Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving (mostly in pictures)...

Thanksgiving 2014 followed a similar pattern to last year, except we didn't run the Turkey Trot (I know:  lazy a$$es).  The day began with lunch at Brook Hollow with Mimi, Bud, Ann and Harriet followed by dinner with Gram, Pop-Pop and Uncle Spencer.    Then, still in a turkey coma, we drove to the ranch bright and early Friday morning for Thanksgiving Part III.

Banner insisted on wearing his bike helmet for about 2/3rds of the three hour car ride that morning, because - as he so eloquently put it - "safety first".  Eventually, the novelty wore off, though, and the little guy was content to "read" his books for the remainder of the journey.  Thank goodness he packed a bunch!

The real reason we got such an early start Friday morning was because we were privy to a secret.  Namely, that my brother was (finally!) going to pop the question to his girlfriend, CEO, on top of the peak.  

(Spoiler alert:  She said "yes!")

Squeeee!  Congrats, you two!

The rest of the weekend was filled with family, good food, lots of tractor rides, two glorious trips to Eve's and hikes around the ranch.  No wonder it is one of Banner's favorite places.  Just looking at the following images makes me relaxed and happy.  Nothing beats late fall in the Texas Hill Country.  It is a magical place.

Here are some of my favorite pics from the weekend:


Monday, November 17, 2014

Anna's Army...

My other family.

One of my best friends, Anna, was diagnosed with breast cancer back in May.  I won't talk too much about it here.  It is, after all, her story, but a Jac, Kes and I got to join her parents and boyfriend up in New York for her third chemo session in late October. 

The trip was a bit of a whirlwind.  We all arrived on a Saturday and left Tuesday, which is sort of a random time to go anywhere.  But it totally worked.  We even had time to go to the Today Show with signs supporting Anna's Army, and for Jac and I to accidentally end up on an express train to Harlem.  Because of course that happened.

Looking a little rough on the subway (coming back from Harlem),
but - to be fair - Kes had us up at 5:30 that morning.

(Jac and I have been besties since our first day of high school, and so far we have twenty years of misadventures to keep us entertained in our old age.  She won't remember them, but that's why I'm around.  ;P )

As for Anna, she's always been like a second little sister to me.  Jac and I used to babysit her when she was little, and she was in my wedding.  I'm so proud of how well she's been doing (can you imagine a cancer diagnosis?  At 25?).  She's handled the last six months with a strength and grace well beyond her age.

It makes me so grateful, that - even after all these years (or maybe because of all these years?) - we can still get together, regardless of the distance and circumstances, and laugh like we've never been apart.  True, there were tears that weekend in NYC.  How could there not be with cancer being the reason for this particular reunion?  But there was significantly more laughter.  And isn't that always the best medicine?

Stay strong, Little Bonzi!

Note:  I'm posting this on November 17th - the date of Anna's fourth and final chemo treatment. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Potty Training Confessional...

Y'all.  Potty training?  It isn't for the faint hearted.

This past weekend was our first foray into a brave new world without pull ups.  I've been prepared for weeks.  In late September, I ordered the Ban Man about 20 pairs of big boy undies with all his favorite things on the front (Spiderman, Superman, Thomas the know, the usual suspects), and waited for the appropriate time to start using them.  And October did not disappoint, either.  Banner has made spectacular progress over the last six weeks when it comes to all things potty, so I really wasn't all that surprised when his teacher asked if we could "give the big boy pants a 'go' this weekend" to, you know, see how it went.

And, honestly, I was impressed.  True THIS HAPPENED on Saturday night, but really no harm no foul:

Until Monday, that is. 

Apparently, when it comes to using the potty, Banner is all or nothing.  He will dutifully do his business in the potty all day if he feels like it.  If not, meh...he doesn't seem to care if he is wet or sitting in a puddle.

Except I do.  Especially when that puddle is on my couch.  Twice.  In less than fifteen minutes.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The thing is, we had been doing SO.WELL.  Saturday and Sunday were AWESOME, and I was feeling optimistic about our chances of being out in public without a pull up (I know, famous last words, right?!).  So, I took him out for a celebratory sushi lunch (his favorite) after swim class on Monday.  A meal that just happened to coincide with Banner deciding that the whole potty thing was completely overrated.

It didn't start out that way, though.  He peed in the potty like a champ three or four times after swim class - including TWICE at the restaurant.  My confidence was up, and my guard was down.  The food arrived, and Banner started shoveling avocado rolls in his mouth like he hadn't eaten for days. 

Which is, of course, when it happened:

Banner:  "Mama, Banner sittin' in a puddle."

