Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas

I kept wanting to call this Andy's first Christmas, but it's actually his second. I don't remember too much about his first Christmas because I had just come home from 3 days in the hospital. This Christmas was a lot more fun. It was even better because Andy got up for awhile, had some breakfast, played with a couple of toys, and then went back to bed for 4 hours so that the adults could open their gifts in peace! I guess that was his Christmas present to us. :)

 Andy got a new tool stand so that he can help Daddy fix things around the house.
 His favorite gift was a set of plastic bowls that Andrew's mom gave him. It figures that he would play with those all day (and every day since - I keep them in the kitchen so that he can bang while I'm cleaning up).
 Andy never, ever sits still, but he climbed up on his Grammy and just hugged her for a long time. It was really sweet!
 Andy with my parents on Christmas Eve.
 Playing leggos with Pop is a popular pastime, any day of the year.
Andy had a lot of fun in his wagon from Grandma and Grandpa. We even took him to the park last night so he could roll around in it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Suit up!

I just had to post these pictures of Andy in the suit that Aunt Finity sent him for Christmas! The touseled hair look is for the ladies (and not just the fact that we are waiting for Lacey to come back to cut his hair again).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What Andy's up to

I don't want to forget everything that Andy is learning. He never stayes the same, but sometimes, I just don't catch how much he's changing every week.

Andy's new favorite word is "no." He tells me no when he doesn't want something, but he also walks up to the things that he knows he shouldn't play with (like the dishwasher) and says "No!" He knows what it means. He says the word with such passion that it's so cute.

Andy's new word today was bubble - "bu-bub." I blow bubbles for him in the bathtub, and he loves it!

Andy RUNS everywhere. Andrew's parents took him to the park yesterday, and he chased the leaves around in the wind. He went down the slide by himself! Of course, Grammy was there to catch him at the bottom. :)

When Andy woke up from him nap this afternoon, I was reading some books to him. He became restless, and I asked him if he was hungry, if he wanted to eat. He got down from my lap and ran to the pantry. I found him pointing up to the animal crackers. He's not talking much, but he sure knows how to communicate!

Andy is a true Aggie already. He won't eat anything the color orange - no cheese, peaches, carrots. Only recently has he decided that oranges are ok, but only sparingly. Andy normally eats any fruit that comes near him, as long as it isn't orange!

Andy already has his daddy's laid back personality and likes to be funny when at all possible. If anyone around him is laughing, he joins right in. The kid smiles a lot and is usually in a very good mood. I have seen him get angry pretty quickly, though (and get right over it).

He has not been so interested in the Christmas tree, which has surprised me. However, just in the past couple of days, he has discovered our wooden nativity scene. He has started yanking wise men or baby Jesus Himself and toting them around the house. An unfortunate shepherd was getting chewed on this evening!

His new favorite toys are these little trucks that the neighbor girl gave him for his birthday. He's trying to figure out how to roll them around like Mommy and Daddy can do. We play in the hallway, with Mommy at one end, Daddy at the other, and Andy in the middle to chase down the trucks as we push them back and forth. He loves it.

It is tougher than I ever imagined being a parent, but it is also so much fun. I loving having a third member of our family. I of course love our son to bits, but I'm so glad I like him as well!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Big Apple

Anna, Andy and I took a trip to NYC to visit our uncles Mike and Luis. We had a great time. Central Park was gorgeous. The pictures look like we were photoshopped into some fake background! We took Andy to the children's museum, which he loved. We took him on the carousel, but the whole time he had a look on his face like, "Mom, why are we going in circles around these creepy clowns with this carnival music?" I have to admit that I agreed with him on that one.
The weather could not have been more perfect. We really enjoyed the fall colors at Central Park!

Don't even get me started on the food! Cupcakes from Crumb, croissants from Financier, tarts from Farrara's (my personal favorite), and Cuban food from this ridiculously cheap dive in Chelsea. I was proud of Anna for accomplishing my goal for her - to try at least one new thing per day. She tried prosciutto, green curry, and a diplomat pastry, among other things. Andy tried new things, too. Apparently, he's a fan of croissants and Cuban roasted pork (who isn't?).


Friday, November 12, 2010

Movin' on up

Andy has been promoted to the toddlers class in the church nursery. All the other kids are just a tad older than him, but I guess he was trampling the crawlers in his age group, so they decided it would be best for him to be the little man on campus for awhile.

So, tonight our church sponsored a very nice date night. When we dropped Andy off at his new room, the sweet nursery worker asked about what he could have, etc. I told her that he could have cheerios, but he's choked on goldfish, so I didn't really want him to have any of those. We had already given him dinner, but we figured that he would eat his fill of cheerios at church for dessert.

