Damian playing with fallen leaves.
(One of the perks of this blog is that it
encourages me to habitually take pictures
of the children.)
30 November 2007

The kids and I had to drive into Austin today.  Fan, our betta, has a bacterial infection, so we drove to Aquatek in NW Austin to get him some medicine.  (While we were there, we picked up an uber-cool Japanese moss ball as well as some Java moss for the Macquarium.)  As I was driving into Austin and the roads began to fill up with hybrid vehicles covered in liberal bumper stickers, I got a real pang of homesickness.  This happens everytime I drive into Austin.

Austin is my true home, and I miss it… badly.

Matt and I noticed the same thing last night when we went to the Lake Creek Alamo Drafthouse to see Showgirls 2.0 with David Schmader (very very funny, btw — we thoroughly enjoyed it).  On our row was a man with bright red dyed hair, and a couple of rows ahead of us was a lady with bright blue dyed hair.  Nearly everyone in the audience was dressed in 90s Grunge Lite which is typical Austin dress code.  And I felt so at home.

How can 20 miles north make such a difference?  When the time is right (aka the money is right), I think we’ll definitely be moving back into Austin.  It’s easier to get involved in your community when it feels like your home.

And speaking of community and being a liberal techie Austinite, I contributed to an open source community!  How cool am I?!  I updated the 2007 2-up classic calendar for the DIY Planner website for 2008.

And my husband codes Java for a living.

We so belong in Austin.

November 30th, 2007 | Austin | No Comments -


…. I can’t even find the words….
I love this photo.
25 November 2007

I wasn’t going to post this evening because I have nothing in particular to post about, but then I took this picture.  I had to post it immediately.  It is one of the funniest and cutest pictures I’ve ever taken of Lily.

So no text really, just a joyful picture.

November 25th, 2007 | General | No Comments -

The view of Thanksgiving from here

It’s 12:30 in the morning, and my whole family is asleep.  Lily has had a very exciting couple of days because her cousins, aunts and uncles have been here for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Since she is overtired from two days of excitement, we had a lot of “instant meltdown” this evening.

And our house, which was already messy before Thanksgiving started, has surpassed into “what the hell?” after hosting family for two days.  And I am supposed to be catching up on our finances right now.  People who already overspend, like Matt and myself, tend to really overspend during the holiday season.  The holidays are a dangerous time for rampant consumers, like an alcoholic being invited to an open-bar wedding — you can get through it, but you have to be mindful of your weakness at every moment until the party is over… if you drop your guard for too long, you fall back into impulse and habit and wake up the next morning with regret.

Thanksgiving piccies:

Matt preparing the Thanksgiving feast.
Matt, the expatriate Englishman who never celebrated Thanksgiving
before coming here in 2000, has cooked our Thanksgiving feast
for the last four or five Thanksgivings. He said it’s not difficult
at all because Thanksgiving dinner is the same as Christmas
dinner in England. In fact, that is how Glenn described
Thanksgiving: “a dress rehearsal for Christmas.” This year,
Matt’s meal was amazing. Really amazing.
Thanksgiving 2007
22 November 2007

Thanksgiving 2007
22 November 2007

More tickle-mania.
Thanksgiving 2007
22 November 2007

Logan, Carla, and Lily, as always, holding Clara
Thanksgiving 2007
22 November 2007

Carla and Lily feeding Clara
Thanksgiving 2007
22 November 2007

Steve and Lily feeding Clara
(The three of them are watching
the Cowboys game in this picture.)
Thanksgiving 2007
22 November 2007

Carla with her kids
(This picture also shows the very cute
kitty-cat ensemble Clara was wearing.)
Thanksgiving 2007
22 November 2007

Matt falling asleep on the floor after cooking and eating all day.
(Isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about — cooking and eating?)
Thanksgiving 2007
22 November 2007

The older cousins
Thanksgiving 2007
22 November 2007

Lily fell fast asleep on Cody
after a full day of playing with her cousins.
Thanksgiving 2007
22 November 2007

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of food and family.  I hope everyone else had a wonderful Thanksgiving too. 🙂

November 24th, 2007 | Recovering Consumer, The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

The loneliness of being a stay-at-home mom

Super-cute cheeks!
13 November 2007

I feel like I keep going over topics that are well-known.  It is well-known that many stay-at-home moms feel isolated.  I’m just trying to warn people — not to stay away, mind you.  Being a stay-at-home mom is a rewarding and important job.  But to warn people so that they are prepared.

So here’s the warning: you feel very isolated and lonely as a stay-at-home mom.  I am part of wonderful playgroup; I have an amazing, supportive husband; and yet I still feel very lonely sometimes.

Do you remember how lonely you were before you finally met “The One”?  Do you remember crying to the night sky, begging not to be alone anymore?  Do you remember how some nights, alone in your bed, you would feel the almost unbearable crush of loneliness?

Well, you get to revisit all that as a stay-at-home mom.

Preschool children are extremely hard work, and you do 85% of that hard work by yourself — all alone — day in and day out.  All by yourself, each day, you constantly tend to the needs of small children.

I feel like I need to add an addendum: I love my children and my husband.  I love them so fiercely that there is not even a word for it.  Just be forewarned, if you want to be a stay-at-home mom, plan for the loneliness.  Join a playgroup; ask the grandparents to take the children occasionally; keep your husband informed of the sometimes overbearing sense of loneliness so he can be there for you.  It will be lonely, so plan for it as best you can.

