SnoPocaGeddon ’13

I find that when you can’t overcome or prevent something, it’s best to just give yourself over to it fully.

We woke up this morning to snow that was just beginning to fall. Over three hours, we accumulated about seven inches and it’s still falling. The gnomes were not impressed.


Neither was the dog.


At first the kid was less than thrilled.


But wait, this is kind of cool.


Nah, Daddy, I got it.


Ok, that’s enough. Pick me up now!


Final verdict? I think it’s safe to say that while our son is genetically identical to his father in appearance, he’s totally Texan deep down in his blood like his mama and is not a fan of this cold, wet, sticky mess!


35 weeks: Still rockin’ and rollin’

I wrote this morning on Twitter that I no longer feel human. That I feel like an incubator glued to a couch being fed Cheez Its as fuel.

I think that accurately sums up the last month of pregnancy. It’s just not fun. Your brain stops working, everything is beginning to swell and hurt and your uterus thinks it’s fun to randomly contract here and there. Because of the excruciating heartburn, there are like six things you can eat without burping lava.

It’s a miracle that I’ve got makeup on in this photo of my 35th week. My hair is even done. I am wearing a bra.


We had a little bit of drama a few weeks ago with the pregnancy. I am currently classified as high risk for some issues, and so every week I go in and have a few tests done on the baby to check that he’s growing well and is healthy.

Well, during one of these tests, the baby was terribly uncooperative and decided to take a nap. Not just a light snooze, mind you, but one of those mouth-open, deep-sleep on the couch naps you take during the first trimester. Nothing would wake him up, no amount of buzzing or shaking would get him to respond.

So the doctor stamped a big ol’ FAIL on our test results and sent us up to Labor and Delivery for an afternoon of constant monitoring.

I was kind of in shock, having expected a quick 30-minute visit first thing in the morning. My phone wasn’t charged, I hadn’t eaten breakfast, and I had other plans.

But, nope, we got into an actual labor and delivery room, had to put on a gown and get into bed and get strapped with heartbeat and contraction monitors. I was so nervous that I put the gown on backward. (In my defense, I was thinking, “Well, they’ll want access to my front so it should open to the front.”)

Check it out:


Whatever, backward or not, my lovely lady lumps and I totally rocked that gown.

Anyway, baby further frustrated people by turning himself so his back was against my back and his hands and feet were in my belly. The monitor couldn’t pick up his heartbeat for more than a few minutes, so we couldn’t get the 20 straight minutes we needed to be released.

I sat there for four hours with my mischievous fetus until the doctor finally decided I’d been tortured enough with hospital food to let me go home with a clean bill of health.

Luckily, we passed our tests last week (I may have visited Starbucks on the way to the appointment) and didn’t have to repeat this procedure, although I’ve been warned that it will most likely happen again, and in the event that he doesn’t cooperate and pass monitoring in the hospital, it’ll be “Happy Birthday Baby.”

Meanwhile, life goes on as usual around the household. Hubs is still working lots of hours and is so very much my hero lately. He takes care of so many things that I normally do and to show him my appreciation, I planned an afternoon of fun this weekend at a traveling music exhibit.

My husband is a music geek of the highest caliber. His iTunes collection is massive, we have all kinds of noise-making apps and gear and I’m often treated to long lessons on music history, theory and various performance critiques. (Well, it could be worse, he could be addicted to baseball too. Oh wait…)

Anyway, Union Station in Kansas City is serving as the first stop for a traveling exhibit called The Science of Rock. The exhibit is extremely hands-on and a blast for all ages and levels of musical experience.

Along with a couple of our friends, we marveled at the displays, played with the instruments and laughed as Monkey made it his personal mission to try on every pair of headphones in the place.

On the way out, we had to do some train watching, of course.

SoR collage 1

soR collage 2

sor collage 3

If you’re in the area and would like to visit the exhibit, you can plan your outing here. In addition to the exhibit, Union Station offers many activities perfect for family outings and also serves as a great date night destination.

Linking up with Greta and Sarah for #iPPP this week!


Kansas City, let’s go steady

I’m from Texas. Part of my heart will always belong to the Lone Star State. But I have a confession.

I’ve been having an affair with Kansas City, and it might be getting serious.

I’ve written before of my love/hate relationship with the place I’ve called home for going on four years. There’s plenty to do, but the weather aggravates me. The Kansas Prairie has given me a best friend whom I love like a sister, but I’ve also met some really craptastic people. The BBQ is amazing, but there’s no Wienerschnitzel.

There’ve been many, many moments over the years that I’ve wanted to throw my hands up in the air, burn down the house and move back to Texas. I pine for my family sometimes. There are occasions where I’d like to climb to the top of the Liberty Memorial and shoot the whole city the finger.

