Monday, August 30, 2010

Taking a page from a very important magazine

US Weekly.

It's kind of my news media source of choice.

There's a great little segment that a celebrity reveals 25 things you probably never knew about them.

I may have done this one time or another....but with Mommynesia (you know - the amnesia that happens when you become a Mom and starts at pregnancy...)

Here goes!!!

25 Things You May Not Have Known about Me!

25. I read books very fast. I skim through them to find out the end then I re-read the book slowly for a 2nd time to get the details.

24. I sometimes forget I TiVo things and end up watching the commercials.

23. I love putting cinnamon in my coffee.

22. I get really irritated if the sippy cup lid isn't on the right base.

21. I sometimes don't wash my water bottle after each use and just rinse it out.

20. I go through phases where I will eat the same thing for breakfast weeks in a row. For the past 3 weeks it's been the same thing everyday - whole grain waffle with Agave and blueberries.

19. I still can't believe that Craig chose me to be his wife out of all the women in the world.

18. If I am going through a tough time, I will go to the Bible, say a quick prayer and open it up to random passage and read it for direction or comfort.

17. I really, really, love "Little House on the Prairie."

16. I weigh myself everyday.

15. I could eat a family sized bag of Barbecue Kettle Chips in one sitting.

14. I count while I put things up. I count to 10 and then count backwards when I reach 10 until everything is put up.

13. When I put gas in my car, then end number in the amount has to end be "0" or "5".

12. I can burp like a guy.

11. I love Sports talk radio - The Ticket 1310AM from Dallas.

10. I love onion rings but ask for no onions on my burger.

9. I worry that I am not raising Iz right...almost on a daily basis.

8. I'm afraid I won't love my next kid (God willing I have another ) as much as I love Iz.

7. I cringe, mute the TV, and close my eyes if there's an uncomfortable part on where someone is making an @$ out of themselves.

6. I cook every day - sometimes 3 meals a day. We only go out to eat one time on the weekend to save money.

5. I love "S.W.V." - the girl R&B group from the 90s.

4. I yell on accident. I don't realize how loud I am talking sometimes.

3. I love seeing my messy house - when I see toys and Iz's shoes on the floor - because I am so thankful for her.

2. I think I'm a good friend.

1. I believe God's trials are part of His blessings.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I say this a lot.

"Really? I mean, REALLY?"

There are moments of my day and life that I have to stop and truly ask myself "REALLY - is this happening to me?"

Like when I was using the restroom (sorry - TMI) and Iz came barreling into the my "personal space," took took off the toilet paper roll and ran out. Which would have been fine if that wasn't the last roll in the house...or within my grasp.


Or when I find myself chasing after the my little Houdini who someone escaped a diaper change and is running in her birthday suit all over the house. I stop, look at the little naked creature, sigh and think "Oh, she's so stinkin' cute...." but then she stops, her face turns an all familiar shade of red, the brow furrows, and the all familiar "push" is happening...and it's happening all over the floor...


Or when I'm in the grocery store with my purse for a quick stop since the little screamer is extra fussy but we need food. Last time I checked people need to eat. So, I'm on a mission to get my shopping done in 10 minutes. But, the little screamer decides she can't sit in the cart for 5 seconds before throwing a tantrum so I do what every good/bad mother does...I open a bag of unpaid for snacks and let her go to town while I shop...I figure it'll get paid for when I pay at the register. 15 minutes later, cart full of groceries, some illegally opened and already consumed...I go to check out and realize my wallet is not in the diaper bag but in my home.



Really :-)

Gotta love it!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Today I'm thankful for:

- my soft belly...because that means I carried a baby.

- my 5 inch scar on my tummy...because that means she got out safely.

- my house that now seems small...because there's another tiny human that shares our space.

- the extra loads of laundry that pile around the house...because that means I played instead of doing a load of whites.

- night time wakings...because that means I get to hold her.

- dirty diapers...because that means her insides work :-)

- loud cries and screams...because that means she's breathing.

- the tiny handprints on my windows....because that means she was born with both of them.

