Friday, December 30, 2011

Filanthropy Friday

It's the last Friday of the year.

I was planning a big "Filanthropy Friday" review for this post, but Cub is a little sick so I wasn't able to work on the post.  I'll try to get it done in the next couple of days.

I was trying to think of one ultra-mega charity for my last Filanthorpy Friday of the year (a tradition I will continue), but the only one that kept coming to mind (probably because of all the commercials) is St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Cub is sick today, but I'm extremely thankful that it's just a little virus.   I wish all children with cancer could just wake up tomorrow feeling better (like Cub probably will).  One day it might be possible.  I donated $25 to St. Jude to help in this possibility

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Four Hour Nap!

For me?  Puh-leeze.

Today Cub went over to Miss Hannah's house to play.

Apparently, they ran a marathon and lifted some weights because he slept from 11 AM - 3 PM.  


I don't think he took a four hour nap when all he did was eat, poo and nap.

I didn't know how I was going to top Miss Hannah's day of fun extravaganza - so we just did a little rock climbing.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Misfit Monday

Cub doesn't have school this week so I didn't go into work today.

All the misfits in this household are still exhausted.  The past three weeks have just been crazy, especially for Buttin.  In the last couple of days he has fallen asleep sitting up while we were reading books to Cub and laying down on the bathroom floor while I was giving Cub a bath.  

It's 7:15 and we're already  in bed.

It was finally nice enough out today for Cub to go outside and he really enjoyed it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Filanthropy Friday

My year of Filanthropy Friday increased (exponentially) my thankfulness for my life with Buttin - our family and friends and our healthy child.  

Buttin and I had an extremely busy year and a really crazy December, but it was very important to Buttin that we "adopt" a family for the holidays. 

We found a family of three (mom and two daughters) through Foundation Communities and delivered gifts to them on Tuesday.  

When I first spoke with the mother a couple weeks ago she started crying on the phone because she didn't know if her family would receive assistance for the holidays.  Her gift requests were humbling - food and cleaning supplies for her, socks, underwear and cowboy boots for her 6-year-old daughter and gift cards for her teenage daughter.  We found them all some pretty fun presents. 

On Tuesday we met the mom and we showed her the gifts we purchased for her daughters.  She was extremely grateful.

Christmas has always been extremely important to Buttin, me and our families.  I love knowing we were able to make another family's Christmas a little better this year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Medical News

A couple months ago I went to the doctor for chronic joint discomfort (sometimes pain).  My blood work came back mostly normal with the exception of my ANA titer so my doctor referred me to a rheumatologist.  

I went to see the specialist a couple weeks ago and he took more blood (and some pee).  I got the results back today - basically, I'm normal except for some odd results on a couple of my anti-body tests, which were not indicative of anything specific and in his words "sporadic".  The doctor wants to take my blood (and probably pee) again in a couple of weeks and see me ten days later (sometime in late January).  At this point, he cannot diagnosis any auto-immune disease. 

I guess this just means that I'm getting old.  Oddly enough, if I wake up with any joint soreness it goes away if I run.  

In other health news I seem to have caught another stomach virus.  Not fun - especially with all the yummy eating I should be doing in the next few days.

Here's Cub today playing in the leaves.  I'm pretty convinced that our neighbor blew all their leaves into our yard.  Their yard has no leaves and the leaves in our yard seemed to have procreated like bunnies overnight.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Misfit Monday

Misfit Holiday Gala picture (Santa is not a real misfit).

Me, Buttin, Sean and Stacy (new sales girl misfit).

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Day With Cub

Today I spent the day as a single mom. Buttin was in Memphis, TX attending the funeral of his great-uncle.  

We started our day at the grocery store.  Cub was very serious.  He had to steer with both wheels. 


Later in the morning, in all my infinite wisdom, I decided to take the puppy and the toddler for a walk at the same time.  The toddler was a bazillion times better behaved than the puppy. Here's the best picture I could take. 

We dropped the puppy back at home and decided to go exploring in the green belt area around our house.  We found a SEX HOLE!  I have no idea what makes it a sex hole (don't think I want to know), but Cub sure does enjoy yelling in it and hearing his voice echo.

After the sex hole discovery, we walked back to the park and played.  

After Cub's nap, we went to visit Aunt Jen and Uncle Mark's house.  He had a great time there (and I got a little break), but busted his upper gum while playing on a couch.  Aunt Jen was there with a cold washcloth.  Cub even tried to share his bloody washcloth with Aunt Jen.  She politely declined.

