Monday, February 28, 2011

New Parks


I love taking the kids to discover new parks!


They don't have to be fancy or big.


A simple neighborhood park can be so much fun.


I often just drive around exploring our local areas for new and interesting parks to visit.


On my way to a friends house we spotted one and stopped in for a spur of the moment playtime.


We took turns being "monsters" and chasing each other around.


Corbin was having a clothing malfunction day and kept losing his pants.


Hayden was enjoying being a superhero - his fantasy of choice these days.


I enjoyed watching two brothers finally play with each other.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Links!!

7 Quick Takes!

  1. One of my goals is to finally go through the boys massive toy pile and do a bit of simplification.  Number one on my list?  Reduce the plastic and noise-making electronic toys.  I was inspired by this post on Bluebirdbaby.  What an awesome play environment she has set up for her little one.  I can't say our boys room is as peaceful - more like an over-stimulation nightmare!  Look for posts in the future on my progress with this.
  2. For over a year now, I've been reading about hooping on a lot of my favorite blogs.  It looks SO fun, but a little intimidating too.  I mean, I'm not the most coordinated girl on the block.  But...I took the plunge and bought an adult hoop on Etsy.  Should be coming this week!!!  To say I'm excited is an understatement.
  3. I loved this article at Apartment Therapy.  I am definitely in the camp of my current house or "decorating style" does not fall in line with my "dream" home/style.  Right now we have two small children who are messy and destructive.  The furniture and home items I buy at this stage have to meet certain criteria - 1. They must not show stains.  2. It can't be easily broken, nicked, torn, or scratched.  3. It must withstand spilled beverages, food, jumping on and off, kicking, running into, and much more.  My "ideal" home furnishings do not meet these criteria.  Hence, our entire house is from IKEA - cheap, black finish, sturdy.   It's good to remind myself that I will not always be in this season, and that one day my home will reflect my true self.
  4. This recipe at A Stranger in this Land looks awesome!! I must add this to next weeks menu.  My favorite part about it is that there are no strange or expensive ingredients.  I hate those recipes with a list a mile long of ingredients you know you may never use again.
  5. Oh my, this perpetual calendar looks so fun - and I'd love to make something like this.  I was so inspired, I even bought a wood burning tool!  I had a lot of fun last night playing with all the different tips and making funs scripty letters!  I'm going to spend a bit of time learning and then tackle this project! Definitely will put up posts as I go.
  6. This was an interesting post on Art vs. Craft.  There can be a bit of snobbery around what is art or craft.  I happen to think each are wonderful in their own unique ways - and I love both!  
  7. Two new books I ordered came in this week and I am beyond excited to read them!    Just getting one of these books has been an ordeal in itself!  I have never had trouble with the used book sellers on Amazon - but last week I had TWO snafus with two different sellers one right after the other!  I will save that story for a post -  but let's just say I was glad to finally have my books in my hands! I got Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder from Paperback Swap.  If you haven't tried this site it is awesome. Basically, you swap books for free with other members, just paying the cost of shipping the book.  As you send books to others, you earn credits to "buy" books.  Fun, fun!  And then my Home Education: Training and Educating Children Under Nine (Homeschooler Series) book finally came in from Amazon. 
Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quilt Along!

Okay, I might be a complete nut, but I am going to try My Sewcial Hour's Quilt Along!!  

My Sewcial Hour

I don't actually have any "quilting" skill...  
But what I lack in experience and talent, I will make up in extreme effort.
Time to go through my very small fabric stash and see what I have to work with!


Decisions, decisions!  

Wanna quilt along??

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Don't Forget to Have Fun

People often say that "Marriage is work."  And I've heard "Parenting is hard work."  And of course, "Life is hard".  Seems like almost everything these days can be classified as difficult or some kind of mountain to climb.  

If we're not careful, we can get caught in the mentality of just drudging through each day - our goal simply being...survival.

And don't know about you, but survival doesn't rank high on my life purpose meter.  I don't want to simply survive life, I want to live it.  Preferably, I'd like to enjoy it.

