Monday, August 30, 2010


Sometimes we get stuck in a rut, and after a while, it seems hard to see over the edges. Sometimes it's easy to forget what things look like outside the rut, and sometimes it even gets hard to believe there will ever be anything else besides the rut!

When days, weeks, or more seem to slip into this pattern, the only thing to do to save one's sanity is to re-frame. When I need to re-frame, it usually looks something like this:

1. It's true that ________________________ (insert issue), but I can handle it because I have security, love, support, and access to chocolate and long, hot showers.

2. Instead of focusing on how hard __________________ (insert issue) is right now, I can look around at the beautiful things all around me and spend a little more time appreciating the good I also have.

3. In hind sight, ______________________ (insert issue) won't seem like as big of a deal as it does right now, and how I handle it may make future issues easier to deal with.


4. In this life, everything is temporary, no exceptions; the bad and the good, everything changes.

When I get stuck in a rut, I try to remember these things... a sort of mantra that helps re-frame what we're going through in the moment, and sometimes even helps us see some good in the trouble we feel swallowed up by. Even when things seem to be charmed and running perfectly smoothly, it helps to remember point #4, which makes us live thankfully and keeps us from taking our blessings for granted.

After all, it's true: everything is temporary.

Monday, August 23, 2010


When I was a kid, I loved reading, and I loved listening to my mom read to us. My hope for my kids(!) is that they will share the same love. I think we're on the right track with Thing One, and it must be a good sign that she has recently been spotted "reading" books to her stuffed animals. We look forward to the day when we pick out chapter books and read them together as a family. Oh, the joys of being a bookworm!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer Morning

This morning I woke up, turned on the sprinkler (the only thing between my plants and total wilt oblivion), and started wondering, 'Mother Nature, aren't you tired of these 100+ degree days yet?' In other parts of the country, parents and children alike are clinging to the last weeks of summer with desperation, dreading the changing of leaves and shortening of days that signal the coming of autumn and winter. Here, however, we do the opposite. It is so miserable and hot in the midst of these summers that we are trapped inside as much as if there were a total white-out blizzard raging at our windows. The only relief and chance to explore and enjoy the yards, parks, and wide wide wonders out the back door comes when summer is finally exhausted! 

However, if one is early to rise, there is a small window of opportunity to go outside and stretch your legs without having a heat stroke. As often as possible, we take advantage of that window, despite the other great things that come with Texas summers (like fire ants, chiggers, humidity, and mosquitoes, to name a few...). This morning, I remembered to grab my camera as we headed out the door. 

Audrey hits the ground running

Laughing at Leeloo

Bare feet on grass

Running between sun and shade

Audrey discovers Leeloo's "Lil House"

Perfect size

"Ah see oo!"

Climbing out

Examining "flowers"

Audrey blows on the "flower" like a dandelion


Audrey's "Flah-wer Boo-tay"

Mornings outside are something we look forward to (sometimes Audrey even asks to go outside before she's even out of her crib in the morning), and when the weather cools off, we will look forward to spending all day exploring, learning, and appreciating. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Time Keeps Slippin', Slippin'...

I feel like I can almost hear time passing. It's making a big sucking noise, and the breeze from it passing ruffles my clothes here and there when I actually notice it.

Audrey and I were drawing with sidewalk chalk and she asked me to draw some hearts. I drew three, and as I was looking for a different color, she said, "Oh, one two tree, tree hearts!" Feeling like it was a fluke (as quite often everything she counts is three, no matter how many are actually present), I added another heart and asked her how many there were. She responded, "One, two, tree, fow! Fow hearts!" I couldn't believe it. Suddenly, before my eyes, I was hearing her recite speeches, seeing her win spelling bees, and feeling her growing up way, way too fast! I had a sudden irrational urge to force her back in to her Boppy chair and shake rattles and teethers around her hands... I can still remember how exciting it was when she could move her hands in the general direction of a toy she wanted... and now...

What sticks out most in my mind is how often I get stuck in a day where I am wishing for patience, a fresh perspective, and for the day to pass to conclusion just a little faster. Yet before I know it, I look back and all those days are gone, and my little one is about to turn two years old. Mental note: stop it.

