Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Visit with Santa...

Christmas 2011

Chloe has already been to see Santa (Sassy, as she calls him). She was less than thrilled this year. No matter how hard we tried, she would not smile. She was very serious the entire time. At one point, I thought she was going to jump out of his lap. But, she sat there like a good girl and glared at Mark and I for handing her to a hairier-than-dad stranger.

See how much as changed since last year? I can't believe that's the same baby!

Christmas 2010

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving for Three

Our Thanksgiving plans were tweaked a little at the last minute. Our original plan was to cook Thanksgiving lunch at our house and haul it to Mark's parents house for some family time. Instead we cooked lunch at our house, the three of us enjoyed a little Thanksgiving time alone and then we hauled the rest to eat dinner with Mark's family. Although it was unexpected and we missed our families, it was nice to have just the three of us.

We took some goofy pictures to commemorate:

nom nom nom.
Chloe's expression says she knows her parents are weird.

These mashed potatoes are good for more than just eating.
Chloe painted most of our dining room table.

I mustache you a question, but I'll shave it for later.

Food is serious business in the Granthamaniac home.

Spitting out a mouth full of deviled egg and giving me a dirty look.
Why would you feed me this, mom?


I'm done, please.

Spit out my deviled eggs will you? Now you're gonna get it.
Here comes the tickle monster!
We are thankful for so much. Mark and I both have parents that love and respect our lives together. We have a healthy little family. Mark's job has allowed me to be home with Chloe during the first year and half (hopefully longer). We have a warm, beautiful home (even though I dream of moving to another home, soon) in a safe, quiet neighborhood. We have home filled with laughter. There really is nothing we NEED. We thank God for all of these amazing things He has done in our life. I would love to say that we worked and earned the blessings in our life, but the truth is that most of the things that are going well in our life are out of our control. It's God's hands that have guided the chips to fall where they lay.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful for the Present.

No pictures today. I just want to share something that a friend posted on Facebook.

Remember your past, just don't live in it. Dream for the future, and don't dread it. Take the present and enjoy it, before it becomes the past.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rock and Roll in San Antonio

This past Sunday was my marathon. I lost track of how long I have been training, but I know I'm glad it's over. It's difficult to put into words what it feels like to work so long towards a life goal. I've wanted to run a marathon for a long time. I can't pinpoint when I started thinking about the ultimate 'race,' but the dream probably started somewhere around 7th grade (about 15 years ago) when I began running track.

The final push for me to actually sign up and train for a race was having Chloe. I felt like I could conquer the world after having a baby. After all, nothing could be more difficult, right?

I can now answer that question with a resounding "NO!" This marathon was a lot more difficult than labor and delivery.

But, am I glad I did it? Yes! Even as I write this (the day after the race), with sore knees, calves, quads, back and shoulders, I can tell you that it was worth every pain that I'm now enduring. By crossing that finish line at the end of 26.2 miles, I defeated my SELF. My doubts, inhibitions, my body and that part of my mind that tells me daily, "no you can't" is wrong. I can. I will. I did.

I don't expect anyone to understand how this whole experience affected me. That would be impossible. After all, every single runner out there on Sunday had a different experience and took away something different.
Now for the play by play:
It was 60 something degrees and 100% humidity when we started the race. I was in corral 15. When it was our corral's turn to start, I had no nerves. I think the lady I was talking to before the race helped me settle those. A big thanks to her!
Mark set up shop at mile 3, 8 and 10 to take pictures. Around mile 11, the race split off and Mark could no longer watch. I felt great the first 15 miles. It was around mile 17 that my mind and body started getting the better of me.

Every time my feet hit the ground, pain radiated in the balls of my feet. (If I had been paying attention to my running gear, I would have purchased new shoes a few weeks before the race. Instead I was running in worn out gear with little cushion on the soles.) It also didn't help that the people around me were walking. It's very tempting to walk with them. So around mile 18, I started walking through the water stations. Partly in effort to make sure I was actually getting to eat the salt packets (that's right) and drink the water (it's difficult to drink while you're running) and partly to save energy so I could finish the race running.

 At mile 20, I was physically spent. I was walking through water stations and a little between them. The two miles between the 24 marker and the 26 market felt like another 5 miles. And the .2 mile before the finish line was the longest, steepest hill in the race. I took somewhere between 5 and 10 walking steps before I saw Mark yelling at me. Everyone along the finish line was saying 'It's just around the corner' so I sucked it up and started running again. They were right. I turned the corner and saw the finish line. I started crying and my throat closed up making it hard to breath, so I pushed the sobs back down and ran as fast as I could (which wasn't fast at all) to grab my metal.
My official time: 4:54:17
117 out of 311 in my division (Females 25-29)
643 out of 1783 in my gender
1771 out of 4040 in the race

That wasn't as good as I hoped for but I'm glad I finished under the 5 hour mark.
before the race.

not even half of the crowd.

fueling up before with a bagel and banana

wheel chair marathoners. impressive. at least two military vets.

