6
things that are good/need improvement

THINGS THAT ARE GOOD

• I’ve had 1.5 glasses of wine, AKA “typing is hard right now.”

• My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are visiting for Christmas. It’s hectic and crazy, but the good kind of hectic and crazy. And my kids keep calling their aunt Maddie or Michelle or Jenny, but her name is in fact Jessica. Names are hard.

• I have new floors! And new baseboards! I feel like I live in a whole new house! Or at least half of one, because we still have the old 80s carpet in the bedrooms and the old 80s tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. We will get there. Someday.

IMG_5503

pre-baseboards

• We’re watching Elf. “I like to whisper too!”

Hipster Holidays Radio on Pandora

• It’s almost Christmas! As a kid I never saw the appeal of Christmas as an adult. Adults got boring gifts: clothes, gadgets, socks. I remember one year my dad saying that experiencing Christmas through your children made it magical again. And he was right.

I got to visit all of my kids’ holiday parties at school this year. Rachel and Claire’s classes each did a play, and then got to crash Zoe’s party in the kindergarten hall. It was loud and overwhelming and hilarious and the perfect end to the first semester.

• I’m calm. I feel in control of my emotions and my moods and my reactions. This is a big deal for me, the over-reacter and over-emotional and slightly snippy person.

• Christmas cookies.

IMG_5467

THINGS THAT COULD USE IMPROVEMENT

• My cats are annoying as hell. Tiger is going deaf, he peed on Rachel’s backpack this morning, and Buffy throws up constantly. The one thing they don’t do is mess with the Christmas tree. Tiger can only eat canned food and is sitting next to my computer as I type, waiting for his dinner. Then Buffy will also go eat some of that dinner and throw up right in the dish. If I gave the word, Christian would have those cats gone in a heartbeat, but I feel like there’s a lesson here, a lesson of “we took these animals in, and we have to care for them until they die or try to kill us.” It’s unclear which will happen first.

• The floor guys didn’t do actual transitions from laminate to carpet, so we have carpet flaps hanging out of each bedroom. It’s ghetto but I can’t real care about that one bit because NEW FLOORS NEW HOUSE FA LA LA LA LAAAAA LA LA LA LA.

• I’m still having a really hard time typing.

• We went to a funeral today. I’m grateful my MIL and SIL could watch our kids so we could go to celebrate our friend’s mother’s life. But at the same time, I hate seeing my loved ones hurting.

• Between Christmas and work and life, I’m crazy busy. I do not like being crazy busy. You know those people who work full time and bake and create and do extracurricular stuff and send immaculate Christmas cards a month in advance and host parties and do all the things? I am not one of those people. I am a low energy introvert who needs not just her down time, but her me time. Right now I’m not getting much of either, and it makes me very anxious. Also we couldn’t find anything to wear to the funeral today because I hadn’t done the laundry.

• Christmas cookies. I feel like I don’t want to look at another Christmas cookie as long as I live, but then I remembered I forgot to make spritz cookies, so NOM NOM NOM here we go! Also, I made a shitton of cookies for my dad’s annual birthday/Christmas delivery, but I don’t think they’re going to get shipped off. (Because we will eat them all before I get to the post office.)

 

I wish all of you the merriest of Christmases, and the happiest of New Years!

IMG_5565

 

Facebook • Twitter • Instagram

11
an airing of general grievances

47) Remember when I lost almost 20 pounds on an ultra low carb plan, eating practically nothing but meat and cheese and salad (with once a week carbs)? Because I was committed and NEVER cheated? After we went on vacation in June, I had a hard time being 100% diligent about tracking my eating. I mean, what’s a spoonful of Nutella here and there? (It’s delicious, that’s what it is.) I wasn’t gaining, but I wasn’t losing either. I took a break from the plan in October, after being on it for 6 months. Now I’m back on. Or I’m supposed to be.

I was supposed to start back up again in November, but for some reason I cannot get myself back in the low carb mindset. I’m not tracking my meals, and I’m sneaking fistfuls of Pirate Booty, not to mention all the holiday sweets. And I can’t make myself care. My weight is slowly creeping back up (I do care about that. I worked hard, yo!). I keep telling myself TODAY IS THE DAY I WILL START FRESH. And then I eat a cookie.

