Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Road Trippin' + Bearathon

After we made it through the craziness of Spring Break, we decided to add a little more crazy and do a pretty comprehensive cross-Texas roadtrip!  The highways we'd be traveling are ones I know well, so I also knew to expect bluebonnets.  I threw Madeleine's Easter dress in the trunk, and we were able to get some okay shots on the way to Waco.  Madeleine had just woken up from her nap, so smiles weren't easy to come by.  I might've bribed her a bit with some fruit snacks.
I so enjoyed the Bearathon last year, that I figured I'd do it again, and this time my sister Liz joined me on the run!  We made it to Waco in time for me to pick up my packet, and Madeleine got to explore campus a bit. She loved going to the bear habitat to see Joy and Lady, and she peeked through the window to their cave to see them both snoozing!
We jumped back into the car and kept going north on 35 to Grandview where my nephew Collin goes to high school.  We were able to grab dinner and head to Collin's baseball game with the Bristers plus Cason's parents.  It was SOOOOOOO cold and windy, but Madeleine had a great time!
We got back in the car and headed back south to Waco.  We got to Amanda and Erik's house around 9ish, and Madeleine was wired.  She loved playing with their huge dog Tex, and didn't even mind the slobbery doggy kisses until about the third time he licked her face.  We got to see baby Reed's nursery (he's coming soon!) and after putting Madeleine down, we talked late into the night.  We loved that time with them.   Finally I had to go to bed for my 5:30 a.m. wake up!  The next morning, we left Madeleine sleeping and sneaked out of the house to pick up my sister near campus.  Again, cold and windy!!  We went into the SUB for a bit, and when we came out, just before starting, it had warmed up a bit, so we gave our fleeces to Cason.  So many people were there!  It was great to see the support for this race, and we even got to see Baylor's head football coach Art Briles out there cheering for the runners, especially his defensive coordinator Phil Bennett (who you will see in some later photos.)  Can you tell Liz and I are sisters?
We had a great run!  It was similar weather to last year, and I just love the route.  The selfie below was taken on mile 5, the suspension bridge was mile 3, and the others were toward the end of the race.  We found ourselves near Coach Bennett and his daughter throughout the race, and I made it a goal of mine to beat him!  Seemed fun at the time. :) You can see him behind me on the bottom two photos.
And we finished!  My time was 2:21:05, just about three minutes slower than last year, averaging about 13 seconds slower each mile.  Ah well. :)  It was so much fun, and great to do it with Liz!
One sad thing about the race was that there was the first death this year.  A senior student collapsed yards from the finish line.  When I read the news stories later, I saw the young man and recognized him - I had seen him a few times during the morning, and the eerie thing was, he passed Liz and I in the home stretch on 5th Street.  I didn't see him collapse, so he must have slowed down before collapsing, and maybe we passed him again.  When Cason and Madeleine met up with us afterward, he said he saw him on the ground with the EMTs working on him.  So sad.

We went on to Denton - Madeleine had her first stop at the Czech Stop in West, primarily to potty, but she got her first, authentic Czech kolache, outside of her great-grandparents' house.  We made it to Denton around lunchtime.  We got to visit with the Whites for just a bit before getting ready for a wedding in Dallas! One of my life-long family friends Kelley Caldwell was marrying Drew Brown (coincidentally the younger brother of a dear friend of mine, Lauren.)  We left Madeleine with Nana and Pop for a fun evening there, and we went into Dallas for the ceremony at Park Cities Baptist Church and the reception was at the Arboretum.  It was beautiful and lots of fun!

