Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

My 33rd birthday came and went yesterday, and I'm still glowing from all the wonderful birthday wishes, and the FUN surprise party that Fred planned.

I woke up Sunday morning very groggy because Fred and I were up until 3:00 am, working on the walk video (from my previous post). Fred and Elise brought me my card and presents, and after I nursed Elise, I went back to sleep until about 11:00. I am just way too old to stay up that late (we were up until 3:00 the night before too).

I thought Fred and I (and Elise, of course) were going to have a nice quiet dinner out, but somehow he managed to sneak 20 of our friends (plus three toddlers) into a reserved room without me noticing. There was much merriment and, of course, cake!

When I remember back to my birthday last year, I'm struck at how sad that day was for me. I don't remember why, as I've written in a previous post, 2008 was a horrible year for me. Only one week after I turned 32, Elise was diagnosed with diabetes. Perhaps I had an impending sense of doom... I don't know. I just remember feeling very bleak about the year ahead.

Fortunately, I have a good feeling about 33!

Elise giving Momma a birthday kiss!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Team Elise Video

Sorry for the cross-posting (if you read my other blog, I've also posted it there), but this video, put together by my very talented husband, deserves the double-post.

We've put it together in anticipation of the JDRF Walk for a Cure that is coming up on September 26. Team Elise has 20 cool people (so far) that will be sporting cool Team Elise t-shirts while walking in Irving.

We are asking for three things: prayer for Elise and everybody who suffers with type 1 diabetes; if you live in the DFW area, please join us for the walk on September 26, and if you have the means, please consider donating to the JDRF on behalf of Team Elise. No amount is too small, as every dollar brings us that much closer to a cure, and the chance for Elise to be able to say, "I used to have diabetes."

You can sign up to walk or donate here.

For those of you who have already donated, I say thank you. It brings a tear to my eye and a smile to my heart to see how many people love Elise.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My little winner

Meet Elise's new friend, Cowbie Chifla (the last name is how Elise pronounces Chick-fil-a). And yes, she named him that all on her own.

So how does one win a giant, stuffed, big-as-your-almost-two-year-old-daughter, Chick-fil-a cow?

It wasn't because my husband has probably eaten his body weight in waffle fries a hundred times over; although I think they owe us something for all the artery-clogging goodness Fred has chowed down.

Elise won Cowbie simply by reading. Well, being read to. And having a diligent enough mother who filled out those stupid, tedious library logs for a couple of measly trinkets and the off-chance that Elise could win something cool.

And win she did. I'm told there were over 700 names in the drawing. Did I neglect to tell you the rest of the prize?

Free Chick-fil-a for an entire year.

Yeah, Fred is freaking out.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Forms, glorious forms.

Like about 99% of the population, I hate filling out forms. HATE. IT. Seriously, it makes me break out in hives just holding them. If you belong to that 1% who actually enjoys it, you're weird. No, really. You need to go look at some ink blots or something.

Then, come over to my house, because I have a job for you.

My Canadian passport is expiring in less than a month, and although I've had the renewal forms for about 6 months now, I have yet to fill them out. Because we all know that forms of ANY type are terrible things, but government forms are the worst. You know that when your forms come with instructions on how to fill out the forms, you're in trouble.

I think I've mostly procrastinated because filling these forms out takes the sort of concentration that a chemist making a very volatile concoction needs. One mistake and it's all over. Trying to do this type of stuff while you have a toddler running around intent on destroying your house, is no easy task. And I just knew at some point I would do this:

GIVEN NAME: J ¦ O ¦ A ¦ N ¦ E ¦ L ¦ I ¦ S ¦ E ¦ S ¦ T ¦ O¦ P ¦ I¦ T¦ N¦ O ¦ W¦

But when my Mom was here a few weeks ago, I though it would be a perfect time to give myself an ulcer finally complete the forms while my Mom entertained Elise.

The shrieking began about about three or four questions in; "what the crap do they mean former surname? I've given them my maiden name and my married name... I have nothing more to give. What do these people want from me? How can I have three last names? I need a drink!"

So for sanity's sake, I decided to skip that section (you know, the one where I need to know my own name) for the time being, and went onto some questions I could definitely get right.

Birthday: too easy!

Sex: yes please! (does that one ever get old?)

Then I got to the part where they outlined what ID I would need to send in along with my application. And when I discovered that I owned none of them, the shrieking commenced again at full volume. I swear I saw birds flock to they sky. This time I will not quote my exact words.

