Tag Archives: My Baby

LillyFair & Jonahpalooza: The End

The Complete Package and I just wrapped up two glorious weeks with our grandkids. For the first time, we decided to give them each their own special week at our house. Together, they are a whirlwind of constant motion and commotion. But separately, we are able to focus all of our attention entirely on each of them and give them one-on-one time they don’t normally get.

We started on Sunday, July 17th with our first annual LillyFair. After spending a long weekend in Austin visiting family, I brought Lilly home for a week of Yo Gabba Gabba, dress-up, baths in the kitchen sink and lots of snuggles. After 8 days, we feel like we’ve gotten to know our little Lilly Bug much better. She’s a pistol. She’s funny and lively. She loves music as much as she loves food (and girlfriend LOVES to eat). She has a small collection of favorite words. Her two favorites are Papi and snack, and sometimes she uses them in the same sentence. She’s a sweet little elf.

At 22 months, she plays hard to the very brink of exhaustion and loves to sing, especially in the car. She can’t get enough Yo Gabba Gabba, which she calls Baba, and she has a crush on DJ Lance Rock. When he walks onto the TV screen in that orange jumpsuit carrying his boom box, she giggles and lights up like a firefly. Her favorite part of the show is the silly faces segment.

Every time the kids visit, I make them something. It might be a costume for their dress-up box or sword holders for pirate swords or spy glasses made from paper towel rolls. It’s something I love to do, and the kids love it, too. For Lilly Bug, I recycled some of Jonah Bear’s old t-shirts to create Yo Gabba Gabba character shirts. First, I created Muno’s trademark lumpy orange body using felt and French knots. I love Muno. He’s cool. Lilly loved the color and the textures.

Next, I reworked Plex the robot on a red t-shirt using felt & embroidery thread.

If I’d had another week, I might have crafted a Lilly-sized DJ Lance Rock, but time ran out, so we’ll never know if I could have pulled it off. I’m thinking Papi should rent the costume and surprise her some time. She would lose her mind. As if her Papi isn’t already her hero. Papi would rock as DJ Lance Rock!

Last Sunday, we met My Baby and Bama Boy for lunch to trade Lilly Bug for Jonah Bear. Jonah loves coming to visit, and has since he was a little tyke. Now that he’s 4 1/2, he’s an old pro at coming to visit. He had his little suitcase packed and was ready for adventure.

We kicked off Jonahpalooza with a movie night. We made popcorn, broke out a bag of gummy worms and watched his new favorite movie, Rango. He spent the week playing dress up, watching his favorite cartoons and taking private swim lessons. We had picnics and rode bikes and visited the science museum to see the dinosaurs. Jonah is all boy, and is the total polar opposite of his little sister. While Lilly’s switch is always set to “high-energy”, Jonah is active but also sweet & tender and has his quiet moments. He’s thoughtful and polite and big-hearted. He loves to read and tell stories, and his imagination is astounding. He’s exceptionally smart and very creative. This week, Jonah asked for a new Bolt costume. It’s one of his favorite movies. And of course, I never say “no.” This time, Jonah was big enough to help cut the fabric and sew on the machine. Here’s the result, complete with a carrot dog toy.

Here’s our sweet boy learning to float like an ice cube. Hi, Kaki!

And here’s Jonah at the science museum with the T-Rex. Run, Jonah!

In all, we spent 16 days with our grandbabies. Our house is a mess, our refrigerator is empty, and our energy is completely sapped. But you know what? It was a fabulous 16 days. I know everyone thinks their grandkids are the cutest, the smartest and the greatest. But in our case, it’s true. {wink}

And we already miss them.