 Sunday morning, we watched our church service online (such a great feature!) and Trish and I went to get some spring clothes for Madeleine at Old Navy.  We left Denton around lunchtime and headed home.  Madeleine took a good car nap, but when she woke up, she was terribly ornery.  Twos?  Crazy busy weekend?  Probably all of the above, but we were glad to get out of the car when we got to Houston!  It was a great weekend spent maximizing time with friends and family...and running. :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our "Spring Break"

The spring break of a mostly-stay-at-home-mom is interesting - Madeleine didn't have her Tuesday/Thursday class, and we were certainly avoiding our usual haunts - the zoo, Children's Museum, etc. - so I had some playdates and things lined up to fill the days.  I should have known the week was off to a rough start when Madeleine came out of Sunday School with a band-aid on her face.  Apparently she took a tumble on the playground, but when a pink band-aid is issued, all is well.
She had a little cough, but I knew (thought?) she was just recovering from all the traveling.  Monday we had a low-key day and a birthday party for Robbie!  Robbie and his parents moved to Houston from India just a little over a year ago.  We've been so blessed to get to know them as Ruth was one of Madeleine's teachers at school, and I was one of Robbie's VBS teachers last summer.  We walked through some difficult valleys with this family as Ruth's second son was stillborn last fall.  Throughout it all, God has given us each other as friends.  We celebrated with the Bettises and the Richards as well, with Cameron and Nate just returning from Guatemala!  Madeleine was coughing quite a bit, so I was glad to get her home.
Unfortunately Monday night was a night of no sleep in the White house.  Madeleine had the tell-tale barking seal cough and a fever, so I guessed croup.  Tuesday morning I cancelled our plans for that morning with some other mamas and kiddos, and we headed to the doctor's office.  I know they were fitting me in for a sick visit, and we didn't have our doctor, but it took forever.  Finally, when it came time to give Madeleine the oral steroid, she hated it.  Hated it so so much.  After the first 5mL, she screamed and flailed and refused to take the other half of the dosage.  It spilled, I had to ask for more (they made me administer!) and the doctor said, "well the only other option was a shot."  I would've taken that, thank you!  M proceeded to cry all the way home and for another HOUR.  She refused to swallow and she threw up twice, thanks to the trauma of this oral steroid!!  The sweet little chicken finally fell asleep for a (short) nap.  When she woke up, we played with rolie polies in the backyard.
She was on the mend, but Tuesday night wasn't any better, unfortunately.  I am so out of practice with sleepless nights.  It was worse than M's newborn days, and I was starting to get loopy.  It was also so creepy to me how croup is mostly a night affliction.  At 5a.m. both days, she would finally crash and sleep for a few hours.  Wednesday's plans were cancelled as well, but thankfully my sister came that evening so I could duck out of the house for a few hours to go to Small Group!!   M was on the mend!

Thursday things started looking up, and we had family over for dinner.  Mom and Liz (home from U.T. for spring break) came over to start cooking and I got the house ready/was coming out of our sick fog.  Funny story - Liz took M on a walk.  Mom got a call on her cell "Mom, Madeleine won't turn around and come home."  Mom said "You are almost 23!  She is 2!  Make her!"  :)  We had a lovely dinner, and Dad, Jul and Linnet joined us as well.  When people come to your house to cook and you let them, well that's just one of the best things ever.
Friday morning, we were able to stick with our plans for Madeleine and Emma (all the way from Waco) to have a playtime.  Madeleine and Emma are third generation friends as their mommies and grandmommies were roommates at Baylor during their respective years.  They had a great time together, but they were a little impish about getting their picture taken. (Looks like M is wearing the same shirt she wore the night before.  Not sure how that happened, but hooray.) 
Friday night we were invited to a surprise gender reveal party at Swirrl for our sweet friends the Golds.  I liked the concept because it was low-key and fun, but also a double surprise.  Mark (with the help of Susan and Kendra) set it up to surprise his bride and mom-to-be Katie, but then they got to surprise us with the news of their baby girl!
We left, excited to celebrate the Richardsons' upcoming baby girl the next day at a baby shower, but that night there was a fire in their condo building!  Thankfully none of their things were damaged, but they had to evacuate in the wee hours of the morning.  We were supposed to host their shower, but our toilets stopped working on Saturday morning!  SHEESH.  So, we moved the shower to the Golds' and it went great...what a dramatic weekend.
Sunday we made it to church...Dad and Cason worked on the plumbing...to no avail, but we ended the weekend with some leadership planning and dinner...and a couple of cute princesses sitting on a fireplace.  It wasn't exactly the week we had planned, but it all worked out in the end! 
And then the following Monday was spent working with plumbers all day because I had InsideOut girls' night to host!  Not much of a break, that week!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Philly Trip!

