Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Baby Cloud

I swear to you I have not had babies on the brain, aside from Aiden. I have not gotten that itch to have another baby just yet. That said, when I was driving home from work the other day, I looked out my window to find this:

Doesn't it look like a swaddled baby with a giant head? Tropical Storm Alex sure is bringing in some strange clouds. Looks like we should get some rain today...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Creepy-Crawly Alert!

I noticed a couple weeks ago that we had a tree full of these little critters...

I went several days of debating what to do about them. The are eating our Live Oak into oblivion, along with every other Live Oak within at least a block of our house. I cannot emphasize enough, the insane numbers. When our A/C unit is not running you can actually hear them moving around, eating the leaves. Our yard is covered in leaf litter that has fallen from the tree.

I did a little researching online and have decided they are some sort of tent catepillar. If that is indeed what they are, then someday they will turn into moths. They have been leaving little strings of silk all over the tree, that consequently are catching the seeds that are falling from the tree. It's like silk thread highlighter.

I read that pesticides will kill the catepilliars, but they will be protected if we spray while they are in their tent. As of right now I do not see any tents. PHEW. My dad recommended torching the tree (apparently that's what his father used to do), but that is absolutely out of the question. I also read online that we could put them in a bucket of soap water and that should kill them. Question was, how do I convince hundreds, if not thousands, of little crawlers to climb into said bucket?

I continued to debate, since we have Aiden's birthday planned for this weekend - meaning a bunch of kids will be rolling around in our yard - until a friend on Facebook recommended spraying the tree with soapy water. Why hadn't I thought of that?!

Sunday we finally got around to tackling the task. Or I should say Travis did, since I would be no where near this catepillar rain (is it weird that this song just came to mind?), and most definitely not under the tree as it was sprayed. I stood on the other side of the yard when Travis began. Thank goodness I did, because every catepillar he shot with the hose flew a couple yards before thudding in the grass. Then, slowly but surely, they started to be affected by the soap and began dropping from the tree like flies. Or maybe they dropped like catepillars?

After the flood under the tree cleared, this is what we found on our sidewalk...

Each one of those little white smudges is a catepillar. The ones that were present during the original fall were covered in mud. When I went back outside 30 minutes later, it was clear there were more catepillars that had crawled out from the grass onto the sidewalk, since they were not coated in mud.

The next morning I expected to find a serious graveyard. I was not looking forward to the stench of hundreds of rotting catepillars that had roasted in this humid, Texas heat. I was surprised to find it was about the same as it had been the night before. Travis said he saw several birds picking them off one by one. Perhaps the squirrel that lives in our tree is helping them out. According to the good ole internet tent catepillars are not poisonous, but might make an animal react adversely if ingested. Whatever that means.

When I got off work, there were more catepillars rolling around dying on the sidewalk, so it looks like the soap is continuing to work. According to the weather man we should be getting a lot of rain this week (thank you Tropical Storm Alex). Hopefully that knocks out a few more and come Saturday everything will be peachy keen.

On the upside, our yard smells sparkling fresh!

Flooded Catepillars from Nicolette Ward on Vimeo. (Two more catepillars at

Monday, June 28, 2010

Our Little Toddler

We spent the weekend surrounded by all of Aiden's Walking Friends and look what happened!

A Toddler is Born from Nicolette Ward on Vimeo.

Friday night, we had the Ramby's over for dinner. Blair was running EVERYWHERE with Aiden sitting in the middle of the floor watching him go back and forth. Aiden has always shown interest in the walking babies. I think it finally occurred to him that perhaps he might join them.

Saturday was a crazy day filled with Travis going to work while I got the oil changed on my car and me going to work and running errands while Travis took Aiden home to nap and eat lunch. Then in the late afternoon we headed over to Kate's for her 1st birthday party. She was born 1 week before Aiden so it is amazing to see the differences between the two. Kate seems so much bigger than Aiden to me, but when they stand next to each other it's a pretty close race. Kate has been walking for weeks (months?) now, so she has advanced a bunch in the mobile area.

