Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 In Review

First Quarter (January-March)

Jojo won school spelling bee.  He was a 3rd grader & beat 4th, 5th & 6th graders.  BFFs made him cupcakes to celebrate.  BFF's are AWESOME!
Updated my kitchen

Took kids to Nueces Co. Livestock Show.  No chance of them ever becoming Farm Kids. 
Second Quarter (April - June)

Luke turned 5.  Birthday party at Sonic

Updated Dining Room

Family went on annual San Antonio Trip

Unsuccessfully tried to get photo of all 3 boys in wildflowers

Painted Partridge Family Bus mural on living room wall.

Jojo won best in class again.  He is happy about it, despite his cranky face.

Had party with fun people!

Luke graduated Pre-School

And was born!

Third Quarter (July-September)

Started Mayor's Fitness Challenge

Joe started Grade 4, Luke Kinder.

Played in Water Park in front of American Bank Center

Storm knocked out trees -- windshield
July 4 at beach
Joe got his jellyfish

Sold Beemer

Fourth Quarter (September-December)

1st 5K
2nd 5 K
3rd 5K
Beach with Greg & Boys
Pumpkin patch
Merry Christmas

Monday, December 27, 2010

Yummy Christmas Yumminess

Tamales.  Pan de Polvo.  See's Chocolates.  Popcorn balls.  Chips with queso.  Cookies.  Ten flavors of popcorn (ever hear of cinnamon popcorn?  It's incredible.)  Cheesecake.  Pie.  Peppermint Mochas.  Plastic Candy Canes filled with M&M's and Reeses cups.  Chewy candy stuffed in the kid's stockings.  Pita chips and that yummy spreadable chesse.  Summer sausage.  Mixed nuts.  Chex Mix.  Pigs in a blanket.  And Candy Canes.

It's amazing we're not all size 24s. 

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Did you know there's a 5 AM too?

Apparently people all over Corpus Christi have been waking up in the middle of the night to go to V Fit for their Transformation class.

Transformation class is just like Boot camp, only the Mayor isn't there, so Victor isn't as nice.

It starts at 5 am.

That's not a typo. 

Because I promised to get in at least 4 workouts a week, the I had to go to the Transformation class this morning.  Tomorrow is Christmas, so we don't have our weekly workout by the sea.

On the plus side, there are a lot of cool people at this class.  I've met many of them at 5Ks -- they all beat my time by like 30 minutes.  It is a very good workout.  I was soaking wet within 20 minutes. 

On the downside, it was dark when I got there and dark when I left.  Victor is also really grumpy & mean at 5am.  He made us do burpees for a minute and a half without stopping.  That doesn't sound like a long time now that I see it in print.  But lemme tell ya -- I've sat through accounting classes that didn't feel as long as that minute and a half.

I am considering -- just considering at this point -- maybe going to another one.  Someday. 

If only it wasn't at 5 am. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another Gift of Fat - Snuggly Arms

Number 2 son woke up last night with a fever & sore throat. 

I am sure there are moms who dose the kid with Tylenol, give him a kiss on the forehead and go back to sleep.  It's only a fever.  Fevers are good -- they build the immune system and fight invaders.  In an otherwise healthy kid, they are nothing to worry about. But I am a worrier. 

After the Tylenol and the kiss, he says "Will you sleep with me Mama?"  Of course I will sleep with you, baby.

I don't care that there isn't room for me and that I won't be able to fall asleep.  I will lay there, listening to his ragged breathing through his congested nose and worry that the fever is the first sign of Meningitis.    I will worry about whether his shots are up to date (they are) and wonder how contagious he is.  I will worry about his brothers and wonder if they are incubating fevers of their own. 

And he will reach over to me and slip his hot little hand under the sleeve of my nightgown so he can snuggle my arms.  The arms that keep me from going sleeveless.  After working out for six months, they are strong now, and the muscles are hard beneath the jiggly layer of fat.  But it's the jiggly part that he needs to make him feel better when he's sick. 

And for once, I am grateful for snuggly arms. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fake Ones

When I was 25, Greg & I got engaged.  Before he asked me to marry him, we went ring shopping.  I was very specific about the diamond I wanted.  I wanted an emerald cut solitaire.  It had to be at least 3/4 carats because all my friends had at least 3/4 carats. 

He wanted to marry me anyway, and bought me a 1.4 carat emerald cut solitaire.  It is a beautiful ring, and still receives compliments -- especially from hopeful young women searching for their perfect ring.

