Saturday, September 29, 2012

This is Makenna.

This is Makenna.

This one is a charmer. This one is all bouncy curls and batting eyelashes.

This one is beautiful.

This one loves to give kisses. This one loves affection. This one cries when her brothers are upset. This one cares about your bad day and cries when you cry.

This one smiles. All. The. Time.

This one loves her daddy. This one lets her mama paint her toenails at just 15 months. This one will bring you  eighty-seven books and expect you to read them. Each and every one.

This one is called the "pterodactyl" for the screech she's developed when someone takes something from her.

This one tortures her brothers. This one pets the baby and says "sis-tah."

This one will not be excluded. This one will include herself no matter what. This one will always find a way.

This is sunshine. This is bright and happy.

This one teaches me about unconditional kindness.


Friday, September 28, 2012

This is Andrew.

This is Andrew.

This is what three and a half going on nineteen looks like. This is six hours straight of Caillou and Curious George. This is teaching himself chess and this is chewing on the checkers when I'm not looking.

This is the child who gives me fits. This is also the child that loves the hardest with all of his tiny little being.

This is bossy. Observant.. Sure of himself.

This is unbridled energy.

This is intense and this is outspoken.

This is my "road dog" and this is the reason I will never leave the house alone ever again.

This is strength. This is his father's spitting and his mother's salty mouth.

This is the one who never forgets anything. Ever.

This is a love for his sisters and this is his brother's biggest fan.

This one teaches me about unconditional and never-ending love.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

This is Dominic.

This is Dominic.

This is the first. This is the one who turned me from who I was to who I am.

This is creativity. This is sensitivity.

This is the most patient big brother God ever created. This is the one who worries about the feelings of others to the point of tears.

This is Warcraft's biggest fan, a lover of hide and seek, and the earner of all As and one B his first month in a new school.

This is a lover of lemonade. And sour skittles.

This is a people pleaser. This one can't get enough of life.

This one is unbridled enthusiasm. This one has never met a stranger.

This one was nicknamed "The Mayor of Eagle River" when he was three.

This one teaches me about unconditional joy.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Apartment Haikus, Volume I

Troupe of tap dancers?
Elephant herd stomping ants?
I hope your pipes burst.

Lawn Mowing Peeping Tom
Outside my window
You cut grass on Friday, but
There's no lawn in here.

Front Row Parking Wars
I see you, lurking...
Waiting for me to drive off.
Well played, spot vulture.

Weird Pool Family
Stop stealing our toys.
It's a big pool, play somewhere else.
Did you just pick your nose?


Monday, September 17, 2012

Calling all Readers: Bloggy Book Club!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...I had friends. No, really. I had friends and I had a book club and we met each  month at a house and we talked about a book we'd read the month before. The host chose the book and we all brought goodies and left our kids at home.

It was sure fun while it lasted.

And now, here I am a MILLION miles from those friends and without the means to have a local, in-person book club, because, you know, those things require that you have real, live friends. That want to meet up with you. And like, hang out. I'm sorely lacking that ingredient in my new life in Texas, so I'm doing the next best thing and scouring the Internets for imaginary friends.

Ok, I know you're all real. And it's this real-ness that I'm after.

I miss talking books and bonding and the thought hit me last month to put together an online version of that great group gathering.

What do you think?

Here's what I had in mind:

1. Each month, a new hostess offer up a choice of books and lets the group vote (I found some great free poll makers on the web)

2. At the assigned date, we all meet up at the hostess' blog and chime in. Hopefully, she'll have some questions about our impressions of the book to take back to our own blogs and ruminate on.

 3. I'm even going so far as to offer a goodie giveaway for my month. I love getting cute stuff in the mail!

Since I don't really have an idea of what sort of group we'll get together, I'll go first for October and we'll choose November's hostess in the next couple weeks. (Randomly, of course.)

Curious about the three books I'm suggesting? I tried to choose books with a paranormal-ly, curious vibe in honor of October. Oh, and then one non-fiction book in case that's your taste. Read on!

1. The Diviners by Libba Bray

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.

In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures—if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

All Mallory knows of The City is that her father—and every other witch there—fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it's only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.

3. Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

One Sunday afternoon, as she unloaded the dishwasher, Gretchen Rubin felt hit by a wave of homesickness. Homesick—why? She was standing right in her own kitchen. She felt homesick, she realized, with love for home itself. “Of all the elements of a happy life,” she thought, “my home is the most important.” In a flash, she decided to undertake a new happiness project, and this time, to focus on home.

And what did she want from her home? A place that calmed her, and energized her. A place that, by making her feel safe, would free her to take risks. Also, while Rubin wanted to be happier at home, she wanted to appreciate how much happiness was there already.

So, starting in September (the new January), Rubin dedicated a school year—September through May—to making her home a place of greater simplicity, comfort, and love.

In The Happiness Project, she worked out general theories of happiness. Here she goes deeper on factors that matter for home, such as possessions, marriage, time, and parenthood. How can she control the cubicle in her pocket? How might she spotlight her family’s treasured possessions? And it really was time to replace that dud toaster.

Each month, Rubin tackles a different theme as she experiments with concrete, manageable resolutions—and this time, she coaxes her family to try some resolutions, as well.

With her signature blend of memoir, science, philosophy, and experimentation, Rubin’s passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire readers to find more happiness in their own lives. 

The poll:


More details:
So we'll meet back here the week of October 29 and have serious, nerdy book girl fun. Leave a comment to let me know you're in, and in a week or so, we'll pick November's hostess. I'll post in a few weeks when I come with a groovy prize package to send out to a lucky winner/reader.

Happy reading!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day 15 Check In

It's been 15 days! At times it feels more like 100, but I guess that's a given when you're doing something new and difficult.

I'm going to take my picture a little later today (maybe after a little pool time, hmmm?), but for now, here are 15 days of results (Day 1 was August 27).

Day 15

Weight lost: 7.5 pounds (total from August 2, day home from hospital after baby #4: 27 pounds)


Day 1: 41   Day 15: 38 (Inches lost: 2)

Day 1: 12.5    Day 15: 12 (Inches lost: 0.5)

Day 1: 38     Day 15: 34 (Inches lost: 4)

Day 1: 40     Day 15: 38 (Inches lost: 2)

Day 1: 26    Day 15: 22 (Inches lost: 4)

Sum Total of Inches Lost? 12.5!

For the most part, I've eliminated carbs. Being real, though, I have my moments where I can't help myself and I stuff a few pretzels in my mouth. Or steal Boo's Cheez Its when he's not looking. Yuck. During the first two weeks, I would eat complex carbs for lunch and that's carbs for dinner. I totally bone it starting Friday when P and the kids are home all weekend. I know, I know. I'm a work in progress.

My water consumption has skyrocketed (which doesn't really say much, given how much I hate drinking water). I still have my morning coffee. But that's about more milk, juice, or any other manner of beverages. Water, water, water. I don't even get Gatorade anymore, y'all....and that's a big deal for me.

After reading "Wheat Belly" over the weekend, I've abandoned all manner of gluten for the past two days. It's not too much different from how I was eating and I'm excited to see if it makes a difference in how I feel and the bloated "wheat gut" I'm fighting.

My number one rule that I actually stuck to for the past 15 days? I don't eat off my kids' plates anymore. Period. It was hard and such a strange habit that I wasn't even conscious of until my husband mentioned it. Now, once food touches their plates, its off limits to me.

I've logged about 450 minutes of Insanity workouts in the past two weeks. (I have my moments where I can't stand poor Shaun T. anymore and have to turn on Pandora's MC Hammer station just to make it through...)

Add to that about two hours' worth of running on the treadmill over the weekends when everyone is home and there is no way in HECK I am bouncing around and huffing and puffing in front of them. So I retreat to our complex's little gym and walk/run for at least half an hour.

The truth at this point is that I am absolutely SICK of Insanity and bouncing around my living room. I miss people and interaction and the bottom line? I really, really, REALLY miss jiu jitsu. But this is our life for now and time and sheer logistics won't allow it. So I do what I can with what I have. (Isn't that a Teddy Roosevelt quote or something?)

