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Since our lake experience, we’ve been reluctant to go anywhere for an overnight stay. So it was with some trepidation that we finally took up an offer from a co-worker to stay at his weekend home in New Braunfels. And this past weekend was one where both the house was available and we had no other major plans.

Guadalupe River

Tubing was out on account of the cold weather, fast moving river, and, you know, toddlers that can’t swim. We felt rain in our palms, and in moments where the drops retreated, we searched out lizards, picked up sticks, and ran up and down hills with the WHOA! that can only be experienced hand-in-hand with a toddler. Plus, cold weather equals lots of books and laps and fleece blankets. Delicious!


On Saturday, Gamma (my mom) joined us from San Antonio. I made a rosemary pork tenderloin with roasted fingerling potatoes and steamed vegetables. And we almost got to enjoy it before the kids, as on cue, woke from their naps. Still, though.

I invited Annie up, who blogs over at We Are Fambly. Over a year of reading one another’s blogs and commenting and exchanging the occasional email, I up and asked her over, to which Jennifer said “great, strangers.” and my mom said “what if they kidnap babies?” And to think that I’m the introvert.

Nevetherless, Annie and her partner and their as-beautiful-and-tall-as-she-looks-in-pictures-but-taller toddler spent the better part of the afternoon and early evening with us. Mateo was Jude’s first older boy kiss, too. And after they left, we all agreed they were the nicest stranger baby kidnappers we’ve met.

Hey, Jude!


For six months after their birth, I referred to Mateo and Harper by names other than their own.

Though we knew their names within days of confirming that I would soon give birth to a boy and a girl, in late pregnancy, we called them Eagle and Birdie, upon their birth, Bruiser and Birdie, and later, Tato and Carpet. It wasn’t until their six month birthday that I revealed their actual names on this blog.

In her early days, Harper was also Itty Bitty, Baby Girl, and Squeaker. In addition to Harper, we also call her Cita, Harpercita, Charlie, and Idgy. Mateo was Mr. Big due to his 7lb 2 oz frame (and that was two weeks early!). He also still goes by Tato Bear, Tato, Tater Tot, Mater, BoBo, Bozie, Bozie Bear, Shizz, and BoShizzle. They both go by Huevitos (“little eggs” in Spanish).

In June 2009, I received an email from a man who was researching the history of his children’s names. Apparently he’d seen a tweet from George Stephanopoulos that he had a daughter named Harper and the former drummer of Nirvana had a daughter named Harper, too. Political pundit, musical genius, YOU SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING, DON’T YOU? Because next thing you know he ran into my blog.

Not only is his daughter’s name Harper, but his son’s name is Mateo, too. For them, he tells me, Mateo exploded as a boy’s name and he and his wife agreed on it right away. As for Harper, it was a name his wife pushed for and he only got on board towards the end of her pregnancy.

Over the course of a couple emails, he wrote that he had been searching for a post about how we chose the names we did and never found one. That would be because until today there wasn’t one.

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Last week was Spring Break for half of the earth, and we actually landed on the itinerary of some friends who were coming through town from Dallas. Which is more of an effort than many of our pre-kids friends have made and they live less than twelve miles away. Ouch. Do you need a rag to wipe up the hurt feelings I just threw up all over your monitor? Come visit and I’ll give you one.

I’ve known Sam (right) since we were both hyper-competitive, cocky, self-absorbed young professionals in New Orleans. And then we grew up. Ish. Alicia (left) is a loyal reader and bee charmer who had the patience and wherewithall to settle Sam’s ass down. Lucky Sam.

We played in the back yard and visited for about an hour, catching up on the recession’s impact on the job market, what it’s like for them raising two adolescent boys, how kids these days are coddled and never given the opportunity to be independent and self-sufficient thinkers, learning styles, and the elasticity of property values. Which is to say that we sounded EXACTLY LIKE OUR PARENTS.

Quite a departure from a decade ago when we were making plans to see a band at Howling Wolf or Tipitina’s or The Mint, sushi at Ninja, or fine-tuning the recipe for summer beer at the weekend summer annuals. Good times, both old and new.

When I got an email from a college friend that she’d be in the area with her three gorgeous sons sans working husband, I immediately made arrangements at the office to take off that afternoon to visit with them. As it was, I had only seen the boys in birth announcements and annual holiday cards and I hadn’t seen KJ in over a decade. And that realization knocked the wind out of me because had it really been that long since I was out of college? Am I really 34? Did the receptionist at my office just adress me with “m’am”? Has my nomadic self really been at the same job for SIX YEARS?

As with most any occasion, I had my camera handy. KJ wouldn’t take the picture with our tri-delta sign/pose because she thought I’d post it on the internet.


