Displaced Yankee Chick in Texas

This blog chronicles my life as a displaced Yankee chick in Texas. I'm from the NY/NJ/PA area and quit my job 1.5 years ago to move to TX with DH and become a SAHM to our 3 kids (2 DDs and 1 DS). **Please note that names have been changed to protect the innocent.**

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Feis success!

Last weekend we took the family to San Antonio for an Irish dance competition (called a feis -- rhymes with "fresh"). Miss B competed for the first time in a two-hand, which is what two dancers dancing together is called, with a girl from the next development over.

I took Miss B to Miss S's house Thursday night to practice and the girls did a great job. Miss B is a natural when it comes to dancing in time to the music and Miss S has perfect posture and toe points. Miss S's mom and I spent the evening chatting away while the girls practiced and then played together. I was shocked when I discovered we were still there at 9:40 pm!

The team dances were scheduled to be held first thing Saturday morning. Miss B and I rushed down to the lobby level by taking the service elevator, which was conveniently located just outside our door. We arrived at the first floor and didn't know where to go, since we were deep inside the hotel's inner workings. A wonderful man named Frank, originally from Brooklyn (YAY!) helped direct us to the guest-only area of the hotel. Miss B loved that Mr. Frank was from Brooklyn like me and she made a point to say hi to him whenever she saw him. LOL! Why, you may wonder, did we rush and take the service elevator? Because we learned the hard way that in the 30 minutes leading up to the start of a feis, the elevators become packed and you cannot get on one or you end up waiting FOREVER for one to get to your floor. We even found one hotel where there were no public stairs from the 2nd floor to the lobby (I thought I'd outsmarted all the other feis people at that hotel).

So Miss B and Miss S performed their two hand and were one of two teams competing in their age group. We were delighted to learn that they took first place. Miss B's first dancing medal was a FIRST PLACE!!! She took third place in two of the jigs later that morning, and took another second for Irish soda bread. Not too shabby. And I was surprised about the soda bread medal since I was about a half cup of flour short, so I'm suspecting it wasn't the best bread the judge had ever tasted. LOL!

Miss B was on cloud 9 all day long and enjoyed wearing her medals. Now that she has tasted dancing success, we've got to get her practicing more so she can move up from Beginner to Advanced Beginner.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


There was a tradition of "BOO"-ing neighbors in our old development. I missed the fun and watching the BOOs spread across the neighborhood since no one was doing it when we moved here. Two years ago I started doing it here, and I did it again last year.

I found some great BOO resources at myfolsom.com/boo and printed my signs off tonight. I just have to finish shopping tomorrow and we'll be ready to BOO tomorrow night. The kids will have a blast with it.

Try it if you have neighbors -- it really makes Halloween fun!

Riding the good karma train

I read Tink's blog last night and saw that last Friday she was upset at an uncaring driver. The driver's thoughtless actions killed some baby ducks and made Tink wonder about practicing random acts of kindness. She challenged her readers to pay it forward and then post a comment on her blog relating what they did.

The comments moved me and although I was very tired today, I felt optimistic. I only cringed for a second when a woman at daycare this morning commented on what a beautiful day it was (that reminds me of the morning of September 11th, and I worry every time I think it is a glorious day that something awful will happen).

My day brightened when I heard from my best friend, who is 9 weeks pregnant with a miracle baby. Things are still going well for her, and it was a great relief to learn that. My day improved considerably when my cell phone rang. I was expecting it to be a collegian calling with a sorority-related question. Once I saw that it was my friend Amy, I worried. She was in tears when I answered the phone and I was crestfallen. Last week she was notified that there was a possibility that she and her husband would be adoptive parents of a baby who was born that week. They couldn't get their hopes up because there was counseling required for the birth mother, parental rights needed to be relinquished, etc. I hated to think that their dearest dream had just been quashed. Amy said to me through her tears, "The prayers and candles worked. Thank your mom." Needless to say I was flabbergasted and asked if it was true. Were they going to be parents? YES!!! Their adoption case worker had just called with the good news. They will be bringing their baby boy home on Friday. Of course, I cried tears of joy for them. It was three years ago today that they began their adoption journey. Nevermind the countless medical tests and procedures prior to that to determine that she could not bear children. Shortly before I ran out to lunch to celebrate with some retail therapy, I received an email from Amy. She had received pictures of her precious baby William (named after her grandfather, on whose birthday last week she originally received news of his potential adoption) and forwarded them to me.

