Monday, January 31, 2011

Potpourri Part One

Remember on Jeopardy when the category was Potpourri?  I never really understood why they would call it that - until I thought about the word.

Potpourri is a jumble of things that come together to make something really nice.  My life is like potpourri right now.  We have so much going on that singularly look dull and mundane but when "jumbled together" make something really nice - our wonderful life.

Take a look at the potpourri we have been creating:

Brody has been working on many of his legos he received over the Christmas break.  It really is great relaxing time for him.  He never ceases to amaze me with how he can build something like this - I certainly couldn't do it!!
Sis's Junior Troop took a tour of our downtown a few weekends ago.  We had lunch at this neighborhood joint.  Bubba enjoyed dancing to his favorite song, "Firework" with all the girls.
Bubba received this fantastic Radio Flyer car for Christmas and he LOVES it!!  It is perfect for indoors and he is on it all the time.  Anyone with a one year old must get this toy!!
we love happy dances in pjs!!

One of the things I look forward to each month is our neighborhood book club.  We affectionately call it Wine Club as to the amount of wine we consume in 2 hours.....

The family is giddy about the upcoming wedding of this sweet couple - my sis-in-law, Ginger and her fiance' Andy.  I took this pic when they were down and I just love it!  We are looking forward to a fun time this summer.

This is just a few of the "snapshots" that go into our potpourri - we have indoor soccer practice, Boy Scouts, Girl Scout Cookie selling, science Fair projects, PTA, and much much more that go into the mix.  I love the potpourri our humble little life can create!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Losing - It's a Good Thing

My Buddy's second year at the Cub Scout pinewood derby proved to be a learning experience for us all. For those of you that have sons who ran a car in a pinewood derby, you know the work that is involved in this very important race.  And as much as the Pack leaders stress that this is "for the boys" and "let the boys make the car as much as possible", some of the cars are amazing feats......of Dad's skills.  We live in Dell country...with a lot of engineers.....thus we had some pretty amazing cars show up for the race.

Nevertheless, Matt was determined to give Brody as much hand's on experience while making the car.  They didn't need to make any fancy tank or spaceship or aircraft carrier out of the block of wood - their goal was to make it a sleek & fast car.  They even traveled all the way up to Dallas to use PaPa's wood-working tools.  And they had a great weekend making the car with PaPa....even sneaking in a boys movie and some pizza while they were there.  Was it great bonding time for them?  Yes - and that is what this is all about.

The next weekend was the race.  For those of you with girls - this is the track. Two cars are set on top and released at the same time.

They go zooming down the track and the one that crosses the finish line first wins.  They run tons of heats to determine a winner.  Now, you'd think it would be a simple process to make a car go fast.  Wrong - there is so much to do with the size of the wheels, how close they are to the car, the aerodynamincs of the car, and blah blah blah (this is where they lost me).  

And we don't have the magic formula. You see the red car?  That was Brody's.  And unfortunately, he lost more races than won.

Here is his sweet sister trying to encourage him as he became more and more upset by the losses.

 And here is his dad, equally puzzled by the performance of the red car.

As sad as I was to see all that hard work go into the car, I was fine with losing.  Broday wasn't and as much as I tried to tell him that he did great, losing hurts but it's good to build character, it makes you try harder, went in one ear and out the other.

Even Dad couldn't lift his spirits.

It is hard for an 8 year old (who has competition running in his blood) to accept losing.  He was raised in a society where everyone gets a trophy for playing a season of soccer (even though they lost every game),  everyone gets an award at school (even if we have to make it up - seriously - "Improvement in Science projects?"), and everyone gets a gift at the birthday parties (the goodie bags are outrageous y'all!!).  We award mediocrity and not who truly is the best.  We want everyone to feel fair in a competition.  We want everyone to get a ribbon for participation.

I remember as a child NOT getting an award for Good Grades at the Assembly and it would make me work hard to ensure I got one the next time.  I remember never getting a trophy for the sports I played and it made me want to perform better to try to earn one.  Competition is what shaped me to create goals and strive hard to achieve them.  Losing didn't make me go and sulk in a corner - it make me work harder.  

I recognize that not every child wants to win the award and losing would have the opposite effect.  However, I think we have created this problem.  When Brody lost race after race, I could see his confidence slowly disappear, his shoulders slump, and his face get all set in knots.  And that is ok to have that reaction as long as you do something with it.

Unfortunately, my buddy sulked for a few hours.  And talking to him only made it worse.  We let him be and a few hours later it was in the past.  

