Friday, February 27, 2009

What's In a Name?

A lot of people ask us our daughter's name when we are out and about and of course the most popular reaction is :"Oh what a beautiful name! It's so unusual! Where does it come from? What does it mean?" I've been thinking about getting another tattoo to commemorate Sybilla's birth, and I wanted something that played on the meaning of her name, "prophetess." The name itself is derived from the Greek word for prophet (sibyl); and truth be told, Michael and I got it from a movie, Kingdom of Heaven.

When we were choosing names, we had a slew of boy names, but we couldn't decide on a girl name. One day we were listening to the score from the movie and the track titled "Sibylla" flashed across the display in the car. We both saw it and knew that was it. We changed the spelling from Si to Sy as the result of a spelling mistake. We knew that Sibylla was a real person, the queen of Jerusalem during the Second Crusades, and we also knew that there had been a Princess Sibylla of Sweden within the last 200 years. Good enough for us! While searching for tattoo inspirtion, I googled my daughter's name and here is what I found:
  • Sybilla is the name of an Alfred Hitchcock movie from 1960.
  • Sybilla Masters is the first female inventor on record for America. She was a colonist who invented a way for cleaning and curing corn crops that colonists received from the Native Americans (basically a special kind of mill to grind it).
  • The USS Sybilla III was a naval war "yacht" from 1917-1918. This was the second of five names for the ship. It was actually owned by a civilian and was commissioned by the Navy for both WWI and WWII! It was decommissioned in the late '40's and presumably sold for scrap at that time.
  • Sybilla Beckmann Kazez is a famous mathematician at the University of Georgia who specializes in number theory.
  • Sybilla Palmifera is the name of a painting by Dante Gabriel Rosetti, a painter from the 1800's. Beautiful!
  • Sybilla is the name of a "prediction engine applying neural network analysis methodologies to IP data."
  • Sybilla's Disco was the name of a disco that Beatle George Harrison invested in back in the 60's.
  • Sybilla is also the name of a European research program: "SYBILLA, systems biology of T-cell activation in health and disease, is a European Union-funded large integrated project in framework program 7 (FP7). It is funded for 5 years with 11.1 mio Euro and started in April 2008. It has 14 scientific and 3 industrial partners from 11 countries, lead by Dr. Wolfgang Schamel, Max Planck-Institute for Immunobiology, Freiburg, Germany, as the scientific coordinator. The goal of SYBILLA is to understand the intracellular signalling network of T cells that determines T cell fate."
  • Sybilla pretiosa (aka Cryptic Mantis) is the scientific name of a species of praying mantis!
  • The Sybilla Contest for Museum Event of the Year award ceremony takes place on May 18 at the International House of Museums. The winners of the main award obtain the Sybilla—a statuette by the renowned Polish sculptor Zofia Wolska.

  • There is a Hotel Sibylla in Delphi, Greece, the home of the Oracle. The word 'sibyl' means prophet or oracle in Greek.
  • There is a German sporano named Sibylla Rubens (apparently Sibylla/Sybilla/Sibylle is to Germany what Kelly is to Ireland!)
  • There's an Australian actress named Sibylla Budd. She does mostly TV.
  • And lastly, my favorite of all..."Sybilla" is a slang term: "to take, hold, or steal your heart. a person who is a soulmate. a good lover."
Whatever she goes by, our little rose by any other name is still as sweet. If she ever has a little sister, we've got a tough act to follow!

Good night everybody!

P.S. And in case you were wondering, her middle name, Kathleen, is in honor of my cousin Katy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sound Off: I Heart Newflower Market

Ok, so pretty much everyone knows my love of (mostly) hippie things. I buy local/organic/free trade/preservative free when I can and I'm always harping about saving the earth or hugging a tree. I won't claim to be the perfect hippie as there are some things that even I am grossed out by (patchouli is not a deodorant people!) and I don't always remember to recycle. So when I heard about the grand opening of Newflower Farmer's Market I was totally pumped. I was even more excited that this place is actually a store, and not an open air carnival. It still has the feel of a farmer's market, just air conditioned! I've been jonesing to go there since they opened and today I decided to travel the 3 miles to this place and check it out.

