Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Starbucks Wisdom

It was a busy weekend. Priya's birthday party Saturday. An early-morning Sunday run. Then a fun Halloween party hosted by friends late Sunday afternoon.

Monday rolled around and I hit the ground running--both literally and figuratively. Yesterday on my way to get my hair done by the fabulous Tonie, I stopped by Starbucks. This was printed on my cup. It's now one of my all-time favorite quotes. I just love it.

Here's to a busy hump conference, volunteering in the teacher work room, VOTING, and celebrating the infinite possibilities of the human spirit.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dig a Little Deeper

I love this shot of Priya and I. It's a of us at the Cheetah Girls concert Tuesday night. She really enjoys her "mommy time." And, oh, her mommy so loves her some "Priya time." We had a blast.

I was hesitant about getting the tickets when Animesh told me they were coming to town. First of all, I just knew it would be a crazy late night. And, like her mother, Priya needs her sleep.

Second, I just kept thinking she was way too young for a "concert." Priya was only turning 7! Which, in one way, seems terribly grown up. In another way, it seems terribly young.

I definitely was conflicted.

Ultimately, Animesh and I decided that the Cheetah Girls was the perfect "first-ever" concert for Priya to attend. Back in August, the third Cheetah Girls movie premiered on the Disney Channel. It's called "One World," and it was filmed in India of all places. Priya, our own little Indian, was all over this. She loved the movie, the Indian clothes (she owns many outfits similar to those in the film), and the music. She loves her Indian heritage, and she loves the Cheetah Girls.

And, all of their lyrics are so empowering and all about girl power...I knew eventually that we would give in.

Which, of course, we did.

The opening act was a group of boys called 535 who couldn't have been over the age of 11. Seriously. And, I guess Priya hadn't been exposed to any boys with long hair because she kept insisting that those were girls on stage. I giggled my way through their play list as these boys (whose voices hadn't even changed yet) rocked out to songs entitled "If You Want It, Come and Get it" and "This is How We Roll." Hilarious.

Next up was a trio of very young looking females called the "Clique Girlz." Pretty talented, but again I was finding it difficult to believe these tweens could relate to such heartbreaking angst as they crooned about losing the loves of their lives. More giggles from Mom.

After a 20 minute intermission (which was welcomed since we both had to go potty) the Cheetah Girls made their appearance. And, wow! They didn't disappoint. They are such talented, hard-working performers. And, oh yeah, Sabrina SO should have won the grand prize on Dancing With the Stars last season. That girl can MOVE!

Click on any image to enlarge.

Priya loved it when the Cheetah Girls sang
this song from these suspended swings.

Just when I was about to go complain to the 2 women who insisted on standing up in front of us about 10 rows up, the lights when out. Finally, we got a great view of the Girls as they sang for about 5 minutes on a stage in the middle of the audience...which was only a stone's throw away from our seats. I can't be sure, but I think Adrienne waved to us. :-)

Just when Priya had given up any hope of the Cheetah Girls wearing the Indian saris that they had worn in the "One World" film, they came on stage and peformed the finale wearing them. Priya was in heaven.

These girls have my stamp of approval. The whole premise of the "One World" movie was to celebrate each other's differences but realize we are all part of one world. The opening line to the theme song says it all:

"Love always finds a way...
every single time....
once we look to trust our heart...
and look inside..."

And, on a personal level, my fave song "Dig a Little Deeper" is motivating me as I prepare for the 1/2 marathon that is now only weeks away:

"Yeah, try a little harder;
Move a little faster
If you can't find the strength you're after.
Dig a little deeper, dig a little deeper..."

Should come in handy when I go for 10 miles Sunday morning.

Celebrate Good Times

Priya couldn't have asked for a better birthday celebration. Her class enjoyed birthday cupcakes, and when we arrived home, she discovered the best home-made birthday decorations on our front door...lovingly delivered by our friends/neighbors. Too sweet.

This precious headband arrived on Priya's birthday
from the kindest friends. She absolutely adores it.

We went out to dinner at Priya's fave little restaurant here in town. This year I broke tradition and actually baked the cake. Tasted pretty decent...but I ran out of icing and could only put her initials on it instead of her name. So typical for me.

The big surprise gift for Priya? Tickets to see the Cheetah Girls. We gave her the tickets on Monday, and the concert was last night. I'm still recovering...and I believe my hearing is now impaired from all of the high-pitched tween screaming. But, it was quite the show...awesome, in fact. Pictures to follow soon...they actually turned out great.

I love her facial expression
when she realized what the tickets were for.

Sibling love. It's the best.

Stay tuned for Ch-Ch-Ch CHEETAH mania--
Happy Hump Day.
What does your Wednesday have in store for you?
I'll be singing Cheetah songs all day long...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Becoming a Mother

I know. I know. I've been MIA lately. I thought long and hard about what to post about...what to say...what to report on...

I thought briefly about sharing in great detail the fun Girls' Night Out we enjoyed a couple weeks ago (the chocolate martini seen above was was all of the FOOD!).

I thought about doing a "Not Me Monday" post...because confession is always refreshin'.

I guess I could have shared with you all 138 pictures I took on our annual trek to the area pumpkin patch. Instead, here's la familia. Yes, we are wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts. No, you never know what the weather will be like in San Antonio in October.

But, really, I wanted to post about this adorable, sweet little girl.

Today, Monday, October 20th, our Priya turns 7. It's so terribly bittersweet. On one hand I can barely recall when I held her in my arms (all night long between the ages of 0 and 4 months!!). On the other, it seems like just yesterday when she entered the world...changing mine forever.

