Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sweetie Turns Eleven

My baby girl, my “sweetie” as I’ve always called her, turns 11 today.



That means I’m…..



But today is not about me, even though I gave birth to this beautiful girl without drugs. But I won’t start with the guilt trip…yet. She hasn’t pushed me to that point. I figure that will come some time around 14 or 15. I don’t want to waste it and have her be immune to the guilt when I really need it.

I’ve been thinking about what to blog for her birthday for at least a week. What could I say that could live up to the love I have for my first born? The person who helped me realize my dream of becoming a mother.

It occurred to me just now as I’m writing this - I’ll list all the things I love about her. Please note, this list is far from complete.

Another note, this may be sappy.

I love Savannah for…

* the beautiful red fuzz that was on top of her head when she was born.

* recognizing her Daddy’s voice. (She was crying on the warming table. He went over and said, “Hey, Savannah.” She immediately stopped.)

* our moments together in the middle of the night at the hospital. We would just stare at each other as I held her.

* sleeping for 4 hours at a time and allowing me to get some sleep.

* for being so dang photogenic.

* for being a great traveler. (She was such a trooper when we traveled to England without her Dad when she was 4. All the luggage we had to carry through the tube. It was a nightmare, and she loved every minute of it.)

* for dancing when I play the piano.

* for her love of music. (“Music is my life, Mom.”)

* for her beautiful voice.

* for her love of animals and wanting to work in an animal shelter one day.

* for being a great helper in the kitchen.

* for being a kick ass volleyball and basketball player.

* for realizing it’s just a game when she wins or loses.

* for being a fun Wii partner…and reminding me it’s just a game, especially when I lose.

* for still resting her head on my shoulder while we watch tv.

* for being my biggest fan of both my singing and my writing.

* for having her Daddy’s sense of humor.

* for being a sweet, gentle soul.

* for being a loving big sister.

* for being Savannah, and no one else.

Happy 11th birthday!

I love you, Sweetie, more than I can say.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Things just haven't been the same in our household for the last few days. Sarah's been sick.

She's kept her chipper attitude, but her appetite has waned and she's sleeping more.

Savannah's been such an attentive big sister.

I was so worried about her last night that I slept in her room. I should say I tried to sleep. She kept waking up crying while trying to catch her breath. Her cough and congestion were so bad it would literally take her breath away.

We made it to the doctor today and discovered that she has an ear infection, but luckily the cold hasn't made it down to her chest.

We are now on the mend with medication...

and looking forward to better days ahead.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Yesterday I was going to post a rant about my discontentment with my job. I got about half way through and deleted it. Who wants to read about how miserable someone is at work, right? At least I have money in the bank and medical insurance. I have friends who were laid off last April and they’re still looking for employment. I feel guilty at times that I don’t appreciate my job more than I do.

I came in this morning with a desire to start the day a little differently – with a more upbeat attitude. It’s Friday, I tell myself. I smile at those I pass and duck into my office as quickly as I can. The first thing I do on my computer is turn on some fun music…and then I open my email. Oh, the emails. My least favorite part of the job, besides the meetings we have to decide what meetings we need to schedule for the upcoming BIG meeting. Did you follow that?

Then a lady I’ve worked with here for the last 4 years steps into my office. Our jobs intersect only every couple of months, so this is a very rare visit.

“How are you doing?” she asks me.

“I’m good.”

“Listen,” she says lowering her voice. “I just want you to know that I really admire you. I know you’re having a hard time with your pregnancy and with your boss and you’re still doing such a great job. I just think you’re awesome. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that. Have a great day! It’s Friday!”

And she walked out.

I was stunned, but so appreciated her comments. She knows where I’m coming from. Her teenage son was diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago and she had to juggle a demanding job with his treatments and doctor visits.

I don’t agree that I’m so awesome or even doing as great of a job as I used to. I find myself missing little details that I would have caught a year ago. That’s what happens when the passion begins to leak out.

It’s amazing what a 2-minute interaction with someone can do with your outlook for the rest of the day.

