Sunday, October 31, 2010


Charlie seemed to have a fun Halloween night, but it went by so quickly! We left the house around 5:15 and were home getting him wound down for bed by 7:15. Someone needs to tell Charlie it's a marathon, not a sprint. Our neighbors dropped by for a visit around 8:30 so we didn't feel too lame sitting at home by 8. It was a whirlwind holiday before Charlie got pooped out.
So as you can see, I managed to get Charlie to wear the monkey hat long enough to get some photos. I was a picture snapping fool, trying to get a money shot before he got impatient with the hat. Luckily he was too distracted watching his da-da blow leaves off the driveway to notice he was wearing a hat he hated. After he had this realization, the monkey hat experience was over for the night.

Just for fun, I put some bright orange monkey socks from Crazy 8 on him with his costume. I love crazy socks. We should do more crazy socks. I'm going to put that on my to do list.
Our neighbors' party was incredible - I've decided she is Martha Stewart's secret niece. There was delicious chili in cute Halloween bowls, apple brandy cider, homemade mac and cheese, candles, tables and chairs set out, a flower arrangement of hydrangeas from her own yard... it was impressive. Everyone had a really nice time.
Our neighbor's son, Owen, was also a monkey and the two monkeys sat next to each other for dinner. Owen ate a good dinner and Charlie sucked on a dum dum in between taking bites of his hot dog. Ugh, so nasty.
After dinner we headed out to trick or treat. The neighborhood was covered in kids running around. A lot of our neighbors decorate and set up tables outside of their houses with candy. It's a nice way to walk around and meet people.

It was a crisp night, but not uncomfortably cold - no coats needed, but chilly enough not to get hot in the costumes. Fire pits were burning every few houses and there was a nice smell of firewood in the air.

Charlie really got into the trick or treating - I think from watching the "older" kids. The ones in our group were all of 4. But he was running around like a crazy man and tearing for the front door of whatever house we were in front of. He would up and drop his candy bag periodically and run off without it, so we started taking it away from him after he trick or treated - that really ticked him off.

He's too young to completely get the trick or treat concept, though. Brad took him up to the doors of most houses but I took him up once.... and he walked right into this man's house and started poking around. Checked out his kitchen, his den... eventually he was done and came back out. Fortunately this neighbor found it funny.

By the time we reached the end of the street and another party, it was clear Charlie had had enough. There were lots of fire pits out up and down the street and he was just staring at one, kind of dazed. Time to head back and go to bed.
It was a really nice Halloween as Halloweens go. I haven't lived anywhere that does up Halloween like this since I was kid in Austin and it brought back a lot of fun memories of running around with my friends, trick or treating. I hope Charlie has something like this every year.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Pre-Party

Happy Halloween Weekend! One of my friends was asking when Halloween became a week long holiday. My answer: the minute you gave birth.

We ended up skipping our first Halloween event, the candy walk at work, because we had so much going on with Ringo getting sick. Charlie and I attended our play group's Halloween party on Friday and it was fun.

I took the very best chocolate chip cookies ever, from the Williams Sonoma Comfort Food cookbook that MIL Sue gave me for my birthday. I also took juice boxes for the kids, which I found out upon arrival the hostess didn't approve of. Sigh. Her very virtuous family only drinks water. There were many fellow heathens there though - there were no leftover boxes at the end of the party.

The main attraction was the resident 3 year old's electric car in the backyard that actually moved when you hit the accelerator. It also backed up. I'm still amazed nobody got hurt. The 2 year old set just doesn't understand the instruction not to go when another kid is standing right in front of the car.
Earlier in the week we went to Maymont, which is a park and psuedo-zoo. They have eagles, owls, foxes, goats, etc. The wild animals all have injuries that prevent them from being released back into the wild.

Charlie enthusiastically pointed at anything with four legs and shouted DOG! If the animal was clearly not a "dog", such as the owl, he yelled CAT! I have such high hopes for my naturalist son, but we obviously need a few more visits to Maymont.

What's funny is how sure he is of himself when he yells out about an animal. If I correct him, he looks at me skeptically.
Ringo got to come back home on Friday after we payed the staggering and gut wrenching vet bill. I mean, I love the dog, but MERCY. He's on a limited soft and low fat diet for the next month. That's been a real picnic to enforce since Zoe wants Ringo's food and he wants his old dry food that's out for Zoe and they both want whatever Charlie has or is on the counter. It's a losing battle.
Charlie's napping right now and I hope getting very well rested for some major party hopping and trick or treating. We now have four neighborhood parties to stop by and trick or treating.... if anyone is home. I'm probably just going to leave a bucket of candy out on the front porch. Once the first batch of teenagers comes by, it'll be gone.

