Thursday, June 30, 2011

clueless introvert: summer highlight 1: the zoo

Admitting it: I'm a homebody. I love love being in my home. I am one of those rare people that could probably not leave the house for a week and be completely fine with it. (As long as I could wear my PJs).  I realized this a couple weeks ago when I hadn't worn makeup in two days (frequently I go longer) and I realized my Mini-Me toddler was getting a little restless.

So I made a resolve to go on at least one Fun Toddler Outing every other day. Target doesn't count. (:( ) And once/wk I have to try something new (again, something I am reluctant to do on my own)

So, join me as I try one new Austin-Toddler-Friendly Activity/week for the rest of the summer. I'm trying to go on more play dates as I explore Austin (This keeps me accountable to not bailing or finding excuses)  Last week's adventure: The Austin Zoo

I was a little worried that Justin wouldn't like it. Being that my hubs had traveled the globe to study exotic animals growing up, I told him repeatedly in the car he should not expect much. 

t But it was a hit! He said the Austin Zoo reminded him of the zoo's in France. You can get so much closer to the animal
(Elijah actually learned how to make Tiger and Kitty noises while we were there!) Our family favorite: the tigers! We got to see the two tigers play-fight with each other and swim together. We watched them for a long time.

Another highlight was getting to see the lion roar when I threw the animal food at it got too close.

He LOVED the train ride!
(they also had a Honey Bear, which Justin had never seen before!! ((and is my baby's nickname, case you were interested :))
Justin got to put that zoology degree of his to good use :) It was so fun to see him teaching Elijah things. Like why certain monkeys were uglier than others (okay, I asked that question), and the latin name for everything....that'll impress the grandparents.

It was a little hot. We are way glad we brought our own water and pedialyte.

Overall Cons: Hard to find a good time of day to go with this heat. We did morning and it was okay. Also, we should have brought the bookbag vs. stroller, too much terrain for stroller. Bring your own water! So glad we did. Lastly, it's only $1, but buying the animal food was a waste valuable carrying-space.

Overall: DEF worth visiting. I think the smaller zoo's are a win for the toddlers, because trekking half a mile to see a sea turtle just wouldn't fly at a fancy zoo. We got to see tigers and lions really up-close, loved the hill country-scenery surrounding the zoo, and appreciated how intimate &non-crowded it was. Didn't have to fight for a changing table. Pack a picnic, they have tables! 3/4 stars.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Clueless mom: boys night

My husband has 'guy's night one night every week. Once he goes, even though I have a million things on my 'to do' list, I'm always should I use this time? I decided I would use those nights to start doing creative projects I've been wanting to finish and haven't. Here's last week's:

I've  been wanting onsies for Elijah that are more trendy/rocker/cute, and less cutesy-cliche, so I thought I'd try to make my own. Didn't have a tutorial, just used my imagination! Lmk if you find a good tutorial on making your own onsie designs!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Clueless Gardener: Plant CPR

Just got a useful tip from my Aunt regarding my dying-plant-situation!

Per Aunt Dar: Beginning of the day, get the tray out from your automatic ice-maker (if you have one).

Dump half-a-container's worth of ice onto your plant

Done! The plant will get water more efficiently throughout the day, and spread-out throughout the day. This also prevents scorching the roots as sitting water can get so hot in the middle of the day. Hope it brings my cilantro back!

Clueless Gardener: Better to have loved&lost?

Would you call this dead?

Well. I am beginning to think my gardening skills are strugglin. I'm trying guys. I'm watering the yard once/day (in addition to running our sprinklers 2x/day), and watering the hydrangeas and all potted plants once/day in addition to sprinklers, sometimes TWICE. This Texas heat is just not working with my efforts to become domestic. My plants are dying!

In the past couple weeks, my parsley died off, half my rosemary, one--maybe two now--hydranageas, Star of Jasmine is dying, and patches of grass are turning yellow. I don't have the time to be out there watering more than twice a day, people.

Who knew being a responsible homeowner took so much work? (And water bills I might add....) I am beginning to see why those people with amazing yards don't have friends ;)

Which makes me pose the question--what would you rather have--a beautifully-maintained home, or people over at least once a week? Some people (probably without toddlers) have both. But I can't. At least not inside AND out, and that's not counting our bedroom (which is a standard mess).

I would rather have people. I mean, at the end of the day, no one on their deathbed goes, "Should have watered the Star of Jasmine all those years..oh wasted life".

This doesn't mean I'm giving up on our garden. I love where are yard is going, and LOVE being outside enjoying our yard. (And would kill for one of these, by the way)
(So cool, I would have my own SweetEugenes atmosphere in my own yard!)

But rather than start that vegetable garden I've been CRAVING, I think I'm going to work on initiating with more friends we've lost touch with over the months. And keep watering the freakin hydrangeas.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Clueless Mom/Wife: Slippery Slope

Recently read  this mom's blog post and was really inspired/encouraged/convicted.