November 21st, 2007 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

The white water rapids of life

I love this picture of Clara.
She looks so tiny and delicate in Steve’s hands.
13 November 2007

I feel overwhelmed by my own life.  But how can you feel overwhelmed by your own life?  Aren’t you the one in charge?  Don’t you dictate the schedule?

Apparently not.

The baby continues to be hard work.  Lily, however, is just a dream right now.  She is being so sweet and adorable.  But anyways, back to the challenges:  we also have Thanksgiving at our house coming up.  And then we have the trip to England for Christmas.

Wait a minute.  It’s the holidays!  Of course I’m feeling stressed and overwhelmed!  Okay, I understand now.  It’s just the holidays. 😉

November 19th, 2007 | General, The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

A small, yet poignant, rant about MySpace

The kids at the park
13 November 2007

I f**kin’ hate MySpace.  I can’t wait until that little pit of hell implodes on itself.  Or until a better social networking site comes along that doesn’t generate busy, annoying, counter-intuitive, ugly webpages.  Oh, and this dream social networking site of mine would not allow loud, irritating songs to play instantly when you open the user’s page.  I have never seen such bad web design ever as I see on every MySpace page I visit.

I don’t blame the users; I blame the evil of MySpace that is its crappy engine.  It generates those blinding, useless, confusing, and, once again, ugly and annoying pages.

Okay, I’m done ranting.  I have to use MySpace because it is so ubiquitous.  So, of course, several of my family members have MySpace pages.  Just recently Ben created a MySpace page, and I was forced to navigate the bog waters of that site again.


November 16th, 2007 | General | 2 Comments -

The onslaught of comment spam

Daddy and Damian
Surfside Beach, Texas
03 November 2007

I have a small blog…. a very small blog.  If you look at the Google PageRank bar, there is not one pixel of color in it.  I have maybe 10 family and friends who visit to read what’s going on in my life, and this number includes my husband.  And yet, my insignificant blog gets spam.  In fact, it gets so much spam, I had to install that little word-test thing (or, for the more technically savvy, a “captcha” test).  I was getting hundreds of spam comments before I installed this.  Hundreds.  To my insignificant nothing blog.

Now, as if that was not interesting enough, the story doesn’t end there.  I still get about 25 spam comments each week.  That means that somewhere out there in the world, it is somebody’s job to add spam comments to blogs.  The captcha test is created so a spambot can’t pass it; a human is required.  Does spam generate that much money that underlings can be hired?

And here’s the last interesting bit to the story: the blog entry that is always — every time — hit for comment spam is “Zen and the art of underwear shopping.”  Maybe if I hadn’t used the word “underwear” in any of my blog titles, I wouldn’t be getting any spam.

November 13th, 2007 | General | No Comments -

The illusion and magic of the night

I love this photo because Matt’s expression
is such a picture. Just a little more sleep….
Just a little….
28 October 2007

I don’t want to go to bed.  I don’t want the night to end.  You see, in the morning, I will wake up and have to take care of two small children again and cook food again and clean house again and all the current responsibilities that dominate my life right now will become priority again.

But, in the night, I get to do what I want to do.  Matt and I just finished the third season of The Office on DVD.  We ate a pint of ice cream… each.  Like a good daddy and provider, he finally called it quits at 2am, saying that he had to be up in four hours to go to work.

And, after this blog entry, I’ll crawl into bed as well.  I need a decent night’s sleep so that I can be patient with the children and a good mommy.  But for a little while tonight, we indulged.

Being a parent is not easy, and I’ll tell you why.  I’ll tell you the number one reason why being a parent is such a difficult task:  the children always come first.  Video games, hobbies, web surfing, movie watching, blogging… any self-interested activity is shelved.  You are shelved.  The children take center stage, not only in their own life but in yours as well.

I think this is true only for small children.  I don’t know.  I’ve never parented a child older than 3-years-old (Lily’s current age).  I think you regain time for yourself as they get older.  But, as parents of two preschool children, the middle of the night is the only time that Matt and I can claim as our own.

On a completely separate note, Matt and I think that the cutest couple at Dunder-Mifflin: Scranton Branch is Dwight and Angela.  They are actually really cute together.  That is a funny funny show.  Now I have two DVDs of the third season of Project Runway waiting for me.  Yeah!!!  🙂

November 12th, 2007 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

What I have learned…

Papa, the master babysitter, watching
Transformers with the kids.
10 November 2007

My most recent discovery:  if you write a blog entry in the middle of the night during “that time of the month,” it tends to be melancholy and dramatic.

November 11th, 2007 | General | No Comments -

The heartache of empathy

Uncle Steve and Damian
Surfside Beach, Texas
04 November 2007

It is in our very nature to take on guilt.  Through empathy, we feel the pain we have caused others and the guilt becomes our life companion.

And from guilt, we inflict self-punishment.  The problem is, when you are your own judge — the warden to your own self-imposed prison — the punishment never ends.  We rarely show mercy to ourselves.

When I am punishing Lily for hitting her little brother, I send her to her room, and when she comes out, I remind her that we don’t hit people, and the incident is over.  I take pity on her.  We take pity on most people who are careless or selfish or cruel, especially once they have realized the pain they have inflicted on others through their actions.

But we can’t seem to do that for ourselves.  How do you forgive yourself?  When does the punishment end?  When does the pain of empathy stop?

How do you change the past?  And if you could, would you?

November 10th, 2007 | General | No Comments -