April, Oh Happy April
Just June

Let's Mosey Through May

I’m trying ever so hard to get caught up with these blogs. There are other things I’d like to start writing about, but in my own quirky way, I can’t break loose until I’m caught up with these monthly posts. Alas, we are at May, where we left off with Kensie’s bout of pink eye, the 2nd victim of illness in our family in a matter of weeks. You can’t tell, but she chose a delightful Duck Dynasty sticker from the doctor’s office and somehow knew that the public wasn’t ready for her goopy eyes so she opted to wear sunglasses. 

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A brand spankin’ new Whole Foods opened in north Austin, and we love to take the occasional grocery store outing there. It’s such a beautiful store, making grocery shopping feel so luxurious. We treat ourselves to lunch while we’re there, and the kids particularly enjoy sitting upstairs with a view of The Domain on one side and people watching on the other. 

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This was a foretaste of what was to come in a couple of weeks! On Monday, May 5th, I went to my last MOPS meeting. It’s been a huge blessing the past five years, and I distinctly remember the very first MOPS meeting I attended as a nervous, first-time mother with a tiny 9 lb. little guy who had stolen my heart. With absolutely no clue as to what I was doing and insecure in every move I made, MOPS was a safe place for me to figure things out. Along with my 5 year old graduating from Moppets, I was in a sense also graduating into a new season. Ready or not...

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This is one of my all-time favorite pictures, outside enjoying a gorgeous spring day and letting my children brush my hair and dolly me up.

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My biggest surprise of motherhood: how much I enjoy it. I was quite the skeptic before kids! Here we are at my Mother’s Day Tea at Brennan’s school. At least this year I was prepared that he would eat all the food he served me <grin>.

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She wanted a picture, too.

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She makes herself right at home in Brennan’s school, ready to take it on herself!

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A priceless gift: a cross necklace made by two precious little hands. Brennan calls it a “globe cross” because it looks like the earth and the oceans. I happen to agree and it makes it all the more wondrous to me.

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Some of my insecurities haven’t passed, and as I look at this now, I feel quite silly for my initial reaction to this. But I was ridden with guilt that he put my favorite thing to do is “clean house”. And I don’t feel like I even get to clean it that often! But now, I can (mostly) smile at this, and boy do I love him to bits and pieces from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. 

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Those couple of months following Molly’s passing, there would still be nights I would cry myself to sleep. After a long week, Matt kindly took the kids to dinner and I sat on the couch by myself and cried over my Molly girl again. We’d talked about getting a new puppy but said we would try to hold out till Christmas, and I didn’t feel ready in the least. A couple of times I randomly got on some of the pet adoption websites to peruse what puppies were available, but only shut the computer down in angst. That Friday night of Mother’s Day weekend when Matt and the kids were out, something overtook me I can’t quite explain except that I desired to once again explore available puppies, and I got a sudden urge to go look the next day. I texted Matt the odd request, and surprisingly, he went for it! Probably because it was Mother’s Day weekend and there’s not quite an easy way out of that one <grin>.

I found a few puppies that caught my eye, and the next morning I showed the pictures to Brennan and Kensie. Kensie of course liked all of them, but Brennan pointed out the same one that had immediately captured my eye: a Shepherd mix puppy named Gatsby. And you better believe they were ecstatic at the opportunity to go look at puppies.

After Brennan’s soccer game, we headed downtown to South Congress where Austin Pets Alive was having an adoption day in the middle of a market and food trailers…it felt so Austin. He had Brennan’s heart at first sight. Matt and I were taken as well, but didn’t really expect to leave with a puppy that day. There was another couple eyeing him in addition to his sister, Daisy. All of us were hovering for a while, and then the four of us took some time to talk and pray under a tree and fill out some paperwork if we decided to turn it in. Our kids were so patient (I mean for hours!) as Matt and I went back and forth. It felt like such a drastic, spontaneous decision that was scary and unknown but also thrilling and joy-filled.

We went for it! As crazy as it was, as unprepared as we were, as raw my heart still felt, we went for it. The other couple wanted his sister, and we wanted Gatsby, and we left with a puppy in our arms. Oh, my heavens!

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Happy Mother’s Day to me!

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We had nothing for a puppy. The first stop on the way home: PetsMart. 

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These three were smitten from the get-go. I mean, how could you not be? I plummeted emotionally for a few days after we got Gatsby. I mourned all the more for Molly and had second thoughts wondering if we’d rushed into it. It didn’t help I felt my same foggy-brained self that I was with newborns having to get up in the middle of the night with Gatsby. It made everything feel bigger and weightier. But after a few days of letting my emotions runneth over, my heart soon was smitten myself.

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She and Brennan would sing to Gatsby and pray for him before we’d head out somewhere. 

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On Tuesday, May 13th, we had a family milestone that has put a lump in my throat every time I’ve given thought to it the past few years: Brennan’s preschool graduation. It’s an enigma to me how we have arrived at this moment already. My parents drove up from San Antonio. Kensie Jane and I got to have lunch with them before the ceremony, which was incredibly meaningful because of the special teachers and staff at his school. They sang some songs, played a video with pictures from the past year, gave out diplomas, and celebrated with cake and gifts. 

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With his amazing teachers, Miss Carmen and Miss Heather. 

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Our little graduate!

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Brennan was so excited about the gift the school gave him: The Jesus Storybook Bible, a family favorite and a regular read. The binding of our Bible was all fallen apart, so he was thankful to have a fresh copy.

