Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Good Things

Martha Stewart's magazines have a feature called "Good Things" which is sort of her like her monthly favorites or easy simple ideas (as opposed to the regular feature length articles she publishes, which if any of you know of mine and Kellie's forays into Martha Stewart Craft Land, you'll know that they aren't always so easy :o) So here is our list of Good Things and a Christmas recap:Firstly, a former coworker from KW had her baby on Monday morning, a healthy baby girl. Anna and her husband Marcus have been praying for a long time for such a wonderful gift and went through IVF in order to have her. Congratulations to the Jenkins family! We are so thankful that things went well and that Abby Lu is healthy and perfect. Not to mention dang cute!

Secondly, we visited with the hand surgeon today and the good news is that there won't be a need for surgery to regraft the skin or to repair the tendon. Michael still doesn't have proper sensation in the tip of his finger, but his finger is still a bit swollen, so it may be a little bit before he does regain feeling in the tip of the thumb. He goes back to see Dr. Sharma in one more week to determine whether or not they'll need to go in and check it out, but he hopes to not have to and is very impressed with how things have progressed.

Thirdly, we had a wonderful Christmas. We had hoped to avoid having to do extensive traveling and multiple Christmases, but it didn't go quite as planned. We spent Christmas Eve with Michael's mom as we have in the past and we had a great time. Judy gave Sybilla the cutest little wicker rocking chair EVER, which Billa loves to push around since it slides so well on the carpet. She gave us gift cards to be used towards a much needed date night, which we are planning on using very soon. Michael received the traditional cologne and toy, which happened to be a remote control helicopter. She also gave them to her SO Carl and his brother in law Gary. Of course, the three boys HAD to open them and wanted to have helicopter fights, but we found out that two of the three were set for the same channel, so they could only go one on one sadly. Hilarity and hijinks ensue. Of course I was not able to capture it all on film since we had yet to get our camera that evening.

Christmas day went well, with us getting up and having a low-key Christmas morning. I've attached pictures for your perusal! Later on we had Michael's dad, step mom to be, and his sister come over and we unwrapped presents. I now have a mighty collection of FIVE rolling pins, thanks to having received three of them as gifts. I have no idea on how to display them, but I will figure it out. My parents came not too long after (my brother David was sick back at the ranch with a sinus infection and Philip stayed up way too late with his friends. Whatever. They missed out on all my enchilada goodness. Hosers.) and we all enjoyed a massively good meal of enchiladas, tamales, rice and beans. I had several platters of random homemade cookies, candies, and goodies for dessert, along with chips, homemade salsa, guacamole, and queso. Ah, Mexican Christmas! Sanchez Claus was good to us all.

Why are we up so early?

It's Christmas!? Yes!

Sybilla opening her presents

I love my new bathtoy!

Daddy got some initialed hankies... thanks Mommy, er, Santa!

After everybody left, Michael and I just lazed about and then headed down the street to the Marino's house to deliver their presents. I still have yet to get Anthony to install my keyless entry on the car (yay!) and they also gave us a new receiver, since they inadvertently blew ours up by overheating it. We gave the kids goodie bags which they LOVED; apparently Madeleine is still carrying hers around a week later. That was one of my favorite memories as a kid; a former work associate of my dad's would send me and my brothers coffee cans wrapped in fun paper that contained a caboodle of fun toys, candies, and dime store games. I miss those immensely, which is why I go crazy with the stocking stuffers every year!

A couple of nights later Uncle Zander and Aunt Sarah came and bestowed new bath toys and a fisher price baby doll stroller upon Sybilla. She had a blast running back and forth in the living room with the stroller and she keeps going into the bathroom several times a day to look longingly at her toys, waiting anxiously for bathtime. Now I just start the water and she comes running in!

Over our many Christmases, we have received many unexpected wonderful gifts, but the best one of all is spending time with all of our friends and family! We hope you all did too and as we get ready to enter the New Year, we look forward to creating many new memories and sharing time and great meals with you all!

Happy New Year,
Kelly, Michael, Sybilla & Gumerry the Gray Destroyer of all Things Paper, Q-Tip, Hairtie & the Occasional Piece of Tissue Wrapping!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Best Gifts...

I was going to post pictures from Billa's first trip to the Zilker Tree, but like a dumbass I went and left the camera at my parent's house when we did laundry this weekend. So instead you get to imagine her laying on her back in my arms and giggling like a maniac while Mommy spins her around under the lit up tree. The best part was when I would stop and she would throw herself backwards to do it again. Classic! We had so much fun going to the Trail of Lights and the Tree with the Marino's and hopefully all of the lights will be working next year when we go back. The tunnel at the end of the Trail was burned out (it had been foggy and rainy that day and the day before) so we got partially robbed of the whole experience. All in all, it was a blast and Little S was a trooper that evening, staying awake until 10 pm! As soon as I get the camera back I'll put the pix up in Picasa so that you don't have to imagine it anymore.

On Sunday we had the famed Eagle Lake Christmas with Michael's grandparents, the home of the five hour gift exchange. Ok, I exaggerate a little, but it is long. Gramma Bobbe loves to do round robin with opening the gifts, but it can be a bit much with 18 to 20 of us opening presents (no exaggeration there). The younger kids get impatient, so they open their gifts all at once first and then go play with their new toys, which helps quite a bit. Gramma asked if Billa could open her gifts round robin since she's still so little, but everyone kept forgetting her so I just opened them all and acted excited when it was close to Billa's turn. Billa was more interested in eating the wrappings and climbing all over the boxes and bags everywhere. Little stinker! I made a peppermint cheesecake for dessert and we had lots of good wine and spent many long wonderful hours catching up with all of the relations. Billa finally got to meet her "Uncle" Stephen Travis and "Aunt" Casey and she was walking around everywhere she went!

Our Christmas Eve will be spent with Judy and Carl (Michael's mom and her SO) and Christmas Day will be at our house for the first time ever. For the past 7 years of our relationship, Michael and I have had to travel to everyone else's place on Christmas day. Last year we had five Christmases and that was just too much, so we decided to stay home this year. Besides, Michael only has Christmas Day off and we didn't want to spend it driving from house to house. So we are very excited to have Michael's dad and future stepmom, his sister Michelle, my parents and my brothers coming over for our Mexican Christmas. I wanted to do something different foodwise this year since I got tired of turkey and I don't eat ham, so I figured why the hell not do enchiladas, tamales, rice and beans? I mean, come on, who doesn't love Tex Mex? Heck yes! And to top things off I found some really awesome recipes to try at my fave food blog, The Homesick Texan. If you haven't found it yet, you need to visit. The girl's a Texas expat in NYC and she manages to duplicate all of her down home faves up there. If you remember my kolache posting, I got one of the recipes from her.

The one thing I'm not looking forward to about having Christmas at my house is that my Christmas Eve will be spent doing mostly cleaning and cooking and last minute gift putting together. And of course day care is closed. Argh. I told myself three months ago I wasn't going to do everything last minute again but we decided to move and everything kinda went to hell in a handbasket over the last few weeks. And of course, with Michael's injured thumb, I've been having to do everything around the house which leaves me little time for anything else. His thumb by the way, seems to be doing better and the swelling has gone down considerably. GROSS OUT ALERT; SKIP TO NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON'T WANT TO TOSS YOUR COOKIES. The flap of skin that the ER staff sewed back appears to be gaining some color back although we won't know for sure until next Tuesday whether or not it's dead and will require some creative grafting. [Sigh/shiver]

I tried to go shopping today for a couple of last minute gift making items and I gave up after hitting tons of traffic and getting ridiculously angry over it. I've found myself really angry and tense lately and I know it's due to the stress that we're under financially and from the moving and Michael's accident among other things. I've found myself frustrated that our expectations for Billa's first Christmas haven't turned out how we had hoped. I've never much cared about receiving gifts but it's difficult when you feel like you can't give any gifts and it makes me feel bad when I receive something and am not able to reciprocate with everyone.

