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Book Sale

Each fall, the Friends of The Houston Public Library have a children’s book sale. The majority of the books are sold for $1-$2, and the revenues are used to support the Houston Public Library. This was the first year I went. Actually, this was the first time I had even heard of it – another one of those niblets of information I wasn’t fed until I had passed into the underworld of parenting.

I was there when it opened on the first day and only wish I had had my camera to capture the beauty of tables upon tables of books, organized by Board Books, Early Readers, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Bilingual, Advanced Reader, families entering with WAGONS (I’ve noted that for next time), children sitting engrossed in a book while parents picked up more, educators thumbing through selections to add for their classrooms, rookies like me just standing there, overwhelmed with where to start.

I hovered around the Board Books, mostly. Though I picked up plenty of Early Readers for special reading time (lest those fragile pages get ripped out on first look), while eavesdropping on more experienced parents and educators calling out their favorite authors and illustrators, and the children repeating the name of their favorites like “Look! Here’s a Maisy one!” And I’m all scrambling to see what the kid is looking at, trying not to yank it from his hand too hard, and I’m all a mouse? But what do I know about wildly popular children’s books. Incidentally, what are your favorite early childhood authors and illustrators?

Harper continues her obsession with Elmo, so I reluctantly picked up one of those. Want me to recite it? Because after six days and about fifty readings, I practically can. The kids have matching Dora and Diego toothbrushes that they are fascinated with (the sucking the toothpaste, not so much the brushing), so I picked up a Dora and Diego book, despite the fact that I still don’t know who those characters are. Besides, those, however, I steered away from television character books and instead picked up books exhibiting ethnic and cultural diversity, manners, and, noticeably, sleep story books. I guess I’m tired.

I love that they’re developing a love for books. Reading is part of our weekend family time as well as our evening routine. Even after baths, play, milk, brushing teeth, and books, on their own, they’ve developed an additional bedtime cue: grabbing a book and heading to their respective rooms as a way of telling us they are really ready for bed. And there, we have special one-on-one reading time, Jennifer and I alternating kids each night.

Lately, they both say “book” and “read” during our wakeup routine and so we often get a book in even before breakfast. Letting them hold and “read” a book has also made diaper changes a little less…acrobatic.

Best part of all? I walked out with 42 books for $45.47!


Dear Mateo & Harper,

Last week, you turned 15 months old. WHAT? It’s hard to believe that a year ago today we were propping you up for a picture, all noodlee and unstable, and now you are practically running. Which, of course, results in bumps and bruises, tears and hugs.

Our weekends have been filled with trips away. Like the one we took to San Antonio – just me and you – for your cousin Sara’s birthday party. (Note to self: avoid solo trips when possible.) We bought her a water table just like yours, and in return, you came home with a party favor in the form of a ten day cold.


On the tail end of that, we intended to spend a weekend at our friend’s lakehouse, but what with all the console table shaking and the taking-two-hours-to-fall-asleep business, we headed back home no sooner than we arrived.

When we haven’t been out of town, we’ve spent an afternoon of the weekend (okay, an hour each time) at the Children’s Museum. You love it because it has a slide to rocket down and tunnels to crawl through and cars to drive. We love it because it wears you out and assures us that you’ll nap well that afternoon. Which means we get to, too. And we got to visit your MawMaw Marketta and PawPaw Jimmy a few weeks ago. I’m not sure which part you liked best: playing with your cousins, eating homemade chicken n dumplin’s, or swimming.

What Makes You Think I Ate Any Of Your Haagen Dazs Belgian Chocolate Ice Cream?

You had your first dental visit in the past month. And while that wasn’t the most pleasant experience, you sure did enjoy your Olive Garden pizza afterwards. I think you forgave us. And, of course, we couldn’t reach your fifteen month milestone without a visit to the doctor for a well-baby checkup and more shots. Lest I forget, your 15 month stats are as follows: Mateo – 32 1/2 inches (85%tile) and 26 lb 12 oz (80%tile). Harper – 31 inches (70%tile) and 23 lb 5 oz (60%tile).

Your newest favorite together activity? Open-faced hand bops on the head of the other as a consequence of egregious theft of a toy. “Soft touches” and “wait” and “it’s ____’s turn” is having an impact just to the left of No Impact At All. And just when we wonder if you’ll ever get along, you go about playing chase and giving hugs that turn into tackles with so many giggles that Matou and I get lost in them ourselves.


We have favorite songs, too. Mateo, your favorite is Wheels On The Bus, and Harper, yours is Row, Row, Row Your Boat. We all do Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. And you can both readily point to your Ears, Belly Button, Toes, Tongue, Eyes, and Nose. Unless the pediatrician asks you. And then you just stare.

Mateo, your fascination with gadgets continues, as evidenced by you managing to lock Matou’s cell phone and us having to replace the permanently disabled SIM card.

