Friday, February 27, 2009

The Boondocks

"I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could."

I moved to Texas when I was 13. Military brat that I was. So...having been here--for the most part--for 26 years...I consider Texas home.

We lived in San Antonio most of that time...but 5 years ago our family made the big move out to---gasp!--the country. Life hasn't been the same since.

It's taken me a long time to get used to living so far away from everything...but it didn't take me long at all to get used to sunrises like this one above. Spectacular.

Next week we'll celebrate 5 years of living in the "boondocks" (as I like to call it). Recalling the last five years made me somewhat nostalgic. We brought home our 3rd child to this house. I trained for races on the streets of this 'hood. We've made some wonderful friends here. We've become "one" with raccoons and deer and scorpions and centipedes. We potty-trained our boys in our front and back yard...which is so far away from anyone else that the public displays of nudity went unnoticed. And, yes. They still pee freely in our front and back yards.

All in's been a great 5 years here in the boondocks.

Priya celebrated Texas this week at school...and Monday she donned some cowgirl duds in honor of this great state we live in.

Every day on the way home from school we've sung "Deep in the Heart of Texas" at the top of our lungs. I actually put some of those lyrics on our "Change of Address" cards when we moved here 5 years ago. On Monday I got to thinking about how...finally...after 5 years...I can honestly say that I really love where we live. I love the majestic surroundings God has placed around us. I love the view in our back yard. I love how I can see every single star in the sky on a clear night.

I love San Antonio and the upcoming Fiesta celebration. I love how I say "ya'll" so freely and naturally. I love how "quesadilla" is on almost every single children's menu in restaurants. I love my cowboy boots. I love country music. I love that today was 94 degrees. At the end of February. And, I love how it will only be in the 60s tomorrow. Yes, I have even grown to love the unpredictable South Texas weather.

It's true what they say...the stars at night really are big and bright (clap, clap, clap, clap)---deep in the heart of Texas.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Mine certainly was. I had more celebrations last week than a girl should be allowed to have. There are a couple more celebratory lunches this week, too. I'm spoiled. And feeling loved. And I like it.

And, thanks for all the birthday love in the comment section. Ya'll are too kind. Really.

In addition to my b-day, we celebrated Priya and Deven's first-ever science fair last week. Daddy went all was his thing to do with the kids...and together they all had a blast. Deven assessed the effect of lemon juice and sugar on pennies.

Gotta love the pose.

Priya made rock candy...well...some crystals began to form in an attempt to make rock candy.
Next year we won't start so late with our projects.

At least we brought samples of what it's supposed to look like.

And, Trevor?
Well, he came along for the free snacks
provided by the Student Council.
Go figure.

Another highlight of the week was getting to hear this amazing woman speak. What a gift it was for me to listen, learn, and see in person someone who has provided me with much insight and inspiration as a parent and person via blogland. Hooray for you, Brene, and I'm happy that I might get the chance to hear you speak again next month.

"I know the world looks good when everything is stuffed into neat little boxes, covered in shiny wrapping paper, and tied with big, crisp bows (I like the Pottery Barn holiday spreads as much as the next person). The problem is that, despite our desire to stuff ourselves and the people around us in those convenient compartments, I've never met anyone who really fits in one neat box. We're all more complex than that. Plus, the gifts – joy, gratitude, hope, love, resilience, grace – are inside those boxes. We’ve got to rip off all of that stuff to get inside. Unwrapping, ripping, and untying lots of seemingly mismatched boxes is a big mess. A big, wild, authentic, wonderful mess." --Brene Brown

Well said, Brene. That's me. A big, wild, wonderful mess. Striving for authenticity. Daily. Hourly. By the minute.

Saturday I woke up feeling icky. Stuffed up. Deep, painful cough. How lucky for me that my hubby was to board a plane later that day and leave me alone with the kids for 8 days? I told my doctor husband that he had better call me in some good stuff before he left town or else. Not really with such a threatening tone. But kind of. He happily obliged. Day 3 of the Z-pack and I'm on my way to recovery.

It promises to be busy while Daddy is away. After 2 days of his absence, it already has been. Today included the boys' visit to the doctor--which culminated in an allergy skin test for Trevor (he was so brave), hair cuts for my shaggy sons, a trip to Wal-mart, a trip to the floor store to get wood samples for our pending house transformation, homework, baths, books, and bed.