I've always believed that God has a reason for everything and I think that the message this Christmas is that we as a society have gotten too caught up in the everyday materialism that we live in. A gal at work sent an email out with this quote in it: "The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other." I couldn't agree more. While I'm not able to give or receive the gifts I wanted to this year, I am thankful that I am here in this place, at this time, to share the season with everyone around me. I'm thankful for my friends and my family and for the things that I've taken for granted, like a roof over my head and clothes on my back, food in my belly, a nice warm bed, and a job. One of our favorite movie quotes definitely takes on new meaning in this time of doom and gloom: "It could be worse; it could be raining!" (A tasty treat to the first person that gets the movie right!)

So to all of you this year, the gift we give is our love and well-wishes. Despite all the bad things in the press and that may be happening to you, we hope this season finds you warm and well-fed inside and out and that you make many happy memories with your family.

Happy Christmas everyone!
Love,
Kelly, Michael, Sybilla, and Gumerry the Gray Destroyer of All Things Paper, Q-Tip, Hairtie, and The Occasional Christmas Tree Skirt

PS: I'm sorry if you receive your Christmas card late. They're stamped and will be dropped in the mail tomorrow.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Hand Chronicles

Well, this has certainly been one of the worst weeks ever! On Tuesday, Michael called me before I left work to let me know that he was at the emergency room after having sliced his finger on a table saw at work. I asked him how bad it was and he didn't think it was that bad. Oh, but it was. And while some of you may think a cut thumb is nothing to freak out over, you try taping your thumb down and going a day without it. There's a reason Mother Nature gave us opposable thumbs; it ain't brains that put us at the top of the food chain, folks.

WARNING: DETAILS IN THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH MAY INDUCE SQUICKY FEELINGS OF DISGUST AND NAUSEA. IF YOU DON'T HAVE A STRONG STOMACH BUT LIKE TO PUNISH YOURSELF, CARRY ON, BY ALL MEANS, DON'T LET ME STOP YOU. BUT DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU. OTHERWISE, SKIP THE NEXT PARAGRAPH TO CONTINUE!

After the people at the ER got him cleaned and looked at the wound, they informed Michael that the tendon was sliced pretty bad and referred him to surgeon. He didn't slice the tendon from the side, but rather longitudinally, meaning it's still attached, but we don't know how much. A saw blade is not like a knife blade and the cut itself is rather shredded. Some of the skin had been hanging a bit and had lost some of it's blood supply and the ER staff decided to stitch it up too. Since then though, it has not regained any color, which means it may be dead. Fun.

So after having his hand cleaned and sewed up, Michael called his dad to tell him about the accident. They got to talking and decided that it was strange Michael was referred to a plastic surgeon and not a hand specialist. Papa Guerra called up a retired hand surgeon friend of his (I'm still amazed at all the people my father-in-law knows even after all these years!) who recommended a doctor to us that had studied under the same doctor he did.

Off we went to visit with this doctor who literally poked Michael's thumb and then declared that we were going to have to operate. We were floored. Both of us have never had surgery and this doctor, whom Michael affectionately refers to as Dr. Ass Clown now (his real name is Dr. Ira Lown), did nothing to ease our fears about the procedure or what would happen. He never even looked us in the eye and we had to ask questions that we felt we shouldn't have had to, like 1) who will perform the surgery, 2) where will it be 3) what's involved 4) will Michael be put under, etc. His attitude was cold and uncaring, his bedside manner was lacking and we felt that we were nothing but an inconvenience to this man.

We both left in tears, feeling anxious and upset. Michael called his dad to let him know what happened who then called his hand surgeon friend, who was like, "Ah, HELL no!" (Ok, maybe he didn't say that exactly, but he felt terrible about having recommended such a jerk to us) He asked to meet with us the next morning to discuss the situation and help us find another surgeon. We met with the fella the next morning in a coffee shop and immediately he did all of the things that Dr. Ass Clown should have done but didn't. He conducted some flexion tests and a pin test to see what Michael could still feel in his thumb and then explained to us the best and worst case scenarios. He also explained how the muscles and tendons in the arm and hand and thumb work together and what it looked like underneath the skin. And to top it off, he used Papa Guerra's computer to find another surgeon and then called the office to schedule an appointment as a professional courtesy!!!

Needless to say, this was much needed. We met with the other doctor, Dr. Sanjay Sharma, this morning and he was WAAAAAY better than Dr. Lown. He explained things to us, and after conducting several tests and looking at the injury in depth, decided that he wanted to see how much the wound would heal on it's own before rushing into surgery. THIS was very welcome news to us as we were looking at a 6-8 week recovery time for Michael, which is not a good thing right now. As it is, the longer Michael is out of work, the longer he goes without a paycheck which is not good for us, especially since we just moved and Christmas is next week.

Dr. Sharma also sent us to a hand therapist who made a special brace for Michael to wear to prevent him from moving his thumb back accidentally and to help keep the thumb slightly flexed. We also have stronger antibiotics since it started to look like the wound was getting infected.

Things are looking up, but it's still iffy since we have to wait until the 30th for the final verdict on surgery. In addition, with Christmas coming, things are a little tight, but we're going to see what we can do about working some Christmas miracles in the meantime. We are incredibly thankful towards "Uncle" Jim Pedicano, who has been instrumental in making this hand we've been dealt (ha ha!) much more bearable and more informed. On a side note, I am now three degrees of separation from the famous Oscar Brockett, writer of the Theatre History textbooks that every college theatre program uses, as Uncle Jim is married to the man's daughter. That bit of info is going in the vault :o)

We'll keep you all posted on the outcome as we hear it and thank you in advance for any and all prayers, well wishes, and happy thoughts sent our way!

Peace,
Kelly and Company

Monday, December 15, 2008

Elfed!

As you can see by my previous post, I have elfed the Guerra's. We're all there: Kelly, Michael, Sybilla, Gumerry and Mr. Binky. Ok, we really don't know who the hell Mr. Binky is but we had to have 5 people to make this awesome video :o)

I must have spent at least an hour picking pictures and I realized just how freaking many pictures there are of our child... way too many to count. There are very few pictures of the rest of us! Anyway, hope you laughed until you cried watching our video, which is up until January 15th 2009. I'm too cheap to drop the $4.99 to keep it, although I *might* reconsider.

It may be a bit before I post anything since this week will be crazy at work and I have lots of baking and other holiday prep to do before Christmas, so until then, we love you all and wish you a happy and blessed holiday!

K & Co.

Happy Christmas Y'all!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Friday, December 12, 2008

Welcome Wyatt and Garrett!

Congratulations to my cousin Jeff and his wife Abby, they just had their first babies on Wednesday. They were born Dec. 10th at 3:50 and 3:51PM (not sure which one was at which time). Garrett weighs 4.8 lbs. and Wyatt weighs 5.5 lbs. They look just like their daddy, which makes me a little jealous since Sybilla didn't really look like anyone when she was first born. (Now she looks a lot like her daddy!) Most twins these days are a result of fertility procedures, but these boys are gen-u-wine anomalies of nature.

Hats off to the proud parents and Merry Christmas to my Aunt Becky and Uncle Ky, who could ask for better Christmas presents?

Love,
K & Co.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Winter Wonderland

It snowed, y'all! We discovered it at 4 this morning when Billa woke up (she's teething again) and started crying for the next hour straight until I finally nursed her and put her back to bed. There wasn't very much snow, but there was about a half inch everywhere on the rooftops, ground, and cars in our complex. Yet another example of the crazy weather in Texas! Yesterday was 80 degrees F for the majority of the day and then a cold front blew through bringing the temperature down to the high 20's low 30's last night. I know that my Canadian relatives are laughing at our wussiness, but it was cold enough this morning to break out the wool sweater and puffy vest ensemble.

Of course, it will be back in the 70's for this weekend [sigh]. This is just part of the reason why Michael and I would love to move north at some point; consistent weather patterns, four seasons, and the ability to actually collect and wear nice sweaters would be a lovely novelty. The snow is pretty much gone now of course, but it was a beautiful drive this morning, with it dusting the rooftops and the trees on my way to work. I've been taking a more scenic route these days to avoid the majority of the morning traffic and it gives me time to think on my drive. A more pleasant drive makes for a more pleasant day in Kellyland :o)

I have neglected lately to give a decent account of Sybilla's growth and development. She has learned how to wave hello and bye-bye ala Miss America style. Her walking has also gotten better each day and she now tries to walk everywhere she can. She'll get in about 4 or 5 steps, then falls and crawls to someplace where she can get back up and do it again. She is eating more and more adventurous foods each day and she isn't too terribly picky, but she prefers to eat what we are having and not the premade baby food most days. Her favorite food right now is homemade waffles, which her grandmother Mary made plenty of this weekend. I sent the last one with her to school today and I know it will probably be a little while before she gets some again. I may have to invest in my own waffle iron and start making them on weekends for her!

