Merry Christmas....



and why not eat snickerdoodles and fudge and hot cocoa for breakfast?!

A walk in the park...



We woke up early. We felt good. We felt well rested. We decided we wanted to do something with our day. We wanted to spend time out in the great outdoors and not cooped up in the house. We wanted to show Scout some things she's not seen before. So, we decided to pack a picnic and a stroller and go to McKinney Falls and look at the foliage.



She listened to the airplanes that flew overhead. She listened to the birds in the trees. She listened to the leaves as they blew across the path. She listened to the wind in the trees. She listened to the water as it flowed in the creek. She listened to the children swimming in the falls.



She watched the puppies play in the park. She watched the families as they walked down the path. She watched her mom scream with excitement and surprise after almost stepping on two snakes. She watched her daddy explain that snakes are our friends and we shouldn't be afraid of them.



We taught her things. We read to her. We showed her primrose and cactus. We stopped and looked at ferns. We stopped and looked at Juniper trees. We watched the snakes cross the path and hissssssssssed at them. We showed her the brown leaves and the orange leaves and the red and yellow ones.



We discussed birch trees and I told him the story about the birch tree that was in my childhood neighbor's yard. And how much I loved them. He told me he wants to take walks with her more often like this, so he can impart in her the wisdom and confidence that came with growing up in the country with a dad who knew what kinds of grass and plants were growing where and what was edible and what is not. He wants her to know what a prickly pear cactus fruit tastes like. He wants her to not squeal when she almost steps on a snake, but be brave like he is. Maybe someday.

Pretty music for you.



Gorgeous stop-motion too.

Phrases that have come out of my husband's mouth today that make me laugh.....



"Peekaboo we're gonna play peekaboo, peeakabo I'm gonna find you, find you. Where's BROBEEEEEEE? "

"I like this meal because it's our ONE uniquely secret recipe."

"the return to innocence...remember that song? Wasn't it SOOO cool? man...no good songs like THAT have come out lately."

"OMG Brooke Burke just retweeted my blog post. Does that make me really cool?"

20 months + a few days


My how quickly she grows.


How clearly she speaks.


How wonderful she is.

Letting her walk ahead....





Wait for me! No? Ok....

Thanks ACL fest....



While many of you are complaining about the mud, and losing focus in the rain...let's remember what it was really about. THE MUSIC. Just to give you a peek at what we discovered this year at ACL, here's some music from the Avett Brothers. Amazing stuff. Their musical aptitude is as impressive as their lyrics...and I hope you love them as much as I do.

These three songs are my favorites. For the lyrics, for the melodies and the harmonies, for the feeling that I get when I listen to them, for the dance moves my daughter makes to these songs AND....for the times when Scout says "MOMMY! PIANO! LOOK! SEE!" when she hears this music.









I love the way they sing about their family and friends... ("I wanna have pride like my mother has,And not like the kind in the bible that turns you bad.And I wanna have friends that I can trust,that love me for the man I’ve become and not the man that I was.")

...but specifically, I love they way they speak about their mom. "That woman has eyes that shine like a pair of stolen, polished dimes." and the kicker from "Murder in the City..."

"...Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name..."

POST EDIT: The last song, I just added...is awesome. It's one of those songs that is really TWO songs in one. A beautiful piano melody for the first 2 and 1/2 minutes, then a great fast-paced jam in the middle. Have a listen...if you have nothing better to do at the moment. OR, if you just need some music in the background.

The good, the bad, and the just plain ugly....




The good:
Sense of feeling good about myself
OMG, the getting ready for work the night before. I love that I go to bed every night with ironed clothes and bags packed.
The car time with the family
Getting up and starting my day early
Socialization for Scout and for myself
I teach things to babies! It's my JOB. I know, right?
Lots of getting out around town and discovering new things with Scouty
Seeing Scout learning things. She counted herself to sleep tonight. She's 20 months old. Genius. I know.
Breakfast every day.
A paycheck


The bad:
Waking up at 5:22 every morning! And I mean actually GETTING UP OUT OF BED. I know, it's crazy. Not to mention the mornings when Scout wakes up an hour early (yAY!)


The ugly:
Scout was bit on day 2. But this happens! The next day, the same person who bit her ran up and hugged her and kissed her when she walked in the door. :D

Feeling good...



From where I was a month ago, I can truly say...I'm feeling better. I'm tired as heck, but man...I'm feeling good.

I know, I know....



It's been like a year since I've updated with anything interesting. But hey! I've been busy! Started work (I KNOW?!) and have been incredibly busy getting into a routine. It's hard work, but I'm loving the fact that I'm all about getting ready for Monday morning on Sunday afternoon.

Scout starts her first day tomorrow. I can't believe it. It's going to be life changing for her and for us. We are so excited for this big step in her little life. I've just come back from a shopping extravaganza with my grandmother. I bought five pairs of khakis and two new pairs of shoes for work. :D I'm all set. Scout is getting her lunchbox today (daddy is shopping at Wanderland for a Laptop Lunch just her size). After that, it's all up to labeling, and packing her little bag with loveys, extra clothes, diapers and wipes. Oh wow....this is big.

Things I like.



Vera Neumann linens
Antique/Vintage dinnerware
Vintage or vintage/mod inspired furniture
Mod prints
anthropologie.com
modcloth.com
original art
our inherited collection of napkin rings
candle light dinners (when it's pizza/sandwiches/foie gras)
our green chair
other people's gardens
old books

to be continued...

Whoa there, horsey.




So yesterday was fun, wasn't it?
Kanye apologized to Taylor...Jessica Simpson's dog was eaten by a dingo and I had a mental melt down about returning to work. haha.