These days I talk to a lot of friends about our preconceived notions on becoming a mother. When I was pregnant I remember being so focused on what we would name our child (Priya is an Indian name meaning "beloved."). I remember the baby showers and the clothes. OH! Those GIRLY CLOTHES! I remember shopping for the crib bedding, the stroller, the sweet little socks and shoes, the endless clip-on bows for the hair.

What people don't tell you is that while yes, those things are such a fun component of having a child, it's not reality. No one tells you about the spelling tests to come, or the potty-training, or the attitudes, or how hard it is to get a child out of bed in the morning, or the fight to get them to eat veggies, or the worries I have about the influences that she will encounter outside the safe-haven of our home. No one tells you how hard it is to send your child off to kindergarten, or the first-ever sleepover. No one tells you that as hard as you may try, we cannot protect them from all of the ickiness and hurt that one can experience in the world.

Most people don't share how agonizing it is to watch your child fall ill. Or how exhilarating it is to watch your child excel, whether it be in school or at swimming. Or how heart-warming it is to watch your first-born love and protect her younger brothers with a fierceness that almost compares to mine.

As a fellow first-born child I want to beg Priya now to forgive me for the mistakes I have made and for the mistakes that I will undoubtedly make in the future. I want to share with her how proud of her I am, how much love is in my heart since she joined our family, and how I will always be here for her--no matter what. I want to affirm who she is as...exactly as she is...and help instill a confidence in her that won't be shaken when she is tested.

On this, Priya's 7th birthday, I think I'll do all of these things. And, just like I've been trying so hard to do in the last 7 years, I'll continue to do them the best I can until the day I draw my last breath.

Happy, happy birthday, my sweet Priya Lynn. We love you to the moon and back. Forever and ever.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Feel my WHAT?!

I found this last week when I was posting my tribute to Marta...and found it amusing. You can thank me later for reminding you that October 10-17 is "Feel Your Boobies" Week...a somewhat immature but kinda cute title of a campaign that encourages us to perform our monthly self breast exams.

Happy Feeling!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Family Creed

I found this at a Hallmark store last week.

And, I just couldn't resist snatching it up.

Our family is real. We do not pretend
to be fake and perfect.
We make mistakes.
All of us. And often.

And we do loud really, really well.

But, through it all, love is binding us together.

After all, that's what family is all about, isn't it?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Why I Love October

And, no, it's not because of the cool, crisp weather
we're so NOT experiencing here in South Texas.

Some things I love about October are these totally addicting candy corns and pumpkin cremes. Should I admit that these candy jars have already been refilled twice? Nah. No one needs to know that.
And, what about CANDLES that SMELL like candy corn? Which just makes me want to EAT more candy corn when I light it. Such a vicious cycle.

When I can't make my way to a Starbucks for their Pumpkin Spice Latte (iced, of course because it's still 90 degrees during the day), this Pumpkin creamer suits me just fine in my own, home-brewed coffee. Delish.

Can't get enough of my little pumpkins in the pumpkin patch.
Even though I was sweating while taking the picture.

And, one of my favorite things about October? Celebrating the birth of this little Indian...our first-born...precious Priya. And, oh! What a birthday week celebration she's in for!

Why do you like October?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Think Pink!

This is me with my beautiful friend, Marta Zuniga-Harding. She and I met in the a fresh-out-of-school nurse. Her--a fresh-out-of-school dietician. We bonded instantaneously. Her positive attitude and glowing smile were contagious. She brought happiness wherever she went. And, oh, how much fun she was to be with!

We celebrated singlehood introducing her to my crazy nurse friends (because almost all nurses have some craziness in them, right Heather?). Marta introduced me to the world of Aggieland...taking me to multiple Aggie gatherings in San Antonio. Marta always left with at least 3 new friends in the process.

One week after I threw a bridal shower for Marta, her sister called me with the news. Marta had breast cancer. And, it was advanced. She would begin treatment immediately.

I couldn't wrap my brain around this. She was thin. She ate healthy. She exercised. She had absolutely none of the risk factors. It just wasn't fair. It didn't make any sense.

Marta and Steve were married just two weeks after her chemo treatments began. The emotional ceremony was made more so by the fact that Marta had to sit in a folding chair after she walked down the aisle due to severe nausea and exhaustion.

But, this smile never left her face. She had married the love of her life, and she wasn't going to let cancer take away any happiness that day...or in the days that followed.

Steve and Marta attended our wedding a few months later...Marta donning a becoming wig and grinning from ear to ear at the reception. She even danced the "Cotton-Eyed Joe" with us.

Unfortunately, the tumor she had detected was left untreated for too long. I found out later that she had felt the lump but had done nothing for several months. In spite of the drugs and mastectomy, the cancer ultimately spread to her lungs. She passed away 10 years ago this August after only one year of marriage and after completing her Physician's Assistant courses (and passing her P.A. boards!)---all while undergoing chemo and radiation.

Marta was only 30 years old.

I remember giving a message at the "celebration of her life." It was held a day before Animesh and I were to board a plane to go on our one-year belated honeymoon.

I'm so glad God intended for me to attend the service. And say good-bye.

So, during October--Breast Cancer Awareness Month--join me in celebrating those who have both won and lost the battle with breast cancer. May each of us consider what we can do to fight this deadly disease that will affect nearly 200,000 women this year alone. And, while heart disease is still the number one cause of death among women, I'm willing to guess that each of us has been touched by breast cancer...either personally or by someone we know.

So, help give out free mammograms by clicking on the pink button at the top of this blog. Purchase any of the pink items here. Join the Race for the Cure here in San Antonio on April 4, 2009. You can even join Marta's team, "Inspired by Marta." And, we can all pray for those struggling with this disease.

I will continue to do these things for as long as I'm able.

We miss you, Marta. You'll never be forgotten.