Sybilla's personality is really starting to develop too and she embodies her monkey spirit with each passing day. She loves books and more specifically to pull them off the shelves and make a big mess. At night when we read her stories, she turns the pages. She also loves to chase the vacuum and when we fold laundry, she grabs what she can and then runs off, dusting everything in sight with said piece of laundry. This past weekend it was Daddy's underwear that got special attention. Sybilla is also very strong for a baby; she did chin ups on the baby gate last night which scared us a bit because there is the potential for the thing to topple over on her. But each time she bumps and bruises, she's learning very quickly and usually gets more upset that we try to comfort her than to let her continue on in her explorations.

We'll keep you posted on everything else that happens and post some videos and pictures soon!

Until then,
K&Co.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Is it Friday yet?

Oh. My. Hell. I need it to be Friday and Tuesday's barely half over. I should have known today would be a bad day when I had chocolate before 10:30 am. And it was the good stuff too. None of that namby pamby Hershey's crap, this was full on $6 a pop Vosges Dar Chocolate Fire Bar. On a side note, this is the best chocolate bar ever. It combines my two favorite flavors in the world: dark chocolate and spicy. Yum!

But I digress. We didn't sleep too well last night and Billa fell off the bed AGAIN this morning, although this time it was carpeted. That kid is fast. I totally saw her crawling to the edge of the bed and it didn't have to register before she was there one minute, on the floor the next. I am certain our neighbors are filing complaints with the apartment complex by now. The internet at work has been damnably slow and I am waiting for my online reporting to finally load. It's been about an hour now… I've given up hope so that I can run a production report that's due by EOD. I told my friend Beth that I have a new song in mind—"Someday my page will load" sung to the tune of "Someday my prince will come". Yargh!

I have to give a shout out to Beth who was instrumental in helping Michael and I paint Billa's room. I know that my best friend Kellie would have totally helped me, but she is 10 weeks pregnant and considering the headaches we endured from the paint fumes, suffice it to say that we kept her well away. Beth not only came last Friday to help us paint, but she came again last night and even fed the baby and gave her a bath so that Michael and I could actually eat our dinner. Thank you Beth! She can't claim all the credit for Friday's painting though; my mom was also very helpful in coming over to paint half the room and then take Billa back to the house with her to get her to bed on time while the rest of us finished the painting. Thank you Mom!

We're ALMOST done with moving. I've said it many times now over the past week and a half… next time we're using a moving company. Moving should not take two weeks and be this stressful or painful. We'll have everything moved by the end of this weekend, and maybe we'll hopefully have everything painted too, although I strongly doubt that. I have another cake to bake, actually a cake and cupcakes, for some friends of ours who are having their third and second birthdays. One will be Cars and the other Wall-e. It's a Pixar extravaganza! I'm excited about it because I love both movies and I'm sure the kids will love the cakes too.

My reporting page has FINALLY loaded so I'm off to get my report completed.
Until then,
K & Co.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sound Off: CEO Bonuses and Simplicity

I saw an article today that talks about how Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain was requesting a $10 million bonus for Christmas this year. Talk about cojones! He apparently felt that he deserved this bonus for orchestrating teh sale fo ML to Bank of America and for keeping ML's losses down to a measly $11.67 BILLION. Yes, you read that right, billion. And for those of you who are curious, that's 1.67% of the bailout Congress approved in September.

I heartily agree with the NY Attorney General that this request is shocking considering the state of the economy and that Merrill Lynch, in addition to other investment firms and banks, have all been suffering heavy hits. I have to ask though, why does someone need a $10 million bonus? I personally would love to see Mr. Thain explain to the countless children who won't be getting a Christmas this year why he deserves to get $10 million for his Christmas bonus.

And where does this $10 million come from? Because aren't the American people having to pay $700 billion to fix the excessive ways of Wall Street? Does Mr. Thain think that the American people are going to stand by and watch him roll around in our hard earned cash? Not all of us are born with a silver spoon in our mouth or the right circumstances to spend our adult lives twiddling our thumbs while earning $10 million bonuses (which is a piddling amount compared to bonuses in years past I'm sure). It's true that there are a few people in history who have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and gone from trash to treasure, but considering there are 300 million and counting in this country, that's the exception, not the norm.

Here's my suggestion to Mr. Thain and the Merrill Lynch BoD: Give the $10 million to charity in Mr. Thain's name… he can still feel like he got a cool $10 mil, quite a few families will actually get to celebrate a joyous holiday this year, and the American people will feel a little less slighted than they already do.


I told myself I would try and keep economy doom and gloom off the blog, but I just HAD to comment on this. So excuse me a moment whilst I climb up on my soapbox here (it's a long climb)....

I think the whole thing boils down to this: why can't everyone learn to live within their means and more simply? I really think that the majority of our issues--global warming, pollution, Wall Street failing, poverty, etc--are due to all of us not learning to live a little bit more simply. We're too excited about the next big technological advance and we don't stop and think long enough about what the true impact of that might be (myself included). Apparently we are a very insecure group of people as we have to use 'stuff' to generate our self-worth. And yes, this would be a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black, as I too am a victim of this 'stuff' syndrome.

One of my resolutions for the new year, which will actually start now, is to start culling my stuff and live a bit more simply. If I don't have room for it, it's gone. Every quarter I'll clean out the closet and cull more stuff. I'll give gifts that are consumable and practical, not kitchsy and cluttery. I'll recycle more and try to reuse more items around my house so I reduce my waste but also reduce the need to buy more things. I'll reinvent the stuff I have or trade it with others. We'll save more money and try to reduce our extraneous spending. I think I'll track all of this and see what happens! I welcome any and all suggestions on living more frugally and simply and I encourage all fo you to find ways in which to live more frugally this next year. Maybe together we can stop the syndrome and find fulfillment in our current condition.

Until the next time!
K & Co.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Saga of Mia: Concluded!

Hello all!

Just when you think nothing is going right, something good and unexpected appears...per my Aunt Ann below:

It's over! The court terminated the parental rights of Mia's parents and the adoption is scheduled for January 30, her first birthday!
We are so relieved and happy, what a Christmas gift she is. They were here for Thanksgiving and we enjoyed her so much. God is good! Ann


Thank you to everyone for your prayers, well-wishes, and good thoughts! We are so blessed to have Mia as part of our extended family and thankful that this trial of hardship is OVER.

Happy Friday to all!
K & Co.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

In memoriam: Dr. Byron Kocen

I found out yesterday that the pediatrician of my childhood, Dr. Byron Kocen, passed away this past Saturday as a result of open heart surgery. He was 75.

A lot of people don't look back at doctor's visits as enjoyable memories, especially when they are full of shots and other unpleasant things, but visits to Dr. Kocen were always fun. He loved tropical fish and had many tanks filled with fish of all colors and sizes in his office. We loved to stare at the fish as we waited for our appointments. He'd check our ears for billygoats, ask us all sorts of questions, tell us jokes, and sometimes perform magic tricks. He was a jolly man who had a love for children and related easily to them. Most kids don't continue to see their pediatrician until they're 15 or so, but he was an extraordinary doctor who really knew how to make a kid feel better and was the kind of doctor I hoped my own children could see someday.

Through his personal experience and work with ADD, Dr. Kocen was instrumental in helping my family understand not only what ADD is, but to also see the gifts hidden within it. The way he described ADD as "Attention Creative Difference" was just yet another example of how this incredible man viewed life and a disorder that many people think poorly of. His compassion for all people and the drive to make the world a better place are indicative of the quality of his character. Another blog writer felt that the world is a little bit darker, colder, and lonelier now that he's gone, but I beg to differ. The world is a much better place from his time here and while he will be sorely missed, his influence will continue to grow and inspire more people to follow in his footsteps.

