First of all, I just came upon my son as he was about to ride a pillow down the stairs, head first. He tried to claim that he was just laying there - at the top of the stairs, with the upper part of his body hanging off the first step - but I'm not buying it.

When I told Doug what "his" son was about to do, he said, "That sounds about right," and then he told me the frightening stories of what he and his brother used to do on the stairs of the house they grew up in.

Not. Helping.

Now, regarding Lila's anxiety issues. We went to see the pediatrician last week, to reassure Lila that there is nothing physically wrong with her heart. The doctor agreed that this sounds like anxiety and she heard nothing wrong with Lila's heart, but (naturally) they want to send us to a pediatric cardiologist for an EKG, "just to be sure."

I agree, it's a good idea to rule out physical problems. There is only so much that the doctor can determine by listening to a person's heart through their stethoscope. I'm just sick of being sent to flippin' specialists for everything (and having to pay a $60 copay at every visit)!


Anyway, the EKG is scheduled for July 9th and Lila's going to talk to a children's therapist on July 8th. I am looking forward to getting a second opinion from the therapist and I am not remotely worried about the EKG.

I'll keep you posted.

Finally, the kids had a blast at their respective summer camps! Eli came home with a new LEGO minifig and a bag of crafts he'd made. Lila came home with the decision that she wants to give up ballet and take horseback riding lessons in the fall.

Here are some photos from Lila's last day of horse camp.

This is Teva the filly. I spent about 20 minutes petting her. So cute!

Being a baby, she wanted to nibble everything. Including my skirt and hand.

Gah! I want a horse!

Lila, chatting with Walter.

Look at that smile!

The kids look so small on those big horses. (Lila's second from the right.)

It was a beautiful morning. Only a little hot when this thing came out from
behind the clouds.

After the show

Hello, Walter!

Blue eyes - beautiful and creepy. As you can see on the sign, his name
is Shiner.



Lila told me three interesting/concerning things this week.

1. On Wednesday night/Thursday morning, she woke me up around 1:30 a.m. She asked me to come downstairs and snuggle with her and she tried talking to me what was going on. Given that I was only partially awake, I couldn't figure out what she was trying to tell me.
The next day, when I was awake, I got Lila to tell me about it again. She said that when she woke up around 1 a.m., her heart was beating very hard. She got up for a drink of water. Then got up again to go to the bathroom. Then she was cold and her legs started trembling, but not because of the cold.
She was scared and only wanted to talk to me about it.
2. Lila also told me that she gets a pain in her chest, every 2 or 3 days. She said it lasts for about 10-15 seconds and then goes away. She described it as hurting, but not being a sharp pain. She said it's been going on for a while, but she was afraid to talk about it.

3. Around 9:15 p.m. on Thursday, she came downstairs to tell me (not a delay tactic) that sometimes she feels like crying when we leave her in the guest room to read. (She reads by herself for 30 minutes before going to bed.)
Lila said she's tried to figure out why, but there doesn't seem to be a reason. I asked if she feels better once she gets into bed and she said she doesn't know, but she usually forgets about it once she starts reading.

I fear these are the beginnings of struggles with anxiety. I have hoped so hard that she wouldn't inherit this genetic predisposition that seems to run in my family. We already know that she has trouble managing her emotions and controlling her fearful thoughts.

I don't know if those are normal childhood things or signs of something more. I don't want to make a big deal out of it, but I don't want to ignore it either. For now, I will pray. I'll also be making an appointment with a counselor, to get their opinion, and with her pediatrician, to reassure her that there's nothing wrong with her heart.
I'm really not worried, but it does make me sad. My 8-year-old should not be worried about her heart!
If you are a person who sees us, please don't say anything about this in front of Lila. I need support and prayer, so I can't keep this to myself, but I don't want her to know how many people are aware of the situation.
Thank you. [hugs]



Doug has gone off on a short business trip. He's in Ft. Lauderdale/Miami for two nights. He gets home on Saturday evening, will be home for two nights, and then leaves on Monday to go to California for three nights.

When Doug goes on his overseas business trips, I get terribly stressed out. I've talked before about the reasons why it gets me in such a tizzy. His stateside trips are far less frequent, but they really don't bother me.

If something catastrophic happened, he could more likely make his way back home. If something non-catastrophic-but-still-urgent happened, he could get home much more quickly. I can still text with him and talk to him whenever I want (more or less).

For example, the miracle of texting technology allowed us to have the following conversation, while he was sitting at the airport and I was folding laundry...

Me: BTDubs, thank you for making the bed this morning.
Doug: BTDubs?
Me: That's what I said.
Me: BTDubs. BTW. Duh.
Doug: Oh no you didn't!
Me: Whatevs.
Doug: You are out of control.
Me: When the cat's away...
Doug: Hmm... bad mice. Bad mice!

