Memorial Day Weekend

This has been such a strange May. Weather cooler than normal (but so swampy!) and not a day without at least a little bit of rain (keep in mind we’ve been in a severe drought for YEARS), it’s not the intro to summer that we are used to! But with a new pup to entertain and a long holiday weekend, we made the most of our strange weather this weekend.

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Friday after a very rainy field day at school, we tested out Eddie’s ability to hang at a restaurant. We went to the covered Kerbey Lane patio and were not disappointed! The cooler weather was lovely and Eddie was even lovelier – maybe that guide dog start in life was useful for something! Then Saturday we watched the rain from indoor swim lessons and indoor birthday parties, followed by a movie night with neighbor kids and Vietnamese takeout.

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Sunday the rain cleared long enough for a beautiful hike at Redbud isle with Annabelle’s friend Jade and her family and Labrador, followed by a long afternoon swimming with buddies Phoebe and Hazel.

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While the weather wasn’t bad, the damage was already done, and we got the news that day that Marc’s Memorial Day triathlon would be cut to a Duathlon – the lake water was just too wild and crazy to be safe. Marc was bummed, but got up at the crack of dawn Monday anyway and totally killed it in his first shoulda-been-an-olympic-distance-triathlon. He was in the top quartile, and his run time was incredible! 42 minutes for a 10K AFTER a long bike ride!

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We celebrated Marc’s awesomeness with an afternoon neighborhood cookout – ribs, sides, watermelon, pie, and tons of chips, queso and guac. And while we were celebrating, the skies opened up and one of the worst storms of the month blew through! Luckily, we were all safe, although parts of Austin and the surrounding areas were definitely not as fortunate. We’ve heard reports of major flash floods, tornados, houses ruined and even people missing. It’s all very sad, not to mention concerning, considering the forecast for the foreseeable future is just more rain. Our lakes needed water, but not like this.

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For now, we’re just happy to all be snuggled up in our dry, comfortable house, thankful for those who gave their lives for our country, and in disbelief that we only have a couple more weeks of school before summer is upon us!

Introducing Eddie!

For the past few months, the girls and I had been on the lookout – visiting shelters, checking websites, etc… all in search of adopting our next family member (Marc has begrudgingly gone along with it). Nobody has felt quite right and we didn’t want to make the wrong decision since it’s such a big one… and then we got a call.
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Years ago, I put us on the list for guide dogs that “flunked out” of guide dog school in San Antonio. It’s not really a typical list where they go in order – they just look at your family profile and if a dog needs to be re-homed for a particular reason (it needs to be a fairly serious reason because otherwise they have the best trainers ever who can help them), they look at the list and see if anyone seems right.
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Well – they’d been working hard with Eddie, but they couldn’t cure him of his separation anxiety. So they wanted to find a family who would be around a whole lot, were pretty active (he is a very energetic 2 year old lab!) and wouldn’t mind working through this with him (he gets really worked up and anxious, and has a super annoying bark when he gets nervous). They’d tried him out in a few homes that didn’t quite work, and then they brought him here. He instantly calmed down more than the trainer had seen, and we instantly fell in love.
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On Friday we signed the papers to make it official, and Eddie became ours. And so far he has been great! He isn’t obeying us quite like he obeyed the trainer (who spent SIX HOURS with us over two days to make sure we were right/knew how to handle him – and is coming back in a few days to check in), but he’s still about a bazillion times better behaved than Ella was as a 2-year-old. He has only started barking that stressed out bark a couple times since he became ours… with the exception of EVERY TIME WE LEAVE HIM ALONE. Poor guy barks the whole time we are gone. We know because we now have a camera on him. But, we aren’t leaving him all that much and we’re very hopeful that over time, he’ll realize that we ALWAYS come back.
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In any case, we’re sure you’ll fall in love too as soon as you meet him. There’s pretty much nothing not to love. His name is Eddie because he was part of the Guide Dogs of Texas “E” litter. So if you ever meet a Texan guide dog named Elvis or Essie or Eagle or Emma… it’s a littermate.

Mother’s Day

I’ve always felt like my life was charmed – I’ve been so lucky when it came to my family, my place in the world, my friends, my successes… and I really haven’t taken it for granted. So much so that I remember from a young age, feeling worried – how is it possible to be this lucky? SOMETHING was going to give.

