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  • Archive for July, 2015

    I’m a little late to the game on some aspects of podcasts, like subscribing. Sometimes I ask myself why it took me so long to hit the Subscribe button in iTunes and you know, get new podcasts when they came? Instead I spent a lot of time searching for podcasts I had listened to before but forgot the names of…*doh*!

    Now that I subscribed I save the ones that have really hit home for me. Here’s a few that I’ve enjoyed lately:

    +Being Boss – Minisode Successful Creatives

    +Harder to Kill Radio, Episode 006, How to build an Unbreakable Body with Kate Galliett

    +No Meat Athlete- How to Pick Yourself and Start Making Change in the World & Feel Better, Do More

    +One Bad Mother – Ep 112, When Will We Be Normal Again? and Is My Child Leading a Double Life, Ep 110—I swear every single episode it’s like they are looking inside my brain.

    +One Part Podcast – Ep 35 The Nitty Gritty On Gluten, Oil, And Soy With Dr. Thomas Campbell Of The Campbell Plan

    +Rich Roll Podcast – Ep 156 Fully Raw Kristina

    +The Trail Show #38, SHR Redux—mostly because they touch on the Scott Jurek AT/Baxter State Park debacle.

    +Trailside Radio – Ep 10, The Legacy of Hiker Heaven

    +Zen Parenting Radio – Overwhelmed

    Any recommendations for me?

    So, July sped by! I did not read as much as I wanted and so I don’t have a whole lot to report on. You can see June’s report here.

    +The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless
    I finished reading this book while we were on vacation in Port Aransas. I couldn’t put it down, though towards the end I did feel like things got a little repetitive. The short story is, Chris and Carine McCandless had very crappy parents. There’s emotional and physical abuse, not to mention the father was basically a bigamist–though technically not married to their mother when she had them but was living with her while married to another woman with whom he had several children—including having a child with the first wife right around the time Chris was born. Yes, you can do some oogly eyes at that! Oh, it was a messy, messy life.

    Carine wrote the book because she felt like she’d betrayed Chris by not letting Jon Krakauer tell the truth about all of the background history of the family in Into the Wild. At the time she didn’t want to air the dirty family secrets but had given that background knowledge to Krakauer so that maybe there would be some allusion. As the years went by her parents continued to perpetuate many myths and gained sympathy from the many people who mistook Chris for an unprepared idiot who abandoned his family and caused them grief. What they world didn’t know was the last people Chris wanted to be around were his parents, according to Carine and the rest of their siblings.

    I really enjoyed reading it but like others I was sometimes left with wanting more of a story that we will ever get. Chris has been dead for over 20 years and will never be able to give voice to his odyssey out west. We just have to accept it and move on.

    +The Art of Influence
    I grabbed this back in June off of the library’s books-on-cd rack. It looked interesting and self-help-ish in regards to business and positivity. It was incredibly short, about two hours, and ended up filling a gap on a day when the internet was down at work and I couldn’t stream podcasts. However, it was the most awful thing ever. I hesitated to even write about it because who wants to know about crappy books? But, I want to save someone else from reading it. It was the most smarmy business parable I’ve heard. Goodreads reviewers either loved it or hated it. I’m not sure how you could love it. The bullet points could have been written in a blog post and summarized simply instead of going through a roundabout storytelling session.

    Don’t read it!

    In the Middle Of
    +Illiumination in the Flatwoods

    I had every intention of finishing this book this month. Just haven’t gotten there. I think it’s a book to be savored.

    +The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
    The library wanted it back when I tried to renew….someone else had requested it.

    +Small Victories by Anne Lamott
    Probably on hold indefinitely until I decide to read it in print. Just can’t handle the author’s voice on the recording.

    On the Radar
    SO MUCH!

    I don’t have anything planned to read yet but here’s what I do want to read:
    +Dragonfly in Amber—re-read with Elizabeth for the upcoming Outlander season.
    +Brene Brown books. I’ve listened to several podcasts with her and her TED talks and she just makes you think hard about a lot of tough topics. This year has been difficult for me and I think it is right up my alley.
    +The Signature of All Things and the soon to be released Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. She just launched a podcast, too, and it is fantastic.
    +Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I really fought this book for so long but it took several reviews by various people for me to accept that it was *not* a thru-hiking book. We did watch the movie and I actually liked it a lot. I do have this one on hand that I’m borrowing from Chris’ mom so it will likely be my next read.

