Persons’ Personalitites

As your children grow, you get to know their personalities. I love both of my children dearly, but they are very different. It really does fascinate me that two people made from the same genetic stuff can be so opposite, but here we are with two kids who act as differently as they look.

My son is cautious. As soon as I walk away, he’s close behind. I know that he will always leave when I leave and I have learned to use this to my advantage, particularly because I have another child who wouldn’t even notice being left behind all day.

Last weekend we went to a birthday party at a kiddie wonderland. It was a blast, but the only rides Brooks truly enjoyed were the ones I could accompany him on. We had to stop the boat and cars early so he could eject. That option wasn’t available for the planes, so he hid his head until it was over. He did great on the carousel, Ferris wheel and train, where I wasn’t too big to ride.

 Sabra on the other hand whinnied at the wind blowing in her face. She giggled and loved being on the move. She is a thrill seeker and rarely searches for my hand. And while B didn’t even attempt the pony ride, Sabra’s appetite was bigger than her stomach. Once she actually got up to the pony, she held on to the trainer tight and was quickly returned to my arms. Honestly, it’s refreshing to see her exhibit fear!


We had a great day of sweets and thrills and no naps. And I’m continuing to learn how to encourage each kid’s strengths and work with their personalities.


Following the Rules

Yesterday I read a blog post about following the rules. Let me back up a tad, the post was really focused on the author communicating to her children that they aren’t that great or special. Within this explanation, she repeatedly reinforced following the rules.

I thought about ways I break the rules, then this morning it hit me where I think I’m special. I’m especially irreverent to school, namely preschool. Sure, I get my tuition in on time and we support the annual carnival fundraiser, but I could care less about the Yankee Candle fundraiser, school pictures and the school mascot, which I translate as unnecessary parent homework.

See, on Monday, we got Huggy. 

I hadn’t heard of Huggy until Monday, but he is the school’s mascot and travels home with each student for a few nights. Along with his journal. It’s a sweet idea and I love that Huggy is more than a village of germs, but really I’m just calculating what I need to keep up with him and wondering what the minimum amount of work is that I need to do before he goes to the next dude.

 Huggy’s journal is filled with his adventures and photo proof of said adventures. They are written “Dear Diary” style. Of course parents do the chronicling, but I was so bored reading through the previous highlights of Huggy’s life that I decided to shake things up. So, for my journal I wrote something funny! I made the Williams family seem bonkers for letting me drive before age 16, eat blondies at 9:30am and dance to DJ Snake during clean up. I didn’t say “it was straight up dope” but that was implied. I read my clip to Spencer right before bed and we both got a laugh. “Nobody cares,” I said when he raised an eyebrow.

Then this morning, as I was flipping back through my masterpiece, I noticed a sheet glued to the front of the book. There were instructions! What?!? And, get this, Huggy’s adventures are shared in CHAPEL!!!! Ouch! I tore out the pages I could and went straight. I made what I could cutesy and rated G. 

 And in the end I found myself scolding myself for not just following the rules like everyone else. There is a reason they are there and I’m not that special–these are things I’m trying to teach my kids, so maybe I should lead by example.

Also, maybe I should put a little extra effort into my penmanship. It’s borderline atrocious. 

The Chlorophyll in my Soul

I have all of these deep things to say about leaves when they are green, containing chlorophyll, and when they die, showing their true colors (you know those oranges and browns and yellows people flock east to see in the fall). I’m sure I should be contemplating my true colors, too. But I’m not going to do that today. I just need to say that I love natural colors. I’ve been taking photos of trees since last fall, thinking I would post a meaningful blog about change or whatever, but that never happened. 

 Then a freak tree near Brooks’ preschool turned red yesterday  (in late March) and I had to photograph it. I have no wisdom to impart, except to say that sometimes we should just marvel at creation. Blooming flowers and changing leaves offer us a wake-up call to look heavenward. Spring came early in Austin and I’ve lifted my eyes.





I’m not crying. Yet. See, last weekend we were given an amazing and very second-hand Dollhouse bunk bed for Sabra. She will be out of her crib for good in about six months and then we will be done with cribs and Pack-n-Plays forever. Have I mentioned I’m not crying? Darn, I think i just felt a tear well up.