So, I had to dig in my photo albums and find one to post anyway, albeit without the handmade triangle. YOU CAN COUNT ON ME LIKE THAT. And if I was going to point her out, I’d tell you she was the one in the middle. But I have the decency to preserve some anonymity.


During our visit, each of her boys wanted to take turns holding the RJBs, and one by one they’d squeeze in on the milk couch between KJ and Matou. The middle boy was first. And being a middle child myself, I TOTALLY get where he was coming from.


At some point, the youngest boy was anxious for his turn to hold a baby. And I should interject here that kids, like many adults I know, hear something different than what is said, except when kids do it, it is often hilarious. In this case, the mis-hear was the names of our children.

He went up to his mom and said “When is it my turn to hold Carpet?” And we all kind of looked at each other with that did-you-hear-what-I-just-heard look. So KJ said to him, “Her name is _______, not Carpet.” And he replied “I know, I wanna hold Carpet.”


The next photo is of the oldest, at 9 years. I remember seeing pictures of him just days old. Sure, we think our little guy is big – wearing a lot of 6-12 month clothing – but this guy said it best when he said “He’s heavy!” I told him I felt the same way about it.


A few days later, I received an email from KJ that she had showed the boys the latest videos of the RJBs. Not only did they want to see Carpet, but they were clammoring for more Tato, too. TATO! And so it is, that the RJBs have evolved from Birdie and Bruiser to Carpet and Tato, respectively. Matou and I, of course, love it!

Carpet basking in the attention of three very sweet boys.

In the quiet of early morning – the part of the early morning I never saw before having kids – I can look out the window and often find my neighbor tending to his gardens. It is one of the most peaceful and serene moments of my days. And if you could squeeze musical notes out of the visual, it would end up a score on some award-winning National Geographic program.


Several months ago, our neighbors asked if they could tear out the grass in a 5 x 5 section of yard that we share. He wanted to plant some flowers. And the little section, bordered by driveway on two sides, a side walk on another, and the street curb on the other, seemed like a reasonable piece to give up to his calming green thumb. This relinquishing of control is something I’m becoming accustomed to in parenting. And I’m discovering that the results create beauty nonetheless.


Most recently, a sunflower has stood upright, shoulders broad and confident. It’s a startling contrast to the transitional urban area where we live. For a short time, rather than telling folks we’re the fourth residence on the left just past the commercial auto lot, we can say our driveway is the one to the right of the Sun.



Lime from the local grocery store to show size comparison. Bell Pepper on left brought to us by our next door neighbors whom we see feverishly and lovingly tending to their garden each evening. We’re stalkers like that.

I will mention, too, that Deena over at The Lazy P brought us fresh squash and green beans tendered from their garden but we steamed them for dinner before the camera was even a thought in my mind. DEEEELISH!

It’s been nearly a week since I posted, which is completely abnormal for me.  But I still go around talking to myself in my head – it’s the only way I keep memories for more than, say, three days.  It’s just been an alternatingly busy and tired week, but with mostly busy.

My mom flew into town on Friday evening, delayed plane and all. Which was fine, because it gave the Beloved and I an opportunity to get a Frosty.  And that was a good memory, except the part when the Beloved suggested we get a medium one and share it.  Um, excuse me…NO.

When we picked my mom up, she was already a bit sick, allergies thrown in for good measure, but we visited until too late and went off to bed. Saturday morning, we roused mom at 6:30am – she’s not used to the hours we keep – and we went off to a local mom’s of multiples garage sale to get some clothing for the RJBs (we found a couple items) while the Beloved went off to work.  When we got home, we started on the sorting and washing of baby laundry.  I seriously did not think we she had THAT much to do, but the machines were going ALL. DAY. LONG.  

My mom has this habit of repeating herself repeating herself repeating herself. Like how she told us four times “you should have the car seats installed, like LAST WEEK”, but maybe that’s her way of remembering?  By the end of the weekend, she had blamed claimed she was allergic to the dogs, nevermind that they have stayed at her house FOR YEARS. But between the laundry and the organizing and the unpackaging we’ll forgive her the it’s-gotta-be-the-dogs dramatics since she friggin’ ROCKED the house, helping get the nursery finished off.

So happens this was also the weekend of MAMU, short for Middle-America Meet-Up. And with my mom here and it being my 34th birthday and having limited energy and the Beloved working, I mostly felt like this about my participation with the MAMU…


But what a joyous peeking-in-from-the-periphery it was, even if it was only a drop-by at the dinner! It was such a gift to meet several folks – and see a few we had already met – with whom we’ve shared journeys, first introduced via a chatroom which has now been infiltrated by a handful of crazies nearly two years ago.

