Sunday, August 7, 2011

Little Moments

As another crazy week is quickly approaching, I want to thank my little Aubree for an oh-so subtle reminder. I'm constantly juggling life, and sometimes I don't feel all that successful at anything because I'm trying too hard at so many things. But as I'm sitting by her sleepy little self in the dark, I finally hear that "sound": the irregular pattern of her sucking her thumb that tells me she is finally asleep. And I realize I knew, because it's the little things that make the Mom in me, a good Mom. :-) I also realize it's these little moments that will pass too quickly. In five days she'll turn 3. It won't be long and she'll outgrow that "sound" as fast as she outgrew all the size 3 & 4's in her closet!
I don't want to forget these seemingly insignificant little moments, and I hope I can take more opportunities to post them since I can't rely on my brain for anything these days!!

(Yes, as you may have guessed...I used a past picture. Since she doesn't really suck her thumb anymore unless she's going to sleep, I don't have too many to choose from.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our Newest Addition

After Sarge made his trip to Doggie Heaven, we decided we would wait a while before getting another furry family member. Well, that lasted a whole six weeks.

Meet Rocky, our little boxer who is going to get very, very big!

Rocky's Statistics:

Born on 3/31/11 and the largest of his litter.
Temporarily in the lightweight category weighing in at 14.2 pounds @ 10 weeks
Almost naturally responds to the command "Sit".
Has a fond love of toes and anything else he can sink his puppy teeth into.
Enjoys comfy places to sleep.
Thinks his name is "No".

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Glass Balls

Oh where, oh where, has my blogging time gone? Oh where, oh where could it be?

I don't even remember if I've written this in past blogs or not, but in April I took a management position at work. To say it was a totally new experience is an understatement. I'm getting along, and know it's getting easier with time, but the learning curve is slow...and there is so much more to go.

I'm trying my best to juggle being Lori the mom, Lori the wife, Lori the daughter/sister, Lori the friend, Lori the manager and Lori herself. That is an effort that will never end, and most likely I will never feel truly successful at any of them. In the midst of that juggling act, several
other balls have dropped. Something I learned along the way is that you have to know which balls in life are made of glass, and which balls are made of rubber. You don't want to drop the glass balls because they may not ever be repaired. But the rubber balls can bounce on their own for a while until you have the time to pick it back up. My family is definitely made of glass. Unfortunately, my love of photography and blogging is a ball made of rubber. Therefore, many weeks go by without an update. I would love to have the time to sit down and blog a couple times a week, but in 20 years when my kids are gone, there should be plenty of time to blog about my empty nest. I may not remember all the details of these days (since they won't be preserved on the world wide web!) but I will know that I was there for my family as much as possible.
So, to any followers I may have (bless you if you are still checking in!)...I promise
to continue to keep up the posts as much as possible. In the meantime, go take care of your glass balls too and get off the computer. ;-)

And because I still love's the sweet picture of the week!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Our Sarge