- the hours I chase after her...because that means she has two working little legs.

- for the house that's messy, the car that's messy, the toys all around...because that means I have child who fills my home with nothing but joy.

To my friends, friends of friends, family who are dealing with the birth defects, illness of a child, or a loss of a child...know that your story is one that will never be taken for granted.

To my friends, friends of friends, family who have been blessed with a child who's with you now...celebrate the little things.

And be thankful for those things...TODAY.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy Moving

Last night some of the best girls in DFW sat around with some margaritas, baskets of chips and ridiculously good Mexican food to bid farewell to a great girl as she left the Lone Star State to move to land that houses orange crops, Miami thrice and Disney World.

We all know from my past, present and future posts that I am a sap and cry at the drop of a hat. So I was sure I was going to lose it when we yelled "Surprise!" as one of my favorite girls walked into her surprise going away dinner.

Sarah and I have only known each other for about 10 months. But, we became fast friends, shared the same sense of humor, and battled the first year of motherhood together.

Her son, Mr. T ;-), is 2 months younger than Iz. So, it was fantastic to have someone else going through the same things I was going through as Iz and I turned 1yr this year.

It helped that we share the same love for laughter, love for impromptu wine nights, and love being surrounded by friends.

She's a great mommy and I admire her ability to look at motherhood as a part of her life and not her whole life. I have had the tendency to make my world Iz - and only Iz - and bypass the fun things in my life that I used to love before I was a mom. She balances mommyhood - loving Mr. T, being an instructor for SS, traveling to see friends and family, and making time for friends in her life like me - brilliantly.

I've been blessed with this group of women I've grown to love with my heart and soul. Sometimes I forget that this time - being a new mom - is just another season in my life. And as difficult as it may be, some of these friendships may be flit like the seasons. But, in my heart of hearts, I truly believe that Sarah and these great girls will be in my life for many, many moons.

I'll miss you sweet friend!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


We left Europe 100 lbs of cheese heavier, 5 lbs of extra body fluff (dang 30 year old body can't handle the booze and munchies like it used to), luggage busting at the seams from trinkets, souvenirs and keep sakes from our trip.

We endured 14 hours of traveling in economy seats (I act like I normally fly first class or business my next life I'll sit in 1A instead of 43F), a close call at immigration (Craig's phone rang in immigration and that's a huge "No, No" and waiting for luggage to finally arrive in Dallas.

It was pretty late when we got back so my aunt suggested we pick up Iz the next day. I took a quick peak at Iz before we went home and I was convinced she grew about 10 feet. Ok - maybe about an inch or so. She looked so peaceful and so perfect. I wanted to pick up my toddler and kiss her chubby cheeks and get a slobbery kiss from her perfect bow lips.
But, I refrained myself and headed home to unpack and try to sleep.

The next morning, Craig and I woke up bright and early to pick up Iz.

We walked in the door to my parent's house and I saw my little - now bigger - baby girl running around and singing.

I yelled, "Isabelle! It's Mommy!"

Craig was behind me and sweetly started playing a little game he plays with her and said, "Where is Isabelle?"

She looked at us, cocked her head, looked at my aunts...then we had a movie moment...

She looked right at me, said the sweetest word in the world, "MAMA!" and ran right towards me - chubby arms stretched out waiting for my hugs.

I cried. Of course I did. It was exactly what I thought it would feel like. A true homecoming.

Me, Craig and home.

Day 7

I’m lactose intolerant. Any kind of dairy gives me stomach aches. But I’m also a foodie. I love everything about food. How it’s made, what to do with it, putting different ingredients together to make a meal.

So, when I found out that we could go to a little village about 10 minutes from Amsterdam and visit a cheese farm, the answer was obvious! So me and cheese…it’s like watching ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey” you know it’s going to be a painful experience when you’re going through it but it’s so freakin’ awesome you can’t stop yourself from doing it.

So, we left our hotel with about 15 minutes to get to the tour bus and grab breakfast. Have we discussed that Craig and I don’t do well in the morning unless we have food and caffeine?