But there are also times like these.

Times where I see how beautiful the city can be when it struggles to experience a rebirth. Times where I drive down one of our scenic highways and breathe deeply of the clean air. Times where it seems like the city unites into a family against a common enemy. (Yeah, I’m talking to you, Robinson Cano.)

This weekend, I expected to be bummed and depressed. I expected to be missing my family now that they had gone back to Texas and to be worried sick about their recovery after the accident.

And on Friday night, I was. I wallowed a bit.

But then my husband came home with two tickets for the All Star Game Fan Fest, and…I wallowed ever harder.

“Man, eff baseball,” I thought. “I don’t even like it that much. And the Royals are terrible.”

But I went, mostly because of the shining joy in my husband’s eyes when he talked about who and what would be there. And I had a surprisingly great time.

We took lots of silly pictures, got to see a few of the women who played ball during WWII – I totally teared up during this, those women are amazing – and hubs got to test drive a Chevy Volt.

We ended up with bags of swag (that word makes me laugh) and my husband got a new hat and had fancy ASG logos put on it right then and there. He was on cloud nine, and I was thrilled to see him so happy.

The Monkey had a pretty great time too.

Then today while hubs was at work Monkey and I met some friends at the zoo who we hadn’t seen in over a month. The weather had finally cooled off and the clouds gave welcome relief from the sun. As I walked the miles between the cages and enclosures, I felt like I belonged.

No, not at the zoo, smartass.

I felt like I was at my zoo. In my city. That I wasn’t just a tourist. I wasn’t just passing through.

I felt a feeling of permanence, and it didn’t make me go running for the closest exit.

Later that day, I got the good news that a Freebirds was finally open in our area. It was just a “preview” opening, but for a $5 donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, you could get an entrée and drink.

We had to wait in line, of course, but the whole experience was a freakin’ blast. It was breezy, everyone was in a great mood, and the atmosphere inside the restaurant was as one would expect at a Freebirds – funky and fun.

When we got home to eat our burritos, we sat down to watch the Home Run Derby on TV. There was quite a bit of controversy concerning Cano and his remarks about choosing Billy Butler to hit for the AL, then not choosing him after all. Then he made a comment about loving to come to KC because there were always more Yankees fans in the stadium than KC fans.

And that pissed me right off.

I wasn’t the only one either. A sea of powder and royal blue booed Cano as he stepped up to the plate and hit ZERO home runs during the derby. They cheered every time a hit fell short.

And yeah, it was rude of them to do that. But they were rallying around something important – not just a sporting event.

People here are proud of their city. Sure, they bitch about it from time to time. They fight and make up with it, just like family – and nobody talks shit about your family.

I was proud of KC tonight. I was proud that they didn’t just sit there and twiddle their thumbs and put up with yet another insult. I was proud that they had a little fire in ‘em, a little attitude.

I’m proud to be one of them. I’m proud to be a Kansas Citian.

More KC love here.

Ain’t no party like a MonkeyMash party…

In nine days my son will turn two and like all other parents I’m left scratching my head and wondering where that time went.

I brought home a little squeaky thing in the summer of 2010 and I’ve watched him grow into a great kid. He loves his friends and family. He’s affectionate and silly. He enjoys conversation, food and playing – all with contagious gusto.

To celebrate the two years we’ve spent loving him, we decided to throw a combination Fourth of July/Birthday party, timed perfectly with the visit of his MawMaw and cousins. In an effort to keep things on a smaller scale, my husband and I each only invited one friend. Of course, when you add in spouses and children, we still ended up with a house (and yard) full of love and laughter.

My husband manned the grill while the big nephews and I worked on a little science experiment from Pinterest. Supposedly, pouring in juice in a certain order causes the colors to stay separate from each other.

We followed the directions on the Pin and ended up with purple juice. Tasty purple juice, but not the effect we were going for.

It was The Gamer’s idea to change the order of the juices and TADA! It worked! Even the adults wanted the pretty drink, so I got quite skilled in my presentation by the end of the party.

Outside, it was complete soggy insanity as nine kids ranging in age from one to 11 ran through sprinklers and wading pools.

Our poor bubble machine tried in vain to keep up, but the best it could do was sputter a sad little sphere here and there.

As the sun began to set, Monkey’s friends “helped” him open his gifts while sitting at the cute little picnic table his MawMaw sent him. When his Daddy wheeled out his gift from us, a shiny new Radio Flyer tricycle, the gasp from the short crowd was audible.

They helped him onto it and patiently waited for their turns. And oh, the silliness.

Later we did the usual ice cream and cake, then brought out the glow sticks for a mini-rave in the front yard. We tried glow bowling, which is harder than it looks in the dark, and then tromped up the hill to see the fireworks from the amusement park next door.