When was the last time you did something enjoyable with your husband?

Why not pull out some games and have an old fashioned game night.  And no, I'm not suggesting playing Elefun with the kids.  I'm talking just you and your hubby playing some of your favorite games.

This weekend Mark and I pulled out a card game after the kids went to bed.  And you know what?

It was fun. 

We laughed.  We joked.  We enjoyed each other.

We didn't talk about the kids, or the bills, or the next home improvement project.

I wasn't complaining or nagging...much.  (I'm sorry but spending 5 minutes each turn for "strategy" thinking is a bit much).

And he wasn't falling asleep...until the end, hehe.

All in all, it was a great night!  So much so, we did it again the next day. :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Recovery Mode

So...I'm still in recovery mode.  A whole week of sickness will cause that.  The house is in dire need of a good scrubbing - crackers crumbs and sticky spots litter the tile floors.  On top of that I have an itch to simplify and purge our stuff - which means we have bins of half sorted stuff everywhere.  And on top of that is the week that every woman dreads.  Of course it would be the week after I get the flu!  Perfect timing!

Therefore, I'm sipping my raspberry leaf tea and trying not to feel overwhelmed and emotional - like the crazy person I know I am.

Why is it, that as soon as I start to make some progress in this homemaking thing, life happens?  Will I ever fall into a fluid and natural routine - or will every month or so be a "regrouping" of sorts?  I'm tired of goals and plans and 10 steps to a better whatever.  Surely, I can finally finish something around here??  With my two little tornadoes, life feels pretty cyclical these days.

Although, sometimes when I step back I can seem some glimmer of progress:

  • Hayden is in fact potty trained, and has been since last summer.  I made it!
  • Corbin has progressed out of the high chair and has been eating dinner at the table for a few months now.
  • Both boys now enjoy our daily book time and can sit still for a story - even one that's a bit over their heads.
  • Hayden can dress himself from the waist down - shirts still are his worst enemy
  • Corbin has mastered taking his dishes to the sink - and in fact demands to do this each day by himself.
  • Hayden can wash his hands in the bathroom without assistance
  • Hayden can go on a walk with me and obediently follow my instructions
  • I did sort through my clothes and purged everything that didn't fit - much to my dismay when I lost 20 lbs.
  • I purged my kitchen of items we don't use regularly and honestly haven't missed a thing
  • I've resisted the urge to buy any more "decorative" stuff for the house
  • I've been working out regularly 2-3 times a week since the end of October.
  • I've lost 20 lbs.
  • My arms no longer have wings.
  • Hayden graduated from his PPCD speech class and is no longer classified as having a disability
  • Corbin is nearing the end of the physical therapy portion of ECI.  

So even though my list of "un-done's" is about a mile long - I haven't completely been at a standstill.  I just need to remind myself of that on nights like these when it all seems insurmountable!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Venturing Out

Last week was our first nature walk of the year.
Weather and sickness has kept us from venturing out, but finally,
 both were cooperating for a much needed outdoor break.

Walk 4-P

We collected our "treasures" - leaves, acorns, sticks, rocks, and dandelions.  

We went on a Bear Hunt:

We're going on a bear hunt.
We're going to catch a big one.
What a beautiful day!
We're not scared.

Walk 2-P

And when the clouds came out, we quoted our favorite Winnie the Pooh lines:

Tut tut! It looks like rain!

Walk 1-P

We pretended to be super heros:

Hayden: I'm a super hero!
Me: Oh yeah?  Do you have any super powers?
Hayden: Yes!
Me: What are they?
Hayden: I help people.  And I get other people in trouble.  And I get cats and dogs out of trees!
Me: That sounds like a pretty good super power to me.
Hayden: Yup, it is.

Walk 3-P

We ran like the wind! (According to Hayden)

And then we all went home for lunch and a nap (my favorite!).

