Archive for October, 2011

  • A Very Harry Halloween

    Date: 2011.10.31 | Category: Books, Food, Friends, Halloween, Nostalgia, OMG YAY!, Style, Work | Response: 22

    I think I may work with the most fun (or most nerdy, depending on how you feel about these sorts of things) people ever.

    As soon as October rolled around, my friend and co-worker, Lori and I hatched a plan to transform our entire hall at work into Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. Our imaginations quickly spun out of control.

    All our goodies to share with our co-workers are Harry Potter inspired.

    Chocolate Frogs

    Golden Snitch Pops

    All of our co-workers got in the spirit and dressed up as characters from Harry Potter and every single door in our hall is a different shop from Diagon Alley.

    Yours truly as Rita Skeeter at The Daily Prophet.

    Mickey as Professor Sprout at the Magical Menagerie for pets and supplies.

    Guy as Harry Potter at Eeylops Owl Emporium.

    Margie as McGonagal at Sugar Plums Sweet Shop.

    Lori as Trewlawney at Potage's Cauldron Shoppe.

    Jill as Hermione at Flourish and Blotts.

    Mike as Hagrid at Quality Quidditch Supplies (do you see the little snitches at the top of the door?)

    Blanca as a Ravenclaw at Ollivander's Wand shop.

    We even designed covers for the text books in Harry Potter and made treat bags out of them.

    And every book had a description.

    Oh and there were lots of other details too, including a cackling, dancing broom and the Harry Potter soundtrack playing in the background. These letters littered the hallway.

    There were so many details. If I posted all the photos here, it would take five hours to load. There were several more decorated doors including an ice cream parlor, a robe shop, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, the Leaky Cauldron, Gringotts and Terror Tours. Here are just a couple more details.

    Can you tell we’ve been enjoying our Halloween? This is all going to be sort of hard to top next year.

  • Progress

    Date: 2011.10.25 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Home, Mark, Me, Sarah | Response: 21

    We took Sarah for her six month “well baby” pediatrician visit this past Friday. She weighed in at a healthy 17lbs and was just over 27 inches. Growing like a little weed.

    I think even our pediatrician was a little surprised by her progress.

    Doc: “Have you seen any signs of teeth?”

    Me: “Well, she has two.”

    Doc: “Oh, wow. Is she sitting up on her own?”

    Me: “Yes, and she’s crawling… and pulling up.”

    Doc: As she smiled at Sarah, “Well, anything else you want to do like a nine month old?” And then to me, “I can almost guarantee she’ll be walking by her next appointment when she’s nine months.”

    Me: “Oh dear.”

    Sarah also got her first round of the flu shot, which made her spike a nasty 101.1 fever that we couldn’t get to break for a long time. We ended up calling the nurse on call that evening who told us Sarah was old enough to take Motrin now. It did the trick!

    So, new things:


    Pulling Up:

    This fun new trick where she pulls the cup out of my hands and tries to chug the water:

    And just overall cuteness:

  • Four Years

    Date: 2011.10.20 | Category: Baby, Family, Life, Love, Mark, Sarah | Response: 24

    Life can be full of surprises. For instance, I would have never guessed that when I walked into my first intern job eight years ago, there, stationed behind the IT Manager desk, sat my future husband.

    After four years of dating, we tied the knot on October 20, 2007, exactly four years ago today.

    The past four years have been a wild and amazing ride. Big things have happened: We started a business. We got a puppy. We bought a house. We got another dog. I got pregnant. We had our amazing baby girl.

    Mark and I get each other. We sometimes laugh because we can anticipate what the other is about to say before they say it.

    We’ve always called ourselves a team. You mess with one of us, you have to deal with both of us.

    After four years of marriage, I’m still as madly in love with him, if not more so, as I was when we got together over eight years ago.

    This past year of marriage has been especially amazing. We bonded on a different level over the pregnancy and birth of Sarah. It has transformed our marriage and made it even stronger.

    And while it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, I would marry him again in a heartbeat because we really are perfect for each other.

    Happy Anniversary Mark!

  • The Trifecta

    Date: 2011.10.18 | Category: Me, OMG YAY!, Photography, Style, Travel, Work | Response: 15

    What’s a blog for if I can’t brag a little bit on myself? (You know I already brag on my kid all day long anyway).

    I am really happy to say that I love my work. By day I run a monthly religious publication and in the evenings I freelance for a monthly senior magazine. For the religious magazine, I primarily serve as editor and layout director. I also take photos and write occasionally. For the senior publication, I primarily do layout and graphic design, occasionally writing and taking photos. Both publications are educational, but completely different in scope and design.

    Where the religious publication is a bit more formal, the senior publication is a lot more creative.