Right before I started hyperventilating, my Mom suggested I call the passport office and see what they suggest. Because phoning a government office would make me less irate, wouldn't it?

But since it was my only option, I called. I almost had a heart attack when all I had to do was press 0, and the automated system immediately directed my call to an operator. Even more surprising was the fact that I only waited on hold for about two minutes.

But what really made my jaw drop to the floor is that the person I talked to was nice, knowledgeable and helpful. Sweet-mother-of-all-things-holy, was this really the government I was talking to? I had to look out my window to see if it was snowing in Dallas, or if there were swine elegantly gliding through the air.

The answers were no and no, respectively. And the kind, could-not-be-a-government-employee lady made me swoon further when she told me that I didn't need to fill out the long, cumbersome form that I was presently trying to muddle through. There was a shorter, easier form available on-line. And because I met a bunch of certain requirements, I didn't need to send any of my ID.


So, I'm presently procrastinating on filling out yet another form, and writing this post instead. Because although this form is indeed shorter and better, it still has that worrisome "former surname" question.

And let the shrieking begin...

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Elise is sick. We had a not-so-fun Sunday of fevers, not wanting to eat (which is bad news if you have diabetes), and vomit. I was the lucky recipient of the spew shower right after lunch. We're talking two meals and a snack worth of upchuck. Gross.

If you're so inclined, you can read more about it here.

If you're even more inclined, please say a prayer for Elise. We had a pretty rough day with her, but finally got her temperature down to 100.4 at bedtime, and she even ate a bit of a snack.

Hopefully tomorrow she'll be back to her old self.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Daily Picture Reject #11

Elise, totally rockin' the... you know, I'm not really quite sure what that is on her head. But methinks it's a good look for her. The only thing missing is a whole pile of fruit up there à la Carmen Miranda.

Upon Wikipedia-ing Carmen Miranda, I found out she was Portuguese. Perhaps Elise is channeling her spirit...

If you read her bio closely (and if you know us), you'll find another commonality. Weird.

How did this post end up being about Carmen Miranda? I thought the title was Daily Picture Reject.

Damn rabbit trails.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Check out our "new" house

So we have this friend, Camron, who is this technical whiz-kid (although he's not a kid anymore, but he's young and he's smart). He has a company called Visual Worshiper that uses light and projection to create awe-inspiring images that enhance the worship experience at churches and conferences across the U.S. It really is something to see.

The other day he was asking if anyone wanted him to come by and have their house "projectioned onto" (my term, not his), and we jumped at the chance to liven up the outside of our house.

A few of my favourites:

She's a brick... house.

Our house... if we lived in Venice, Italy

Ohhhhh, pretty!

Our house on fire... it was a lot less hot than I thought it would be.

We're going to use this shot when we put our house up for sale.

Saved the best for last, our sweet daughter on the front of our house. She's even cuter when she's huge!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do

Dear lady in the SUV turning right off of Kimball onto the 114 service road,

I just wanted to extend my most heartfelt thanks to you for showing me the error of my driving ways. All this time I thought it was proper driving technique that when you are turning right, to turn into the most right-hand lane of the road you are turning onto.

But the other day when you made a right-hand turn onto the three lane service road and ended up in the far left lane (or as I saw it; my lane, since I was turning left into it), all the while honking, shaking your rather hairy knuckles, and yelling what looked like "bass-pole" at me, I realized I had been wrong all this time.

You can't really blame me for not being aware of the "turn into any bloody lane that you feel like" rule. You see, up in Canada (where I hail from), we follow the rule as I stated it above. When I moved to California and had to take my road test again, I found that they too have strict rules when it comes to turning.

But now that I've lived here in Texas awhile, I've discovered that most people don't care what lane they turn into, just as long as nobody impedes them.

Now that I've learned my lesson of the lanes, I'm going to take it up a notch. I figure I'll start turning left from the centre lane from now on. Or, when I get really good at it, make a right hand turn from the far left lane. I also see that a lot of people here like to drive the wrong way on the highway. Maybe I'll add that to my repertoire.

So thank you again scary, crazy lady; the finger you flipped me at the end was the icing on my cake. I hadn't received the one-finger salute in awhile and had forgotten how much it makes me laugh.


In case my description of the incident above is a tad confusing: I was turning left onto the service road, angrylady was turning right onto the same road. We turned at the same time; I into the left lane, and she, also into the left lane. At which point the fun began.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

These are a few of my favourite things: Musical Edition

As a Mom of a toddler, I don't really get to hear what's new in the world of music these days. The only place I really get to listen to music is in the car and even then I'm either bopping along to some Raffi, or trying to drown out Elise's I-want-out-of-this carseat-now screams with talk radio. I've also never found a station here that suits my rather eclectic taste in music.