Pretty basic, right? The overall goal is 25 pounds by October 26. My goal for Day 30 weigh in? Another 7.5 pounds and some more inches. I love the inches part!

Have a great week!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Peak 313 Challenge!

Fire up the Insanity videos and hand me my scripture!

I've signed up for the 5 week get a little insight spiritually, to make some friends and to keep myself going on this journey I started. I am so, so, so excited!

The workouts (5 days a week) are either Insanity or treadmill running. The food is still the paleo plan I came up with last week.

Who's excited?? This girl!!


And then I went and called a grown man "Rhett Butler"

"Want to cover the Buzzards tonight?"

Words I'd been waiting for all my journalistic life.

Banished to the El Paso Times library stacks as the newspaper's researcher and librarian, I was housed in the back of the building right next to the sports desk and I worshiped those guys. The ones who'd roll in at 2 p.m. because they'd been out covering college football all night, sunglasses covering their heavily-lined, under-sleeped eyes. In my mind they were up late waxing poetic about conversions, triple threats, line drives, power plays and other words I didn't understand but used anyway. (My first few high school football games, I actually copied the stats off the new radio guy's sheet next to me. I was that lost.) These guys were rock stars to my nerdy, research-heavy self.

I'd volunteered as a high school football stringer for an entire season and loved it. My first taste at being allowed into those funny looking, non-air conditioned announcer's booths at the top of high school stadiums was addicting and I wanted more...more press badges, more press boxes, more shots at pretending I was a big wig sports writer when in fact, I was the peon who had to be up at the crack of dawn and back at my customer-service duties a good five or six hours before the real sports writers had to be in the office. I didn't care. I was hooked.

And then the late afternoon when the entire sports desk was sick or hungover or on assignment and the local pro hockey team had a home game in a few short hours.

"You up for a Buzzards game?"

Was he kidding me? I jumped at the chance and the deal was sweetened when he handed me the archaic dinosaur of a lap top they used to remotely file stories with. I was in! I was official! I HAD THE LAPTOP, YA'LL!

I called my dad first and let him know the good news.

"Megan," he said seriously after I'd stopped talking long enough. "What do you know about hockey?"

My pause lasted only a nanosecond.

"Nothing!" I gushed. "That's why you're coming with me!"

(Fast forward about ten years and this is the exact same conversation I had with my husband when I told him about my gig writing about the Houston Texans. Ha!)

My dad's such a good sport. He went with me, sat next to me, and explained every foreign concept thrown my way that night. And they were all foreign, unfortunately. At least with high school football, I'd spent my formative teenage years at football games--never mind the fact that I'd used those hours to walk around scouting for my latest crush or laughing at the cheerleaders. At least I knew what a football was and the point of the actual game. I'd grown up in El Paso and ice, let alone ice hockey, was from another planet.

With my dad's help, I'd typed out a short game recap and as I sat waiting for it to transfer over to the newspaper, the computer died. I'm not talking battery dead, I'm talking the thing had a small internal explosion (with smoke, y'all...) and DIED.

I panicked and raced back to the newsroom to file my story before the midnight deadline. My dad had to go home and get some sleep before work so I was on my own.

I tried to remember all the terms my dad had used and the players who'd managed to execute them.

"There was a guy named Rhett, right?" I asked the assistant editor in my rush.

"Yeah, Dudley. Defenseman." He answered.

Seconds before the clock struck midnight, I'd filed my story and went home, happy and exhausted and with a head the size of Texas. Yeah, I was proud of myself and initiation into the "real sports writers" club.

Proud of myself until I made it to work the next morning with a copy of the sports section on my desk. There was my story on the front page. There was my headline, that the copy editors hadn't changed too much (a feather in any reporter's cap) and there was a passage underlined with a note. Was it from the editor? Was he impressed with me?

I leaned in, saw what was underlined and felt the color drain from my face. My stomach dropped to my knees and I had to sit down.

Poor Rhett Dudley. I'd decided in my fog of stress and sleepiness, that he'd really make a better Southern novel hero and I'd called him Rhett Butler throughout the entire damn article. The editor actually thought it was funny and scribbled "Where's Scarlet?" in red sharpie in the margin.

