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Showing posts from 2015

New Year's Resolutions for the Whole Family

New Year's Resolutions are becoming harder for me to make. With each passing year, I watch myself make and break the typical goals of cleaner eating, more hours at the gym, and less screen time. According to a 2013 study by Scranton University , only 8% of people keep their New Year's Resolutions. Given my track record, this comes as no surprise. My gut reaction when I hear the word "resolution" is to roll my eyes and question the point; by February the only action my running shoes will see will be collecting loose french fries on the passenger seat of my car. But this morning, while watching television and decidedly not exercising, my 5-year-old overheard the morning show news anchor discussing resolutions and, being the curious child that he is, he asked me what that meant. In explaining it to him, I not only remembered the importance of setting goals to better one's self, but it also dawned on me that the one way I might meet my goals for the new year is if m

Happy Birthday, Quinn!

I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that Quinn is THREE years old. Seriously, where has the time gone? Nevermind. I know the answer. It's been spent chasing this kid up and down the stairs, telling silly stories, making convincing and often-terrifying dinosaur sounds, and reminding him to use soft hands with his sister/the cat/my eyeballs. Time flies when you're having fun, I guess. But this year's birthday snuck up on me. In years past, I've found myself agonizing over the birthday milestone and remembering that Quinn was still so very far behind developmentally. This year, that hasn't even crossed my mind. Not because Quinn doesn't still have those same struggles; he's very different from a typically-developing three-year-old, but he's thriving and happy and a true joy to be around. And that's really all I want for my kids. They don't need to fit into some mold of perfection that we create when we become parents; they

#GivingTuesday

Today is #GivingTuesday, a time when we take a break from elbowing each other in the groin on Black Friday to save $50 on a new TV or spending the entire workday shopping Cyber Monday deals when you should be answering emails. It's a time when we consider the causes that are important to us and give what we can to help those in need. As you know, Quinn attends The Rise School of Houston, a preschool for children with and without disabilities. It is, without question, the BEST place for his development and early childhood education. At Rise, Quinn receives speech, physical, and music therapy. He shares a classroom with 9 other children and 4 teachers (one of whom has a disability), and together they learn the skills needed to be independent, social, and ready for kindergarten. But, as the Rise website will tell you: $24,000 – that’s the true cost to educate a child in Rise Houston’s intensive, highly effective program each year. A small price when the long-term payoff is

More Love, Less Hate

Back when I first started this blog, I wrote a post about the impact of social media on the political and social climate , specifically during the Arab Spring of 2011. I argued that after tens of thousands of Middle Eastern citizens in countries like Egypt and Syria took to social media to organize protests against oppressive regimes, Facebook could save the world. I argued that social media was a platform for voices otherwise silenced. Now, I'm not so sure. Now, there’s too much noise.  With the recent attacks in Paris, everyone with a profile picture is suddenly an expert on how to stop ISIS, how to deal with Syrian refugees, how to properly honor victims of terrorist attacks. I recently read an article that congratulated me on my “corporate white supremacy” after changing my profile picture to the colors of the French flag. Apparently I am not mourning the loss of life properly. Apparently I am an enemy worth fighting, as if we don’t have enough of those already. I

Fall Photo Dump

Houston, meet October. October, Houston. Glad you two are finally acquainted because before this past weekend, I was ready to leave this humid swamp pit behind. And then a glorious fall front made its way down South, sending swarms of impatient Houstonians to a place we've only dreamed of since April: outside. We decided that the pumpkin patch of Blessignton Farms in Fulshear was a good way to spend the afternoon, so we loaded the kiddos into the car and took the scenic drive west of town. I'm almost tempted to abort this post altogether, as Blessington Farms might be the area's best-kept secret and I don't want to be fighting throngs of people next year when the cat's out of the bag. But at the risk of giving too much away, I'll just say that the $10 admission includes tons of family-friendly activities without obnoxious lines, overpriced concessions, or insufficient parking. Thanks to them, we snagged some pretty adorable pictures on our visit without too ma

Why, hello, there; it's been a while.

Apparently three kids are enough to render even basic tasks so complicated that significant strategic planning is required to take a shower, make a sandwich, or get the mail. It should be noted that I haven't had much trouble finding time enough to pour the wine, though. My priorities are appropriately aligned. Nevertheless, I sincerely apologize for my absence. It's been far too long since I delivered an update on my motley crew. Atticus: Atticus started kindergarten last month and has been killing it. He already has a girlfriend (ha, whatever that means. I expect their interaction begins and ends while she opens his yogurt at lunch, but we roll with it and treat it like a real thing). He's making friends and loves his teacher and has homework every night, which is about as good as I had hoped things would be in big-kid school. We're currently trying to figure out how to illustrate his favorite book character on a paper plate, which will take ages because Atticus i

My babies keep growing (and it's breaking my heart a little)

There is one inevitability in motherhood: our babies will leave us someday. We spend most of our time as mothers teaching, nurturing, and preparing our children for this reality, but the thought of it still haunts me as I watch my babies sleep at night. But honestly, what's the alternative? I want my children to embark upon their own journeys, armed with the love and knowledge I've passed along to them from infancy. I want them to be brave, to take risks, to suck the marrow from the bones. And they'll have to leave this nest to do so. I still have lots of time. Loads of it. I see the years stretching before me almost endlessly; years of carpool and science projects and piano lessons. And there will be times in which I will feel like it will never end. But then it will. And it breaks my heart. I know what you're thinking. My kids are so young. My youngest is only two months old! And this is true. But last week I packed away her newborn clothes, pausin

Lucy Louise is here!