Today is Wednesday, and they do a double ad thing on those days, where last week's ad and this week's ad are both applicable, so you get crazy savings! I pulled into the parking lot and was immediately on alert. Parking lot drama can sour any shopping experience, so I had to be careful here. There were no parking spaces and I could see people getting ready to duke it out over the few spaces that there were. I managed to find one, but it involved backing up which led to some PL drama of my own. Everyone ended up happy and Billa and I trekked inside.

Newflower is in the old Hobby Lobby on Manchaca and Wm. Cannon and they've really made the place look nice. I was shocked to see lines of people waiting to check out halfway to the back of the store upon my entrance. Wow! The layout is pretty simple and easy to navigate even with all those people. I told myself that this was an exploratory trip, no list in hand, just the ads. I had thought I would pick up some of the fresh salmon at $3.88 a pound but the 15 people in line before me dissuaded me not to, but I did get a peek at it and it looked pretty fresh. This store really does have a HUGE produce section with some great prices too! I got a pound of asparagus (fresh) for $.88. I got a carton of blackberries (fresh) and a carton of blueberries (also fresh!) for $.88 a piece. I got a yellow onion for pennies on the dollar and some of their jarred roasted red peppers for $2. I'd normally pay that price for the peppers at HEB, but they wouldn't be organic. This place really does live up to serious food, silly prices!

There are sales signs everywhere that state 2 for $3 and the such and I wondered if Newflower would be like Randall's in that you had to buy the 2 items to get the sales price. So I asked a feller what the deal was and he AND another employee who happened to be walking by (I kid you not, there was a staff person on every aisle and every single one of them stops to ask if you need help--loves it!) and they both told me that Newflower was in no way sneaky about the sales. The second guy went on about the philosophy of the store and how the Ad Wednesdays worked. I asked him, "I take it you're the manager?" He laughed and responded, "No, I'm just the meat cutter!" before saying goodbye and walking off. Double wow--staff people who care and are knowledgeable!

With good, there must be evil to balance and there ARE a couple of cons that I have discovered so far. Some things that I normally buy are more expensive at Newlflower than at HEB. A half gallon of Horizon organic milk was almost $5, whereas the HEB Central Market Organics is the same price for a full gallon. A lot of the cereals were more expensive too. We buy Mom's Best from HEB for $2.59 a box; the same box was $3.69 at Newflower. I buy Cascadian Farms granola bars for $2.99 at HEB, they were almost $5 at Newflower! The parking was a little bit of a setback, the store was crowded, and they did run out of some of the sale items while I was there (they did say however they'd have more the next day). And finally, I waited almost 25 minutes to check out. The cashier informed me that it's been that busy every minute of every day since they opened up.

All in all, I got some pretty swanky stuff for $25 total and ALL of it is organic, free of nasty preservatives, local, or free trade. I'm willing to deal with crazy parking and wait in line for that amount of time to check out to save that kind of money on those types of products. I already split my shopping up between Target and HEB, one more additional trip during the week won't kill me. So in a nutshell: I heart Newflower Farmer's Market!

I hope you'll get a chance to check it out. If you want to tag team a trip with me, let me know! I think based off it's popularity, the best approach is to handle it as a two person job. You both go through half of the store together, then one hops in line while the other finishes the list. By the time Person #2 makes it to the register, you should be ready to check out! If all else fails, they have a really neat smorgasbord of magazines to read while you wait (my fave so far: ReadyMade - Everyday Instructions For Life! LOL!).


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Procrastination is like...

So this was my horoscope on iGoogle this morning...very appropriate given my current circumstances! I've been testing PDA's for a tracker study at work and I just want to stab my eyes out with pencils every time I think about it. I have to record three occasions per module, there are 27 modules, and three PDA's. That's 243 occasions! And it's not just entering them in, I have to write down what I put so we can make sure these things are working before they're sent to participants. Fortunately this study is done quarterly or I'd be throwing myself off the building :0) Today is th last day of testing, THANK GOD. Hopefully nothing goes wrong or this blog may be short an author...

The focus of your life will continue to change in the days ahead as the New Moon in your 11th House of Future takes the pressure off current conditions at work. It's not that office politics aren't important; it's just that your long-term goals can infuse your life with meaning. Don't worry so much about what kind of work you do to put food on your table. Instead, think of ways to make your life more meaningful.