The good thing (uh…) is that since I’m not used to eating sugars and carbs, I feel like complete crap, which after going almost completely berserk this week (started my holiday baking, equal parts YUM and UGH), is a good motivator to cut that shit out again. I’ll let you know how it goes. Unless I completely crap out on myself again, then I’ll quietly mope in the corner, me and my extra pounds.

3b) Christian. I love him. He’s amazing. But he made a grave error in booking his mom’s flight, and she ended up with two return flights from Austin to Minneapolis. It was just miles and not real $$$, but we had to spend extra miles to fix it. He was so pissed at himself, and while I was slightly irritated (also relieved it wasn’t me that made the error because WHEW), I couldn’t add to that grief. So I turned into the “we all make mistakes” cheerleader. That’s what marriage is all about, folks. Unless we’re having to pay another actual $500 for a flight. Then I may not be so cheery.

Article iv) We’re getting new floors soon, so GREAT IDEA let’s paint the walls before we get the floors installed! Because December isn’t stressful enough! I’ve disliked the majority of our wall color since we painted it, but painting is a lot of work, so we’ve just lived with it for almost 10 years. We also have a red accent wall that I used to love, but I pretty much got over that about 6 years ago.

This is not the gray you are looking for.

This is not the gray you are looking for.

We selected a nice gray (too light), then selected an even nicer gray. This is also where we find out that painting at night is not ideal unless you want to wake up to find patchy spots all over the room! Yay for second coats and new baseboards and floors that aren’t gross!

Epilogue) I don’t know how much longer I can work as much as I am. I know it’s my own fault for taking on more work than I’m fit for. I guess I have some decisions to make, but decisions are hard, so I’m going to avoid it for a while, or until I implode. See also: Waking up with massive headaches from all night jaw clenching and teeth grinding.

How I feel most days.

How I feel most days.

What’s up with you? Feel free to air your general grievances!

Facebook • Twitter • Instagram

4
Austin’s Trail of Lights + ZiP Fast Pass Giveaway

austin trail of lights

We love Christmas lights, and we love Austin-y things, but can you believe we hadn’t been to Austin’s renowned Trail of Lights since Rachel and Claire were babies? Yup. Their first Christmas season, we hauled them downtown and pushed them through the Trail in the double stroller. We marveled at the displays; they had absolutely no idea what was going on.

We do visit the Zilker Tree, adjacent to the Trail, each year, but since then, we’ve only spied the Trail from across the park and in passing from the highway. The massive displays were on hiatus for a couple of years, but now they’re back and bigger than ever. Like I told my girls, “It’s so many lights, you can’t even fathom it.”

“What does fathom mean?”

“It’s a whole lotta lights.”

Austin trail of lights

You can go see a whole lotta lights too! I have ONE ZiP Fast Pass to give away to one lucky reader. The ZiP Fast Pass is good for one adult (children age 5 and under are free). The ZiP Fast Pass, presented by HomeAway, gives attendees front-of-the-line access to the Trail at 6pm, before it opens to the public. ZiP purchasers will also have access to Kringle’s Kantina and the HomeAway ZiP Lounge in the VIP Hospitality area for cookies and hot cocoa. Just enter via the Rafflecopter below! And please adhere to the mandatory entry requirements so I don’t have do delete any entries! It’s been done. THIS IS A SUPER FAST GIVEAWAY ONLY OPEN FROM 12/10 – MIDNIGHT 12/11!

ZiP Fast Passes are available for purchase from 12/9 –17 for $15/person and $20/person 12/18 – 22. ZiP passes are an optional upgrade, but if you choose to purchase ZiP passes are required for anyone age 6+. 5 and under are free. ZiP can be purchased in advance, online or at the ZiP box office in the park. You can present your ZiP ticket at the Trail on your phone or print your pass (although if you are my winner, I have a physical wristband to give you). ZiP passes serve as your admission ticket. No additional gate ticket is required.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are a few more photos from our trip to the Trail. I’m so glad we got to go this year. My kids were old enough to be able to hoof it through the Trail, but still young enough to still believe in the magic. I still believe in the magic too. trail of lights austin

trail of lights austin

Entering the bat cave…

trail of lights austin

Texas Santa comes riding in on a jackelope.

trail of lights austin trail of lights austin

trail of lights austin

Don’t miss the free books from HEB!