This is what's wrong with our society, I'm pretty sure.

The kids don't seem to care that he's gone, so far. Lila got mildly moist-eyed when he left this morning, but she recovered almost immediately. She's either comforted to know that he won't be gone long or she's picking up on my lack of anxiety. Or both.

Just before dinner, I realized that we had nothing to eat except sandwiches, which is what we had for lunch. (--Way to go, Mom. -- Eh, I'll cook tomorrow night instead.) I convinced the children to bathe and we headed out for dinner at Mighty Fine.

As we were getting in the car, Eli said, "Where's Dad...?" If someone is out of Eli's line of sight, he temporarily forgets they exist, so he's good. Doug called right at bedtime, to tell the kids goodnight. Eli was already in bed, with the lights out.

When I told him Dad wanted to say goodnight, he said, "I'm too tired to do that right now." I think he'll survive Doug's absence. [wink]



If you were paying any attention to the photos I posted to Facebook over the weekend, then you know that we took a last-minute trip to San Antonio. It was a sort of Father's Day celebration and a chance to get family time before Doug goes on a couple of short business trips.

The way the whole thing started, really, was with my Friday morning prayer time. I was sipping my coffee and musing about how much I wanted a vacation of my own. Just a chance to sit and sip coffee and muse... without interruption or guilt.

I thought about asking Doug to take the children and disappear for the weekend - or let me disappear for the weekend - but then I realized that wouldn't be a very sporting thing to do to him on Father's Day.

Then I thought maybe we could ALL get away for the weekend. In retrospect, I'm not sure how I went from thinking I needed some relaxing time away from the kids to planning a weekend of jamming all four of us into a car and then a hotel room.

Still, the idea appealed to my spontaneous nature, so I went for it. I told Doug to erase all his expectations for the weekend and went in search of a good deal on a nearby getaway. Thanks to Groupon, I got us a hotel on the San Antonio Riverwalk (more or less).

We got off to a VERY rough start on Friday night. Lila got a bug up her butt over having to share a sofa-bed with her brother and made everyone's life miserable until she collapsed with exhaustion. We thought we'd be in a room with two Queen beds - one for the girls and one for the boys - and she does not do well when reality does not meet expectations.

Saturday was better. We went to the Riverwalk, as soon as we were all dressed and breakfasted, and wandered around until we found the river "cruises". We cruised, we walked some more, and then we headed to the Alamo.

We all took turns having our grumpy moments, but it was a generally good morning. Actually, my moment wasn't really grumpiness. It was pain. Cramps, in my back. Ugh. For everyone else, it was fatigue-fueled grumpy moments!

Nonetheless, the weather was delightfully mild and this was Doug's and my favorite part of the weekend.

We finished up with lunch at Iron Cactus, and then it was back to the hotel, where we moved to a room with two Queen beds and took a group nap. I continued to nap as Doug and the kids went to the hotel pool (Lila's favorite part of the weekend).

We hit another rough patch at dinnertime. We made the mistake of saying, "Where should we eat dinner?" Where adults see this as the beginning of a collaborative discussion, children see it as a chance to get what they want.

Lila suggested Pei Wei. We didn't go to Pei Wei. More sulking and rudeness ensued. The good news is that bedtime was a breeze that night. We read stories and snuggled and left the children to fall asleep on their own, in separate beds.

Doug and I went down to the lobby-- Well, first, we lurked outside the door to our room, listening for sounds of violence. Then we went down to the lobby, enjoyed Adult Beverages, and judged other parents for keeping their kids up too late.

Sunday morning was the San Antonio Museum of Art, where we conducted a scientific experiment on how long you can expect a 6-year-old boy to contain himself inside a museum before he loses his mind and starts to behave in socially unacceptable ways.

We did a quick lunch at Little Aussie's Bakery & Deli (a meal at which restaurant is reason enough to go to San Antonio for a weekend - did you see the photo of the French toast that I posted?), and then headed back home.

Thank you, Home, for having a wonderful mattress. And more than one room. And doors between those rooms. And my French press. And food that doesn't contain meat or cheese. And my guinea pig. And Netflix.

This morning, I was back to my prayer time. Sipping coffee and musing about how much I want a vacation of my own. Sounds horribly ungrateful, doesn't it? And I suppose it is. I did enjoy the weekend, but it didn't provide the break I was longing for.

Here is a perfect example of summer vacation with children:

The kids and I were sitting at Emler this afternoon, waiting for swim class to begin. I was looking at my phone. Not a group activity, mind you. Just ME. Looking at MY phone. Lila leaned over to see what I was looking at.