Monkey loved the fireworks, shouting “BOOM BOOM” with glee each time a new explosion lighted the sky. He’d scream, “Get it! Get it!” and reach out to try to grab the colorful bursts.

When the evening was finally over, we said goodbye to our friends and trudged home. While my husband snuggled with Monkey and waited for him to fall asleep, I chatted with my mom and nephews and helped them prepare for their journey back to Texas.

As the clock ticked its last few minutes before midnight, the house was blessedly silent, save for the occasional blast outside from those last few fireworks people just had to set off.

We slept, exhausted and content.


More Red White & Two photos here!

The Invisible Elephant Saga, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Zoo

On Tuesday I’ll be 33. According to some think tank in the UK, that’s the age most people report to have been the happiest.

I certainly plan on doing my best to support that position with the help of some silly, smart, spectacular people in my life. Several of those people accompanied me to the Omaha Zoo on Saturday, a trip that’s been on my “Midwestern Bucket List” for some time.

The zoos of today are a far cry from the rows of caged, stressed out animals from my youth. Zoos are heavily involved in education and conservation and have made many improvements in their animal display areas.

One such improvement is adding in more space – more space for the animals as well as more space in between them. And that means more walking for us, which, in most cases, we can totally use.

The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha is a great sprawl of a place. When we arrived we were instantly dwarfed by the huge desert dome at the front. Inside the dome, I stood face-to-flapping-wings with a cave full of hundreds of bats. I walked through a dark swamp with alligators and nutria and felt like I was back at home in Southeast Texas. (Not that I ever actually walked through a dark swamp there. Alligators don’t tickle when you disturb their naps, even if you try to pacify them with marshmallows.)

We visited giant apes, some who were curious about us…

And some who were too busy contemplating the complexities of life to bother with our stares.

*Sidenote: Have you ever looked into a gorilla’s eyes? I got to, and the intelligence behind them was almost overwhelming. I wanted to hug this guy and tell him I loved him. I figure he’s not a hugger though, and I get that.

We took a little time to let our Monkey attend to some, uh, monkey business. He was in such a mood all morning, wanting nothing more than to be left alone in his wagon to eat. He ate nonstop for the first two hours of the visit, but eventually wanted to get out and look around.

Now here is where the aforementioned saga actually begins.

The entire first couple of hours at the zoo were spent in a descent through ramps and elevators, through the desert and swamp and apes and all, until we reached this guy.

At first it looks like he’s all, “Hai! I’m a bear!” but really he’s laughing at us. He’s laughing his dirty bear butt off because he knows what comes next.

The zoo map tells us that up the hill are rhinos and elephants and sea lions, oh my. The kids want to see all these fantastic creatures and so do we, so up the hill we hike.

We see the rhinos, muddy and quite fat. We watch the sea lions swim around in their pool and wish we could jump in because the temperatures are climbing. Then we begin the trek up yet another hill to see the elephants.

Only, the elephants aren’t there. Instead there’s a pretty sign that announces, “Future Elephant Site.”

By now we’re hot and sweaty and pissed because nobody likes invisible elephants. They’re useless. Our friend Tyson quipped that all of Nebraska must be uphill and it occurred to me later that this must be where all of our grandparents lived when they had to walk to school.

Monkey studied the map for awhile as we took a break to recover from the hill hike. I love his friends’ faces here. You cannot imagine the immensity of the effs they do not give at this point.

One of the older members of our crew, obviously seasoned in the ways of the zoo, suggested a train ride so we could rest our haunches and cool off.

I could have hugged this man. Not only did he do most of the pulling of the children up the hills in the wagon, but he saved our sorry selves with that suggestion.

The train route took us back up the hill so we got to enjoy the sights without huffing and puffing.

Little prairie dogs scurried up out of their burrows alongside us to stare as we chugged past. Monkey and I snuggled, waved at them and mugged for the camera.

When we left the train, we were reinvigorated and ready to finish our trip. But then the clouds rolled in, the temperature dropped about 15 degrees and it looked like it might storm, so the entire visiting population of the zoo crowded into the aquarium.

Our reactions to the massive mob were quite different. Some of us (the smart ones) moved quickly through and ended up on the other end enjoying sno cones.

I was not one of the smart ones, and ended up in a human traffic jam with my little six-year-old sidekick. We made the best of it though and got to see monster crabs, deadly jellyfish and happy stingrays.

One of our crew didn’t make it through though. Yup, that’s my kid, passed smooth out in his wagon where he stayed until we picked him up to put him in his carseat. Homedude was done, y’all.

