30 June, 2011


Of all the many comments newborn parents receive, the question of "Who does he/she look like?" tends to dominate the conversation. It is a difficult question to answer as they change so much day to day and week to week.

Ramona is definitely her father's daughter with her ears, her chubby cheeks and her adorably knobby-kneed chicken legs. Her face reminds me a lot of her sister when she was a newborn. And the hair.......well let's just say it is the most surprising thing about her. Our firstborn, Iris, was completely bald until she was two years old. When Ramona's head first emerged during birth, my husband and I said, in unison, "Woah! Look at all that hair!" According to my mom, I had brown hair upon birth as did my brothers. But not his much! Maybe there is some credence to the old wives' tale "If you have bad indigestion during pregnancy, your baby will have a lot of hair."

Have fun trying to figure out where Ramona gets her smashingly good looks.

Iris, 1 month old. 2006

Ramona, four days old. 2011

Eight Days Early

Today is supposed to be my due date with Baby #2. We are so glad she decided to come eight days early.

Meet little Miss Ramona Yvonne. She is already busy with baby activities such as hanging out with big sister,

Meeting her family,

watching sister dance while breastfeeding,

sucking her thumb,

and doing some light, restorative yoga.

I did not pose her. She is a natural yogini.

She is growing chubbier and more alert each day. We are to the point of bursting with love for her. Having a newborn in the house is the greatest gift--you are reminded of the innocence we all have entering this world.

19 June, 2011

Father Knows Best. Sometimes.

This is my Daddy. Yes, I am a grown woman and still call him "Daddy." It suits the man fine I think.

Iris is crazy about her Grandpa. And corn dogs. 
I have mentioned before blogging is a challenge to me. I like to challenge myself. That is the only reason I am doing this. I tend to live life and forget to tell people about the contents. I haven't even blogged about San Francisco yet and that was way back in March. Working on it.....

The following photos were from this past October 2010. My parents drove up to visit us and we all attended the Texas State Fair in Dallas for the first time. I think it is well agreed it is now an annual tradition. That is what Fried Frito Pie does to you.

Fried Frito Pie is like manna from the gods. Imagine Totinos Pizza Rolls but with Chili.
Sometimes I have those moments where I love and hate the fact my parents know me better than I know myself. The naturally defiant and secretive me thinks and says (very much like those girls they send to boot camp on The Maury Povich Show), "You don't KNOW ME!!! Hell naw!" But at the end of the day, they know you.

At the time of our visit to the Texas State Fair, my husband and I were trying for another baby. We wouldn't know for another week or so if we had hit the target so to speak, and if we didn't try, try again!

My Daddy kept a very keen eye on me the entire day of the Fair. He mentioned how giddy I seemed to be. He took notice when I scarfed down a Fried Frito Pie, a ginormous basket of nachos, a frozen chocolate-dipped banana and a 45 oz. lemonade in about 45 minutes. He also noticed riding the carousel with Iris really knackered me out. By the time I had consumed a funnel cake, half a watermelon, another lemonade, a cotton candy, two roasted ears of corn, refused beer because it "sounded gross" and mentioned it was tiring work to eat a turkey leg, he knew what was up. As he helped me finish the turkey leg, he very calmly said, "Juliebird, you are soooo pregnant. I just know."

"Whatever, Daddy. I am just eating like this because its the Motha Frigging Texas STATE FAIR! I don't think I am pregnant," I replied.

Then he got THAT LOOK on his face. The look my family knows well. The mischievous smarty-pants grin that says, I know better and you don't.   

Four days later, I found out indeed I was pregnant. Fine Daddy, I will give you credit on this one. Your intuition was flowing from all the deep fried delicious that day. Secretly, I liked the fact you knew something I didn't. You can see the subtle shifts in me. You know when I am upset, to the moon with joy and when I am not telling the truth. It is the one thing about you I love the most--you keep me honest. 

You're a great Daddy. So glad you're mine.


Happy Anniversary, Love. Seven years and you are still my best pal and the funniest, sexiest, smartest and most interesting person in my life. How did I get so lucky?