Back in May of 2000, Tom and I went home to his mom's house in Hillje. The dog they had who roamed around this country area was the puppy (and named: Puppy) of another dog they had once won/bought at the church auction. Well, Puppy was a mutt and mated with the mutt down the street and when we arrived that day, we saw several brand new puppies. They were a few weeks old at the time, and seriously...who can resist a puppy?? There was one puppy in particular who was so ridiculously cute. He was brown with a white patch on the lower part of his neck, and a bit on his toes. The thing about this dog is he wouldn't leave my feet alone. He kept trying to nip at them and of course those puppy teeth did nothing more than tickle the heck out of me. I somehow convinced Tom we should take this one "home". By home, I mean College Station where I was living in an apartment, and Tom in the notoriously famous trailer. On the way to College Station, we decided his name would be Sarge. For all you Aggies out there, we named him for Ol' Sarge.
Sarge started off much like a child with divorced parents. He spent some time with me at my apartment, and with Tom at his trailer. He was the good ol' college puppy who tried beer at a very young age and ate all sorts of goodies from a rookie mom & dad and all their college friends. In 2001, I moved to San Antonio while Tom finished up school at A&M. Sarge would again spend a week San Antonio, then a week in College Station.
I think Sarge was very happy when Mom and Dad FINALLY tied the knot so he had one place to call home!
Sarge was spoiled from day one, and it didn't stop anytime soon.
He always slept on the bed with one or both of us, despite having many dog beds in his lifetime. As a puppy, he would fall asleep chewing on Tom's hair. (weird...I know) When it was cold, he would spend the night curled up under the covers by your feet.
He was always an inside dog. He would whine nonstop if left outside for any amount of time. He would also run, run, run if he ever managed to escape.
He was a picky eater when it came to table food. No chip without dip, please. He loved stealing food from the table, counter, anywhere he could find it. (Don't ask Tom about the steaks that mysteriously vanished from the countertop...not his finest moment.) I recall one time though I had NyQuill sitting on the coffee table. I wouldn't drink it without having water or something to chase it with. Well, sneaky Sarge went in for a taste...I laughed so hard as he quickly backed off and began messing with his mouth to escape the taste!
We took him to obedience school once. We thought he would get kicked out, but he made it through successfully. Now, if only we had kept up with the obedience. Little did we know they were training US, not him.
Sarge lived the life of a luxury dog. Well, for at least 5 years. In 2005 Brock arrived. I don't think Sarge ever forgave us. I had no idea how he would do with a baby. Sarge was never really a calm dog. I was shocked. He instinctively knew this was not a toy. He would watch over Brock, alert us anytime he needed a diaper change, and would howl (seriously...HOWL) if Brock was crying or whining. He would still sleep with Tom & I. He liked Brock but was still OUR dog. As Brock grew, he simply ADORED Sarge. They were a good pair and generally seemed to know when each other wanted to play, and when they wanted to rest.
In 2008, Sarge didn't understand why we would do this again. Aubree entered the world and if Sarge could talk, I think we would have laughed at his reaction. Really?? Sarge liked Aubree and for the most part she liked him. Although, they never quite had the relationship Sarge and Brock had.

Well, in 2011 Sarge started getting sick. He really got thin, wouldn't eat much, and was generally just lazy. We monitored him for a while, but it wasn't long until we were constantly cleaning carpets because Sarge couldn't keep anything in. We came home from work one day and the very thin dog had a bloated up like a pot-belly pig. We took him into the vet knowing it may very well be a hard trip. We were right. The vet said he either had heart disease or liver disease. We could do more tests to pinpoint the illness, but either way it was terminal and the poor dog was at a point where he could hardly move. He couldn't jump up on the bed. He couldn't even jump up on the couch. Looking in his eyes you saw pain. The hyper, sometimes obnoxious, lovable Sarge was not there. We put him down on Thursday, April 14. Three days before my 32nd birthday. I was 21 when we got Sarge. At my age, 11 years is nearly one-third of my life. I miss him so much. It's been a little over two weeks and I still catch myself thinking of him when I come home each day. I still glance in his dog bed direction when I got to bed in the evenings.

Sarge, you really were a good dog. Not the best behaved. Not a pure breed with papers. But a good dog who saw us through most of our milestones in life. College graduations, Engagement, Marriage, New Homes, Babies and more. I love you Sarge.

By the way...I didn't realize until he was gone what a good housekeeper he was!! It wasn't but two days after he left us that we noticed how DIRTY the kitchen floor was! We've vacuumed it more in the past two weeks than we probably did in the past 4 months. He was quite the vacuum himself!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Aubree's World

I've been so bad lately about updating the blog. But I had a few thoughts this morning that I thought were mildly entertaining, so why not share? ;-)

It is no less than a few times per day when Aubree will do something (good, bad, indifferent) and Tom & I look at each other, our eyes meet, and we just give this exasperated little laugh because there's not any words that can truly describe her.