I recovered eventually and still wrote for sports whenever I could. I even covered the U.S. Paralympic Rugby Team when they traveled through Anchorage a few years ago. But every time someone mentions "Gone With the Wind" or hockey, I remember I'm always one mistake away from Rhett Butler and the El Paso Buzzards.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Katy Weekend Roundup and Fall Festivals

The kids get a little bananas if they're inside too long, even on those 90 degrees and above scorchers. Here's a quick list of things to do this weekend in Katy and surrounding areas, and a listing of this weekend's fall festivals:

In the Katy area:

Saturday September 8, 2012:

Spartan Band March-a-Thon
2 – 8 p.m.

Enjoy performances by the Seven Lakes High School band and color guard as they march through Westheimer Lakes, Cinco Ranch, and Seven Meadows, ending with a concert at Central Park at 7:30 p.m. The event will help the SLHS Band Booster Association raise funds to buy student instruments and equipment, fund learning sessions by guest artists and clinicians, develop special shows, and provide for various programs and scholarships. They will be accepting cash donations along the route, and students will be accepting pledges in advance. You can also reserve a private concert in front of your home by visiting

School of Rock Katy Grand Opening
3750 S. Mason Rd.
1 – 4 p.m.

Join School of Rock Katy for its grand opening celebration. The event will feature food, hourly prizes and giveaways, discounts on their Performance Programs, and more. The School of Rock Austin House Band will also perform live under the big tent outside. The school will be open for tours and trail lessons or just to hang out.

Free Concert Featuring Shaun Groves
22765 Westheimer Pkwy.
7 p.m.

Enjoy a performance by Nashville recording artist Shaun Groves.  The concert is free. Open seating is first come, first serve. Doors open at 6:30 pm. Visit or contact for more information.
Corner of Ave. B and Third St.
Downtown Historic Katy
7 p.m.

Sunday September 9, 2012:

Remembering Sept. 11, 2001
Katy Harvest Square

Join Katy VFW Post 9182 in remembering the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The one-hour ceremony will include the presentation of colors by the Marine Corp Junior ROTC Color Guard and a keynote address by LTC (Ret.) Chuck Bagnato. In the event of inclement weather, the service will take place at the VFW Hall at 6206 George Bush Dr. To learn more, call post commander Dave Brasell at 281-391-8387.

Fall Festivals This Weekend:

HummerBird Celebration in Rockport, Texas

The HummerBird Celebration is an annual event held each September in Rockport and Fulton to celebrate the fall migration of the ruby-throated hummingbird through the area. Visit for details!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

She gives me her shoes and sends us underwear in the mail

I miss my mom.

I know I'm 34 years old and have a family of my own and might be too old to say things like that, but I do.

She fell for the second time this summer and broke her hip. Two days later, after a heartbeat scare and a ton of testing, she had a hip replacement surgery. While I never got the frantic call from my dad that things were super sketchy, the very thought that something could go wrong and how vulnerable she now is has been a weight following me around.

A dark, mortal cloud that rains on me in the form of 10 p.m. tears after the kids and the husband have gone to bed and I don't have to explain my sadness to anyone. I miss her and the thought of a world without her stings the eyes like a freshly cut onion.

My grandfather, Pop, died Easter morning and the world hasn't been the same since. I figure this is where all this fear and sadness comes from.

Debra and I have such a deep, messy, and real bond that there have been times in my life when I've wanted nothing more than an ocean or two between us. And then she can't get on a plane coming in my direction fast  enough.

Push. Pull. Push. Pull.

We are such different creatures and yet, there is so much that is so much the same in our personalities.

Intense. A smidge judgmental. Fierce. Opinionated. Outspoken. Worriers. Bossy.

It's so funny, think about the things that drive me the most crazy about her when we fight are the very same characteristics I fight inside my own personality. Kinda ironic, really.

And yet...

And yet.

There is no one like her. Not even me. We share a flair for art and writing. We share a love of food and cooking (she's way better than me). She fights hard and she cares even harder.

