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

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and

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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I have a medal! It covers my face!

I have a medal! It covers my face!

NaBloPoMo November 2015

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15
fun facts about me

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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

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2
sick day, kind of

Claire started with a nasty cough on Monday, the kind of cough that gives you pause to think, “Should I actually send this child to school with a cough like that?” But then you see she has no fever and after shoveling down an egg, a bowl of chocolate Cheerios, and a banana (and still asking for more), you tell yourself she’s fine! Really. Kids cough. It’s what they do. If there is a crowd of kids and one of them isn’t hacking up phlegm, then you probably live in a better neighborhood than I do. Just kidding! Coughing knows no class distinction.

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Anyhoo, the cough has been consistent, but it hasn’t kept her down at all, until Tuesday night, when it actually kept her UP. She wandered into my room at 3-something in the morning, crawled into bed with me, and proceeded to toss and turn and toss and turn (awesome) and squish me up against Christian (who was snoring, so double awesome).

Sidebar: One of the things that has really become obvious since we realized Claire is a sensory seeker is the fact that she has a really hard time getting settled and she often claims that her bed isn’t comfortable. In the past I would have brushed this off as a lame excuse, but after learning more about sensory issues, I realize that the poor girl just really must have a hard time getting comfortable sometimes.

I eventually took her back to bed, but she got up again at 5:22 and came to lay with me. I remember the time because that’s exactly 8 minutes before my blasted alarm goes off.

Homegirl needed to get some rest, so I took my pillow to the couch so my alarm and subsequent 3-4 snoozes wouldn’t keep her awake. Only she followed me, sniffling and coughing, because she just had to lay with me. Cozy mom problems. So we crawled back into my bed, where she told me her voice didn’t work, and then she tossed and turned and tossed and turned, while my alarm went off every 9 minutes and I kicked Christian every 6 minutes to get him to stop the damn snoring. If I hadn’t been so fucking tired, I would’ve just gotten up long ago to avoid all the annoyances.

Deciding let someone stay home from school because they “don’t feel good” is one of my least favorite calls to make. I am terrible with instincts, so if there’s no fever or vomiting or massive head wounds, I say go to school. But this time I figured no voice + nasty cough + the strep notification that was sent home last week = good enough to stay home.

Plus there was that time I decided to listen to her plight of a sore throat and stomach ache and let her stay home (sick!), only to be made a sucker and take her to school after I found her running circles around the living room with Zoe (not sick!), only then to receive a note home that one of her classmates was diagnosed with strep and the common symptoms were a) sore throat and b) stomach ache. We went straight to the doctor and came home with one strep diagnosis.

So if she was going to stay home today, we were going in for a strep test.

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It was negative.

She was playing on the trampoline by the afternoon.

And running up and down the street after her bath in the evening.

So not so much a sick day as a “I got to stay home and draw and watch TV and play Dad’s iPad all day” day. With bonus chocolate sandwich for lunch.

I don’t regret keeping her home. The cough was super nasty. But I don’t often get this kind of one-on-one time with my girls, and if this is one way I can get it, then so be it.

NaBloPoMo November 2015

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3
celebrating prematurity

A version of this was originally published on November 17, 2011.

I remember standing in my hospital gown at Claire’s bedside at 3 days old, staring at her tiny then 2 lb 12 oz body all curled up on her tummy with her bottom in the air, swimming in a preemie diaper. I remember the nurse telling me she wasn’t digesting her food, she was still losing weight, and she wasn’t sure if the doctors were going to try and insert her PICC line a third time to get her more nourishment. She was so tiny they couldn’t get it placed right, and no PICC line meant that they’d just have to keep finding new places to insert IVs in her tiny veins.

I bawled by her bed, another nurse trying to console me. I returned to my room and bawled some more. And I prayed like I’ve never prayed before.

The next day she turned a corner. She was digesting her food, even if it was only 2-3 mLs.

It wasn’t long before the neonatologist started referring to them as boring. And boring was good.

I watch this video now and all I see is a fetus. I living, breathing fetus who came out of the womb way too early. I see a woman who had no idea how to be a mom to these two preemies. If I seem distant in the video, it’s because a) I had no idea how to feel, holding this tiny thing against my body, and b) I was afraid to move a muscle.