We came to pick him up tonight, and I asked the girl how he did.

"Oh, he was great!" came the cheerful reply. I'm not sure if Andy is always great, or if that's just what they always say.

I followed up with, "So, did he eat like 3 pounds of cheerios tonight?"

She looked away a little nervously. "No, he didn't eat too many cheerios . . . " Uh oh. "But he did want some of our pizza, so we gave it to him. Don't worry. I cut it into little bitty bites."

Oh, ok. That's not too bad. My reply: "So how much pizza did he have?"

"Two pieces and a cookie!"

No joke. My one year old (who already ate first dinner) conned the nursery ladies out of TWO pieces of pizza and a cookie. There are no words . . .

On the way home, Andrew told me to get ready because it's just going to get worse by the time he's in junior high.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Birthday to Andy

I cannot believe Andy is turning 1 tomorrow. I really can't remember much of my life without him. He brings such joy to our little (and extended) family. Andy is super active, inquisitive, and he usually has a great attitude about whatever we are doing, especially if it involves going "ou-side!" He put 2 and 2 together today that the animal cookies are located in the pantry, and he can go there himself to snag the bag off the shelf. Uh-oh. Andy loves wrestling with Daddy and gets really excited about banging anything. The tupperware drawer in the kitchen is his, and he pulls the drawer out before gleefully tossing all the tuperware up in the air and across the room. This kid is ALL boy. The ladies in the church nursery say he's a flirt with his big blue eyes (who can resist?).

We celebrated his birthday last weekend, and I could not have asked for more. We grilled fajitas at the park down the street. The weather was perfect. Andrew's mom made him a terrific (and fitting) Monster cake. We also had adult-people cake from my dad's cousin at Bessie's Bakery. It was fun to hang out with so many who love him (and us) so much.
Andy CHOWED DOWN on his cake like no kid I've ever seen!




Just a little spoiled with TWO birthday cakes! This was the before picture. There wasn't an after picture because there was nothing left (except a tiny piece of chocolate that I savored this week).
I'm trying to be excited about his birthday, but I'm really getting all choked up. How could this year go by that fast?


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween

We hung out with our neighbors for Halloween. We didn't plan the costumes together, but Andy was a pony, Madeline was a cow, and Oliver was a turtle. It was probably the best Halloween ever. I'm not a huge fan of the holiday, but we grilled steaks in the driveway and just enjoyed the nice weather.
I don't remember the last time I laughed as hard as I did watching Andy run around in his pony costume. He had a great time, but he cared more about picking up acorns than the candy, of course. We trick-or-treated at one house across the street, and that's about all Andy wanted to do with that.

The cutest part of his costume was the tail!

Friday, October 22, 2010

First Hair Cut

My friend, Lacey, who is a hairdresser (is that the politically correct word these days?), came to my house to give Andy is first haircut. She was GREAT with Andy, even though he was a bit grouchy. My friend Corrie gave me the advice of giving Andy a sucker to distract him, but he'd never had a sucker before and didn't want to give it a try. Andy was certainly a challenging customer, but Lacey was very patient. Eventually he figured out that a sucker is a beautiful thing, so he was ok.
This is the "I'm-not-so-sure-about-you-lady" look.

Andy looks like a big kid now!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Family Time

Last week was pretty rough, so we decided to take a family trip to Bastrop. It was just what the doctor ordered. We drove in Friday afternoon while Andy took his nap. We went to dinner at Chili's with everyone else in town. Apparently, it was homecoming weekend, and Chili's is the place to be for a night out on the town.

We got a cheap room at the Comfort Suites (new, clean hotel with a friendly staff) and played at the state park. It was a great time. I could not have asked for better weather.
Andy loved the playground and put up with us forcing him to wear socks and shoes.

Andy likes hiking with Daddy!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Grandpapa

Andrew's dear, precious grandfather passed away yesterday. He was an amazing man who immigrated to the U.S. from Venezuela as a boy. He was married to Grandmama for over 60 years, and he was a successful businessman who also loved his family dearly.

My favorite thing about Grandpapa was his sparkly eyes. Those eyes were the very first characteristic I noticed about him. I met Grandpapa at Texas A&M when he came to see Andrew's march-in (or something) as a senior. We had some time to kill, so I wondered through the Corps of Cadets museum with Grandpapa. In addition to his sparkly eyes, he had a great sense of humor and was always smiling. He was kind and sincere. I'm so thankful that Andy was able to at least meet his great-grandfather, even if he won't remember his first Easter in Tennessee!