The party was really nice. It wasn't a huge party, but there was lots of food. They had a moonwalk, which Aiden enjoyed, and of course all of Kate's toys for the little ones to play with. Aiden kept up with the big kids the best he could. It made for a cranky baby who was late to bed. Travis hung back in Galveston to help Rachel put in a new A/C window unit, while we went home to shower off the sunscreen and then SLEEP.

Sunday we did lots of shopping (I'm still feeling sick from all this spending):
  • Home Depot - flowers, gazebo and a couple deck chairs (although we do not have a deck)
  • Hobby Lobby - last of the party craft materials and party favors
  • Walmart - Slip'n'Slide
  • Sweet Factory - $50 worth of candy equating to 3 lbs
  • Kroger - a week's worth of groceries

When we got home, Aiden showed off his walking skills. He seemed to get more and more courageous as the day went on, stringing more and more steps together. This video was taken just before bedtime. I was hoping he'd be walking by his birthday so he'd get to more fully enjoy the party. Looks like he's walking, but not quite enough for what I had imagined. He's well on his way though. Look at him go!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Croupy Recovery

Aiden has been a sick baby for the past several days. We're pretty sure he has Croup. He had the barking cough for a couple days. Now he just sounds raspy. He hasn't been eating, drinking or sleeping well either, which is just making him even more cranky. As far as I can tell, he has never developed a fever though.

We have some friends from college (Chris and Tehina) who moved to LA when they got some great jobs. They have just recently moved back to Dallas. Chris' job involves monthly trips to Houston, which means we'll probably be seeing more of them now! Wednesday night, we decided to risk taking the cranky man in public so we could meet Chris and Tehina for dinner. Since they are staying up in Houston, we met "halfway" at the Kemah Boardwalk. They were craving seafood, so we hit up the Flying Dutchman.

I tried Mahi for the first time and thought it was delicious. I've come to the conclusion that I like white, flaky fish. Anything that deviates from this description is generally too fishy for me. How fun is that? I like fish! Ha. Anyhoo, Aiden sat in a high chair and ate his dinner. Then he played with his toys and books, but eventually he was too bored to stay seated. Travis and I took turns passing him back and forth to help keep him busy. Unfortunately, we knew he just needed to go home to bed. It was past his bed time anyhow.

We had just enough time to catch up with what our long lost Sea Aggie friends have been up to. I am mostly jealous of their time living in L.A. That is something I really would've liked to have done in my lifetime. I know there's still time for that, but there's not really the money for it. They both seemed to like living there, but were ready to come back when they got tired of all the uppity folks.

I was excited to hear that there are job opportunities for me at the place Tehina works. Maybe someday I'll take her up on the offer! For now I am happy where I am.

We tried to meet with Chris and Tehina last month, but since it was their first month coming down for this trip they decided to postpone. Now that they know what the visit entails, they have more freedom to move around. Hopefully we'll get to see them next month!

I realized about a week ago that Aiden's first birthday party is just around the corner. It is set for July 3rd and I realized that I had yet to write out a grocery list of everything we need for the party. I worked on that last night and I think I have everything. This weekend I need to go to Hobby Lobby to buy and create the remaining party items. That way I can focus on cleaning and decorating next week.

This Saturday is Aiden's friend Kate's birthday party. Rumor is there will be a moonwalk!! I cannot believe our babies are growing into little kids. Here they are at just two and a half months old:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What IS this?

This makes me uncomfortable.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Travis' 1st Father's Day

Apparently Aiden wore a lot of red this weekend. Not planned, I assure you.

It was a bit of a rough weekend for me. I started to get sick Friday morning and didn't shake the aches until Saturday afternoon. Then I spent the rest of the weekend feeling like I was carrying around an extra fifty pounds. Everything was difficult. Unfortunately, this fell on Father's Day weekend. I wanted to give Travis a break from the daily routine of parenting and it wasn't his fault I got sick. So! I took care of Aiden all weekend while Travis took a break.

I was really bummed to cancel my plans for Friday night, but since I had a low fever, I didn't want to risk passing it on to another mom. Travis did take care of Aiden Friday night for me. Both mornings I let Travis sleep in while I got up with the kiddo. I made muffins for breakfast on Saturday (it is so much fun that Aiden can eat with us now) and then I did a few things around the house while Aiden took his morning nap. I need to mention that I am absolutely DREADING Aiden's switch to the next class at his school when he hits 13 months because they only have one nap. I hope he's ready for that by then! Anyway, Travis really wanted to do some yard work, so when Aiden woke up, I took him to Hobby Lobby and the grocery store with me.

