Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The tale of two midnights, and other stories

It’s back to school again after a two-week holiday break, and while I think I’m ready, I’m also going to miss having my girls home. For one thing, they play together so well these days that I’m now mostly in their way. Which means I get to feel less panicked about what the hell I am going to do to keep them entertained for sixteen days straight. And another thing is that these crack-of-dawn kids have finally, finally learned to sleep in. No more traipsing into our room before the sun rises; no more “you said to come in after seven o’clock, and it’s now seven oh one!!!” protests to expunge me from my sweet slumber.
For the past week, we don’t see them until it’s well past eight, and on the days they stayed up past midnight (oh yes, I said “days” - more to follow) they slept past nine. It’s a Christmas miracle. Times two! 

But let’s backup; it’s been forever since I last blogged, so here’s the quick recap of what I missed for the rest of 2015 while trying to keep up with life: 

My best friend and I enjoyed a wonderful getaway to Houston together, although it was mostly a quest for one indulgent meal after another as that’s what we love most when we’re together: eating. It was also the first time in a long time that I got to explore a city by myself (while she was at a work-related training). That time alone, walking aimlessly, enjoying a quiet meal by myself, having absolutely no one to account for was incredibly rejuvenating. 

Yes, we ordered all that just for us. What?

Then it was Little Miss’ SEVENTH birthday. When I first started this blog, she was only 11 months old. I’m going to sit here and digest that for a bit. Because what the heck happened??! So here she is, six years later, at her Harry Potter themed party at her request. She is now up to the fourth book, Goblet of Fire, and I love that she loves reading the series as much as I do. 

After Thanksgiving, the girls had their ears pierced. It wasn’t planned. It just happened because we were waiting to watch a movie at a mall, and it was a diversion to keep them occupied. Pickle, my four-year-old, courageously and happily volunteered to go first. Looking back, I think it’s because she didn’t know piercing one’s ears meant actually poking a hole through them. We’d failed to mention that tiny detail. Oops! But it went well – she only cried a little, more from the shock of the unexpected pain than anything. Having witnessed her sister’s distress, Little Miss became more reluctant when it was her turn, but after a few minutes of coaxing, she had it done. No tears. Operation Holes in Ears – complete!

Somewhere along the way, we may have adopted another cat. By accident.

 Excuse me, I'd like to come in now...

We found him – or rather, he found us – when he walked into our garage one evening, and we kept him for the night to keep him safe from the neighborhood predators (coyotes and hawks and snakes, oh my!) and let him go the next day. Since then he’s been coming back every day. We’d happily keep this sweet, friendly kitty except our cats aren’t socialized with this wanderer yet, and we are now a house divided. Indoor cats versus the adventurous outdoor one. We don’t quite know what to do yet, though My Guy had already named him - Baltar. Because the cat is not neutered, and the first thing My Guy noticed were its rather sizable balls. Hence BALtar, after a character from Battlestar Galactica. If he stays with us, we’d have two out of three cats named after a TV science fiction character. Two out of four in the house, if you count our second child. A house of geeks, what can I say? (See exhibit 12.18.2015 below.) 

The holiday season seemed to be a blur this year. We immersed ourselves in whatever holiday festivities Austin had to offer, and every one of them had some kind of spectacular display of lights. Even in the heart of suburbia, where several homes banded together to create light shows synchronized with music and had a fire pit and hot cocoa for gawkers who visited their cul-de-sac. I mean, wow. These people were serious about their lights. The Joneses ain’t got nuthin’ on these folks.

Pajama Lights: it's our family tradition;we explore neighborhood lights in our PJ's

How is this a neighborhood light display?!! 

Of course, what's a holiday season without the cookies? Here are my little elves helping me with their favorite, sugar cookies, that they get to decorate as creatively as they like. Pickle is still at the point where creative = as much sprinkles as humanly possible.

For Christmas, My Guy’s parents and brother celebrated with us at our home for five days. It brings me great joy to have a houseful of family during the holidays, and I could tell the girls felt the same. It was a wonderful time of memory making, and it warms me to know that my girls are so very loved.

New Year’s Eve BBQ. Because Texas.

Christmas morning. A little past 7AM. (I’m going to count this as sleeping in!) 

Another highlight of the holiday is that Little Miss got to see “Star Wars - The Force Awakens” with her daddy, papa, nonna, and uncle, while I entertained her sister with our own outing. My Guy had previously watched the marathon at the Alamo theater – yup, all 17 hours of it, seven movies back-to-back – and then again with me on the next night. Christmas 2015 would probably be a hazy collection of light sabers and X-wings in his memory, but I have to say that I was happy to see him so giddy and geeked out about this movie. 

On the day the grandparents left, we experienced another milestone. It’s not the good kind however, though I have to commend Pickle on her impeccable timing. At least she waited until after everyone left to get an infection on her right pierced lobe. I felt awful that she had to endure such pain, but she didn’t seem too shaken by the event. Like the doctor said to us that night, “she’ll be okay; you’ll be scarred for life.” She might be right.

At 8PM, the whole family accompanied the eager four-year-old on her first ER visit upon discovering the infection at bedtime. This also explains why the girls were in PJ’s.

This was Pickle before the hospital visit: 
“Oh my god. I’m so excited! I’ve never been to a hospital before!”


This was Pickle when they were trying to get an IV in her so they can put her in conscious sedation after several other non-invasive attempts failed. 


It took about five adults to hold her down while they inserted an IV. Twice. Because they botched the first attempt due to her flailing. I think every ER staff that night came by to see our screaming kid and probably walked away impressed that something so little was capable of so much sound and fury.


This was the first thing Pickle said coming out of sedation, with her daddy right by her side: 
In a breathy, loopy voice - you know, the kind that makes one sound drunk: “I love you daddy...I love you soooooooo much daddy… I love you, daddy.”

Oh, this kid. Ever so full of love. Soon after, however, this episode started: “You have five eyes! You have five eyes! You have bive deyes! Dive beyes! … I can’t talk!”

By that time, we were in tears, laughing at our loopy little girl. While ER visits are often stressful, I have to say, Dell Children’s Hospital made the trip bearable, even - dare I say it? - enjoyable because of their sweet, capable, funny staff. Kudos to the team who took care of my baby! And the whole family, really.

This ER trip was also their first experience staying up past midnight. We left a little after 2AM, and we were so obliterated the next day, we didn’t even leave the house. I don’t think we got out of our pajamas either. 

Three days later, they stayed up past midnight again; this time, it’s for a much less harrowing reason - to ring in the new year. After a fun impromptu dinner party with a neighbor and her kids that stemmed from a “What are you doing tonight?”-“Um absolutely nothing” conversation, we figured we might as well keep them up until midnight when it was already 10:30 by the time we reached home. 

And 2016 began with a couple of kids sleeping in past 9AM. That’s one (terrific) way to start the year, I must say. Maybe, just maybe, it’s the sign of better, brighter things to come. 

One can always hope, right?

Our last selfie of 2015, right before midnight

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Happy New Year to you and yours! May 2016 bring you much light, love, and laughter.