Following my retail therapy, I returned to the office to discover an email from my friend Patty. We have known each other nearly 25 years; we went to HS together. Last night I sent a message to our HS classmates via facebook asking them to pray for her or at least send her some good thoughts/vibes. Patty was diagnosed with colon cancer this summer, right around the time she turned 40. Maybe two weeks ago she discovered that a liver biopsy came back positive as well. This morning she met with a surgeon at Sloan Kettering to discuss the surgery on her liver. Her surgery will be around Thanksgiving, while she is in the middle of chemo for her colon cancer. The surgeon/doctors feel that she has a very good prognosis. Her email to me was an update with information from today's meeting. All I could think was that there wasn't a better day for her to have had this meeting. With all the good news I received, I knew that she would had a great prognosis.

I believe in the power of prayer and I believe in miracles. I witnessed them today.

Tonight I got on facebook and read emails from my HS classmates. They were asking me if I knew whether Patty could use blood donations, or money to hire help around the house, or meals; they asked for her address so they can send a card. We are spread throughout the country, but they have posted on Patty's facebook page or emailed her to say they are praying for her, to keep her spirits up, and to let her know that they are thinking of her. Patty is probably one of the nicest and most genuine and generous people I know, and I'm better for knowing her. And I'm better for knowing these classmates of ours, who are looking for any way they can to help. I'm awed, overwhelmed and overjoyed. And I'm in tears.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

March 08 -- the month in review

Let's just say I can't wait for this month to end! It all started when my beloved grandmother passed away on Sun, March 2. We had to quickly find flights to get the five of us up to NJ for the wake and funeral. We had uneventful flights up and back, and I would highly recommend Jet Blue. They really do have the most leg room that I've found. The wake and funeral were lovely as those things go. My grandmother was 96 years old and had lived a long wonderful life. She met her great grandchildren, traveled the world, had many friends, and died just like she wanted to. We all had enough time to say goodbye to her, so we have no regrets. Some dear friends of mine came to the wake -- my very best friends from HS, and one of my friends that I used to work with. It was nice to see so many friends, neighbors and family members.

While the priest was doing his brief prayer service, he asked us if we wanted to say anything about Granny. My mom and uncle talked about what a great mother she was. My mom mentioned how Granny kept going on even when she was dealt a tough blow. She grew up during the Depression, lost her firstborn during childbirth, lost her husband just days before their 13th anniversary, leaving her to raise a 9 and 10 yo by herself. She was an amazing and strong woman, and lived alone until she was 88! My dad mentioned how she had a wicked sense of humor and thought it was hilarious when my dad was being bent into a pretzel (or so it felt) during a massage in Japan. My mom and grandmother were in the beds next to his, and the beds were shaking from them laughing so hard at him. (They went easy on Granny and also with my mom as she was pregnant wiht me at the time.) I remembered a story my mom told me that sums up my grandmother's character for me. My mom and grandmother were in Brooklyn and went to dinner at Granny's favorite Irish restaurant. There was a woman sitting alone at a nearby table, but she had two drinks, one in front of her and one for her missing companion. My grandmother sensed what was going on and went to the lady's table and began talking to her. As it turned out, this was that couple's favorite restaurant and this was her first time there since her husband had passed away. She had ordered his favorite drink for him. My grandmother gave this new widow a pep talk. She mentioned how it would be difficult at first to get by, but as time went on, things would get easier. She didn't sugar coat it, but she let the woman know that the pain and sadness would lessen with time. By the end of their conversation, this woman was even smiling. I would never have the nerve to go up to someone and talk to them like she did.

Right after we returned home from the funeral we left for a vacation in San Diego. That was heavenly. DH and I enjoyed massages, and my parents watched the kids for us. We enjoyed a family reunion with a bunch of my mom's cousins who live on the west coast.

The following week was Spring Break and Miss B went to the YMCA camp. We both had off on Good Friday, but my car was in the shop, so we spent the day at home.

This week A and I went to the doctor on Monday. He has a double ear infection and I am getting over a throat infection. Tuesday morning at 2am Miss S had croup and required a trip to the ER to have it checked out. She couldn't catch her breath and it scared me silly. Then Wed afternoon A fell at daycare and split the back of head open. It probably didn't need stitches, but I've never dealt with a cut on the scalp. He wound up with one staple. So now I've had 2 ER visits in 36 hours...

The list goes on, but that's the biggest part of it all. Now I'm going to go to bed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Reasons to be happy

I'm so happy I could burst! These are some of the reasons I'm so happy:

We're going on a family vacation in a few months and it should be wonderful.
It looks like I'm going to be hired full time at my job.
We didn't owe money after our recent escrow analysis -- a first!
A good friend of mine has a wonderful secret.
We'll be attending a family reunion in a few weeks.
DH may finally get to take the Guy's Weekend Trip he's talked about for years.
It looks like we'll be doing a bit of traveling this summer -- to celebrate our anniversary and to celebrate DH's cousin's wedding and to meet a new member of the family.
Two babies were born into our family late last year; both girls are healthy.