 

 

Twinkle twinkle. #austin #atx @atxlights

 

A video posted by Leigh Ann Torres (@latorres78) on

Facebook • Twitter • Instagram

1
this actually happened (a dental nightmare)

So let me break down the last week.

a)    NaBloPoMo ended unceremoniously, since I skipped out on the last few days. I didn’t mean to, but being out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday, coupled with my lack of planning and a dash of laziness, made finishing the month out less than desirable. I’m always up for a challenge, but if it starts to interfere with my stress level or my bedtime, I’m out. See also: Why I haven’t posted since.

b)   Zoe had major* dental surgery.

c)    *10-minute procedure, but very traumatic for all of us who had to look at her.

Unbeknownst to me, the last photo I would take of her with her normal, 5-year-old smile.

Unbeknownst to me, the last photo I would take of her with her normal, 5-year-old smile.

Last Tuesday, a freak scooter accident sent Zoe sailing into the concrete, face first. I was trailing several feet behind her, so like any other fall, I jogged until I caught up with her in front of our neighbor’s house, assuming she had maybe scraped a knee or something minor. My kids tend to scream bloody murder at paper cuts, so I wasn’t too concerned.

When I got up to her, she sat up, hand covering her face, and screamed, “MAH MOUF!” Her hand moved to the side, and I saw blood everywhere.

I may have freaked out and yelled something along the lines of, “Oh, Jesus!” as I scooped her up and ran her back to our house. We’d been gone a matter of minutes, Christian was still lingering around in a sleepy stupor when I opened the door, handed a bloody-faced daughter to him and said, “DEAL WITH THIS PLEASE I’LL BE RIGHT BACK.” And then I walked Rachel and Claire to school while Claire accused me of only loving Zoe and only taking care of her when she’s hurt. Kids are fun.

When I got back, Zoe was laying on the couch, teary and whimpery. I looked at Christian, like, “Well? How is she?” Up until this point, I hadn’t really taken a good look at her, and I’d hoped that at the worst, she’d split a lip.

He shook his head. “They’re pretty loose in there.”

IMG_5250

Now there are a lot of things I can deal with as a parent. I have been pooped on and spit up on. I have a mean vomit radar and can rock the stomach bug care-taking like nobody’s business. But the one thing I cannot handle is bloody, loose teeth, even ones not caused by a run-in with the sidewalk.

One trip to the dentist later, and we learned that she in fact broke her two front teeth in her fall, right above the gum line.

“Mom, have you felt how loose these teeth are in here?” I love our dentist, but our twice yearly visits mean she doesn’t know me very well. Because the answer to that was a very emphatic NO. I hadn’t even gone to great lengths to clean the blood off her lips because GROSS.

Also, mother of the year.

And that is how Zoe ended up having dental surgery at 6:30am on a Friday morning.

IMG_5273

The days between the accident and the surgery were sad and filled with all of us trying to figure out what she could eat. The mouth pain itself subsided so that she felt like telling everyone in Costco about her broken teeth and how today the dentist gave her a coin and she got a bouncy ball, but on Friday she’s getting her teeth out and she’s going to get TWO COINS. Thank you, Direct TV sales rep, for humoring her and listening to her plight.

Thursday evening she made sure she went to bed in her favorite penguin jammies, so she could wear them to the dentist in the wee hours of the morning. She took her stuffed owl, Hoot. My nephew sent her a new stuffed tiger to accompany her during the procedure. She named him Soft and told everyone, “My cousin – he’s 10 and a boy – gave this to me to bring to the dentist.”

The anesthesiologist asked her questions about her Thanksgiving while he gave her laughing gas and she slipped under (not something I ever want to watch again if I can help it), and before I could even get settled down in the next room, they were finishing up. Coming around from the anesthesia was a little traumatic, as was having a big wad of gauze stuffed in the gap where her teeth used to be. All morning long she cried that she wanted her teeth back (UGH, right in the mama feels!), but after a Tinker Bell movie marathon and a 2-hour nap, she was begging to jump on the trampoline.