Oh, I kid...But thank you to some great friends who helped rationalize my anxieties and encourage me in my decision.

And to the greatest husband in the world...thanks for being my rock and my never-failing, ever-encouraging, ever-loving best friend. We make a great team.

Sometimes I just need you to shut up and be supportive.



So, I'm thinking about going back to work. And my anxiety over this situation is forcing me to make pro/con lists, eat excessive amounts of chocolate and read manuals and websites on childcare.

It's not the workday that scares me or the pursuit of a new endeavor for myself. I know I'll be fine and I actually am excited about the potential I see before me.

Problem is, now I have a child to think about. I have to worry about her well-being in the hands of others. I have to worry about what she'll be learning from her classmates and the lessons she'll bring home from her caregivers. I dread the moment she asks for her teacher instead of her mommy. I fear a backlash in her skills and knowledge.

But, the things I fear the most are.... the opinions of the masses. I'm frightened to death of hearing phrases like "well, she was such a sweet girl before you started her in daycare" or "smarter" or "healthier."

For all those moms out there who've had to face this same situation and have done so successfully, please...please...please offer me some advice. I'm afraid to google search things like "pros and cons of childcare" for fear of the inevitable panic attack with WILL ensue.

How do you justify putting your child in childcare? How do you justify keeping your child at home? How do you justify anything you do, any decision you make?

This, too, shall pass....right?

09/11/09



I wake up. I watch the husband leave for work. I make the baby's breakfast. I turn on the news. I turn off the news. I turn on Good Morning America. I make eggs sunny-side-up. I make coffee. I make toast with butter and strawberry preserves. I watch the special report at the Pentagon. I watch Gates and Obama give speeches. I can't avoid it. It's the eighth anniversary of a very sad day. A day that forever changed our beliefs, our practices, our rules and regulations. A day that shook this nation to the core and showed us what we are really made of. A day where we all feel a little bit more like a brotherhood and a little less like an extremely bipartisan citizenship. I turn off the lights, and make it a little bit darker in here. I feel the lump in my throat that started in my stomach and has worked it's way up. Is it raining everywhere this morning? Even Scout sits quietly on a pillow and watches the memorial at the Pentagon. Isn't it strange to mourn for something you've never seen, for people you've never met and situations you don't fully understand? In 2007, seven months pregnant, I made my first visit to NYC. Six years after 9/11, I still didn't feel comfortable making a visit to Ground Zero. It was too hard. It was too much to remember. I wanted to avoid it.
In 2001, my brother shot into my room at our college apartment in Bryan. He ran in and said, "you've got to come see this. You won't even believe what's happened." He was on the phone with my mother. I still remember what cell phone he had. We sat on our couch and watched as the reports that a plane had run into the Twin Towers. Half asleep, I selfishly commented "does this mean we don't have school today?" In all honesty, I thought it was a fire in one of the towers on our campus at first (half asleep) glance. Then it happened. Right before our eyes...and the eyes of the entire world. The second plane hit the South tower. Then, the Pentagon. Then the field in Pennsylvania. Then, they fell.
We didn't know anyone in New York. The closest we came to the attacks that day was a story that my grandparents had had dinner in the restaurant at the top of the tower only weeks before. We knew someone who knew someone who was related to someone who died in the attacks. And still we mourned. We cried. We grieve to this day. It is something that has forever marked us. It is something we witnessed. The first of truly traumatic events in our young adult lives.
For the first couple of years, we stopped. We stood still. We had moments of silence. We gasped, "I can't believe it's been two years, three years, four years..." We waited for action. We waited for memorials. We waited for explanation. We waited to see what would happen next.
Now, eight years later...I still try to avoid the news. I try to avoid the posts on blogs and the posts in my updates on twitter and facebook. I try to put on a brave face and not feel everything I felt on that day, watching those towers crumble into the clouds of dust. But again, I've been drawn like a moth to the flame. I say to myself, "there's no reason to feel so sad. There's no reason to cry. There's no reason to remember." But there is. Sure, it's not felt as strongly as those who were there. But, I think it does a tremendous disservice to avoid it. To write it off. To not think about it. To not remember.
So, today...I'm thinking about those who lost their loved ones on that day, and the days that followed.

Our first....



#2 in the potty! A BM! A Poo!



Ok...this growing up stuff is awesome.

Because she likes to do things herself...



Ms. Independent gets handed a spoon and some yogurt....after I cover her highchair in plastic splash mats. Oh, and there's some rubbing-yogurt-in-hair-action, too.

video

Best bubble bath in the world....




...happens to be a body wash. And here it is. It's 98% from natural origins. It's hypoallergenic. It's biodegradable, is packaged in 100% recyclable material and the company who produces it makes at least $100K in donations to the WWF (World Wildlife Fund, not the other "WWF").

Its scent of rosemary and mint will relax and energize you and just a teensy little cap-full of this stuff will make the bubbles go higher than your head (in a garden-size tub, no less!)! We love to keep this stuff next to the tub, but it also is a great body wash.

You can pick it up at local grocery stores for about $7 or you can pick it up by the case (WOW!) for around $45.


Better dash...the kid is wearing her potty on her head.

Craving chocolate?



Search WebMD and find a chocolate addiction video featuring a psychology professor that you did a data entry/nicotine-lab job for in college! It doubles the guilt by at least 100x.

http://www.webmd.com/video/chocolate-addicts

Now, back to that chocolate....

sometimes there's just nothing better to say.



me: scouts favorite thing to do lately is to try and pull her diaper off

it's pretty much the funniest thing

because she spends the majority of the day sagging enough that you see her butt crack

Sent at 4:07 PM on Friday

E W: nice

Sent at 4:09 PM on Friday

me: and then she stands next to me on the couch and says CATCH

and then dives

on my laptop

naked butt and all

are you getting a visual of the hassle it is to type this

HELP. My kid refuses breakfast.