I have to admit, I'm a bit of a Halloween scrooge. I don't like dressing up, we haven't carved a pumpkin in years and I rarely go out around Halloween. Tonight's outfit is about all I'm capable of - it's orange and black and I think I have an old witch's hat from a few years ago. I'm hoping to make up for it by eating way too much candy. :)

Will post some costume pics of Charlie in a little while - but he refuses to wear the hat and I have my doubts he will actually hold the banana, so he might not be a terribly convincing monkey!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sick Puppy

Poor Ringo is really sick and has to stay at the vet for a few days. He started vomiting Sunday night and has been really lethargic so this morning I took him in. He has a really high fever and was drooling a lot and has abdominal pain. The vet thinks he has pancreatitis.

When they did x-rays they didn't see anything foreign in his digestive track, which didn't surprise me because Ringo doesn't ever really eat non-food. But his poor intestines are all filled with gas and indicate he's in a lot of pain. They're going to give him an IV with fluids, pain meds and anti-nausea medicine.

They'll take more x-rays in the morning and make sure the gas is leaving his system. If it's not than something else is probably wrong. Hopefully, though, things will look improved and then he should be able to come home on Friday or Saturday.

I'm sitting here feeling so guilty. Pre-baby Kara would have had Ringo in the vet's office by Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning at the latest. Instead, I just haven't been paying close attention and he's been in all this pain. Poor Bobo. He has such a distracted, deadbeat mother.

I'm not sure if I should go visit him in the vet's office because I don't want to get him excited that he's coming home and then have to leave him again. He will be drugged up, too, and hopefully sleep a lot until Friday. At the same time, I know the vet's office scares him and I want to go comfort him. I need to give this some more thought.

Anyways, that's what's going on here today.

Monday, October 25, 2010

October Weekend

It was a gorgeous fall weekend. The leaves are changing and it feels great to be outside. Don't even think about leaving Charlie outside for a second though - he is FAST. He will be into something you didn't even consider before you can say "where did I leave my diet coke?".

Favorites include turning on the hose and getting water everywhere and digging through the pile of rocks behind the garage where the chipmunks live. The poodles spend hours out there trying to catch one. I'm just waiting for the day when we get to see a hawk swoop down and get one. And by "one" I mean a chipmunk, not a poodle.
Charlie's been saying so many funny things lately. He likes to knock things over and then slap his cheeks with his hands (Home Alone style) and dramatically say "OH NOOOO!!!". As in, Did you guys just SEE this huge accidental crisis that I of course have nothing to do with???

One notable OH NOOOO!: my neighbor and her mother in law dropped by and Charlie took the opportunity to unroll the rest of the toilet paper and put it in the toilet. And then get some out. And put some back in. Repeat that until discovered by Mommy. And the visitors. Mortifying!! And what did he say when discovered?? OH NOOOO!!!

When Charlie wakes up in the morning he now has an order of things he asks for: whichever parent doesn't come get him, then Bobo, then SHOW. Show is one of his two favorite TV programs: Yo Gabba Gabba and Zoboomafoo. He can manipulate any topic of conversation into discussing SHOW. Poor Zoe continues to get the shaft and is not requested in the morning. Or ever.

Charlie's favorite book right now is called Dogs and is full of pictures of dogs. He points out each one individually and says dog, like it's a totally new discovery. There are two pictures of a white standard poodle named Pascal in there that Charlie is certain is Bobo. Bobo is famous.
We finally said good bye to Elvis this weekend. He was sold to Carmax. It took us almost a year to get rid of him. We had all these grand plans of selling him for more money on Craig's list. Unfortunately, he kept breaking, as cars with over 100K miles tend to do if you don't keep up with the maintenance.

The guy at Carmax told us after a car reaches a certain age, it isn't even sold by them. They send it to auction. I was happy with how much we got; Brad looked displeased, like if it was this easy, we were for sure getting ripped off. After a year, I didn't care. Rip me off. Just get this car off my driveway. Miss you Elvis!!!
We went to see the Social Network this weekend. It was so enjoyable I really didn't care how true it was. I knew what Mark Zuckerberg looked like obviously, but decided to look up the other major characters in real life.

