the past 7 days

In the past seven days, we've celebrated an 80th birthday, kicked back and went out with dear friends, tried the coconut ceviche (ooommmmmmggggg), did a week's-worth of grocery shopping, definitely got our walking skills down, contracted THREE colds, took some time off to recover, bought new floors (yipppeeee!), installed them ourselves, saw a grrrrrrrreat movie with some awesome friends, and caught up on some Jericho.

What did you do?


Nothing makes you feel MORE out of shape than getting an email from Vicki Secrets advertising their swimsuit JANUARY. Thanks a lot honey, but I'm SOOOO not there yet. When do I get to stop using "I just had a baby" as my excuse?? Next month? eegahds. I better get to work.


Forgive the baby talk...I really want to stop. I really do.

She just gets so excited when I talk to her in a high-pitched voice! Maybe it's excitement or maybe it's anxiety. Or maybe it's just bouncy houses that make us revert to our squealing 7 yr. old selves! Either's a vid of the baby at Cousin D's 4th bday party! What fun we had!

On the Eve of Change....

Growing up a young WASP in Texas, I always had desires and dreams to live in a different time, in a different place. I wanted to live in Elizabethan days, to experience the dress, the traditions and the lifestyle. I wanted to live in the 1920s to drive one of the first cars. I wanted to live in the 1960s to experience having a television for the first time. I wanted to live in the 1970s to see what life was like during the "flower power" movement.

For one of the first times, I'm excited to live in the day that I do. What a world to live in and what a time to live in it. Great change is on the horizon...not only for tomorrow, but for the 4 years to come.

I am hopeful for our economy. I am hopeful for our troops. I am hopeful for our country. I am hopeful for the rights of my neighbors and friends. I am hopeful for my daughter's future.

an unintended use of a 26 (and a half) year old...

So here's some things I've found myself doing lately, that I probably shouldn't...because I'm probably supposed to be "past that phase."

1. saying things like "don't front."
2. staying up late to play video games (and actually doing a pretty good job)
3. learning to play golf (i really am not good...but it's still fun...really.)
4. dancing to Mix-XM songs while driving down the road
5. drinking Sparks (tho sadly, it is out of production)
6. Learning to ride a bike (again)

I just have to say it.

I LOVE the new Kleenex ads. Freakin' love.

Touch. Touch. Touch. Touch. FEEL.

Isn't that the truth? When I see those commercials, I stop. I was having one of those moments (like in the commercial) where you are running around the house, putting up toys and cleaning stains from the carpet and avoiding getting pooped on, peed on or puked on (the three deadly P's)...when I saw that commercial. I laughed, I related and later in my day, I talked about the ad.

Then, tonight, I'm sitting in my chair...watching American Idol on my DVR and flipping through my Parents magazine...when bang! It happens again...I see an ad in print...with pics of lots of things I would want to touch (and the word "touch") and then I turn the page. OMG. There's an ACTUAL Kleenex in the magazine with the word "FEEL."

And I did.

But it's not only about the ad. This commercial reminds me to stop being so BUSY. Take time and smell the roses. Touch the soft tissue. Smell your baby's sweet smelling hair. Kiss the hubby. Pet the puppy.

Then, get back to your cleaning. Those stains won't remove themselves, ya know.

Why we don't eat (most) meat.

As I'm sitting here with S, watching BBQ Paradise on the Travel channel...I have to admit to myself....a big plate of barbecue sounds pretty good right about now. But then I have to remind myself it's only 9 in the morning and I've not eaten any beef, pork or chicken in almost 8 months (besides that one slip-up on Christmas Eve...).

A lot of our friends and most of our family are avid why would we choose to give up the meat? For goodness sake, my family raises cattle and we live in TEXAS. Some people "go veg" for political reasons, or for religious reason, and some give it up for social reasons. High cholesterol runs in my family. In fact, several members of my family have been told to consume red meat only once per week, if that. So how about health reasons? Studies have shown that vegetarians have a lower rate of coronary artery disease, hypertension, obesity, and cancer.

J was raised vegetarian. I gave up meat for Lent in college. J doesn't like handling red meat and I gag at the thought of handling chicken or any other birds. We noticed that the times we enjoyed cooking the most were usually when meat was not involved. Also, when we went on a vegetarian diet, we would feel lighter and have more energy. We had friends who were vegetarian or vegan, and of course, J's parents don't eat meat. So, when we would eat with these people, it was easier to cook meals that didn't involve meat.