It all started a couple of weeks ago...the usual apple-cinnamon waffles just weren't cutting it. You couldn't get her to eat them. Not in her highchair, not in a box, not with a treehouse with a fox. She will not eat them, Mom-I-am.

So then, we tried fruit. She will eat the crud out of strawberries, blueberries, peaches and bananas. So, GREAT, I'm thinking. But then, the diapers. Oh...the diapers. I'm pretty sure she was getting too much fiber in those fruits and needed a little more. So, we tried that ol' standby...cheerios.

But, nope. Not interested.

So at this point, our morning routine consists of waking up...fixing BLUEBERRY waffles...and bananas...which the kiddo screams at, throws on the floor and then demands that someone get her down from her highchair because dangit, she is not eating this crap. Or apparently, any other crap. Not even yogurt with cereal and fruit.

Tried eggs yesterday, and she broke out in a rash all over her face. I'm hopelessly lost. Mac and cheese for breakfast, anyone?

Happy Three YEARS to us!




JB and I just celebrated our third wedding anniversary! Though we planned on just spending it at home (after a weekend trip to my hometown and back...and plans that fell through for the condo in Galveston)...our good friend E volunteered to watch the little one so that we could go out and have a "date night."

Being the romantic couple that we are, we ate dinner at Which Wich and went to see the new Quentin Tarantino flick "Inglorious Basterds" (awesome, btw). But tonight, we did what we probably would have done lastnight...enjoyed a dinner of farmer's market sweet corn, farmer's market black-eyed peas (we shelled ourselves this weekend), and cupcakes from Hey Cupcake! J noted how we saved all of our calories for cupcakes. :D We talked about how the last year flew by even quicker than the first two, and how happy we are to be where we are today...though we both wish we had a little more time to play with Legos.

It seems like the rain gods have heard our pleas for rain since last week's water restrictions went "mandatory." We've been blessed with rain here in the Pflug. for TWO nights in a row. Right now, we are both doing a little bit of work on our laptops and listening to it rain. Even the dogs are excited about the rain. For the record, thunderstorms in central Texas are MUCH less frightening than they are in the Panhandle.

Anywho...here's to US; the ones who love each other without question, without abandon, without reason.

First day of school



Today marks the first day of the school year 2009 for most. My cousin is a senior in high school, my neice started kindergarten, my nephew started a new school...and Scout starts potty training. So many new changes and exciting things, we had to join in!

I'll keep you posted on the happenings of potty training. What's happening now? Scout is refusing breakfast unless it is blueberries, strawberries, peaches or bananas. It could be worse, I guess....

Grammar Nazi.



Learn how to use the word "allege."

allege

What July looked like for me....via tweets.



*searching for tires online. cheapest place? 9:19 PM Jul 1st from web

*just realized that jay left the water running in the backyard for about 14+ hours. yippee.1:01 PM Jul 2nd from web

*quality time with my awesome amazing wonderful husband 9:16 PM Jul 5th from web

*waiting to take the brohem and his wife-hem and child-hem to the airport-hem.9:09 AM Jul 7th from web

*grumpy pants, party of one.3:49 PM Jul 12th from web

*what happened Tony and Jessica? WHO CARES!?!?8:07 AM Jul 14th from web

*lknneezdxxzxZXa5...UPDATED BY SCOUT8:19 AM Jul 14th from web

*pool, check! lunch, check! nap, check! playing baby dolls for 30 minutes, check! (having a girl is so much FUNNNN!)5:22 PM Jul 15th from web

*feeding kiddo bananas for dinner. what else can we rummage up....6:33 PM Jul 16th from web

*please don't go giiirrrrrrrrrllllllll!8:43 AM Jul 20th from web

*hates that scam checks in the mail get her so excited....and the daydreaming begins.9:38 PM Jul 20th from web

*baby loves her VHS tapes10:03 AM Jul 23rd from web

*grinding teeth at night has broken through the threshold of my porcelain crown and is continuing to split my tooth down into the root. owch.8:23 PM Jul 25th from web

*the sleeping balance is off in this house. like, majorly....8:28 AM Jul 30th from web

*ahhh rain! happy plants, happy momma!10:05 AM Jul 30th from web

*Scout loves playing dress up....and I love watching her.1:57 PM Jul 30th from web

*up and watching saved by the bell college years. funnnn....7:55 AM Jul 31st from web

Happy August everyone! Back to school soon!

Scout and Duncan


Scout and Duncan
Originally uploaded by capitaldevo

Here, You Can Have It


Here, You Can Have It
Originally uploaded by capitaldevo

Hey, That Was Mine


Hey, That Was Mine
Originally uploaded by capitaldevo
Check out those faces....

I Want It


I Want It
Originally uploaded by capitaldevo

What Do You Have There?


What Do You Have There?
Originally uploaded by capitaldevo

Love is sharing your cheddar bunnies


Hugs
Originally uploaded by capitaldevo

Flickr

This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Music baby (vol. 3)

Here's some great video that J caught of Scout playing the keyboard in his office. I went to see a movie with my friend E. He was in charge for the night, and this is what they did all evening!

video

Things she can't live without...

I've been meaning to write this post for a while now...I guess since she turned 12 months and I began struggling with what "table food" Scout could/would/should eat. That's where it started...then I've also recently been introduced to other things that my good mamma-friend Lori was giving to her kids! SO MUCH LEARNING! SO MUCH FUN!

