Friday, February 26, 2010


One of these years Jer and I will get around to having a child.  As for now, the allure of vacations and free time and extra spending money is winning out over baby fever.  This isn't to say we haven't talked about parenthood at length.  We know the day will come when we're ready for that step; it just hasn't happened yet.  Over the past year, I've had it in my head that I only wanted one kid.  One would be enough for me to experience motherhood, pass on our genes, teach our values, and provide a great life to.  Lots of people's reactions to hearing that are, "Your kid is going to be a spoiled a-hole if you only have one."  Well, that's not necessarily the case.  You can spoil or not spoil any number of kids.  My sister's husband is an only child and he turned out pretty dang well.  I also know some people who aren't only children, and they fulfill the spoiled a-hole role quite nicely.  Who's to say that I won't spoil the crap out of my kids, no matter how many I have? 

When our exchange student, Kim, was living with us, she used to tease me about this decision.  I'd say something about my future 'kid' and she would always correct me and say 'kids.'  (It always made me smile, but I would still hold out in the back of my mind that 'kid' was indeed going to be the case). Kim told us we couldn't only have one child because the sibling relationship is so amazing.  She and her brother Mik are very close and share a special bond.

She got me thinking about my siblings, though.  Sure, I can have friends that will occasionally fill the role that a sibling might play, but they can't take the place of my sisters.  I had live-in, anytime playmates when I was growing up, thanks to my sisters.  I had a special pen-pal when I was young because my oldest sister was in college.  I had a cool Senior sister looking out for me in my first year of high school.  I had an older sister whose car I could borrow (and wreck while she was out of town!).  I have sisters that experience things before me, thereby offering advice and sympathy because they've been there before.  And I've got sisters that will go to the end of the earth for me, if I ask.

Since both Jer and I have siblings, we've been lucky enough to play the role of aunt and uncle.  It's one of the best jobs in the world, right up there behind being a grandparent.  We get to take our nieces and nephews out for fun activities, load them full of sweets, buy them fun gifts, brag about them to anyone who will listen, and then send them back to their parents.  We adore each and every one of our 5 nephews and 3 nieces and look forward to Number 9 coming soon!  With multiple siblings, and those siblings having multiple kids, family gatherings can grow quite large (and loud!).  Sometimes it's stressful having so many people in one location and trying to coordinate meals and such, but I really wouldn't have it any other way.  It's nice to have a full house and lots of activity going on during holidays.  There's never a shortage of stories to share, or milestones to celebrate.

Of course, my experience isn't necessarily typical.  Some siblings don't get along as well as others.  But, the opportunity for a special sibling relationship, like I have, is not even possible if I only have one child.  With everything considered, I think I'm comfortable with the idea of having more than one child when the time comes.  (Ask me again, though, when I'm up all night with my first newborn and we'll see if I sing the same tune!)  

Me and my beautiful sisters, then and now

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Michal-ann's Baby Shower

A couple weekends ago I helped host a baby shower for my sister-in-law, Michal-ann.  She's due to give birth to her first child in less than a month!  It's a very exciting time in the family and I look forward to welcoming another nephew into my collection.  :)

The shower was held at the Fireslice Pizzeria.  Don't let the name fool you!  The atmosphere was perfect and the food was amazing.   My other sister-in-law, Felicia, did a wonderful job choosing this location and getting a great menu lined up.

We hung up a little clothesline filled with onesies, washcloths, and bibs.  Who can't help but smile at the sight of these adorable little baby items??
Michal-ann's friend Renee made a neat diaper cake and hooked us up with a delicious cake from Belmar Bakery.  They both matched perfectly with Michal-ann's theme colors.
We mixed in a few different games in-between opening presents to keep Michal-ann from getting overwhelmed!  We played a clothespin game, where each attendee started with two clothespins and was allowed to steal a clothespin from anyone they caught using the word "baby."  The person with the most at the end won.  The next game involved a tray full of baby-related items (shown in the picture above) that we asked everyone to take a look at and then we removed it from the room.  The guests were asked to recall from memory everything that was on the tray, and the person with the most correctly remembered items won.  The last game we played was my favorite..possibly because I was in charge of it ;)  haha.  I had called Michal-ann's husband earlier that day and asked him ten questions.  Some of them were pregnancy-related questions, some were Michal-ann related questions, and some were questions about how they'd raise their son.  At the shower I asked Michal-ann those same questions, to see if their answers matched.  Whenever she got one wrong, she had to stuff a jumbo marshmallow in her mouth.  These types of games are always fun because inevitably there will be some incorrect answers, and when guys are involved, the answers can be outrageous.  LOL.  Michal-ann was a great sport about it!