And, as usual, something always seeems to temper the good. My dad is apparently being forced to retire earlier than he had planned. I'm sure everything will work out fine, but he only found out about it earlier today and is understandably angry.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007: The year in review

Hmmm, let's see what happened this year...

I was in a terrible funk at the beginning of the year. Part of it was coming down from the high of having my parents visit for a week at Christmas, and part of it was that I was still reeling from the big blowup a bunch of my friends and I were involved in. It didn't matter that I had a wall full of Christmas cards to remind me of all the people who cared for me however. I couldn't sleep and was miserable. I ultimately sought help from my physician who prescribed an antidepressant. Between getting it off my chest and telling DH that I needed help, and getting meds, things improved. It's been nearly a year and I feel much more normal. If things go well in 2008, I'll look into weaning myself off the meds.

In late January DH's grandmother had a heart attack. DH happened to be in FL on business at the time, so he went to see her when his meetings ended. The cardiologist told DH and SIL that Gran had about 6 months left. In February we flew the family to NJ so that DH and I could attend my 21st HS reunion (it was a year late). We had a great time, and I think I spoke to every classmate who was there. In fact, that was one thing I promised myself that I'd do, since I pretty much hung out with all my old clique at our 10th. Before we flew home, we all got to play on the ice covered snow at my parents' house. It was nice to see, but I was glad I didn't have to see more of it. LOL!

Later in February we flew the family to FL to have our potentially last visit with Gran. We spent a weekend in a 2BR trailer in a 55+ community. Let's just say that the kids were as good as they could be for being as bored as they were. At least B and I learned how to knit and purl from Gran.

My parents visited again in early March so they could watch the kids while DH and I got to enjoy a trip to Puerto Rico. DH had earned the trip because he had achieved 100% of his 2006 sales plan. The resort was wonderful, as was the food. It was sheer heaven being able to sunbathe and relax in a paradise. DH enjoyed the casino and the free drinks within it a bit too much. And we both enjoyed a few too many "Ziggie Zaggies" (the resort's drink) poolside.

We got to enjoy a visit from DH's sister and BIL and their two sons, R and M in June. The visit fell over B and R's birthdays, plus nearly everyone else's birthdays are also in June (the girls turned 7 and 4), so we did a LOT of celebrating (did I mention DH turned *cough* 40?!). Unfortunately, we also received some bad news during their visit. DH and SIL's grandmother passed away -- on the day before B's birthday. We flew up to Providence to attend the wake and funeral. As wonderful as it was to see DH's family, we hated that it was under such sad circumstances. That unplanned trip took up our vacation budget so we were not able to visit our families during the summer.

Miss B and I took a trip in July to Brenham, in the Hill Country, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Blue Bell Creamery. They had a free all the ice cream you can eat 3-day celebration. Let's just say that B and I tasted nearly every single flavor of ice cream that day. Urgh! DH and I celebrated our 10th anniversary this July and we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Outback Steakhouse with the kids to commemorate it. Thanks to Auntie Harriet for treating us -- she sent us the gift card we used that night.

My parent visited again for a quick visit in August; I was glad they could come down close to my birthday. Along with everyone else in this area, we celebrated the start of school in LATE August. This was the LONGEST summer on record here because the schools started 2 weeks later than they used to. And along with school came the beginning of Brownies. I'm the leader of B's troop this year. I need to learn how to get control of 8-12 first graders. LOL!

We celebrated A's 3rd birthday with a visit from my best friend. Amy had been in TX on business and extended her trip so she could spend a weekend with us. We had a great time hanging out and drinking margaritas and talking and drinking margaritas, and catching up. And did I mention drinking margaritas? LOL!

I spent 4 weeks at a horrible temp job. It started out nicely, but the person who was supposed to train me apparently felt threatened by me. Thus, she spent most of her time showing me everything once and expecting me to immediately be able to duplicate it. And then they managed to forget to tell me all the steps involved in the tasks I was to complete. And my co-worker wasn't the most pleasant person in the world. Needless to say, I was and wasn't surprised when I was let go. I wasn't sorry, but I was annoyed that it had ruined my perfect record. I had finally been fired from a job. Oh well. I'm stubborn enough that I would have stuck it out rather than quit, no matter how miserable I was, so they did me a favor.

The kids and I enjoyed Halloween without DH, who had to go away on business that week. The kids were Sulley, Mike and Boo from Monsters Inc. And we already have an idea of what they'll be for next year.

This fall the girls began their Irish dancing lessons in earnest. B will start competing next week, and S has a way to go before she will learn the steps to her first dance. I think B enjoys it, but she's not terribly competitive, so nothing makes her want to practice in order to earn medals and trophies.

