Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Day one of feeling halfway normal was, of course, Christmas Eve. Thankfully the shopping for Ruby and Elvis was done by my Mom and Grandmother (THANK YOU SO MUCH!), but there were a couple of other things I needed to get done so off we went into the day before craziness. When we got the kids' Santa pictures done on Christmas Eve last year I swore that that was the way we would do it from now on...and so we did (only not because I had remembered my resolve...I'll scan a post them soon). There was no line for photos and plenty of last minute sales for those last minute gifts. I have to admit that this years gift giving went off better than I can remember it ever going. I didn't stress myself out, I got what I could get, and had a better Christmas day for it (it did help that the only hand I had in buying for the kids was choosing a theme and cutting a check...oops, I haven't even done that last part yet...I will soon!).

Day two of feeling well was Christmas Day and it was great! We stayed the night at my Mom's because due to my flu I didn't even put up a tree and EVERYONE knows Santa leaves presents under trees! This year, the year Ruby actually started ASKING for specific gifts (just one really...a Princess and the Frog doll), she "called" every gift before opening it. Ruby is just too smart! It was like she was performing a parlor trick when she was handed a package. Rubes would quite accurately tell everyone what was inside the paper, unwrap it and say "I LOVE IT!" The amazement only gave way when her thankfulness did the same. The last few packages were met with "I do not love THAT!" Note for next year: curb the number of gifts. We don't tend to buy too much (or much at all for that matter), but with me being sick a few people took our little ones under their wings buying for them as if they were there overwhelmed me and Alex with emotion and overwhelmed the kids as well. Thank you to those who know who you are! After a probably 10 wrapping paper roll morning, we headed to my grandparents' house 2 hours east of BR in Long Beach, MS. A big pot of gumbo and all of my Mom's siblings & their families awaited our arrival. The food, gifts and blessings were plentiful! After visiting with my Dad and his sister, Aunt Kim, we headed home fueled by 16 oz. coffees so that Alex could be at work at 6 am on the 26th.

I couldn't ask for a more wonderful Christmas!

Love to all of you and our family & friends we weren't able to be with on Christmas! We were with you in our hearts! xoxo

Monday, December 21, 2009

The MeRa Koh SOAR Scholarship

I know I have the flu, but I HAD to get this video done! Check it out and let me know what you think. Also, check out Me Ra's SOAR website:


Hi all! Yes, we are back from our super long trip to California. Unfortunately I brought a little something back with me...the FLU! I had a postitive flu test yesterday (yes, I MUST be feeling bad to go to the doctor on a SUNDAY). My grandparents kept Ruby and Elvis this weekend to give me and Alex a little vaca, so they haven't gotten sick. They have, however, been taken by my grandparents to Long Beach while I am in quarantine. I was planning to do all of my Christmas decorating, shopping, and visiting with friends when we got back on the 18th, but it looks as if none of that will happen this year! HAHAHA! I should be MUCH BETTER for NEW YEARS EVE/DAY! Not that we have plans, yet...or at all! :) This will be a sad lonely week leading up to a less than usual Christmas...but I am choosing to look at the positive: NO COOKING FOR A WEEK, UNINTERRUPTED SLEEP, and a REAL RESON for it all!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Away We Go

We are leaving tomorrow morning....well, I guess it is this morning...for California. It is the first time we have been since Ruby was about 6 months old or so. I am really excited as is the rest of our fam! Of course, the night before we leave we get SNOW in LOUISIANA! Freak weather occurrence just HAS to happen right before we fly out...LOVELY.

I probably won't be blogging much if any while we are visiting Cali, but I've slacked and stopped blogging for weeks at a time before. I'll be thinking of you all when I'm at In and Out Burger (yeah, I'll eat meat for that place) and maybe I'll take a few pictures of my Double Double Animal Style!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Turkey Has Lost Her Voice

I am my grandfather's "turkey" and I lost my voice on Thanksgiving. OH JOY! I have been sick since last Saturday and still, a week and a half later, have no voice among other ailments. Enough belly aching...

Thanksgiving was fun at my grandparents' house. My cousin, Cory, was home from Camp Lejeune for the holiday so we celebrated with lots of family. We had a little photoshoot that morning so I could get a few good photos of Ruby and Elvis. Being a photographer you would think I would have plenty of nice pics of my kiddos, but getting them all dressed fancy and cooperating isn't something that happens often with us. Go figure! Here a few choice shots from our Turkey Day fun!
Ruby in the fort Papa built.

Elvis checking it out.

Elvis and Charlie driving the golf cart.

Papa helping Elvis slide down the slide from the fort's new porch.

Our cousin Sarah lost a tooth while she was Thanksgiving day feasting.

Ruby riding "Trigger" the recycled tire horse swing.