Being vegetarian has led to some surprising benefits. We get a kick out of knowing that our knives have only been used for slicing veggies, tofu or Quorn. In the Austin area, it is a lot easier to live this lifestyle. There are vegetarian restaurants, bakers, and grocery stores (or at least large sections in certain grocery stores).

We do still eat fish occasionally, and still eat dairy products and eggs...because it is easier to eat at a restaurant that way. We don't want to completely inconvenience friends and family who do still eat meat. Being a vegetarian doesn't have to mean eating salads and side-items only. That's not to say that we don't still think meat looks good. Because at this stage, it still does have an appeal. The thing is, we can't bring ourselves to actually eat it. You're crazy if BBQ doesn't still look good on paper, or if you think we don't have cravings for hamburgers or tacos.

This has raised the question of "what about baby S? Will she be allowed to eat meat?" Our take on this is...there are still a lot of healthy options for vegetarian babies and as long as it makes sense for us to keep her on a veg diet, we are going to do that. Of course, if when she gets older and can form her own opinions...if she wants meat, she can have it...just probably not in our house. But who's to say we'll still feel that way in ten years. For now, this is what works for us.


The importance of routines, binkies, and lullabies

Finally, after the Christmas holiday travel and the New Year's Eve debacle, we are back into a routine. It only took five days...but man, those were loooooong days. We definitely were not ready for J to go back to the office on Monday.

But now, we are back to our four squares and two naps a day, and it is pure bliss. S is finally sleeping through the night again. In fact, this morning when she woke up, a disoriented mom thought it was 2 or 3 in the morning...and sent dad to go soothe her with a binky....yeah.

Speaking of binkies, man...our kid loves hers. In fact, it's usually somewhere in this developmental stage that babies form attachments to certain things. Often times, it's a blanket or a stuffed animal or something. But what has Miss S chosen for hers? Why...another binky, of course. Putting her to bed or down for a nap without a binky in the kisser and binky in her hand is like walking out of the front door without pants on.

Her lullabies are almost as important. Since she was in the womb, we've always let her listen to music and it still has a tremendous soothing effect on her. Our house has also been filled with the sound of a heartbeat noise-maker since she was born. That with the scent of lavender and vanilla, our house is a basic 24/7 cocoon.

Speaking of...zzzzzzzzzzzz

A new year in the "big city"

We rocked-in 2009 with some Rockband 2 and maybe a little champagne....and the neighbor's fireworks/loud music/bonfire/partying until 2 a.m. (*ahem* thanks *ahem* neighbors!).

I also worked on my knitting. Did I mention I'm trying to learn to knit? It's really just so I can impress my grandmother...who is like...the QUEEN of knitting. I took pictures of E's Christmas gift...which was an awesome "no-knit" scarf that I made myself the week before Christmas. :D

J bought an awesome 80's metal guitar with his Christmas cash...and walked around the house making Gene Simmons' faces and throwing up his classic rock hand gestures.

I've written and rewritten this post nine times.

I have this little belief that you can tell how your year was by looking at your bank account, your photos and (recently) your twitter or social networking site of your choice. Since some of that is privileged information, I wrote a post earlier with pictures from every month. I can describe that to you in one word: "baby." It was definitely the year of the baby for us here at the H house. In January I was 8 months pregnant. In February, S was born. And from there to the end of the year, we were documenting's first laugh, baby's first Easter, baby's first tummy time, baby's first rolling over, baby's first road trip, baby's first July 4th, baby's first solid food, baby's first crawl, baby's first stand-up, baby's first Halloween, baby's first Thanksgiving, baby's first Christmas, baby's first snow...etc.

I have another little belief that you can tell how your year is going to be by looking at how you spend New Year's Day. Our day was spent with our little family. We worked on hobbies, cleaned the house, danced in the living room, played all day, rested when it was needed, and then I capped off the evening with dinner and a lot of good conversation with E. We talked about our year and where we are now in our marriages, our friendships, our families, and where we want to go in the next year. We talked about our long term goals, we laughed at stories we hadn't told each other, we cried over memories and achievements. It was a good day, full of normal every-day activities and a few extraordinary moments; and I expect nothing more of the year to come.

Willkommen 2009. Willkommen.