I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to know this beloved gentleman, who will be greatly missed. We love you, Grandpapa.

San Francisco

Andrew and I were able to take a little vacation together for the first time in 3 years. We have missed California a LOT, so we decided to head to the cooler weather of San Francisco. It was a wonderful time to just hang out together. We missed Andy a lot, but he was in very good hands with my mom, dad, Anna and Benjamin. I don't know if they'll ever be up for that adventure again, but we were so thankful that they were willing to keep Andy this time!

I haven't found an authentic Tunisian restaurant in Houston (surprisingly), but there was one just down the hill (literally) from our hotel in San Francisco. We had super-sweet Tunisian tea, which brought back floods of memories from my days in Tunis. The restaurant also had terrific breek, which I haven't had since I was in Tunis. Actually, that's not completely true. A Tunisian co-worker from Cheniere brought me the philo-like dough for breek one time, and Andrew and I attempted the dish. Not so hot. I love breek - a flaky, cripsy pocket filled with eggs, tuna, and capers, with lemon. I know that probably doesn't sound good, but my Tunisian "mom" made the best. Cafe Zituna in San Francisco made an agreeable attempt, although I don't think Andrew is as much of a fan of breek as I am.
We stayed in Monterey for a couple of days at the Old Saint Angela Inn, our old stomping grounds that is as lovely as we remembered.

Our friends Matt and Megan just happened to be in Monterey at the same time (craziness!), and we did a little wine tasting at the Taste of Monterey.


The best part of the trip was driving down the 1 from San Francisco to Monterey. It was beautiful, chilly, and there were several great lighthouses and little farm stands. We bought a crate of organic strawberries from one place. I told Andrew that we shouldn't have bought so many because they would go to waste . . . . yeah, I was wrong - they were GONE by the next day. Best strawberries I've ever eaten, even better than the strawberries in Tunisia. I ate so many strawberries in Tunisia that they called me Mademoiselle Fraise (Miss Strawberry). San Francisco has that beat. I guess I am now Madam Fraise. :)








Monday, September 13, 2010

Got milk?

Well, this was actually homemade, organic yogurt, but it was still a cute milk-shache!

Andrew borrowed his mom's yogurt maker, and it's been a lot of fun and super easy to make our own. We just add in some of Andrew's mom's homemade, organic strawberry jam, and we all chow down.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Not a Baby Anymore

Andy started walking at 9 1/2 months! He's getting better daily, and he prefers to walk instead of crawling, even though it takes him 3 times as long right now. He's so cute!
Andy will be 10 months on Sunday, and he looks like a little boy and not a baby anymore. I'm trying not to be too sad. At each stage, I think, "He's so much fun at this age; I don't want him to change!" But each stage has its joys and trails. At this point, he's so busy that I can't get anything done like I want. At least Andy has decided to help his Mom "fold the clothes" by dragging all of the clothes out of the basket and shrewing them across the room.

Isn't this a look you're not supposed to give your mom until you're a teenager?


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hairdresser Friends

My dear friend Joan played with Andy this afternoon so that I could get a haircut. My friend Azar has been cutting my hair since we moved back to Houston 4 years ago. She and I occassionaly meet for coffee or lunch, and she is an absolute doll.

Azar walked up as I was waiting and checked the computer. She called, "Vanessa?" as though she were waiting for the next patient at the doctor's office.

She must not have realized that I was coming in because she is usually really excited to see me. I decided to help her out. "Shannon!" I piped up.

She looked at me with no recognition whatsoever and called again, "Vanessa?"

I thought that was really strange. Had being a mother really made me look that ragged to the point of non-recognition? Had I not become the friend to her that she is to me?

I got up and mustered all my cheerfulness, "It's Shannon!"

She seriously looked straight at me and questioned, "Shannon?"

I was almost in tears by this time - how could she not realize it was me at point blank range? I tried one more time: "Azar, it's me, SHANNON!"

She replied, "Azar? I'm not Azar." (I'm sure I gave her the are-you-from-the-moon look at this point.) "I'm Ira, her twin sister!"

Relief. Oh, yeah, and a fun day at the hair salon. I now have two Iranian friends who are going to take me to their favorite Perisan restaurant on their day off!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day at the beach

Andy (9 months), James (3 months), and Olivia (1 month)
My friend Megan's family rented a beach house in Galveston, so Crystal and went down for the day. With a 9 month old, a 3 month old, and a 1 month old, it was crazy! We spend a total of about an hour getting everyone ready to go down to the beach, and a total of about 15 minutes actually at the beach. But it was all fun. The pic above is of me and my future daughter-in-law(???), Olivia.