When we got home, we went for a walk (again) to his second favorite place (after the sex hole), the mailboxes.  Here he is trying to tell me to run around the other side of the mailboxes - he wants me to chase him.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Filanthropy Friday

A couple months ago we got a call from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and South Texas asking if we could help make a child's (his name is Isaac) wish come true by providing new carpet for a Thomas The Train themed bedroom makeover.  

I asked Buttin (already knowing what his answer would be) and we agreed to provide the carpet, pad and installation at no cost.  We are installing the carpet and pad tomorrow.  

The Make-A-Wish Foundation folks sent me a picture of Isaac visiting Thomas The Train.  

I shared Isaac's picture and story with Buttin and it kind of devastated him.  Buttin had to close his office door because he would get emotional thinking about Isaac and his family.  

I've said it at least a bazillion times this year, but I'll say it again - Buttin and I are so thankful for the health and happiness of Cub.  I cannot imagine being the parent of a sick child - having to be so strong (especially in front of your child) and knowing that the only thing you can provide is love and kisses when all you want is for your child to be health is just too much. 

In addition to providing the new carpet for Isaac's room this week; I'm also donating $20 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  Also, this week we sent out customer satisfactions surveys.  As a thank you for completing the survey, we've offered various treats, but if the customer selects "none" we've told them we will be donating $10 in their name to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  So far, we've had two customers select this option.  I'm hoping we can make a nice donation at the end of the year to Make-A-Wish on behalf of our customers.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Couple Photos

I missed Wordless Wednesday - Buttin and I went to the Austin Apartment Association Holiday Gala and Mormor came into town to stay with Cub.

At school yesterday Cub's shirt got wet (he was in the older kiddos' classroom - more on that in a different post) and apparently, this is the only shirt they had available for him.

Today Mormor taught Cub how to jump down the stairs.  Thanks Mormor.  I had to take Cub outside (in the cold rain) to get him away from the stairs. 

Here he is on the teeter totter. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Playing Catch Up

We've been so preoccupied with moving that I haven't had much time to write about anything non-moving related.

On Saturday while Buttin was unpacking boxes, Cub and I went to check out the neighborhood Holiday Festival.  I was really impressed - they had Santa on a firetruck, a small petting zoo, a little train, bouncy houses and hot chocolate and cookies. 

Cub wasn't very interested in Santa.  He had NO desire to sit in his lap so I had to hold him for the picture (please excuse my hobo-esque appearance). 

Cub both loved and hated the baby animal petting zoo.

He liked the pig.

He wanted to take the goat home.

However, the bunnies were very stressful.  His distress signal was strumming his lips with his fingers.  It kind of cracked me up. 

Now, here's a picture from today.  He was playing at the mailboxes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Very Good Man

I'm interrupting Misfit Monday for a sad reason tonight.

Buttin's great-uncle Leon (who was like another grandfather - one of the wonderful benefits to living in a small town) died today.  His health had been deteriorating, but the news was still difficult.  Buttin will be going up to the panhandle for the funeral later this week. 

Leon was goodness - he was generous with laughter, hugs and praise.  He was the man you think about when you think of the perfect grandfather.   One day Buttin will tell Cub stories about his great grandfather and great-great uncle and that will be a very good day. 

Here's Cub today having fun, completely oblivious to pain or loss.  I'd like to keep it that way forever.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Quick Trip To Boerne

Today we went to Boerne to see Mormor and Dadoo.

In all my packing for our day-trip, I forgot Cub's jacket.  I improvised and put him in my sweatshirt.  It made for a rather interesting outfit.

Here he is following Mormor to fun!

Playing with Mormor in the leaves, much different than last year's leaf fiasco

A frontal view of the awesome outfit.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Filanthropy Friday

I listen to books while running.

I listen to everything from short stories to non-fiction to thrillers - my only criteria is that it be engaging because I don't want to be uninterested while running. I need something to take my mind off the hills

My friend Liz LOVES Jack Reacher books.  I just listened to two - Gone Tomorrow and Worth Dying For, but recently I was in the mood for something different.

I really enjoy non-fiction adventure stuff - like Born To Run, Into Thin Air and In A Sunburned Country and I wanted to find something similar.  I found an audio book with a 5 star rating (highly difficult, there's always someone who doesn't like the narrators voice) - Little Princes: One Man's Promise To Bring Home The Lost Children of Nepal. 