    So imagine how thrilled I was to learn that the senior publication just won 14 first and second place awards, seven of which were for my work or contributions! The editor of The Best of Times, sent me the following email last night:

    The magazine won a total of 14 awards – 11 first, and 3 second place finishes. I’m so proud! I haven’t received the judges comments, but will forward those when they arrive. YOU are a huge part of the magazine’s success! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    • 1st place:
      • Best of Show
      • Most Improved
      • Column Review - This category required 2 reviews: Your review of Athena Greek/Lebanese and The Market by Lizzie Lyles
      • Senior Issue – Lee Aronson’s legal column
      • Briefs and Shorts (editorial) – STAT! Medical News
      • Travel columnYour article about Hiroshima and mine about Branson
      • Front Cover Design Photo – Your photo of Tom Clark
      • Table of Contents – Your design – June 2011
      • Briefs and Shorts (design) – STAT! Medical News
      • Best Single Ad Color – your Toyota ad
      • Web Self Promotion
    • 2nd Place:
      • Urgent Senior Issue – Lizzie Lyles for Is it an Emergency?
      • Feature layout – your design for 50 Ways to Feel Great
      • Overall Design – thanks in large part to your delightful layouts (this category required submission of 3 consecutive issues. we sent in April, May, & June of 2011)

    The red items are things I did or contributed to! Needless to say this made my day. I won the first place trifecta: photography, design and writing.




    I think the one I’m most proud of is the Hiroshima travel article (pg. 34) I felt inspired to write one day, so I jotted that article down and submitted it, not even sure if it would be published. I’m so thankful to work with an editor who is open to my whims like that.

    Also, this means I get to cross another item off my life list!

    11.  Win an award for writing.

  • Aching All Over

    Date: 2011.10.14 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Home, Mark, Me, Sarah | Response: 19

    Mark: I’m aching all over and my head is killing me. This has been going on and off for days.

    Me: I hope you’re not getting sick. I’m kind of achy all over too.

    Mark: I wonder if it was those tacos we ate? When was that? Sunday?

    Me: Yea, it’s been too long for that.

    Mark: Maybe it’s this medicine I’m taking.

    Me: Yea, but I’m not taking that medicine and I’m achy.


    Me: OH!

    Mark: What?

    Me: I think I know why we’re achy.  Where are you sore at?

    Mark: My back, shoulders and arms.

    Me: Me too. And I guess that makes since, after all we have been bouncing and carrying a 16 pound baby around every single night and we’re not exactly used to lifting weights.

    Mark: Which would explain why it’s worse in the evenings than during the day… But what about the headaches?

    Me: Well, that probably has something to do with our teething six-month-old who has started screaming at 4:00 a.m. every morning because she thinks it’s play time.

    Mark: Ah, right.

    Me: So it’s not the flu, it’s just part of having a baby. Man, this baby thing is hard on our bodies.

  • 6 Months

    Date: 2011.10.12 | Category: Baby, Family, Home, Mark, Photography, Sarah | Response: 27

    My baby is six months old today. That’s half way to her first birthday! Where is the time going?


    This month had been a huge one for milestones and changes.

    She cut her first tooth (the bottom left)…

    And then a few days later cut her second tooth (bottom right).


    She went from army crawling to rocking on her knees to crawling in a matter of weeks.

    She learned to sit up without any support.


    Sarah was also introduced to several solids this past month including peas, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, bananas and peaches. She loved carrots and sweet potatoes best, and absolutely hated peas.

    She is still shoving everything in her mouth that she can get her hands on, and now that she’s mobile, this includes shoes and large tufts of dog hair.

    Daddy can crack her up more than any other person. She especially loves his silly faces and monkey noises.


    Jumping in the jump-up is still her favorite activity. Her favorite toy is a singing dog that Jill gave us.


    She’s also already learning how to pull up. She can get up to her knees, and sometimes even get to her feet in the down dog position… which means we’ve already had to lower her bed.


    And she still never stops moving. If we lay her down, she rolls over and crawls off. If we put her in the bouncer she goes a million miles an hour jumping until we pick her up. Even when I lay her down to sleep she wiggles until she gets in the perfect position on her side before she falls asleep.

    And, inevitably, every time I try to pose her for pictures, she ends up like this.

    What an amazing, wiggly, smiley, busy six-month-old I have.

  • Pumpkin Time

    Date: 2011.10.11 | Category: Baby, Family, Halloween, Holidays, Mark, OMG YAY!, Photography, Sarah, Style | Response: 16

    I love fall. And I’m glad that I have a baby now so I have a  reason to do things like visit the Pumpkin Patch and go trick-or-treating again.

    So when my sister called me Sunday and told me that she was off work and wanted to go to the Pumpkin Patch with the babies, I was thrilled!

    We knew there would be pictures, so we dressed them accordingly and headed out.

    It was unfortunate that Sarah decided to start cutting her second tooth about the time we arrived. She was unhappy. I think the hay pissed her off too, so most of my photos of her looked like this:


    But with the help of my car keys and Shannon’s phone playing Veggie Tales songs, we managed a few decent photos. She wasn’t her usual smiley self, but I’ll take it!


    My little nephew J, however, was enthralled with the pumpkins.



    The wagon ride did make up for some of the unhappiness though.



    To make up for lack of photo participation, we brought the babies back to my house, fed them, and took photos of them in a quieter environment… well sort of quieter. I guess between my sister talking to them while she held the background sheet, Mark making Tasmanian devil noises at them to get them to laugh, me calling their names and the dogs wandering in and out of the photo frame, there was a lot of noise. But hey, at least they thought it was hilarious.