Thus, Craig and I sped walked (heel.toe.heel.toe) to the museum district where our tour bus was waiting…but made a pit stop to get breakfast. A chocolate croissant, apple turnover, and chocolate covered waffle…ok so it sounds more like dessert but in Europe they call this stuff “breakfast.” I like to call it “YES-FEST!”

Have we discussed how Type A I am? Not good when you travel – got to be go with the flow. Anyhoo, I freaked out because I didn’t see the tour bus and I was sure the bus left us. But, it didn’t. So, after scarfing down our food and me running around trying to find the bus to cheese heaven, we boarded our bus. Craig and I sat in the back so we could make out.

Just kidding…making sure ya’ll were awake.

We stopped in a little town called Alkamaar about 20 minutes outside the city to visit a cheese market. I braced myself and my stomach for the adventure of trying different milk fermented delicacies…but was quickly disappointed. Who knew that other people wanted to witness the old tradition of carrying blocks of cheese in funny hats on gondolas? Craig and I don’t do crowds well and it was like a Justin Beiber concert…just too many people looking at something that really isn’t that great to begin with.

But, it was our last day on vacation so we were troopers and braced the market. I bought cheese slicing things and toys for Iz. I didn’t sample cheese…seeing the cheese sit in the sun made me rethink the sampling…

Back on the bus…and off to the cheese farm. The farm also housed a place where we could see clogs being made and a windmill farm.

Craig loves me. Really…he took me to a cheese farm, clog farm and windmill farm…
We were told to watch the clog making demo and then we’d head over to the cheese demo. (I can’t believe that sentence is a real sentence in my world).

We spent about 5 minutes in the clog demo and I decided it was time to test my iron stomach. I watched the cheese making demo for about 2 seconds and decided to go into the cheese store.

As the double doors swung open, I was welcomed by ladies in funny hats, matching aprons and rows and rows of cheese. Cow’s milk cheese, goat’s milk cheese….cheese with peppers, cheese with meat….

I sampled. Ok – I think sampling means you take a small bit and move onto the next small item. So in all honesty – for 10 minutes I just ate cheese. Slice after slice of pure lactose filled heaven (and later on…hell).

Of course…me being me…I decided it was the smart thing to do and buy about $200 worth of cheese. Because after all…who doesn’t love cheese. Did I mention that I’m lactose intolerant?

I need a foodie intervention.

So, with 4 bags of cheese in tow, we headed over to windmill farm. I wanted to go up the windmill and take pictures but I had 10 lbs of cheese to watch. So, Craig climbed up and checked out the sights from the top.

20 pounds of cheese, a bag full of items from the clog store, and one happy girl later…we boarded our buses back to Amsterdam.

We went back to the hotel to drop off the 50 lbs of cheese so our hands would be free to do more shopping.

We walked the markets and shopped in Amsterdam until our wallets were empty. We stopped and bought Turkish food from a small little stand, sat on a bench in a small square that was hopping with tourists to eat our meal, and headed back to the Hilton to pack and get ready for the long flight home.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 6 - Amsterdam

Day 6
We got up super early for a day of sightseeing. We wanted to see as much of the city as possible since we had plans to go to neighboring cities the next day.
We walked to the tram, hopped on and decided to stop in the heart of the city.

Really, we just decided to stop because we saw a sign that said “Pancake breakfast” and Craig and I were on the verge of ripping each other’s heads off since we hadn’t had breakfast. We don’t do well if we haven’t had coffee and food.

The pancake wasn’t the version we see here. Nope – no three stackers of fluffy goodness. Rather, more crepe like and the size of a hub cap. Craig got strawberries…and whip cream. We folded it up like a crepe and he devoured it. Yum.
We decided to do a little walking and exploring and just see the city. We took pictures by the canals, the boats, and the buildings. We stumbled upon the Flower Market.