Yeah, we smile like kids in a candy store a lot together.

A lot of people don't understand us, and I am perfectly fine with that. After all the challenges good and bad to our marriage, the times when we thought it was this close to ending or we were too worried about ourselves to worry about each other, I am so thankful we always stopped, screwed our heads on straight and marched on. It makes me love you even more. 

When I was a kid, I witnessed a couple married 75 years blessed in our church. The woman was so old and feeble the husband had to practically carry her up to the altar. The priest renewed their wedding vows and said, "And to their testament of love, even through problems, heartaches and challenges known only to them." Even as a child, I knew that was the kind of relationship I wanted with the person I chose to spend my life. And yes, at times we've done the absolute worst to each other and yet we've never given up. Giving up is easy, and you and I never do anything the easy way.

I can already hear you. Alright Jules, enough of the cheesy crap. Let's make out. You'd never say it, but I know you're thinking it. I agree. Let's listen to some songs that say far better than what I can say and snog for a few hours.

You are all the reasons. Always will be.

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Preggers Update

I am two weeks from my due date. The last month. With the first baby, I was too busy going to grad school to really pay attention. I was lucky to grade all my papers and have the crib assembled before she arrived. Thank goodness she was a week late.

This baby is entirely different. I have all the time in the world. The baby room is done. Everything is ready to go. I even made meals and put them in the freezer. What. The. Hell? 

It is my hope the nesting overdrive is the cause of my body's innate understanding this baby might come a week or so early???? PLEASE???

Mistress Preggy Pants

Truth be told, I am not a big fan of being pregnant. Babies are awesome, but I am not a fan of all the unpleasant side effects of pregnancy. Nausea, indigestion from everything, trouble sleeping, swelling face and ankles, not being able to put on your own shoes without help, you name it. Thank goodness it is only nine months and the reward is so very sweet. 

The worst thing for me is I get needy during pregnancy, and I don't like to be needy. I don't like to need someone. That is a whole other story I've already spent good money in therapy to tell, so it probably won't show up here.

Then my husband gives me an awesome back rub or he scoops me some ice cream. Or he cuddles with me even though he is not a cuddler. He tolerates my irrational mood swings about really asinine things. I need him, especially his sense of humor as he watches me attempt to put on my underwear every morning. Let's just say it is equivalent to a penguin attempting to put on a pair of underwear. Or a really cute gibbon. 

I cannot wait to meet this little person growing inside me. And I cannot wait for her to meet her nutty big sister and her wonderful dad. 

Happy Father's Day to all the baby daddies and stepdaddies out there!

18 June, 2011

One Crafty Day

Two weeks ago I took Iris to Hobby Lobby to select art supplies and craft projects for the summer. You are probably thinking, "Wow, No Basement, you are one awesome Mom full of ideas!"

Nope. Not at all. I did it for me.

I would like to sit on the couch and sip lemonade and watch crappy TV and not interact with anyone. Seriously, if you were carrying a 25 lb. bowling ball around your waist in the middle of summer, you would relax your parenting expectations, too.

Yesterday we worked on fairy tale puppets. This $5 kit of four fairy tale characters kept us busy. All afternoon. I had to take a nap after we made the puppets. Confession: making these puppets was a lot of fun.

After lunch and my nap, we got to work on the puppet theatre space. Iris is so lucky her Mommy was a theatre major and took courses in Stagecraft and Scenic Design. I effing rocked that Target box into the awesomest 18th century proscenium arch theatre you ever saw. Oh yes, the proscenium is pink. With sticker detail work. Totally historically accurate. 

Making the puppets and the stage was a lot of fun for Iris and me. We spent a lot of great time together, and I had someone interested in a little conversation about theatre. I could hardly wait for the paint to dry on the stage and have our first puppet show.

Then came rehearsals.

I love Iris and appreciate her independent mind, but she is one ball-busting auteur theatre director. After running through the show, Iris said, "So, you totally have the fairy queen's lines down, right?"