After she left I turned around and saw this drawing Savannah hung on my wall.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just a Taste

At the close of my blog last Thursday, we had received 6 or 8 inches of snow, according to the weather man and my husband. By the time we went to bed, it had grown to a foot. A foot of snow in Texas. Unbelievable, but soooo cool.

Savannah and I were looking forward to being off our respective school and work that Friday, Pat was reminded of his childhood, and we all went to bed in good moods. The house felt a little more cozy with the snow surrounding us.

All of those good Norman Rockwell feelings vanished, however, around 1:30 that morning when we woke startled to a


Lights out…

Clocks out…

And most important…


We’ve lost our electricity frequently during storms, but it was always back up in the next couple hours. So Pat and I returned to bed with no worries, but snuggled a little closer.

We woke earlier than usual the next morning with cold noses. Still no electricity. We piled more blankets on Sarah and brought Savannah in to bed with us since her room is the coldest in the house. Plus, she provided a little extra warmth in the bed.

The next 40 hours were spent waiting for the electricity, and eating out. Then waiting some more, and eating out again. And so on, and so on. I tried to expand our times inside the warm restaurants by praying for slow service while Pat lamented about how much money we were spending. Meanwhile, the waiting period at home grew colder and colder as the temperature continued to drop.

Sarah walked around in her hat and mittens (When she would keep them on. There was serious playing to be done, you know) Pat kept on the sweater I gave him for Christmas, and I doubled up my socks and kept a blanket with me at all times.

Savannah’s another story. Part of the time she wore a tank top and a short-sleeved shirt until her father and I yelled at her to put on more clothes. Saturday she was playing in the snow after her basketball game – in her sleeveless jersey….with NO gloves….and NO COAT! The girl has lava running through her veins. She can even withstand the cold longer than her Utah-bred father.

36 hours in to our freeze out, we were all on a short fuse and looked like Sarah did when I brought her in from the snow Thursday afternoon.

It’s not fun when you can see your breath inside your home.

Late Saturday Pat received a call from one of our neighbors. Their lights were back on. We rushed to the front door like those crazy shoppers on Black Friday, busted inside, and lo and behold…the heater was on! It sounded like the Hallelujah chorus. Although that may have been me singing and Savannah chiming in. We have a tendency to break out in song. We’re a very musical family.

We still had to eat out that night, though. The storm hit right before our weekly grocery trip. I was back to being annoyed by the slow service but Pat continued to gripe about the money coming out of our checkbook.

That night after I changed into a tank top and Pat walked around in shorts he said, “You know how sometimes you say you might want to move up north?”

“Yeah,” I said hesitantly.

“This was just a taste.”

Well put, sir.

Monday, February 15, 2010

13 Years

Today marks mine and Pat's 13th anniversary.

I’m not even going to acknowledge the number (13) or how unlucky it is,

because as we mature in age…..

our marriage has matured as well.

I expect this to be our best year yet.

Thanks, honey….

For all the support you’ve given me

The music you’ve played for me

The laughter we share when we’re being silly

The family we’re growing together

And the love you shower on me.

And most important…

The awesome foot rubs!

I love you!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Texas-Sized Mini Snow-pocalypse

I woke this morning to Pat muttering something about an inch of snow outside.

"Whatever," I grumbled and turned over.

"No, really. There's an inch of snow outside."

I finally managed to grunt my way out of bed and looked out. Sure enough, there was a thin blanket of snow covering our backyard. Savannah and I spent the next 20 minutes wishing for a day off. She sat on the coffee table watching the school closures scroll across the screen and I dialed my voicemail at work every few minutes waiting for the inevitable message that the office was closed for the day.

Every few minutes Savannah would yell out, "Awww, man!" and flip to the next channel. Soon afterward I would echo with "Aw, come on!" I mean, this is Dallas. Everything shuts down for an inch of snow, except for the pool halls and grocery stores.

To our dismay, Savannah and I both had a full day at school and work. But when I returned home I took the kids and Biscuit (the dog) outside for a little winter wonderland play time.

Sarah did a little better this time around. She lasted about 15 minutes in the snow before she started crying wanting to go in, as opposed to Christmas when she lasted only 5 minutes. She's not a cold weather baby.

The good sister: Savannah helped Sarah out on to the snow.