Confession: I love open air markets. That’s the one thing I do not like about living where I do. I love food stalls filled with local veges and fruits. I love the smell of freshly roasted nuts. I love sampling cheese and meats from the farms. I love smelling fresh cut flowers. I love seeing the handcrafted jewels of clothing, jewelry, etc.

Anyhooo….the Flower Market was filled with beautiful flowers and tons of tourist souvenirs. I perused each stand but only bought one thing. I was saving my shopping for the next day.

We decided to go to the Anne Frank Museum which is actually the place where her and her family were in hiding during WWII. The line to get in was over 45 minutes but we decided to wait anyways.

It was worth it. I started to get heart palpitations, dizzy spells and chest pain during our visit into the museum/house. The cramped quarters plus all the people made me feel very claustrophobic. I was only in the house for about an hour. I could not imagine living in that space, with at least 12 other people, unable to go outside and get some fresh air. What that family went through….

After our visit to the Anne Frank House – we decided to buy a pass on the Canal Bus and Van Gogh museum. Of course the Canal Bus (which takes you to different parts of Amsterdam via the canals…hence..canal bus…) didn’t leave for 40 minutes so Craig and I thought we’d be smart and hop on the tram back to the museum district.

One hour later…I got us lost, cursed at Craig for no reason at all (I hate being lost and I take it out on those I love the most), threw the map at him, walked by Darth Vader and Triton King of the Sea, and pouted that I hate Amsterdam and wanted t go home. But, Craig was calm, cool and very patient with me and took charge. We found a tram stop that took us to the museum district and went into the Van Gogh exhibit. Craig is the ying to my yang…wait…that sounds so wrong….

I’m not an artsy person. I don’t know about brush strokes, movement in the pieces, etc. I just see art and like it or not. Van Gogh – I really like. His works really show amazing technique and emotion. After the exhibit, I needed to take break so we headed back to the hotel to research more stuff to do.

We decided to hop on the Canal Bus after lunch and take the tour of the city. It was a great mini-tour and gave us the opportunity to sit and see the city rather than having to walk around all day (hey – I don’t like to do any type of physical exertion when I’m on vacation).

After the tour, we decided to go back to our hotel and rest up before we tackled the Red Light District.

My palms started to sweat as we boarded the tram to the Sodom and Gomorrah of Amsterdam. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had read about the Red Light District but wasn’t sure what it all entailed. I was just hoping that people didn’t think I was merchandise or something.

We knew one thing for certain. We wanted Chinese food (whoa – what a random departure). So, we found a hole in the wall in the area and ate the best Chinese food in the world. Or it could have been the best because we were so hungry. I love Chinese food. I’m Asian. And before ya’ll start…we weren’t hungry because of the cannabis. WE did not partake in the cannabis smoking or eating. The closest I came to cannabis when I mistook a bag of cannabis biscuits for dog biscuits.

So, after filling our tummies with fried rice and MSG, we decided to roam the area. I nervously took Craig’s hand and we walked to the forbidden streets. Hmm…it wasn’t what I thought. I thought there’d be filthy looking people everywhere but it wasn’t the case. Instead, there were tourists like us – old, young, back packers, hostel stayers, American’s, British, Germans, Spaniards…you name it. After a few minutes of walking and experiencing a few random – erm – birth control places…we stumbled on our first set of “red lights.” I was shocked. Really. It’s one thing to read and hear about – but another to physically see a girl (and yes – girl…she looked like she as 17 years old), standing in scraps of clothes, all done up, smoking a cig, behind a window that looked into a room with a twin sized bed, a sink and a toilet.
There was a small alley that had these “red light” windows. The girls were of all different shapes, sizes, ethnicities. I was shocked even further as we continued walking and there were more “red light” windows in across the way from a church. I was asked by a girl if “I wanted to ________ her.” Sorry…there’s no other way to put it. I got really nervous and held onto Craig tighter.

We walked up and down a few alley’s and thought that that was it. We weren’t all that impressed until we kept on walking and found the REAL “Red Light District.” The district where there were alleys and alleys of red light windows. The district that housed theaters for – ahem – adult shows. The district that had stores full of sex toys, sex museums, sex everything.