Friday, February 18, 2011

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Links

Ala 7 quick takes style:

  1. I loved this post I ran across on blog perception vs. reality.  I laughed hard at several of her examples, as I find myself guilty of some of them (i.e. straightening up the background of a picture, haha).  Don't take what you see as pure reality folks.  Not many people are going to show you their dirty laundry piles.  And when I have those great Ah-ha! moments during difficult circumstances, believe me - I was wallowing in it a bit first.  I do some of my best contemplating when I'm wallowing in self-pity. ;)
  2. Once I get my house back in order from The Plague of 2011, I definitely want to make one of these - how adorable!  My Sewcial Hour has me thinking that I can sew or something, so we'll see - I will definitely be posting pics of any completed...or not so completed...projects.
  3. Last week I posted my thoughts on my issues with admitting fault, and I was directed by Tamra to check out this article - almost a response of sorts to my open ended question!
  4. This week at AWANA, Mark and Hayden are working on his Derby Car.  We had fun this weekend checking out all the cool design options like this, and this.
  5. Walk Slowly, Live Wildly had some great thoughts on homemaking that I can certainly relate too.  She also sent her readers over here, for thoughts on finding comfort in the cyclical nature of our tasks - which I must confess there is comfort there, despite my complaining.
  6. I've been enjoying this cute site for finding out which foods are currently in season - which means fresher, cheaper and often more local produce for my family!
  7. After being quarantined in our house for over a week, I'm feeling the itch to simplify!!!  This post really gave me a starting place for some of my most productive simplifications and tips for how to keep things simple after you've purged!  I, myself, have implemented a give-away box (instead of a drawer) that I fill daily with "finds" from around the house.  It's one of the best "tools" I've got for working on my clutter problem.


Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oh Christmas Toothbrush

Something you never want to see when you walk into the bathroom....

Hayden banging my toothbrush around the toilet while singing Oh Christmas Tree.

First thoughts that come to my mind:

1. Is this a new "game" or has he been doing this before today?
2. Do I have another toothbrush in the house?
3. Why is he singing "Oh Christmas Tree"?

Notice how Mark wisely put his toothbrush out of reach...mine, clearly, is in enemy territory.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Male and Female He Created Them

So it's no secret that Mark and I have had the flu for the last 6 days.  Care taking is definitely not one of my strong points.  I'm kind of one of those suck-it-up and walk-it-off type people.  And heaven forbid you complain about it.

And when we're both sick, I'm even worse.  I turn it into a competition.  Like, who's sicker, but still more awesome and useful.  Yes, me!! Pick me!!!

Huh?  Since when is there a "sick" competition?  Honestly, it doesn't make much sense.  Yet there I am, comparing myself to him, when I should be just taking care of my family.

Oh I'm taking care of my family alright, but in the back of my mind - I'm grumbling.  I'm comparing.  I'm judging. I'm complaining.

Proverbs 21:19
It's better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife. 

Yeah, that's me...the complainer.  Ouch!  I don't know why I expect Mark to suddenly turn into Mr. Mom when I'm sick - let alone when we're both sick.  I mean, if he was Mr. Mom - he wouldn't need me.  He's Dad.  And Dad has a place all of his own that I can never fill.

How often do I push him into filling the Mom role (and believe me he does a pretty good job at being Mom when he needs to)?  

He's designed to be a father, he was made to be a man - which has enough responsibility without my adding to it!  Just doing a quick study on men, husbands, and fathers is pretty overwhelming.  These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our guys:

Eph 5:23
 For a husband is the head of His wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of His body, the church. 

He's the leader our home - which is no small task.  To lead our family like Christ leads the church??  Wow.

Eph 5:25-26
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up His life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God's word. 
To love me - even when I'm unlovable?  Even when I reject him? 

1Pe 3:7  
In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. 
To treat me with understanding?  Even when I'm PMSing and even I don't understand me??!!

Okay, I think I'll stop there.  He's got a lot of responsibility on his shoulders - and I didn't even begin to talk about his role as a father - that was just his duties as husband!  