So here's a list of the top ten things Scout eats/loves on a daily basis:

1. Yo Gabba Gabba...we have about 22 episodes (currently) of this wonderful, hit-or-miss kiddie show on our DVR at the moment. She loves all the characters, the songs, the cartoons, and is also learning some valuable lessons. The songs DO get stuck in your head as a parent, but they are all about great things...and the "Naptime" song has come in handy on more than one occasion in this household. AND the website is FUN.

2. Rubber snake... When J and I got hitched, my bro and sis-in-law-to-be gave us a box full of camping gear. Complete with a rubber snake. So, to the mortification of my mother, we kept it in the kid's toy box in our hall closet (the toys we kept for our neice and nephew). Now...it is Scout's BEST FRIEND. She gives him drinks of juice/milk/water, covers him with blankets and pushes him around in her dolly's stroller.

3. Ducky...The stuffed animal (it's really a chick, but don't tell her that) duck that my parents gave her at Easter has quickly become her night-time safety item. It's so huggable and has the most elastic-y arms and snuggly fur...I kinda want one for me. This goes hand-in-hand with her pink and white striped blanket from Pottery Barn Kids. Heaven forbid if I walk off and leave this thing in the washer or dryer...she will not sleep without it.

4. First Juice...This stuff is great. It comes in four great flavors (I'm assuming the purple one and the peach ones are just as great as the other two we've tried...it's hard to find around here) and has 1/2 the sugar of regular apple juice. Plus, it has some veggies in there AND comes in GREAT single-serving juice bottles that WILL NOT LEAK EVER. Also, the bottle is BPA free and safe to re-use. Great for car-rides and grandparent's houses.

5. Vado video camera...okay, this one is for us...but still, it has been great! We love catching all of her HD moments on this handy-dandy, pocket-sized, fancy-smancy camera. It's been Jay's gadget of the year.

6. Amy's organic kids meals...including pizza, Annie's Organic mac-and-cheese and Earth's Best chef-boyardee-esque raviolis. These are awesome...and I feel much less guilty about heating this stuff up for Scout when in a pinch. Recently...the greatest thing EVER to happen in the history of me-being-a-parent...was the night when we all sat down to a dinner of roasted veggie lasagna...and all were satisfied. With. the. same. meal.

7. Pirate's booty and/or Smart Puffs. These things go anywhere and everyone likes them. They are healthy snacks for kiddos and parents, alike. You can buy them in bulk-sized bags at Costco and they are especially easy for little tikes who only have a couple of teeth to gnaw on...much safer alternative to goldfish crackers. The cheese flavor is (of course) a big hit...but surprisingly, Scout LOVES the green veggie flavor.

8. Really awesome bath toys...J's aunt found these water toys for Scout and we LOVE them. Every time the bathwater starts...we get a high-pitched "squeeeeee!" It's a series of four cups that hang from hooks on a suction cup bar thing. I should just take a picture. One of the cups is the "dump cup" you use to fill up the other three cups. One has holes in the bottom of it like a tiny strainer. Another one is like a water wheel that spins and the third has a spicket you can turn off and on. She would spend HOURS in the tub playing with these things.

9. Little Einstein's ride-on. This thing is great. Yeah, the noise gets a little much at times...but whatever. She loves it, and it makes her happy. Every little button does something, and if we ever miss the remote...we just look under the seat of this little scooter, b/c that's usually where it is hidden. We've only had one tiny accident on this scooter...where she was sitting on it backwards and scooting...and ran into her rubber snake. She toppled over the back of it and got a fat lip...and subsequently a Mott's frozen apple juicepop.

10. YoBaby yogurt/yogurt and cereal. Unhappy baby? Open this stuff up. With less sugar than you might think, this stuff tastes like cake batter. Cream on top and fruit and grains all in the mix, you just can't go wrong. Half a banana or some blueberries go great with the vanilla or banana flavors and Scout will eat it all day long. We have to be careful not to leave these on the bottom shelf of the fridge b/c if she sees them...she goes for them.

Music baby (vol. 2)

video

GOODNIGHT CLEVELAND!!

The clothes you keep....

It's funny how a dress can bring back a feeling. A tank top can make you relive a sweltering summer and a pair of pants can inspire you to break down Hammer-style. Some of those things are fleeting moments in fashion history...a mistake we wish we hadn't made. But others...the ones you keep...what do they say about you?

Is there something to be said for the clothing you keep? Is that your history? Is it WHO you are?

I keep a few things in my closet that can best be described as costume. I manage to incorporate a few into my usually common wardrobe and others will probably never be worn. Now, don't get me wrong...I'm not keeping hoards of NKOTB and Mossimo tye-dye clothing for you all to come and pillage. I only have a few things...some of them are mostly ordinary and you probably wouldn't think twice about. I manage to clean out my closet at least once a year and haul a load of gently used items to my local clothes drop.

But these all hold some kind of meaning or hold some kind of intrinsic value to me. My most valued? A vintage boy scout uniform shirt from my hometown. Almost every time I wear it, I get a comment or a thumbs up or a questioning look from someone...but I love it. It reps where I'm from...I'm a small town girl...while also saying....I'm sooooo much cooler than you. ;)

Got anything cool in your closet you wanna compare?

Real World Cancun...welcome back to high school

So remember that time we got paid to go to Cancun and all we did was create drama and gripe about how our lives are so more meaningful than yours?!?! OMG! LOL! What a good time! <3<3<3<3

I love this cast...but man, honestly...I feel so old watching them just act like fools. This kind of drama is so 2001.

So here's my brief introduction/evaluation of each cast member.