"Hey. This isn't so bad."

"Wait. What's this?"


Our cat Gilligan got stuck outside with us. Like Sarah, she couldn't wait to go in.

"Mommy, that was awful!"

"Seriously, don't make me do that again."

Inside safe and warm....

while the two snow freaks stayed outside for at least another hour.

I finally lured them in with biscuit-topped chicken pot pie and Grandma's chocolate cake.

As I write this Pete, our weather guy, says we've had 6-8" of snow. A record for Dallas.

And it's still snowing!

Maybe we'll get our snow day tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

An Eventful Monday

It started at work after driving through a downpour. My work hours were filled with nothing but budget talk the entire day. I hate budget talk. Especially when it’s focused on budgets in the red. I break out in hives and try to hide in the bathroom as much as possible.

Lucky me, though. I got to leave work early to pick up Savannah’s new glasses. We had to order another pair after she lost her originals….oh yeah….and mine. She has a knack for losing glasses just like jackets.

But I digress.

She looks so freaking cute.

And every time we were in the car I was informed of what street we were on, what businesses were near by, including their slogans, and also what the speed limit was.

“Mom, the speed limit is 35. You’re going 40.”

Maybe I’ll attach blinders to her glasses.

I had signed Sarah up for a gymnastics class that evening. What the hell was I thinking?!

(I should probably change the name of my blog to “What the Hell Was I Thinking?!” I say it A LOT.)

When we arrived I was told to take off my shoes.

“Excuse me?”

“You can’t wear your shoes on the mat.”

Duh! Sarah is 2 and doesn’t form complete sentences. The only class offered for her age is a Mommy and Me class. I should have known that considering I put Savannah in the same class when she was 2. Another pregnant brain fart.

To make a long story short, I decided not to commit to the class. I was exhausted, and Sarah was exhausting. I was constantly calling her, chasing her, lifting her, and I’m not even supposed to pick her up to put her on the couch. I told them we would pass.

“Sorry, doctor’s orders.”

Then I came home and put Sarah to bed and Savannah in the bath, and I crashed on the couch. My day may not sound like much, but to my ragged, ever growing, pregnant ass it was very eventful.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Last week we celebrated the first birthday of our new dog Biscuit.

Today marks the one year anniversary of the day we lost Clyde.

Clyde was a Dachshund Pat and I found in Austin pre-kids. Actually, we found him pre-marriage now that I think about it. We had to get someone to care for him while we were on our honeymoon.

We noticed about a week before his death that he was slowing down. I thought it was probably his back. Dachshund’s are notorious for their bad backs. I massaged it frequently through the years to try and help, but we still had to resort to medication from time to time to help with the pain and his mobility.

We had great weather that week and would go on our family walks with Savannah on her bike, Sarah in her stroller, and Pat and I on foot with Clyde beside us. Even though he was obviously not feeling well, he still wanted to go with us. He had been wearing out about half way through our walks for the last few outings and would ride back to our car in the bottom of Sarah’s stroller, but on this last walk he was out of steam about 10 minutes in. Pat stopped and bent down to him. "Hey, Clyde. You okay, buddy?” Then he picked him up and put him in the stroller. He rode out the rest of the hour seeming perfectly content to just be with us and out in the sunshine. Clyde stayed in his chair for the rest of the day.

Yes, he had his own recliner in our living room...

and according to Jeff Foxworthy that makes us rednecks.

"If you're dog has his own might be a redneck."

That's us!

But back to Clyde -

We helped him to his bed in our bedroom that night and the next morning we laid him back down in his chair when we left for church. We came back home to find he had vomited all over himself and the chair. Pat immediately placed Clyde in the tub and gently washed and massaged him, all the while talking to him, caressing our beloved dog with words. Pat knew Clyde was at the end. I wasn’t there yet. I was going to call in sick the next day and take him to the vet. Denial is a dangerous thing.

Clyde didn’t move from his chair the rest of the day or evening. I stayed in the living room with him watching television, reading, folding laundry, and would check on him frequently. It was when “Brothers and Sisters” went off that Sunday night I got up to pet him and talk to him and carry him into bed when I noticed he wasn’t responding to me. His eyes were open, but there was no life. He had died while I sat on the couch watching a stupid soap opera-type television show. I still haven’t forgiven myself for that.