She is the only person on this planet who will give me her nifty New Balance shoes just because she has them and I don't.

In a world where I am the worrier for a family of five other humans and no one really worries about me at the end of the day, she is the only one in this universe who will wonder if I have enough underwear. If my kids have enough new underwear. And when she gets the vibe that any of us don't, a tightly-taped package will arrive in my mailbox in 3 to 4 days with brand new Hello Kitty (me...don't judge), Shaun White (Boy Wonder), or Bob the Builder (Boo) undies inside.

If she thinks I need clothes for the kids, boxes upon boxes will arrive until every child in the neighborhood under the age of 4 would be clothed for at least two seasons.

She has a heart that big that worries about the small details in my life that no one else does.

She's my biggest critic when she thinks I need it and my biggest fan, even when no one else seems to be.

And tonight, and tomorrow night, and all nights after that...I'm thinking about her, hoping she's getting some sleep (and not awake until 3 a.m.) and that's she's well.

For once, I'm the worrier and I worry she doesn't know how much I care. Or how big her presence really is in our lives.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Alright, stop...Hammer Time!

I know I called this whole 60-day process a gut check, but  I hate that world. It's absolutely too close to "gut punch" and if you've ever received one of those, well, it's not fun. They suck, actually. And I don't want to spend 60 days feeling worn out AND like I've been punched in my flabby tummy.

Yesterday I finished my first seven days. It was a bit rough. Ok, it sucked, but I made it and even though I've spent the past two or three days completely derailed, I still managed to knock out 4.5 pounds in the first week. All this in preparation of my first official weigh in and second photo I have to take next Tuesday for my Day 15 update.

Here's a quick recap of the first week:
"Oh..mah...gosh, I am so sick of hardboiled eggs."

Sunday August 26, 2012
I drank a lot of water today. I hate water and I'm constantly beating myself up over how little I drink.
My workout was the Jillian Michaels extreme Shed and Shred and it really, really hurt. Like, really. It was a half hour and over soon enough, but this one had my legs screaming the next day.

Monday August 27, 2012
Today was the first REAL day with all my rules (water before every meal, lots and lots of protein, no simple carbs, and no carbs after lunch.) It was also the first day of the Insanity workout program. I did Cardio Power and just about quit every 45 seconds. I sucked at it, no lie.

Tuesday August 28, 2012
I'm so, so sick of hardboiled egg whites. I eat about six a day, and while it helps with that satiety issue, holy crap, they're boring. And chicken breasts. Good god, I'm sick of those, too. My legs hurt so bad after all the damn jumping and squatting yesterday that I counted playing with my kids at the park as a workout. Oh, whatever...

Wednesday August 29, 2012
More eggs. More chicken. Water when I remembered it. I even did an Insanity workout that involved a lot of bouncing and feeling like every damn part of me had a sort of "jiggle" factor to it. Do they make sports bras for your stomach? How about your hiney? They needed serious support, too.

Thursday August 30, 2012
Today's workout was Pure Cardio and even the trainer, Shawn T, collapses at the end of it and says "This...^%$%...Is...Bananas." It's true. I'm still on the diet train and I'm starting to think maybe I look different? Feel different? I hope so.

Friday August 31, 2012
Took the kids to the playground early and even managed to skip the breakfast tacos the hubs bought. Yay, yogurt! Didn't workout, however, and that's never good. I ate pizza tonight, too. Dammit.

Saturday September 1, 2012
Eating is off when everyone is home, but I did managed to hit the treadmill and actually use it for 35 minutes, including 18 minutes of actually jogging--something I haven't done in yeeeeears. Eating is off the journal and while not terrible, I'm off my game.

Sunday September 2, 2012
Eh....I didn't get much physical activity today and the eating sorta went off the books too.

Monday September 3, 2012
Ok, first off, in my defense, its Labor Day. And I made cookie bars. And we had skillet lasagna for dinner. And I totally didn't get to do my Insanity workout because the house was full of beautiful, active kids who control the television.

The good news? My routine goes back to normal tomorrow. I've got plenty of eggs and yogurt on hand and I'll be ready for next Tuesday's weigh in and photo op!

Have a great week!