Aiiya...the girl who's "been there, done that" in just about every aspect. You know the one...entitled to her own sense of self b/c she's JUST that much better than you. And oh, you want to battle with this girl? She'll take you down and claw your eyes out in the process. Right now, she's being painted as the female instigator. The one with the drama, who quits the show every episode. Also, Hooters girl.

Joey...the male version of Aiiya...also, he's the all-tatt'd-up bad boy. He's got no-one and nothing except the guitar and the clothes on his back. He's so rebellious. Also, he's kind of gross. He spits in people's food...and hooks up with random gross chicks.

Emilee...Aiiya's BFF for the first episode. Then...the truth comes out. They are really frienemies. She's also a Hooters girl (but don't make her "feel stupid just b/c she works at Hooters").

CJ...hottie surfer boy...looking for his identity. I'm guessing he only recently became good looking. Or he just realized it. He's totally uncomfortable in his skin and is malleable to other people around him...we'll see how he turns out. He's the beefcake NFL free agent. He's pretty easygoing.

Jonna...difficult background...lots of foster care drama. Waitress at a bar with Derek and winner of some Discovery Kids show. The cool chick. Cool hair, pretty looks, tattoos and piercings. All the other girls want to be her, and she is clueless to her own coolness. She's one of the guys, and totally alienated by the girls in the house.

Bronne...(pronounced like the towels). The class clown. Always making jokes at other people's expense, but they don't seem to mind...yet. He is an ROTC guy who may have gay tendencies. He has a man-crush on Derek and CJ. Painfully obvious.

Derek...Jonna's gay-guy-friend. They were besties and coworkers at a bar before RW. He's totally laid back and mostly anti-drama...but not above a good squabble. Will probably end up getting his feelings hurt by all the cast members. Except maybe Jonna...b/c they totally have eachother's back.

Jasmine...oh gosh. Thanks for representing Texas...um...not. This girl is an AIRHEAD to the max. And she has traces of being a spoiled brat. She likes to talk about how she only weighs 80 pounds but can get scrappy. If you want to pick a fight with someone, make sure this girl's on your side because it will amp-up your drama-quality by about 12301230123019. or 80 lbs.


I love how the dynamic has become the stereotype. It's pretty awesome.

104 degree summer

After a lovely birthday celebrated in our lush backyard....a week of 104 degree heat has made our backyard oasis look more like a forgotten garden. Sadly, our trees are not looking good again, as is our grass and 1/2 of my plants. Luckily, I think my tomato plant is still doing alright and my rosemary seems to not really notice the heat.

Scooter and I just got back from a week-long vacation in the Enchanted Circle of New Mexico (or as J likes to call it, "the magic circle"). We stayed in a very nice cabin in the Angel Fire village area...a friend of my dad's was so kind to loan us the keys. I could have moved in, if only the altitude didn't bother me as bad as it did. I've never had an experience with altitude sickness...and even though mine wasn't that bad (mostly breathing/headache problems)...I wouldn't want to experience it again.

Here's a snapshot of what our week entailed: lots of fishing, relaxing, campfires, s'mores, hot air balloons, shopping, rain and cool weather. And here's what you come here for: the pics.







Extremely sad news.




Received an email from Bryce's mom today regarding the outcome of tests and his surgery for the brain tumor he was diagnosed with last month.

Hello everyone,

Bryce's new diagnosis is not a good one. We returned to MD Anderson on Tuesday for Bryce's surgical follow-up.
He had a battery of tests to check on his cognitive skills following this massive surgery. His staples were removed --
all 43 of them. The update on the surgery was that approximately 85% of the tumor was removed. All involved
felt that the surgery was an amazing success as it took so much of the tumor while leaving Bryce completely intact,
physically and cognitively. The MRI is quite stunning. The entire front 1/3 of Bryce's right side brain is gone. It is
so unbelievable that he is functioning so normally with this large area just gone! No, it will not refill -- the area is
filling with spinal fluid and will remain that way. Bryce thinks the MRI pics are just amazing. I can't look at them.

The diagnosis has changed to a glioblastoma multiforme. There were a small number of these cells, but the World
Health Organization staging of tumors requires that the highest staging of any cells requires the tumor to be staged
at that high number. All of this is somewhat subjective and the two physicians in the room as well as the pathologist
seem to have a slightly different take on the staging of the tumor. The gist of this is that Bryce's tumor is generally
thought to be malignant and much faster growing that we first thought. They also surmise that the gliobastoma cells
just began -- the tumor has recently transformed from an anaplastic astrocytoma to a glioblastoma. There is so much
guess work here.

They are calling this a stage 3 tumor (1-4 being the rating). A glioblastoma multiforme is the worst case scenario of
gliomas. Dr. Levine told us that the survival rate is 10% at five years. Obviously, devastating news. However, our
son Scott (he is a physician) did some research and feels that this number is very, very low. There are many cases
of patients who are out-living this prediction. Particularly, Bryce's age and great health to this point will be in his favor.
Scott spoke to an oncologist who works with patients who have this type of tumor and the oncologist tells him that
there are huge advances being made on brain tumor research. Dr. Levine has also mentioned to us that five years
ago there were virtually no people with a 5 year survival from this type of tumor -- so althought 10% is an awful number,
it is a huge advance in only 5 years. BTW, Dr. Levine was Bryce's surgeon at MD Anderson.

Today, we head to Oklahoma City to meet a radiation oncologist who Dr. Levin (our neuro-oncologist at MD Anderson)
referred us to. Dr. Levin will be directing the radiation treatments and feels Dr. Algon in OKC is very, very qualified to
do the incredibly technical treatments. The remaining tumor is very close to Bryce's optic nerve and to his brain stem.
Dr. Algon was trained at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Levin and Dr. Algon are both Badgers (U of Wisconsin) -- although there
is quite an age difference. Bryce's treatments will be 5 days a week for 6 weeks.