(Wipes tear) Anyway, I love my engineer of a husband. He not only disassembled the bed at another family’s house, but he reassembled it in Sabra’s room, reinforcing it to keep our baby girl safe and sound for when the time comes. We’ve only had the bed for two days now, but it has been the biggest hit. Not only have they found hide-outs, but it’s given them a new spot to play.

This big move also forced me to rethink our play room, which has technically had very little play. I ended up moving most of the kiddy toys upstairs to said play room so we can feel like we sort-of reign the downstairs region of this house. Sabra’s kitchen and doll house bookshelf were also evicted from her room on account of the behemoth Dollhouse.

 Did I mention this bed is bonkers pricey when bought new? Yes. Here’s the link the website.

Oh, and we can’t turn on the fan while this thing is in her bedroom. 

And while I’d never want my children to think I’d spend that kind of money on a bed (especially for a 2 year old), I do want them to know that hours of scrubbing and Goo-Gone applications can salvage even a piece of furniture which was on its deathbed. No, it’s not in the best shape, but it will do the job of providing one twin and one double bed in Sabra’s room, while hopefully fostering her imagination and letting her be a little girl while she still is one.

In sum, I totally love to new do. Enjoy these photos of the new set up and a shot of Sabra’s “cave” which she pops in and out of like a gopher!

Tiny Enormous Updates

When I go for weeks at a time without blogging, it’s not because life is slow and boring and I don’t have anything to write about. It’s because:

a. I’m sleeping in and not participating in “5am Team Meeting”

b. So much is happening I can’t keep up

c. We are out of town

I would say my excuse this time around is a combination of the three. I really like bullet points, so that’s what we are going with today. A little update.

Post Golf Cart Purchase Happenings:

1. Brooks got 7 stitches in his head after falling off our bed. Wait, this sounds like a graceful rolling off, which it was not. He soared into the air and then whipped his head back around, super-hero style. This kid is in full little boy mode right now. Full energy, full passion and full force. ER visits are so cheap.


2. We went to Corpus Christi, Texas. The town Spencer and I loathe. This was huge, as we hadn’t been in 6 years.


We threw a baby shower for our dear friend Lindsey, who is due any day now.   
Jake, Lorraine and Brittany’s kids United for the 1st time!!! In the Wallace side yard-perfection. 

3. We stayed at my dad’s house on Padre Island while we were there. For one night. And took the boat to Snoopy’s. The kids loved it. I will post photos only and not dig into the emotional ramifications. 

 4. I got drawn for the NYC marathon! What? First try is very rare, but I think God is helping a daughter out. It’s a relief to know that I don’t have to drink for 8 more months because I will be running (hopefully….stay away pesky injuries).

5. I went back to the ER for another cheap visit because I had chest pain over the weekend. When you say “chest pain” they freak out and run all of the heart tests. My heart is just dandy, so I’m off to a gastro tomorrow for them to tell me I have GERD. It’s been about 6 years since my last endoscopy and diagnosis, but I fear it is back. Boo.

6. Sabra is a natural on the dance floor. We can deny it no longer: Our daughter has moves. This little lady needs to get thee to a dance factory. I see leotards and tap shoes in her future.

7. We finally said goodbye to the leaning tower of playscape that has threatened visitors since we moved in. We tore this hazard down and put each piece out for big pick up. Now we have piles of wood in our backyard, begging to be constructed into something playable for our kiddos who love to play.

8. Last, but not least, our kids got to see their favorite aunt and uncle this weekend as we celebrated Brooks’ 4th birthday with an early party. The kids are a little obsessed with Aunt Emmy and Uncle Sonny. Now we will be hearing about them for weeks. Also, Sabra names all of her stuffed animals Aunt Emmy. Adorable!

BONUS: Did I mention both of my children are Cavity-FREE?!?!



We didn’t get a cat or a dog or another kid. Nope, we got a golf cart. Spencer’s dad bought some land out near Blanco and Spencer is convinced that this gas-powered cart is necessary for that land which has no electricity or water.