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And then – not until I was in my 30’s, it did. We lost Dad so suddenly, while Mom was fighting a horribly unfair muscle disorder. Four years later, we lost Mom. And these perfect parents – more perfect than anyone deserved to have – were gone. WAY too soon.

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But still, even given that, I can’t deny how lucky I am. Look at these kids and this husband, who make me happy every single day!

P1340863Even today, my first Mother’s Day without Mom, was perfectly special in its own simple way. Homemade breakfast, cards, gifts, and love. What more could I want?P1350563It was especially fun to receive all of Annabelle’s cards in Spanish this year, and Clem’s gifts which have gotten so much more artistic and creative (HER creativity, not just her preschool teachers’):

P1350595I miss my own mom more than I imagined was possible, but I also know she is loving watching me be the mother she taught me to be. And there’s no greater gift than that.

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For the first time, I’m late on my monthly posts. Annabelle will blame the fact that I’ve traveled for work FAR too much in the past couple weeks – she does NOT like it when her Mama isn’t home. Of course, she’s never liked it when things didn’t go according to plan, although she’s gotten far more flexible at the ripe old age of 7.

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In fact, Annabelle has grown in just about every way lately. Her piano playing is really taking off, which will be fun to watch at her recital next month. Her math is getting incredibly good too – sometimes she can calculate an addition or multiplication answer in her head before I can get to the answer! And her reading is ridiculous, mainly because she does it ANYWHERE she can. Lately I snagged some old Nancy Drew books from my parents’ house and she devowered them all in a day.

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I’m not sure if it’s Annabelle’s world of books, or her time with Marco, or just her deep down personality that makes Annabelle so imaginative and creative, but we continue to be amazed (and perplexed) about what to do with our girl who is at the same time hyper-logical and living in an imaginary world. Lately she has been writing letters and investigating potions that might give her magical powers. She’s been trying to negotiate with witches and fairies, telling them that as soon as they give her power, she will give them treasure chests full of gold. She’s decided to “magic” us a house that sits in the clouds above our current house, so we can stay in the neighborhood but have 140 rooms (like the White House?), a swimming pool, a horse stable and more. She knows what she wants, and with the help of just ONE willing magical creature, she has a plan. (“I have a plan,” she has told me, is her motto.)

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As parents, there’s absolutely no way to have a plan for Annabelle. We’re just taking her lead, gently pushing her to achieve what she’s capable of achieving, and being there to comfort her sensitive, snuggly side whenever she needs it (which happens more when we travel more). I’m sure she’ll get more used to the travel, but in the meantime, I’ll gladly take the additional snuggles – who wouldn’t?

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For the first time, I’m late on my monthly posts. Life has been moving a mile a minute, and these girls are growing up faster than ever.

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This month, Clementine has made great strides in her reading. She still doesn’t really believe she can do it, but when she’s focused, she can sound out pretty long words these days. We’ve been trying to spend a little bit more time on it (since she is asking for it now) and I hope that over the summer, we can build her confidence so she starts tackling some reading on her own.

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Clem has also been showing us her math brain, which her teachers have been telling us about for months. She still can’t coung all that high, but is adding things in her head (if I have 2 tootsie rolls and 3 m&ms that will be 5 pieces of chocolate!). I feel like by this time, Annabelle could count to 100, but didn’t play with numbers the way Clementine does. I’ll note that this number focus still isn’t translating to any sort of understanding of the calendar – she is still convinced that Christmas is about to happen, directly after anything else you mention (Us: We only have a month left of school. Her: And then it’ll be Christmas!. Us: Let’s try to eat healthy for 10 straight days. Her: And then it’ll be Christmas!).

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One area where Clem does NOT need encouragement or direction is developing her artistic side. There was an art project at school where each child had to color a small piece of it, and the parent volunteer said that in general, kids spent at most 10 minutes. Clementine spent 50 – far more than anyone else – and it was beautiful. She has also been singing completely nonstop – whatever is in her head, is sung opera-style while she’s working on something else, scootering around the house, or sitting at the dinner table.

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And Clem has plenty to sing about! Aside from a cough she can’t shake and some sternness around how long it is taking her to finish dinner (we now have a timer with an alarm – if she doesn’t finish in time, there’s no dessert), it’s good to be Clementine Davis. Because with this face (and this charm and this sweetness), she’s got the whole world eating out of her hand.

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