Aiden's favorite corner

That afternoon, Travis headed down to Galveston to hang out with Ariel and Robert. Rachel came over for dinner and helped me work on some of party necessities while we sipped on white wine and had Scotcheroos for dessert, courtesy of Rachel. Because we are officially old (I'll have to explain that one tomorrow), we were in bed by 10:30pm. I was a little worried about completing the craft work that night, since there seemed to be a daunting number of items to make. I couldn't believe we completed everything we could that night! I do need to make a run to the store to pick up a couple finishing items, but that will be cheesecake compared to the work we did. (Thank you Rachel for all your help!)

Aiden decided to play in the kennel while Rachel and I ate dinner. YUCK.

Sunday morning I made breakfast burritos for Travis - his favorite. Then we set up the kiddy pool in our backyard so we could relax for a couple hours that afternoon. Right after Aiden went down for his afternoon nap, Travis headed to the golf course to play a round with Chris R. I ran around like a madman trying to organize Aiden's clothes before he went to bed.

Every few months I have to put away all of the clothes Aiden doesn't fit anymore (I keep a basket in his closet where I can throw items as he outgrows them) and pull out to wash the next size up. We have been SO LUCKY to have friends with boys a little older than Aiden. Aside from a few random items (due to slight age differences during different seasons), we have not had to buy any clothes for Aiden thus far. Between Blair, Logan and a friend's child from work, we have been fully stocked for a year. And it looks like we should be good for at least another 6 months!

Anyhoo, that night, I made spaghetti for dinner. Aiden LOVES that meal. Especially the garlic bread. Seems strange to me, but who am I to hold seasoning back from the kid? Travis got home from golf just as I was finishing up the last load of laundry and we headed to bed. It was a LONG weekend. I'm really hoping Travis will let me sleep in one day next weekend!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Party Teaser

Rachel came over this weekend to help me put together some stuff for Aiden's birthday party. We have less than 2 weeks. EEK! Rachel has some mad scrapbooking skills (along with the tools to go with it) and I was able to put those to good use...

I wanted to do a goldfish theme for the party, but that is proving quite difficult. The closest stuff I've found to goldfish are tropical fish, and that's NOT what I want. Instead I'm focusing on the colors, orange to represent the fish and blue to represent water, and then throwing in a few homemade goldfish items. Hopefully it's not a disaster!

So far it looks like we'll have a pretty significant turn out for the shindig. As of right now, we have 24 adults and 10 kiddos. We better get crackin'!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Why does Taylor Lautner have to be younger than my brother?!

Seriously - his GQ stuff is hot. Check out my favorite werewolf's moves...

I am currently re-reading the 4th installment of the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. I read the third book in preparation for the movie that is set to release June 30th and couldn't just stop there! I heard they are splitting the last book into two films. As I am reading Breaking Dawn, there are many times when I think the actions in the book will have trouble being translated on screen. The first three films are PG-13 and I know they'd like the last film to remain PG-13 so fans of all ages can attend. It will be interesting to see how they deal with this.

As for Eclipse, the movie, this is going to be awkward. This is the first film where both Edward and Jacob are in Bella's life significantly at the same time. I can tell I will be cringing A LOT when Bella does things she "shouldn't". Ugh.

Only 12 days until Eclipse releases! AHHHHH!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Aiden's Got the Blues

This morning Aiden started giggling in his sleep while I was getting ready for work. Teehee...

Aiden's Got the Blues from Nicolette Ward on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Baby, Dog, Sister, Father-in-law

Aiden is yet to pick up walking on his own. He will take a couple steps from one piece of furniture to another, but that's about the extent of it. He just does not seem interested in walking without support. Although, he is all about that cruising. Aiden probably walks the perimeter of our living room, dining room and kitchen three times a night. Oh and I can't forget the Kitchen Table Circuit!

