Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Day At the Houston Zoo {Not Our Best Idea}

Bo got off work early last Friday, so we had this brilliant idea to wake Marty up from his nap early, and take him to the Houston Zoo! He is getting so stinkin' good at those animal sounds, after all. And wouldn't he love to go see some real animals up close? Rookie parent mistake, y'all. Until we put him back to bed for the night several hours later, he pretty much looked like this:

The crying started when I picked him up out of his bed. I snuggled him for a few minutes and tried to explain that we were going bye-bye to the zoo, but he didn't want any of what I was selling. Things only escalated as I proceeded to dress him, carry him out to the car, and strap him into the carseat. We should have aborted the plan at that point. We should have taken his kicking and screaming and tears as a sign of things to come, but instead, we fed him graham crackers and told ourselves that once he saw the animals, he would dry it up and be happy.

Shocker, it didn't happen that way. At all. He was hot and sweaty and tired. And there were millions of Texas-sized mosquitos feasting on us the whole time we were there. The poor kiddo didn't have much fun at all.

There were, however, a few moments where he was distracted juuuuuust enough to seem happy. Until he wasn't. Here are some images that I managed to snap in between meltdowns. It is amazing how photos of five percent of an outing can almost convince you that the other ninety-five percent wasn't that bad... 

When Marty saw/heard his daddy bust out some cool beats on these African drums, he forgot all of his woes (for a minute) and joined the fun. Mr. Graham Cracker Face was all smiles until we wanted to move along to the carousel before it closed. Cue meltdown. He sat down in the middle of the walkway and wailed. Bo ended up carrying him to the carousel because, I promise you, that stubborn little dude would have sat there all night just to prove his point (he gets that from me is how I know).

Catching a glimpse of all those brightly painted animals, with all the mirrors and lights and music, was all it took to settle him down once again. He fought his way out of Daddy's arms and ran up to the fence for a better look. I watched him taking it all in, and thought how magical that giant spinning machine must seem to a little boy. And so, while Bo was off buying Marty a ticket to ride, the stinker decided that he wasn't very fond of all this waiting around nonsense, and tried to sneak into the ride without a ticket. Little devil.

We finally got our turn, and Marty chose to ride on this silly monkey eating a banana. I think his choice was based solely on the banana. Maybe he thought the monkey would share?

The end of our ride was the beginning of the next tantrum. And that is how it went. We would find something to make him happy for a short while, and when it was time to move on, he let every patron and animal in that zoo know that he was miffed.

Needless to say, our trip to the zoo was cut very short due to all the 'tude flying around that day. Yet somehow, we still managed to meet a few animals before we admitted defeat. Marty's favorite by far was this very ordinary black bird that was walking around in front of the Rhino exhibit.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Martypants, you are two years old! Oh, my sweet baby boy, you aren't really a baby anymore at all. You are so independent and so full of life; always on the move, feet off the ground more often than not these days. Jumping is definitely your jam. You crouch down as low as you can, then spring straight up into the air. You land on your feet most of the time, but even when you fall, you are brave, and usually get right back up to try again. Smiling from ear to ear, of course.

#secretagentdoodlehead... such a happy kid. Every single time I pick you up from preschool, or the church nursery, or the gym daycare, your teachers/caregivers comment on how incredibly happy you are, and how happy you make all of them. The other day, one of the girls in the gym Kid's Club gave me an example: you were running around the room like you always do, but all of the sudden you stopped, threw your head back, and just laughed yourself silly for no reason at all. Precious boy, I hope that joy stays strong inside you forever.

Mart-Mart, you love to play in the water. From the tiniest puddle to the biggest ocean, you adore getting wet. Your daddy tells me that you are entirely too clean for a little boy because I give you a bath every night. But I know how much fun you have splashing around with your fishies and duckies, dunking your head under water and practicing blowing bubbles. So even if you wanted three baths a day, I'd certainly oblige.

You also love graham crackers, macaroni and cheese, climbing on everything (and giving me heart attacks), The Bubble Guppies, choo-choo trains, stacking blocks, playing drums with whatever "sticks" you can find, shoes and hats, jumping on our bed, and chocolate milk.

I love you, bud-bud. And every single day, I look forward to the day that you can whisper those sweet words back to me. But even if that were never to happen... just being your mom, watching you grow, and seeing you become more spectacular each and every day... that would be enough. Being near you is more of a blessing than I could have ever dreamed up. My love tank is full because you are mine.