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Happy Birthday to my Baby Sister

My baby sister is a firecracker. Yes, she is a spunky little spitfire, but she was also born on the Fourth of July. She really is an all-American, red-white-and-blue firecracker. If I had to narrow down the field, I’d say she’s either a sparkler (for her extroverted personality) or she’s one of those ginormous multi-colored, layered ring, laced with gold sparkly stars ground shakers they use in fireworks finales (for her impact on the rest of our family). I’m not going to sugar coat this. When she was little, she used to say snotty things to us like, “Mom says you have to make my bed because I’m the baby” which was usually followed by her sticking out her tongue. She was THAT sister. If we heard “I don’t have to do it because I’m the baby” once, we heard it a million times. Luckily, she was cute so we didn’t kill her, rub her with honey and leave her for the fire ants, or sell her to traveling gypsies. Not that we didn’t consider it from time to time. When you grow up in a large family, random thoughts of leaving your siblings on the toy aisle in K-Mart do cross your mind. As she grew older, she became far less of a brat and more of the family comedian. Baby Sister was always the one that could make a face, pull a stunt or break out the slap-stick and make us laugh. She is our “most likely to tickle your funny bone.” She’s still cute, but she’s also smart, funny and thoughtful and can sing the full lyrics to just about any song (she was in choir). And while my own daughter is still my first pick for “crazy dance contest” partner, my baby sister will always be a top choice for family road-trip sing-along partner. She also makes an excellent trivia & board game partner, since she somehow retains random knowledge as well as she retains lyrics. She’s a weapon of mass instruction. She’s Rain Man.

Our baby sister on her wedding day - surrounded by nieces and nephews

Today, our baby sister turns 41. She’s all grown up with a child of her own (Gabe the Babe) and a rowdy, fun-loving husband (I’ll call J-Bird). She makes her own bed now. She may have settled down and created a family, but she’ll never really be tamed, and that’s what I love most about my Baby Sister. She is a free spirit. Her glass is always two-thirds full. She looks for the best in everyone. She rolls with the punches and makes the best of every situation. She’s not afraid to laugh at herself or others. She is the most like me. No wonder I love her. So today, I’m sure I speak for the rest of my sisters when I say, “Happy birthday, Baby Sis!” Now matter how old we all grow together, you’ll always be our baby.

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Musings on Austin, Motorcycles, Grandkids & Sleep Deprivation

Well, it’s Tuesday and I’ve just wrapped up 10 action-packed days with the grandbabies, Jonah Bear and Lilly Bug. I thought I would feel bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after a recuperative night’s sleep, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I was up until 3:00am, and I’m feeling totally wiped out. So instead of crafting a dazzling literary recap, I’m opting for a random run-down of what transpired. I apologize in advance for taking the lazy way out. Forgive me. I beg of you.

1. Our adventure started June 10th when The Complete Package saddled up the motorcycle and Ziggy and I manned the “support vehicle” for our trip to Austin. It was our annual pilgrimage for the Republic of Texas motorcycle rally. TCP attends the bike rally; Ziggy and I spend the weekend with the kids. The ROT Rally is said to be the largest in Texas and one of the biggest in the US. Approximately 200,000 participants were expected. This year, TCP entered his new motorcycle in an open division contest and took second place in the Metric Custom category. Got a trophy and everything. My Baby and I took the kids downtown to watch the motorcycles parade past the state capitol and down Congress Avenue on Friday evening. Have you ever seen a motorcycle parade that runs for 11 uninterrupted miles and takes more than 30 minutes to pass? It’s pretty awesome, even if you’re not that into motorcycles. The kids were enthralled, and seeing their Papi ride by in the parade was a highlight. In their minds, Papi (TCP) is now a rock star. You go with your bad self, Papi. Here’s a shot of his bike, or as I like to refer to it – “the other woman”.

2. Bama Boy, our son-in-law, introduced us to his favorite meat market. It’s called Johnny G’s and it’s located in Manchaca, just south of Austin. It is best described as a small, family run meat palace. We bought two hand-cut ribeye steaks for Bama Boy and TCP (about 1.5″ thick) and two smaller steaks for My Baby and I. Then we snagged some smoked jalapeno cheese sausage and some spices. It’s a great little Mom & Pop shop, and those ribeyes were Uh-May-Zing.

3. Turns out Peter Pan is alive and well and recruiting Lost Boys in the Austin area. Who knew? If I could bottle Jonah Bear’s energy, I’d be a guhzillionaire.