Oh, and we named it Emu. Why? Because we bought it from a dude in Buda who had Emus. It’s fun to say Emu, so we named the candy-apple-red happy-fun-toy Emu!

But, before Emu goes out to its home for good, we have it here at home. And we are riding in it like crazy. Yep, we’ve gone cruising every single day it’s been here. We’ve found secret trails in our neighborhood, a duck pond with a pier behind a school and a fun way to call on friends during the happiest of hours.

 Side note: It feels much safer now that we have a windshield and seat-belts.

A Cheesy Post

Without getting too graphic or detailed, I will just say that our pediatrician had us take Sabra off dairy. Poor thing. She’s been asking for pizza every single day over the last week and it breaks my heart that I can’t give it to her. BUT……we have already seen an improvement in her constipation and her eczema has even improved! This is great news for a two-year-old who had to give birth to her bowel movements twice a week.

As you may recall, Sabra was the one who did all of her #2’s on the potty during infancy and early toddlerhood. Only recently had she begun to fear the commode. It all makes sense now that she equated the porcelain throne with pain. Her pediatrician said it will be a physiological battle for her to feel neutral about the potty again. Basically, she is going to have to have so many bowel movements that aren’t painful before she will even consider going back to the toilet.

Lesson: Don’t count your potty trained children before they are hatched.

So, for now, we will follow orders and add dairy to her peanut avoidance. It’s obvious that this is the best thing for her, but it’s so hard to take away something I know she likes. The next big test will be forgoing the kiddie toy-for-ice cream trade at Chickfila with all of our friends after BSF. This will not be an easy road, but we have to do what’s best for our daughter.

I almost feel grateful for the diary-free stints I had to undergo while nursing my dairy-sensitive babies. We can do this! And I’m thankful we live in a world (dare I say the mecca) of food substitutes.

Because, in the end, I don’t want to see this little one in pain.


Marathon Momma: That time I ran a marathon….yesterday

So, yesterday was one for the books. I finally ran 26.2 miles. 

It was on Valentine’s Day 2016 and I even got to do it with a buddy.

Here are a few things I learned:

-The weather can be terrible (like 95% humidity, windy and 70 degrees in February) and you can still have a nice time.

-So many people come out to cheer in a big city. We were spoiled rotten yesterday with all of the support.

-There is nothing like seeing the face of a friend when you are tired and nothing invigorates you more than seeing your loved ones at the end of a grueling run.

-Medals are still tacky.

-The spirit of the marathon is still alive and well. I’m not sure what we are all running from, but we are definitely out there running.

-While my friend definitely said she was a “one and done-er” I can’t say the same for myself.

-I had about another 5k left in me at the end.

-The biggest pain I’m enduring the day after is a nasty pinkie toe blister.

 -The double meat/double cheeseburger from In and Out that I devoured after the race may have been the best food to ever touch these lips.

-As much as I do like road running, I’m ready to take it off-road! Trails, here I come!

-My favorite sign was held by a lady I saw 5 times throughout the course. It read: There will come a day when you can no longer do this. Today is NOT that day!

-And run in honor of Elizabeth Lodowski, who truly lived strong. 



Skin-to-skin nestling with my non-baby

I have this daughter who everyone says looks exactly like my husband. Sometimes this hurts my feelings because I definitely grew her in my belly and gave painful birth and shared my DNA with her. This makes me think about those all too common adoption cases where non-biological siblings look alike. I went to high school with a set of these. It’s uncanny. I also know a gal from church who is from Mississippi with the maiden name Hooks. When I quizzed her on relation to Jan Hooks, one of my favorite comedians, she said Jan was probably from her crew of Hooks and could have been her daughter when she said, in perfect inflection, “There’s no basement at the Alamo.” When I said, “See, you looked exactly like her when you did that,” she reminded me that she’s adopted. This also brings to mind stories of couples who have difficulty getting pregnant and then, once they adopt, have several biological children. I guess what I’m saying is that family and biology are two very different things.