I discovered that whoever did the casting was pretty generous to just about everyone. And that's nice. I'd like to think if a movie was ever made about me, they'd be just as generous. It's a good policy.
Obviously this coming weekend is Halloween. I haven't paid much attention to Halloween for the past decade or two, but when you have a small child, there is no missing it. There are festivals and pumpkin picking and "Trunk or Treat" and parties. It's insane.

I've been working with Charlie to leave his monkey costume headpiece on his head, but have been failing miserably. He won't even leave it on long enough for me to get a picture. We have the candy walk at work and our play group's Halloween party as dry runs before the big day Sunday. I'm sure we could drum up another excuse to costume it up on Saturday.

On Halloween proper our neighbors are hosting a pre-trick or treat party before we all walk the neighborhood. This is a pretty fun place to live, especially on Halloween. Lots of candy for the kids and cocktails for the parents!

Well I'd better get some rest. Who knows what Charlie's got planned for tomorrow....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Miami Girls Weekend

We had sooooo much fun in Miami. It is really beautiful there. Have you been? It was a lot more tropical then I was expecting - white sand, blue water, beautiful weather. We stayed in South Beach and were able to walk or take a short cab ride to just about everything we wanted to do. It was the perfect getaway.
I'm really lucky because my four best friends from college and I still get together for girls' weekends, more then 15 years after we first met. We talked a lot this weekend about past weekends and the places we've been, when the first trip was, etc. I think they started with each of our respective bachelorette parties and moved on to almost annual visits once we were scattered across the country.

It's gotten harder since babies came along, though, and this was our first trip in several years. Cookie has even moved to Switzerland and back since we all saw each other! So we were really excited to all get together and have some fun! And fun was had. Shenanigans. Ballyhoo. Etc. Etc. Mostly at a club called Mangos.
We ate awesome food (chorizo-stuffed fried olives anyone?), laid on the beach, shopped, went dancing and laughed our heads off. That was the best part - my cheeks hurt from all the smiling. Years of inside jokes rehashed and a few new quotes for the quote book.
After a lot of confusion trying to book a condo, we ended up at the Bentley hotel South Beach. Ocean view, right in the middle of everything and had the required 2 bathrooms. 5 girls in one room means a lot of getting ready at night.

And once you're ready, Megan will accessorize you. I realized this trip I either need to move near Megan or get some more belts. I'm presently running a belt deficit.

There was also a sweet roof top pool and a beach club on the beach that served ridiculously strong overpriced rum runners to your beach chairs. I think I've learned a lesson about ordering anything with a rum floater too early in the afternoon. That lesson is: definitely do it!
We were laughing throughout the weekend about how our trips have changed over the years. We don't have quite the stamina to party like we used to, though we had a very respectable showing Saturday night if I do say so myself! No matter how the trips evolve over the years, it will always mean so much to spend time with these friends who have known me so well for so many years.

We're already planning our next girls weekend for April 2011 in the Texas Hill Country. I miss these girls so much already that I can't wait for it to get here! Love you ladies and thank you again for a wonderful trip!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Back in a few...

I'm leaving in the morning for my long awaited girls' weekend trip to South Beach. I'm going with my four best friends from college. Our reality show will be called Desperate Housewives take Miami.

The agenda includes staying out too late, sleeping in, drinks by the pool, hunting down really good Cuban food and the rarely-enjoyed activity I like to call Nothing. Maybe Nothing with a good book.

Charlie is heading to Williamsburg tomorrow with Brad to enjoy one of his favorite activities: being spoiled. I've been sad about leaving him since about 5pm today when it hit me. He's made it even harder by being extra cute, sweet and lovable. Those babies and their manipulative mind games! I'm probably going to have to buy him a present now.

Later Gators! Get it? Florida gators? Oh never mind.

How to Paint a Sisal Rug

Alternate titles for this post:
  1. How NOT to Paint a Sisal Rug
  2. Not as Fun as it Sounds: The Spray Paint Edition
  3. Ways to go Insane through Home Craft Projects
  4. Nurturing Your Inner OCD
  5. What a Pain in the A**
I just finished painting our sisal runner from our entry way in a checkerboard pattern. I was trying to cover up some water and (ahem) other stains that had set on it.

I decided on a black and gold checkerboard, thinking that would cover what I needed to cover and be a neutral pattern. I dragged the runner out to the garage and marked the pattern with blue painter's tape.