There are times where we’ll tell you not to stand on the table and we’ll be forced to pick you up and remove you and then you’ll go find your blackberry and text away. Matou and I are pretty sure you’re sending a message to the nanny, something along the lines of “B, is’t Mon yet? Pck me up their crzy, I’ll b by the door. ps bring goldfish n milk. lots of milk. ~M.”


You sure have a sweet streak, though. Our favorite is when you bring us a book at the end of the day and cannonball directly onto a lap for reading time. And your hugs, OH MY GOSH your hugs! Getting you up in the morning is such a joy. You are so happy and laughing and talkative. Until the diaper change, that is.

You love to read books and we’ll often find you sitting quietly in front of the bookshelf, books strewn around you, flipping through them and having more to say about them than there are words on the page. Sometimes you’ll say a word we understand, like “Truck”.

Toy Box

Harper, you are the family sleeper. Still. I suppose all that cuteness and energy requires large amounts of sleep because you’re determined to take two naps a day and if we mess with them, you mess with us. You are sweet and dangerous in one package.

If your brother has something you want, you will take it and walk away. If he takes something of yours, you whack him. Hard. You also like climbing up on the softplay blocks, balancing and then jump jump jump jump jump. Fascinating. Considering you didn’t even roll over until 9 1/2 months and didn’t start crawling until almost 10 months. We know who will be my roller coaster buddy.


Your vocabulary is beginning to rumble under the surface and we expect an explosion any time. In just the last two weeks, you’ve added “Duck” and “Gur” (girl) and “Train” and “Truck” and “Godt” (your word for Dog, go figure).

Early stages of toddlerhood are not at all easy on me and Matou. Lots of times some situation is diverted and we’ll put you to bed at the end of the day and then we’re all “Whoa, what was THAT? How should we handle THAT in the future?” And we can tell you are watching, yearning for and pushing against consistency and independence. As many loops as we get thrown for, we can only imagine how overwhelmed you might feel at times, with Options, and New Surfaces To Climb, and No, and That Tastes Yummy, and Words coming at you in different directions every six to eight minutes of every day. Just know that we’re here for you, even if oftentimes that means not getting what you want. We promise to always, though, give you what you need.


Mommy & Matou


I wrote a little about our first trip to the Children’s Museum a few days ago, but here’s a 2:12 minute lookie.

Some weekends we don’t have anything on the calendar. And by “don’t have anything” I mean we limit ourselves to tons of laundry, putting away clothes, making baby food, playing with kids, tidying up, cleaning toys, sterilizing bottle parts, wiping away tears, wiping butts, practice crawling, being a jungle gym, going to the grocery store, listening to too much toddler music, and watching a show or two. From a month ago.

Other weekends, I commit us to a social engagement. Or three.

This weekend was a busy one, and on our way home from lunch yesterday, Jennifer asked if when I plan our schedule, if I could plan for just ONE outing/thing per weekend. OOPS.

Saturday, the kids attended their first birthday party. Their friends, M & N, a set of cuties who’s parents we met when we sold them the swing that Mateo loved, were turning one year old.
It was my first first birthday party as an adult and I was taking lots of notes. Because holy crap we’ll have one in our household in three months.

On Sunday, we had our good friend Samantha and her son J over for breakfast. I made eggs and some cinnamon and brown sugar pastries and roasted potatoes and offered some fresh fruit. I’d throw in a picture of the RJBs playing with J, but OH WAIT, their morning nap lasted two hours. And for all you rookies out there who think that a two hour nap translates to a blissful remainder of the day with a well rested child…you got another thing coming.

Since the nap lasted so long, we didn’t end up going to church. But our friend and her son are also the daughter and grandson of our pastor, so that’s like the bullets-hit-each-other-and-everyone’s-free, right?

That afternoon, we fed the RJBs lunch and then headed out to a restaurant to meet another two mom family and their almost-one-year boy/girl twins. I had met one of the mom’s through one of my mom’s groups. They are also letting us borrow their Go-Go Wheelz for an upcoming trip – OUR FIRST PLANE RIDE.

I’m heading into my busy season a month early this year. The reinsurance markets are pricey and I’m trying to get us ahead of the game. So my postings will be more infrequent, probably mostly pictures and/or videos. That is, if I survie the layoff at the end of the month. Not even kidding. If I’m unemployed at the end of the month, then I’ll have more time on my hands.

Last week I wrote about Molly, but her husband also has an intesting blog called 22 Words. He writes all his posts in 22 words or less and gives seven reasons why. My favorite reason is that “more ink is not always more meaning.”

I don’t think I’m gifted enough to do less than 22. Anyway, that’s Abraham’s number so I’ll go with something else. But I don’t know what yet. All that to say that, with few exceptions, my writing will be more brief for a few weeks. But since folks don’t come here for my writing, but for updates on the RJBs, here’s two videos for your consumption. One of Harper enjoying her cup & straw, with a cameo by her brother. And one of Mateo getting very very close to throwing himself over the top into a crawl position.

More Photos!

The Aforementioned