And, sure enough, he was.  Did he care about it?  No.  Just scooted over and picked up another avocado roll from his plate completely unfazed.  He might as well have been commenting on the weather. 

Me, on the other hand, went into crisis mode.  Because that is what you do when you are on a lunch date in public with your two year old son on his third day in underwear, and suddenly discover him sitting in a pool of his own urine. 

Since the restaurant was crowded, I didn't want to make a scene.  So, instead, I surveyed the situation and tried to breathe:

  • No one, except me (and technically Banner), was aware of what just happened.
  • Thanks to the color of Banner's pants, they didn't even look wet.  They were, in fact soaked through, but you'd never know it just by looking at them.
  • We were sitting on a wood bench (Thank God).
  • Thanks to an earlier spill, we had a bunch of extra black, fabric napkins.
  • Both of us were almost done with our meal.

You see where this is going?

If not, this is the point where I confess.  Be forewarned, however, that my coworker thinks I've done "the most horrible thing".  I say desperate times, desperate measures.

I discretely cleaned up the puddle using the extra napkins, while - simultaneously - finishing my California rolls (so no one watching would suspect anything).  I also grabbed a handful of ice from my water glass and tossed the cubes on the bench next to the wet napkins.  When the waitress came by, I told her Banner had spilled his water again.  She brought more napkins over, and I did my best to wrap the damp ones around the dry ones.  Then I moved the entire bundle into the sun, because the original puddle was...well, warm, and I didn't want anyone to suspect that the majority of the liquid was anything other than spilled water.  When the waitress returned, I hastily paid for our meal, tipped her very well and GOT THE EFF OUT OF THERE.

I know, I know.  Judge away!  I'm 100% guilty!

Personally, I feel like this story PALES in comparison to a similar one from my youth.  And since I'm telling this particular story about Banner, it is only right and fair that I share one from my own childhood.

I was about nine months old when my parents took me with them on a trip to Europe.  Apparently, I discovered pear juice somewhere along the way.  Unfortunately said juice did not agree with me, and...well, to quote my father I "blew my diaper off" at some cute, little restaurant in France.  He even has a video taken immediately after the incident occurred so he and my mother could immortalize it and bring it up from time to time throughout my childhood, because that's the kind of people they are.

Except the video clip, oddly enough (or not so oddly if you know my dad), ended with him getting distracted by his sudden need to "document" the slew of topless sunbathers he stumbled upon mere moments after zooming in on me in my mother's arms and taking a close up of the restaurant I had just disgraced.  This segue (or lack thereof) to early 80s European boobies has shocked, awed and confused people for years.  Including Trevor, who - after seeing the clip for the first time thirteen some odd years ago (THANKS, DAD!!) thought he was seeing a video my father shot of ME sunbathing topless on a beach in France.  Which, NO.  No, no, no, no, NO!  For SO many reasons NO!  It was almost a relief to clarify that I was the adorable nine month baby who just crapped herself at the restaurant across the street from a beach full of partially naked women.

(Note:  my father also showed this very same video to a movie theater FULL of people a decade and a half ago during a party in my honor.  Because of course he did.  And - even better - PEOPLE STILL REMEMBER SEEING IT.)

But I digress.

When I so unceremoniously exploded post pear juice, nothing was spared.  Including the chair cushion I was sitting on.  My parents, having just paid, looked at the situation in horror, and - not wanting to own up to what just happened - flipped the chair cushion over and fled like the building was on fire.

Not that my situation on Monday was much better, but at least I tipped well.  Even if I have no European boobies to show for it.

End of confession.

Friday, November 07, 2014

I know. I am a terrible blogger...

Y'all.  I have so much to say, and yet writing it down has gotten so hard.  It is like I have no words.  No voice.  Every day I think to myself, "Baby steps.  Just jot a few things down, and hit publish."  But - even then - nothing flows, and I end up with nothing but a bunch of half a$$ed drafts on my blogging dashboard. 

I hope know it will get better.  And I guess I should consider myself lucky that this is the first time I've encountered any kind of writer's block in the (almost) ten years since I started this little corner of the Internet. 

The truth is:  I'm stressed.  I'm worried.  I'm think I'm more stressed and worried than I ever have been in my life.  And stress is incredibly exhausting.  All my energy is going into the things that I have to get done.  Everything else is falling by the wayside, and I hate it.  Writing has always been my outlet, and it seems almost cruel that I can't find my voice at the same time I need it the most.

Anyway, this too will pass, so please don't count me out.  In the meantime, if you get a second, please send a positive thought, prayer or hug my way.  This is one of those times I could really it.

Thank you so much,