Seven and a half years later, I look at my happy, healthy, smart, playful, and insane former featherweights and marvel at the progress they’ve made. I’m so thankful for the hard work and dedication of the doctors, nurses, volunteers, and more who all made that possible. And I’m so thankful for the love and support we received from friends and family when we needed them most.

 

prematurity awareness day

Today we celebrate World Prematurity Day for all of the tiny heroes out there, both in our homes and in our hearts.

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7
I met Wendy Davis

So this happened:

wendy davis momcom

That’s me (right), with Wendy Davis, Jenny Kanevsky, and Jill Robbins.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, or if you’re just not from Texas, Wendy Davis is a Democratic politician who is best known for her 11-hour filibuster (this article, and the accompanying videos sprinkled throughout, is very much worth the read) in June 2013, where she attempted to block a senate bill that included more restrictive abortion regulations for the state of Texas. The filibuster was successful in delaying the passage of the bill beyond midnight, which ended the legislative session.

I didn’t watch the filibuster (no live TV, waaahhhh), but I did follow it closely on Twitter. I went to bed feeling triumphant, almost as if I had been there in the capitol building myself.

I woke the next morning and found out that the bill had somehow passed.

What followed was a debacle of deception, where there was talk of changing timestamps on legal documents in order to get the bill passed during the session. The bill was declared dead (yay!), but then-governor Rick Perry called a special second session (booooo!).

For the first time, a political decision brought me to tears as I looked at my three girls that summer morning, sitting on the couch watching Netflix in their pajamas.

I believe in the work that Davis does to empower women, not just so they can have access to healthcare, but to be their best selves, despite their obstacles and roadblocks. Davis’s own story is a rags to riches one, and I don’t mean just financially. Her story is one for the teen mothers, the single mothers, the mothers working full time and attending night classes, the mothers supporting their own daughters through various hardships, trying to find their way through this life that sometimes doesn’t seem at all fair to women.

I don’t talk politics much here, or in real life, for that matter. But one thing I will always, always support is the right for my daughters to choose what to do with their bodies and their lives. It doesn’t mean I will always agree with them. But it does mean that I will make sure they receive the information they need to make an educated decision. And I will always support their right to ultimately make that decision on their own.

NaBloPoMo November 2015

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1
scenes from a Saturday

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Quality Spider-Man comic book reading and couch wrasslin’, quickly followed by couch chasing, followed by overzealous couch chasing, followed by SHE HIT ME! followed by WELL SHE MESSED UP MY PONYTAIL! followed by I HAVE EXACTLY ZERO SYMPATHY FOR EITHER OF YOU (re: rasslin’ and chasing).

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Floor shopping! With three helpers! Why didn’t I get a photo of Zoe laying on the floor using a Lowe’s ad as a blanket, like a tiny home improvement store homeless person? Clearly I was lacking foresight.

Not pictured: The first soccer game we’ve had in like 3 weeks because apparently Saturdays = ALL THE RAIN. Also not pictured: arguing over math games on the computer, arguing over who’s going to go to the store with Dad, arguing over which movie to watch for pizza night, arguing over going to bed (hasn’t happened as of this writing, but I assure you, it will).

Basically, your normal Saturday, with plenty of hugs and snuggles in between all the maddening arguing and chocolate cookies for dessert.

We settled on Toy Story 3 (depressing).

And it’s raining again (also depressing).

And Rachel just went and got all of her toys to snuggle with on the couch (super cute).

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And Zoe just tooted (super gross).

 

NaBloPoMo November 2015

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4
some stuff: awkward moments edition

Christian hopes we can go out on this level of glory.

Perfect response.

Grammar gifts! I need #4.

This is amazing:

Awkward moments with The Bloggess (Mine’s in there somewhere)

20 minutes feels doable.

That’s it! I haven’t read much this week. I’ve been really busy with activities and stuff and playing lots and lots of Cascade.