    There’s a lot on my radar—just not enough time!

    Ohhhh, I forgot…The Girl on the Train…the book that is taking the blogosphere by storm.

    What’s on your reading list?

    For the original scope behind this, visit here for our first trees.

    Right before we headed off for vacation earlier this month I grabbed the Famous Trees of Texas book to scout out any trees that might be around our vacation destination. I found three that were within reach, including the tree I am writing about here. The others we didn’t end up getting to, though one of them, the Goose Island Oak, we went to five years ago on our Texas roadtrip post AT thru-hike. I also visited it as a kid with my parents. Anyway, we didn’t make it back to that tree for it to count on the Famous Trees of Texas trip—plus, we have to include Forest on it!—and we also didn’t get to hit up the tree in Corpus Christi that I had noted.

    My parents were with us when we went to visit the tree and in all of their years of coming to Rockport they had never seen the tree. It was just south of the downtown area, tucked away on a quiet side street in a park.

    As you see the tree has some help in standing up. I’m sure it doesn’t have a lot longer to live, especially if a hurricane came through the area.



    The original dedication signage.



    There was a sister (brother?) oak nearby.

    The peacock stole the show, I think! At least for Forest!


    More information about this tree.


    Every so often my friend Chel does these great posts with one word/short phrase prompts where she just kind of brain dumps whatever is going on with her into these posts. I love them so I’m going to copy her tonight!

    In My Head
    Trying to wrap my head around the fact that in 6.5 weeks I will have a one year old! A ONE YEAR OLD! I’ve been writing a post in my head about this year of parenting for several months now and will need to sit down several weeks before his birthday and start writing it all down. This kid…gah, infinite love…infinite love y’all. Even when he drags out bedtime like he’s doing now.

    Not much. Just in the last week Masters of Sex came back on for its third season so I have been watching that. I started watching Poldark about a month ago but never got beyond the first episode. The rest are recorded for me to catch up on sometime. I did binge Orange Is The New Black back in June for its third season. Really, television has been on the far-far-far backburner this summer. If it wasn’t for a few select shows that I really like, I’d cancel cable.

    Outside My Window
    A yard that’s overgrown! You know, last year I thought it was hard to keep up with the yard while pregnant. Nope, this year was harder. Pair that with a baby who is stalling his bedtime now and I lose gardening time every evening. Plus, I can only do so much. It’s a two person job these days and Chris has been working on the bathroom since early June so he hasn’t been doing a lot of garden work either.

    On another note about ‘outside’…maybe I’m craving autumn already, but it seems like the light is already changing. Maybe it’s just me. Anyone else notice that yet?

    In The Art Studio
    Ah, Chel is much more active in her studio than I am. I have to clean up the studio this week since my niece and nephew are coming this weekend and they always want to go to the studio to hang out. I have a major desire to purge items from there…and from the house. If I don’t use it, it’s going to the trash or thrift store.

    In The Garden
    See: Outside My Window

    I finished The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless while on vacation and am trying to finish Illumination in the Flatwoods before it is due in a week. I’ll have a July book report up after I finish it.

    +Kati Kati blend Starbucks in the morning. It’s a little strong. I admit buying it for the blue color on the packaging.
    +Green smoothies—or trying to drink more of them. Trying to get myself off of a multiple times a week breakfast taco run and opt for oatmeal and a smoothie instead.
    +Water…always water.

    +My subscription to Clean Eating magazine
    +The new Project Life scrapbooking set(s) I got over the weekend (Thanks Neil! (my BIL)). I’ve been thinking about using it for a few months for Forest’s next year of scrapbooking. This year I didn’t scrapbook per se, I just created an album with his weekly photos and included the stickers we get from the pediatrician for his check-up appointments as it has his vitals on it. I thought I’d do something a little more involved for documentation next year as it has been several years since I have done a real scrapbook.
    +Cuddles with Leo! He has been looking for cuddles a lot lately.
    +Lychees! We were in Dallas over the weekend and stopped by Central Market to pick up some lychees. A few summers ago we bought a bunch and it was around my mom’s birthday (her birthday is next week) so I figured that there was a good liklihood that there would be some this time around. There was and we bought them out!
    +I got this sea turtle mug on vacation and it makes that Kati Kati coffee really enjoyable!
    +Forest’s laughs! Always!