We walk him around by holding his hands a lot and the thought of him walking on his own totally weirds me out. It will be so strange once he picks that up on his own! IF he ever picks it up. ;) Just picturing him as a child, instead of a baby, is so abstract at this point. He just gets more and more independent! Now I TOTALLY get why people have more than one child. Once the first one gets out from under that wing a little, you're ready for another one that needs you.

We found out this weekend that Aiden likes spinach. I made fried spinach and he ate an entire patty on his own! I know, I know. Fried food is probably not the best thing to be giving my baby, but who am I to refuse him veggies? Ha! It's funny though, because he wants nothing to do with pureed spinach. Doesn't sound that great to me either, so I can't blame him.

Callaway is having another bout of skin problems. This time, the doctor let us refill his medications without bringing him in for an exam. I was wondering when they would catch the drift of things. He's been in THREE times with the same exact problem. They do a skin scraping and nothing comes up positive. Plus, the meds that they send home with him work every time. The problem is they don't work for longer than a couple months after they are gone. His skin was probably the worst it's been this time. Poor guy. He's been on the meds for a couple weeks now and he is completely healed. The doc sent home more steroids than last time, so he's still taking that every other day. That helps, I'm sure.

My sister Ariel is bartending at a new place, but she stayed on one day a week at the other club. I was really excited about this change. I was hoping it would help mellow her out. Instead, she's bored. She prefers the busy atmosphere of the club and preparing all the mixed drinks. The big seller at the pub she works at now is beer. And the only thing you have to do to "make" that drink is pull the tap. Soooo, she's thinking about moving back to full time at the club. I am a little disappointed, but at least she tried it!

Travis' dad, Curt, has decided to move to Alabama. He and his U-Haul left Monday. He has had a lot of trouble keeping a job near his home, as he is doing mostly contract work. He drives a truck for a company until they no longer need him or go out of business. In the end, there are better opportunities for him in the south, so he is moving to where the money is. His girlfriend and her daughter are moving with him, since they already have family in Alabama. Sadly, Travis' brother Sean is staying in Illinois. His mother has primary custody, so this is how it will be.

Traveling during the holidays should be interesting. He will still be just as far away as he was when he lived in Illinois. Strange how that works out. I don't know if he will go home at Christmas, but he has already decided to go to Louisiana to visit family there. We may meet him there, since that is only 5 hours from where we live. Travis' mom lived in North Carolina for a while, but moved back to Illinois a couple years ago. Now his dad had branched off. Ahhhh!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Anniversary Celebration & Schlitterbahn

We had a fabulous weekend! Albeit a tiring weekend. Thursday Travis made me dinner on the grill to celebrate our anniversary: pork loins, asparagus and potatoes, then fruit for dessert (he was thinking about my recent obsession with NOT being able to fit all my pre-pregnancy clothes when he picked dessert out).

Friday night, we left Aiden with our friend Sue while we went out for dinner and for a couple drinks. We ate at a restaurant in Galveston that we'd never been to before called Gumbo Bar. Surprise! We had gumbo! And we also got a shrimp kettle. It was all delicious and I'd love to go back. After dinner, we walked down the Strand and enjoyed the evening. We sat on a bench and chatted for a while before heading to a bar on the Seawall. On our way there, we made a short stop at Murdoch's. I hadn't been there since it was rebuilt after the storm, so I wanted to see what it was like. It is 100% made for tourists. The part I liked was the deck the fills the gap between both piers (it is built over the water) complete with lounging chairs. I'll have to remember that place when Travis and I need something cheap, but romantic to do.

For drinks, we headed to a new margarita bar attached to The Spot called Squeeze. Travis has done a lot of work there and he wanted to show off. It was nice to see a couple of the guys he does work with while we were there. Slightly awkward moment when we saw one of the teachers from Aiden's daycare there, but it wasn't as bad as I'd thought that could be.

We picked up Aiden by 10:30pm - he was fast asleep, but we maneuvered him quickly to his car seat so he could fall back to sleep. We love Sue. She always does such a great job with Aiden. This time he seemed to have a little "stranger" anxiety, but he got over that after a few minutes. Sue's solution to this problem was we'd just have to bring him around more often. Yes ma'am!