While at the doctor's office a Highlights magazine informed us that this week is National Pancake Week, so we celebrated for dinner. This is week 3 of having breakfast for dinner at least once, and I'm likin' it.

And, I wouldn't be a loyal Honorary Indian if I didn't give a shout out to the Academy Award winning movie Slum Dog Millionaire. Animesh and I have made two separate attempts to see this film, but something has always prevented us from doing so. Having visited this poverty-stricken country 6 years ago...I am so happy for the cast, crew, and the entire Indian population for this success. Now I just need to see the movie!

My 7 year old went to her first full-blown sleepover this weekend (and didn't even feel the need to call home to be picked up early), my 5 year old is reading books like crazy, and my 3 year old is using phrases like "no worries" on a daily basis.

My own 3 little Indians are growing up to quickly for my liking. But, they're happy. And thriving. In spite of my flubs and stumbles as a parent.

And, that, my friends is real reason to celebrate.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

These Lines Across My Face

February 17, 2009

Dear Self,

We turn 39 today, you and I. And, Self, it's amazing to think of all we've been through together.

To think of the changes we've undergone in the last 15 years...the last 10 years...the last 5 years...the last year...and mostly in the last couple of months...well, it blows me away. I see us evolving, Self. I see us changing and morphing into someone more at peace. We are more comfortable in our own skin. We are a little less consumed with "keeping up with the Joneses." We are a little less bothered by others' opinions of us. We've become a little more conscious of others' needs in an attempt to become less selfish. We are a little less judgmental of others.

The last couple of years have brought about an acute awareness of the significance of the people in our life and how they have contributed to our transformation in mind and spirit. I'm sure you remember a time, Self, when we would have given ALL the props to ourselves. But, now we know that people are put in our lives by God to bless us, to test us, to strengthen us when we're weak, and to offer opportunities for us to be the wind beneath their wings. We cannot do this thing called life all alone.

Self....I haven't liked some of the decisions we've made in the last 39 years. In fact, I haven't been proud of many of the paths we chose to follow, words we've spoken, choices we've made, thoughts that crossed our mind. But, I am thankful that those mistakes have enabled us to experience--on some level--growth. Maturity. Humility. Compassion. Forgiveness. And, mostly, unconditional love.

I'm also thankful that we have not let those bad, sometimes horrible choices define who we are at this moment. Self, hooray for us that we haven't let those situations influence our life in negative ways. And, while I have no doubt that mistakes will be made again, hopefully they'll occur with less frequency thanks to lessons we've learned.

Self, when I think of how we have been blessed--it is impossible to fight back tears. We have a husband who is kind, gentle, and loving. Three amazing children who have touched us so deeply and in ways we have yet to experience. And Self, we have some of the most amazing friends, don't we? True friends who know our past struggles and current flaws--yet they love us intensely in spite of them.

Self, we've struggled with body issues, lost loves, disappointment, abandonment, failures, loneliness, sadness, and feeling inadequate. We are comprised of skin that still breaks out, an inactive metabolism that requires insane amounts of exercise in order to maintain some sort of a figure, and overactive tear ducts that make us cry at the drop of a hat. We are sooooo sensitive. Maybe too sensitive. We over-analyze things. We like to be in control. Or, at least feel as if we are. Yet, in addition to these traits (some of which might be viewed as flaws), we possess a heart that is bursting with love and gratitude for all the blessings we have been handed by God. And, I'd like to think that this trait balances everything out.

Self, we love chocolate, wine, coffee, reading, and basking in sunshine. We love to light candles in the house every single day. And, we love to laugh. Oh! How we love to laugh! I love that about us, Self. I hope that we never lose that love of laughter. And, I hope that our overactive tear ducts never dry up.

I'm proud of us, Self, for digging deep and attempting many "firsts." Our first 1/2 marathon and triathlons. Our first guitar lessons. Our first attempt at knitting. We've begun going to sleep earlier. We've begun watching TV less and reading more. We're spending more time in the kitchen cooking healthful meals. We're trying so hard to enjoy every single moment of every single day. Well, maybe not doing the dishes. Self, will we ever enjoy doing the dishes?!