Anyway, this post was originally supposed to be about this adorable thing my daughter does, but my mind is drifting to a couple we know who has recently adopted. Who knows if their son will end up looking like them, but one thing is for sure: it will be their son. That is how I feel about my non-resembling daughter. I may look like her nanny, but each night when I rock her to sleep she yanks down the collar of my shirt so she can nestle her cheek against my chest. Yep, at over two years old, she still longs for some skin-to-skin contact with her momma. And what makes me her momma isn’t that I carried her in my tummy; I am her mommy for all of the rote dailies that took place after that. Every nightly rock, diaper changed, meal prepared and cleaned up (mostly cleaned up because this one loves to throw everything on the floor), the baths and application of Aquaphor to her eczema-ridden skin, this is what makes me a mom. I’m going to cheese-ville with an analogy, but it is so darn true. You’ve heard, any man can father a child, but it takes a real man to be a dad. I feel that way about motherhood. I will never have a mini-me and that’s probably a good thing. God knows what we need. And this wildman son of mine and his dolly-loving sister are apparently just what Spencer and I need. So we will try to drive this ship well.


Home coming queen

On Sunday night I attended an Eliza-dance. What’s an Eliza-dance? Well, it’s when by some freak chance you get to wear sleeveless on the night of January 31 at an outdoor restaurant owned by an old friend, soundtracked with the best playlist of all-time to celebrate the life of a girl named Elizabeth who finally died of cancer the week before. Oh, yeah – and you dance your tush off.

This was Elizabeth’s wish: that her people put on an awesome dance party and celebrate. We did. There were a few tears and somber faces, but mostly people obeyed Elizabeth and shook it on the dance floor. I think the cherry on top of this whole event was seeing her mother (whose hair is just started to grow back from her own chemo journey) bust a move smack dab in the middle of the whole crowd.

I couldn’t bring myself to camp-dance level that night, but I appreciated those who could. I knew what lay ahead. And the next day, it came. The weather was freaky warm as we headed down to the Laguna Gloria Contemporary Museum. Somehow this was my first time to visit. It was exquisite and so Elizabeth. I have never seen so many people at a funeral. The music was lovely, the words pierced deep and the truth of it all was summed up in her sister’s words.

“My sister was a painter. And we, gathered here today, are her masterpiece.”

And it was true. Looking around at the talent, beauty and tried and true hearts for the Lord, one could never assemble a piece so profound. People flew in from other countries and states to celebrate a sister, friend, aunt, niece, daughter and cousin that is unlike any other human who has ever lived. If only Elizabeth could be reduced to eulogy words. My words would be that if life had a homecoming queen, it would be her. Now she is really home.

Here is her obituary, which does a decent attempt:

Elizabeth was a renaissance woman. She was fascinated by nature and the different people in her world. She refused to let difficult circumstances dictate her life. Instead she ordered her life according to her own creative principles. She had an innate way of making her environment more beautiful and a style that was completely her own. Her enthusiasm for art and her way of seeing was contagious. Jesus was the cornerstone of Elizabeth’s life and her faith inspires us always.

She was constantly aware of the feelings of her family and friends, without them having to say a thing. Elizabeth’s devotion to those she loved demanded that she give all her attention to the person in front of her. She shared the pain and successes of her community. Elizabeth was the most selfless person we know and she was a connector, always introducing new friends.

Elizabeth constantly created art, and was a frequent contributor to the East Austin Studio Tour. She communicated through her art and her faith. She sang and loved all types of music.

The cardinal is her spirit animal.

She will be deeply missed by her parents, Mimi and Bob Lodowski of Fredericksburg; her sister Sarah, husband Ben Kitchen and their son Benjamin of Austin; brother, Matthew, wife, Dagny and daughter Aubrey of Houston; brother, David, wife, Kerrie and children Thomas and Madeline of Cleveland, Ohio; and her love, Ryan Vaughn of Austin, Texas.

Elizabeth was born September 6th 1980 in Houston, TX. She attended River Oaks Baptist School, Episcopal High School, Texas A&M and CU Boulder. She was also a camper and counselor at Laity Lodge Youth Camp. – See more at here.

So, goodbye Elizabeth. Thank you for opening my eyes to wonder and beauty. I’m pumped to dance with you at the big banquet sooner or later.