Saturday we went to Schlitterbahn Waterpark with the Ramby's. It's been open for years, aside from a short stint of recovery after Ike, but we had never been there. Alexa wanted to bring her niece there while she was visiting and I really wanted to see what it was like. While we did have a GREAT time, we decided that while the kiddos are still so little, we'll probably just stick to Palm Beach at Moody Gardens. It is made with young children in mind, which equals less stress for the parents. Plus, it's cheaper.

We left in the late afternoon and once we got home we ALL took a much needed nap. Two hours was not enough, but I knew if we didn't get up, then we'd all have trouble going to sleep that night. Travis and I both should have reapplied sunscreen more often than we did, but we fared pretty well. Aiden was in MUCH better shape than us. Phew!

Sunday was a chore day. We fit in an evening walk, which was nice. It seemed to have cooled down significantly. Maybe it was because there was actually shade during our walk - either way it was great. We finished the evening by fitting in a couple episodes of True Blood (we borrowed Season 1 from David and Stephanie). I'm sad that we only have ONE episode left of this season. I may have to weigh the cost of renting Season 2 vs buying it. I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pretty in Pink

Sorry for the frequent background changes lately. I was ready for a change a couple months ago, hence the change to green. But then Blogger recently offered up some new templates so I thought I'd give this one a try. I hope it doesn't make it difficult to read!

Night Giggles

Almost every night, either Travis or I, or the both of us go in to check on Aiden before going to bed. Aiden has been known to cry and laugh in his sleep, although never at the same time. Last night before going in to check on him, we heard him giggling in his sleep through the baby monitor. (We still have it on low in the bathroom because I can't hear him cry when I'm in the kitchen or outside.) We waited before going in, just in case he was borderline-awake during the night-laughing. After a moment, we snuck into his room to find him lying on his tummy with his butt in the air. We were marveling at the cuteness of our child, when he farts. Then giggles.

So that's what he's always laughing about in there!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Everything's Eventual

On my walk into work this morning, I realized that the sun was not shining on me as I walked under the overhang from the parking garage. Just months ago, I used to have to position myself just right so that my face was in the shadow to avoid blinding, while my body was in the sunlight. It's interesting the way some things can change so slowly over time that you don't even realize it's happening. Then one day it hits you like running into a brick wall.

Aiden is the best example of this in my life. I feel like just yesterday he was a blob, lying on the floor under his toy arch, with his only concerns ever being when he was hungry, tired or poopy. Now I look at my son in amazement with how much he has transitioned toward toddlerhood. This morning, I decided to ask him how old he was in case he can grasp the concept by the time of his birthday party. (In less than a month - eek!) After I asked him, I said "One!" and held up my finger denoting his age. And what did he do? Held up his pointer finger! Holy cow! When did this kid get so smart?

Yesterday, I was picking up the leftover Cheerios off his high chair tray that he hadn't eaten. He picked up a Cheerio, which I thought he was going to eat, and placed it in my cupped hand with the rest of the leftover cereal.

The other night, we were putting away the clean dishes from the dishwasher when Travis hands Aiden a spatula and asks him to put it in "that drawer" as he points at which drawer he means. Aiden crawls over to the drawer, opens it and drops the spatula inside. Whaa? After clapping at his big moment, we asked him to close the drawer and HE DOES.

Monday, when I got home from work, Aiden crawled over to greet me. I picked him up and he gave me a kiss on the cheek (open-mouthed, but I appreciate it just the same). I was ecstatic so I asked him for a high-five. He's been able to do this for a while, so he gives me a high five, no prob. He's so excited (because I'm awesome, right?) that he starts clapping both sides of my hand at the same time. Then he grabs my hand, turns it to face him and gives me another high-five!

Aiden still gets into a lot of things he's not supposed to, but if we ask him to put it down, or close that door, or please stop (like when he gets excited and tries to push all the food off his high chair tray), he usually does. Sometimes he hesitates, but in the end he usually succumbs. I love my kiddo. I just can't believe he will be 1 year old in 20 days!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

4 Years of Matrimony

Today marks the 4-year anniversary of my marriage to Travis. Seven years before that, we met in high school.