Thumbs taste good, even all covered in sand.


Andy loved the sand! It was difficult keeping him from eating it. I was reminded of that book, "Eat This, Not That." I kept giving Andy pieces of pasta salad so that he would eat handfuls of sand.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pop's Famous!

I have to give another shout-out for my father-in-law. He was interviewed for the Channel 13 news yesterday. You can see the video here:
http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/video?id=7601124

Also, his personal website shows a lot of his work:
www.quietlightphoto.com

I'm sure I could set up an autograph session if you're interested. :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You know you're getting old when . . .

My husband says that when we meet a young couple just out of college, we can no longer refer to them as "about our age." This advice was proven when we had a praise song session at our house a few months ago. The guy who led the singing apologized and prefaced his song selection by saying that all he could find last minute were some old songs. Andrew was looking through the selection and commenting on all the great contemporary music we had that night.

This all came to a head tonight. Andrew and I are wannabe foodies, and we saved up to go to dinner for Restaurant Week (www.houstonrestaurantweek.com). My sister babysat Andy for my belated birthday present (thank you, Anna), and we decided to go somewhere we had never been. We were seated by a college student in a short skirt, who was trying to be nice as she cheerfully announced, "Hey, my mom has that dress!" Ummm, was that supposed to be a compliment?

Since I can now officially rant like an old lady, here goes. I will say that Andrew and I had a great time together for our much-needed date night. Houston Restaurant Week is a great idea. It gives normal people, who don't have company credit cards, a chance to try the nicer restaurants in town. For $35, you get a 3 course dinner at a swanky joint, and each restaurant donates $5 to the Houston Food Bank.

However, III Forks left much to be desired. The food was great - the III Forks salad was unique and tasty. We both had the chateaubriand (steak medallions). It was pretty good. Not the best I've had - not as good as Killen's in Pearland or the famous Brennan's or even Andrew's filet minon, but it was comparable. The desserts were homemade 6 layer Pecan and Chocolate cakes. Not too shabby. What stunk was the service. I'm not sure if the waiter knew we were there for restaurant week, so he thought we wouldn't tip well, but he didn't know the wine list and took forever to bring Andrew coffee (twice), and wouldn't bring the bill, even after Andrew asked. When Andrew asked for coffee during the meal, he gave a weird look over Andrew's shoulder, as if I couldn't see!

In my past experience (back in the day, as us old ladies say), if you are willing to shell out the money for a really nice meal, August 1-21 is the time to do it. But don't go to III Forks. Try *17 or Brennan's. I'm not sure about the others on the list, but I've also heard good things about Haven. I guess being old enough to know what you like is ok with me.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

We'll do just about anything for free chicken

On July 3, Chic-fil-a was giving out free spicy chicken sandwhiches to anyone who came to the store wearing red, white and blue. So poor Andrew and Andy had to suffer at my hands and be trousled up for the occassion.

On the way out the door, Andrew's dad called to hang out with us. I asked what he was wearing.

"A white shirt with stripes. Why?"

"What color are the stripes?"

"Blue."

Close enough. We grabbed a red hat from Andrew's collection to finish off Pop's outfit, and away we went. We arrived at Chic-fil-a in the POURING rain. We rushed in, and I realized that I had forgotten my camera in the car. My hero of a husband took the umbrella to run back out to the car to fetch my camera. He found two older ladies wondering how to make it to their car without getting drenched, so he escorted them to their car as well. By the time he got back, Andy had a dirty diaper, and you can guess where the diaper bag was! One last trip to the car, and by the time he got back, of course it stopped raining. :)

Through all that, they gave us FREE chicken sandwhiches. Andy wasn't so sure about the huge cow, but all in all, we had a great time.



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Proud Daughter-in-law

My father-in-law, affectionataly known as "Pop," was chosen as an exhibitor at the Houston Center for Photography's showcase of photography. Only 36 photographers were chosen from around the U.S. We attended the open house on Friday night. I am so proud of him!

Not only that, but the Houston Chronicle wrote an article about him on one of their blogs:

www.ultimatefortbend.com/2010/07/he-lost-his-sight-not-his-photography-skills

Friday, July 2, 2010

Loved Ones


Today, my grandmother, affectionately known as Momo, would have been 90 years old. She was born in 1920, my dad in 1960, and I in 1980. I wanted to have a kid in 2010 to keep up the tradition, but that, my friends, is not going to happen. Andy was just shy of that mark in 2009, so I'll take what I can get.