Twenty Five years later, I am done with diamonds.  If Greg wants to get me another diamond (he doesn't) I want a a 3 carat pear shaped CZ.  Maybe 4 carats.  Something gloriously big and loud and fake and cheap.  Wait -- not cheap. I don't want it to turn my finger green.  Inexpensive.  But amazing.

I love fake.  I am all about acrylic nails, faux-red hair and someday I will get a nice big set of fake boobs.  I want a good leather handbag, but it can be a knockoff.  With all due respect to Kate Spade, her designs are stunning, but $500 is too much to pay for a purse. 

And $80 is too much to pay for a Christmas tree.  But the $35 ones are all gone.

So I got a fake one.  With lights. It is FAAAAABULOUS!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me. . . .

Today I am 45.

When I was 25, I had a plan for where I would be now.  Fortunately, I am pretty much where I thought I would be in life.  I have a husband, kids, a house, a job.  At 45 my kids are probably younger than I expected, my house isn't as grand as I thought it would be, and I had NO idea I would be working here.  Hell, at 25 I had no idea I would ever live in Texas again.  (My family lived in Dallas for a year when I was 8.  My mother hated it.)

At 25 I had no idea that I wouldn't care that I am not driving a Beemer anymore.  In fact, my 45 year old self is kinda making fun of my 25 year old self for caring about the Beemer in the first place.

At 25 I had no idea that I wouldn't return to graduate school until I was 43.  I thought I'd be finished with my JD or MBA or whatever by 35.  Except that I didn't set a goal to go back to school, so that never happened.

I did set a goal to be happily married.  Guess what?  I'm happily married.  Very happily married.  In fact, Greg was cracking me up this weekend -- after all these years his sense of humor is still so refreshing.

I did set a goal to be involved with my church.  Guess what?  My church is part of my family.  Christ is such a central point of our lives -- way more than I envisioned at 25. 

I did set a goal to own a BMW.  I owned one.  Big whoop.  Not as rewarding as the husband or the church.

I set a goal to be financially independent.  Guess what?  We are almost there.  We pay cash for everything and we have only Greg's goddamn student loan and the house to pay off.  God willing, within 5-7 years, we will have NO DEBT.  Honestly, my 25 year old self pictured financial independence differently.  I envisioned a lot more stuff.  Fortunately, the reality of financial independence is less stuff, more security.  More peace.  Dave Ramsey knows what he's talking about. 

I set a goal to have 2 kids.  A boy and a girl.  I surpassed my goal.  Three boys means that some day I will have a daughter-in-law or two.  Or three.  Again, at 25, I had no idea how much I would like these people that look so much like my husband.  I knew I would love them.  Admittedly, I had no idea of the intensity.  But I really like them.  Most of the time. 

I set a goal to be a size 8.  HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHA.  What  stupid goal.  Who cares what size I am?  Not me. 

No, I am FAR from that goal.  But I am healthy.  And strong.  (Dude -- Gabe worked  my shoulders so hard last night that I can barely lift my arms to type.  Ow.)  I can do things I never thought I would do.  Like a real push up.  Or "run" a 5 K.  Again, my reality is better than my vision.

The key is setting goals.  Goals that matter.  The experts say you must have SMART goals.  (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Timed).

At 45, I am setting more goals. 

I wonder what they will look like when I'm 65?

I'll let you know!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Name Bigots

I finally got the Christmas cards stuffed, addressed and stamped. 

One of my colleagues came by & noticed my labels.  He said "I can't even pronounce half these names".

I didn't say "that's because you are an idiot" but he probably read it in my thought bubble. 

"Mata . . masa. . what???"

Matsubyashi.  Mat-soo-buy-ah-shi.  Break it into syllables.  It's really not too hard.

"This one is hard.  It has 2 i's at the end."

"I know.  Pronounce both of them.  Yakushijii.  Ya-koo-shi-ji-i.  Japanese names are pretty phonetic."

"So this one is pronounced Koo-oo-sh. . . what the hell?"

"It's Kuusisto.  Koo-sis-to.  And it's not Japanese.  It's Finnish."

"Okay -- then this one is Hway?"

"No.  That's Chinese. Hui.  It's pronounced Huey."

"I thought you said they were phonetic."

"I said Japanese names are phonetic.  Chinese names aren't always."