FIL came to visit for Thanksgiving; we went to eat at my cousin's. This was her first holiday in her new house. Right after Thanksgiving I got the call about the job I now have. I am LOVING this job and I hope it will become a permanent one for me. DH and I missed the company's Christmas party due to A's mishap and trip to the ER. I do hope there will be next year...

Christmas has come and gone so quickly. Like most people I've spoken to, I have had little holiday spirit. My house is usually decorated over Thanksgiving weekend. This year it was mid-December, and I put up less than half of what I normally do. The kids got most of what they wanted. The least wanted thing we got were colds -- DH and I had the sniffles, B had a slight case of the sniffles, S had an ear infection and A trumped us all with bronchitis.

We plan on visiting Space Center Houston to see the Star Wars Light Saber exhibit tomorrow. That'll help send our year out with a bang.

We've managed to make it 10 years, and I've recently learned that two of my friends' marriages have ended this year. However, we've also had friends and family grow their families by two feet this year, so the good news helps temper the bad.

Wishing all of you a safe, happy and healthy 2008!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CTTS (cute things they say)

Here's one that I'm not sure will make it into A's scrapbook -- if I ever finish it:

A few weeks ago we were playing outside and A was collecting pine cones with me. I was trying to find some good ones that I could use at Miss B's Brownie meetings. You can make a bird feeder out of a pine cone, peanut butter and bird seed.

Later that night, I was standing in the bathroom doorway while A pooped. He pushed one out, looked in the toilet and said, "pinecone!" Then he proudly showed me his poop, which did indeed resemble a pine cone.

Who knew the boy was so talented?!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

So this is what happened to my boy...

Last night was my company's Christmas party at a nice restaurant in a fancy downtown area of Houston. I had gotten the girl next door to babysit the kids for us. She's a kid at heart and loves to play and the kids adore her. DH and I were excited and looking forward to a nice dinner out (the entree choices were rack of lamb, Chilean sea bass or filet mignon -- yum!).

We were about a block away from the restaurant when DH's cell phone rang. He saw it was a call from our house so he immediately called back. The babysitter told him that B and A were running around the family room and kitchen and she pushed him. He fell into the corner of the bar and split his forehead open. She said it was deep and would need stitches. So we turned around and headed immediately home.

I called the restaurant and asked to leave a message with the president of the company I work for saying that we had had an emergency and would be unable to attend. Then I emailed my boss and the president from DH's blackberry explaining the emergency.

When we arrived home, our babysitter and her mom were here. A was sitting in the mom's lap and he was so calm. We looked at the gash and I felt sick to my stomach. It was really deep and would definitely require stitches. And it would take a lot more than the 4 stitches A got when he split his eyebrow open the day before his first birthday.

Before leaving the house, DH grabbed a piece of pizza (we had ordered pizza for the kids to eat). I figured we'd be in and out so quick that we could head back to the restaurant for the entree or dessert course. However, we quickly learned that was not going to be the case. The ER waiting room was packed and when we registered, we were told there was a 2-3 hour wait.

A finally fell asleep on my lap just after I sent DH out to get me some dinner (at 9:30pm; we arrived there before 8). So instead of rack of lamb I had a Sonic chili cheeseburger for dinner. Instead of a whiskey sour at the cocktail hour I had a limeade. Oh well. A napped quite a lot while we waited to be seen. It was after midnight before we finally headed in to the triage area. From there we were immediately escorted to an ER room where he again fell asleep.

I had warned the paramedic and LPN that he needed to be in a papoose for his last stitches. They said they would be able to deal with him. They stood him up and put his arms in a pillowcase behind his back; it looked like he was wearing a cape. Then they swaddled him in a sheet and lay him on the bed. He fell immediately back to sleep. He was completely fine until the LPN put the drape over his face. Then A lost it, yelling that he couldn't see. The paramedic had to really hold his head still, while DH held his torso and I held his legs down. He fought every single stitch. And he yelled during every single stitch. All fifteen of them. He got four internal stitches and eleven surface stitches.

Once they were finished, A gave us both big hugs. The poor paramedic shook his arms to get the blood flowing in them again, and we overheard the LPN say, "I need a 10 minute break after that!" That's my boy.

We arrived home after 5 hours in the ER (and 6 hours from the time he fell) and spoke to the babysitter who was still very apologetic. I feel so badly for her. We know it was not her fault. Our kids know that we do not allow running in the house for this very reason; perhaps now they'll listen to us... HA! The babysitter actually asked, "Are you sure?" when I went to pay her. I hope she'll sit for us again. Heck, she did everything right. She called us and got her mom to help her out before we got home. It makes me feel even more comfortable having her watch the kids, in fact.