Still---there are many things I'd like to change about us, Self. I'd love for us to develop more patience. I'd love to see us spend more quiet time with God...reflecting and meditating on how He wants to use us here on earth. I'd love to see us reach out to others more...identifying others' needs and showing love and compassion to them the way we've been shown love and compassion. I know we're busy, Self, and I do not underestimate the tremendous responsibility of raising 3 loving, kind, respectful human beings. But, part of raising children with those qualities is acting as a role model and demonstrating those qualities for others...especially people we don't know. Let's try and do more of that, okay?

Oddly enough, one thing I don't want to change are our wrinkles. Like the song says, these lines across our face tell the story of who we are. So many stories of where we've been. These lines tell the story of how we got to where we are. And, Self, I really love where we are.

Self, you and I are doin' okay. Not perfect. Definitely room for improvement. But, with the help from God, our awesome family, and our amazing friends, we're makin' our way.

Self, I love you. Because I cannot love others if I first do not love mySelf.

So, happy 39th birthday, Self. I claim you and accept you with all our imperfections and flaws. And with your cooperation, we will strive to get better and better with each passing year.


“When we trust our lives to the unseen but ever-present God, He will write our lives into His story and every last one of them will turn out to be a great read. With a great ending.”
~ Beth Moore from Week One of Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman

Friday, February 13, 2009

All About Love

(photo taken in December '08, when we visited Animal Kingdom, Orlando, FL)

Hello, Friday the 13th. Growing up this day always gave me the heebie jeebies. Mostly having to do with those gruesome "Friday the 13th" movies. Now I realize it's almost always just another day, but if anything out of the ordinary occurs, I still wonder if the date on the calendar has something to do with it.

The Christmas tree is still up...and decorated with Christmas ornaments. The kids are chomping at the bit to hang their hand-made hearts on the tree. Guess I need to get busy today.

When my mom was pregnant with me, she was told I would arrive on Valentine's Day. I'm kind of glad that I was 3 days late...and I always emphasize to Animesh that V-day and my birthday are two separate holidays. Bless his heart...he's gone along with it for years. I don't know that many husbands would.

As I have...ahem...matured (notice I didn't say as I have gotten older....), Valentine's Day has come to mean so much more to me than just romantic's showing and accepting love from everyone who is willing to give and receive it. And remembering that we should give and take love all year round--not just on Valentine's Day. In fact, I think we need more of that in our world.

Like the song says....I hope with all this information buzzing through our brains....that we will not let our hearts forget the most important's love.

The past few days I've been shown love...with lots of pre-birthday celebrations given by those who I love and cherish. I'm so filled with gratitude.

I hope your Valentine's Day overflows with love--whether you celebrate it with a significant other, your children, your parents, your friends, co-workers....or even all by yourself.

Nothin' wrong with giving ourselves a little bit of that love we so lavishly pour out on others.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tri, tri again.

Yesterday I registered for the Danskin Sprint Triathlon in June.

It's hard to believe...but it's that time again. Time to climb out of whatever pit I've fallen into lately and get my boo-tay in shape. Time for regular swim work-outs...weekly bike rides...and bi-weekly runs.

I will tell you I am not the least bit interested in lacing up the ole' running shoes. I think the half marathon in November did me in. Some days it seems as if my knees still haven't recovered. Adding insult to injury (literally), I've only worked out a half dozen times since that race. And, let me tell wasn't pretty.

Truthfully I am pretty psyched about this upcoming race in June...last year the whole training season was incredibly therapeutic for me--mentally--so I'm excited to begin focusing on this goal. And whipping my body into some sort of shape is just icing on the cake.

Plus--I'm going to try like mad to beat my first-ever time of 2 hours and 2 minutes. Don't think it will be too hard. Last year I was a little chit-chatty during the transitions from swim to bike and bike to run. Was makin' friends left and right...forgetting that I was actually being timed for my efforts.
"You don't have to win..." Sticker (Rectangular)
And, how cool is it that I'll be participating in the 2oth anniversary of the Danskin Triathlon Series in Austin with my friend "Jeanne, Jeanne, the dancin' machine?"

I think this calls for a new tri outfit, don't ya think?

You know me...any excuse to go shopping.

Not that I need an excuse.