I bought this special spray paint with a targeted nozzle on it. It seemed easier then taking a brush and getting in all the grooves of the sisal. I was also worried I wouldn't get a clean line with a traditional paint brush.

I'm not sure if my mistake was using the spray paint or in the execution, but the paint tended to drift some while I was spraying - even if there was very little wind outside.

Once absorbed by the fibers, the paint couldn't really be covered up by the other color. The drifting paint is even more obvious by its one straight edge from the painter's tape. The result is that it looks messy. I notice the imperfections every time I look at it. It's driving me batty.

It's kind of faint in the photo (because of course these were taken with my iPhone), but behold, drifted paint:
Now that it's in the entryway, I kind of hate it. the black looks too stark in there. The room is white walls and trim with grass cloth wallpaper that I almost pulled down when we moved in. I'm so glad I didn't - I so love that wallpaper now.
I have some gold framed art in there and a metallic mirror type thing. Oh and a cheap brushed nickel chandelier from the previous owners that I hate. I've wanted to pull it down and paint it something crazy like orangey red or bright green or something for a while.

Now I've gone and introduced black in there on the rug and I'm not sure how to tie it together. Why did I pick black? What was I thinking?? Probably tired. That was stupid. Now I want an ebony stained table in there or possibly a black light fixture. Or I scrap the stupid runner and begin the hunt again for something that will fit in there. Must be at least 3' x 10'.

So there you have it. I think the most gracious thing I can say about this project is that it was educational. You know, in a kind of "I'll never do THAT again" type way. And the most gracious thing I can say about the runner is that it now looks rustic. Rustic.

So there you have it. Learn from my mistakes people and don't leave natural fiber rugs laying around if your dogs are mad at you.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Fall has arrived, and with it, really bad allergies. Brad spent most of the weekend feeling pretty crummy and I've been feeling kind of gross, too. Charlie's been congested and grouchy when he wakes up, like he's not getting good enough sleep.

This is a really long way of saying our big pumpkin festival plans for the weekend got the axe. Hopefully we can go another weekend before Halloween. After Halloween, you are hard pressed to find a pumpkin and it's time to start apple picking. Those are the rules.

After we decided we weren't feeling up to lines and crowds, we just went to this Farmer's Market style grocery store called Tom Leonard's, which has a tent full of pumpkins, mums and hay. We considered it a nice compromise between a quaint pumpkin festival in the country and the big cardboard bins in front of Walmart.

We got there right after it opened and they had tacky 90's hip hop playing in the tent. I felt a smidgen disappointed. Doesn't October have a soundtrack? Shouldn't they be playing that?

Charlie walked in and once he caught a few beats stopped dead in his tracks and started dancing. That's right Charlie, we came here to DANCE. Break it down kiddo.
They had all kinds of crazy pumpkins. We got one standard one and a couple unusual ones. And some cute teeny tiny ones for the mantle. They were so neat, though - I could have bought 20 and covered all 3 porches with them. It just felt wrong for the pumpkin tab to hit 3 digits, though.
And that was it. We walked around. Saw the singing Chuck E Cheese style animals inside, which scared Charlie and then went to brunch.

Later that night after Charlie went to bed we watched The Cove, which is a documentary about dolphin capture, selling and killing in Japan. It won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary. It was fascinating and heartbreaking. I think you should watch it. The most graphic coverage is in the last 10 or 15 minutes. I had to turn away for parts of it.

While I visited Sea World as a kid and was very taken with it (I wanted to be a marine biologist for a long time) I've had an issue with dolphins and whales in captivity lately. I can not give those companies my money anymore after seeing this film. No tanks, shows, swim with dolphin programs, etc. for Charlie. But maybe we can see some from afar one day after he's certified to scuba dive :).

Anyways, a sunny way to end a Sunday night! But how 'bout those Chilean miners??? I've been uncharacteristically glued to the news today. Good things happening on the news. I'll miss that when they move back to their regularly scheduled programming.

Good night!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Over Italicized

I've been taking a lot of photos with my iPhone lately, so that's mostly been what's on the blog. Some of them, like the one above, turn out really well. Others, like some below, not so much. The good ones I don't even realize are good until either download them or hear from Brad that the picture I sent was so good and he showed everyone he works with.