4. If you take two kids and two adult women, put them in a car in the dark of night with a multi-colored flashing disco ball light stick and a cool blue light saber, add vintage rock music and park them at a Sonic Drive-In, you’re bound to draw attention. It may or may not have been a coincidence that a police cruiser pulled in just as we were leaving. Look, kids! It’s the Fuzz!

5. There’s no such thing as “too many pancakes” or “enough donuts.”

6. Behold the power of cheese! (Remember those commercials?) Hi, Lilly Bug.

7. After spending 6 days in Austin, I brought the kids back to Houston to spend the weekend at our place. My Baby and Bama Boy were celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary, so a kid-free weekend seemed like an appropriate gift. It was a total win-win for all of us. We wore those kids out. Wore ’em out good!

8. This weekend, Jonah Bear and TCP made homemade cherry pecan ice cream and lasagna. There’s nothing better than men who cook, except for men who cook and then do their own dishes. At 4 years old, Jonah is really getting into the cooking part. We’ll work on washing dishes another time. As for TCP, the man can scour a pan. And no, you can’t have him. And no, he doesn’t have a brother.

9. If I’ve seen Disney’s Tangled once, I’ve seen it a millions times. Jonah Bear usually pretends to be the hero. Lilly is the leading lady. I’m usually the villain (totally against type, I know) and Ziggy is the sidekick. This time, Jonah decided the bad guys were cooler, so he played the roll of the Stabbington brothers (twins). That’s right. Just when you think one bad guy’s enough, Disney produces twins. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a really cute movie. My favorite character – the little old cupid dude at the very end. Makes me laugh every single time.

10. Jonah Bear cried when it was time to head home. I cried when he started crying. Then TCP started crying. I’m telling you, we were one hot mess. Everything you’ve heard about being a grandparent is true. There is such joy in watching your babies grow up and have babies of their own. There is such freedom in enjoying your grandbabies without the stress and anxiety you felt with your own children. You really do learn a lot with age, and there’s a great sense of peace that comes with knowing you didn’t screw it up. Our daughter is amazing. Our son-in-law is a blessing. Their children are the greatest gift ever, and in all seriousness, we couldn’t love them more. Life is good. Really good.

Now if you’ll excuse us, Ziggy and I could really use a nap. A really long nap.

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Hot Fun in the Summer Time

I’ve been holding on to these photos since Mother’s Day. Every time I look at them, I start giggling again. You have to understand, most days it’s just me, TCP and the dog around here. It’s quiet in our home. Very quiet. But when My Baby and Bama Boy visit with our two grandkids, all heck breaks loose. Fun, fabulous heck. Hilarious, giggly, exhausting fun. Mother’s Day weekend was no exception. Especially when The Complete Package, aka “Papi”, erected a DIY water park in the back yard. Since daily temperatures in Houston are hovering in the 90’s, it was an oasis. It started with the kids playing in the inflatable pools.

Then it moved to the new Slip-N-Slide. I don’t think I’ve seen one of those things since I was in high school. They’ve been greatly improved since the early ’80s. Gone are the days of a simple piece of plastic and a garden hose. Now they have a blue bumper down the side that shoots water to keep the slide slippery, and a “cushion” at the end so you get good and soaked as a reward for your courage.

We had a great time getting soaked with Jonah Bear and Lilly Bug. But the most amusing part of the day had to be the to-the-death, no-holds-barred Slip-N-Slide grudge match between our daughter and her husband. It was amazing. And cut-throat. And hysterical. Thank you, God, for high-speed digital cameras.

Oh, to be young and enthusiastic! I’m not saying who won because we were all winners in my book. I will tell you that the grandkids were not the only ones to take a nap that afternoon. So, how are you planning to keep cool this summer?

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My Baby’s Big Day in Austin, Texas

My Baby & friends at the finish line. Why don't they look like they just ran 6 miles?

My Baby ran her first 10K this weekend – the Austin Statesman Capitol 10K. It’s the largest 10K race in Texas, and the fifth largest in the nation. It was really impressive to see that many runners in downtown Austin. There were couples in tutus, a group in Gumby costumes, the entire cadet class of the Austin Police Department, a cadet corps of Aggies, a few luche libres, The Mario Brothers, two friends dressed as Dr. Seuss’ Thing One & Thing Two, a couple that got engaged at the finish line and a guy dressed like a cast member from Braveheart.