Happy Tuesday, y'all!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pictures from Billa's Birthday Party!

Howdy pardners!

A very big thank you to everyone who came to Sybilla's first birthday party! And another big thank you to everyone who helped make it happen. Sybilla had a wonderful time and we are so very grateful to have celebrated this milestone with so many friends and family. Billa is truly loved!

The birthday cake came out awesome, the food tasted great, the ballpit was a hit, and everyone had a good time. Billa the kid made out like a bandit and got lots of great toys, books, and clothes. All of her grandparents and aunties and uncles were there, along with all of her friends from school and beyond! Mathilda, Alexander, Madeleine and Cameron all stayed long after the party was over and really helped make the day. Thanks to Michelle, John and Julia for helping us clean up afterwards. You have no idea how much it made today better :o)

We had red velvet cake for Billa's birthday and it went over really well. It broke my heart to have to cut them up since it's definitely my best work to date. You can see the pictures of them above in the slideshow. Billa's favorite toys so far have been the ride on pony we got her, the roll along snail from her friend Justin, and the chatter phone from her friend Jocelyn. She loved everything of course, but so far those have captured her attention the most!

The ballpit was the star of the show when Billa wasn't running around stealing everyone's hearts. The kids had so much fun and I have to admit, what with all the screams of joy and delight coming from her room, I am amazed the cat stayed under the bed the whole time. Billa only had one nap and by the time 7 pm rolled around she was crashing hard. All the energy, people, and cake (three pieces!!!) kept her going for several hours.

Enjoy the slideshow! We hope that you will all stick around for the next year of adventures... it's shaping up to be quite a year!

Kelly, Michael, Billa, and Gumerry the Brave or Incredibly Scared, We Can't Decide Which Yet

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday Billa!

One year ago today we were on our way to the hospital where our Little Bit made her appearance at 11:27 and weighed in at 8 pounds, 14 oz. And ever since then, our lives have been all the better for it!

Sybilla Kathleen, 1 day old

Billa, the road here hasn't been easy sometimes, but it sure was worth it. In one year you have taught us more about patience than our parents could in a lifetime. In one year, you have tested our endurance, our sanity, and our limits. In one year, we have laughed until we cried and cried until we laughed. In one year, you have have amazed us with your talents, helped us rediscover our inner child, and melted our hearts with your fierce, all encompassing love. In one year, you have not only inspired us to be and do greater, but changed us for the better.

Sybilla Kathleen, 1 year old

Every day we love you more and more and thank God for choosing us to be your parents. You light up our lives and make each day worth getting up for. Thank you for the smiles, the laughs, the tears, the joy, the three a.m. wake up calls, and most of all, your love.

Happy Birthday little love!
Mommy & Daddy (& Gumerry the Gray, Destroyer of All Things Paper, Q-Tip, Hair Tie, and the newly conquered Laundry Bag)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2 days away!

Billa the Kid turns one in two days!!!!

Last night I sat down and wrote a letter to her and then tucked it away inside her baby time capsule. Maybe this is a bit morbid, but my mother always says "you know not the hour nor the day" in regards to one's death, and should something happen to me before I get to see my daughter grow up, I want to at least be able to impart some wisdom to her or share some stories about myself. And hoping that nothing happens to me before then, she is going to have an amazing sentimental gift when she reaches the age of majority (Thank you Jacqueline Carey for that wonderful phrase).

Michael and I are about to head out to get Billa's birthday present and some stuff for the party. Tonight I will be baking her cake and the sugar cookies that I will be giving the kids as their goodie treat. Tomorrow I decorate the cake and cookies and finish cleaning, and Saturday we do all the last minute things like set up, get balloons and naptime! I am so excited about this party!

I really hope Billa has a good time and her friends have fun. The next time I post will be a play by play of the party and pictures!

Love you all,
Kelly et al

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sound Off: Popcorn Police

Oh my hell! I am so hopping mad right now! One of my pet peeves is when people burn popcorn. As a concession counter veteran from my teen aged days of having worked at Tinseltown, our mantra was "NEVER BURN THE POPCORN!" And for good reason. If you've ever walked into a movie theatre all excited about the movie you're going to see and then been walloped in the nose with the acrid smell of burnt popcorn, you can understand my irritation. The smell of burnt popcorn is awful and sours any situation super quick.