We both have our places and when we work together we are an awesome team - which is how God designed us.  He knew we couldn't do everything on our own.  But, when I start comparing my role to his it all starts crumbling.  Yes, as wife, mother, and woman - I have great responsibility.  But, it's no greater than my husbands responsibility as husband, father, and man.  And I certainly can't start judging his performance, without taking a hard look at my own.  And let me tell you ladies, we have quite a role to fill too!!

My continual, daily (sometime hourly) prayer is that I keep my eyes on Christ and focus on my role for our family and not worry about what he's doing - I've got enough work to do over on my side of the fence!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kid Lunch Ideas?

I'm really interested to get some discussion started on kid lunch ideas.  Specifically, peanut-free, kid lunch ideas.  As most of you know, Hayden is severely allergic to peanuts, so that really nixes a lot of foods/menus for us and totally rocked my world.  I grew up on PB&J! 

And as much as I appreciate how the "chicken nugget" has become a staple of our diets - I'd really like to branch out into less processed territory.  I have no problem with side items - my kids have a love for fruit!  And Corbin is truly an oddball with his love for veggies - especially raw spinach.  Cracks me up.

But, when it comes to the "main course", I come up short!    I have a few menus to alternate, but I'd love to mix things up with some new offerings. 

As you post in the comments, I'll update this post with your ideas so we all can share!

**Here's what we came up with! Thanks ladies.  I'll update as we get more comments.**

I'll go first.  I saw this one in Parenting Magazine and tried it out last week - the kids loved it.

Banana and strawberry (or your kids favorite fruit) sandwich.  
Basically just puree or mash banana and spread it like peanut butter - same for the strawberry (or you could use jelly, but I think the less sugar route is just as good).  Throw it on some bread of your choice and Tada!  It's almost like PB&J!

Breakfast for Lunch!
Several of you have mentioned serving Breakfast for lunch!  An idea I think will get rave reviews from my kiddos.  They love breakfast foods, and apparently a lot of other kids do too.  Guess I just needed to start thinking outside of the box.

Serve up some Hummus
Laura gave me a great idea on FB to get in some extra protein with hummus and pita bread.  A great finger food that I will enjoy too.  Yum!

Baked Potatoes, Pasta Salad, and English Muffin pizza!!
Katie sent me some awesome ideas including pasta salad, baked potatoes (I can't believe I've never tried that one - I love baked potatoes), some great ideas for English muffins, and a ton more!!

Homemade "Lunchables"
Robyn's idea of making my own lunchables was a hit today!  The kids loved making a "sandwich" out of their crackers, cheese, and chicken.

Gail likes to serve up leftovers from dinner - a great idea.  Of course, this assumes that I A.) cooked dinner and B.) they liked it.  Hehe.  

Get out the crockpot
Yes, I need to pull my crock pot out more often.  It's been neglected this month and I know my kids could appreciate some yumminess from it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Guessing Game

Guess what the Zavala's are doing for Valentines Day!  I'll give you some hints...

1.  We have been enjoying long, luxurious naps.

2.  Mark will definitely be home until Tuesday!

3. We're getting to spend some quality time together as a family

4. Mark and I are trying out new facial wear!

5. The kids are getting to enjoy some quality time with our friend Disney.

Is it a long awaited vacation?

Is it a romantic getaway?

Are you jealous yet?

Nope, it's none of the above.

But, if you guessed that Mark and I both came down with the flu last week - you'd be a winner!!!!  Apparently, we're contagious until we end our doses of Tamiflu - which is on Tuesday.

Mark - AKA "Carrier Monkey"- and I sporting our Ebola prevention masks.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Friday, February 11, 2011


You might have noticed I've made a few changes to the bloggy.  Nothing spectacular, but it feels a lot more me - so I'm happy with it.  What's awesome is that the title font is almost identical to my handwriting, haha.  It kind of feels like I just opened up my journal when I look at it, which is pretty cool.

