Sunday, January 27, 2013

One Birthday and One Race

Claire's birthday was a great success. I mean there were pink streamers. It had to be a success.

Minus the cupcakes that Claire wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. Maybe because they were burned on the bottom? Who burns cupcakes? Isn't that baking 101?

 The one thing I learned from the whole birthday-throwing thing - is that watching "Cupcake Wars" does not, in any way, make you an expert cupcake decorator. Not even a mediocre decorator. I got one of those fancy bags with the perforated nozzle - where you fill it with frosting and then squeeze it out and it comes out in a pretty form....

Well it comes out really pretty all over your hands, the table, the floor, and everywhere that is not called a "cupcake".

If I had known Claire wasn't going to eat my burned cupcakes I wouldn't have bothered frosting them in the first place. The things we do as moms...

Her favorite gift was a card board box turned play house, made with much love by her Granddaddy. You can see she immediately started hording sticks in her house. She also got big "Bloks", which I have yet to step on which makes me really grateful. I made a "car" of sorts out of the "Bloks" and she now pushes it around the house saying "vroom vroom".

She also got a doll that smells like vanilla frosting. She licks the doll's head. She obviously likes the doll way more than my cupcakes.

One of her other favorite gifts are these learning flashcards. Sounds totally nerdy to be giving a one-year old flashcards, but she LOVES them. She pulls them out one by one and asks us what they are. I make a game out of them and lay several out on the floor and ask her to show me the "doll, cat, keys", etc. and she looks at all the cards and picks out the correct one! It is so much fun to watch her learn! (For you moms of young ones, these cards are really sturdy, cannot be torn, and each has something unique to feel - the dog's fur, the smooth apple, the rough tractor tire, etc. I can't say enough good things about them!)

The day after her birthday Mr. San Antonio and I embarked on our last long run before the big race. We thought we were doing a 10-11 mile route. But 12+ miles later we were huffing and puffing our way home. Whoops. Totally my fault for reading the map wrong. And no one to blame but myself for feeling like I was beat with a stick when I woke up the next morning.

But all the training paid off, and we completed  - my first, his third - half marathon this weekend! I could never have done it without Mr. SA coaching me, training me, and encouraging me the whole way. Watching other runners do it by themselves this morning... I thought there was no way I would have kept going if he wasn't there telling me I could do it. Assuring me that the pain in my foot would go away. Telling me he was proud of me.

I grabbed his hand as we rounded the final curve in the race and ran as fast as we could to the finish line. And as we crossed the threshold he raised my hand in the air and grabbed me in a big sweaty hug. I could talk about how this experience is a deep analogy for marriage and love, but then I'll get all sappy on you and will need to leave the computer to get my tissues and will probably end up getting snot on the keyboard... so I'll just let you take it there on your own.

Right now I need to get some ice on these knees. Or maybe I should just start riding around the house like this:

Hugs to you all (because I'm in a huggy mood)!
The Pampered Bird

Friday, January 18, 2013


There is nothing like having a party that makes you do crazy things like scrub your grout, dust your base boards, and wash your hair.

Just kidding about washing my hair.

I mean, just kidding about it being a crazy thing to wash my hair.

Really, I wash my hair on a regular basis. I promise.

But I don't regularly scrub my bathroom grout. And I got to say - it is totally not worth it. You scrub and you pull up all this dirt, and you feel really good about yourself. And you say, "wow, this is fantastic, my grout has never looked so good, and my knees are killing me so I obviously deserve this handful of M&Ms." And then the next day your grout looks normal again (normal, I mean groutish).

Now that I think about it, I guess it's kind of the same with washing your hair.


I'm cleaning because tomorrow is Claire's first birthday and not only are we having family over for a little mid-winter cook-out and cupcake consumption, but I've hired a photographer to come take some family photos at our house.

Originally I thought the three of us would go to a park some where, all wear color coordinating outfits, stick a cute bow in Claire's hair, and capture us frolicking about in the dead winter grass.

But when I started talking to our photographer she told me that her passion is taking "life style" pictures. Where she shows up at your house (or other normal venue) and just takes pictures of us living our life.

Which means, Claire most definitely won't have a bow in her hair (for long). And she may or may not even be wearing pants. What clothes she does have on will have avocado stains and will smell like a banana strawberry smoothie (even though she has not had a smoothie). She'll have cinnamon cereals stuck to her chin and will be holding tupperware in one had while pushing her lady bug with the other.

And I'm ok with that. I'm ok with Claire having boogers in her hair and a long train of my scarves following her down the hallway. I'm even ok with her sucking on her toes and showing you her snaggle tooth grin. None of those images would normally make it on the Christmas card, but this is a "life style" shoot, and that is our life.

However, I draw the line at showing you the normal state of my grout. And so, I'm enjoying some M&Ms, while I ice my knees, and get over the fact that by the time the photo shoot starts, no one will be able to tell I scrubbed my grout anyway.

The Pampered Bird

Monday, January 14, 2013


Usually people make new year's resolutions for themselves.

Sometimes we make them for other people. But we keep them to ourselves.

"Hey Fred, I've decided this year you should really work on your hygiene."

This year, Mr. San Antonio and I made goals for each other. And they are ones we don't have to keep to ourselves.

I decided that this year Mr. San Antonio was going to hunt a deer for us so we'll have deer sausage to help us struggle through the long, frigid, ice ridden winter here in Texas. It's still January and he's already accomplished that one. Way to go and be on top of my goals for you babe!

He decided I am going to run a 1/2 marathon, and start a garden.

I laughed when he first set these goals. I've never liked running. And I have a real gift at killing plants.

But yesterday I ran over 9 miles.

And I'm knee deep in garden research. Tomatoes, zucchini, and some form of lettuce are on the menu. Mr. SA is drawing up plans for the raised bed (right babe?), and I've got the low-down on where to get the best soil in town.