Until we meet again old friend,
K & Co.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving, Probably More Pink, and Moving Day!

Hello all!

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was laid back and well spent. Our good friends, the Marino's, recently bought their first house and we decided that we had to help them break it in with it's first Turkey Day. Kellie and I went all out with the food, making way too much in our excitement. Michael & I contributed the pumpkin cheesecake, sweet potato casserole, rolls, orange-cranberry dipping sauce, and wine. The Marino's did the turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, cherry pie, brownies, and the classic "Creamy Fruit Salad with Marshmallows of a Thousand Names." Yes, that stuff that is known as Hearts of Gold, Five Cup Salad, Ambrosia, Waldorf Salad, Daddy Salad, etc. The names are many, the recipe is the same: sour cream, sugar, fruit, and marshmallows. I personally am not a fan of the stuff, but I can appreciate the history and the kitsch that surrounds it.

We stuffed ourselves silly, then sat down to watch the most awful and ridiculous movie ever, Love Guru. Seriously, it's a good thing we were all so blitzed from turkey and potatoes and everything else that we mostly slept through a good portion of it, because what little I did happen to watch, I wished I had a huge bottle of brain bleach to scrub it from my head. Austin Powers was clever and silly, this was just retarded and crass. I'd almost rather watch the live action Scooby Doo over this. Yeesh!

After we vegged out and digested a little, we sat down for dessert. While we were eating dessert, Madeleine made a comment about her birthday coming up in January. I asked her what kind of cake she wanted me to make her, and without missing a beat, responded: "A Barbie castle cake." Ok, well I like a kid who knows what she wants! So then I asked her what color she wanted it, knowing she would answer pink. I was not disappointed. I then asked her what secondary color would be ok to put on the cake and she told me, "Probably more pink." Michael nearly choked on his cheesecake, he was laughing so hard. I tell you what, I need to stop being amazed at what three year olds tell me, especially the three year olds I know! In addition, Madeleine wants said cake to be "pink cake" meaning strawberry flavored, so this confectionary concoction will be pink on pink on pink! I thought about titling it "Pretty in Pink", but Madeleine's daddy says I should just call it "Probably More Pink." So I will. Anthony also came up with this pearl, which I just HAVE to share. Right now the campaign for Windows is "Life without walls." Anthony's response: "If you live life without walls, why would you need Windows?" Brilliance.

And lastly, we got good news on Wednesday: we get to move early! We are starting our move tomorrow and we are so excited! The only bad thing is we won't be able to actually stay the night until Monday, because I wasn't able to get the gas turn on moved to this weekend, so Monday it is! But the cable guy is coming on Sunday and my brothers are in town for Thanksgiving, and Kellie's laundry baskets are empty, so we're moving anyway! This makes things way easier, because we were going to have to take little loads all week and then move the furniture on the 6th. We also have more time to paint before we finish everything, which I was a little worried about. We'll definitely be posting pictures when everything is all done.

So that wraps things up for now. A belated Happy Birthday to Gigi (Michael's mom) and Auntie Cait (Michael's sister) who celebrated big milestones this week: Judy is 50 and Caitlyn is 18! We love you! Hopefully the next post will be from inside the new apartment and with pictures. In the meantime, enjoy this little video of our budding Mozart...

Cheers!


video

Monday, November 24, 2008

These Feet Were Made For Walkin'...

It's official! Baby the Billa is WALKING!

The past couple of days she's been taking one step here and there and getting very close. Last night, we sat around watching the Jeff Dunham Christmas Special on Comedy Central (which if you haven't seen any of his stuff you need to-he is an incredibly talented and funny ventriloquist!) and Akhmed the Dead Terrorist was doing his bit. Billa wa son the floor playing with my mom and we were all glued to the boob tube when Michael looks at Billa and blurts out, "Hey! She's walking!" We all turn to watch her and sure enough, she took three steps. We got her to do it again, and on the third time, Mommy grabbed the camera and started filming. Yes, my friends, I have my child's first steps in all their glory right here for you to view. See it and weep, because a new era is dawning. Well, I'M weeping anyway. My baby girl isn't so little anymore! (And in case you were wondering, Kellie's daughter Madeleine calls Sybilla "Baby the Billa.")

We took our Christmas pictures yesterday at Portrait Innovations and came out with some great photos and a much emptier wallet. Many thanks go out to my friend Robyn who suggested the place. She's been to so many picture places and out of all of them, she gave PI top scores. And boy did they deliver! Our photographer Jillian was amazing with Billa and she got more smiles out of the baby than she did us. I've posted a slideshow of the photos for your perusal. Relatives, you may want to wait until after the holidays before printing any of them, hint hint :o) We had a great experience and are planning to go back for Billa's first birthday pictures.

Our moving day is one week away and I am beginning to panic. We're lucky that we could gradually move things in if we wanted since it's not like someone is coming to take our place in three days, but I really don't want to take three weeks to move. I've packed up most of the books and some of the kitchen stuff, Michael packed some tchotchkes and the CD's and DVD's. Since our move in date is on a Monday, we'll be taking little loads and painting during the week and then we will move all of the furniture and big boxes on the weekend. Again, I'm taking volunteers. If I have to bribe you with some tasty treats from Billa Cakes, I'll do it!

Anyhoo, it's late and we have to get up early. Enjoy the video and pictures and visit us again real soon!

Love,
K & Co.
video

Friday, November 21, 2008

9 Months Old!

Billa is 9 months old today! Only three more months 'til my little firecracker turns one. I never thought we'd get this far so fast, but time really does fly when you have children. And so much has happened in nine months! We've mastered breastfeeding, started babbling, recognize our name, laugh and smile and dance, and progressed from rolling, to scooting, to crawling, to pulling up and cruising along the coffee table, and soon, we'll be walking!

Sybilla took another step last night. She was trying to climb my legs to get at the food I was making for her dinner, which I then passed off to her daddy. We've been trying to teach her to follow us when we beckon, so Michael told her to follow him as he walked out of the room with her dinner. She stood there and you could tell just how much she wanted to follow him. Her little foot crept forward cautiously, paused for a second, and then she dropped to her knees and crawled faster than the speed of light for chowtime. Her Papa (my dad) can vouch for this!

In terms of breastfeeding, once I'd made it to 3 months, I wanted to go to 6 months. And at 6 months, I wanted to make it to 9. And now that we’re here, I'm hoping to make it to Christmas! Sybilla is still breastfeeding, but only in the morning when she wakes up and at night before she goes to bed. Occasionally I will feed her during the weekday if we're home. I stopped pumping some time ago, so we're doing formula for all of her other feedings. Costco has a pretty good price on Similac and one of those containers can last me about 3 weeks with her current drinking patterns.

Breastfeeding has taken on a whole new challenge now that she is more mobile; her newest thing is to switch from side to side while sitting. And when she gets really excited, its like she's playing the bongos. [sigh] I miss the days of laying down and nursing in bed, but there are apparently more interesting things to do than nurse. But as soon as the buffet closes she discovers she's hungry. Go figure.

Now that Sybilla has two teeth (no more have made an appearance just yet!) she loves to eat with her fingers. Peas, steamed carrots, mashed potatoes, Gerber Puffs, Cheerios, and overcooked noodles are the foods we've explored so far. I've given her small pieces of cheese and turkey (REAL turkey, not sammich turkey) which she has also loved immensely. I'm starting to get really tired of making baby food, so I'm hoping more teeth will appear shortly so that we can continue onwards and upwards with finger foods.

It also seems like Billa can't get enough to eat, which is really surprising, because the girl can EAT. Proportionally, I think she puts her daddy to shame with what she can consume. If she's going through another growth spurt, God help us! I just bought more shirts for her and I had to get the 18 month size. We weighed Sybilla against Cameron and Madeleine the other day. Cameron is 2 and weighs about 29 pounds. Madeleine is 4 and she weighed in at 35 pounds. My child has not even hit one year and she's 21, probably 22 pounds by now. Cameron's a big boy, and it blows my mind to think that my daughter is 16 months younger and weighs only a few pounds shy of his weight!