I imagine when Aubree opens her eyes for the day, she sees the whole world in a pink hue, with sparkles on everything, rainbows and butterflies in they sky, and everything in her line of sight (no doubt) belongs to her and her kingdom. Her royal path must have lots of hills and curves, because she almost never walks, but rather hops and prances to her own beat. While the princess is not lacking for anything, we frequently do the unspeakable, and discipline her. She may be princess, but that only makes mommy the Queen! ;-)

--For those of you who know our dear Aubree, I imagine you would agree to the statement above, and even add a few more descriptors! We love her dearly. She leaves no room for a shred of boredom in our lives, and does an exceptional job making sure her big brother ALWAYS knows she's around.

I love you Aubree! One day, when you dig back in this blog and read all mommy's thoughts and memories of your childhood, I hope you smile a little, are intrigued to think of what your own daughter will be like someday, and realize when you thought mom & dad were being cruel, we were doing our best to make you the best person you can be. Oh, and the wake-up calls we're planning on giving you at 5am on Saturdays when you're 16...those are just payback!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Girls Trip 2011

I had the opportunity to take a girls trip this year with my mom and sisters. It was quite the relaxing get-away! My mom's cousin owns a cute little cabin in the mountains of Ruidoso, New Mexico. So off the four of us went. We left very early Saturday morning in the denali. I started out driving, Meredith was my co-pilot, and the "kids" (well, actually just Mom and Dede) were in the back enjoying the DVD player. ;-)

We were quick and efficient travelers (traveling without kids tends to do that!). Plus, there are not many places to eat or get gas on the route from San Antonio to Ruidoso. We had to be strategic about where we needed to fill both our gas tank and tummies. We made it to Pecos, Texas where we planned to find lunch. We found an ity bity town with not much more than a Sonic. Imagine our surprise to find the best Sonic burger I have ever tasted in my WHOLE life! If you ever find yourself in Pecos, give it a try. Hopefully you'll have the same cook we did. ;-)

Our first stop in New Mexico was to Carlsbad Caverns. It was impressive, and a nice walk after spending 8 or so hours in the car.

During our time in Ruidoso, we didn't plan too many activities. Just took our days there at a nice, slow pace!

Photographed the beautiful St. Joseph's Mission. (And learned this is the same church in the photograph that has been in my grandmother's house!)
Went back in time and got a bit on the rowdy side!

Fell in love with the Ruidoso Bears! (Even brought a few home with us!)

Did a little Wine Tasting at The Cellar (yes...brought a few of these home with me too!)

Spent a few days shopping the Main street in town. It's full of really cute and fun shops!

Enjoying the scenery and hiking at the Petroglyphs site in Three Rivers, New Mexico.

Finally, at Pine Knots, we did a lot of stressing. Stressing over catching perfect "close-up". Stressing over the perfect mixture of a cold morning and hot coffee. Stressing over who would get the peanuts first...the deer or the blue jays. And when we couldn't stress any more, we stressed ourselves to sleep.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Super Brock and his Super 6th Birthday Party

This year, I got creative. Or crazy?? I wanted this birthday party to be fun for a bunch of 6 year olds, so I knew it had to be organized or there would be kids going every direction.

On Brock's birthday invitation, it stated we needed all super heroes to help save Brock's birthday party by finding the cake. The villains had captured it, of course!
Activity #1: Decorate your goody bag while waiting for all the super heroes to arrive.
Activity #2: Begin "caping" the super heroes!

Activity #3: Pin the Mask on the Super Hero
Activity #4: Super Hero Shoot-Out

Activity #5: Show off your Super Hero Moves!
Activity #6: Find the moons in the sea of asteroids (or ball pit)

Note: After each activity was completed, the Super Heroes received a CLUE! They had to match the shape on the back of the letter to the one on the door. After all the activities were completed, it spelled out the location of the cake!!

Activity #7: Super Obstacle Course! (Since the weather didn't cooperate, I was so thankful for two stair cases. They went up the main staircase, through the tunnel, around the pool table, over a dog, over the slide, under the boogie boards, through a tent, through the bathroom, into the family room, shot a basket in the basketball goal, down the second staircase, through another tent, and back into the main room downstairs!)
Activity #8: Villain Tie Up! (Special Thanks to Carlos and Tom who may not have actually agreed to be our villains. But we did make them promise to be good before we let them out of toilet paper captivity.)
All that, and we spelled the word PANTRY! So off they went to find the cake!
Happy Birthday to our little Broc-quito! I simply cannot believe you are already SIX years old!!