This mom thinks Losing is a great thing.  The less and less we reward mediocrity and really praise them for their hard work and determination, they will see that Losing is a character building moment.  And try harder the next time.  Cause you know they already have a plan on how to win the race next year!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spoons are Messy Y'all

My little man has always been a good eater.  Loves to eat anything most anything ok, he's getting a little picky. And lately, he really wants to feed himself - not let momma feed him.  So, when he argued with me to eat his oatmeal by himself, I let him. And then ran to get the camera.....

thanks momma for letting me make a mess!
now, how exactly do I hold this spoon?
ok- got some can I get it to my mouth?
let me try upside down
can I have "more" momma?
nevermind...playing is so much more fun than eating...
why the sad face bubba?
don't you know that if you throw your bowl on the ground, you don't get it back??
momma may not like you to do that, but Chief sure does!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Eating Our Way through Austin

We had some guests in the house over the Holidays!!  Aunt Ginger and her fab fiancee' "new Uncle Andy" came to visit for New Years.  As we are a family who likes to eat and Austin has some fantablous (that's a word - look it up) eateries, we decided to eat our way through Austin.

Ok, not really.  It just happened to turn into that.  We started at the LBJ Presidential Library on the UT Campus for a educational and inspiring afternoon.

It just so happened that we were famished when we left.  So we headed over to South Congress Ave (home of the infamous 'Keep Austin Weird') to visit some trailers.  yup.  I said trailers.

Austin has had a rash of food trailers popping up all over the city.  These aren't your ordinary food trailers either - no hamburgers and hot dogs for this haute city.  Our trailers sell gourmet foods like waffles & chicken, chocolate-dipped frozen bananas, homemade pies, brisket tacos, and the one that started it all....cupcakes.

So why not try it all??

 We started at our favorite pizza joint in the city - if it weren't 30 mins from the house, we would be here all the time.  Yummy New York style pizza.  And they happen to have this handy-dandy walk-up window next door to the restaurant and a block away from the trailers - talk about location.
 So the wait is a little long - they make it as you order it...but it's worth it.  And what do most guys do as they wait in line?  Get off your phones guys...what happen to conversing???  Poor Sis.
 But it was worth the wait to bite into a slice of pizza that is bigger than your head!
 Daddy likes it too!  And yes, on Dec. 30, it was warm enough to wear shorts & a t-shirt.  That's why we live in Texas y'all!!
 Aunt G and I decided to try the cones from this little place - not your ordinary cones either....
 Mine had lightly battered chicken & avocado, wrapped in a tortilla with mango slaw and an amazing sauce- YUM!!!
 But poor Brody - nothing for him to eat at the trailers except a basket of french fries. sigh.
 My favorite part has to be the amazing atmosphere - you can sit on benches and people watch all day long.  South Congress Ave. in Austin has some very interesting people!!!
 We slipped on down to Hey Cupcake! for my favorite cupcakes in Austin (they happen to be the first trailer!!).  All season I wanted to try the Pumpkinator - a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting - it did not disappoint y'all.
 And we were so close to our favorite candy shop, that we just had to stop in.  Big Top Candy Shop is one of my kids favorites.
 So many amazing candies to choose from.  But they were out of the Elvis Bark - "Elvis had left the building..."  That's ok, someone in our group just had to try the die for.

Have I made you sick yet???  No??  It was an awesome day - come on down to Texas - we can certainly feed you well!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I say it every year - "Man that year seemed to fly by!" and 2010 did.  Here we are, 15 days into 2011 and I still feel like it should be October 2010.   I remember when days would drag by as a they are over in a poof!