"Like this one?  How do you say this one?  NGAH?"

"Actually, she pronounces it Eng.  Ng is generally pronounced Eng."

"Don't you have any white friends?"

"Yeah.  Kuusisto is white.  He's Finnish.  They tend to be white."

"Wow.  Who do you  know in Hawaii?"

"That's Greg's Uncle".

"Oh.  This his first name?"

"Toku? Yep.  Uncle Toku."


"Uh, Homer?  I gotta take this call."

My friend Homer is a name bigot.  He figures if he's never seen it before, it's weird.  When I was a kid, if you had a name like Homer in our school, you'd get beat up.  In South Texas, Homer is a perfectly normal name.  So is Beto.  And Servando.  Narciso.  Guadalupe.  All very nice names, but not so common in Minnesota. 

So please.  When I introduce you to Homer, don't say "HOMER?!!  Like Homer Simpson? Weird!"

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Just so you know. . . .

They were sold out of trees.

In other news, I got to go to a cookie exchange today.  I baked 7 dozen shortbread cookies and took them to a girlfriend's house.  Several other of her friends baked 7 dozen yummy cookies and we traded. 

It was the Christmas I dreamed about -- complete with beautiful little girls in red plaid dresses and stylish women chatting, laughing and sipping coffee.  The home was tastefully and seasonally decorated, the hostess charming, and the company engaging. 

Yes, Virginia, there is a Perfect Christmas Party. It exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

O Christmas Tree

Today is the day we are going to get our tree.

Every year we drive to tree lots all over town to pick the biggest, most fragrant tree.  Every year that perfect tree costs somewhere upwards of $80.  So then we go to the grocery store, and buy a $35 tree.

This year?  I'm just going to buy it when I get my groceries.  While I am there, I am sure to leaf through several home magazines.  I will linger wistfully on the perfectly festooned trees in their pages.  There will be an "all-white" tree, a gold themed tree, and maybe even an Indian themed tree.  India is very "in" this year, in case you haven't noticed.  (For the record, I was into India wayyyyy before it got cool. Because Kal Pen is dreamy.  He's not actually from India, but his parents are, I think.  Anyway -- Sigh.)   

I will dream of the day when my home is decorated perfectly for Christmas.  Elegantly dressed family and friends will come from near and far to enjoy home made goodies and hot chocolate.  We will laugh loudly at witty banter, showing our perfect teeth. 

Last year, my friend Kathy made me a very pretty monogrammed ornament.  It would have gone perfectly on my fragrant, monochromatic tree of the future.  It was broken within 3 minutes of getting on the tree. 

Until that Christmas, I will wax sentimental when we pull our shabby ornaments out of storage and place them on the grocery store tree.  I have ornaments from my own childhood, ornaments my kids made, ornaments I bought when we lived in other states, ornaments from friends.  (Except for Kathy, of course.)  For some reason, I have a lot of western themed Santas.  I like 'em. I used to have a beautiful adobe church ornament.  It got broken when our fake tree fell on my then 3 year old.  Damn fake tree.

And in 2020-something, when my boys are strapping young men, my home is perfect and we all wear sweaters despite the South Texas heat, I will miss my shabby tree.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Hanukkah to Michelle!

Michelle wins my Hanukkah Giveaway!

The winning post (chosen by

Michelle said...

For me, right now every day is a special day. I have a wonderful husband, 3 (sometimes) delightful boys and even though times have really sucked here lately in our lives, we are blessed because we are still together.


Congrats Michelle!

Please send me your contact info here
Hope your eight days and nights were filled with Hanukkah Lights!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Giving Tree

Fair warning -- this post is going to be sappy as hell.  Sentimental.  Cloying.

I am in that kind of mood. 

When I went to mass this morning, I was so grateful to Greg for staying home with the boys so I could go to mass on my own.  No one pulled off my pants, stuck their hands down my blouse or repeated "Look Mama!  It's Father Roger!" all through mass. 

The mass was beautiful.  I love the advent colors -- purple with gold.  I love the candles, I love the symbolism, I love the prayers.  Mostly, I love the people at Mass. 

 The Giving Tree was up -- this is our way to provide The Ark with gifts and needed items for the year.  We select an ornament off the tree.  The ornament has a child's age and gender on it, with an item that needs to be purchased.  These kids need toys, but more than that, they need toiletries, clothes, medicine.  What they really need is a safe and loving home, but unfortunately, the Giving Tree isn't much help there.