I don't know who it is, but someone at work keeps bringing in popcorn for a snack and then burns it. This has happened on so many occasions within the past month that the office manager had to send out an email to everyone kindly reminding them of the proper cooking time for popcorn in our microwaves. Personally, I have a feeling that the person in question is following said time but popping one of those little personal bags, which don't nearly require the full 2 minutes and 10 seconds that is recommended here at the office.

Someone needs to enact the Popcorn Police and either force people to pay attention to their pooping kernels or ban popcorn altogether. I am about to get medieval on the popcorn perpetrator's patookus and pound pertinent popcorn protocol into their pea pod of a brain personally!!!! (I couldn't think of a P work for brain. Lemme know if you got one!) It's a damn good thing I'm not pregnant or I'd be yakking all over the place. Part of me says I should figure out who it is and then go yak in their lap anyway, pregnant or not. That'll teach them to walk away from the microwave…


Saturday, February 14, 2009

All you need is love!

Happy Valentine's Day everybody!

Michael and I enjoyed a baby free day in order to get some home improvement done around the house. We finally finished painting the dining room and I painted Billa's dollhouse shelf. We also went to JoAnn's to dink and to All In One Bake Shop for me to pick up some cake supplies. I just want to buy everything in both stores. We wrapped up our day by picking up the baby from Michael's mom and sister, grabbing a few more things from Lowe's and then getting some chicken strips and Dublin Dr. Pepper from Chicken Express. After putting the munchkin to bed, we watched Pineapple Express and had a good laugh . [sigh] Twas' a good day!

Oh, you're wondering where the part about flowers and chocolates and dinner and candles is? Well, there isn't one. I told Michael yars ago that all I wanted was one good V-day and then he was off the hook forever. He delivered on our first Valentine's day 7 years ago and I've kept my word. Besides, I prefer my man to treat me with all of those things on days that are not prompted by consumerism and Hallmark--it's sooo much more meaningful that way![Yawn] Anyway, it's late and the little one still doesn't undestand the concept of "weekends" so I better pop off to bed to get some shuteye.Love to you all today...and every day!
Kelly and the Gang

PS. Billa's birthday is in 7 days! Yay!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nine Days and Counting...Milestones!

Billa's first birthday is rapidly approaching and with it have come some milestones for her:

Milestone #1: Exhibitionism - Yesterday our daycare lady walked in to pick her up from nap and found Sybilla topless! She'd managed to pull her shirt off all by herself. Lucky us...

Milestone #2: Hilltopper - Like the mascot of mommy and daddy's alma mater (yay St. Edward's!), Billa has managed to climb, stairs anyway. I let her down at the base of the stairs of our apartment complex and after taking my hand, she lifted her leg and stepped up to the next step, just like grownups! She did it for several steps too, although her short little legs kept tripping her up. We're sticking with crawling up the stairs for now.

Milestone #3: Sleight of Hand - she's really good at this one. Now you see it, now you don't. Particularly evidenced by the small silvery object sailing down three stories to magically appear in front of a tree. This forced Mommy to go down three flights of stairs to retrieve our shoe, which she swore up and down was on Billa's foot and not in her hand. We still have not found the match to her other pair of shoes...abracadabra isn't working on that one!

Milestone #4: Defiance - she's a redhead, enough said. [sigh]

Milestone #5: Tech Support - Billa has become quite efficient at pushing buttons on the DVR, the amp, the Xbox, and the dishwasher. She has managed to disrupt many an episode of CSI and she's oh so helpful at starting the dishwasher at the most inopportune times. And just like Tech Support, you don't understand a word of what she's telling you (oh yes, I went there!).

Milestone #6: Laundry Sorter - Billa is very good at helping us sort laundry. She separates the laundry and creates piles for us...all over the house. Of particular interest are undergarments and pajamas. She even likes to help fold laundry too. On the way home from doing the laundry this past weekend, she decided to get started while still in the car; she pulled out a pair of Mommy's undies and looped it over one arm and was stretching it back it forth with the other. I've never pulled off the road faster!

