New digs, a year later

So this past week marked a couple of anniversaries. The first was my one year mark at my new job. Even though it can be stressful at times, I feel a lot better knowing that when I say something it will be listened to and that I have a big role in the decisions being made for our district. Even though the job title is the same as my last job, the responsibility is much greater, and I think that fact, in and of itself, alleviates the pain of having the drive over 60 miles every day.

The second is our one year anniversary of being in our new house. It’s funny how quickly it went by. In our first house, I completed a bunch of renovation projects in just two years: replacing the back fence, making a garden (of sorts), creating flower beds along the edge of the house, remodeling a bathroom, redoing Rachel’s room, taking down and rebuilding an entire wall, replacing the lighting in the living room and dining room, and replacing the kitchen floor.

In our new house, I’ve laid sod in the side yard and replaced the flooring, and even that isn’t completely finished since I’ve never gotten around to replacing the baseboards, and we still have crap for carpet in the bedrooms.

But we are raising a child, which is a remodeling project all on it’s own, every day. Now I know why people hire other people to do that kind of work for them.


Fall has finally arrived in San Antonio.


We’ve spent the last 36+ hours with the windows open on the house, and despite the fact that it made it into the upper 80′s yesterday, the humidity has been so low, that by the time the inside of the house warms to being uncomfortable, it’s already cooling off outside. And next week, we’re only supposed to have highs in the 70′s!

By the dawn's early light...

Rachel has been sick again this week with a bacterial infection, so Monica took the day off work yesterday to take her to the doctor. She dressed her warmly for her 8 AM appointment, as it was in the upper 50′s yesterday morning, and when they got home around 8:30 (yes, I said 8:30 from an 8 o’clock doctor’s appointment! I love our doctor…I’ve never had to wait more than 20 minutes) she took pictures. Lots of pictures, some of which are posted here, but some of which I’m holding onto until the 17 month post.


Comfort Food

Tuesday evening, there was a chill in the air.

OK, maybe mid 70′s isn’t a chill, but around here, it’s a break from the usual.

Anyway, it felt a bit more like fall. Overcast all day, cool(er) damp, air. The kind of weather that made me feel like cooking something. Not something on the grill, but something in the kitchen that would (ack!) warm my soul.

Monica was at class, so Rachel and I went to the store, we bought veggies and egg noodles. Monica had already defrosted the chicken, and when I got home, we started on dinner. I made us steamed broccoli, zucchini and carrots, chicken with a cream of mushroom sauce and noodles. The kind of meal I used to love having in the dead of winter. The kind of food that made me gain 20 pounds when we lived in Chicago.

But it was good, and it did warm the soul.

Then on Wednesday, it was over. Sunny, humid and 90.

So goes October in South Texas.

Sixteen Months

Dear Rachel,

Today, you turn 16 months old. As I was laying on our bed watching you and mommy play and tickle each other, I thought to myself, life couldn’t be more perfect.

Give Mama Love

You are really starting to understand a lot. I’m sure you’ve been understanding things for a while now, but we’re just starting to notice. Of course, that means we really have to watch what we do around you because this is the time when you start becoming a tape recorder of all of our bad habits.

Your favorite thing to do this past month is to GO! You are on the move nonstop, and I don’t know how you do it. You love taking walks, and just like the dog, the second one of us puts our shoes on, you’re at the door, grabbing the door handle, trying to go outside. I’m glad that this phase of your life is starting now, because it’s finally starting to get cooler outside. I don’t think we would have been able to handle going outside so much in the middle of the summer.
Starting early

Part of this walking all the time is practicing going up and down steps. Any time you have the opportunity to go up or down, you’ll do it, over and over and over again. It’s fun to watch you learn this new skill, and it’s scary to see you try it on your own. At least you’re smart enough to know when you need help because you’ll stop what you’re doing and put out your hand to one of us.
It's all about the shoes

You went to another wedding this month, and you tore it up on the dance floor. You were all over the place and loved the light show. You dance whenever there is music available, but you’ve never had the opportunity to strut your stuff on the floor like you did at Andy and Cindy’s wedding.