We've been trying to go see my sweet Great Aunt Clara for a couple months now.  She usually comes to Houston around Christmas time, but the past two years it has been difficult for her to travel because of various health concerns.  My Aunt Clara is an incredible woman.  She has an amazing story of selflessness and independence, and she has been such an important part of our family.  (She is quite good at tracing our family tree...all the way back to the Mayflower!  She knows so much about history in general, but the things she's found out about our family are invaluable.  Maybe I get my history bug from her.)  Anyway, my dad asked Madeleine and I to go with him, and we had a great little three-generation cross country trip!  We really wanted to spend some time with her, but also take some time to do some things for her (like run errands) that can be prohibited while stuck in a wheelchair.

While packing, I said to Madeleine, "Hey we need to pack your mittens for Philadelphia," she said "She doesn't want my mittens!"  It was then I realized she thought Philadelphia was a person...and I tried to explain to her that it wasn't. ;)

Madeleine and I spent the night in Cypress then left for the airport in the morning.  Things went smoothly, but it is a hassle to get through security when you have a two-year-old and you aren't checking any bags!  Sheesh.  Madeleine was great on the airplane.  Only in the last hour or so of the flight did we have to bust out the Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD, and only in the last 15-20 minutes did we have to get out the emergency lollipop Grandad picked up at the airport. ;)  Madeleine went potty on the plane twice - both #1 and #2.  Ha.  Way to go, girl!  The flight ran up against naptime, so she crashed hard in the stroller and in the rental car on the drive from the airport to Bryn Mawr.
Bryn Mawr is a little village (in Texas we say suburb, but in the NE it is truly a village!) just outside of Philadelphia.  It is quaint, and it is old.  Also it is Welsh.  I not-so-secretly want to be from Wales. Anyway.  Villanova University is there (my great grandfather used to be a professor there!) and Aunt Clara has lived there most of her life.  I wish I had more pictures of it - it was just so quaint and northeastern.  Woods, old colonial homes, the train, main street...just beautiful.  Aunt Clara looked great and was as spunky as ever, she was just confined to the wheelchair while her foot heals.  I've come to visit her in this apartment many times, since i was a young girl, and I love it, especially the sunroom.  Madeleine loved watching the train out the window, just as I did as a little girl.  She also loved the sofa table FULL of swarovski crystal knick knacks.  Took some self-control, but she managed to learn to not touch them...eventually.  Madeleine really enjoyed eating some ice cream too.   Our time that evening was a mix of Spanish conversations between my dad and Aunt Clara while Madeleine and I explored and time spent all together.
We went back to the hotel.  Madeleine and I were going to be sharing a bed (!) and while she didn't do well going down to bed (took forever..."Mommy I made an octogon with my hands...Mommy, what's your favorite color?  Mommy...") Yep, took forever.   Once she was asleep, she slept like a champ and didn't bug me all night, except the first night she was very, very cuddly.  Not in a sweet way, in a clingy way.  Ha.