The answer to that was NO.

By Friday night she was completely back to normal. By Sunday I started to get a feeling that she knows exactly how cute she sounds with no front teeth, as she seems to be going to extra lengths to use lots of “s” words.

Thtinker.

Even I get a little squeamish looking at this one.

Even I get a little squeamish looking at this one.

Facebook • Twitter • Instagram

4
what I’m watching: so much good stuff edition

Netflix_Logo_Print_FourColorCMYK

As a part of the Netflix Stream Team, each month I let you know what I’m watching – or what I want to watch – on Netflix. What should I watch next?

 

twisters movie posterI saw the trailer for Twinsters at BlogHer ’15 and have been itching to see it ever since. As a mom to identical twins, the emotional connection Samantha and Anais immediately felt upon just talking to each other (before even meeting in person!) is fascinating. When we live with it every day, it’s easy to take our girls’ relationship for granted. I can only hope that they grow up to love and appreciate each other in the same manner, even though their story is very different.

 

 

 

 

iris-apfel-documentary-movie-poster-683x1024Iris revolves around two things I am obsessed with, but know hardly anything about: New York City and fashion. I can’t piece together a swanky outfit to save my life, but I love watching documentaries that cover the history and evolution of fashion and its place in our society. at 93 years old, Iris Apfel is still one of New York’s fashion icons. The documentary is a fascinating look into her life and her work.

 

 

 

 

I was also happy to see a TON of really great movies streaming lately:

moonrise kingdom movie posterMoonrise Kingdom: I haven’t seen this yet, but I am a big Wes Anderson fan (since Bottlerocket – ca-caw!). He’s an acquired taste, but his films are mesmerizing in their artistry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

silverliningsposterSilver Linings Playbook: Dysfunctional families, mental health, and a dance competition. This movie has everything a good movie should, although Jennifer Lawrence’s jiggly boobs all throughout the movie make me slightly uncomfortable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spanglish_posterSpanglish: I have always loved this movie. It’s Adam Sandler after Adam Sandler was established as a decent actor, but before he started doing terrible movies like Click and Pixels. Spanglish is sweet and funny and heart wrenching and heart warming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love-Actually-PosterLove Actually: I have only seen this movie once, but it’s British and adorable, and I love it. I can never go another holiday season without watching it. Well, unless Netflix takes it away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And for the kids:

movie_poster_waltdisneyanimatedshorts_2d91129cWalt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection: Catch up with Elsa and Anna and Rapunzel and Eugene new animated shorts, and watch a few more like the Legend of John Henry and my girls’ favorite: Feast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

home-movie-posterHome: An outcast alien named Oh befriends a human girl and helps her find her mother after his alien people have taken over the planet. Home is adorable, and my girls love it.

 

 

 

 

 

popplesPopples: Everything old is new again, as evidenced by Netflix’s new original show, Popples. The girls were thrilled to receive some Popple plush toys in the mail from Netflix, and they immediately latched onto the show. I immediately googled Popples and found one just like I used to have back in the 80s. I had completely forgotten about it!

 

 

 

 

 

Your turn! What are you watching?

Facebook • Twitter • Instagram

5
texts from HEB

I get off easy on Thanksgiving. My sister does all the hard work, and I am not responsible for making anything but some place-and-bake chocolate chip cookies and mini pumpkin pies. Unfortunately I don’t keep mini pumpkin pie ingredients at the ready. And my car was in the shop today.

Enter this guy.

IMG_5201

Minus the Care Bears t-shirt.

What follows is a detailed account of him at the store, asking me exactly where every single ingredient in the store is. Including bonus footage of insurance mumbo jumbo from him tapping someone in the rear last week.

 

funny texts with husband

funny texts with husband

Sorry about your neck, can you grab some fruit LOL

funny texts with husband

funny texts with husband

funny texts with husband

If you come home with a full pumpkin I will cut you.

funny texts with husband

*googles condensed milk vs evaporated milk* *confidently answers question*

funny texts with husband

*downloads app on husband’s phone for next time*

funny texts with husband

[insert cliche “which turkey?” barb at husband here]

Happy Thanksgiving!