Along with walking comes this sense of independence and throwing fits when you don’t get what you want. There were times this month when I swore that the “terrible twos” were coming on early. We were a bit worried early in the month when you started hitting yourself when you would get in trouble. Miss Judy helped us to correct that behavior by showing you how to be gentle with yourself. Thankfully, we haven’t seen you hit yourself for a couple of weeks now. The fits? Yeah, they’re getting more frequent. Of course, it’s all related to the fact that you’re a very curious little girl, and you’re headstrong and independent, too. I wonder where you get that from? Just this morning, you threw a fit because I made you walk to Judy’s door instead of letting you play with the emblem on the grille of my car like you wanted to.

Grandma Connie and Grandpa Rick visited you this month. I say that because your mother and I could have gone on a cruise and I don’t think they would have noticed. They spoiled your rotten, of course, and they also told us that they’re going to come down for Christmas again this year, and Grandpa is planning on coming down in February for an extended stay as well. I guess our master plan worked! Bwah ha ha ha ha! While they were here, we went to the Jazz festival downtown, and you ran all over the park, always with a grandparent in tow. I think you were almost more popular than the artists who were performing. Everyone enjoyed watching what a good time you were having.
Deep in thought

The other part of our master plan is starting to come to fruition as well…you’ve started helping us put dishes away. When one of us is washing the dishes, you want to be in the kitchen with us. Last month, you started pulling dishes out of the dishwasher and handing them to us. This month, I started telling you where to put them. Even though you just kind of throw them in the cupboard, at least you’re helping. Of course, once you’re done putting them away, you want to get them back out and play with them, then put them away again.

You are no longer satisfied to stay in your room and play with your toys. You figured out that your play tables will move if you push them, and you’ve started pushing them out into the living room to play with them while we’re trying to watch TV. It’s funny to hear you grunt and pant like an old man, trying to haul your table out of your room and down the hall. Now if we could just get you to take it back to your room when you’re done with it.
Something in French

You have also started to take some social cues this month. Whenever you hear people cheering or clapping, you will stop whatever it is you’re doing and clap, too. You’ll look at one of us as if to tell us, “See, I get it!” Even if you just hear cheering on the radio, you’ll clap then too. You understand a lot of words now, too, and the other day you actually signed “more please” to me without being prompted. I was very excited.
In the Moonwalk

This past weekend, you figured out that putting your fingers in your ears makes things sound different. We were out to dinner with some friends and you put your fingers in your ears, then out, in, out, in. It was funny to watch you figure out that the sounds changes when you do that. You even started talking while your fingers were in your ears, then continued talking when you took them out. The look on your face was precious.
I can't hear you

In addition to the nonverbal things, your words are becoming much more pronounced. We still don’t understand most of what you’re saying, but you are most definitely having conversations with us. You’ll also point to things as you talk about them, so we’re at least getting an idea of the object you’re talking about. I can’t wait until we can understand even more of what you’re saying.

Oh yeah, and after 15 months, you finally said “Mama.” Your mother is so happy.


You can’t tell me you didn’t see it coming…

So the Cubs got swept out of the playoffs. Yet another disappointing end to what I think was a mediocre season. If the Cubs had been in any other division, they would have never made it this far. They dropped three in a row in Florida when they needed to tie up the division. They backed into the playoffs on a Milwaukee loss, after battling against themselves the entire second half of the season.

The fact is no team really seemed to want to win the central…the Cubs just didn’t want it less than Milwaukee and St. Louis.

I mean, let’s be serious here…this isn’t the team from 2003 that had everything going for them. In fact, let’s talk about that for a minute, shall we? A team that was just 5 outs away from the World Series, and where are all of those players? The only position player left from that team is Aramis Ramirez. The only other players left are Kerry Wood, who, let’s face it, is pretty much worthless to the Cubs now, and Mark Prior, who hasn’t thrown a single pitch in a major league game this year. This was a team where the middle of the order was as strong, if not stronger than the top of the order, they won a ton of games, won the first postseason series since 1945, and they dismantled the team.

Yeah, the Cubs front office sure knows what it’s doing when it makes those trades, doesn’t it?

Since these guys made the playoffs this year, I’m sure they’ll trade Soto next year, probably keep Kendall as their everyday catcher, and they’ll trade Lee and Soriano for sure.