My grandmother passed away 2 years ago. It's amazing that time has flown by so fast. When I drive near her house, I still start to think I should stop by before I remember that she's not there, sitting on her couch, reading her devotional books. She loved Jesus, and because her relationship with Him was different from mine, she taught me to see Him through different lenses.

My earliest childhood memories of her involved this cabinet in her kitchen that was chock full of junk food. My grandfather owned a grocery store (Hajdik's Food Market in Rosenberg), so he would just bring stuff home from the store. I wasn't allowed to have much junk food, so when I went over there, I got a little out of control. I specifically remember eating all the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms and trying to figure out what to do with the cereal part. I also remember picking out the dark chocolate from the bag of Hershy's Minatures. I remember the smell of that house, and Momo smelling like Noxema, although I didn't know what it was at the time.

As everything in my life seems to revolve around food, another childhood memory involves her throwing a bunch of those marshmallow Easter eggs into the yard for us to go on an Easter egg hunt. We had a lot of fun chasing down those nasty candy eggs!


One Christmas, she called me back into her room and pulled a Cabbage Patch doll out of the closet to give to me. I learned how to french braid on that poor doll's hair!

Momo was quick to smile and laugh, and I would sit on the couch with her in her little garage apartment to catch up on life. She was always telling me that I had slimmed up because I was "such a fat little kid." I don't remember being a fat little kid, but whatever. :)


Probably my favorite memory of her is the day she came to our house to show me how to make kolaches. She started pouring and mixing, and I had to hold a measuring cup between her pour and the bowl to catch how much flour it was supposed to be. She said the same thing my dad always said when asked about recipes, "You know, a little of this, and a little of that." She didn't really know what she did, but those kolaches were fabulous. I did my best to write down the recipe. I haven't make kolaches in awhile, but I am making her famous blueberry banana cream pie for July 4th. I can say it's much easier to make than the kolaches.

Momo gave us a good scare with her heart in 1999, and I actually spent the turn of the century with her in her hospital room. I will never forget watching the TV with all the celebrations for 2000 with her.


She was constantly trying to convert me to Catholocism, and if I was in town and able to take off, I would take her to Good Friday mass at Holy Rosary. I remember her trying to tell me what to do at each part of the mass and her being shocked that I already knew the prayers. I don't know what she thought my dad did with me every other Sunday during my childhood, but I guess she figured out that I wasn't a total heathen.

Another hospital memory was a few weeks before she passed away. I had come to visit her right after work and running, and I was starving. I ate a bag of cheetos on the way to her room, and I wasn't quite finished yet. She wasn't allowed to have outside food, but she talked me into giving her a few of my cheetos. Her eyes dancing with the mischief, she would make me put them away quickly when the nurse came in. As soon as she left, Momo told me "just one more." We had so much fun sneaking those chips together. For heaven's sake, let the dying woman eat some chips if she wants!


At her funeral, more than one person commented how how much I look like her. I'm so thankful for that. Andrew teases me about my "Momo moments," like the "Yikes Face" (my dad and brother also have the Yikes Face). I'll have to show it to you sometime.


I miss my precious grandmother and friend very much. I am thankful for the time I had with her, especially when we knew the end was coming. I had just been laid off from Cheniere, so I had the time to visit her. Those are days I wouldn't trade for anything.


Thank you, precious Momo, for raising an incredible son I was able to call "Dad." Thank you for investing in my life and giving so many people joy. You are truly a loved one.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You can catch more flies with 409 than buttermilk

We don't have a screen door on our backdoor, and between the cat, the dog, and the husband, the backdoor is open a lot. Thus, we've had some flies taking up residence in our house. I can't remember to buy a fly swatter at the store, and the flies were driving me nuts. Mom was over the other day, and saw a fly. She grabbed the 409, took aim, and fired. It worked! The fly was immobilized, and the rest was a piece of cake.

I used 409 Glass and Surface for a long time, but since Andy has come along, I really started worrying about what chemicals they have to put in that stuff to make it work THAT well. Plus, I wasn't able to find it except to get it through Andrew's aunt, who lives in Louisiana. Makes you wonder about a product if they'll only sell in in Louisiana. Anyway, I started using a brand called Seventh Generation. It's all natural ingredients, smells like thyme, and at least makes me feel better about cleaning Andy's high chair.

The Seventh Generation also works to kill the flies, in case you're wondering.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Vacation to Rocky Mountain National Park

We took Andy on our family vacation to Estes Park, CO this month. Poor little Andy was sick pretty much the whole time. The only time he was really happy was in the hiking backpack. Thus, all the pictures of him are in the backpack! We call it the houda because, according to my smart husband, that is the little box on top of the elephant in which people ride.
The weather was perfect, and the views were stunning!