Savannah and I both stayed home that Monday. Neither one of us could function. Clyde’s death completely debilitated my family. But somehow Pat found the strength to dig Clyde’s resting place in our back yard, bundle him up in blankets for our small, quiet ceremony, and then cover him with dirt after Savannah and I went back inside. I watched from the kitchen window as he placed dirt over Clyde's body, taking breaks between every couple of shovels. His body language told me it was one of the hardest things he had ever done.

A year later…every great once in a while…I can hear his collar jingle. Or for some reason I suddenly feel his presence in the room and I turn to say, “Hey, Buddy,” but then I catch myself.

To some people, like my neighbors, it’s just a dog. But to me it’s someone who was by my side for 13 years. Someone I shared all my mornings with before anyone else stirred. Someone who came to my rescue when Pat tickled me, or when a stranger came to the door. Someone who comforted me when I was sad, or rejoiced in the fun times at home.

He was my buddy.

And I miss him.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Frank is my ultrasound man. I’ve had several during the course of this pregnancy and expect to have one each month until the baby is born. Frank is the one who told us that we were having twins when I was 8 weeks along. He laughed with us and shared the joy. He wasn’t cynical or distant. I think he enjoyed being part of our excitement, fear, and celebration.

The day he showed us the twins, I stood up from the table went to the restroom to relieve myself, and that’s when I saw the blood. Frank sent us over to my doctor immediately, but told us not to worry. It’s probably just the excitement.

I went back for another ultrasound 4 weeks later. It was a young lady who performed the test that time. I knew something was wrong when she stopped talking and wouldn’t show me the screen. I could see her hand shake as she fiddled with the keyboard and kept tugging on the cord around her neck. She didn’t know how to handle what she saw on the screen. She just walked out of the room and came back a few minutes later instructing me to go to my doctor. She then gave me a picture of one baby and walked out.

My next time back to that room there were 3 technicians hanging around chatting: Frank, the young lady, and another guy. It must have been a slow day. They all looked at my file and the two guys talked about who would perform my ultrasound. I was relieved when Frank won. I felt like he was my lucky tech. I wasn’t ready for anymore bad news.

While he got set up we talked a little about the twins and the loss. He wasn’t shy about showing me the deceased baby and explained what was happening to the fetus. Then he gave me all the good news about the living baby. This was the day he told me we were having a boy. That’s when I told him he was my lucky charm.

“Then ask for me every time you come in, "he responded. I’ll do all of your sonograms. Just don’t come on Mondays. I’m off on Mondays.”

It was the sonogram last month when Frank earned a special place in this pregnancy saga...and in my heart. Once again he showed me where the deceased baby, Baby B, or Eli as I’ve named him, had been. There wasn’t much left of the little one. I became quiet. Frank didn’t look at me, but with a gentle voice he said, “You haven’t lost him. He’s absorbed back into you and he’s part of you again. That’s how I like to think of it, anyway.”

I hadn’t thought of it that way. He brought a new perspective to the loss for me. There’s still sadness, but he’s right. Eli’s not lost. He’s with me.

Then Frank printed out a picture for me to take home to Pat to prove that he is indeed having the son he’s wanted for so long. He walked me out to the hallway laughing and said, ‘See you next time, Yvonne.”

That’s Frank. He’s my ultrasound man.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Strange Cravings

Okay, people. I’ve about had it with this ban on exercise the doctor has inflicted on me. I can’t even believe I’m saying this! But it’s pretty terrifying to be 40 and pregnant with your third child and be denied “excessive movement.” Especially when you never completely got rid of all the “baby” weight from your first child.

I look in the mirror and think, Oh geez. Please let me do a few squats or plies.

I mean, what crazy person wishes they could do squats? That would be me.

Or I catch a glimpse of my arms and long for push ups. I’m NUTS, I tell ya!

How about a few crunches or just 10 minutes of Pilates?

I’m going to look like a fluffy, white marshmallow by the time May rolls around.