Chandler holding Ruby's hand and making sure she doesn't get hit by cars pulling out of the yard. Good job, man!


Chilling in the golf cart with Charlie.

Ruby told me today "Mommy, Alex is YOUR prince!" So true, so true.


"The bear in my belly is SO FULL!"

We have so much to be thankful for! xoxo

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Our Little Pumpkins

Our church had a Fall Festival a couple of weeks ago where Ruby and Elvis had lots of fun. There was face painting, hamburgers, a cake walk, tons of candy, goody bags, and a trip to the pumpkin patch (our church is apparently known around town as the "pumpkin church") in front of the church. It was great to hang out with our friends and have some good family fun! I'll post a pic of our fall front stoop display soon...we had a fun night painting our little (and I mean little...Ruby picked them out) pumpkins a few nights after the Fall "Festable" (as Ruby called it).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cotton Candy and Kale

So having KALE for lunch makes up for all of the COTTON CANDY, right?

My aunt gave this little bucket of sugary cottony candy goodness to Ruby with her other birthday gifts! Thanks CC! HAHAHAHA! No really, my dad the dentist says there is nothing wrong with having super sugary things as long as you brush regularly (really regularly)! I did deal with sugar crash that day, though. What's childhood without a good sugar high every once in a while?
Now for the surprising information: my kids LOVE KALE! Who would've "thunk" it? I saw a recipe for crispy kale chips in some family geared magazine a while back and thought I'd give it a whirl. I couldn't find the mag, but thanks to the marvels of the internet...viola, crispy kale chips in minutes. Yes, minutes. It took less than 20 to bake some super iron-y and vitamin-y goodness that Ruby and Elvis ate up!

My question to Ruby: "What is your favorite? Mac & Cheese or Kale?"
Ruby's reply: "I like the KALE the best!"
(She ended up eating more than 2 helpings of Kale and about 1/2 a helping of Mac! AHHHHmazing!)


Monday, October 26, 2009

Ruby is 3 Years Old!

Yesterday we had Ruby's THIRD Birthday party, a costume party in City Park. It was AWESOME! Thank you everyone for participating by wearing your super cool Halloween costumes...everybody looked so great! We had a fabulous time. For those who weren't able to join us here are a few pics to help you pretend you could make it (thanks to Rob for sharing his photos...I only snapped a few of the kids in costume before the party really got swinging).
This is SERIOUS! Ruby and Elvis as the Wonder Pets' Ming Ming and Tuck.

Ruby loves her Ming Ming costume & being 3 years old!

Elvis wore his Tuck costume the entire length of the party (much more than I can say for Ruby).

I can't say for sure, but I think Papa's costume was "a football fan graciously missing the game for his great grand daughter's birthday"! :)

Mimi was a beautiful "Pumpkin Fairy"!

Rob wins for easiest to put together costume, a tourist!

Our favorite arm sniffing Becca...I mean Mary Katherine Gallager.

Lil' B & MKG

Ruby requested CUPCAKES...thank goodness she didn't want a Ming Ming shaped cake! Not being able to make it easy for myself I made 72.

You can see Alex's and my (sort of) costumes here. We were Woody and Bo Peep from Toy Story.


The WINNERS of Ruby's 1st annual Costume Contest: The Puccio Family as Mystery Inc. aka The Scooby Gang
(Anyone willing to attach facial hair to their infant instantly wins extra points in my book!)

I wish the last pic I had was of Ruby, but she was too busy running around playing with everyone. So, here's Elvis saying farewell from the party...see y'all next year!

Ruby was very much surrounded by people she loves and who love her yesterday. She is more than excited about all of her big girl presents (which include Barbie Dolls, art sets, big kid puzzels and a SKATE BOARD). While playing base ball with the big kids Ruby actually hit the ball with the bat but ran the wrong way (not toward 3rd base but completely away from the field all together). There was so much fun had, she (and we) are so lucky!

I asked Ruby this morning if she can believe she is 3 years old and she responded with an are you kidding me "YEAH!" It seems like yesterday that I was in that hospital room not knowing exactly what to expect from this little being I was about to meet. I can't believe I'm about to cry. She was so beautiful yet alien to me at the same time. I knew I loved her more than anything, but there was still a hesitance about it all. I wanted to make sure I could take care of her, love her, do what she needed me to. I was afraid I wouldn't measure up, know what to do, be able to do things right. I am so thankful that instinct and LOVE took over. Some how when we got her home by some miraculous unseen force everything fell into place. The farther from the hospital we drove everything got less and less foreign, it seemed as if Ruby had been there forever with us. She was a piece of us that had been there the whole time just not physically. As she sits on the other side of the room from me this moment with her mouth agape watching a movie (Monster's vs. Aliens for the 3rd time in 2 days...gotta make the best of a rental) I look over at her and try to imagine a world without her and it isn't possible...not at all...ever! I tell her "Mommy is writing a blog about how much I love you" and she rolls her eyes. That's my girl! We are so blessed to have both of our children, but today is all about my Ruby.