This blog basically has been my journal these past few years.  I post whatever's on my mind - whether it's insanely personal or not.  Hopefully, you've all been able to handle that or you wouldn't still be here, HA!

I actually read through some of my old posts the other day and it was amazing what I had forgotten.  Thank goodness I blogged about it - or those memories would have been gone forever.  My memory is not one of my strong points.  I'm definitely going to make a point to post a bit more often - I know I've been pretty sparse in my writing as of late.

I'm also going to make a point to keep the honesty and "realness" that I started with.  One thing I did notice is my retreating into myself and not really talking about what's on my mind lately.  Maybe it was the fear of people's opinions or just a season of privateness - but I'm think I'm ready to let go of those fears and just be me...right now. ;)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Winter Picnics!

So in Texas, when the thermometer dips below 40 degrees, 
we all hunker down and await the apocalypse of "winter".


Luckily, this only happens once or twice a year, so we can all function relatively normal most of the year.


Of course, extra indoor time for two boys that are used to being outside a lot, means that I have to get creative on those "blizzard" days.


This time, we did an indoor picnic - which was a huge hit with both boys.  I already mentioned that my boys love picnics in any form.  But having one inside was definitely something new.


It was the perfect way to get them to stop running around and SIT DOWN in one spot for more than 30 seconds.


I then topped it all off with a nice long "nap" time.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wedded Wednesday

I've been enjoying Wedded Wednesdays over at The Candid Pastor's Wife for awhile, so I thought I'd join in the fun.  Click over to her blog for some more awesome marriage posts.

Okay, so I have a major personality flaw - I don't take criticism all.

My instant reaction is defensiveness, anger, and then embarrassment.  I especially don't take criticism well from the one person who means the most to me on this earth - my husband.

Poor guy, that really leaves him in a hard spot.  Even when he preempts his criticism with "Now don't take this the wrong way" or " Don't get upset but" - I still instantly get upset before he even says anything.

Mostly it's because I want him to love everything about me.  I want him to be completely happy with me and think I'm better than college footballl!!!  (Yes, I know I'm not...)

I don't like to admit to myself that I am not in fact perfect and do not have it all together all the time - let alone my husband!  To know that my imperfectness is showing is like being naked in public.

So when he again had to point something out to me that needed a little, uh, improvement - I immediately tensed up.  The excuses came flooding out.  Then I played the blame game - "well I'm not perfect, but then again neither are YOU".  Then I did the cold shoulder.  Then I pouted.  Yes, I'm quite mature.

And that was an improvement from my usual reaction!

But, in the end, I let the criticism sink in and hit my heart.  Honestly, I agreed with it.  So about, oh, six hours later I admitted that he may have a point and that I will try to do better at that, even though it was really his fault that I overreacted to that particular situation.  Argh!  Why can't I just hear it and say, yes.  Yes, you are right.  That was wrong of me and I will work on that.  ???  What is so hard about admitting a mistake?  That I am flawed.  It's not like it's some big secret.

It's so important in marriage to be able to talk openly about issues and clear the air when we have disagreements.  Mentally, I know this - yet emotionally, I can't handle this.  It's frustrating to me.  Later when I think back over the situation, I know his criticism is perfectly valid and it's something I need to work on.  In fact, I'm glad he told me.  But, in the moment, I just can't take it.

How do you handle criticism from those closest to you?  Have you been able to handle it better over time?  What helps you curb that defensiveness?  Or am I alone on this one?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Why is it that I have so much trouble getting enough sleep?  No, it's not insomnia, but this insane stubbornness to let go of today.   I want to fill it with as much as I can, right until the last possible hour - which for me is around 2am.

I know that I need at least 8 hours of sleep to be a normal, functioning person.  Any less than that produces an irritable, tired monster who is even more stubborn than usual!  You'd think that at the very least I'd squeeze in a quick nap on these days - but no, I don't.  I just keep pushing myself right into meltdown mode.

I need to learn to release the day and get the rest I need for tomorrow.  Getting my "second wind" each day around 8pm is just continuing the unhealthy cycle.  As is pepping myself up with my morning coffee to make it through the day! That pretty much guarantees I'll be up for a good long while.