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His pint-sized self would choose to rummage through the pantry and hide in it to his heart’s content.

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Meeting Dapples for the first time was a success! Dapples was less than thrilled with a puppy who ran circles around her, but has since grown in affection for our Gatsby who quickly grew to match her in size! My parents came up on this Saturday to watch one of Brennan’s soccer games and eat at our family hot-spot: Mighty Fine.

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Little did I know that when I signed the kids up at the library to read to a therapy dog that we’d have our own brand-spakin’ new puppy. But they still loved the experience and are quick to fall in love with anything cute and furry.

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You can’t see all of the dear faces in this picture very well, but this was at our friend Alex’s birthday party with a number of the same boys on Brennan’s soccer team. They’re growing up too fast.

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I had a number of commitments after church on Sunday the 18th, so Matt took all three kiddos to the park to fly a kite…a first for the children! 

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And then we had one tired puppy afterward. 

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I still think this is hilarious. Gatsby is way too big for this now.

Sliding with Gatsby from Meg @ Spicy Magnolia on Vimeo.


My man loves his dog. I include this picture mostly because Matt started this game with Gatsby called, “It’s so hard being a puppy”, where Gatsby sits in his lap just like this and Matt comes up with outrageous things about Gatsby about why it’s so hard to be a puppy, like “It’s so hard being a puppy because when I try to climb the stairs, I just tumble down and land on my face.” Matt goes on and on in a funny voice while playing with Gatsby’s paws to make him more expressive, and the kids roar with laughter. <You have to be there.>

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One of our first official summer outings with friends: playtime and picnics at the lake. Not many people were there yet and the weather was gorgeous. If only my little boy wasn’t scared to get in the water because of “fish that might bite him”. He’s the apple from my tree in so many ways.

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Our dearest Melissa fixed a homemade Bengali dinner for our small group. It was delicious! Melissa and I wore our shalwar kameez we got from Bangladesh, and Kensie Jane wanted to wear a piece of it, too.

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I don’t have a picture, but it needs to be noted: the kids and I hit the pool for the first time on May 23rd. They couldn’t wait any longer. Brennan wanted to try out his “shark stroke”. The kids have no idea how much I love them in that I entered the cooler water to swim with them that day.

May was a hard month for us physically. I was the only one spared. Brennan had the horrendous stomach bug the end of April, then Kensie’s pink eye, and then the kids, particularly Brennan, had a range of infections that would not respond to antibiotics. The end of May, Matt got the most sick he’s been in years and missed three days of work (only to work about 90 hours the following week which didn’t help his recovery). We had more than 13 doctors appointments throughout the month of May.

The most disconcerting was Brennan's health. His congestion and coughing did not improve over a period of six weeks, and his body was not responding to the strongest form of antibiotics. On top of that, he had so much fluid in his ears, he lost his hearing. He went around for weeks asking, “Huh” with a tilted head. We made an appointment with an ENT and she sent us to get x-rays of his sinus cavities after examining him. He was hearing a shout like a whisper. The x-rays showed he was plagued with fluid build up all over: in his ears and all in his sinuses. 

We went back to the ENT at the beginning of June and confirmed we needed to proceed with surgery to remove his adenoids, particularly since he had a number of sinus infections the past year and not just the last 2 months. In addition, he’d have a balloon sinuplasty to clean out all of his sinuses. Since his hearing had improved with the last round of meds, we held off including surgery to add tubes to his ears. We really wrestled with that decision because of all the swimming he does, but we opted to hold off…until!! Until he got another infection the week before surgery and lost his hearing again. I was one frustrated momma trying to get a hold of the doctor before surgery to discuss this new development. It was horrible and she knew I was not happy. We worked through it…only 2 days before surgery, but it was clear we needed to add tubes to his ears and drain the fluid. More on that in June, but our family’s health swallowed the month of May and left us pretty bedraggled. 

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This felt bizarre: it was our first walk not using a stroller. It was a beautiful morning, and I particularly like the sound of the birds. We have yet to do our normal, lengthy walk with Kensie riding her bike without her breaking down in tears near home. Some day. Some day, right?


Two Bike Riders from Meg @ Spicy Magnolia on Vimeo.

It’s another first for the season: a Round Rock Express game! Miss Kensie girl is slowly warming up to Spike.

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The last weekend of May, Matt took care of the children while I traveled to El Paso for a special man’s memorial service. Ron and Tycha visited my parents in the hospital the day I was born, bringing a bottle of champagne to celebrate. We traveled together as families to places like Phoenix and Boston, gathered for a few Christmas dinners, and made a plethora of of precious memories. Tycha was my third grade teacher and Ron graciously gave me my first job. They have been like second parents to me, and we love them very much. Ron passed away in May after a courageous three year battle with cancer. They’ve spent much of their time in Austin the last few years, and we were gifted with a few extra precious moments with them. 

My Daddy spoke with eloquent grace and affection at Ron’s service, and it was a privilege to be there to celebrate Ron and to support Daddy and Tycha. I got to see some special El Paso faces as well, sitting around a breakfast table for hours with George and Mel, who have hosted nearly 1,000 people in their home over the years! And their attentiveness and full presence to me and my parents are what they lavish on everyone who walks through their threshold. Even though all my trips back to El Paso in recent years have been for funerals, I am grateful for the ongoing relationship it lets me have with those who remain in the city that means a lot to me.

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While I was away, Brennan played in his last soccer game of the season. Go Team Legend!

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We were glad to welcome a fresh month...


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