Happy birthday James Martin. I got the best one, and that one is you.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Throwback Thursday {Pregnant in China}

So, what were you doing two years ago? I was passing the time in Beijing, China, waiting for my sweet little son to be born. He was due on August 26th. He was 15 days late.

For three and a half years, we lived in Qingdao, China, a city on the Eastern coast of China, smack in between Beijing and Shanghai. When I got pregnant, Bo and I made the decision that I would give birth in Beijing rather than Qingdao. This decision required me to travel to Beijing about a month before my due date, and wait for Marty's arrival (just in case he was early. Ha!).

Fortunately, our temporary apartment in BJ had a gigantic swimming pool, which I thoroughly enjoyed during those blazing hot August days. Nothing better than floating weightlessly when you are 10 days overdue! My dear friend and photographer extraordinaire, Kiley Ariail, stopped through BJ on her way back to QD from Europe. These photos of me in the pool are some of my favorite preggers pics. So ready to meet my boy...maybe jumping in the pool will force him out?!

My mom had come to China to hang out with me and be there for Marty's big arrival. We did a lot of touristy stuff while she was there, hoping that all the walking around would start my labor. Nope. He took his time. Perhaps he knew we had a few more memories to make in bustling Beijing...

This random man came up to me on the street, and insisted that his belly was bigger than mine. I'm thinking a big NO on that one. Close, though.

When you are 10 days overdue, you stop and stare at every child you see, wondering what it will be like when that little monkey is all yours.

At the Beijing Silk Market. This woman was literally pulling me into her booth and trying to convince me to buy something. She didn't let go of my wrist the entire time we were "bargaining." After I made my purchase, she politely informed me that I should not be out in public that far into pregnancy, as it is "bad for health." (And as a random side note: I grew like 4 cup sizes my first month of pregnancy. Yowza. I was glad to see those suckers go bye-bye when I stopped nursing!)

Mani-pedi-round-o-golf, anyone??

We took my mom to this huge fabric market where they sell everything from fabric to buttons to ribbon to trim. Anything a factory would need to create the clothing that we buy every day! A crafters dream, for certain. This was the real deal, no tourist trap, so everything was suuuuuuper cheap. I think we may have been the only foreigners walking around that place.

See that guy in the pink shirt? That is exactly what I wanted to be doing. Instead, I was hoofing it around Beijing, trying to evict my son from my belly!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Around Town {Date Night in Rice Village}

It's September!! Wahoo!! Such a fabulous month, indeed.  Kicked off with a three day holiday, followed by the appearance of pumpkin spice lattes, my baby's birthday, and maybe even some slightly cooler temps (fingers crossed).

A few weeks ago, my good friend brilliantly suggested that we start a once a month, overnight date swap. I was all over that idea like white on rice. Earlier in August, we kept their 6-year old daughter overnight (I totally pretended she was mine!), and this past weekend it was time for payback! Bo and I got to go out alone on Sunday night, stay out late, and sleep in on Labor Day morning. Yay for brilliant friends! And double yay for brilliant friends who will not only keep your kid overnight, but then also feed you gourmet barbecue for lunch the next day. The holiday weekend was good to us, no doubt.

Bo and I ditched the 'burbs on Sunday night and spent a glorious evening wandering around Rice Village, one of Houston's oldest (and best-loved, according to their website) shopping and dining areas.  We ate huge, greasy, build-your-own burgers at Brian O'Neill's Irish Pub. The jalapeƱo cheddar hamburger bun was incredible!

After dinner, when we would usually rush home to relieve the babysitter, we decided to walk a couple of blocks over to the Chocolate Bar for some sugar on top of sugar. Bo had a hard time choosing between the chocolate covered Twinkie and the chocolate covered Moon Pie (he chose the Twinkie).

Okay, so this next little gem isn't technically from our Sunday night date, but rather from the previous evening when Bo wanted to pop into Urban Outfitters to check out their Labor Day Sale. They had a photo booth, so of course we had to get in it! Little did we know that they actually film you, and display all your smooth moves (in real time) on a screen outside the booth, for the entertainment of everyone in the vicinity. When we got home that night we noticed that there was a website on our photo strip. We logged on, and this is what we found...