Winner? I don't know.

interesting. if you dress like that, you better run fast!

Trojan coach for encouragement.

at mile 3. still feeling good.

mile 8. still feeling good!

just passed Mark and got a high five at mile 10.

after the race. holding back happy tears.


"Running is a road to self-awareness and self-reliance. You can push yourself to extremes and learn the harsh reality of your physical and mental limitations or coast quietly down a solitary path watching the Earth spin at your feet. But, when you are through, exhilarated and exhausted, at least for the moment, everything seems right in the world." (-Unknown)

Say a quick prayer for the family of a fellow runner and Red Raider who passed away after completing the half marathon on Sunday.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

IPhone update on Chloe

While Mark and I were in NOLA, Chloe stayed with my parents. My mom was awesome and sent us picture of Chloe while we were gone. Here are some of them:

After their visit to my dad and brother's office.

About to go outside and 'shide.'

New overalls from Shorty and Pop!

On our way home. Shorty and Pop wore her out!
Chloe is now sitting in a booster seat and feeding herself.
What a big girl!
Now for the grand finale. Chloe has a pretty extensive vocabulary for a 17 month old. This past week, she learned the word 'frog.' Her toddler lisp...if that's what you call it...makes it sound like a 'choice' word. I'll let you decide. haha. Turn your volume up and listen good...

Monday, November 7, 2011


Sorry for the delay. I've been working on this post for over a week. Trust me when I say we have a LOT going on...some of which we would rather NOT have going on...

The hubs and I took a quick trip to NOLA to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary.

We try to take an anniversary trip every year. We hope to be able to keep the tradition and take the kids along as they get older. Our first year we went to Chicago and our second year we went to NYC. The third year we were unable to take a trip because Miss Chloe was only 5 months old. This year we left her with Shorty and Pop for two nights while we soaked up the Big Easy.

We flew out of Houston's Hobby Airport on Friday morning at 6:00 a.m. We were in New Orleans by 7:00 a.m. and on our way to downtown NOLA. We left Sunday morning at 7:50 a.m. We were so exhausted that we had to take a nap at my parents before we could drive from Houston to Austin. But, it was so worth it!

Rather than give the whole play-by-play of the trip, (which consists of looking at art, walking, eating, drinking and listening to live music) I'll share the few pictures we took. At the end of the post, there is a list of places we ate and what we had...this is for my own records but feel free to take a peek if you care. I recommend everywhere we ate!! That's the first time this has ever happened on a trip. On most of our trips, we stumble into restaurants that are lacking.

Let me say this for the record. Do not let the media stories scare you about visiting New Orleans. The city, while dirty because it's old, seemed safe. We stayed on the touristy beaten paths, but we were out way after dark and we went down some dark streets. I never once felt unsafe. The people in New Orleans are hands down the nicest people I have ever met. And, that's saying a lot because I grew up in West Texas where we are notoriously some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.

Mark doing Night of the Living Dead at the Saint Louis Cemetery

Crypt at Saint Louis Cemetery. The burial practices in New Orleans are interesting.

Lafitte's Blackshop Bar -- oldest structure used as a bar.
Built between 1722 and 1732.
Ordered a Bloody Mary and a Hurricane here.

Bourbon Street

Hanging out on Bourbon Street Friday night.

Our Hotel room...we got switched to a sister hotel, called The Ambassador.
It was a cute boutique hotel. Clean but old.

Brunch at River's Edge. Louisiana omelet with crab meat.

Mark and I at River's Edge.

Bourbon Street on Saturday afternoon.

Love that people don't ask for money. They 'perform' for money.
I gave this guy $2 to take his picture. At least he's doing something (i.e. working).
I hate how in Chicago and NY (and Austin) people just walk up and ask without offering any reason or service.
Me and some strange guy. Paid him for a picture, too.

Mark in his costume.

Me in my costume.


Cafe du Monde

  • Breakfast at Cafe Du Monte. We ate beignets (pronounced: ben yay) and drank Cafe Au Lait.
  • Lunch at Huck Finn's. We ate Po Boys. Mark had pulled pork and I had fried shrimp.
  • Dinner at Pierre Maspero's. Mark ate steak and I had Jambalaya. We both enjoyed a Hurricane. (As a side note, the boudin (pronounced: Boo Dan...I asked.) sausage in NOLA is as tender as a good steak. We also enjoyed some alligator sausage that was to die for...and my Jambalaya was one of the best things I've ever eaten on a vacation.) 

  • Brunch at River's Edge. Mark had a Jambalaya omelet and I had a Louisiana omelet with crab meat. We both drank mimosas. It was delicious.
  • Lunch at Daisy Dukes. I ate the fried green tomato Po Boy and Mark had a sausage Po Boy.