NaBloPoMo November 2015

Facebook • Twitter • Instagram

5
those damn Facebook memories

I love the Facebook memories feature.

I also hate the Facebook memories feature.

It’s fun to scroll through the things I’ve said or posted in the past, especially when it involves chubby babies screaming at each other in an echoing hallway. (If I could figure out how to embed that video here, I would, but that would involve digging up old hard drives, and that’s pushing my laziness.)

But mostly the Facebook memories remind me of a few less-than-stellar things:

  • I used to share a lot of senseless content, just for the sake of sharing.
  • My old Android phone had a terrible camera (that I probably thought was good at the time. All hail the iPhone 6).
  • I used to complain about my kids not napping a LOT.

Also, my kids used to say a lot of hilarious things, like

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 9.12.45 PM

and

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 9.11.58 PM

 

The other day I was reminded that Thanksgiving fell on November 22, 2012. And I was graced with this in my memories:

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 8.48.07 PM

This is one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. Two-year-old Zoe crawled into my Mimi’s lap for some snuggles on this Thanksgiving afternoon, a holiday that my grandmother herself had hosted for years and years, but this year she wasn’t up to it. This year the torch was passed to my sister and my parents, and we’ve had Thanksgiving at their house ever since.

Sometimes I forget that she’s not here anymore. I find myself going about my daily life, hardly giving it a thought. I’m the only family member that lives out of town, and I feel oddly disconnected a lot of the time. Just yesterday I spoke to my mom on the phone, and she asked me if I knew about my dad’s knee surgery.

“No,” I said, and with the maturity of a teenager, I followed up with, “No one tells me anything.” I knew my dad was planning on having his [second] knee replacement surgery, but as far as updates and plans, I am usually left out of the loop.

Living apart from so many physical reminders of my childhood aids in the forgetting. Once in a while though, I’ll be struck by something that reminds me of her so painfully, I can hardly breathe. Once it was a song playing in an episode of Friday Night Lights, something that was the exact type of music my grandparents would have playing on their stereo on a lazy Sunday post-church afternoon. Most times it’s a glimpse of a white-haired elderly woman in the grocery store. I bite my lip during the rest of my shopping and return to my car to cry with more force than I ever did on the day I found out she had passed, or even at her funeral. I’m struck dumbfounded at the idea that I will never see her again in this life.

Claire was having a rough night a few weeks ago. We sat on the couch together while she cried about getting disciplined and cried at feeling unloved, then cried because she missed her Mimi.

“Oh, honey, I miss her too,” I said. “I really do. But we’ll see her again some day.”

NaBloPoMo November 2015

Facebook • Twitter • Instagram

5
okay with mid-level

I picked up a new pair of running shoes today. I left my old pair in North Carolina – the pair that took me through my first half marathon, the Cap10K, and then a terrible post-injury 10k last spring.

So since June I’ve had thoughts about going to the gym – no shoes – or going for a walk – no shoes – or maybe even going for a little jog – NO SHOES. I’ve had vague plans to train for the 3M Half Marathon with friends, my comeback race after the last terrible comeback race that ended up being less of a comeback and more of a miserable experience. So I needed some damn shoes.

I’d tried ordering a pair online, resulting in terrible blisters, even though they were supposedly the same shoe I’d had before, just the latest model. I returned them and put off the act of shoe shopping once again.

A photo posted by Leigh Ann Torres (@latorres78) on

 

Maybe a smarter or more efficient person would just take herself out to the store to get new shoes, but a) I try to reserve every precious minute the girls are in school to get work done, b) I am not taking three kids with me to pick out running shoes, and c) I was planning on training for the 3M Half Marathon coming up in January, so I couldn’t just pluck a pair of pretty shoes off the shelf. I over-pronate when I run, so fit was important to me.

But today I realized that my poor tootsies weren’t going to survive through many more cold fronts without proper footwear. I have a lot of slip ons – flats, TOMS, Bobs that alternate as shoes and slippers, and the Texas favorite – flip flops. But sometimes you just need an actual shoe to keep your feet warm. And to exercise in and stuff.