Sleep is good!! Sleep is good!!  I just need to remind myself that when my night owl tendencies rear their ugly heads.

Am I alone in this?  Obviously, in the baby years, sleep is a precious commodity - but now that the boys are getting older, I'm trying to squeeze in more and more into my evenings.  I need to start placing rest as a priority in my life - right now it ranks right down there at the bottom, HA!

So this week I'm giving myself a bedtime - I know, that sounds ridiculous, but apparently the rebel in me needs one.  Maybe my mother was on to something with that whole in bed by 10:30pm thing.

Ok, well off to do my laundry -  I must have taken the week off or something because we seriously have a mountain of it waiting for me.  No wait, that wasn't a vacation - that was a week of sick kids!  Now I remember.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Extreme Makeover: Heart Edition

Extreme Makeover: Heart Edition was the theme of our women's retreat this year, and that's just what it was for me - a heart makeover.

I have so much to process from this weekend, that I can't even really put it into words that well yet.  This was my second women's retreat and I came into it with absolutely no expectations this year.

Last year I had built up The Retreat as if it was going to be some sort of spiritual awakening or transformation - a mountain-top experience you might say.  But between my completely unrealistic expectations, poor attitude, and my unwillingness to step out of my comfort-zone, I was left tired, disappointed, and discouraged.

This year I approached things entirely different and that has made all the difference.  Here are a few of the things that I learned:

1. Let Go
Last year I was in the driver's seat controlling every aspect of my "experience".  I chose one of my roommates beforehand, tried to force relational connections, and already had a plan in mind for how I was going to spend my time at the retreat.  Needless to say, I was ignoring the promptings of the Holy Spirit and I fell flat on my face.

2. Get Comfortable with the Unknown
This year my attempts at making roommate plans didn't pan out.  But, I was ok with that.  I approached it with the attitude of trust in God's greater plan and looked forward to connecting with whoever I ended up with.

3. Leave Your Complaints at Home
There will always be things you don't like.  I think last year I had a spirit of complaining instead of an open heart.   I picked at the things I didn't like and focused on the negatives instead of the positives.  This year when I heard the first inkling of a complaint coming out of my mouth I quickly prayed for a cheerful heart.

4. Don't Make Excuses
I used my shyness as an excuse not to open up and connect.  I blamed the setup of the connection time instead of the true problem - my unwillingness to make myself vulnerable to others.  Fear of rejection and a superior attitude stopped me from making what might have been amazing friendships.  Again, my controlling spirit had already "picked out" the handful of new friends I wanted to make and brushed the rest aside.  In the end, I connected with no one.  Ouch!

5. Cherish Others
Each woman at the retreat is a wonderfully made child of God.  All of us have beauty and amazing gifts to share with each other and we should treat each other with that in mind.  I cherished each conversation and connection I was able to make throughout the retreat and was richly blessed with the hearts of each woman I spent time with.  Regardless of our season of life, age, or backgrounds we all have love to share with one another and a deep connection as sisters in Christ.  We can also learn from one another as we each bring our different perspectives to the table.

6. Get Rid of Your Insecurities
Insecurity is really just a preoccupation of self.  We are self-absorbed!  Once we take our minds of ourselves and place them on Christ and others, thoughts like "I hope they like me" aren't an issue.  It doesn't matter if they like me or not - I will still show Christ's love to them.  I will still be warm and friendly, encouraging and supportive.  It doesn't matter what I'm wearing or what I know/do/am.  Trust me, no one is thinking about you!!  One imperfection and we think the whole world notices, but they don't.  And when we can let go of that, we can be free to open up to others.

I can't wait to write more on this amazing retreat and everything I learned - this is really just the tip of the iceburg!!!

But in the meantime, if you've been on a retreat - what were some of your experiences (good and bad) or Ah-ha! moments?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Obligatory Snow Post

And here is my obligatory snow post!  