Our wedding was a stressful one. For me anyways. We had it outdoors at my mom's friend's house in the middle of the country in Illinois. We were smack dab in the middle of the corn fields and we have several photos to prove it. All of our family came to watch us get married in front of an old, battered, red barn. Between my dad and I, we did all the decorating ourselves. The reception was held on the other side of the house by the pool. We rented white tents, in case it rained (which it did, but it stopped for our wedding).

Here were the major stressing events for me:
  • When the flowers arrived, they had been PAINTED red (Alice in Wonderland, anyone?). During shipping, they became stuck together and when peeled apart there were pieces of paint missing to expose the white calla lily underneath. Travis spent days trying to get them to send us a different flower as a replacement but was never able to get a hold of anyone. We ended up throwing them all in the trash and Travis' mom went to Walmart to buy out their stock of red and orange flowers. Our credit card was thankfully never charged for this heinous faux pas.

  • After the DJ set up, we found out that the breaker was incapable of channeling enough power and was continuously shutting off. Thankfully, I was marrying an electrician who was able to move a few things around to make it work.

  • The pastor who married us was so far gone that he ended up being admitted into a home with Alzheimer's not even a month after our wedding. He forgot to come to our wedding rehearsal and we had to prompt him on what to say during the ceremony.

  • When the tents were set up, they forgot to put up the sides. I got back from getting my hair done to find this mistake and had to have them rush back to get it up before the guests arrived for appetizers before the ceremony was to begin.

  • It rained all through our pre-ceremony photo taking. My curls fell before the photos were even taken. Thankfully it stopped by the time we were walking down the aisle!

  • After all that fighting with the flower company, we only had 24 hours to prepare the centerpieces. After the rehearsal dinner, my bridesmaid Chrissie and I stayed up until midnight (while the boys were at the bachelor party - Travis chose the bowling alley so my underage brother could attend - so sweet!) putting together the arrangments.

  • I left an entire box of stuff - everything required for making our bouquets and all the candles - in our apartment in Texas. Had to re-buy all of that.

  • Because of the rain, our caterer decided that they would not be able to serve each individual their dinner. Instead it was a buffet style, cramped inside a tiny tent.

In the end, the only aspects of our wedding that did not go entirely wrong was our cake and our photographer. Both were absolutely fabulous.

After all of that, I can say I would honestly do it all over again even if I knew it would be that hard. Once it all began (aside from our memory deficient pastor), it was great. The memories were worth it and what matters most is that everyone enjoyed themselves and WE ARE MARRIED.

That said... if we ever renew our vows - we're going to Vegas.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ramby Pool

This past Sunday we went to the Ramby's for a little BBQ. They were in the process of setting up their pool for the summer, so Aiden had his FIRST TIME IN A POOL! It was a little chilly, so he didn't stay in long. I didn't have the guts to go in at all, but Travis really wanted to get in with Aiden. He had a fun time chasing after Blair in the water.

Chris and Alexa's niece Jenna is staying with them for a week. She was so helpful with entertaining Blair and Aiden. And she did such a wonderful job of helping out with other stuff when the chance arose. Frankly, I'm a little jealous they get a helper for a week. ;)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hangin' with Kate

Nadya, Alexey and Kate came over for dinner this weekend. It was nice for the kiddos to get some play time in together. It always cracks me up how babies interact. And HOLY COW look at how well Kate can walk! She's only one week older than Aiden and the kid's ready to run marathons!

Her babbling also seems more complex. Maybe it's because she makes different sounds than Aiden (her family speaks Russian with her) or maybe she actually says more syllables. Either way, it sounds like she's having a conversation with you. If you ask her where mommy or daddy are (in Russian) she can point to the correct person. I've been working on this with Aiden for weeks and he shows no interest in playing my game. =/ We'll figure it out soon enough!

Without further ado...

11 month old Kate from Nicolette Ward on Vimeo. (Click here to see more videos of Kate.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nature is trying to get me

First and foremost, FREE online today at noon: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. Read it. Love it. Live it.

JK. But I am excited! I wonder how long it will be? For those of you unaware, it is the fourth installment in the Twilight Saga. It tells the story of the vampire wars in Eclipse from a vampires' view who is in the newborn army. Hurry to read this while you can. It will only be available for free through July 5th! The movie is set to open in theaters June 30th and Meyers is recommending that you read this book before seeing Eclipse.