Now, I’m no prude…but man…even this was too much for me.

We decided we had seen it all – literally - and headed back to our neck of the woods. We topped off our night with a cocktail at the hotel restaurant. Another great day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 5

We left Graswang early the next morning in our P Diddy coach bus and headed back to Munich. My sisters and their families would spend the next day there, my parents would be off to Rome and Craig and I were headed to Amsterdam.

Craig and I were excited about the whole trip. But, the next leg of our journey was the part that Craig had asked that we do while we do while we were in Germany. His thoughts were, “Well – we’ll be over there (* there being Europe*), we might as well go to Amsterdam.” He said this like I say, “Well – we’ll be at Target shopping, so we may as well stop by Marshall’s too.”

I never had any huge desire to go to Amsterdam (like I REALLY want to go to Italy). So, I was just looking at the rest of the trip as time to waste until we were able to get home to see Iz.
Then we got to Amsterdam and we drove up to our hotel. We stayed the Hilton. And friends, I am a hotel snob. I don’t mind admitting it. I like staying nice places. I don’t mind spending more money on nice hotel rooms. The thought of sleeping in a comfortable bed with soft sheets, air conditioning, great service, clean bathrooms, and top notch staff – is just who I am. After a whole day of sight seeing in any place – all I want to do is sleep somewhere awesome. And the Hilton was fantastic.

They gave us a room overlooking the canals. We decided to venture out and walk the area. We were about 10 minutes from the city center via tram so we just wandered our neighborhood for a bite to eat.

We found ourselves at small bar. Thank God everyone in Amsterdam speaks English and that they have menus in English. After 4 days of struggling in Germany, our pompous American, English speaking selves needed to be around English speaking people. But, the Dutch (ok – I don’t get why they are called Dutch since the country is The Netherlands… they should be called Netherlandians) speak Dutch, English, French and German. They are so smart.

Anyhoo, we ordered more alcohol. I had been drinking every single day since we go to Europe. Some days – twice…or three times a day…HEY I was on vacation! We ordered some appetizers that were AMAZING! I am a foodie. So I love different food and spices. After 4 days in Germany – I was just over sausage, pork, potatoes and pretzels. So, the lamb kabobs, tapenades and calamari were so delicious.

It was 9:30pm by the time we finished our food – but the sun had not set. So, we had another drink (of course) and wandered the streets a little more.

I fell in love with the architecture and the easy going feeling I sensed from the city. I was starting to have a love affair with this city…(don’t tell Italy).

Day 4

*no pics - Craig deleted them on accident. Oops...*

Day 4 – Passion Play

We woke up early the next morning ready to visit the picturesque town of Obermmagau and see the Passion Play. This was the ENTIRE purpose of our trip to Germany. My mom has always wanted to take us to see this play put on by the residents of Obermmagau. Back in the day – like the day when people said “ Ye old” and “Arr” (ok maybe not – I’m pretty sure people back in the day weren’t all pirates.).

But back in the day, when all of Europe was stricken with the plague, the village of Obermmagau prayed to God and told Him that if He would spare their city from any more devastation from the plague, the townspeople would vow to reenact the Passion of Christ every 10 years. And God did. He spared the village, and from that moment on, every 10 years, this village and it’s townspeople recreate the Passion. It started out small but as the years passed, more and more people came to witness the amazing reenactment.

We drove up to Obermmagau. Clearly the Metropolitan city of this part of the Bavarian Alps. I wanted to tie a bow in my hair, wear a dress fitted with an apron, have birds follow me around, and bust out with the songs from “Beauty and the Beast.” Because this town was like a movie set. It was a Disney adventure. Complete with cobble stone streets, cute houses, perfect looking townspeople. Craig and I roamed the streets, bought everything from hand carved rosaries to a coo-coo clock, and spent the day enjoying the village and the setting.

We met everyone for lunch and got ready to see the Passion Play. The average age for the audience was probably 60. From what I’ve heard, people plan years to see this play (esp since it’s every 10 years). So, Craig and I felt extremely blessed to have this opportunity to see it.