Yes, our little girl is quite smart. Lord only knows what she'll get into next, so stay tuned!

Love to you all,
Kelly & the Gang

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Too. Stinkin'. Cute.

I took this today before we had out afternoon nap and then went to ANOTHER birthday party for one of the little boys at Billa's daycare. Her hair is finally long enough for pigtails! She had a ton o' fun on the moonwalk that the birthday boy's family had set up and didn't ever want to get off. And apparently everyone knew her name as Justin talks about her at home all the time! Who knew she was so popular?

Enjoy the pictures!
K& Co.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes...

She said it! She finally said it! No, not some awful swear word although I am working on that little problem of mine... she said MAMA!!!! YES! I am vindicated! Sybilla's added the syllable "ma" to her vocabulary and toddles around babbling mamamamama or nanananana everywhere she goes. And this afternoon, while Mommy was trying to work from home (more on that in a minute) she reached her little arms up to me and screeched "mama!" and waited for me to pick her up. [happy sigh]

Fairy Billa after Madeleine's birthday party

As for working from home today, Billa threw up during the night and couldn't go to daycare as a result. So Mommy stayed home and tried to work from home. I say try because Billa will occupy herself for about 20 or 30 minutes and then decide that what Mommy is doing is way more interesting and screech until I hold her in my lap. That's all fine and dandy, but then she tries to BE mommy and that's no good, especially when I need to test a link or do some very important financial paperwork. Grrr. So about midmorning, we took a break and got some lunch while picking up a few items from Target. I managed to actually get quite a bit done today, and while I feel terribly guilty about allowing my almost one year old to watch so much Noggin, I am grateful for the brains behind it. Thank you Nick Jr for making preschooler TV that is commerical free and very educational!

Bowling for Billa's! At Madeleine's bowling party (the same party where the birthday insisted on a bowling cake because "a Tinkerbell cake won't match my bowling party!" Four year olds...[sigh])

Things have been a little hectic the past couple of weeks as we are in prime birthday party season. Two weekends ago we had TWO birthday parties to attend and Madeleine's was last weekend. I've attached pictures of the cakes I made for Madeleine and for Ben Courville, one of the birthday boys from two weeks ago. I also made his brother Conner's cake back in October. I am especially proud of both of these as I utilized 3D techniques I hadn't used before. I also made marshmallow fondant (MMF) which is WAAAAAY tastier than regular fondant and totally easy to make. Very messy, but worth it. Madeleine's cake was the guinea pig and it turned out beautifully. I have realized as a result of both Ben and Madeleine's cakes however, that I must practice some more with my writing and detail work. Even though I know how, I'll probably enroll for the Wilton Level 1 class to relearn the techniques.

Ben's 6th birthday Cake

Madeleine's 4th birthday cake (the pins are sugar cookies, the ball is a rice krispie treat covered in MMF, and yes, the inside was hot pink as requested)

Billa at her friend Jack's birthday party at Goin' Bananas...she LOVED the bouncy toddler area!

And speaking of Madeleine...our friends Caroline and Matt George finally had their baby! Madeline Annslee George was born this past Sunday at 4:19 am and she is a sight to behold. Her mom went to 42 weeks, can you believe it? We are very happy for the George's and can't wait to meet our new friend Madeline. Although the spelling is going to be an issue only because we now have two Madel(e)ines in our circle! Yikes! Madeline's middle name, in case you are wondering, is very special as it is a combination of her maternal grandparents' names. Madeline won't have the pleasure of knowing her granddaddy Train in this life, although we are sure that they got to know and love each other quite well before she came!

Well that's pretty much it for now. Billa's birthday is in 15 days and we are gearing up for it! We have another birthday party to attend this weekend and then Valentine's weekend gives us a bit of a break before we have Billa's party! Invitations are going out this weekend and I finished her cake design (to be unveiled later!). We've decided to get her this way cute pony rider thing made by Fisher Price to go with her cowgirl themed birthday party. It has four wheels and a little backet and is shaped like a horse. We can't call it a trike because it has four wheels, but you will get the idea when you see below. They make one in yellow and blue which is what we will be getting for her.

Anyhoo, that's all for now! We're off to get some Mexican at the Winchester and will see you all soon!

K & Co.


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