 

NaBloPoMo November 2015

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6
one day

One of the things I love most about blogging – or at least about how blogging used to be a few years ago – is getting a dose of a slice of life. Sometimes these slices were similar to mine: small children, maybe even twins, and sometimes they were wholly different. Like people who had leisure time.

Tuesday I participated in #OneDayHH, hosted by Laura of Hollywood Housewife (talk about a wholly different lifestyle). I love this day each year because it reminds me to document the daily happenings of our life, mundane or not. Here’s a glass of water I am drinking! Yum! Tuesdays are my least busy days – the day we don’t have therapy or any extracurricular activities. I love having something to go to in the afternoons, but I also love having no plans so we can just chill all afternoon.

#onedayhh work from him hand to hold

After taking the kids to school, I usually jump right into working. Tuesday I was working on blog and social media stuff for Hand to Hold, a nonprofit I work for that provides services and support for families who have been affected by prematurity and/or endured a NICU stay. I run their blog, Preemie Babies 101, as well as the PB101 Facebook page. I really enjoy what I’m doing, and the work this organization is doing is amazing.

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The glass of water I promised! Some coworkers and I got together for lunch to bid one of our coworkers goodbye and best wishes on a new endeavor. I’m still fairly new to the organization, but I’m enjoying getting to know these ladies and soak up their knowledge of this line of work.

ANYWAY, we went to the Hyde Park Bar & Grill, which also happens to be the restaurant to which I went on my first date with a college boy, mere days after moving here. I’ve been there only a handful of times since, but it was nice to be there as a grownup. Mainly because I am old enough to order alcohol!

dolce vita mural austin

I parked behind Dolce Vita Gelato & Espresso Bar, facing this super cool mural. One of the things I love about Austin is how much art is everywhere.

austin 38th & lamar

Holy crap, when was the last time I was at 38th & Lamar? I used to work a few blocks away from here and navigated this area every day. This corner used to be a strip center, housing several local businesses. Looks like businesses are still going in on the bottom floor, but it’s so slick-looking.

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Zoe went to a play date after school, so I had these two all to myself. It was actually my first time sending one of my kids to someone’s house that I don’t know really well. Claire thought it was so unfair that she didn’t get to go too, but life isn’t fair. Then to really drive that point home, she stood in an ant pile.

They ate a little snack, drew a few hundred drawings, and then I relented to iPads because I had to fold laundry and not hear any more begging to take them to the craft store.

And yes, the Halloween decorations are still up, and there’s a random ladder in my living room. Realness.

adult coloring book meditations through coloring

Opened the front door to go get Zoe and found this little surprise! I could definitely use some meditation. And it came with teeny tiny pencils! Review coming soon-ish.

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2nd grade homework: measuring in feet and inches. Kill me now.

I really really suck at teaching my kids. I’m pretty sure if I had a curriculum that told me HOW to explain these concepts to her, I wouldn’t flounder so much. But my inabilities mixed with her apathy pretty much make this torture.

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“Fingers do not go in your butthole.” That is a thing I just said. Tell me you have to say these things too.

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Please to explain how I ended up with two of these jackets in my house, when this is not an item I have bought 2 of. It’s like the time I picked up a crumpled up black t-shirt off the living room floor, only to find out it was NOT a t-shirt that anyone in this house owned. It had an awful ornate cross on it, like the kind you see bedazzled on the butts of “fancy” jeans, but this one wasn’t bedazzled. And it smelled like someone soaked it in cheap cologne for days. It was by far the creepiest thing I’d ever found in my house, because where the fuck did it come from? We never found out.

Anyway, these were different sizes, so I knew which one to send back to school.

carrie bradshaw sex and the city

Christian was out at a work thing, so I painted my nails and crawled in bed to watch the very last episode of Sex and the City. I’ve been binge watching the whole series on Amazon Prime for the past several weeks. If you haven’t watched it from start to finish, I highly recommend it. Season one with it’s lack of internet and cell phones is pretty historic, and when you watch season one and two episodes back to back, you have a hard time figuring out why Carrie’s so stuck on Big, because he’s such an a-hole to her. And every season I said, “Ooooh! I want Carrie’s curls!”

So that’s your average Tuesday around here! What’s your day look like?

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