"Oh man, I have to memorize all that!?! I thought you would say it for me and I could just wiggle the puppet around," I replied.

[Insert a big sigh from Iris] "Alright, I will say the lines for you. And the fairy queen shouldn't wiggle, she should float. You know, like how Glinda floats into Munchkin Land at the beginning of The Wizard of Oz. And don't forget every time I say the unicorn's name, you should let out a big, 'NEIGH!' Alright, Mommy?" 

"Yes, sir!" I replied. The above dialogue was not mean-spirited or sassy. I don't allow that kind of talk in my house. But darn it if it didn't have a specific vision, and it was really hard not to snicker a bit. I wonder if people snickered at Shakespeare or David Mamet or Sam Shepard when they directed their work for the stage?

Below is our first production of Sir Charlie Saves the Princess. Enjoy!

17 June, 2011

Little Bird Style Files #3: Museum Day

"Mommy, look! I picked out this outfit based on the flowers. Little flowers on my shirt, my skirt and the tops of my new summer sandals."

As we count down the days to Baby Sister's Birthday, the mercury on the thermometer is rising. It is only mid-June and we are already in triple digits. I know Texans have a certain pride in our ability to withstand hot weather, but this year I am exempt. I am carrying around a little oven already!

Normally we go on a vacation, visit our favorite Texas swimming holes, hit up Schlitterbahn (greatest water park EVER) and spend more time outdoors. This year we are more home bound waiting for our little lady to enter the world. As a result, we are hitting up every conceivable indoor activity in the area. There is one rule this summer--everywhere we go MUST have air conditioning. 

Last week Iris and I drove to the Cultural District and hit up the museums. Iris wanted to take along her sketch book to draw any paintings or sculptures of interest. She tells us, on a daily basis, "I am an artist," or "I am going to be an artist and a jewelry maker when I grow up." And this momma is just fine with that.

Notice the bracelet on Iris's wrist? It is from the summer collection of Little Bird Jewelry company. Soon to be revealed!

It took Iris 25 minutes to select these sunglasses at Wal Mart. I have a feeling I will really hate her interest in clothes by the time she is a teenager.

"Mommy, this museum is so pretty it should be in a museum."

"Mommy, can we go swimming in that pond? No? Then WHY HAVE IT THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE!?!"

My favorite Iris quote of the day: "Mommy, why do artists love boobies so much? Seriously I saw a lot of boobies today." 

13 June, 2011

Mixtape Monday: Future Karaoke Songs

There is a running joke in my house regarding the magical decade known as the 1980s. As my husband and I were obsessive fans of B-horror movies (husband) and pop music (me), we often have lively discussions about stupid stuff from our childhood. Our daughter listens to us giggle over these asinine conversations so much, she now has a family catch-phrase. Whenever we talk about some childhood pop culture idiom, she quips, "Oh is that back a million years ago in the 1980s!?!"

Children think they are so clever.

Lately this stay-at-home mommy mode gives me a lot of time to read and catch up on the world and ruminate about completely pointless issues like What songs are on my list next time I go to karaoke? Below are the songs I plan to sing next time I want to tear it up with my friends. I have a voice only karaoke could love. 

I am the queen of mental play lists. You could unlock the universe of my brain if you could tap into the song playing in my head at this moment (it is the theme song from "Family Ties," thank you very much).  There is always a song, a list of songs forming, creating an empire and establishing a civilization in the corner of my mind. Some people are addicted to porn or riding their bicycle until they hurl. I am addicted to play lists.

Most of these songs are remnants of my Saturdays listening to Casey Kasem's Top 40 Countdown. Imagine me with a short mess of curly hair jumping on the bed and singing my heart out. My personal favorite was the hopeless cause "Request and Dedication" section. Mr. Kasem read those letters with such passion and theatricality. Even as a child, I thought, Adults are a bunch of cheesy saps.

Enjoy and apologies in advance if any of these gems get stuck in your brain the rest of the day.