They may take this guy's dignity, but they'll never take his freedom.

But we were there for just one runner, and in a sea of more than 13,000+ participants, our beautiful daughter crossed that finish line with a smile on her face and her arms over her head in victory. I wish you could have seen her.

Jonah Bear was yelling like a maniac when he saw his mommy come around the corner and cross that line. It was an exciting moment. Not only did she finish with flair, she was able to text us as she ran so the kids could follow her progress on the race map. Now that’s talent. She ran the 10K (6.2 miles) in 1:14:52. Congratulations, honey. We may be proud parents, but you are a rock star!

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Nothing is better than family time.

The kids came to visit this weekend. Nothing is better than time with our kids. Lilly Bug is now 17 months old. She’s such a bubbly, sweet little pixie. She wakes up happy and the rest of the day just gets better from there. She’s a little chatter box, and is just starting to put together a few full sentences. Her vocabulary is expanding at an alarming rate. She laughs at everything, sings at the drop of the hat, and thanks to Jonah Bear’s toy harmonica, she learned to play hobo songs about life riding the rails with her Papi (The Complete Package). I love those curls.

Jonah bear turned four just before Christmas. That blows my mind. Where does the time go? He’s not a baby or a toddler anymore. Our first grand baby is a boy now, and his ability to think at such a strategic level amazes us. He’s a deep thinker and problem solver, and yet he’s also a sweet, compassionate soul. He is a boy who knows what he wants, and this weekend he wanted blueberry pancakes and fruity push-up popsicles. I love his sweet boy hugs & his big, beautiful brain.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a family weekend without My Baby and Bama Boy. We ate too much, we played Scrabble, we shared popcorn & ice cream while we watched Megamind. It was awesome. But my favorite thing was watching Jonah Bear’s face light up when he mastered the pedals on My Baby’s old bike with all of us out there cheering him on. It was one of those priceless family moments. Speaking of priceless family moments… Sorry, honey. Mommy loves you.

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Happy Birthday to My Sweet Baby Girl

My Baby turns 28 today. Where did the time go? I remember so vividly being pregnant with her, as if it just happened. I craved chocolate, guacamole, ice cream and Mexican food all the time. Those are foods she still loves. Coincidence? I think not. Anyone who has raised children knows it’s not always easy. But those challenges make us stronger, and it makes our bond stronger, as well. I had the luxury of being a stay at home mom, and having that time with My Baby when she was little was a great gift – for both of us. When she was little, we were inseparable. When her first day of pre-school came, I anticipated tears and anxiety. I just didn’t anticipate they would be mine. As she stepped into her little classroom for the first time, she ran directly to the other kids and never looked back. Thankfully, my mother-in-law was there to pick me up off the carpet, tell me to stop throwing a tantrum, and dry my tears. When she was in elementary school, I was a parent volunteer. That volunteer work eventually turned into a full-time job, and we “went to school together” each day. The extra time she had after school while I was still working, gave her extra time with her teachers as she volunteered to stay and help or spent time in my office doing homework. I think that experience helped form her decision to go into education as a college student. She is now a second grade teacher, and she still has that love of the classroom. She thrives on being there for her students and nurturing them into children who love learning, just as she did. It’s another one of those “life coming full circle” moments I’ve written about before. We don’t always know if our children are watching or learning from our example, then one day we see them in the roles we previously played, and it all comes back around. I see patience in her as an adult that I never saw in her as an only child. I see the way she expresses joy and excitement and affection with my grandbabies, and it makes me very proud. She is a reflection of me in many ways, but her own woman in many others. She is a beautiful person, inside and out. She is an independent thinker, a compassionate teacher, a devoted wife and mother, and one of my very closest friends. I couldn’t be more proud of the person she has become, and I can’t imagine having a better daughter. Simply put, she is amazing. She is my greatest accomplishment and my proudest achievement. And isn’t that what every mother dreams of for her children? So today, The Complete Package and I share our warmest wishes for our daughter. Happy birthday, honey. We love you.