I do have an I Pod, and I listen to it in the car whenever I remember to bring it with me - which is never. But if you were to browse through all the artists I have on there, you would easily be able to tell that my favourite band is, by far, the Hothouse Flowers.

It's okay if you haven't heard of them, or their name only rings a very faint bell. One of the things I love about them is the fact they fly under the musical radar. They've been together forever (or 1985 to be more precise), and started out busking on the streets on Dublin. Some of the faces have changed over the years, but Liam (lead singer) and Fiachna (guitar), who have known each other since childhood, have remain the constants in the band. You can read more about the band here.

A friend once asked me what it is about these guys that I love so much, and I had a hard time answering that question. Mostly because the list is long. Part of it is they are amazing musicians and put on an incredible show. Their love for what they do is so obvious up on stage. Liam plays a collection of instruments including bodhran (Irish drum), and the didgeridoo. Both Liam and Fiachna speak and sing in Gaelic.

They are also wonderful people. I've had the chance to get to know them a bit, and even hang out with them, and the way they treat their fans makes me love them even more. The last time I got to see them was on my birthday in 2006. Fred and I were in NYC, and the Flowers were doing a boat cruise that night. I had seem them about a month prior and had mentioned that Fred and I were going to come to New York to see them for my birthday.

Well, they had retained to bit of knowledge and about 15 minutes into their first set, they announced to the crowd that it was my birthday and had the entire boat sing Happy Birthday. Best. Birthday. Ever.

But most of all, it's their music. Their style cannot be put into a box. You could classify them as rock/pop, but they are so much more. Their sound is infused with soul, gospel and traditional Irish music. Whatever it is; it makes me happy. It soothes me. It nourishes my soul, and the lyrics sometimes feel like they were written just for me.

Why, you ask, am I blabbering on like an idiot about my favourite band? Only because Fred, Elise and I are going to see them in Kansas City at the KC Irish Festival! I can't wait to introduce Elise to them. Her middle name, Rian, is the name of Liam's first solo album.

Anyway, if you're looking for me on September 5th or 6th, I'll be grooving to some amazing music with my husband and little girl. Come join me if you're in the area!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Being okay with chaos

Fred's Mom and our niece just left after spending four days with us. It just so happens that my Mom is also staying with us for two weeks. If you have your scorecards ready, that's four adults, a seven year old, an almost 23 month old, and one needy and neurotic 45-pound dog hanging together in 1678 square feet. That, my friends, is a lot of togetherness.

There was a time that a scenario like that would have sent me into a tailspin of nervousness and hyperventilating. When we lived in San Francisco; Fred's Mom, Dad and Grandma all came to stay with us when we lived in 595 square feet of apartment. We also had an 80 pound dog at that time. I'm not sure how I got through it, but I do remember taking A.Jacks for a lot of walks.

It's not that I don't love Fred's family. I've said it before, I have been blessed with a great set of in-laws. I just need my space. Fred's family is European, and have no problem with so much togetherness. I chalk it up to being from a place where there's a lot of people living in a little space. I looked it up and Portugal has 110 people per square kilometer (153 per square mile), whereas Canada has 6 people per square kilometer (9 per square mile). Do you see why I need my space? And yes, I am aware that most of Canada in uninhabitable, but sometimes a girl needs to be alone. Even if it is on frozen tundra.

What was I talking about again? Ah yes, chaos. I may seem so calm and cool on the outside (hahahahaha), but when you give me ingredients like the ones from this weekend, all I can envision cooking up is one big chaotic mess.

Which, essentially, is what we had this weekend. But you know what? I was okay with it. As I looked around and saw towels hanging from any available space, suitcases littered about like abandoned vehicles, and so many shoes at my front door you'd swear Seven had started wearing them too, it didn't bother me.

Elise was walking around with paint on her face, hands and clothes, looking like she was going into battle. But so what? She was having a blast with her cousin Carolina and loved all the attention she was getting.

People were loading my dishwasher all wrong, and putting things back in the wrong places. But who cares? At least I wasn't the one having to do it!

I must be mellowing out in my old age, because as the chaos was swirling around me like a spring storm in Texas, I was actually enjoying it. I realized that nobody cared about the mess or the cramped quarters, they were too busy having fun being with each other to even notice.

And so another life lesson learned. Wow, two in the span of about a month. If I keep all this learning up, I'm going to know everything soon!