I wasn't doing anything secret, so I angled the phone toward her and showed her the photo of herself that I was viewing. She said to me, "Why do you show me every picture of myself?" She said this as though I had just chased her down and shoved the photo in her face.

I said, "I don't. I showed you ONE picture of you. Because you were looking over my shoulder." Then Eli poked his head over, to see what we were looking at. Again, this was no secret, so I pointed the phone toward him.

He looked at the photo and said, "Why did you show me a picture that I've already seen?"

What is wrong with these people?!?

Seriously. I want to know.



I think my children are planning to run away from home.

At the toy store yesterday, Lila bought herself a new suitcase, for $10.82 (used). It's very cute - pink, with hearts and a monkey on the front. It's on wheels and it's about 30 years newer than the one they currently use.

She has been dragging it around behind her, wherever she goes, for two days now. This morning, she used it to pack a snack for the gym. . . . Let me repeat that. She used a whole suitcase to pack one small snack.

Later in the day, she told me about a few things she'd loaded up in there. I asked her, in jest, if she was planning to run away from home. She said no.

At rest time, I could hear a lot of activity coming from upstairs. Thumping, running, clanking. When I went up to tell the kids that rest time was over, Eli informed me that he had packed for our beach trip. Our beach trip, which isn't happening until the first week in August.

At first, I thought he was just inspired by Lila's new suitcase and looking forward to our trip. But then I realized that my first instinct was right. They are planning to run away from home. All of these hijinks are a ploy.

They are trying to throw me off their scent, so that I won't immediately realize it when they leave. I'm onto their game now. I'll be keeping an eye on them. Can't get one past this mom! No way, I'm totallyzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...



Lila + Friend = Smiles!
I think Lila and Eli are missing the regular time spent with their friends (and away from each other). They will play together nicely for a while and then turn on each other. That's nothing new, really, but they are spending more time together, so it's happening more often.

This is why I'm planning a couple of fun outings every week and inviting our friends to come along. Attendance has been spotty, but we have seen a few friends. Tomorrow, we're going to check out a very Austin-y toy store and have brunch/lunch at Kerbey Lane.

I hope one of Lila's friends can make it because she hasn't seen any of them in a couple of weeks. I can only imagine the amount of pent-up giggles she's dealing with! Plus, a friend for her means a little less refereeing for me.

- - - - -

If, by some miracle, you haven't heard, our church small group/Bible study pooled together our excess belongings and had a charity garage sale this weekend. We raised $434.16 for Feed My Starving Children!

According to their donation site, $400 will feed a family of 5 for a full year! And $33 will feed 5 children for a month. And, on top of all that, we had so much fun doing it! There were half a dozen of us running the sale and we had a lot of laughs.

Robert Gomez and Doug definitely worked the hardest, and the Garage Sale MVP Award goes to Robert, for being able to speak and understand Spanish! The kids should probably get some kind of award too, for not falling apart as they watched their toys being bought by strangers!

Though, I must admit, Lila did give a bit of the ol' Stinkeye to the lady who loaded up all her Barbies in a pot (which she bought for cooking tamales - yum!). Fear not, she still has so many more that they can barely be contained.

For our own convenience, as much as anything, we decided not to put prices on anything. When someone asked how much we wanted for an item, we said, "All the money we make from this garage sale is going to charity, so you can decide what you think is a reasonable donation."

After they got the deer-in-the-headlights look (which they all did), we simplified it to, "Name your price." It was really pretty funny to watch people's reaction to this approach. There were a few who were so confounded that we finally helped them out by suggesting a price.

A few highlights of the day:

* The bizarre, homemade Satan hand puppet that one of the families was selling. Eli took a liking to it and, among other things, used it to beat up a cardboard Darth Vader. He also got it stuck in a tree, at which point I got to hear myself say:

"We've got to get Satan out of our tree!"

* The two sisters who were so enamored with our belongings that they kept - very cheerfully - buying more and more things. They got so much that they couldn't fit it all in their car. When they came back for the rest, they bought a few more things. It doesn't sound all that funny, but it really was.

* The mother and two children who milled around our sale for an HOUR and kept buying things, 50 cents or a dollar at a time. We probably made $15 off of them, in the end. And really, who has children that will patiently browse at a single garage sale for an hour?!?

* The guys who bought a twin-size wooden bed frame, three mattresses, and a two-seater kids' wagon... and managed to load all of it into (and on top of) a Honda Civic (or something like that). It was one of the most impressive things I've ever seen.



That is the title of a book that Eli wrote this evening. He drew the illustrations, wrote his own title, and made boxes for the rest of the text. Doug helped him my transcribing his words into the text boxes. It's cute and creative and I told him I wanted to share it with my friends. :)

Front Cover

He was walking along.
Shot a tree.

