me at times, but there's no one I'd rather spend my life with, parent my children with.  This past year has easily been the most challenging one for us as a couple, as a family-- new baby, job stress, uncertainty, etc.  But we have held strong.  We have been angry, frustrated, yelled and cried-- but always with each other, supporting each other.  He is my strongest ally, and I am so grateful for that.

Love you, babe.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

what we've been doing lately

Killing some time before school this morning. 
Quinn is: walking, babbling, starting to say words (swear he said "no, Mama!" today when stopped him from getting in the shower), signing ("eat" and "all done"), playing, loving the outdoors, incredibly awesome when in a good mood, impossible when in a bad one, still sleeping like crap.

Donovan is: enjoying school, making friends, missing his dad, needing Mama lots these days, very into dancing and music and singing, imitating signs that Quinn makes, continuing to be such an awesome and sweet big brother.

I am: doing ok.  Still tired, still wishing for better sleep, still frustrated at times... but those moments of kinda hating life and feeling so utterly frustrated by situations and things I have no control over, are getting to be fewer and fewer.  This past weekend I had one of those, and it was shocking to get thrown back into that place again, and realizing how much better the past few weeks have started to feel in comparison.  It helps that Q's mood has been better overall lately. That saying that you're only as happy as your least happy child is? SO TRUE.

It's Wednesday.  Wednesdays mean only one more night till Zach gets home.  Then we get our weekend, and then next week is Thanksgiving with all the good things that holiday brings.  It's also 9:45pm, which means I desperately need to get to bed since I have, at best, about 7 hours before I have to be up tomorrow, not counting midnight wakings with the babe.  So, good night!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

three bears on the bed

It's been a rough day with lots of whining and crabby moods on all our parts.  But I love these pictures of Zach and the boys reading comics on the bed yesterday afternoon, so I'll focus on them instead.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

{Guest Post} Don't Get Shucked; A Rant Against Corn Based Ethanol

My buddy Cyrus posted this on his Facebook page today, and I asked his permission to post it here since he (as a chemical engineer with much deeper knowledge of these things than I possess) did a much better job than I could have. I've been hearing a similar rant from Zach for a while, as well.  For my part I just think it's silly to burn corn as fuel when starving people could it it, instead. 

Those that know me know that I am very passionate and informed about the energy needs of the world and the state of our current fossil fuel driven economy.  I am deeply concerned that this is not sustainable on many levels.  Also those that know me know that nothing irritates me more than corn ethanol and the government subsides we waste on it.  I think we need to end these subsides, put our investment into efficiency and nuclear research, and face facts : we are squandering the fossil fuel inheritance in ~1 century that took 500 million years to accumulate and possibly irrecoverably damaging the biosphere.

It seems there is a pretty big range in the thermodynamic estimates of how much energy we put into making a liter of corn based ethanol but the energy you get out in a car is undisputed.  The realistic estimates for energy in put the total balance at very negative.  You would be better off just burning the natural gas we spent making the corn based ethanol.  This is a huge waste of our tax dollars and wastes are extremely valuable fossil inheritance.  Insult to injury, the agriculture ends up damaging the biosphere and driving up global food prices, something the poorest people on earth can ill afford.

Get informed – read this excellent blog :

Also if you want to check out the thermodynamics and do a bit of a “deep dive” on corn farming energetics, read this :

Even the congress knows the corn subsides are a joke :

Don’t get shucked, fight back against the corn ethanol subsides.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

sunday stroll

Zach and I got experience a rare event today-- a DATE.  Yes, really.  Can you believe these things still exist?  A fabulously wonderful friend of ours watched the kiddoes while Zach and I went to lunch and then took a little stroll down by the Capitol grounds.  It was pretty nice.  Mental note: do this more often.  (also: go back to the Capitol sometime with my DSLR)

Sunday at the Capitol grounds. Palm trees against blue sky. Water fountain. 
 Finished off the date with an eggnog latte. =) Red cup, red coat.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

goodbye, golden curls...

My sweet boy got his first MAJOR haircut today.  He's had trims before, but this was a massive style change, one he's been asking for for weeks now.  I'm having a hard time adjusting, to be honest.  All day long, every time I looked at him I felt shock all over again.

See these sweet curls? The California-boy waves?  The just-plain-awesome shaggy 'do?  


And he suddenly aged, like, 5 years in the process.

He is of course still adorable and quite handsome.  He loves it, is so happy with short.  It's another sign of me losing my influence on him as his mother-- up to recently he's been fine just going along with my hairstyle suggestions, but now he wants it short like one of the older boys in his class.  This is not in itself a sad or bad thing-- I love watching him grow into his own person with his own opinions and desires, likes and dislikes, and I will support his wants and independence every way I can.

But I still miss his long hair.

(I'm sure in a few days/weeks/months I'll get used to the short hair, and it will seem just as intrinsically "Donovan" as the longer hair has been for me.... It's just been a shock to the emotional system for this mama!)


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