Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Life Lessons

First of all let me lead by saying that I love the REAL SIMPLE magazine. It is my favorite! I was gifted it for Christmas one year from a friend and there was no turning back--- hooked for life. And NO this blog is NOT sponsered by Real Simple but you can bet your buns I would endorse it in a heartbeat if asked! It is a little sad at how excited I become when I drive up and see it sticking out of the mailbox--- and yes, I might make Gabriel and Molly clap along in the car too. Shameful and oober nerdy. I know.

I have never entered a true essay contest before this July. With that said, I was really intrigued by the topic for Real Simple's Life Lesson's essay contest which was... "When did you first realize you were a grown up". I love thinking about questions like the shower, in the car, washing the dishes... you know, all the random moments when your mind wanders. I definitely did not win. But it was fun and I will most likely do it again (well, me and probably the other 6800 entries...) One of the prizes is to lunch with the editors of Real Simple. Um, yes please!

Here is my entry... I would love to hear your response to this question too... it really is a great one. Oh, and if you have time to check out the winner you should--- such a great essay!

To Be a Grown-Up…

As a child, I always believed that being a grown-up meant you were taller, had reached the culmination of your endeavors and, perhaps, owned the best means of travel available. Through time, my perception of adulthood gradually transformed to the belief that some entrance into adulthood took place when you had reached an important milestone or endured intense tribulation with grace. Adulthood was the equivalent of achieving some fraction of greatness. You can imagine my shock to discover that my arrival at adulthood took place in aisle 6 of a random grocery store making the simple decision to purchase my one new luxury- a bottle of conditioner.
Now don’t get me wrong, conditioner is wonderful and not at all disappointing - just not quite the colossal landmark my former self had envisioned. Donald Miller once wrote, “It always is the simple things that change our lives.” Well Mr. Miller, I couldn’t agree more.
As a second child of five, I grew up in a neighborhood that was blended with individuals of all economic situations, but primarily families bracketed somewhere in the zone of middle class. We had limited struggles, abundance of play and a supported development of faith, education and friendships. We were given the resources to become dreamers and yet were instilled with the values of accountability, honesty and effort. My childhood was a healthy blend of comfort and stability. Looking back, I had always felt that we were provided for beyond the basics and yet never indulged in extravagant living. My parents inserted bits of their childhood to form the framework of how we were raised. Don’t we all do this to some degree or another? My mother never used conditioner growing up and it wasn’t necessary to the care of my stick-straight hair, so consequently, it was never purchased.
When I first moved out on my own it was an adjustment. For years I existed in a pack of siblings and hadn’t the slightest clue how quiet an empty room could seem. In many ways as the loneliness crept in I found myself rushing to fill it with the familiarity of home. My childhood was a balance wonderful smells, routines and noise. While my roommate and I discovered our own balance of noise, I made an attempt to feel comfortable by surrounding myself with a few staples and familiar routines from home. I essentially replicated the items and routines from my previous environment so that I could quickly adapt to my new surroundings. Slowly, the changes crept in. The name-brand foods were quickly replaced with generic (gotta love that college budget), the dishes were no longer washed before bed and I think I lost my ironing board halfway through freshman year. I had new routines. And while all of this decadent change was occurring I was living in the land of oblivion. Sometimes it takes time to recognize gradual change. For me, it took aisle 6.
Shopping one day, I made a quick trip to the store to purchase shampoo. You can only add a little bit of water to stretch it for so long. The time had come to just get a new bottle. Once in the store, I grabbed the shampoo but loved the smell so much I opened the conditioner next to it. It smelled just as wonderful as the shampoo, perhaps even a little better. I was suddenly consumed with the desire to have both. The conditioner wasn’t a necessity and potentially more an impulse buy than anything else but it turned out to define far more than I could have ever imagined possible. First of all, who knew that conditioner makes your hair feel like silk? Exquisite, I tell you. But more importantly, buying that conditioner was the first time I recognized my ever-changing home environment. I was bringing something new to my daily routines. It was a moment where I made a conscious decision to purchase something that just made me feel nice. I didn’t have a lot of money or even a huge mess of tangles to warrant the purchase. It was just a small luxury that made me feel pretty. It was simple and effortless but seemed to bring so much joy. Then I realized it. Perhaps being an adult means that you are at a point in your life when you can take the foundation of home and re-cultivate it into your own world. To become a grown-up means that you take the time to seek out little moments of joy in your day (even if it is just washing your hair with pretty smells). Maybe adulthood is more about the freedom to choose what is best for your well-being and finding new discoveries within yourself. Perhaps being a grown up is allowing yourself to be ever-evolving.
I later told my mother all about conditioner and how wonderful it is. She now uses it on a daily basis which makes me very happy. Who knows, perhaps reaching adulthood increases one’s credibility a little too?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Our Disney Day

On Friday morning we escaped good ole' Dallas for a bit to enter in to the FABULOUS world of Disney. It was fancy, guys...