I Love you Super Brock!

.....The Incredibles don't have anything on us!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Making of a Super Hero Party

How would you go about making a super fantastic super hero party? I'm not too sure. But here's how we did it! ;-)
Step 1: Take one over-achieving mom who has a habit of taking on too much with a background in "try to do it yourself, it's cheaper".

Step 2: Make a trip to your local fabric store, only to check out and realize you just spent the same amount of money in fabric that you could have bought the final product for.

Step 3: Spend two whole weekends, and about 15 evenings sewing capes, cuting out initials, cutting out masks and sewing elastic/velcro. (Don't forget to profusely thank mom & sister for helping the first weekend)

Step 4: Go even further and dream up a series of games with prizes and clues to eventually get to the grand prize: The CAKE!

Step 5: Invite about 25 kids (ages 6mos to 6 years) to your HOUSE for this big festivity. Hey, only a handful ever actually show up, Right??

Step 6: Wait for RSVPs. Iron on initials of kids to their capes after they RSVP.

Step 7: Make more capes after RSVPs out-number the stock pile of capes you had already made!

Step 8: Sweetly ask your teacher sister to make a "pin the mask on the superhero" poster. (Then thank her because it was better than you even imagined!)

Step 9: Pray for good weather. You now have made 29 capes total and have no idea how to pull this off inside your house. *Note: two capes were for the brave (or crazy) parents and there were 6 on standby for any surprise guests.

Step 10: When it rains all morning of the party day, you get creative and are thankful your house has 2 staircases which make the obstacle course flow rather nicely.

Step 11: After managing to hold your sanity for two hours with a smile on your face, 18 kids in your house, and pulling off a very successful party...kick back with a couple drinks and vow never to do that again!

Step 12: Refer back to step #1. Will most likely repeat this process (with another theme) in the near future.

I LOVE my kids, and I LOVE being a mom! (I also love breaks from time to time though!) I love party planning, and although I go a little crazy periodically, love the smiles on their faces to have such a happy day!

Now that we know how to make a super hero party, I'll review Brock's party in the next post.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Legacy

Well, I (and most of my family) made it through a very tough week. Sunday I told my Grandma goodbye. Monday was a very somber Valentine's day. Tuesday Grandma went to Heaven. Wednesday was Brock's 6th Birthday. Thursday was the Rosary. Friday was the Funeral. Saturday was Brock's Birthday Party. Talk about a huge roller coaster of emotions in just a few days! But as my emotions were consistenly inconsistent, there was one thing that was always there. Family. The funeral was very hard for me. I couldn't make it through any of the songs. My cousin Thomas sang them and was amazing. I don't know how he did it. Going to the cemetery was difficult as well. When we returned to Grandma's house, it wasn't like TV where everyone is quiet, stands in small groups, wearing black and having a small bite to eat. Nope. Not our family. We ordered pizza, migrated to the garage and started with a circle of about 8 around the folding table. Pretty soon, we were finding anything and everything to sit on and extending the circle into an oval the size of the whole garage. Nearly everyone had changed into shorts, flip flops and short sleeves. Drinks had been poured and a margarita bucket was found in the deep freezer. --Thanks Grandma!! :-) There was NOTHING quiet about this group. There were lots of smiles, and lots of laughter. There were 9 siblings/spouses, 13 cousins & cousins-in-law, and a few extended family members. This was Grandma's Legacy. WE, are Grandma's Legacy.
I can only hope when my life on earth is over, I can leave a legacy like Grandma. No, I don't intend on having three more kids! ;-) But a family filled with love and faith. (And perhaps one that can fill a garage??)