So that's the latest update in Billa Land! With the holidays coming, we're going to get our pictures taken on Sunday and we'll post those as soon as we get them. I'm trying to get a jumpstart on all of the holiday stuff especially since we're moving in just two weeks (!) and time will really be crunched as a result. So on that note, I bid you adieu!

Love,
K & Co

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sound Off: Why my job is awesome!

Ah, the holidays. I saw a headline this morning that said retail consumer spending is at an all time low. Maybe with the economic crisis we're facing, more folks will actually get into the spirit of the holiday and focus more on family and not on stuff. Maybe too, we'll have less crazies at the mall and on the road. And while we're wishin', maybe Central Texas will get some snow on Christmas!!!!

All the wishing aside, I had to share some really funny things from work today. The first one is some thoughts my friend John had on the good ol' days. John is not much older than my 26 years and he sent me an email talking about how kids have it so good these days. The funny thing is, I'm not yet 30 and I remember vividly the days pre-internet, Caller ID/Call Waiting, PlayStation3 and DVD players (I suppose that's a result of growing up in a rural community). One of the comments in particular was about how there weren't any microwaves.

I know for a fact that this is not entirely true, as Microwaves have been around since the 50's. So ok, the boxes of convenient cooking we have all come to know and love might not have been here since then, but they've been around at least since 1971 when the government placed stringent regulations on microwaves sold in the US. Michael and I inherited his parents old microwave from the 80's, named "The Genius". An IM conversation ensued betwixt John and yours truly discussing the merits of said microwave and other blasts from the past.

I mentioned to John my friend Kellie's irrational fear of "The Genius" nuking myself and Michael and any unborn children and this sparked a further discussion of whether or not microwave ovens emitted radiation (Which technically they do, but not the nuclear kind. The electromagnetic waves are at the right frequency to excite water molecules which then heats them and thereby cooks our food since the majority of our foodstuffs is water based in some way.). The only danger one has from a microwave is if they put something metal inside (since microwaves reflect off of metal) and if you boil water in a narrow necked container – it will explode on you when you open the door, causing severe burns. I saw Alton Brown do it on his TV show once and it was pretty cool. So ignore those dumb chain emails telling you not to boil water in the microwave; just be smart about it and you won't get burned. And you shouldn't put a live creature into the microwave either. That's just not cool.

Kellie still avoids standing in front of the microwave whenever she can, despite the fact "The Genius" has long since departed. Everyone has their quirks: Tracie had her thing about poisoned food, Debi hates chicken, and I can't stand the way my groceries are bagged. But I digress.

The other bit of office fun is this call for music for our upcoming office holiday party:

"So do you ever go to a holiday party and think "Man, this is the worst holiday music I've ever heard!" Yeah, me too. Happens all the time!!!
Well, now's your chance to shape the future of holiday parties.

This year the music for our holiday party is literally in your hands! (okay, not literally, unless you have a CD you're holding)

We are looking for the greatest holiday-themed party music of all time to play at our shindig on December 10. If you have any suggestions, please reply to this email. No suggestion will be mocked, shunned or otherwise ignored.

And if we don't get any requests, then we're going to have to stick to the default playlist, which includes these timeless favorites:

--Jingle Bells by those barking dogs
--Frosty the Snowman by Alvin and the Chipmunks
--Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland by Sheena Easton
--Hey, it's chill in here, yo! by Nick Carter
--Let me Sleep by Pearl Jam
--Get outta my snowflake, flake! by Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong
--Turkey Stuffin' by Snoop Dogg

You can see this is a worthy cause so please don't hesitate and suggest a song today!"

I had no idea some of these songs even existed, which makes me kind of want to listen to them at least once just to see how truly awful they are.

So there you have it, the joys of my job. [sigh] I love my job.

Happy Friday!
K&Co.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Steppin' Out With My Baby...

I just love that song and it makes a most appropriate blog title as Little S took a first tentative step TWICE yesterday. Yes, folks, the munchkin is one...er, two steps closer to walking! Expect to read more about face planting Sybilla as she takes tumble after tumble whilst trying to make one small step for munchkinkind. The steps were very shaky but they were steps. She took one step towards a chair and the second time was a step towards her toys. And she allowed me to hold her little arms up while I 'walked' her across the floor. She still loves to crawl and holy cow is she fast...sometimes I can't catch up! [sigh] My baby is growing up. Just this morning, she stopped nursing long enough to smile up at me and wave. I have no idea if it was her intention to tell me hello, but I'd like to think it was and it just melted me. I get all teary eyed thinking about it.

We're going to start trying to teach her some sign language so she's not grunting and screaming as much. I know some parents who were really successful with it and others who gave up after some time because their child never progressed beyond 'bye bye'. If I can at least teach her to say 'more' and 'milk' I'll be thrilled. Hell, it wouldn't hurt if she signed 'mommy' too, seeing as how she can't say it! The book I'm using is very encouraging and informative and it says to start out with only a couple of words so as not to overwhelm the baby. I'd like to think 'more', 'milk', 'mommy', 'daddy', and 'eat' would be my top picks. We'll see how it goes!

Sybilla has two full grown little chompers now and boy are they sharp! She has not bitten me too hard yet, but God help all the plastic in the house. No clue on when her next ones will come in, but now that she has two teeth, we are starting to give her more finger foods. She loves mashed potatoes and we can buy ourselves almost 5 minutes of quiet by throwing a big blob on her high chair tray and letting her go to town. She especially likes them cold, which probably is fun for her fingers and her gums. Peas are fun to watch... she chases them around on the tray and tries to catch them. Her pincer grasp is getting better each day, but she still shoves her whole hand in her mouth once she has the food in it. C'est la vie! We've also reached the point where Billa has to eat when we're eating. Either that, or she has to try what Mommy and Daddy are shoving in their pieholes. She had Club crackers and a little tiny bit of sugar cookie last night, both of which she enjoyed immensely.

And for our last news segment for today, the Guerra's are moving! We will be moving into a new apartment on December 1st, which just happens to be five minutes from daycare, the library, Aunt Kellie and Uncle Anthony's, the grocery store and one minute from Mopac. It's a third floor, which guarantees exercise for Mommy & Daddy and a big patio for Kiddie & Kitty to play on without disappearing. We will also have a fireplace, a garden tub, a large kitchen, and almost 1300 sq ft of space for our little family. And the best part of all, we get to paint the walls! YES!!!! This means that I am finally going to decorate Billa's room the way I always wanted to: mint green walls with a tree mural on which I will hang pictures of various family members. I will definitely be posting pictures as soon as it's all done. I'm taking volunteers to help us paint the baby's room, the living room, and move furniture :o)

Needless to say, there's a lot going on in our lives and we are thrilled! We'll keep you posted as things happen and load up some pictures and other stuff soon.

Love to you all,
K & Co.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Billa Vs. The Box

Here's a video I made a little while back. I tried to load it last week and I experienced an epic FAIL as it wouldn't do it. The second verse is same as the first!

Happy Veteran's Day! Well, ok, maybe that's a little morbid considering today is the day we honor all the veterans of war the USA has fought, but I am happy today because without their sacrifice, I wouldn't be blogging. To all my friends and relatives who have served, thank you!

Love,
Kelly & The Gang

video

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ooorah!

My dear friend Debi is a Marine and this day is very special to her... it's the Marine Corps' birthday! So here is a shoutout to all Marine Corps peeps... Happy Birthday Jarheads, Grunts, Devil Dogs, and Leathernecks! We have much to be thankful for, thanks to you.

Debi is also Sybilla's godmother and she was my left hand woman while I gave birth (quite literally!). She is one tough hot mama and dear to my heart. I am also a jerk and totally got her birthday wrong, so her birthday present is a blog entry devoted solely to her (not that she ever has time to read it in depth, LOL). And a really cute picture of Billa, when she stops moving long enough for mommy to get a really good one :o)

Happy Birthday Marines and Debi!
K & Co.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obamanos!

I originally thought I wouldn't even bother mentioning it since it's everywhere on the news, but what the hey... in case you've been living under a rock on Mars, Obama is our president elect. It's crazy to think we will have a black president when almost 40 years ago there was still segregation in the South. To put that into perspective, my parents were preteens! It's a testament to how quickly things are changing this day and age!