Regardless, 2010 was a GREAT year for our family.  As you have read along with my life here on the blog, you know that we accomplished many goals, have tons of fun times, and made some lasting memories.  Our hope is to do the same in 2011.  With my oldest turning a decade old this Spring, an amazing wedding to be a part of this summer, and our little man learning to talk, it is sure to be a great year!
I am having a hard time accepting that my oldest is turning 10 in 2011.  She was the sweetest little baby that we smothered in love, with her gorgeous blond curls and bright blue eyes.  She was a delight, making everyone, even complete strangers, smile.  And now my sis is growing into such a mature, responsible young woman.  This year she is involved in Student Council, soccer, choir,  and Junior girl scouts.  Sometimes her schedule makes my head spin, but she manages to keep up with all of it - including the complex 4th grade homework - especially the math!  Somedays, I find her teaching me a new skill or two in math.  
She is so good with her baby brother. I often find her slipping into that mothering role with him, even when I haven't asked her to.  She loves to read to him.  I know soon he will be going to her for a story, not me.  
When I asked her what she wanted to accomplish in 2011, she told me that she wanted to finish the Warriors series.  That's it?  Yep - short term goals, she has a mental check list and she is knocking them down one-by-one.   She is starting Crossfire Academy soccer this spring.  She is moving up a level and we are excited about the challenge.  I am proud that she loves the game and wants to improve as well.  And she is going to be a Junior Bridesmaid in her Aunt's wedding this summer - she is so very excited about that. 
As her mom, I struggle with her newly found independence.  I want to still help her pick her outfits out - which she hates.  I want her to need my help with her homework - which she doesn't.  I want her to confide in me - which is getting less and less.  I know I have to let her grow up...why is it so hard to do with your oldest??  She is turning out to be an amazing child with great morales, compassion, and determination.  Part of me can't wait to see what she will accomplish with her life, while the other half wants her to stay the sweet little girl with bouncing yellow curls.  Can't have it both ways....
Brody, my oldest son, makes me laugh.  He was always a funny kid - never on purpose - just would say those funny things that made you want to hug him silly.  As he gets older, I realize he is getting to be more & more like me.  He is brilliant - yes I know every mom says that - but I really think it.  His knowledge amazes me - it's as if he hears something or reads it and it's stuck in his little brain.  The other day, he was spitting out multiplication facts (something his big sis struggled with) as if he was reading them off a piece of paper.  He is constantly throwing facts about animals or natural resources, or Star Wars at me.  And the kid doesn't have to study for his spelling and knocks those words out of the ballpark.  I shake my head at amazement at him.
BUT.  And here is where he takes after me....  He has no common sense.  He keeps lights on, wears his clothes backwards without realizing it, never shuts the door behind him, and forgets his coat at school (especially when it's freezing outside).  And as frustrating as it is, I find it endearing.  Maybe because I relate to it so well....(shush Matt).  Either way, I adore this boy - he is so sweet and loving.  He cares about your feelings and wants to make you proud.  
Brody enjoyed soccer this fall and wants to continue on in the spring. He is really getting it and has tons of speed.  He is also picking up football - asking his dad to play with him in the backyard as much as possible.  He and dad built his second pinecar for Cub Scouts this past weekend - he soaks up all his 'dad time' and loves learning from him.  He really loves to build train sets for his baby brother and still loves to build legos. 
Now when I asked him what he wanted to accomplish in 2011, he thought big - "I want to climb a mountain, own a lizard, and go to Disney World." That is so Brody. I had to bring him down to earth a bit, so he narrowed it  down to "going to Illinois this summer and maybe Six Flags?"  That was better. Either way, this boy makes us smile. 
It is hard not to gush about our sweet 20 month old.  He is at this amazingly fun stage where everything he does makes us love him to pieces.  He entertains us at the dinner table, makes us laugh as he dances to  any music playing (even the phone ringing), and makes us want to kiss him from head to toe just being his sweet little self.  His signing is amazing - he knows many words and can pick up new ones easily. The other day, he immediately "thanked" me after I gave him something.  Proud momma!!  He is picking up words left and right, repeating anything you say - the kids find this hilarious.  He loves to go outside and will bring you his shoes and coat and go stand by the door - poor little guy can't realize that 29 degrees is too cold to go outside and play.  
He loves The Wiggles - calls them the 'giggles' and moves his hands up and down when he wants to watch them - he will even bring you the remote to turn it on for him.  His fascination with trains has skyrocketed over the past month.  His older brother has tons of Thomas and GeoTrax and he just loves to watch them go round & round.  
As much as I love playing with this little man, I have been seeking other outlets for him to play.  He has a few playmates his age that he plays with as much as possible and we have been trying to go to Storytime at the library each week.  He used to run around the whole hour, but now he comes and sits in my lap to listen to the story and sing songs.  This is precious to me as I didn't have the opportunity to do these fun things with the older two.  Yesterday, a sweet friend watched him as I had a few appointments and meetings and I missed him so much - I have bonded with this sweet boy on a whole other level.  
So Bubba's goals for 2011?  To play.  A lot.  To eat.  A lot.  To read books. A lot.  To talk (or learn how). A lot.  To sleep. A lot. (ok, momma threw that one in there!).  No matter what he does, he has our hearts.  He will make us smile and realize over and over how blessed we are to have a 3rd child.

So, 2011 may not hold any amazing and lofty goals for my family.  But it holds many soccer practices, hours of homework, fun times with friends and family, and most importantly, lots of love.  I am looking forward to the busy, fast-paced life that we juggle - I love it - I know that I will miss it when it is gone, so rather that complain about it, I choose to enjoy every second of this ride.  2011 is going to be a fun one!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Best of Christmas

It is hard to believe that Christmas has been over for 2 weeks. All that build-up and *poof* over in less than 30 minutes.  Never the less, we had a wonderful Christmas.  Just the 5 of us enjoyed a quiet Christmas eve filled with baking, wrapping, and a wonderful Church service.  We had a lazy Christmas Day where we didn't get up too early, enjoyed a wonderful brunch, and headed down to my grandparent's for a wonderful turkey dinner.  Bubba really got into the unwrapping this year - he received some amazing toys that still capture his attention 2 weeks later.   It was a holiday filled with family, rest, and happiness.  And some great pictures.

I took a lot of pictures over the holidays....way too many to share here.  But what follows are my favorites.  Not because they deserve any award for artistic merit, but for the memories captured behind them. Take a peek:

Another holidays season come & gone.  My favorite is not the gifts, not the great food, but the focused time with family.  It is a recharge that fuels us for the new year.  My hope is that everyone received their "recharge" and are ready to tackle 2011!

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