In addition, Bryce will be taking Temodar which is an oral chemotherapy designed especially for the treatment of brain
tumors. He begins the chemo the night before his first radiation treatment which will probably be Monday, June 22nd.
There is exhaustion and nausea associated with these treatments, but other complications are not expected. He will
take the chemo for 42 days.

How are we doing? Bryce is getting better every day and seems to be handling the news pretty well. At least better
than the rest of us. This news is very new to us, but I go between extreme anger and grief to hope and belief that
Bryce can beat this. I do know that our entire family is committed to having great days ahead with lots of fun and laughter.
We probably wouldn't have made the decision financially to have our family vacation this year, but it was already scheduled
and paid for, so we also have that to look forward to. We did have to change our date, but the house we have rented had
a week open in August and transferred us to that week. So, Fripp, here we come!

We will need lots of prayers. We know that God provides miracles every day. We need a miracle! We pray for this through
the medical hands and minds who will treat Bryce and all others who face this terrible disease. Especially we want prayers
that Bryce will not have pain and will keep his spirits high. All of us who surround Bryce need strength and we ask for your
prayers as well.

Feel free to call or come by the house. Bryce is getting tired of his boring old parents!

Thanks to all our friends and family for everything.

Love,
Debi
xoxo


Per usual, Bryce's outlook on everything is quite upbeat. His facebook status reports today that it was "not such great news. But we are going to kick cancer's ass."

Yes, you will, Bryce! We send you all our love and thoughts of healing.

Reblog: The Changing Face of Internet Video



Great post by my one and only...seen here.
What a happy THREE YEARS it has been...

What a vacation will do to the mind....and the heart.




J and I took a vacation for nine days. Nine whole days, sans-baby. We let go of the parental steering wheel and handed over the controls to the grandparents. It was the hardest thing we've done as parents, but also the most rewarding thing we have done for our relationship since she was born.

We had an amazing time, with three vacations packed into one. 2 days in Vegas, 3 in Seattle, one night in Carson, and three nights camping at Sasquatch Music Festival at The Gorge.

We saw some pretty amazing things, so I'm going to have to split this post up into several, as to not overwhelm you. I can tell you, though...it felt great. We turned off the Blackberry (but left our iphone on for emergency calls/emails). We took our laptop, but only to convert videos and photos we took on our trip. We turned on the television only one night (to watch the American Idol Finale, duh). We spent a lot of time playing Scrabble on the Iphone (and the board game version in Carson). We spent even more time walking, hiking, seeing sites, sitting down to nice dinners, cuddling by the fire, taking gorgeous drives and of course, seeing some fantastic music.

It was great to remove all the stress of the day-to-day, and reconnect with each other. It is good to know, that we have a great foundation and to revisit that foundation for nine whole days.

Bryce's Biopsy




I wanted to share some great news with everyone. But first, the backstory...a not-so-great email we received on the 2nd from my mom's first cousin (we're a very close family).

Hi everyone,

Facebook seems fairly inappropriate for this, but calling everyone seems more difficult. We had some very sad news today concerning our 26 year old son, Bryce.

About three weeks ago, Bryce had a seizure in the middle of the night. No one saw it and Bryce couldn't remember it, but he was bruised and extremely sore the next day. Bryce lives with our oldest son, Scott and our two grandchildren, Hannah and Gabrielle, in Bentonville, AR. Scott is a physician and so had some tests ordered. Those tests came back normal and after consulting with other docs, decided not to pursue more invasive and expensive procedures. This past Sunday night, Bryce had another seizure similar to the first. So an appointment was made with a neurologist for next week. Then, last night Scott witnessed bizarre behavior from Bryce that led him to believe that we needed to move faster with a diagnosis.

Bryce had a C-scan early this morning. We were all shocked to learn that he has a brain tumor. An MRI was immediately scheduled for a couple of hours later. Scott was able to get Bryce an appointment with a neurological surgeon in Tulsa at 2 pm this afternoon. Roger, Ross and I met Scott and Bryce in Tulsa for the appointment.

So, if there is good news when you have a brain tumor........
He has an oligodendroglioma high in the right frontal lobe of his brain. Scott says if you have to have a brain tumor this is the kind you want. There is a 75% survival rate at 5 years for this type of tumor. This doesn't sound great until you realize that those numbers include all ages, people who are not very young, people who have other health risks, etc. Bryce has his youth, his excellent health, the relative good placement of the tumor, all in his favor. Also, it does not appear that this tumor is malignant. This is an extremely slow growing tumor.

The not so good news...... The tumor is quite large. 8 x 6 centimeters. The doctors were actually surprised that we had not noticed any behavioral changes in Bryce. Operating on this type of tumor is not recommended. There is the chance of doing harm to his brain. The main symptoms of this type of tumor is seizure. He will be on seizure medications for the rest of his life, barring some wonderful new medical treatment. Frequent MRIs will also be ordered to be sure the tumor doesn't change.

The treatment.... Bryce has been placed on seizure medication with the hopes of getting control of these seizures. He is taking steroids to hopefully reduce the edema (swelling) in his brain. Next Wednesday, the 29th, Bryce will have a biopsy done. This is an invasive procedure, drilling a small hole into his skull. There will be an active MRI going on during the surgery so the physician can see where he is placing the needle. Several areas of the tumor will be sampled. We will have the results in 3-5 days. He will be in the ICU following the procedure, then on to the surgical floor for about one day. They are keeping him so they can watch for bleeding in the brain which is a side effect of the biopsy.