    How about you??? Fill me in on what’s going on with you!


    It’s been almost five years since I was on Mustang Island and in Port Aransas. It’s been even longer, decades, since I took an actual vacation there with my parents. It must have been high school, maybe middle school, the last time I was there on vacation with them. They’ve gone many years since then but Chris and I were in Florida for a lot of those times. The last two years for their vacations they went to Arkansas, one of which we joined them on. Last year I was too pregnant to be traveling that far.



    When my parents mentioned they were going back to Port A this year I told Chris that I really wanted to go. My brother and his family were not going to be joining in this time around as they had opted for an epic two-week western road-trip. So, to vacation we went. Anticipation built as the weeks grew closer and the excitement mounted. Forest was getting to an age that he was more aware and it would be interesting and fun for him, going to the beach. I couldn’t wait to share some of that with him!




    Vacation as a kid and as an adult is definitely different and vacation as a parent is even more different than that. As with most things this year, I’m learning just how much parenting shifts the feelings of individuality.

    In my pre-vacation dreaming, I was thinking about all of those great times as a kid, the memories I’d built up. It’s hard not to want to recreate those moments and feelings. They aren’t recreateable, though.



    This vacation was wonderful but definitely not what I had dreamed up. There would be no hours of handstands and backflips in the pool like I used to do with my brother, nor were there days of six hours at the beach jumping the waves. It was all modified and changed to accomodate a baby. There was me, oddly nervous about getting in the ocean in the beginning, too. Who was this weirdo who was afraid of the waves? Then there was a baby who needed his mom from time to time, who pulled me into shore from jumping the waves. A baby who needed to nurse and a cuddle and nap with his momma. A baby who needed respite from the sand, salt, and heat, a little dose of a/c.



    I only remember one vacation growing up, ok, now another is coming to me, where there was some kind of illness or injury that put any kind of damper on things. It was high school and we were staying at a house in Rockport, a ferry ride and down the bay from Port A. I came down with a horrible ear infection that had us going to the hospital for medications. The other incident that came to me as I was writing this was an incident with some sand or salt that scratched my eye in Tortola, BVI. It ruined some great snorkeling adventures for me.


    This time around 3/4 of the adults got hit by a stomach bug and the wee one started off with a cold, passing it to the rest of us by the end of the trip. The stomach bug’s source was never determined but a suspicious crab appetizer at one of our favorite restaurants has been eyed heavily. The stomach bug knocked my mom out for almost three full days, with my dad and I being under the weather for at least one full day and not quite up to par for at least another day. Our beach going and sightseeing time was cut quite down by this.



    It was sad to leave the little house my parent’s rented. When I watched the video I put together the other day I instantly wanted to go back. We’d made the house a little home while we were there and the entire time I had thought about what it would be like to live there. It was the perfect size; the yard was so small that it was beyond manageable, and the beach was a quarter mile away.


    Our vacation might not have been what I had been dreaming up in my imagination but it was just enough to tide me over, to savor and to enjoy.

    Ah, the lovely thing about videos is that sometimes they aren’t that hard to edit and put together. Photos and writing down a blog?? A little more time consuming. Still working on that, but if you’ve got 27 minutes you can see some stuff I shot while on vacation!

    For the last week of blog silence here we’ve been in Port Aransas, Texas on vacation with my family. I had hoped to write a few blogs while I was gone but the wifi at the beachouse my parent’s rented was absolutely horrible. I was lucky to get online just to check email and read a few things online for about twenty minutes a day. Forget anything else productive! I’ll have a bigger write-up about the trip soon, but I wanted to cover one of the more fun things we did while there.

    On July 3rd, Friday evening, once we’d arrived and gotten settled in, my dad and Chris ran out to get ice since the fridge’s icemaker hadn’t stocked up yet. When they returned they said they’d seen a poster for a sea turtle release at beach marker 35 for the morning of July 4th. They had scoped out the beach marker while they were out and found it was within walking distance of where we would come in at on the boardwalk to the little neighborhood we were staying. I decided to try to find out more information about the release and found out it was in conjunction with the Animal Rehabilitation Keep as part of the UT Marine Science Institute on the east end of Mustang Island, where we were located. They were releasing a few rehabbed adult sea turtles!