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08 June, 2011

The Nesting Instinct

There is rumor a woman gets what is called the "nesting instinct" shortly before the onset of labor. All of a sudden one may have the urge to scrub every inch of the house or organize and reorganize the pantry. This behavior mimics other mothers in the animal kingdom as they prepare the nests or dens for delivery.

I would like to argue that daddies and big sisters can get the nesting instinct, too.

So blurry because this sexy dude is a cleaning ball of fury!
The husband got a wild hair up his butt to clean like crazy this past Saturday. It would have been very rude of me to just sit there and not help out, so I employed my minion Iris! Seriously, little hands are very useful for detail cleaning. They can dust the air conditioning vents and scrub baseboards much better than an adult. It totally makes sense to me why they employed little children in button factories during the Industrial Revolution. If they lose a finger in the machinery, they are like starfish and grow another, right?  PROGRAMMING NOTE: Don't call CPS. Don't call CPS. Don't call CPS. They have far more important cases to investigate than this smart-ass mother.

Iris loved cleaning because it made her feel like a neglected Cinderella.

I helped by dusting and scrubbing the high places. When I got tired and needed a break, I dictated from the couch. And I suggested all our hard work merited a pizza lunch. After the bang-up job we did on the house, we consumed an entire large pizza followed by a long nap.

I went to the doctor earlier this week and it appears we will be family of four sooner rather than later. Perhaps the nesting instinct is not a load of bull honky!

03 June, 2011

The North Texas Sound

Have I mentioned my abiding love for music yet? I haven't? Are you sure? Yes, that is sarcastic me again. It is only the second most important thing in my life besides my family. In fact, I really need to start working on the Labor & Delivery Playlist otherwise this baby is going to come into the world with a hefty ton of "MOTHER FU$%ERS" and "SH&T" in its ears. I would rather it enter the world with music. Add to the list of Things to Do.

I am a native of Texas, but not the North Texas region. I grew up and went to school in the Central Texas/Austin area. In college I began my addiction with live music and the needle tracks still run deep in the arms. From a record player, not heroine! Pshaw!

I have to admit, Austin has cornered the market for many a decade as the only place of musical value in our great state. Yes, they have a high volume of live venues and nurture a lifestyle of delight for an artist. But after living the Dallas-Fort Worth area for nearly six years, I have found it has its own share of amazing music and arts. This post contains the wonderful musicians and bands I've discovered in my years of stumbling in and out of small venues, soaking up live music with a Shiner in hand.

It doesn't surprise me North Texas has so many interesting bands and musicians. We have some of the nation's best museums, a vibrant live theatre scene, and enviable college music programs. Many bands have emerged from our neighbors to the north in Denton as a result of the University of North Texas's College of Music and Jazz. My best buddy Nathan attended UNT, and I recall on a visit hearing Miles Davis jam sessions and rock bands practicing through the music student dormitory Bruce Hall.

Below are the musicians and bands I really enjoy. Keep in mind, this list is ongoing. I have refrained from commentary on each band's sound as their music should speak for them. Also, I am lazy and have a plate of nachos waiting for me.

You may also notice some big names on the list. I also added musicians and bands that are FROM the Dallas-Fort Worth area as well. Enjoy and share the love of Texas music!

THE NORTH TEXAS SOUND (in no particular order)


Doug Burr

Matthew & the Arrogant Sea

Novaak (They officially broke up a couple of weeks ago. What the hell!?! You guys are amazing.)

Erykah Badu (our lovely girl from Oak Cliff!)

Sarah Jaffe


Telegraph Canyon

El Cento

The Orbans

St. Vincent (Miss Annie Clark is from Dallas)

The Hope Trust

Neon Indian

The Old 97s (These Dallas boys never forget their roots in North Texas.)


Norah Jones


T-Bone Walker

T-Bone Burnett (Yes, Texas is known for its T-Bones, edible and otherwise.)

Here is a playlist of most of the bands. Click on the links above if you want to listen further!

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Pomp and Circumstance

Last night I fought moist eyes as my little baby graduated from nursery school. She is officially a big kid. How did I blink my eyes and suddenly have an intelligent and compassionate five-year-old? It truly goes by fast.