So, today is Ruby's actual birthday and we have a little fun planned. In the typical Austin Family style, we'll be going to the movies (probably Where the Wild Things Are) topped off by dinner at Chuck E. Cheese (They have a fabulous birthday club that sends coupons for free stuff...I have Ruby's and Elvis's coupons! Awesome!).

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Yeah, wild with cuteness!

The other day Ruby thought her baby brother needed to be contained. I have to say, I've never thought caging children was cute or even an option, but this has changed my mind. He's cuter than a monkey at the zoo!

Bear In My Belly

growling like the bear in her belly

showing us the bear and where she planned to put the bunnies to get them to the bear...we convinced her that the bear would get bunnies if she put them in her mouth
eating like a hungry bear, too

Ruby: "Daddy! There's a bear in my belly!"
Alex: "What's that?"
Ruby (with a "duh" kind of look on her face): "There is a bear growling in my belly."
Alex: "Why? What does it want?"
Ruby: "Daddy, it is sooooo hungry."
Alex & me: "What does it want to eat?"
Ruby: "Bunnies. It wants bunnies."

Ruby got her Annie's bunny crackers and a big laugh!

Monday, October 5, 2009

DAY 8...The Fast is Broken

Days 6 and 7 were pretty mellow, except for me getting cold on day 6 and not warming up until tonight (After an extended lunch and shopping trip at WFM I was FREEZING for 3 or WFM? We'll never know.) This morning Alex let me sleep in because I wasn't feeling so hot. I didn't wake up until nearly noon and all alone, Alex had taken the little ones to the YMCA (we are discontinuing our membership and of course now he finds time to go...typical). I hadn't had anything to drink, water or lemonade, since last night and I was in bad shape. I was so weak I could barely walk down the stairs. When I got to the bottom all I did was sit there for about 10 minutes. I then crawled to the front entry way and lay on the floor for another 10 minutes. By this time I was completely drenched in sweat, my heart was pounding, and I was FREEZING (not to mention crying...I'm very dramatic). I made it to the couch a few minutes before the family arrived back home (thank goodness they didn't make their planned lunch at McDonald's but came home to eat their leftovers from last night). Alex knew something was wrong, he told me later that I was as white as a ghost when they arrived. He set the kids up for lunch and ran to the corner store to get me some orange juice (what you are supposed to drink for a day to break the fast). So I had about 80 oz. of orange juice today and tried to eat half a can of organic vegan lentil soup for dinner (not the best idea, I should have waited until tomorrow for that). I think I'll be eating just cereal and soup for a few days, at least until the weekend. You would think that maybe after today and not making to 10 days I'd be down on myself and the Master Cleanse, but I'm not. I really think fasting for a week made significant changes in my life and breaking it early was just a sign that I know when to say when. If I didn't have my two beautiful children to look after tomorrow and the next day I might have soldiered on, but I could not see myself for two more days with them alone going through what I went through today. Alex told me that his days 8 and 9 were very similar, that he felt really weak and was good for nothing then (at the time he did it he literally had nothing to do but hang out around the house for the 10 days, much less have kids to pick up and run after). I had to make the right decision for me. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. So, I'll call the Master Cleanse a complete success...who knows if I'll ever do it again, but it has changed the way I look at food and myself.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Master Cleanse...DAY 4 & 5

You totally thought I bugged out on the Master Cleanse because I didn't blog yesterday, didn't you? Well, I'm so glad to say that I am on DAY 5 and feeling awesome! Yesterday was another day just wasn't the best so I didn't feel like blogging or doing much at all. It think day 4 was the hump day that I had anticipated on day 3. Why do I feel so awesome today? Well, for one the eraser that was feared swallowed appeared yesterday afternoon...IN Elvis's after lunch poopie diaper! He DID swallow it and passed it like a CHAMP! I just hope I can keep this house free of little things he wants to swallow WHOLE (yep, the eraser was WHOLE). Anywho, today I'm completely jazzed because I am wearing a pair of shorts that I bought months ago and only wore once. I only wore them once because I very hopefully bought them a little tight thinking I would naturally lose some of my baby weight in the coming months...but didn't. That one time I wore them is probably burned in the minds of every person that saw me that day as one of the most frightening images of their lives! It was bad...I won't go into detail, but you can imagine someone at least 2 sizes too big for something squeezed in without the help of a single shaping ain't pretty! I am wearing those shorts today without any embarrassing jelly rolls spilling over the waistband and it is even comfortable sitting in them! HELLO MASTER CLEANSE!