In case you didn't know this about me, (I mean, how could you not know this?!) I HEART Disney. The fact that both my children know all the characters to the movies and the songs warms my heart more than anything--- especially because they haven't even seen half the movies (we just happen to own all the underwear). When potty training there is a lot of time spent in the bathroom which is prime for discussing underwear characters and their stories. Nothing quite like learning all the lyrics to Prince Ali and how to tee-tee all the same time. It works for us.

So, when I stumbled across these incredibly priced tickets for Disney on Ice, I jumped on it! Definitely my favorite way to spend a Friday with our besties.
We were in LOVE. First of all, this show is pretty incredible. The music, the skating and the costumes are fantastic--- can we please take a minute also to point out that Princess Jasmine had the most amazing abs. Now I know why Molly aspires to become her--- she was in super shape. My personal favorite moment was when Gabriel was yelling all the princesses that he saw. He knows them all.
Our morning was sugar-infused greatness.

Very hard to take pictures when you are in such high anticipation of the show!!!
I had been a little worried that Gabriel wouldn't hold interest through the whole thing. WRONG! He was fascinated. Especially when Woody and Buzz came flying on the ice. It rocked his world so much that he had to dance it out.
We decided to add to our sugar high with a healthy dose of carbs at Tony's Pizza. MMMmmm. Because you can never have too much Disney in a day, the Musketeers watched a little bit of "UP" on Tiffany's Iphone-- until Gabriel's noggin blocked the screen and the sugar-high started to plummet. Then it was time to head home for some Disney dreams.
Once home, I instantly checked Disney World packages and can't wait to take our crew to Magic Kingdom... in perhaps two years. I think I could wait 15 more years and it would still be incredible!
If you have a chance to see Disney on Ice don't pass it up! It is SO worth it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


In the past few weeks I have had a bunch of people stop and ask me if my dynamic duo are twins. Yes, Gabriel has outweighed Molly since he was about 9 months old but let's face it--- no shocker--- Molly's always been a bit bony. Molly is still about a full head or at least a good half-a-head taller than Gabriel.

Perhaps it is because they play so well together now. We passed some HUGE hurtles this winter when we were trapped indoors for days at a time. Our house is small--- they had to learn to share. I mean, I guess there is a little resemblance...
Sitting down, they are about the same size largely in part to Gabriel's stubby legs. So yes, I guess they could pass as cute...
hilarious twinks to the casual observer.
and I have to say, I love it because it is another reminder of how doubly blessed these past several years have been. For all the hard days with our twinkies, the laughter makes up for it all...
Silly X 2? Sounds right to me.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I know what the calendar says...

Let it be known that I do in fact own a calendar. The date today clearly reads March 21, 2010. It is spring... it just doesn't look like any spring I have ever before seen in Texas...

6 days of glorious snow this year in Dallas. Lots of snow. While fun at the time, I have to admit that Gabriel and I shared a little of the same feeling this morning while layering on the winter apparel. we found ourselves sighing, "again?" We are ready for sunshine, flip flops and cherry limeades. Bring on the afternoons with the bubble machine and rolling down big hills at the arboretum. We have picnics to schedule at the park and quite frankly--- the gloves just get in the way.

And while we still want to live in the land of flowers, we rallied this morning--- in fact, we even had fun.

Destin... is this you? Funny see the snow and sand toys look very similar to a day at our favorite beach.
World's best snowman builder lives here...

They make a great team.
Which is good because "Princess Ariel" was all about trying peg Daddy and Gabey with one of her quality snow balls... and for all her clumsiness--- she has killer aim.

So spring, we see that you are all about keeping us guessing. Can you guess what we want next?

Here's a hint...

Perhaps this will be the weather for March 22nd in which case we all purchase a GIANT box of Kleenex for our next round of colds. Roller coaster weather? Okay, maybe it is spring after all.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Irish everyday was GREEN.

Irish every day could be spent visiting with family from far away...

Irish that there is always someone in my life that will take the time to explain the rules to the game...
and then not get upset when I forget them...

Irish that I always feel like I have everything I need to be happy.

Irish that my days can always consist of fantastic art, great friends and bare feet.

Irish for my life to always involve laughter, comfort and a good deal of fancy.

And above all, Irish you the best year ever!
Love, Molly and the rest of my green lot.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Festival Weekend

While we might be EXTREMELY tired and a little under the weather now, we wouldn't trade this weekend of fun for anything! This weekend, we took a nice trip down south to visit two of our three favorite Figueroas!