The best days are those where you’re too tired to walk at the end, but you have a head full of memories and a disc full of pictures that will always remind you that you’re loved. Thank you Greta, Tyson, Henry, Ivy, Essie, Ervin, Maggie and Jim for joining my family as we visited all the wild and wonderful creatures Omaha had to offer.

Now, can someone please tell me WTF this is?

Red Dragon, Lunchmeat and why there won’t be a Monday Meals Post

I want to tell you about that time that I purposefully placed turkey cold cuts on my face.

That time was yesterday.

It started out as a great day. I kissed my boys goodbye that morning and headed to meet my friend Greta for lunch and girl time.

I enjoyed a fruity Blue Moon and a spicy Red Dragon roll while GFunk and I chatted about family and future plans.

She gave me my birthday present, a really cool bird’s nest necklace that she made herself. No one has ever made me jewelry before. I totally love her. She’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met, both inside and out. Also, she’s hilarious after a cocktail.

After negotiations with my husband via phone, I managed to eke out a few more hours to hang with my pal, so we went to see The Five Year Engagement.

Y’all, I’ve never watched a more awkward movie in my life. Maybe that was the point? I don’t know. The previews were good though. Ted? The talking teddy bear? I’m so there for that movie. And the Judd Apatow flick that’s like the sequel to Knocked Up? Hilarious. Can’t wait.


About an hour into the movie, I started to feel weird. My throat got really dry. My head started pounding. Eventually I had to excuse myself to drive home so my husband could make it to work on time.

The drive across town was miserable. My face felt like it was ballooning out. The road kept blurring.

But I made it, and walked into the house where hubs handed over kid duties, kissed me goodbye, and left for work.

I got the kiddo settled with cookies and juice and took my temperature. 101.4.


I downed some ibuprofen and over the next 20 minutes just kept feeling hotter and hotter. I took my temp again. 102.


Later, while I was prepping dinner for my son, I stuck my head in the fridge. My face was on fire. My gaze alighted on a package of honey smoked turkey lunch meat. The thought crossed my mind that it would feel really good on my sizzling skin.

So I took a piece out and slapped it on my forehead.

Y’all, it felt great. I smelled funny for the rest of the day, but those few minutes of instant relief until the medicine kicked in were worth it.

Eventually my fever made its way down to 99, and I put the baby to bed and went to sleep myself.

I woke up this morning still feverish with a splitting headache and a throat full of lava. Right now I’m riding the Nyquil wave, so I’m feeling minimal pain but I just realized that I have nothing scheduled for Monday Meals, and there’s no way I’m cooking today.

So maybe you could go visit a few of my favorite recipe spots instead. Try here. Or here. And definitely here.

Or you can have a cheeseburger. Here ya go.

Oh man. I can’t wait to read this tomorrow when I’m less delirious.

How was your weekend? When you’re sick, how do you handle it?

Why don’t you just go fly a kite

I have a love/hate relationship with Kansas City, my home since winter of 2008.

The weather is insane, hate. The crime rate is really high, hate. The sports teams are ALLCAPSAWFUL, hate.

But the BBQ is heavenly, love. The highways make it a dream to get around, love. And there is so much to do here.


This morning we woke up with no direction. We ate breakfast, sat around in our pajamas with SportsCenter on (I’ve been brainwashed) and watched the late morning sun shake off the chill of last night.

Normally I’m happy to do this, but today I wanted to go GO GO. And of course, so did Monkey. He’ll even tell you, “Shoes, Mama. Go. Go car. VRRRROOOM.”

So after a quick Google search of events in our area, we headed out to the 2012 Flights of Fancy Kite Festival. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I’d never even heard of this thing before, but that’s kind of the beauty of living in a “newish” place – there’s always something new to discover.

When we pulled up next to MCC-Longview, the sky was a sharp blue and the breeze barely tickled the tops of the trees. Parking was easy enough to find with only a short walk to the festival field.

Monkey had fallen asleep during the drive so when we got him out of the truck he put on his best grump face, crossed his arms and slumped in the stroller. But as soon as we made it around the bend, he saw this and perked right up.

There are certain days in spring where living feels like Heaven on Earth, and this was one of them. The breeze picked up. The savory smells from the food trucks intermingled with the sweet scent of the freshly-mown grass. Strains of rock music provided a beat for the announcer as she told us all about the different kites in the sky.

People are serious about kites, it seems. They have a club, y’all.

One guy had several kites that he would rotate through. Some of them were fast and capable of quick, twisting maneuvers, like this one. Others were large and capable of pulling some weight and he would have to throw himself backward onto the ground to keep from being pulled aloft.

While many, many people brought their own kites, we were just happy to stand and observe, to be a part of the landscape and to witness such a perfect day as this.

Today was love.