Secretly these have been goals I've wanted to set for myself for years but have always been afraid of failing. I'm grateful that my husband doesn't assume I'll fail. He assumes I'll succeed. He has faith in me when I don't have faith in myself. He's a wonderful encourager  He always lifts me up and never tries to put me down. He doesn't keep records of my faults. He is incredibly patient with me. And these acts of love are helping me grow into the person I've always wanted to become.

Hopefully, if he does have some secret goals for me, they're more along the line of "go to Europe" and less along the line of "shower more frequently".

The Pampered Bird

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Shaping Hearts

A little someone took some big steps this weekend! Those wonderful Frankenstein steps with her arms stretched out in front for balance, and the biggest, proudest grin on her round face.

And then she tottered to the side like I had spiked her milk and fell on her padded back side. And then she stood up and tried again.

I love her determination. I love her curiosity. I love her strong will. Her ferocious opinions. Her deep feelings.  The look in her eye when she is doing something to make you laugh - as though the two of you are sharing the most wonderful little secret.

I love how she and I communicate. Without (coherent) words. I know what each of her points mean. What each of her facial expressions mean. I know that if I'm sitting on the floor and she puts her hands on my shoulders that she wants me to swing her around and tickle her and make her laugh. And I know that when I put her back down, she's going to crawl right over and ask for it again.

I know that towards the end of her bath she will reach her hand out to me as though she is done and ready to get out. But that glint in her eye means she is just teasing, and as soon as I reach for her she'll pull her hand back and splash the water as hard as she can and open her mouth wide and laugh as she soaks me.

We had a few rough days last week. That wonderful, determined, strong willed spirit pushed limits and searched for boundaries. So I gave them to her. We had lots of tears for a day or two. And I did some soul searching, and praying, and advice seeking for ways to teach her and guide her in a way that was gentle on her tender heart, but strong and clear against inappropriate behavior.

One morning I was trying to change a very dirty diaper, and she was literally hitting her head on the wall and pushing herself head first over the changing table, kicking and crying and hitting me all the while. I gently but firmly held her shoulders down and calmly told her, "It is not ok for you to hurt yourself. It is not ok for you to hurt mommy. I won't let you fall off this table or hit your head on the wall. I'm bigger than you, and I am more stubborn than you. I will win. I love you very much and have to change your diaper so that you can be more comfortable. But I am willing to wait as long as it takes for you to calm down."

And I did wait. It seemed like forever, but probably was only a few minutes. I just kept calmly talking to her while holding her down so she couldn't hurt herself. She finally relaxed enough for me to quickly clean her up. Hugs and kisses were given and we went on to breakfast.

At the table she hit me, twice. Each time got a "time out". Which meant I removed her food and turned her chair to face the wall for one minute. She seemed pretty oblivious. But the hitting stopped.

There were many more incidents than just these... but the principals/tactics were similar. Claire - testing the waters, seeing where the deep end is, what the limits are. Me - praying that I respond with grace and love, while clearly showing the boundary lines.

Through it all both of our hearts are expanding. Even in the last few days I can tell that our relationship has deepened. Our communication is richer. Her displays of affection more sweet and frequent.

What an incredible task I've been given. To show grace and love to this little person. To teach her how to love and respect others in return. Demonstrate to her what it means to live a life given over to the God of the universe. How to praise Him in the midst of every circumstance. How to walk in the freedom of knowing that our lives were bought at the highest expense.

And I must say, even in the midst of the tears, I am loving every minute of it.

The Pampered Bird

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year!

Wow it's the New Year!

Wow I never posted in December!

Wow I wrote several posts only to delete them because I was being emotional and blubbering on and decided no one really wanted to wade through all that.

Wow I'm going to stop saying Wow!

Happy 2013!

December flew by for us. Claire and I spent a day making Christmas cookies with my mom while watching a super sappy Hallmark movie and picking up Tupperware lids that Claire kept pulling out of "her drawer" at Mimi and Granda's house.

Mr. San Antonio showed off his muscles by chopping down our Christmas tree in one fell swoop.

Seriously. I blinked and the tree was on the ground. Sort of anti-climatic if you ask me.

We brought the tree home and got it inside, and then realized it needed to be trimmed in order to fit in the tree stand. So Rob brought his saw into the living room. Let me repeat: Rob brought his saw into the living room. And proceeded to trim the tree. Good thing he had bought me a super-charged vacuum the week before!

 Once the tree was the proper size, we started decorating. Everyone warned us not to decorate it within Claire's reach... well Claire was terrified of the tree (maybe because she saw how fast it could come crashing down?) and wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole (or a Tupperware lid).

We decorated the house and played Christmas music and hung Claire's first stocking.

Then we got all anti-climatic again and didn't even bother to fill it with anything. All she would have wanted was Tupperware anyway.

We had all four of our parents over for soup on Christmas Eve. Then even more family came over for Christmas morning. One of my favorite things to do every year is host Christmas morning. Our house isn't very big and we all elbow each other and trip on each other's shoes and wait in line to use the bathroom, but it is so great to be able to use our home to serve the people we love the most.

Then right after Christmas all three of us got a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad stomach bug. Nothing says Merry Christmas like holding your baby while she pukes. Or cleaning the toilet after your husband has defiled it. Or not being able to get out of bed for two days while your husband and baby fend for themselves.

Just give her Tupperware.

And then came the New Year. Mr. SA and I were still so weak from being sick that we applauded ourselves for making it through a movie that night and slurping down some chicken noodle soup with a side of Gatorade. Nothing. I mean nothing says "Hooray for the New Year" like toasting with orange Gatorade.

Happy New Year!
The Pampered Bird


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