Anyway, I ended up with the ASICS GEL-Exalt 2 (affiliate link) because it was nice looking, felt good, and wasn’t terribly expensive. They’re mid-level shoes.

asics gel exalt 2

 

I was okay with these being mid-level shoes because I am not, in fact, going to run the 3M Half Marathon.

I’m not sad to say that my woefully short long distance running career is most likely over. Okay, maybe I’m a little sad to say that. In order to run the 3M, I’d have to start training at the beginning of November, and that’s with no cushion in the training schedule. We all know it’s too late for that by now.

In mid-September I started a strength training regiment. I immediately hurt my back again. And although it ended up being muscular and not my old disc issue, it scared the crap out of me. Debilitating and soul-crushing back pain will do that to you.

It hit me then that while I want to find ways to take care of myself and stay fit, pushing my body to the extreme is not worth it to me anymore. I spent almost a year recovering from my last disc herniation. Mild pain still springs up from time to time, but I’m not willing to risk injury and putting myself through that painful experience again, even if I do have the tools to work through it. This strength training routine was not by any means pushing my body to the extreme, and that’s what freaked me out.

I’ll head out to the course to cheer on my friends and meet them at the finish line. And I’ll try not to be insanely jealous as I watch them train and accomplish this awesome goal (it’s my friend’s comeback race as well, after having a baby and, oh, almost DYING from an infection post-surgery).

But most importantly, I am at peace with this decision. For now.

 

NaBloPoMo November 2015

Facebook • Twitter • Instagram

4
the last soccer saturday

What could be more fun than sitting out in the freezing cold (50 degree!) with gale force winds to watch your daughter’s last soccer game of the season? Sitting out in the freezing cold (50 degree! We Texans aren’t built for this) with gale force winds to watch your daughter’s soccer game while you have an achy body and a head cold and feel like you want to curl up on the sidelines and die.

That’s some mom commitment there.

Also, if you could see the number of typos I had in that first paragraph, you would understand, and maybe you would bring me some soup. I love soup.

Anyway. Pity party aside, Zoe played a kick ass last game. It’s her third season, so she’s really starting to get the hang of it.

Season 1: Excitement! This is new! Then apathy! Curl up in Mommy’s lap and take a nap!

Season 2: Less excitement! More apathy! Pick those weeds! Kick that dirt!

Season 3: I am starting to understand how this game works! I have friends on this team! Soccer rules!

So parents, hold steady. As long as they are willing, they’ll pick it up. (This does not include Rachel and Claire, who were very clearly NOT WILLING.)

We already can’t wait for next season. We’ll be moving up to the 6-year-old age group, I think (aka big kids who play with goalies and such). I AM GOING TO HAVE A 6-YEAR-OLD.

Zoe was all about the defense today. We don’t play with goalies at this age, but every chance she got, she moved down field to protect that goal from the blasted red team.

IMG_5165

IMG_5166

Number 68 is her best bud from school. He says he wants to marry her. She showed mercy.

Number 68 (face down on the ground) is her best bud from school. He says he wants to marry her. She showed mercy.

IMG_5170

I have a medal! It covers my face!

I have a medal! It covers my face!

NaBloPoMo November 2015

Facebook • Twitter • Instagram

15
fun facts about me

IMG_4688

I judge people who speed through school zones.

I don’t cut through parking lots.

I pace circles around my living room whenever I’m talking on the phone. It helps me concentrate on the conversation.

I spent my formative years (4th grade through high school, pretty much) attending dog shows with my parents. I participated in Junior Showmanship for a few of those years.

I can’t drive a stick shift and have no desire to learn.

I love candy corn.

I will kill just about any plant you send my way.

One of my extreme and unusual talents is parallel parking.

I’m also really good at inserting duvets into duvet covers, so I honestly don’t know what all the fuss is about.

Working retail in high school and college made me super anal about folding t-shirts.

I can’t stand tea. Why tea when you can coffee?

I never brush my hair.

Using a computer mouse is pretty much the only thing I can do with my right hand.

I do not understand the appeal of country music or bath robes.

 

Fun facts about you?

 

NaBloPoMo November 2015

Facebook • Twitter • Instagram

< 1 2 3 4 5 6 >