Second, the story that goes with the title... I have never considered myself a jumpy, girly person when it comes to the outdoors and everything that lives in it. Let me rescind by saying that I have ALWAYS had an issue with erratically flying insects (IE, June bugs, Japanese beetles, palmetto bugs, etc). The thought of them getting stuck in my hair freaks me out to no end.

I fear that this is changing as I age. Perhaps it is because I spend less and less time digging in the dirt as I grow, or maybe something is changing in my brain. No telling. Here are a number of instances that have all happened in the last two weeks that involve outdoor critters and me getting the jitters:
  • Every night for about a week now, we have between one and three spiders that build a web on our back porch. These webs are so large, that I am unable to go out the back door (or let Callaway out in the back yard) without becoming covered in web, dead bugs and 1-3 live bugs. We have been leaving them up, since they appear to be catching lots of mosquitoes. I always check the back porch when I get up at 5:15 and they are there. Come 6:20, when it's time for Travis to leave, the webs and its' residences are gone.
  • I had left a shovel and bag on the floor of my garage when I was in a hurry one day, so when I went back to pick it up several days later I practically threw everything in my hands when a flopping thing fell out of it. I thought it was an earthworm at first, but once it righted itself, I realized it had legs. It was a lizard. Eesh.
  • Then there was that lizard on the lawn chair that was in my face, but I didn't realize until I disturbed him by moving the chair to a new location.
  • This past weekend, I opened the front door to water the plants on the porch only to have two birds (doing a mating dance?) attempt to fly in the house. I screamed and quickly slammed the door shut. My scream mostly scared them away, but I waited about 10 minutes before I tried to water the plants again.
  • This morning! I was walking out to the garage with Aiden and all our bags in tow, when a giant cockroach falls out of the tree and lands on the sidewalk in front of me. He laid on his back, legs slowly peddling (like so). He was on his way out of this world, but still gave me full-on heebie-jeebies.
I don't discriminate. Bugs, lizards and birds alike. All have been trying to get me lately.

Ugh, my skin is crawling AGAIN.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fun with Mommy

Please excuse my unruly showing of skin in this video...

A Game of Chase from Nicolette Ward on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Rest of Memorial Day Weekend

Sunday morning we had to get up a little earlier than hoped because Aiden was ready to GET UP. We lounged around the apartment until Aiden was up from his first nap, then we headed out for lunch on the French Quarter. Travis and I really wanted to go to Pat O'Brien's on the water, but turns out it is closed to the general public. Now they are only available for reserved parties. Instead, we walked across the street to Bubba Gumps (yummy shrimp!), the place I went to a couple years ago when my dad and Alex took a train to New Orleans. Travis and I got Hurricanes (one of the few things on our To Do in NOLA Checklist).

It was raining, but we decided to walk down to the flea market anyway. That's when we passed the oil protest on the street. There was lots of art on the street for sale by the artist. I picked up a feather mask for my sister as a thank you gift for taking care of Callaway while we were gone. There were so many funny people trying do things for tips on the sidewalk. There were a couple of kids tap dancing Stomp-style, complete with cardboard boxes for drums. Oh and instead of real tap shoes, they had Coke cans smashed to the bottom of their shoes.

Then there was this guy...

The Onlookers (the streets were packed with tourists)

After our walk, we headed back home so both kids could take a nap. We spent the evening watching episodes of True Blood and then searching funny videos on YouTube. David and Stephanie have a pretty cool setup. They have their Xbox set so they can surf the web (with a few limitations), so we were able to sit in the comfort of their living room and watch the videos on their flat screen.

Wednesday's seat (she borrowed it from Aiden)

Monday, Stephanie had to work again. She was gone before we got up in the morning. We slowly got up and packed up our stuff. A friend of mine just happened to be visiting family, two hours from NOLA and was going to pass through New Orleans on her way to Florida. Since we were unable to meet up when we were in Illinois a couple weeks ago, Jamie and her son Bryce stopped by the apartment on their way through. It was nice to catch up for a few minutes before they had to get back on the road. Kids grow too fast.