Bryce is in very good spirits and as Scott said he is taking this news better than the rest of us. My sons started in on the 'tumor jokes' right away. What does your tumor think about that? Just think, if either of you two ever get a tumor, mine is the biggest. Oh, you go first, tumor boy. Man, I bet you feel bad about the way you treated me when we were kids, knowing I have this tumor and all. It got worse and I'm sure it will only continue.

And because we can't have just one family emergency, my dad is having open heart surgery, probably this Thursday. He needs a mitral valve repair or replacement. His surgery will take place in Oklahoma City. We were on our way to see his surgeon when Scott called with the news about Bryce. It has been a difficult day.

We need your prayers. I am home tomorrow so if you want, you may call. Bryce is also probably home tomorrow. Also on the good news side, Bryce, Scott and friends had a trip planned to Las Vegas for this weekend. The doctor said he can go! He, of course, is not allowed any alcohol -- his mother has no problem with that -- and he's just thrilled he still gets to go. No calls on Thursday, please, as Dad will most likely be in surgery.

I will update you on Dad and Bryce when we know more. Thanks to all of you for your good wishes and prayers.

Deb
xoxo


Followed by an update sent out today:


Yesterday, we got our report from Dr. Wilson on Bryce's biopsy. We have a change in diagnosis. Bryce's tumor is a low grade oligoastrocytoma (WHO grade II).

First the World Health Organization grade II -- There is a standard rating of tumors, grades I - IV. Dr. Wilson says a grade I is "is this even a tumor". He has never seen a grade I. So, this is good news. It says that this tumor is "about as benign as they get". Obviously great news.

An oligoastrocytoma is a mixed glioma. There are four classes of gliomas: oligodendrogliomas, astrocystomas, anaplastic astrocystomas, and glioblastoma multiforme. These are in order, least malignant and lethal to more malignant and lethal. So, we have a mix of an oligo and an astrocytoma.

This tumor can do one of three things: it can continue to grow so slowly that with seizure medication it might not be a problem for Bryce for a number of years; it can begin growing more rapidly and become a larger problem very soon; it can de-compensate and become aggressive and malignant.

Dr. Wilson has released Bryce as a patient and is sending us to MD Anderson. We already had an appointment there, but nice to know that this was Dr. Wilson's recommendation as well. Dr. Wilson is positive that there may be new treatments available for the treatment of his tumor. We are also seeing a neurosurgeon in Dallas on Friday to get his opinion.

Bryce is off steroids as of yesterday and is feeling much more like himself. Nasty stuff, those steroids. He is tired and ready to move forward in this fight.

The entire family is very positive about Bryce's complete recovery. We need your prayers. Yes, please put Bryce on the prayer chains you are a part of -- we know the power of prayer in our home.

You may feel free to contact Bryce via email. brycemusick@hotmail.com
He is staying here at our home at this time. 1214 HIckory, Weatherford, OK 73096
He isn't able to work because of the medications but hopes to return to work soon.
Friends of Bryce who have his phone number, call him. He would love to talk to you.

Thanks for all your good wishes and prayers.

Debi, Roger, Scott, Hannah, Gabrielle, Ross, Kendra, Jordan, Casey, Cierra, Fitz, and Bryce
xoxo

Summer Vacation




Scooter is getting ready to go on her first summer vacation at her grandparent's house. She'll be in the Top 'o Texas for a full week without her mommy and daddy. We would be going crazy, but we're going to be preoccupied with our own summer vacation. We leave the day before she does, heading to Seattle and Sasquatch Music Festival via Las Vegas, Nevada! Oh, who am I kidding, we are going to go a little crazy without our little girl. We haven't been apart from her for more than a couple of overnight stays with Meemaw or Aunt Allie, and I know how hard it is to do that!

Things we plan on doing to keep ourselves busy: buffets, gambling, staying out late, sleeping in early, going to museums, dining at fine restaurants, catching some local music, camping, hiking, staying at a B&B, shopping, seeing the sites, riding a ferry, throwing some fish, and running into old friends. We'll be apart for almost ten days, so we have a lot planned to keep us as busy as possible.

We love you Scout-Scout! We'll miss you incredibly, but we also know you'll have a ton of fun with your Marmie and Papa! xoxoxo!

oh the cuteness...and the shaky camera.




Watch it in HD. Yay Vado camera! And yeah, I know...it's almost five minutes long. But ask me if I care.

Mother's Day #2!




Happy Mother's Day to all you mommies out there! I hope your day was filled with sweet kisses and hugs and alleviated diaper duty. We had another wonderful Mother's day, here at the hizouse.

J and S let me sleep in this morning until 9 a.m....which might have been the best treat of all. Then, I awoke to Einstein bagels and coffee and mother's day presents and cards. I am blessed to have such a thoughtful and sweet little girl!

We then prepared ourselves for a day of biking and outdoor activities. J outfitted my bike with my new distance/calorie counter and we loaded up the bikes, trailer and baby and headed south the the Veloway. It was such a nice afternoon for riding! We observed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower center and trucked through the Veloway trail. I'm rather proud of myself for pulling the baby and making it out alive! I didn't make it all the way up the big hill, but I'm hoping to be better prepared next time!

Then, we went to the SoCo Food trailers and enjoyed some Hudson On The Bend Mighty Cones and Hey Cupcake! cupakes. :D After a short nap, we aired-up Scout's swimming pool and she donned her new polka-dotted bikini and we spent some time in the backyard and splashed in the pool!