I'm not finished with the book yet - but here's my brief overview.
  • Guy (almost 30) volunteers for three months at an orphanage in Nepal - Little Princes.
  • Guy discovers children are not orphans, they are trafficked children.
  • Guy leaves for a year.
  • Guy returns for a visit and during the course of his visit finds 7 children who are starving living in inadequate conditions.  He makes arrangements for the 7 children to be taken by a relief organization.
  • Guy returns to US.
  • Guy gets email from relief organization saying that it took them a month to get to the children (there was lots of civil war-type stuff happening at the time) and by the time they reached the hut where the children were staying, the same trafficker had taken them again.
  • Guy makes a plan to return Nepal to find the 7 children.  Guy is out of money so he starts Next General Nepal to help his mission.
  • Guy returns to Nepal.
  • So far (at my current place in the book), he has found 5 of the 7 children.
I'm both anxious and excited about finishing the book.  So far, I've heard one reunited story between a mother and her two sons and I started crying while running (not the first time it's happened).  

This week, I decided to donate $25 to Next Generation Nepal.  Right now, every donation through December 31st is doubled - so that makes it even better.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Homeownership Adventure #1

Tonight I managed to cut the electricity . . .  to the entire house . . . while it was dark. . . Cub was asleep  . .  and Buttin was away.  I was trying to plug in the dryer and obviously, I didn't do it correctly. 

Buttin drove up to a pitch-black house, with me stranding at the side of the house shining my iPhone flashlight into the breaker box.  Buttin was able to restore electricity by resetting the ultra-mega-master breaker. Oh well, lesson learned no more electrical work for me. 

Here's a picture of Cub today playing in our backyard.  Well, it's not really our backyard but it's the greenbelt about five steps away from our backyard and Cub loves exploring (and collecting acorns).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nuts & Bubblegum Toothpaste

First things first - HAPPY 20-MONTH BIRTHDAY CASH!  It's been a great month my little sugar man. I promise to write a better letter next month. 

I think when Cub turns two, I have to stop counting by months.  

OK onto the promised topics.


Buttin and I love our tree-house-ish home.  And Cub LOVES playing with all the acorns on the deck.  I never gave it much thought as to how all those nuts made it onto our deck/lawn, but Buttin and I learned last night.  We were settling in for some much needed rest . . . PLOP.  . .  . PLOP . . . acorns (or some kind of nut/seed) falling on our roof.  Thankfully, the sound never actually woke us up, but we heard quite a few before falling to sleep. 

Bubblegum Toothpaste.

My advice to anyone moving (because we're never moving again) is to pack an travel/overnight bag for your first night in your new house.  Buttin and I were unable to locate (or had not yet moved) our regular toothpaste last night (or this morning), so we had to use Cub's bubblegum toothpaste.  Yum.

It was only 37 out this afternoon in Austin, Texas but of course Cub wanted to be outside.  He helped me bring in his puzzle piece mat, well a couple pieces anyways and then he got distracted by an acorn.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Last Night In House

Tonight is our last night in our rent-a-house. 

All of our beds and large furniture are being moved tomorrow so we will be sleeping in the new house tomorrow night.  I'm not sure about the intereweb situation at the new house so tomorrow's blog post might not happen.

Today we took Cub to his first kid concert - Yo Gabba Gabba Live!  He did really well and was mesmerized by all the activity on the stage and all the other kiddos. Here he is dancing (kind of).

Buttin bought Cub a little light - it was certainly Cub's favorite part of the show. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Run From Hell

Really, that's what they call it. 

This morning I did the 16 mile version of the Rogue Run From Hell in the rain.  The Run From Hell can best be described by a metric poop ton of very difficult hills.  Even the downhills suck because they're so steep (and they were super slick this morning) that you really have to slow down and brace yourself. 

The worst hill is up Ladera Norte.  It's a .64 miles long, 300 ft climb with a 9.4% average grade and 21% max grade.  In summary - it hurt and I walked most of it.  We also ran up Mt. Bonnell Rd which is a long hill - 1.48 miles - with a 300 ft climb.  It's a slow, steady climb which almost makes it worse.  There were at least five other monster hills and about 15 dozen smaller (but still painful) hills.  I did more walking today than I usually do.  

Here's a picture down Ladera Norte (after I made it up).


My running group also did this run in July, but thankfully I was out of town that weekend.  I have no idea how that run could be done in the middle of summer.  Ick. 

Crappy hills aside, I really enjoyed the run.  I went through some really nice neighborhoods and because I started at 6 AM, there were still some Christmas lights visible.  I also got to see a ton of deer.

I didn't take many pictures of Cub today.  I spent the morning running and we spent this afternoon packing (Hannah came over to play with Cub).  Here's Cub doing his best, "oh mom"  face: 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Filanthropy Friday

Today is a twofer, but get your Kleenex ready. 

Yesterday was World AIDS Day. In honor of the day, I selected amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research as my charity of the week. 