(This picture was taken on Thanksgiving evening 2010. Sadly, it only pictures the Aggie portion of our family, but I love this picture!)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Missing You Already

I shouldn't be blogging right now, because I'm supposed to be getting ready and packing to head out of town in a few hours. The reality of that journey has just hit. I'm packing for my Grandma's Funeral. I don't seem to have many tears left at this point, but perhaps they're being stored up for tonight and tomorrow.
I've said oh so many times how thankful Tom and I are to have so many grandparents still with us. I often think about this around Christmas when we're making plans to see as many of them as possible. It always presents itself as a chore, and "one more stop", but in the end, I know these visits are precious. I had no idea Christmas 2010 would be as precious as it turned out to be.

Grandma was in some pain at Christmas. I remember my eyes tearing up a bit during mass when I had a feeling that something wasn't quite right and we may not all be here next year. Odd, how accurate intuition can be.

On January 14, we found out Grandma had cancer. We didn't know what we were facing yet, but it was found in part of her bone.

The first week of February she was back in the hospital. We found out it was pancreatic cancer. There was quite a roller coaster of emotions, but in the end, it was decided the best thing to do was to send her home with hospice care. At that time, we believed we had between 3-6 months to make the rest of Grandma's life as special as possible.

On February 10th, we got the call that anyone who wanted to come, should come now. I've never packed so fast in my life. I was afraid and unsure of what to expect when I got there. I am so thankful that although Grandma said some really goofy things (lots of morphine apparently will do that to you!), she knew me. I told her stories about the kids' snow day and she smiled big, with a special Grandma sparkle in her eye. She didn't sleep much that day, and when I saw all my family who came to see her, had to be thankful again. We have such a big family. And an amazing family. A family who truly loves spending time with each other, every chance we get. Who made us that way? Well, God of course, but Grandma did her fair share too. When I think about our family, this quote/song comes to mind: "All because two people fell in love."

We spent the weekend with Grandma and by the time I left Sunday, I had told her goodbye. That was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I didn't actually say the word goodbye, but I told her I loved her so very much, kissed her forehead and told her I had to go home to the kids. Tears were obviously flowing as I walked outside, knowing I wouldn't see my very beloved Grandma again.

Brock was riding with me, so possibly the second hardest thing I've done lately was hold it together and then explain to him that when people's bodies get old they aren't strong enough anymore and they go to heaven where they are all better, happy, meet God, play with the Angels, and watch over us.

I spent Monday and Tuesday with a huge cloud over my head. Wondering when I was going to get that call. Reading into every hour that went between mine and my mom's text messages. I found myself praying that her suffering would end and she could rejoice in Heaven.

On Tuesday afternoon, Grandma passed away. My heart ached and tears flowed. However, I think I felt more peace that night and all day Wednesday than I had in the past week. I know she's in a better place. In fact, I know she's walking hand in hand with Grandpa and they both have huge smiles on their faces! My Grandpa died in 1970. My mom was very young and I obviously was far from even being a twinkle in someone's eye. He also died in February. I smile when I think that on February 15th, 2011 they had a very LONG, OVER-DUE, somewhat late Valentine's date!

Grandma, I miss you already. I find myself not believing you're really gone. I know the next few days will be very hard and I will be very sad, but for myself...not you. I'm sad I won't have you to hold here on Earth. I'm happy you are rejoicing in Heaven with your Lord, your Husband, and all who have gone before you. Please look after us, "and between now and then, until I see you again, I'll be loving you. Love, me." (--Collin Raye)

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Is it a stay at home day?"

Brock has been asking for snow for at least a couple years now. Aubree and I were in the living room early this morning, and I could hardly wait for Brock to wake up so I could see his face when he found out it had SNOWED!
When he walked down the stairs he looked at us (watching tv) and immediately asked "is today a stay at home day?"
I told him "It's Friday. Do we stay at home on Fridays?"
He looked a little bummed when he said "no..."
Then I said..."except when it SNOWS!!"

His eyes perked up and he got so excited! We looked outside, then we opened the door, and when he felt how cold it was, it took a bit more persuasion to get enough layers on to go outside! :-) Such a lucky boy...he got a visit from the tooth fairy and and snow, all in one night!

The kids had a great time. I'm not sure Brock has EVER had as much fun as he did sledding! (or whatever you call this!) Aubree loved running around anywhere her Bubba did. And took every opportunity she could to eat the snow. eww!