Nevertheless, meeting MichellAradia, Ava, and Big J; Heather and Dalton; Cora & Ethan; Tracey and sistah Deb; Sarah and Xander; and Marcy and Kristy and getting to see B & K and Deena – and meeting her hot husband, Vince! – again was a fabulous way to wind down the birthday. I was glad that the Beloved and my mom got a chance to meet them, too, since I talk about these ladies as if I’ve known them forever, which after being with them for even an hour, it’s exactly how it felt.

The whole experience, ever since talk first stirred about even having a MAMU, the song Travelin’ Through has come to mind. Just this afternoon, I went and looked up the lyrics to the tune and thought YEP, THAT’S ALL OF US, well, minus the trangendered circumstances. But then again, I wasn’t at the teqkillya festivities later that night, so WHO KNOWS what conversations transpired then! Have a listen if you get a moment, chances are, the song might speak to whatever journey YOU might be on.

In closing, I leave you with a few pictures from the dinner.

What She Said
What she said.

Ken & Barbie
Muy Caliente, people!”

Yummy x 3
Yummy x 3.

And They Were Sober
…and they were sober for a little while longer.

Made It On Their Horse & Carriage
Made it to town on their horse and carriage.

Friday morning, as I was driving to work, I was saying my morning prayers.  Something I learned from the Beloved.  And as a bonus, it helps one not get worked up while sitting in traffic.  Because it’s hard to be pissy and self-righteous when you are in the midst of giving thanks. 

And that’s what I was doing.  Giving thanks for our neighbors for what they did for me on Thursday.  That morning, I was in so much pain, that I couldn’t finish getting ready for work.  And instead, I crawled back into bed, all cold sweats and shaky, to try and sleep it off.  That didn’t work. 

By 10:15am, the pain had not subsided at all.  So, despite my best efforts to not be one of those women, I called the doctor’s office and left a message.  I typically have a pretty high tolerance for pain, so either it was a lot of pain, or I was having an uncharacteristically wimpy day. 

I knew I needed to eat lunch, but had no energy to make anything, much less get out of bed.  So I sent a text to the back neighbors, who often go home for lunch to check on their pups.  The same neighbors who can see the deplorable condition of our ungroomed, over-weeded back yard and STILL LOVE US. And despite them having plans, they said they’d bring me some lunch anyway.  Is that not SO SWEET?  Our neighbor brought me lunch and was setting it up on the tray for me in the bed when the nurse called me back.  She wanted me in.   

Having overheard this, and correctly assuming that I wasn’t really in any condition to drive myself, our neighbor cancelled her own appointment and drove me to mine. 

As it turns out, all is fine.  Had my first 3rd trimester pelvic exam – completely uncomfortable, but over before I knew it.  They put me on the monitors during which time I learned the RJBs DO NOT like being confined (they get THAT honest!) as they were trying to kick the dopplers off the entire time.  I was having some contractions, but nothing out of the ordinary.  And my cervix was closed.  I did have some blood in my urine, typically indicative of a bladder infection, but I’ll learn more when the culture results come in.  And the fetal fibronectin swab came up negative, meaning I am not at risk for pre-term labor, at least not in the next couple weeks. 

At the end, the doctor said “unfortunately, I think one of the babies is likely sitting on a nerve that’s causing the pain.”  But my response was that that was GREAT news, because for me, the pain is relatively temporary.  The fortunate thing about that diagnosis is that (a) the RJBs are doing well, and that (b) I’m not currently at risk for pre-term labor. DID YOU HEAR THAT, MOM?

And I am grateful for having wonderful, loving neighbors – without whom I could not have made it through the day – that helped me, took the dogs out, fed me, drove me to the doctor, and tucked me back in bed. 

Man Wrapping

A Baby Gift from one of the Beloved’s co-workers. Notice the scotch-tape “ribbon”. And what unique tissue paper, no? This has been one of my most favoritely wrapped gifts! February 6, 2008

A couple weeks ago, I published a post about a gorgeous dog, Copper** and her mom, Trish, who is a seminary student and pastoral intern at our church.  Well guess what, Internet?  She’s got a blog up now called Sacred Ambiguity.  And she’s posting a Lenten study, just in time for folks sobering up from Mardi Gras.  Visit the site when you get a chance.  I’ve also got it on my Blogroll at right.  She’s witty, insightful, and flat out REAL.  The kind of person you’re glad to have on your side whether or not you’re on the fringes of society or sanity or spirituality. 

– – – – – – – – – –

**And then the dogshit hit the fan because I was promptly scolded by the parents of another dog friend, Tucker, a precious beagle friend we’ve known almost as long as we’ve lived in this town.  And I’m sure, maybe, secretly, the parents of our dog friends, Maggie and Kirby, were equally pshawing me.  I WOOFED UP! 

More Photos!

The Aforementioned