Lucy Louise Born May 26th, 2015  7 lbs. 13 oz. 19.5 inches long  Born amidst historic flooding and with the cord wrapped around her neck twice, Lucy arrived happy and healthy. Our drive to the hospital at 5am was harrowing experience, as much of the city was underwater and abandoned vehicles blocked our path at every turn. Brian did a fantastic job of maneuvering the dangerous conditions and finding what we can assume was the only route to the hospital that wasn't underwater. Labor and delivery itself was relatively uneventful, except for the aforementioned cord issue, which delayed progress and put us awfully close to a c-section. I was determined to avoid that scenario, though, and mustered all my strength to push her out in just a few short minutes. Everyone is now recovering and we are working to adjust to our new reality as parents of three beautiful, but demanding children. What this house lacks in sleep, it more than makes up for in love. Thank you all for your we

Pregnancy update: she's still cooking

Today I am more pregnant than I have ever been. I feel like someone should hand me a balloon bouquet and a cookie cake in honor of this momentous occasion, but I couldn't fit even one bite of that damn cookie in my mouth. In fact, I made the mistake of eating dinner last night. You know dinner, right? Sure you do; you're not 39 weeks pregnant. I haven't eaten dinner in weeks, except for last night...and I paid dearly for it. I was up in 30 minute intervals popping Tums and stretching and coaxing the food and the baby to get the hell out of my ribs, thankyouverymuch. At a certain point, I realized sleep was futile, so I took my 287th shower this week and got ready for work. At 4am. There is no need for such preparation, especially during the last two weeks of school, a time in which my students fake it 'til they make it. I want to fist-bump them on their way in the classroom and say, "solidarity, man," but that would be wholly unprofessional of me, so I give th

VW Vans and Walmart Parking Lots: A Love Story

I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. Not falling asleep, but staying that way. 35 weeks into pregnancy means I’m up at least twice each night to use the bathroom, and getting comfortable enough to drift back off is becoming impossible. So I find myself lying awake, thinking. Sometimes these nocturnal thoughts are simple musings on day-to-day tasks, the kinds of things all moms think about: did I pack Atticus’s homework folder for tomorrow? Will I have time for a quick load of laundry between work and speech therapy? Did I turn in the signed permission slip? But then those thoughts take on a more significant theme: when did I become such an…adult? Legally, it’s been a while. But I’ve felt relatively young until the past year or so. And now, not so much. So then I find myself comparing my current circumstances to those of, say, 10 years ago, 15. Was I that different then than I am today? In many ways, yes. But what has made the past decade slip away so suddenly? In large part, I th

Our culture of parenting: the fine line between support and meddling,independence and negligence

The other day, I picked the boys up from school and headed to the unholy land of Target, the one place that usually has everything on my list. I want to buy local, I really do. But I also want to pay the mortgage and spend less than 6 hours running basic errands. So Target it is. We have Atticus on what we call the "star system": good behavior earns him stars, while rotten behavior means we take stars away. Once he's built up 5 stars, he gets to pick out a new toy (read: Legos. It's always new Legos). This particular afternoon the boys were in especially good spirits for obvious reasons, and the sun was warm and shining for the first time in weeks. We traversed the aisles jovially, making small talk and singing songs with one another in our quiet voices so as not to annoy the many 20-something hipsters that frequent this particular central-Houston Target, and we were having a very low-key and low-drama excursion. While we're in line, I notice a woman about my ag

The Waiting Game

I've learned something about myself this past month that everyone else probably already knew: I am a control freak. And lately, my skin is crawling with all the things I can't control. We're in a strange limbo land, where all major decisions and events in our life are completely out of our hands, and we're forced to wait for answers to our most burning questions: 1. Where will Atticus go to Kindergarten? The answer to this question is hinged almost entirely on the results of the Houston ISD magnet lottery system, a game that sounds way more fun and Vegas-y than it actually is. Our top schools have anywhere from 900-1500 applicants, but less than 30 spots each, meaning we'll likely send him to our neighborhood elementary school. It's not a bad choice, but also not our top one, so we wait... 2. When will this baby be born? Atticus was two weeks early, Quinn, five. According to my doctor, this means that Little Miss will arrive early as well. Or not. It depends

On parenting girls

I've always wanted a little girl. Probably because I am a girl and was once a little one at that. But after nearly five years of raising messy, noisy, yet sincere little boys, I'm starting to panic a little. Part of it is the sheer terror that comes when I realize that someday she will be fifteen and I will probably hide from her when her ex-best friend decides to steal her boyfriend or her favorite pair of jeans didn't get washed and the world is over. But I have a lot of time before those days, right? I think right now I'm more terrified of the things that will be projected onto this precious little creature, whom everyone assumes will be sugar, spice, and everything nice. Will people coo at her in high-pitched voices or treat her more gently than they did my boys when they were babies? Will her closet look like someone took a bottle of pepto bismol to the dresses and skirts and bows that line the shelves? Will she become obsessed with princesses? Barbie dolls? Beauty