He shot the tree. Walked along.
He had a scary feeling. It felt like
a very, very scary feeling.

It was scary. It was a MONSTER!
It was not a fun time.

It was so scary. I felt like I had to
shoot it. It was defeated! That was good.

Back Cover



Eli has developed quite the hair trigger lately. He can go from Happy Halfling to Ring Wraith in a matter of moments. For example, when we told him, a few minutes ago, that he could not have a fruit rope before bed (should have eaten your dinner, little dude), he turned red in the face and screeched, "I will never go to bed!"

Alrighty then. Let's hope this phase passes quickly. He has a miraculous ability to make US feel guilty for allowing him to experience the consequences of his own actions, but I can overcome that. You don't stick your fingers in your ears and scream at this Mommy.

Despite my son's new tricks, today was much better than yesterday. A good night's sleep has dispelled my funk and restored my joie d'ete. [How the heck do I put accented letters in here?!?] True, my eyelid is still twitching, but maybe another good night's sleep will get rid of that too.

The kids and I had a nice little adventure at Zilker Park this morning. We arrived around 10 a.m., in the midst of a light drizzle. We found our way down to Lou Neff Point and located the ducks. I only packed 4.5 bread butts with which to feed the waterfowl.

Next time, I'll pack a lot more! We started out with about 4 ducks, but the wildlife started gathering in droves, as soon as they saw food being tossed. Before it was over, there were 8 ducks, 20 turtles, one squirrel, and approximately 3 million pigeons.

The kids did a surprisingly good job of making the bread last, but it had to run out eventually. We then ate our own snack, while being stalked by the 20 turtles and 3 million creepy pigeons, with their weird orange eyes.

After the ducks, we moved up to Auditorium Shores and laid under a tree to read books. I finally convinced the kids that I was not going to entertain them the whole time we were there and they started running and playing. It was lovely.

Then I suggested that we go for a little walk on the hike & bike trail, which everyone thought was a great idea... until we got down there. Eli did alright, but I finally told Lila that I wouldn't be talking to her anymore because I was choosing not to hear whiny voices.

When we had turned around and started back toward the car (a 15 minute walk), Eli started in too. The brain-grating complaints only ceased when I told the kids they weren't much fun to hang out with anymore and implied that I might have to nix the follow-up surprise that I had planned.

Thankfully, that put an end to the whining and the rest of the walk was pleasant, if a bit hot and sticky. The follow-up surprise was lunch at nearby Toastie's Sub Shop, which the kids and I love. Yummy food, followed by rest time, chores, and relaxation.

The rest of the day was uneventful. Except for the Ring Wraith, of course.

- - - - -

This photo is totally unrelated, but adorable. My little ballet dancer, backstage before the recital. It's a ring of swans, eating sour patch kids. :)



Apparently, one week is the amount of time it takes for members of my immediate family to get on my nerves. Whenever I spend nearly every waking moment with someone... one week is where I start to get twitchy. I begin to feel a strong need to be awake and not in their presence.

That's the way it is with Doug and, as I'm discovering this evening, that's the way it is with the kids. I'm probably also suffering from some extra fatigue, but I'll get to that later. Let's just say, I'm very glad that it's bedtime.

Doug's surprise birthday party was Saturday evening and it was really fun! Miraculously, he didn't suspect anything and was genuinely surprised when the first half-dozen guests showed up at the front door. Yay!

Buying and preparing large amounts of food would have been a bit suspicious, so I ordered dinner from Rudy's BBQ and a tres leches cake from Chuy's. Chuy's even sent a bag of tortilla chips and little cups of salsa and creamy jalapeno dip home, along with the cake.

Therein lay my downfall. It was a party and I love Chuy's and I was feeling reckless, so I ate the chips and creamy jalapeno. I knew perfectly well that nothing prepared at that restaurant is gluten-free, but I have a stupid rebellious streak.

I felt the effects before the party was even over. I distinctly remember hitting a wall (figuratively, of course) around 8:30 p.m. and vainly hoping that it was just the excitement of the day that was affecting me. Silly rabbit.

I spent all of Sunday in bed and I'm still not at 100% today. I managed to do all the normal things, but I have a persistent twitch in my eyelid. By 6:00 p.m., I wanted to crawl in bed and go to sleep, but I still needed to cook dinner.

By 7:30 p.m., we were eating dinner and I wanted everyone in my family to just. shut. up.

It was lovingly suggested that I excuse myself from the table. I readily complied and took out my aggression on clutter and laundry. Now I'm sulking on the couch, with a computer in my lap. Is 8:30 p.m. too early to go to bed?