For now, I will continue to savor my time with my baby, fill her days with learning and growing, and when I look up again and she's heading off to college, I'll be proud that she's a responsible, loving, and beautiful person.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dallas World Aquarium

For an early birthday celebration and some family togetherness, we decided to take Audrey to the Dallas World Aquarium this weekend. She has never been to anything beyond the fish and bird department at the pet store, so this was a first for her. We decided to go as close to opening as we could to keep Audrey's attention span as fresh as possible (and to avoid the inevitable weekend crowd!), and we arrived at the Aquarium a little after 9am. Our plan worked- we didn't have to struggle to find parking, and we didn't have to wait in line to buy our tickets or get in.

Audrey started out in her stroller, but it didn't take much more than 5 minutes before I unstrapped her to lift her up to see the amazing birds and fishes all around us. Every bird was a "duck" or "bird, tweet tweet tweet!" to her, and she loved every minute of it. She wasn't really able to focus on the smaller, quieter, more still exhibits (like bugs, lizards, and frogs), but she really loved the swimming, flitting, flying, chirping, and splashing creatures! Between stops, she also loved pushing her own stroller. We had to employ the monkey leash towards the end of our visit, because Audrey had gotten so comfortable in the DWA that she was actually running between fellow visitors, cawing like a parrot. Since the crowd had slowly grown throughout the morning, it was a matter of safety that our little monkey wore her own little monkey.

We ended up finishing the entire experience in a little over 45 minutes, but what a 45-minute experience!

First stop: toucans that you can reach in and feed

Next: turtles and arowannas from the Amazon

Audrey spots a turtle...

...then notices the huge fish swimming near by

Watching ducks and storks at the base of the waterfall

Ready to move on...

Showing Daddy the manatee and huge fish tank

Huge fish

Audrey notices the bottoms of ducks swimming up above

The super-cool concave portal into a saltwater fish tank

Fish and bubbles... what more could a girl want?

She looks like she's posing for Vogue or something...

Audrey notices that Daddy has taken the camera to the other side of the aquarium

Audrey pointing out Daddy to Mama

How'd he get in there?

A long nosed saw shark rests on the top of the tunnel through the shark exhibit

Audrey crowd-watching while a shark swims by

Despite the speedy run-through, we all had a really great time, and vowed to come back again and to expand our family excursions as the weather allows. What a great pre-birthday weekend!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Escape to the Mall

The weather-people-that-be say that the last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August are supposed to be the hottest of the year. Let me tell you, the weather around here has been living up to those expectations. It is getting exceedingly difficult to find fun, fresh things to do to keep an adventurous little girl occupied... especially when that little girl could spend all day outside, and her mama is actively trying to stay inside to avoid a heat stroke!

There are days when we need to get out and about, though, and one of the solutions we've found is at the Northpark Mall. On Wednesdays, the Dallas Public Library hosts a kid hour wherein they sing kid songs, play with a huge parachute, wave scarves and toss balloons, and of course, read stories. Audrey enjoys this time, and we especially love going when our friends Abbey, Max, and "MoMo" can meet us there. Audrey doesn't quite have the attention span (or control) to sit in a lively group of kiddos and pay attention to someone reading a story, though, so once the singing and dancing and waving and tossing is over and the other kids are settling down for story time, we usually move on to another great attraction within the mall: the live ducks and turtles.

I've heard tales of excited kiddos taking an accidental dive into the pond with the ducks, and I can easily see how that might happen with my own (especially now that she's able to walk with me outside the stroller), but the risk is worth the excitement that the ducks and turtles bring (both of whom are completely desensitized to the swarms of kids shouting and pointing).

Audrey peeking over the railing to watch a turtle swim under the bridge

Grammy pointing out even more turtles


Audrey follows the turtle to the other side of the bridge

Abbey and Audrey watching the ducks together

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Creative Juices Flowin'

I'll never get tired of kid art, and at the rate Audrey's going, it seems she won't tire of making it. We painted with a paint brush for the first time the other day, and this afternoon we did it again, though she got her hands workin' just as hard as her cheap little brush. We love Crayola's washable kids' paint, and lemme tell you- it really does wash out. That means Audrey can go Pollock on her paints and Mama doesn't even break a sweat!

 The Little Artiste

Audrey loading her brush


After discarding the paintbrush

Painted everything

Audrey enjoyed the paint on her hands as much as she enjoyed the paint on the paper

"Boo hans!"

The last work of art and the aftermath

The smell of this paint reminds me of kindergarten... 


Audrey obviously doesn't have trouble producing, so now Mama needs to find a way to store and save all these beautiful keepsakes and treasures! I love my little artist!