Since it snows typically once (if at all) a year in Austin - we all get very excited about it.


Hayden told me that since it had snowed that Santa would be here soon...hehe.


Of course we had a good old fashioned snow "fluff" fight - making balls was a bit of a stretch with this sprinkling of snow.


And being official "Texans" we braved the snow with rain boots, haha.  Poor Corbin had socks for mittens and cowboy boots (I could only find one of his rain boots)


I couldn't resist adding a little love to the experience.


And Mark made a Texas-sized snowman:


Hayden, of course, thought he was in a winter wonderland.  One day we'll have to show him some real snow.


All my boys had fun this morning!


Except for Corbin - He spent the whole time mad that he had socks on his hands - The Indignity!


And after our 15 minutes of "snow" play...


We all ran back into the house to thaw out!


Of course, now the snow is melting and Hayden is watching it slowly drip away in horror!  Every five minutes I hear him "Momma!!! The snow is melting."

But it was fun while it lasted.

Now I must go pack for GIRLFRIENDS 2011!!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's About Survival

And no, I'm not talking about the "cold" Texas weather that my Kentucky friends would laugh about.  Although, I have to say, when you've acclimated yourself to living in 100+ degree weather, 20s feel pretty darn cold.

No, I'm talking about surviving the cold season with 2 preschoolers! (I was about to type toddlers when I realized that neither boy qualifies for that statement anymore...whoa - where did that time go?)  It seems like we have colds every other week around here.  My theory is that the minute you plan any type of activity in the winter you've just reserved your family a vacation in Virus-ville.  It never fails that whenever Mark and I have a date, or a friend is coming over, or there's a dinner to go to - the kids get sick!

And you guess it - they're sick again!  Although, I think I am becoming a bit of a professional when it comes to these colds.  In the past, this would have been a "crazy week" or some other kind of drama - but lately, I've been able to just handle it as part of life!  We pull out the nebulizer and the medicines, fill up the humidifier, Vicks the feet, and wipe little noses - all without the stress that used to accompany the dreaded Cold.  I even took Corbin's walking pneumonia diagnosis (only 2 short weeks ago - and he's already sick again!) in stride with honestly, very little freak-out factor.  Whoa!

Could it be that I'm starting to get the hang of something?!! It feels good not to fall into meltdown mode over every cold that comes our way and to leave those stresses behind.  Sure, it means we're "home-bound" and "quarantined" for a few days - but those days are so much more peaceful than they used to be.  Is it because they are older and handle it better?  Maybe so.  But I think it also has something to do with having more experience and perspective that this too will pass.

Oh and being OK with letting them do this to the house (whatever keeps 'em happy!):


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Love Is In The Air


Love is in the (cold/freezing/frigid) air at the Zavala's!


Valentine's Day is fast becoming one of my favorite holidays to decorate!


Mostly because it involves my favorite color - Red - and the sum total of my decorations can all fit into one plastic bag.  I love simplicity.


The whole thing made me want to go out and buy something beautifully red. But, alas, I, er, I mean the boys -  needed naps.


So, I settled for some Amazon and Etsy window shopping.  I have a delicious amazon gift certificate to use up!  Just thinking about all the possibilities I could use it for makes me giddy.


In the end, I bought nothing.  But had lots of fun imagining what I could
buy and drooling over what I probably would never


All that decorating inspired me to pull out my red mixing bowls and start on the cookies I wanted to make for the retreat this weekend.


Meringue Cookies!  Look scrumptious right?  Don't let their innocent appearance fool you.  After 4 slow cooked hours in my oven they took on the flavor of last night's chicken dinner...Even Hayden wouldn't eat them - and that's saying something

.  Don't worry ladies, I won't be bringing these.  Mark was willing to "take one for the team" and eat my "chicken" cookies.


Guess I'll have to come up with another dessert - chocolate sounds good...we'll see what reasonably edible treat I can concoct.

In the meantime, I'm trying to stay warm in my drafty, frigid house.