The whole play was spoken in German but we had translation books to follow along. Although we didn’t understand what was being said, the acting, music and sets were so powerful, that it really didn’t matter.

We finally left the little Disney village around 11:30 PM and headed back to our little inn where Jutta was waiting up for us. Great day.

Day 3 - Oberammagau

I guess this is the day that our real “family” vacation started. We met up with my parents, my sister Candice and her family (John Mark – my BIL, Garrett – my nephew, and Maddie – my niece), and my other sister Chonnie with her husband, Russ, and daughter Sofia.

We hung out at the hotel in Munich until our motorcoach drove up to pick up the 11 of us. Um…I know now where I get the over-the-top nature for events – my Dad. My Dad arranged our private transfer from Munich to Obermmagau and we thought it would be a van for us. Well…he got a tour bus complete with bathroom for the 1 ½ hour bus ride.

I felt like P. Diddy.

We drove through mountains, up mountains, by cows, by goats and finally arrived to the little village of Graswang (5 minutes outside of Obermmagau) to our bed and breakfast. Jutta, the inn owner, in her flower apron and she opened her arms and her home to us. She was fantastic. She got us settled, fed us lunch, and told us to explore her town. Which consisted of 2 inns and a church. So, since we were staying in one of the inns – we were already 1/3 of the way done with our sightseeing of Graswang.

All 11 of us walked the main drag – to the church and to the other inn. I think we walked 50 yards…total. We decided to rest an hour or so and then head to a castle that was nearby.

Only in Europe can you say, “Hey – do you want to head over to the castle down the street and then grab some gelato?” Awesome.

We visited a beautiful castle nestled away in the mountains of the Bavarian Alps. It wasn’t THE castle – the one Disney World is modeled after – but it belonged to the same King.

I’ve decided in my next life that I want to be a Bavarian King and live in castles.

After exploring the grounds, we headed back to our little village for dinner and retreated for the evening. *see you say things like “retreat for the evening” when you are as refined as me. I say I’m refined because I visited a castle*

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 2: Munich

Day 2 – Dachau

The weather was just right for the excursion we had planned today in Munich. Craig and I woke up around 5am but stayed in bed until the appropriate hour of 7am.

Jet leg is a ________.

Today we decided to go to Dachau. Itthe first concentration camps set up in Germany during WWII. Being complete and utter history buffs, we had to experience it and see it for ourselves.

Breakfast at our hotel was a standard European meal. Bread, bread and more bread – but they had Nutella and special jams and marmalades – so it kind of make up for the carb fest.

We walked to the train station about 10 minutes from our hotel. It turns out, our hotel was in a heavily populated Turkish part of town. Which explains the large Muslim population and the delicious falafel restaurants that were here and there.

On our walk to the station, we probably encountered 5 different languages. English, German, Spanish, Dutch, Portugese, Chinese…and others that we didn’t recognize. We also encountered slews of back packers – all probably just out of high school or in college – dressed in random outfits (prob just what was clean for the day).

We met our tour guide – and English hottie called Steve – who had a wealth of knowledge on WWII. I’ve decided anything that is said in an English accent is awesome.

Dachau was about a 10 minute train ride outside of Munich. It started to sprinkle and lightly rain when we arrived. Fitting – like even now – and Angels and God still shed tears for the persecution and death that happened in Europe during WWII.

We walked into the gates of the concentration camp and Steve gave us a plethora of information about the who’s, the what’s, the why’s, and the how’s of the Dachau.

All of it made my stomach curl and my heart break.

The area was so much larger than I had anticipated. Being a WWII history expert (well….not really….but I watched “Schindler’s List”), I kind of had an idea of what to expect. Almost like in a dream, it felt like I could see the mass of people in their striped uniforms, with shaved heads, emaciated bodies. It was heart breaking.

The tour continued and we saw the barracks, the gun towers, the gas chamber and the crematorium.

There are hardly any words to describe what I saw and how I felt.

What a blessing!

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