The Ark is an emergency shelter for kids who have to be removed from their homes.  Usually, they have to be removed because of violence, neglect and abuse.  Frequently children are removed in the dead of night, when drinking and drugs bring out the worst in those who are supposed to protect them.  These kiddos come from all ages, races, religions and income levels.  Most of them come from poverty -- if only because the poor have fewer mechanisms to control the damage done by the violence. 

As soon as mass was over, families descended upon the tree -- taking one, two or three ornaments.  People where waiting four and five deep.  I know many of the families clamoring for the ornaments. When you know people, you learn their struggles.   I saw people who suffered layoffs this year.  People who have suffered miscarriages and other medical emergencies.  People who have several small children at home.  People who are caring for terminally ill parents.  I saw people who struggle with addictions of their own.  I saw single parent families and even a family that lost a child.  Struggling families who couldn't wait to help the kids at The Ark.

We're going to do what we can too.  We'll give.  It will be nothing compared to what we have received.  I am grateful for the chance to attend mass on my own.  More than that, I am grateful for the chance to be a part of this Parish family. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Clothes Crisis

The good news is, my clothes are getting way too big.

The bad news is, my clothes are getting way too big.

So I have nothing to wear.

It's no biggie around the house - sweats are sweats.  The biggest problem is at work.  I am in management.  I am in Corporate Services, which means I am expected to get out in front of the community.

One of the gifts of fat is that when I walk into a room, everyone notices me.  I want them to say "Wow -- look at that confident, chic, beautiful woman" not "Geez lady, you look like an unmade bed". 

When your clothes don't fit -- whether they are too large or too small -- you lack polish.  Nothing says "I am not worthy" like someone who won't buy cute clothes until they reach a size 10.  I am finding that it also works the other way around.  Nothing says "Yes. I've dropped a few dress sizes but I am not sure how long I can keep this up" like walking around in baggy clothes. 

So. . . .I will go shopping.  With my birthday and Christmas money.  Hint hint.  Until then, I am wearing the same 3 pieces over and over and over and over.  And over. 

Don't forget to leave your Christmas/Hanukkah/Diwali/Eid/Halloween . .. etc memory here!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Hanukkah Giveaway!!!!!

Happy Hanukkah everyone!

I know.  I'm a Catholic.  I don't celebrate Hanukkah. 

I don't have a menorah, but I do celebrate Hanukkah.  It's the Festival of Lights!  The story of Hanukkah is one of faith and perseverance and providence.  Why wouldn't I celebrate it? 

This is the time of year when the office e-mail is clogged with Group e-mails complaining about taking the word "Christmas" out of Christmas.  I admit it.  I never say Happy Holidays.  I say Merry Christmas.   Because Christmas is an important event.  And it is joyful! 

That's why I say Happy Hanukkah.  Happy Diwali.  And whatever you say on Ramadan. 

I have a beautiful, wonderful, generous girlfriend who is Jewish.  She is like a grandma to my boys.  They call her "Bubbe Tex".  Because every Catholic kid should have a Bubbe Tex.    Bubbe Tex wishes us Merry Christmas.  In fact, every day is Christmas when Bubbe Tex is around.  She spoils those kids!

So to my dear friend, Bubbe Tex -- Happy Hanukkah!  We love you!

And to  make Hanukkah extra joyful, I am giving away another Starbucks Gift Card.  It will get to you in time for your office Christmas party, so you can use it as your gift if you want.  Or you can get a Peppermint Mocha.  Because THAT is what Hanukkah is all about.  Chocolate yumminess. 

All you have to do is post a comment telling me what your favorite holiday memory is.

It can be a Christmas memory.  An Independence Day memory.  A Ramadan Memory.  Boxing Day.  I don't care which holiday you pick.

I  have 2 favorite Holiday memories:

1. St. Patrick's Day 1990.  Met an incredibly cute boy.  He bought me a beer.  So I married him.
2. New Years Eve 2007.  Number 3 son born.  Tax Deductible for 2007.  Also qualified for the stimulus rebate.  I told you he was a miracle!

Only posts on the blog will count.  Facebook, e-mails, and popping by my office to tell me, don't count. 

Everyone is eligible except my husband and kids.  But they don't read me anyway.

I will use a random number generator to pick the winner, and will post it on December 9th -- the last day of Hanukkah.

Happy Hanukkah and I can't wait to see your replies!