Love,
K & Co.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween and the Worst Game Ever

First off, we are so sad cause our #1 ranked Longhorns lost to the Red Raiders last night in what was a Hail Mary bid for the win by Tech. We went to Hooters with our friends Zander and Sarah to celebrate Zander's 27th birthday (Happy Birthday buddy!) and we had a great time until the end. It was a very close game and we were really disappointed by the way the Horns played. I have to begrudgingly hand it to the Raiders...they played a damn good game and man, can those boys run!!! I still think they must have greased themselves up since Texas had a hard time making their tackles on them. The Raiders were slippery as eels! We had two opportunities to sock it to the Raiders and we missed them both: a possible interception was dropped at the last second and the Horns failed to bring the player with the winning touchdown out of bounds with only 2 seconds to go. Colt McCoy's face matched my own as we stared in disbelief. [sigh] I have to keep telling myself it's only a game, but losing still sucks. The Horns have played a good season so far and we will see where they rank in the next day or so. As the commercials say, every week can change the season. We'll still probably get the Big 12 championship and Michael thinks that it is still possible for us to make it to the National Championship, but I doubt that. We shall see! Alabama, USC, LSU and all the other top ranked teams could still lose big :o)

In other happier news, Halloween was a blast! Well the part that came AFTER the three hour long doctor visit complete with bloodwork, chest xray and attempted collection of a urine sample, anyway. Billa's fever came back and since it was Day 4 with a fever, Dr. Patil wanted to see her again. So Mommy left work early and took Sybilla to the doctor. Pray you never have to get a chest xray for your baby -- it's not pretty. The xray tech was asking me about Sybilla's name which is a medieval name shared by one of the queens of Jerusalem from between the second and third crusades. Well that segued into him telling me about the medieval torture device they were going to place my child in to get her xrays, something called a pigglestack (AUTHOR'S NOTE: I took the time to actually try and find the correct name and a picture of this device...it is really called a Pigg-O-Stat, but I like pigglestack better so we're sticking with it. On another note, I think the child in the picture has been doped because the minute those damn plastic shields close, the child enclosed starts screaming bloody murder).

The Pigg-O-Stat is a Medieval torture device. AKA Pigglestack in the Guerra household.

They literally strapped my kid into this plastic device that held her arms over her head and spun her around so they could get the angles they needed. Sybilla's screaming just about made me morph in Maniac Mommy and claw the xray staff to bits. Anyway, the good thing about having been in the doctor's office for three hours was that we got all the results while there and then discovered that Sybilla did not have a cold, but a virus called Roseola. Basically, it's a high fever for three or four days followed by a red blotchy rash all over her body. When Dr. Patil examined her the first time, there was no rash. By the time we left, there was a rash, so Dr. Patil was able to identify it. Once the rash is there, the baby is no longer contagious, so we were free to go visit the Marino family for Halloween fun!

And fun we did have! Madeleine had so much fun trick or treating and Sybilla got Mommy and Daddy lots of candy. Daddy was a little too honest at the first house we went to and Mommy had to educate Daddy about how trick or treating with babies works: you collect the candy for BABY, and then Mommy and Daddy eat it when they get home. Madeleine's little brother Cameron did NOT want to get dressed in his dragon costume but once we made it to the first two houses he finally figured out the equation: costume = candy! He was very polite too... Madeleine would say trick or treat, they'd get their candy, and the homeowner would get a big "Dank oo!" from Cameron. He'd been sick too, so Cameron and Kellie headed back to the house while Anthony, Michael and I continued to take Billa and Madeleine to a few more houses. Everyone loved Billa's monkey costume and we got some great family photos. Michael and I decided to go as gypsies to play to Billa's organ grinder's monkey. As the Hooters saying goes, delightfully tacky yet so refined :o) Please check out the album here!

Sybilla the Monkey!

I realize I haven't really blogged about Sybilla's growth lately, so here's a quick recap: we weighed in at 21 pounds at the doctor's office on Friday and we are only 8 months and 2 weeks old now! Yes, she has outgrown some of her 12 month stuff and I am having to buy her 18 month old stuff. We have pretty much gone through the majority of the hand me downs from Madeleine, so Mommy's going to have to start forking over cash for clothes now. Boo :o(

We also have two teeth coming in! The left one is pushing up faster but they are both there, making up for lost time. We've also gone to formula half the time now. When I got really sick a couple of weeks ago, my milk production suddenly dropped and I haven't been able to bring it back up. Billa only nurses for a few minutes anyway, and she's taken to the formula well. We're still nursing at night and in the morning and on weekends, but I have accepted that formula is ok. It wasn't that I ever had a problem with it, it was the price of formula I had a problem with. I am thankful at least that I don't have to buy the special Alimentum kind like my friend Robyn... I've been saving all of my Similac coupons for her since that stuff is twice the price of the regular! And that's the little can!! Ouch!

And finally, if you haven't voted, go vote! I don't care who you vote for, just get out there and exercise your right. The men and women of the armed forces aren't giving their lives so that you can sit on your keister and twiddle your thumbs. So go vote!

Until next time,
K & Co.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sick Baby!

Heavens to Betsy, what a week and it's not even over yet! Halloween is tomorrow and there is still much to be done. I have to bake a pumpkin cheesecake for the office (AND home or the natives will get restless), make my costume, tweak some things on Sybilla's costume, and make her Halloween candy bucket. I probably would have completed all of this earlier if it hadn't been for poor Billa getting sick.

We got home on Tuesday and when I pulled her out of the car, she felt warmer than normal. Lo and behold, her temperature was 100.6. I gave her some Motrin and we went about business as usual. I took her temperature again later that night and it had gone up by a degree. I gave her more Motrin and prepared myself for the possibility of staying home from work. The next morning, her temperature had gone up again and she was coughing something fierce, so I made an appointment with Dr. Patil.

The doc looked her over, asked about her symptoms, took her temperature (which was 102.8 now!) and decided that what Sybilla had was a cold. The only thing we could do was get a humidifier for her "juicy" cough, saline drops for her congested nose, and Motrin/Tylenol for the fever. So Mommy went to the baby store and Target to procure said items, stopped by the office to grab a couple of things to work on, and headed home to wait out the fever. We kept up the Motrin, but her fever kept going up, reaching 103.8 about midnight. On the suggestion of Aunt Kellie, Daddy went out to get Tylenol and some more Motrin since we were now almost out. While alternating Tylenol and Motrin doesn't necessarily make any difference, Kellie said that sometimes it was the only thing that would stop a stubborn fever in her kids. We didn't actually get around to using the Tylenol, so it appears that the Motrin did its job as her fever finally broke at 4 am.

People always told me that having kids would change your life, and I thought they just meant your schedule, your priorities, and your grocery list. But it changes you emotionally too. Before I had Sybilla, if it had been anybody else's kid, I would have been cool as a cucumber in this situation. But seeing Sybilla so listless and in pain just about broke my heart. I was near tears every time I touched her little body and felt it burn; I felt so helpless and it killed me to know that I couldn't physically make her well. Seeing her laughing and giggling and running everywhere this morning just made all of the stress I'd had from the past two days disappear.

How could you not love this face?

I truly understand now why some mommies and daddies suddenly become irrational people who would punch your lights out if you so much as look at their kid wrong. When you've carried that little person around in your belly for so long, they aren't just another human being, they are a piece of your heart, and when they hurt, you hurt. I am so thankful that it's over now and that she's better. Now if I can just prevent us all from getting sick again!

I'll be posting again later after the Halloween festivities!
Love,
K & Co.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mia Update #3

Hi all! Here is an update from my cousin Erin on the Saga of Mia...Please keep praying/crossing your fingers/thinking happy thoughts, things seem to be looking up:

Well I don't want anyone to waste time praying for us tomorrow, cause we're not going to San Antonio after all! : ) Mia's biological father did not do what he needed to do for the visit to occur, so it is indefinitely postponed. It's not over, but it's really good news for us. We'll let you know any more news as it comes along, for now we are very happy and relieved and we have lots of hope for the future.
Thank you for your prayers!
Blessings,
Erin, Nick, Bella and Mia

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mia Update #2!