There’s nothing like a glimpse in the mirror to get you motivated to exercise. If only I could.


I have to say, though, it’s not doing much for my eating habits.

But we won’t talk about that.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, Biscuit!

One year ago today a little Boxer/Terrier mix puppy was born in a vet’s office on Garland Road. And 6 weeks later a woman and her almost-tween, still grieving from the death of their 13-year-old Dachshund, walked into the vet’s office to purchase some cat food and saw the sign that advertised free puppies to a good home. They left without looking at them, but couldn’t get a new puppy out of their minds while they sat in the Sonic parking lot waiting for their mozzarella sticks and Cherry Limeades.

Should we call Dad? He’ll snap us out of this.

So they call the patriarch of the family.

“The vet is giving away puppies!” the tween stated enthusiastically.

“Let me talk to Mom,” he replied.

Uh-oh, thought Mom. “Yes?” she said sweetly in the phone.

“How big?”

“Their mother is about the height you always say is the perfect size, but muscular.”

She waited for the almost certain we can’t get a dog right now. Let’s wait a little while longer, but instead…

“Let’s do it.”

The mother sat stunned for a moment and then…

“Are you sure?”

“Go pick one out and bring it home,” he replied.

And that’s what they did with his blessing. The girls sat on the floor at the vet’s office and picked the one that seemed the sweetest. The puppy that didn’t jump all over them or play too rough. She just wanted to be held.

It took a couple days after they brought her home, but the family finally agreed on the name Biscuit. The tween girl came up with the name because the puppy was the perfect golden brown color of a biscuit.

Biscuit brought life back to the house. Not that a house can be lifeless and quiet with two kids in it, but something had been missing since their dog’s death.

So sweet.

And then she started growing....

And growing….

And going crazy!

Until the mother started calling her “the dog,” because the frustration had peaked so high that she couldn’t even mutter the dog’s name anymore. She could only spit out “the dog.”

As in, “Get the dog off me!”

Or “Take that out of the dog’s mouth!”

And “The dog is getting on my nerves.”

Or even changing it up sometimes with “that damn dog.”

No more walking with, or sitting with, or stroking a docile, sweet, small dog.

(RIP, Clyde)

It became cleaning up poop, and more poop, and even larger poop.

And picking up trash, then trying to hide the trash.

And having toilet paper unrolled the length of the hallway, or better yet discovering a bite mark out of the side of the roll when you… *ahem*… need it.

And having a bigger and bigger dog jump on your lap from out of nowhere and knock you down when you walk in the door.


But you know what? She’s part of the family now and she has issues just like all of us. She does have some sweet moments, too, no matter how fleeting.

So happy birthday, Biscuit. Mama will bring home a good bone for you today.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Building My Arsenal

Yesterday my brother-in-law Rick, also known as Dren, came over to show me his apple pie recipe. Yes, I call him Dren. It was Joanie’s nickname for Potsie on “Happy Days.” It’s nerd backwards in case you don’t know. A friend pointed out to me that I may be the bigger nerd for even knowing that.

Point humbly taken.

Nevertheless, Dren came over with a recipe in hand and a homemade pie crust already done. You see, Pat and I made a big discovery last year: Rick makes the best apple pie EVER. And if you’re going to make an apple pie, why not make the best, right?

So I put in a call to Dren and he made time to come over and walk me through my first one. My hints for just buying the ingredients and dropping them off at his doorstep didn’t work. But we knocked out a pie in no time, and later that night we had the most awesome apple pie for dessert…with Blue Bell Vanilla Bean ice cream on the side. I had a bottle of caramel in the fridge that I was so tempted to pour on, but I didn’t want to….what would a chef say?....”compromise” the flavor of the pie.

Pat is so excited. He says I now have the perfect desserts for his dream BBQ restaurant.

I say I have the makings for a delectable, probably pleasantly plump old age together. And maybe a way to keep my kids coming back long after they leave the nest.

The infamous chocolate cream pie

My grandmother’s chocolate cake

My mother’s hot fudge sauce

My mother-in-law’s butter cookies

And now Dren’s apple pie.

I’m building my arsenal. And now I have my eye on the perfect red velvet cake.