    My nephew did a great job impersonating the jack-o-lantern on his shirt.

    And I was thrilled to put Sarah in the smock I bought her.

    Aren’t we cute?

    Sarah telling Jacob how it is.

    Pumpkins make us happy!

  • Reveling

    Date: 2011.10.06 | Category: Food, Friends | Response: 16

    October is my favorite month. It starts with my birthday and ends with Halloween. The long-suffering summer finally starts to give, and we have a handful of beautiful days in the lower 80’s.

    The first week of October also marks the  Red River Revel, an annual Shreveport music and arts festival that also serves up some amazing food. I missed the first weekend to go to Austin (and as a consequence also missed seeing Better Than Ezra, dang!). I also missed the work outing to the Revel for lunch because of a doctor appointment.  So when Susan asked me to go to lunch yesterday, I immediately suggested the Revel.

    We parked, walked downtown and hit the giant circle of food tents. After carefully discerning the menu, Susan decided on a meat pie and I went with seafood gumbo. We also split fried mushrooms and funnel cake in the spirit of festival eating.

    I was rather pleased that my gumbo had an entire claw coming out of it. I almost felt that I was as brave as Katie in my culinary experience that day.

    The gumbo was perfectly spicy and delicious and the funnel cake was sinful. We had a great time catching up while listening to live music and enjoying one of our few beautiful days.

    We plan on going back this weekend to shop the art booths and take Sarah on her first Revel outing. Here’s to more terribly delicious Louisiana fun!

  • Birthday in Austin

    Date: 2011.10.04 | Category: Baby, Birthday, Family, Food, Friends, Mark, OMG YAY!, Sarah, Travel | Response: 21

    On Thursday we took off to visit Dana and Scott and stay in one of our favorite cities, Austin, Texas. The drive, which is normally about 5.5 hours, ended up being 7 with an infant. Sarah did surprisingly well on the drive down, entertained in large part by a birthday card I received that played the Limbo song every time we opened it.

    We had such a great time visiting our friends. Sarah took to flirting with Scott a good portion of the time, and Dana jumped right in like a long lost aunt.

    Having a baby with us meant we couldn’t do much in the way of night life, but considering that I have become an old lady who likes to go to bed by 10:00 now, that didn’t upset me in the least. Instead we ate our way around Austin.

    Friday we went to South Congress street to hit up the Trailer Park, an area of food trailers.

    For lunch, we hit up The Mighty Cone. I had the Hot and Crunchy Chicken and Avocado cone. It was amazing! Fried chicken, fried avocado, cole slaw and some awesome spicy sauce. I also had some fried pickles and fries with roasted red pepper ketchup.

    From there we walked over to Hey Cupcake. We listened to a man play the guitar while we each ate our delicious confections. I went with the red velvet, which Sarah quickly dipped her hand in and put in her mouth before I could stop her. Turns out she too loves cream cheese icing.

    We spent the rest of the day hanging out at the house and letting Sarah nap before picking up barbeque from Rudy’s, pleased with ourselves for eating trailer park food and gas station food in the same day.

    Saturday was my birthday. It was great because Mark really stepped up to the plate with Sarah and let me get a break. He took her in the morning so I could sleep. He then gave me a sweet card and my favorite chocolate with promises to get me the iPhone 5 when it’s released. Dana and Scott gave me some awesome pumpkin soap and a Austin Bats t-shirt.

    For lunch we went to Fujiyama for hibachi, and Sarah thought all that showmanship from the chef was the most amazing thing ever. She was particularly wowed by the fire and smoke.

    From there we went to one of my Austin favorites, Amy’s Ice Cream. Once again, Sarah wasted no time dipping her hand in my ice cream, rubbing it all over my shirt and then shoving it in her mouth. She loved the ice cream so much that she kept sticking her tongue out at Mark and me every time we would take a bite. She was rewarded with a few licks that made her kick her legs in delight. We also got her a onesie there that says, “I scream for ice cream.”

    After that, we decided to take advantage of the hot weather and headed to the pool. The water was a bit cool, but that didn’t keep Sarah from having a blast kicking her legs in the water. She also thought my water cup was the best thing ever, despite not being able to figure out how to suck water through the straw.

    That evening we did salads and pizza at the house, while we watched Sarah really crawl for the first time. She can now take about 3-4 steps before sliding to her belly. This is making her much quicker, which means she can get into trouble in the blink of an eye.

    After she went to bed, Dana and I took a quick trip to HEB (oh how I wish we had those here) and then hung out visiting the rest of the night.

    Sunday it was time to go. I thought Sarah would do just fine on the way back, since she was great on the way there. I was mistaken. Apparently these teeth she’s working on were getting the better of her. Apart from the 2 hours she managed to sleep, it was mostly a crying and screaming fest for 5 long hours of driving misery. Mark and I both agreed, no more long drives until she is older.

    Despite that, we had an amazing time and I can’t wait until our next visit to Austin!