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I know everyone thinks their grandkids are exceptional, but mine really are.

It’s not bragging if it’s true, right? I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say that my grandchildren are beautiful, affectionate, brilliant little geniuses. And I’m totally in love with being their Nana. I wouldn’t trade it for a buhzillion dollars.

This is Jonah Bear. He's my sweet, funny boy.

It all started with Jonah Bear. My Baby and Bama Boy had not even been married a full year when they called with the news. I wasn’t sure I was ready to be a grandmother at 43. It just seemed way too young. Then he arrived, and all that went right out the window. NanaBread was born the same day Jonah was, and I’ve never looked back. I love that boy more than words could describe.

This is Lilly Bug. She's our sweet, flirty, drooly girl.

Then last fall, we celebrated the arrival of Lilly Bug. She is a revelation. It’s like watching a rerun of her mother when she was little. She has My Baby’s spirit, her quick smile, her easy good-natured personality, and her infectious laugh. She is strong-willed but affectionate, and she has a serious case of hero worship for her big brother and her daddy. It’s amazing how early they learn to read people. She wields her ability to flirt like a weapon, and Jonah Bear, Bama Boy and Papi (The Complete Package) are all wrapped around her little finger. She’s unstoppable.

Oh, Jonah Bear...just when I thought my heart couldn't melt any more.

Most of all, I love that I always seem to be laughing when I’m with them. They bring a whole new level of joy to my life. I am totally smitten, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. They rock my world and I am one lucky, grateful Nana.

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When Life Comes Full Circle

My Baby Graduates from High School

As a mother of a grown daughter, I’ve had several of those “my life just came full circle” moments. Like when My Baby graduated from high school. That’s a proud day for any parent, watching your child cross that stage and receive a diploma. It marks a new chapter in your child’s life when they are right on the verge of becoming an adult. The day we drove her to college and carried all of her stuff up to her dorm room is still so vivid. I remember my Mom and Dad doing the same for me. Walking away from the dorm and leaving her behind was tough. I wonder if Mom cried all the way home and drank margaritas when she got back to the house? I wonder if Dad offered to pull over on the side of the freeway so she could collect herself. Oh, wait…who am I kidding?! I was one of five daughters. My mom may have had a margarita, but I’ll bet she was celebrating, not depressed! My Baby is an only child. The empty nest syndrome hit me hard.

My Baby & Bama Boy

I remember the day our baby got married. That was a glorious day. It was June, the people we love were there, and everything went off without a hitch. So many things could have gone wrong but didn’t. It was a wonderful day filled with love and laughter. Our baby was a beautiful bride, and we were thrilled to welcome Bama Boy to the family. Was it really 28 years ago that The Complete Package and I got hitched? I still remember peeking down the aisle to make sure he was standing at the altar and picking rice out of my mouth (we still threw it back then) and driving away with cans tied to the back of our car. It doesn’t feel like 28 years have passed.

My Baby & Jonah Bear


Now it’s babies that bring us full circle again. Watching my child give birth to her own babies brings back all of those memories of diapers, formula, sleepless nights, the smell of baby lotion and sweet baby kisses. It takes me back to that first day of school, baking cookies together, playing at the park, and dressing up like a little devil or a dinosaur or a spider for Halloween. She’s all grown up now, and she’s a wonderful mother to two sweet, funny kids. Together, she and Bama Boy have built their own family, and it’s our time to be grandparents. Now I know the sadness my parents felt when we didn’t come to visit as often as we could have. And I know the joy my parents felt when they watched the grandkids do something for the first time. And I feel that powerful love a grandparent feels for the babies of their babies. The Complete Package bought me a framed needlepoint that says it all – When A Baby is Born, So is a Grandmother. It’s true. Watching your children with their own children makes you feel complete. It reminds you of the sacrifices your parents made for you, and you in turn made for your own child. It makes you feel like your life has come full circle.

My Baby in 1983 and Lilly Bug in 2009

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