The generosity of all the shower guests was wonderful and I think Michal-ann will be very prepared when the big day arrives!  Many thanks to Felicia for coordinating everything and getting the invitations out, to Renee for getting the cakes, to Staci for providing the game prizes, and to Katie for tracking the gifts.  I think everything turned out really well!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Highlights

I'm a little behind in getting to this post, but you know how it goes!  2009 was a really fantastic year for me and it gives me a lot of positive hope for 2010 to be just as good.  Here are some of the highlights from my life in 2009:

- Got Lasik surgery and freed myself from contacts

- Vacationed in Vegas (twice!)

- Joined a sand volleyball league

- Joined a Supper Club

- Watched two Rangers games from the Commissioner's box

- Played Whirlyball  and Top Golf often

- Volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, North Texas Food Bank, and Komen Race for the Cure
- Watched some great friends get married

- Cheered on Tech football in Lubbock, Stillwater, and Dallas

- Welcomed an exchange student from Germany into our home for 6 months

- Took a week-long vacation to San Francisco, Hollywood, and San Diego

- Went to see Daniel Tosh, Jim Gaffigan, and Mike Birbiglia

- Watched my beautiful niece Olivia learn so many new things

I'm sure there were plenty more exciting moments that happened last year, but I had to cap it somewhere!  Here's what I'm looking forward to in 2010 (some have already happened):

- Watching some great friends get married
- Traveling to St. Louis to watch 49ers vs. Rams game
- Donating bone marrow
- Eating at the rotating restaurant atop Reunion Tower
- Participating in Warrior Dash
- Running numerous 5Ks
- Playing sand volleyball
- Seeing Eddie Izzard
- Traveling to Vegas for a friend's wedding
- Going to Wimbledon
- Meeting our exchange student's family
- Traveling to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Maastricht, and Cologne
- Welcoming a new nephew into the world
- Learning Dutch

If there's anything I've learned in the past couple of years, it has been to enjoy every minute of life.  If every one of my weekends from here on out is full of activities, that's fine.  If I'm doing what I love and spending time with family and friends, then there is no time better spent.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bone Marrow Recipient Update

A donor technician contacted me today on behalf of the Be the Match Marrow Registry to check on my status.  I told her everything was great and any effects from donating bone marrow were long gone!  While we were talking, I asked her if there was any update available on my recipient.  She said that it normally takes anywhere from three to six months for the recipient's doctor to send an update.  Nevertheless, she checked the patient update file for me and we were both pleasantly surprised to find there was already one available!  The file stated that the patient is responding to the marrow donation, he is doing well, and has been recently discharged from the hospital.  Can you believe it?  I could not have gotten better news today.  I'm sure he has a long road ahead of him, but just hearing he is out of the hospital is encouraging.  I so desperately wish for continued positive news about him and I hope I was able to bring some joy to his family.  