Anyway, it was quite exciting to wake up to snow the next morning!  Madeleine has only seen snow once before, and it was on Christmas day, so she kept saying, Mommy!  It's Christmas!!"  After breakfast at the hotel, Dad went to get me a new phone charger cord (such a good dad) and she and I played in the snow a bit.
We went over to Aunt Clara's again for some more hang out time, then we ran some errands for her.  It was so great to get to go all around town and even take her car in for some work.  We found out they would bring it back to her, so it would be all ready for her to drive when her foot is healed.  Madeleine fell asleep in the car, so we made great time.  We even had a little time to explore, so we went up the road to Wayne and had some frozen yogurt and explored an old hotel.
I love those smiles when Madeleine and Grandad are together!  That night, we took Aunt Clara to eat at Legal Seafood.  It was delicious, but Madeleine was kind of a pill.  I mean, her whole life she has found a way to be mischievous and just enough out of control, do you know what I mean?  Not screaming and hitting and being "bad" but squirmy and just a bit too loud.   She actually put her boots on the edge of the table and almost pushed it on Aunt Clara twice.  Didn't faze Clara, not one bit.  (sigh)  I had more than one "Madeleine you can choose to sit still and stay in the restaurant, or you can choose to go to the car with Mommy and get a spanking."  That chicken about wore me out.  Good thing we had some nice wine with our meal. :)  That iPhone selfie was in the height of her crazy. ;)
We took Clara home and gave lots of hugs.  We had another challenging night of falling asleep :) but a good second night in the hotel.   After breakfast, we went back to the airport (bye bye awesome Welsh symbols!) I still think that even by the end of the trip, Madeleine still thought "Philadelphia" was a woman.  As we drove by downtown, I said "Madeleine, look it's Philadelphia!" She said, "I don't see her..."  Throughout the trip, our little traveling group got some looks...isn't it normal to travel with your DAD and your two-year old?  Anyway, Dad made a point to say "Madeleine, come with GRANDAD" a few times.  Ha.  God was gracious to us and blessed us with a sleeping girl on the flight home (miracle!)
All in all, it was a great trip, however I was exhausted when we got home.  Dad was great with Madeleine, but I also realized that I had been no further than about 15-20 feet from my daughter for over 48 hours.  EEK!  :) She was a trooper though, and I was so proud of her.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

As a matter of fact, it IS my first rodeo!


One of my favorite things about Houston is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.   It is so much fun, and so unique to Houston - at least the scope of it anyway.  It is huge!  I have so many memories going in high school (even saw 98 degrees - ha) but of course I've also seen more traditional acts - Dixie Chicks, Kenney Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum...and I got to go with my favorite Texas Farm Bureau employee Amanda to see Keith Urban and the Black Eyed Peas.

I didn't go to any concerts this year...still feeling like a bad Texan that I didn't get tickets to see George Strait's farewell concert...sigh...but I did take Madeleine one morning!  With it being just 10 minutes from our house, of course we had no excuse to miss it, except in the past two rodeo seasons, I just thought Madeleine was too young to really enjoy it.  We had a trip to Philadelphia planned, and I knew I didn't want to go on Spring Break, so Monday, March 4 it was!

We stopped by our the Craigs' house - they have two little girls and some boots of Elizabeth's that they were willing to let Madeleine borrow.  Perfect!  We went just the two of us...I love going to things in groups, but sometimes it's nice to only worry with what Madeleine wants to do or can handle on any given day. :)  It was a gorgeous day, and by getting there first thing Monday morning, we had most of the place to ourselves!

We began inside at Ag-venture, and Madeleine loved seeing all the animals in the birthing center.  I don't know that she grasped all that that entailed, but she had fun, nonetheless!  She got to pet a brand new baby lamb as well as a rabbit.  All the rodeo staff and volunteers make this experience so kid-friendly, and it is a major sensory experience!
Speaking of kid-friendly experiences, they have this area where the kids learn about growing produce and harvesting eggs, wool and milk to take to market.  They even "pay" them and they redeemed their money for a snack at the end.  It was amazing!  I think Madeleine's favorite parts were climbing into the tractor and playing in the sand box full of corn.  She wasn't so bad at milking the cow either. :)
We made our way to the carnival rides.  She was tall enough to go on a few.  The sweet carousel operator didn't even make us use our tickets, so we got three rides for the price of two. :)  She LOVED driving the truck, and the flying elephants weren't too shabby either.
It was a great experience, and she still talks about the rodeo any time we drive past Reliant. To enhance the experience, she got to have rodeo day at school the next day, and she was ecstatic to get to wear Elizabeth's boots for one more day!  She even got to ride a pony. :)