Soon thereafter, we got on the road. On the way out of town, we stopped at the mall Stephanie works at for lunch and to say goodbye to her.

We were home around 7pm. I stayed home to give Aiden a couple of minutes to crawl around before laying him down for the night. Travis went to Galveston to buy groceries and pick up Callaway. I spent the rest of the evening cleaning up after the cats, unpacking and doing laundry. I am yet to get a good, full-night's rest so I am BEAT. I plan on making it an early evening!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Day in NOLA

Travis and I made the decision to drive to New Orleans after work on Friday. It is a 6-hour drive for us, which put us in at around midnight. I wasn't all that excited about staying up late for a drive, but it seemed like the best idea since Aiden would be sleeping for most of it. Another plus is we had two full days to hang with David and Stephanie!

Unfortunately, Stephanie had to work Saturday. We got up slowly that morning and headed out after Aiden woke from his morning nap. We drove up and down Magazine street and St. Charles, which are lined with lots of little shops and restaurants. We chose a local PoBoy place that looked super cute.

While we were inside waiting in line to place our order, guess who gets up from a table and walks out. Tim Robbins. Holy cow! I never get to see celebrities! And this one was just having lunch at the same place as us. Apparently he was in town to host a fundraiser. I saw him and just stood there trying to figure out what to do. I really wanted to point him out to Travis and David, but since we were only 10 feet from the guy, I thought it might be a little obvious and I did anything. And the last thing I want to do is annoy a celebrity. I really don't want to be that person. You know, the one who freaks out when they see someone famous. Well, I just did it internally.

I slapped David on the arm (he was closest) and whispered, "isn't that somebody famous?" I just could not think of what his name was. He was with a younger guy, waved goodbye to the guy running the cash register and walked out. The second he was out the door, I ran over to Travis. He went to the window, but couldn't see where he went. Then Tim Robbins drove away in his SUV and David and I saw him again. Travis is yet to believe us.

After lunch, we headed over to Audobon Park. It was absolutely breathtaking.

There is a rookery island in the middle of the park that was filled with birds. We saw anhingas, cormorants, geese and lots and lots of heron (and also lots of turtles). There was a giant tree hanging over the water that was covered in White Heron.

After the walk, we had to stop at the swings for the kiddos.

That evening we hung out at their apartment, which is a really cute loft-like place that they have filled with modern decor. Stephanie spent all day working, then came home to make us dinner. It felt so wrong! But we appreciated the homemade pizza a bunch. We chatted the evening away and their neighbor even came over for a while.

More photos to come!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

BP Oil Protest

This past weekend, we went to visit our friends David, Stephanie and their daughter Wednesday at their new home in New Orleans. We haven't seen them since they came here for Wednesday's first birthday party a year and a half ago! It was so great to spend some time with them again and catch up on some of the little things that don't usually get mentioned during phone and email chats.

Since I haven't had time to go through all my photos yet, I thought I would just throw up a couple from a protest we came across while walking through the French Quarter. It was a bunch of people (the most extreme hippies I've ever seen in real life - no joke) talking about how a militant-level of force may be required to get BP to solve this oil spill crisis. YIKES.

See how the eyes are little BP flowers? Ha! Clever hippies.

I know this oil spill is a HUGE mess. 'Huge' doesn't even begin to cover the vastness of this issue. BUT I do know, as an American, that we rely heavily on oil products. At this point, we just cannot function without it. However, I do think it was a little wreckless to be drilling so deep without any safety mechanisms. That said, it drives me crazy when the news anchors say they are just dealing with this situation blindly, as if it is sickening to think they don't have written plans laid out. Is there any other way to deal with this? This has NEVER happened before.

I know there are people out there who are boycotting BP gas stations. While I do not have access to any BP gas stations, I do not know that this is the best way to go about handling the situation. Take money away from a company that is using every resource to clean up this horrific mess that may affect the seafood industry in the US for decades? Doesn't seem to be the right step at this point to me. Maybe after the leak is repaired.

It is sad to think that millions of gallons of oil have been spewing daily into the Gulf for over a month now. All I can say is I hope this gets solves SOON.