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Bacon Explosion

Jer and I and a few other couples meet every other month or so for "Supper Club."  (Yeah, we're trying to come up with a cooler name!) We always have a different theme and rotate which couple will be hosting, and each couple attending contributes to the meal.  Since I've joined, we've had Mexican, Greek, and Italian-themed nights.  Last night's theme was Bacon Bonanza.  A couple members of the group might have what you call a little bit of a bacon fetish.  Haha.  Every dish brought to the dinner needed to incorporate bacon somehow.  Jer and I threw around a couple of ideas, and finally decided on "The Bacon Explosion."  I think our friend Haydel gets credit for sending us the recipe.  When I first saw it, I thought it was a joke!  It's actually relatively easy to make, but probably a little heavy on the heart to eat.  :)

You need two pounds of thick-sliced bacon, two pounds of loose sausage, some barbecue sauce, and some barbecue seasoning.  We used spicy sausage to give it more kick.  You start by laying out a 5x5 (or bigger) square grid of bacon, and basket-weave it.  Then you douse it with seasoning.  Next you lay out a layer of the sausage, making sure it reaches the edges and is uniform in thickness.  Then you fry up a couple pieces of bacon, let them dry, chop them up, and sprinkle them over the sausage layer.  Follow this up with a drizzled layer of barbecue sauce and some more seasoning.  Now it's time to assemble!  Grab the sausage layer (while leaving the bacon basket weave), and roll it on itself.  It's easiest when someone else is helping!  Once you're done rolling, pinch off the sides to seal it up.  Then, starting from the end of your sausage roll, take the basket weave and roll it back over the roll in the other direction.  Sprinkle some more barbecue seasoning on it and the preparation is done!  Here's what it will look like at this stage:

Now it's ready to be cooked in a cloud of hickory smoke at 225 degrees.  You can always brush another layer of barbecue sauce on it to keep it intact during cooking.  When the internal temperature hits 165 degrees, you are good to go!  It can take a few hours, so don't rush it!  I think ours took a little over 3 hours.  Here's what it looks like, sliced and ready to serve:

As weird as it sounded, it actually tasted amazing!  The spicy sausage was a good choice, and the barbecue flavoring topped it off nicely.  I recommend giving it a shot at your next barbecue.  The link to the full recipe was included above, and here it is again: Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Kim's Farewell Weekend

Well, our journey has come to an end.  Our hosting experience was amazing, and we are so glad we did it.  To celebrate Kim's time in America, we planned a fun-filled weekend for her and the friends she's made along the way.  Even though it was long overdue, I took Kim to downtown Dallas for a little sight-seeing.  We went to the sky lobby of the Chase building and had a really neat view of the city.
We walked around and visited some of the other skyscrapers, then made our way over to Dealey Plaza.  We saw the 6th Floor Museum and the JFK Memorial.

We met up with Jer for dinner at Five Sixty, the restaurant at the top of Reunion Tower.  The food and the view were spectacular!  It's really hard to take pictures from up there, so you'll have to take my word for it!

On Saturday night we held a going away party for Kim.  We covered the entire house in German-inspired decorations and served some of her favorite American foods.  I had printed out every picture of our fun adventures taken over the past 6 months and had them scattered throughout the house for people to view and for us to reminisce about.  Everyone that attended the party was asked to get their picture taken and write a message for Kim to go in a memory book.  I contacted those that weren't able to attend and had them send something to me separately to include.  The finished product turned out wonderfully!  Everyone had a great time, but it was a bittersweet moment for Kim to realize she wouldn't be seeing some of those people ever again.

On Sunday we got a group together to play Whirlyball.  It was a blast, as usual, and Kim even scored a goal!

Once the weekend's festivities came to an end, we knew we only had a couple days left with Kim.  I took her for one last trip to Rosa's Cafe for delicious tortillas and queso, and then to ColdStone for her last American dessert.  My sister Jo and I also took her for a pedicure (her first one ever!), and let her spend as much time as possible with Jo's daughter, Olivia.  Kim and Livy formed a special bond in her time here, and it's really cool that she got to witness 6 formidable months in Livy's life.  My sister will attest to the fact that Livy wakes up some mornings and says, "Mama?  Dada?  Kim?"  Too cute.  Thursday's trip to the airport was a sad experience.  We were so sad to see her go, but knew her family and friends in Germany would be overjoyed at her return.  We feel very lucky to have welcomed such an amazing person into our home for 6 months and are excited at the life-long friendship that is sure to be ahead of us.  Cheers, Kim!  We love you!