Hi all! Here is another update from my cousin Erin on the Saga of Mia:

Hi, first thank you for all your prayers and now we need to ask you for a few more.According to her caseworker, Mia's biological father is strongly considering terminating his rights so we can adopt her, but he has not made the decision yet. He would like to meet us and the baby so we are going to San Antonio next Thursday for a surpervised visit with him and his wife. Please keep us in prayer as it will be a stressful time for all, including the father. Based on Mia's absolute cuteness (I attached a picture) we are worried that he will fall in love with her, but she doesn't really like strangers so we're hoping that comes across with lots of loud crying during the visit : ) We'll give you an update as soon as we know more, thanks so much for your prayers.

Blessings,
Erin and Nick

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You!

For all of you who don't bleed burnt orange (that's Ok, God loves you too ;o), tomorrow is the Red River Shootout. I don't care that they have changed it to Rivalry, for the Guerra Gang it will always be SHOOTOUT.

So here's a little something to get in the spirit! We love Matthew and we love UT! HOOK 'EM!!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mia Update!

For all of you who have been praying for my cousin Erin and her family, below is an update from my aunt. Please keep sending those prayers and good vibes out and thank you all!

From Antie Ann: I spoke with Erin yesterday and they are hoping no news is good news but there is still no resolution to the dilemma re: the paternity issue. Mia is oblivious to the turmoil in her parents hearts and continues to be a delight in their lives! She passed an OT evaluation yesterday with flying colors so all is well. BUT, don't stop praying, since the dad has not responded to the department does not mean that this is over by any means. There is a hearing scheduled for Dec. 4 so we wait anxiously.......... : )

Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy Friday: Everything Lol

Happy Friday!

In the spirit of Fun Fridays, I decided to share with you my favorite obsession: LOLCATZ. I just love lolcatz and other lolz. For those not up to date on the latest internet memes, lolcatz are basically pictures of cats (or other things) that have gramatically wrong but funny captions added to them. There is a whole science to the wording and phrasing, which just tickles me pink. My favorite website to view them is www.icanhascheezburger.com which also has spin offs for dogs, political pictures, lookalikes, and now celebrities. They also have something called GraphJam, but that one you will have to see to understand it. I like to visit these websites (which are all linked through ICHC) for a quick me pick me up and sometimes I save my favorite for laughs later. I have added the baby ones here for you, but if you'd like to see my other faves, go to our Picasa page and click on the Lol*s album.

Enjoy!






Love, K & Co.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Prayers for Mia!

Hi all,

Some of you may remember awhile back that some of my family members were in town and that Billa got to meet her second cousins Isabella and Mia. Mia was adopted 6.5 months ago (she's 8 months now) and we just received word that the paternity test came back and the biological father is considering having Mia removed from my cousin's home and placed in his. We're asking for any and all prayers, well wishes, fingers crossed, etc in hopes that he will not make this decision. My cousin and her family went through so much and have opened not only their home but their hearts to Mia. She hasn't known any other family besides my cousin's and Erin is worried for how this might affect Mia.

Mia and Billa playing together at my grandmother's house - 8/08

I may not be that religious, but I do believe in the power of prayer and that where one or more are gathered in His name, He is there. Thank you in advance for your prayers and hopefully we will have some good news soon!

Love, Kelly and Company

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Then and Now

Just for kicks...I was rummaging through old photos the other day trying to find some baby pictures of myself to compare with Sybilla's pictures. Billa has my coloring (hair and all), my nose and lips, and I think she has my eyes too. Her daddy's eyes are more almond shaped than mine and Billa's are big and round. Her little face is much rounder than mine (she looks like a cabbage patch kid!) and she has big ears, but not big monkey ears like me :o) Enjoy this blast from the past and hopefully I can get some baby pictures from Michael's family to post so we can compare Billa to him!

Mommy (L) and Billa (R) about 2 weeks old:


Mommy (L) and Billa (R) at 7 months:


Love,
K & Co.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sound Off: Wacky PETA at it again!

Amidst the doom and gloom of the financial failure our economy is facing, I decided to sound off on something more humorous and closer to home, or rather, my face as the case may be. I was dinking on the internet tonight and apparently the second most hotly debated topic is PETA's latest crazy shenanigans: urging Ben and Jerry to make ice cream from breast milk. Yes, my friends, you read that right. The Peeps for Ethical Treatment of Animals wants to take my breasty bounty and make delightful creamy treats with it.

Now that you've caught your breath and gotten up off the floor from laughing so hard, I will admit, I am curious to see how ice cream made from breast milk would taste. Talk about the perfect teething product!!!!! It'd be cold, it'd be nutritious and baby would be soothed and well-fed in one!

But I would be remiss if I did not allow my inner Practical Polly to appear and point out the glaring logistical error that PETA has made, namely, where the hell do they think all of that milk will come from? I'm guessing they all hate ice cream, because how much milk do they think mommies make? From what I've heard from other moms, I am extremely blessed to produce 8-10 ounces in a 20-25 minute pumping session. It takes 7 cups of milk, or 56 ounces, to make one half gallon of ice cream in my ice cream maker. I'd have to pump 7 times minimum to get enough for one full sized container of Blue Bell. I'm soooo glad that PETA thinks it's OK to starve the babies of this country in order to save a cow from being milked. And if all the cows were freed, what would we do with them? Are cows going to become the next celebrity pet? Move over, Chihuahuas and Kinkajous of America... make way for Cows!!!! I would also venture to say that PETA members must not have breastfed their children, since they are not familiar with engorgement. A cow has to be milked otherwise they will be in some serious pain. Ask any mom who has ever breastfed--engorgement is no laughing matter!

It amazes me that this crazy organization has such a strong following. Why do we allow such crazy to be in power? (This reminds me of another similar question I have often asked, but I won't mention names) I can understand advocacy against cruelty to animals, but some of the things they consider cruelty is downright ridiculous. Dogfighting? Cruel. Drowning kittens? Sick. But milking cows? Not so much.

Now don't get your panties in a bunch and sit there and tell me that I have no idea what those poor cows go through. I know perfectly well what it feels like to be a milk cow. Every day I hook myself up to a milking machine several times to make mama juice for my kid, so you can just go and drink that tall glass of ice cold, creamy, frothy milk with those hot, fresh out of the oven, gooey chocolate chip cookies and get out of my face.

Anyway, PETA can't change 10,000 years of domestication with saran wrapped interns and pornographic ad campaigns (I'm sure there is something ironical about sex and meat in that). PETA wouldn't exist today if it weren't for our prehistoric ancestors milking a goat. I think they'd be better off changing it's name to People for the Ethical Treatment of Humans (PETH). They could definitely take their $30 million annual budget and do some serious good in this country, like feeding the homeless, green energy, or making sure schools have the money they need to better educate our children. Hell, if they wanna stick with the animal theme, then how about fighting the overpopulation of pets or financing pet schools or educating pet owners on potty etiquette!

In the meantime, I'm going to go make some mama juice and figure out how I'm going to make a mint off of breast milk ice cream for babies...Boobies 'n' cream, anyone?

Nos vemos,
Kelly

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Giant Gerbil Balls and Bookworm Billa

It's not everyday that one can claim to have had the worst day of their life, but seeing as how Billa is only 7 months old at this point, she could definitely say that yesterday was the worst of the 219 she's experienced so far. (And in case you're wondering, yes, I really did spend time calculating that out)

Our tale starts when I left Billa asleep on our bed, surrounded by pillows, while I went to the bathroom. I finished the first most important task, checked on her and she was still asleep. I had just finished my second most important task, washing my face, when I heard a thump followed by a scream and crying. Mommy's worst nightmare became reality.

I ran into the bedroom to discover that my child had woken up, crawled over the pillows to my bedside table to play with the alarm clock and had fallen off the table, presumably when it slid over from her scooting onto it. I couldn't see her at first which almost made me lose it altogether, but I managed to remain calm enough to see her little hand from behind the table. I yanked the table aside totally forgetting that the aforementioned alarm clock was still on it, and still plugged in, so it came hurtling down onto poor Billa's head. Granted, it doesn't even weigh close to a pound, but no one likes being kicked when they're down.