Gabriel's and Jude's birthdays fall just 10 days a part so we hope to have a yearly god brother birthday celebration weekend! This year was a great start to a new tradition.

Gabriel was SO excited about Jude's gift... we actually had to give it to him when Gabe was off playing in the other room. Although Jude has yet to uncover his LOVE of firetrucks, it will come soon--Gabey will make sure of it!

What a weekend for festivals! Spring was definitely here and at times it felt a little like we were bordering summer conditions. Oye. Everywhere we went this weekend was insanely crowded... it seems we weren't the only ones soaking up the sunshine! While hitting up three festivals was SUPER fun, it was also a wee tiring...

Lots of time eating out and riding in the car. Perfect for some quality hand holding.

The San Antonio zoo was so much fun! Where else can you pet a chicken...
feed some snails?

Lure in the fish...

And then catch them!
We sure ate some quality food!!! YUMMY. Mealtimes were busy! These kiddos had so much to say...

I don't know what is going on here but for some reason I think this picture is pretty funny

It was at dinner Saturday night that I realized I had birthed a comedy genius.

High comedy right here, folks.

The rest of the San Antonio pictures will come in a separate post by Molly. We bought her an instant camera so she could take pictures of the Luminaria Festival. Mainly I look for the pictures to feature random feet, several clouds and about 11 pictures of Aunt Balissa.

After all this fun in San Antonio, Rosie George, reminded us that we had yet to celebrate her first successful road trip. So, we scheduled a play date with our favorite lady dogs and headed out to the Kite Festival in Austin.
It is so fun to have a dog in Austin!
Especially when your buddies have such great dogs too!

The kites were incredible and we are definitely going to bring our own to fly next year. After we take our train ride on the Zepher again! And this time, we will remember to take more pictures.
What a weekend!
While we MAY have celebrated in the south a little too late, Gabe MAY have lasted 4 hours with a cookie stuck in his nose, we MAY have experienced two episodes of motion sickness, and one very lovely "explosion of sorts"... it was definitely a GREAT trip with so many candid memories...

Can't wait to visit again!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Duck Duck GOOSE!

This week has been all about adapting our current plans to whatever the crazy weather is doing. I know that I have been referencing Texas weather on the good ole' blog a lot here lately.

Believe me, I know.

Crazy weather really has been the theme of this fall/winter/sorta spring season. I like to think that we all wake up wondering to ourselves, "What the H-E-double hockey sticks is up with this weather?" No?

You just NEVER know what you are going to get.

This morning was by far the most beautiful Texas blue sky I had seen in a while. PERFECT. I was so giddy that I almost didn't even need coffee. Almost.

Pretty morning but this afternoon it poured. The day before was cloudy at wake up, beautiful for the early morning so we made big plans for parks, picnics and ducks. Loading the car we heard the rumble... and while I do drive a mighty mini, it is most definitely not that mighty. We chanced it though--- called its bluff per se. The clouds might have showed us up but in no way did we let it steal our thunder.

We adapted. We came to feed the ducky/monster geese and by george we were going to feed them. I like to think of it as a drive through zoo. Very hands on... but with caution because man, those geese looked MEAN. They sure were fearless.



Sunday, March 7, 2010

March Madness

Well, it seems that we have taken a nice break from all things indoors recently because quite frankly --- we've been there and done that. Unfortunately, our computer lives inside because I have yet to invest in a nifty sun screen for our laptop. So alas, it has been break from blogging too.

Wait a second.

Did I say sun screen? Oh yes, that is right! Let me catch you up... After months in hiding it seems that our dear friend, the sunshine, has decided to up and rejoin Dallas living. This sunny stretch was just about better than any major holiday. It is amazing how pale I look in the light. I'll take what I can get though.

Now, don't get me wrong here. March 1st arrived and decided to hang with the "in" group for awhile and keep it nice and consistently RAINY. A cold, wet, bad-for-grocery-shopping-but-clearly-out-of- food rainy sort of Monday. I was not impressed. But we survived it... after all --- we are no longer wet/snowy winter greenhorns here...

And then one day just like that, it stopped.

It seems our March decided to embrace individuality and let its little self shine... brightly for 6 straight days. So we threw a party and invited our friends...

And had cupcakes, of course.
Sunshine just never felt so good.

So now, the rain is back. The heater kicked on tonight for like two seconds and it had that house is burning smell to it. While it was an initial icky smell, it was also a nice reminder that we have not had the heat on in a while. Hooray gas bill. I like to think of this today rain as a chance for us to say hello to the house again, feed the forgotten cat, visit our indoor toys for the next day or so- you know, take care of business.

After that, bring on the sun because we have got some great places to go...

and we are ready.