I'll post some pics and video this afternoon...must go change out the laundry and a dirty diaper! Back to real life!

in my next home:



I want this

A note about sleep.




Sleep is important for many reasons, and honestly? I thought once Scout started sleeping through the night, I would be SOOO well rested. Back to my "old self." No more bags under the eyes. No more grumpy mornings. Loads of energy.

Lately, it's not been the case. After reading about cases where Chinese drywall has led to illness, I'm beginning to question our walls. ;) Okay, not really. But, what the heck is up with my lack of feeling well-rested?

I'm hoping that in a couple of weeks, when we go on our baby-free vacation (sad, I know)...I'll be able to sleep. Yeah right. ha. I'm already counting on being rundown and worrisome the entire time we're gone. Funny, how I used to tease and taunt Jay about how he can't relax...even on vacation. Doh!

So, with that...I'm going to assess our room's Feng Shui and see what I'm doing wrong. I'm pretty sure the pile of laundry at the foot of our bed is messing with our chi.

Internet love.

Happy Cinco De Mayo!



Forget the swine flu, and have a margarita! :D

Happy birthday, JB!




To the best husband, friend, and daddy on the block. Here's to another fun year!

We're in the clear....



No swine flu here! Just a little tummy bug. She's doing better now, eating solids and holding down liquid. Everything looks on the up and up!

when your baby calls a puking rally at 3 pm....



The first thing you do is, *gag* "what's that smell?"
Then, the next thing you know, you're flinging doors open, screaming at the hubby to call 911 and everyone is covered in vomit.
Calm and level-headed, I am not.
Kiddo is doing okay, I think it might have just been something we ate? By dinner, we were keeping down fluids and tried some applesauce and toast. Everything is looking on the up and up, but we are going to Doctor Cav just to check in the morning.
I'm not even going to go into my irrational thoughts about pigs and flus.

I've got bangs...and I know how to use them.





My Iphone on the other hand? No idea how to use IT.

Two vids of the babe



Vid one is of Scooter and dad enjoying an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba. Who is more enthralled with the show? I don't know. We are all pretty big fans here. Watch them get their wiggles out. Then you'll see how a 22 pound baby gets a grown man off of her pillow.

video

THEN...some baby tricks. These are the only two I could get her to do. BUT, you do get to hear her favorite word: "DANCE!"

video

Give this photo a title.






If I like your title the best, I'll send you 2 free AMC movie passes. Or something else I find lying around my house. ;)

Sick Dancing Orange Juice



Oh my goodness. SO, my life lately can be described by one word: snotty. Allergies have led to one heck of a sinus infection, complete with chest cough. SO, yeah. Baby S has not been affected, which is nice.
J has been busy busy busy busy busy busy busy with work and had to work straight through Easter weekend, so he didn't really get to enjoy my parents being in town, which is sad. But, I did get to spend lots of quality time with mom, which always feels a little bit nicer when I am sick (no matter how old I get).
Something that has been especially annoying lately is that stupid Tropicana commercial with the actress (what's her name?) who is dancing around in the kitchen to "She's a Lady." Oh my goodness, no one feels that good in the morning. AND no one, I mean NO ONE, feels that good about their orange juice. But, it does have one redeeming quality....it makes Scooter squeal with delight and shout "Dance Dance!" That is quickly followed up by a spastic clap dance that I really should catch on video...if J will ever bring back our camera to the house.

Moms on Oprah



So I'm a big fan of moms everywhere, duh. Thus being true, I was super psyched to see moms from the Momversation videos were going to be on Oprah, including Dooce, Karen, Melinda, and others (sorry, can't remember all).

The episode was great, but the more I thought about it, the more I got a little peeved. I mean, Oprah is known for being a little....how do you say it...."over the top?!" BUT, wasn't it just a big negative pity-party? So yeah, parenting is hard! It's not just hard for the moms (although, probably for most moms, it is)...but it is hard for the dads too. Men feel disillusioned as to what they expected from their lives, it's not just women. Everyone feels that.

So now is the time (as my mom would so blatantly put it) to put on our big girl panties and get glad!

*Waking up early sucks, but how much do we love our morning coffee, and those first snuggly moments with our little sleepy-heads? I know for a fact that Scout is stinkin' adorable early in the morning. When you walk into her room and she looks at you and points and says "GIOADOGJSDFJDFSIDIFJSDLJD," it makes it all worth while.

*So you're constantly juggling your work, baby, and home schedules. That's what life is about. You make plans, you take lessons, you teach your kids things, you spend time with them and you have to work to be able to do all of those things. It's a vicious cycle, but it is one that gives you purpose.

*So you are feeling unappreciated and struggling with your new identity as a parent or a provider. Ask for some recognition...maybe your partner is feeling at a loss. Maybe you need to give some cues. Take some time to yourself and regroup, but then dive back in! Get your feet wet! And the identity thing...someone on the Oprah show said it best...DON'T FIGHT IT! Re-invent yourself. You ARE a parent. It is a maddening thing, but it is a wonderful thing, too.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the hardships don't deserve their acknowledgment, too. I'm just saying that if you focus on the negative, you're going to reap the negative. Take delight in the small moments and cherish them. Remember them. Hold on to them in the dark times, and you're going to be alright. Have some belly laughs. Roll in the floor with your kiddos (dogs enjoy this activity also). Go outside for a jog, a walk, or a bike ride and get some Spring-time sun on your cheeks. Sing a silly song and dance.


What are some things that get you through your hard days? What do you do to relieve a little stress? Share your thoughts below, and I'll pick a random winner who will receive a lifetime of free E-Hugs from yours truly. :D

Or just cry in the shower. ;)