Reading it made me ask myself 3 important questions this week:
1) What are my priorities for my family now
2) Are they really in line with God's priorities
 3) Am I really willing to sacrifice my personal comfort to honor those priorities?

One of our values is committment to staying out of debt.  A few years ago, we had 13k in credit card debt, and worked hard for two years to pay it all off--praise God. It meant no birthday presents, no anniversary trip, and I think no Christmas. But, we have not owned a credit card since 2008, and are only in debt for our home. Praise be to God.

How committed are we to living within our means now? If Justin lost his job? How important is it/should it be for us to have two cars? Own a house? Stay at home? Would we trade it all if we knew it was truly best for our family? What is worth what?

Every six months I think it's worthy dinner time discussion

Food for thought. Thought I'd share.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Clueless Runner: --er Triathlete?

Why haven't I been blogging as much lately? First of all, still recovering from party-madness. We had honey-bear's first bday, then Honey-Bear's 30th birthday, after which I collapsed. How is it so exhausting throwing parties? I feel guilty  for being tired because I had so much help from Grandmas! But it does wear you out, in addition to teething/baby hating whole milk/ poopies out the wazoo.


Got the idea from my brother, who is doing the Ironman in 2012. Not to mention.....I have an irrational fear of both bicycles and open water. (& middle eastern camel spiders eating my flesh in my sleep, but nevermind that). I thought doing a tri could help me overcome a fear of these things. So I had to sign up for one because I knew if I didn't, I would forever be tormented by my lack of basic-life skills that will make me an uptight-non-risk-taking-Claire-from-ModernFamily-kind-of mom if I don't learn at some point.

And, who knows, triathlons might be an easier hobby than running to maintain as I age, right.

 So here I am, committed. But it's actually not so bad--  borrowed a bike from my step-mom, am using our neighborhood pools, and will just have to buy all the other junk I will never want to use again. (Fortunately, Justin is starting triathlons so he'll just use all the stuff). I'm actually growing a lot! (both as a person, and calves are the size of my face I fear )

My training so far? Well, it's working out well! I *actually know how to swim now!! It's incredible. Years of swim lessons as a kid did nothing for me, but pressure to not to humiliate myself in front of hundreds of meat-y athletes did the trick. Justin&I spent the first week of 'training' learning how. It took me every night that week but by the end, I was swimming laps! That was week one, then last week, I kept pushing myself to go 400 meters straight. This week I went on my first bike ride--6miles of hills. (It's amazing how motivated you become when the other option is walking home...) The biking was the hardest. I will say that marathon-training gave me a good base, so the cardio isn't as difficult as it would have been, but it was hard.  I thought swimming would be a nightmare, but I actually enjoy the swimming, and it's the biking that feels stressful and time-consuming. Kinda like driving. Have to use your brain and junk ;)

I'm not really going to blog much about this process, this will probably be the last of it. I just wanted to share, in case anyone wonders--why I am MIA for the next 6 weeks. (I am tweeting about it after each workout though if anyone's curious (cinders_gr))

Because even though Justin already laughs a little too hard when we watch her,  I refuse to become Claire Dunphy.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Clueless Mom: Parents of the Year

I just read this article/study from the National Institute of health about how children who experience fever are less likely to develop allergies after the age of six.

Of course they are. Because I worked so hard to keep baby bear from getting sick all year (and was successful, he's only had the one fever at age 1) So that would make sense. Why can you never win as a mom? ha.

Here's some pics that do cheer me up from a popular forward you've probably already received from 12 different people. Oh well they made me laugh today so I'm gonna share them with you.




(note: I love how all ethnicities are represented equally in this special cohort)

Ha. Yeah, yeah I know I can't judge. I've probably done a couple of these, if not I'm sure I'll do something worse before this whole parent-thing is over.

Though, I don't know...the truck full of babies is my favorite pretty strange...

Clueless Gardener: Update

So I was real worried about starting to care about my yard. I mean, it's hard enough keeping three living things alive, but now, another thing to keep alive? Hmmmm.

But I am surprisingly not overwhelmed!

I actually got to use my mini-herb garden in two meals last week! (orange mint couscous as a side and rosemary chicken!)

(parsley, mint, cilantro &rosemary, all I can handle for now)
Mucho gratifying.

And look, here's a pic of week 1 of our grass:

Week 2:

Week 3: 

Amazing! This side of our yard was covered in dirt just a few weeks ago and LOOK! Theres something growing! I never knew how excited I could get about Yard.

I did, however, almost kill a hydrangea. Which, was depressing bc outside of my herb garden, my hydrangeas are my favorite :(

But, it's making it's way back. I'm watering all plants every day and so I'm fighting for you hydrangea, Come back to me

I'll let you know how our yard projects go survive