So, today is my HALFWAY POINT! I am 1/2 finished with the Master Cleanse! I am so freaking excited that I am actually following through on something I've wanted to do for myself for so long that somehow it has gotten the ball rolling on my LIST. I've been cleaning, doing school with Ruby (that I started earlier in the Summer and just let being 'busy' take us away from it), getting organized! This Master Cleanse is more than a physical body cleanse but seems to be having a cleansing effect on my spiritual & mental body as well. It is really changing my outlook on so much! I think I'll go mostly veggie when I'm done, too...I said MOSTLY.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Master Cleanse...DAY 3 & the Green Eraser

The days keep on ticking by, but not quite quickly enough. I find myself planning what I'm going to have for my next meal not realizing (or all too aware of) that I'm not exactly eating right now. Still not physically hungry...well, that's not true. When I get hungry I just fix a lemonade and that takes care of it. I figured by today I'd be faint, but I have kept my energy. I am a little stressed but no more than on a usual day that my one year old swallows a foreign object. Yep, Elvis got a hold on one of my sister's pencils with one of those add on erasers on it. After a morning of complete insanity trying to coax the 3 year old into "helping" me find the eraser, I am at ease just waiting for it to show up in a dirty diaper or, better yet, randomly finding the eraser somewhere I hadn't thought to look earlier!

So, 1/3 through with the Master Cleanse and feeling pretty darn good...except for my obsessive thoughts of food. I can do this!!!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Master Cleanse...DAY 2

OK. I've made it through another day. By my calculations I am 1/5 through the Master Cleanse! Go me! Today I discovered my weakest point in my daytime eating rituals. . .the kids' naptime. I kept myself busy and upstairs today for naptime because the urge to stuff my face with anything slightly edible was near overwhelming. I'm still not physically hungry, though, and I strangely have tons of energy. We went to our what is now a tri-weekly (but we are shooting for weekly) walk around the lakes with Liz and Bree (ah yes, over 4 miles). I was smart and went to the bathroom before we headed off, but really should have gone when we reached our Church (about the halfway point). With about a mile left my stomach started cramping (yes, the warning before the "cleansing storm")...needless to say we skipped the last loop and headed straight for the park where our cars and the bathrooms are. Wish me luck...

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Master Cleanse...DAY 1

This image of lemons makes me happy, something I need today. I'm not really all that hungry drinking only the Master Cleanse lemonade...I just can't get food out of my head. It seems like more of an obsession or addiction than actual hunger. I understand everything that is going on. I KNOW in a couple of days my extreme thoughts of gorging myself on Cheddar Bunnies or Big Macs will subside letting me focus on getting all the crap that has built up for years out of my system. I KNOW in a few days I'll not have any trouble keeping to the plan so I can reach my goal of at least 10 days on the cleanse (hopefully I can make more than that, though) making it possible for me to change my destructive eating habits (also known as having zero self control). So, one day down. This morning after breakfast I was 1/30 toward my goal, after lunch I was 1/15 towards my goal, and now I have completed 1/10 of the cleanse...that's not bad! At this point I'm looking forward to the end of day 3...I have a theory that the first 3 days is a primer...then I'll be looking forward to the halfway point...and if I make it halfway I'm sure all the way will be (I want to say "a piece of cake", but I won't) a glass of lemonade!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Master Cleanse...mental preparation!

So how cute is that little lemon guy? I've been waiting to do the Master Cleanse for, gosh, YEARS now. Finally, I'm able to do it (no baby in my belly or at the boob) and I'm totally hesitating. I weigh more than I ever have in my whole life, feel crappy and fat all of the time, but I'm still hesitating (laziness I'm sure). This is my attempt to let the world in on my intentions so I can't back out. My vow: I WILL START THE MASTER CLEANSE THIS WEEKEND (while I have Alex at home to deal with the kids in my first days of not ingesting anything but lemonade laced with cayenne pepper and maple syrup...I'm sure to be a grouch for a couple of days, I guess)! You heard it here! I'll blog about how I'm keep me going! My goal: 20lbs off by the time we go to California in December (40 would be better, but that wouldn't be quite healthy)!

Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Baby Boy!

Elated is not enough to describe how I feel.
Awesome is not enough to describe this birthday.
Blessed is not enough to describe how we feel about our friends.
Trashed is not enough to describe our house at this moment.

The turn out to Elvis's first birthday was so wonderful I'm about to cry just thinking about all of the love surrounding him tonight. We have found so many amazing a unique people to share all of life's joys with here in the Red Stick! Thank you! Thank you! Thankyouverymuch!

For those of you who couldn't make it, I've posted a few pictures so you can imagine you were. (Check out the Roasted Pig Cake that I spent many nights toiling over.) Those of you who were there and took pictures...forward them to me...I hardly took any.

Happy Birthday to our sweet little boy, Elvis James! The world is just that more wonderful with you in it! xoxo