Ironically, earlier this week I was listening to a Radio Lab podcast while running called Patient Zero (the air date was 11/15 so it had nothing to do with World AIDS Day).  The podcast had one segment on finding patient zero for HIV.  Spoiler Alert - it's not the French flight attendant as portrayed in the mini-series And The Band Played On. No one knows the identity of patient zero - but the leading theory is called, "The Cut Hunter".   The story goes something like this - In the early 1900s an African hunter killed a chimpanzee. While he was (how do I say this?) butchering the chimp, he cut himself and the chimp's blood got into the hunter's blood stream.  As really, really bad luck might have it this chimp was infected with a strain of HIV (called SIV) that was able to mutate, survive and thrive in humans. 

According to the podcast, twelve strains of SIV  have passed from chimps, gorillas and monkeys to humans, but only this one (from a chimp) has manage to survive and thrive in humans.  The podcast further went on to try and locate chimp zero and they traced it back to two forms of monkey SIV that combined in the stomach of a chimp (apparently chimpanzees eat monkeys).  

I found all this research extremely fascinating which is why I decided to donate $25 to amfAR.  As a foundation, they are dedicated to preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, improving treatment for those with HIV/AIDS and ultimately eradicating the virus. 

OK, so oddly enough all the HIV/AIDS chimp-eating-monkey stuff was NOT the sad part of today's Filanthropy Friday. (Warning to those with fragile hearts, please do not continue)

My well-known (at least to my blog readers) friend, Liz, has some good friends in Chicago (Sam and Suzie Tinaglia) with a son (Sam Jr.) who has been fighting leukemia most of his thirteen years.  It went into remission for a while, but it has returned.

Shortly before Thanksgiving, the Chicago Bears visited Sam Jr. (and other children) at the Comer Children's Hospital in Chicago.  It was featured on the local news:

I cannot say it enough (I've said it so many times on so many previous Fridays), there's nothing I wouldn't do to help a parent with a sick child.  I'm so thankful that I've never had to experience the pain of  a sick child (it actually makes me grateful for Cub's tantrums) - I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy.

Being the thoughtful person Liz is, she wrote to Suzie (Sam Jr.'s mom) and asked if there was a specific charity they would like money donated to in Sam's honor and she selected Bear Necessities.  Their mission is to the eliminate pediatric cancer and to help those families (both financially and emotionally) dealing with it.   

Reading about Bear Necessities absolutely breaks my heart.  It was started by a woman who lost her eight year old son (Barrett "Bear") to cancer.  Prior to her son's death, they had discussed starting the organization because her son (at such a young age) had more concern for other patients than himself.  He and his mother realized there were gaps in the emotional treatment provided to families dealing with cancer.  

I donated $25 to Bear Necessities in Sammy Tinaglia's honor.  With all my heart, I hope he beats the crap out cancer. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

At Wits' End

Today was just one of those days.

It was capped off by the mother-of-all Graby meltdowns. 

Thirty minutes of full-on fist pumping, red-face turning, all-out wailing (very dramastic) - a full blown toddler meltdown, the likes of which I have never seen.  He wanted to go outside.  It was 5:30 (time to stay inside).  

I tried to remember everything I've read about toddler tantrums:
  • Ignore the tantrum, but stay close so they don't feel alone - tried it.  If the goal is to make me feel like a crappy parent and hurt my ears, it worked.
  • Try to talk the child through their frustration - tried it.  I did quite a bit of talking, Cub did absolutely no listening and lots and lots of crying.
  • Try distracting the child - tired it (lots).  I took him to the microwave (his new favorite toy), turned on his favorite tv show, hugged him, tried to give him candy - nothing worked.  I even tried jumping up and down and dancing like a crazy person.  Cub continued to scream.
Eventually it got to be 6:00 PM (past bath time).  I gave him a forced bath - it was not pleasant and extremely short.  He screamed the entire time - I'm sure there was still some soap in his hair when I put him in bed.  I started to dry him off and he ran (naked) to the front door all the while, screaming.  

I scooped him up in his towel and took him into the bedroom where I rocked and sssshhhhed him for about ten minutes (he actually calmed down and stopped crying after about 30 seconds).  After all that, we read books for about twenty minutes and he went to bed without a peep.

I guess the afternoon was stressful for Cub, he got his second haircut and he was really good for the first 5 minutes and then he was just done; however, the lady kept chasing him around the place with scissors.  Buttin and I kept saying - it's OK, his hair is fine - but the lady insisted on adding a couple more layers.  

Here he is outside this afternoon (obviously, pre-meltdown).