I think it's a little sad that photos from my phone are sometimes better then those from my camera. Which OK, granted, might be user error. Cameras hate me. It's personal. Phones, however.... well, we're involved.
I also carry around my phone instead of my camera all day, so it gets to see more of the action. I try and MMS pictures to Brad during the work day so he can see what we're up to. And yes, there might also be that matter of my scrabble addiction. Between Lexulous and Words with Friends, I have lot of scrabble to get done during the day.
It rained a lot last week. I figured out at the tail end of the rain that it was a Tropical Storm. How did I figure this out?? Well, here's my secret: it was all over the news. I had to watch a whole minute of the news to figure it out. After that I was, what you would call, in the know.
After two mall playgrounds earlier in the week, we hit up this totally ghetto indoor bounce house land about 10 minutes from us. It's called Kangaroo Jac's and is Monkey Joe's shady younger brother who just got out of juvey. That's probably how I would describe most of the people who work there, too.

Charlie liked it fine but I felt like jumping in a giant vat of boiling disinfectant after. To quote Xtina: It was Dirrrrrrty. But we do love our race car games, so when it rains, we have to go visit them.
Charlie has a new TV show he'll tolerate during nebulizer treatments or when Mommy needs 15 minutes of sanity time/cook dinner time. I kind of hate how much TV he ends up watching these days, considering he used to watch next to none. But it is my only break of the day so it's a bit of a necessary evil.

Anyways, it's called Zoboomafoo. It's on PBS Kids. It features two brothers who are naturalists and lots of wild animal footage. Since Charlie is a budding naturalist, he seems to enjoy watching the animals. The music isn't as catchy, though, and you can't dance to it. But the brothers are significantly easier on the eyes then DJ Lance Rock. Real tall order there. Snort.

It became obvious to me today that Charlie's becoming very comfortable at the gym daycare. On Tuesdays he goes there after his gym class we do together. I came back from working out this morning and he was asleep. In a swing that is meant to hold a much smaller child. They said that all of the sudden he just laid down on the floor and went to sleep! Does that mean I've been going long enough and I'm in shape now? Oh, I kill me.

I had some white beans I'd soaked and needed to use, so I made this recipe tonight. I picked it because I already had the ingredients. That's a good reason to cook something, right? I don't know if it will be any good, but the house smells heavenly. You should come over and have some. But be warned - I smell like the 1/4 cup of garlic it required. Yes. Cup.

Book club is tomorrow night and I haven't finished the book. I'm about halfway done. It's been a decently interesting read, though I think I'm more excited about the Vietnamese food we're having at the meeting. I guess that says something about whether or not you should read it, huh? Depending on whether you feel as strongly as I do about good Vietnamese food, of course.

I'm never sure how to end these blog posts. So.... bye.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Good and The Bad

The Good: We got some beautiful fall weather this week and the temperatures dropped after Tropical Storm Nicole passed

The Bad: Charlie has developed another cough and we're back on breathing treatments. He's cooperative when Mommy and Daddy rot his little brain with TV while he takes the treatment.

The Good: I hired a sitter and got out for almost all of Friday afternoon to get a pedicure, shop, get my Mac fixed and go to the gym.

The Bad: This was because Brad had to stay in Dallas for a corporate event and didn't get home until late Friday. A mitigating good: He's staying until Monday night to get more time with us

The Good: I got my hair cut and colored today so it doesn't look the train wreck it had disintegrated into before today. It's been clipped up for 3 weeks and I don't know how you'd describe the color. I think the cut is cute.

The Bad: Kara's unfortunately gone a tad goth again

The Good: It rained all week so our yard is ready to re-seed

The Bad: We now have to till and re-seed. And pray grass grows. But even the dirt looks better then the mound of weeds.

The Good: Arkansas had a bye week so our weekend only partially revolved around football. They are almost assured to beat their opponent next weekend.

The Bad: A&M lost to OSU this week in the last howevermany annoying seconds it took for them to throw the game. They are almost assured to lose to their opponent next weekend. At which point certain of my in-laws will get in some ribbing. But one particularly sweet one promised not to since I assisted her in where to shop when she is in Dallas for the game. :)

Note, if you did not pick up on this: Arkansas and A&M play each other next weekend.

The Good: I found another cute JC Penney dress to wear in Miami.

The Bad: I have no shoes remotely close to working with it.

The Good: I'm halfway done with my book club book. Yes, I joined a book club!

The Bad: The book is a tad depressing. I'm hoping I can come up with something more insightful to say about it by Wednesday night. After a couple of glasses of wine, who knows what will come flying out of my mouth.

The Good: It's bed time.

The Bad: Ringo is in a snugly mood and does not smell good.

Good night!