She finally calmed down after a few minutes and many tears on both sides and we started to go about our business. I've always said kids were resilient, and she was up and scooting about in no time, but I still felt leery (and very guilty) so I looked in the Baby 411 book and decided to call the doctor. They weren't open yet (this was 7 am) so I talked to a nurse on call who sounded confident that the baby would be ok, but that if we saw any signs of bleeding, vomiting, etc to call Dr. Patil immediately.

Of course, when it rains, it pours and Billa bonked her head again a couple of hours later while playing downstairs in front of the living room windows. She was crawling to the window and lost her footing and smack! hit the windowsill with her forehead which is at her waist level. More tears and now we had a total of 3 goose eggs, 4 small bruises, and 1 unhappy baby. I decided to take her to the doctor to make sure everything was ok, especially since it was Friday and I'd rather avoid the ER over the weekend if I could.

The doctor made me feel better by telling me that I wasn't the first, nor would I be the last, parent to have this happen to them, and that in fact, her son had done it several times. Still, no one likes to deal with it. She gave Billa a clean bill of health and also recommended that while we were there we get the first of our two flu shots since they actually had some in stock. (On a side note, I have to take her back in a month from now, but I can't make the appt until two days prior since they don't know when or how much flu shot they will be getting. Lovely.)

So all in all, Sybilla had a terrible day what with multiple head bonkings and shots. I swear, I really need a giant gerbil ball for her so she doesn't hurt herself. Someone could make a killing selling those to paranoid parents!

Developmentally, she's gotten really good at crawling fast and pulling herself up to standing. Now she is learning to balance and lets go to stand still for several seconds! I'm certainly convinced that she'll most likely be walking by Christmas. Ah, how quickly babies grow! [sniff] Our little chunky monkey is catching up to Gumerry; she's only 3 pounds shy of his weight now. They weighed her at the doctor's office and she is 19.8 pounds. I had to buy her new clothes the other day since it's still so hot and we don't really have any good 12 month clothes for her. Yeah, you read that right, 12 month clothes. We have tons of cute dresses, but it's hard to crawl in those without tripping. (For anyone who ever considers giving clothes to parents for a new baby girl, here are two suggestions: 1. don't buy anything smaller than 3-6 months; 2. buy for the appropriate season and age! and 3. skip the cute dresses and give 'em cute seperates instead...it will cut down on the accidents as they get older and move more!)

Well, it is definitely bed time, and I leave you with a short clip taken about a month ago. I've been slow at editing the videos... I am hoping to make a compilation DVD for all of the grandparents as part of their Christmas present this year, but other things have cropped up. This one is short and sweet and cute... enjoy, and as usual,

Until next time,
K & Co.

video

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Slideshow is Posted!

New slideshow is posted... click on it to open up Picasa where you can view it bigger! Prayers to our friends and family in Baytown and Houston...we're thinking of you!

K & Co.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A New Princess in Town...

This entry will be relatively short, as I am feeling a bit under the weather and will actually make it into bed by 10 pm... shocker. Hurricane Ike is bearing down on the Texas coast and our thoughts are with all of our friends and family members that are in affected areas! We are hoping for some rain here and we could definitely use it. They showed a map on the weather channel the other evening with the driest parts of Texas on it, go figure, Central Texas was a splash of red in a sea of green. Someone needs to let God know he forgot to lift the lid on Austin!

Below is a picture I took today. This is what we have to look forward to when Sybilla is a teenager. I remember what I was like, and my husband has heard all the stories. I overheard Michael telling Sybilla "no" several times in a row, followed by a sigh of exasperation and telling her that he was going to have to teach her the meaning of no someday. I have some bad news for you honey... Redheads don't like the word "no." It does not exist in our vocabulary, nor is it an option! Besides, when you could ever tell me no?

Shut up and listen to me, Mommy! I'll be calling the shots 'round here now!

Enjoy the picture... I'll be posting a new slideshow and some videos hopefully before the weekend is up. Also, check out my new specs... they have pink! (I know, the world is coming to an end :o)

Ciao and stay safe,
Kelly and the Gang

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sound Off: Green Bags & High Fructose Corn Syrup

As the saying goes, if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! I just have to take a moment here and sound off about two things that are hugely irritating to me.

First item up for discussion: Green Bags. The Green Bag movement is dear to my hippie heart in many ways and in case you aren't familiar with it, green bags are reusable shopping bags made from recycled plastic. I call them green bags since I first saw them at HEB and because of the whole "happy environment/stop global warming/go green" movement. Green bags come in many different colors and I have red ones from Target and green ones from HEB. They're actually pretty strong and I love their versatility. Plus, they're cheap to buy and make me feel oh so European. So why are they hugely irritating for me? For one reason alone: while it seems that everyone wants to use them, the people bagging your groceries are clueless at how to use them. I mean come on, do you have to put my produce and that gallon of milk in the same bag? And do you have to load one bag with ALL of the heavy items? I don't know how they even lift it up into the cart much less how they expect me to carry it out of my car and up the stairs to my kitchen! Or worse, they put two items into a green bag, call it a day, and then bag everything in the disposable plastic bags.

Honestly, I wish they'd just let me bag my own damn groceries. I've always had issues with grocery store baggers; it really irritates the piss out of me when I get home and I have broken eggs, squished bread, uncooked meat mixed with produce or baby stuff, and household products with the cereal. I like to have my cold stuff packed together to keep it cold, the delicate items placed seperately and my jugs of liquid non bagged. And for the love of God and all that's holy, please don't mix mothballs or soap products with any food products!!!! I don't understand how something so simple can get so screwed up. I actually enjoy it when the store is so busy that my cashier doesn't have a bagger and I get to bag my own groceries. If I could just bag my own groceries, I would be ecstatic. Yes, I am that nuts. But you know you love it :o)

My other beef is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Michael and I were watching TLC last night and saw several commericals from the Corn Refiner's Association touting the wonders of HFCS. For the idiots in the commercials who think that having sugar made from corn is ok, HFCS IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU. And for the idiots in the commercials that can't seem remember their own names much less why HFCS is bad for you, here's a reminder: the body does not recognize HFCS the same way it recognizes real, honest to goodness, genuwine sugar. Why might this be bad? Ah, well, let me step up onto my soapbox and tell you through the use of clever analogy!

After the legal amount of real sugar is consumed, Body the Bartender cuts you off and says you've had enough and calls you a cab. When you consume HFCS, it's like Body the Bartender matches you shot for shot until you've consumed an entire bottle of vodka each, the bar has long since closed, and offers to drive you home themselves. Friends do not let friends drive drunk. So what does this mean in plain English? THIS IS HOW PEOPLE GET FAT. With HFCS, you keep eating until you literally cannot fit anymore in your somach and yet you still want more. This is why you can chug a two liter of Coke and still not feel satisfied.

With obesity levels in this country soaring, I am shocked and amazed at the Corn Refiners' gumption to tout a product that is actually contributing to the problem. I wrote my college thesis on obesity in children and the numbers are not pretty. Schools are having a really tough time trying to educate students and their families about healthy eating and exercise. You'd think it was common knowledge, but it's not. And now, the stupid Corn Refiners are erasing all of that hard work by lying to the American people about HFCS. Corn Refiners of America, you are making people fat and killing them. Where is Homeland Security? Because I would think the number of deaths attributed to diseases caused by unhealthy food products is terrorism and unpatriotic. Oh wait, the corn industry is subsidized by Uncle Sam, so of course it's ok to keep on fattening us up like pigs for slaughter.

Now before you start wagging your finger in my face about my Oreo addiction, I hereby acknowledge that I do eat some products that contain HFCS. It's incredibly hard, and incredibly expensive, to go completely HFCS free. Believe me, I tried. The stuff is innocuous and insidious. The stuff shows up in everything from your cereal to your chocolate milk to your tomato sauce. It's cheap, easy to obtain, and so easy for food producers to use.

So what is our best defense? READ. Seriously! If more people actually stopped to read, and not just the internet or their email, they'd know that U turns are not allowed at certain busy intersections, that they cannot go down an up row at the foodstore (that's for you Kristin!), and just how far down the list HFCS is on their foodstuffs. They'd also know that the speed limit is 30 mph and that even though I am going 40, they can back the eff off of my tail while driving. But that, my friends, is for another sound off at a later date.

Goodnight,
Kelly

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