    In the middle of looking that information up I also found out about hatchling releases on Padre Island National Seashore. There were releases on-going for that weekend and based on their clutch counts and approximate release dates it looked like we’d be able to catch one later in the week if we needed to.

    Well, Saturday morning we got out on the beach early and walked east from where we came in at on the boardwalk and got to marker 35. The beach was incredibly packed, more than I have ever seen in Port Aransas, or really almost any beach for that matter. It was stuff out of postcards and movies, y’all! We lingered at marker 35 for awhile, checking out a few of the tents that were set up, including an incredibly big one that resembled an event tent….but no, it was just a private tent for the beach. Eventually my dad struck up a conversation with some men on the beach and found out that a hastily posted note on the dune side of a random camp tent (those four post tents that are meant to offer shade were very popular at the beach instead of umbrellas!) that the release had been moved to marker 48. As it was almost time of the release and we were quite a ways down from the marker, we weren’t going to make it.

    To make up for missing the release we finally managed to find a morning, the last full day we were on vacation, that we wanted to get up at 5:00 am and get down to the national seashore for a hatchling release. Having been to a few hatchling releases in Florida as well has attending and volunteering with nesting sea turtle talks and tours, I really thought there might be at max 30 people there, especially with it being so early in the morning. It was still dark as we drove down Park Road 22 towards the entrance but there were definitely other cars headed that direction. Ok, maybe a few more than 30, I thought.

    We arrived earlier than anticipated as it was not as far to get to as we thought it would be. Sitting in the parking lot in the dark for a few minutes I nursed a groggy baby and then we got him changed and despite a plethora of mosquitoes, and the five of us were on our way to the visitor center’s deck to wait on the 6:20 am presentation followed by the release.

    Up on the deck it was apparent I was far off from my estimations. There were going to be hundreds of people there! Cars were still coming in from the east to the parking lot as the sun slowly lit up the night sky. I was incredulous! My dad had gotten separated from us at one point and once we found him he said that he’d talked to a ranger who had said the first release of the year had something like 1400 people at it and the one on the 4th of July had 900 or so people. This was a ‘medium’ she said, something like 400-500 people! Never would I have thought it would be like that! Part of the reason was that there was no reservations or fee, just anyone could show up.

    Needless to say with the crowd in attendance we didn’t get the best views that I would have wanted, but we did our best trying to sneak in between people and bouncing our heads around people. It was great to be there but I was disappointed with the crowd. Chris and I went back and forth about it, the crowd’s up and down sides. The up was that the release would be reaching and educating more people making, especially the kids, more aware of the sea turtle’s plight and possibly leading them to a conservation lean later. The downside was obvious—too crowded, less intimate, and maybe stressful on the turtles?

    That said, I would still recommend anyone going to a release if they could. It’s a rarity to see sea turtle hatchlings muchless Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchlings, the rarest and most endangered sea turtle on the planet at the moment.

    Here’s some photos from that morning. A lot were from the point and shoot but towards the end I was able to get my dSLR out and use the 100mm lens I had to get a few decent shots. Nothing spectacular, but good enough!
























    I meant to get this up a week ago but we went on vacation and the house we were at had horrible wifi, so…no post.







    This last month Forest has changed a lot! So much to write about! I think I’ll go for bullet points and go from there….

    • Food:
    • Finally, the kid is taking to food. Still not 100% on textures but he is now gobbling food up like no other. He’s eating, usually, two jars of food or two packets of food at daycare. I guess we should probably start making some food now that he’s eating better, but baby food is just so convenient. I typically buy the brands that don’t have a lot of added ingredients, like the Beechnut Naturals or Earth’s Best, and attempt to get organic ones if they are available and especially if they are on sale. In the evenings he eats maybe 1/4 to 1/2 a jar of food, mostly because he nurses when he gets home and probably isn’t that hungry. We have started introducing table food again but he just plays with it so far, though he does try to put it in his mouth only to change his mind at the last minute and then drop it into his lap.

      To coincide with eating more food at daycare he has been dropping how many bottles he takes at daycare. It has to be at least a month now since he’s had four bottles at daycare, which was usually 20 ounces. Now if he’s had two, 10 ounces, it’s a good day, and three is just luck. Sometimes he’s barely finishing the second one when I pick him up. I’m thinking I may need to let them introduce water to him after he eats to quench a bit of thirst. He’s been drinking water from open cups and sippy cups with us at home here and there and loves water.

      Regarding sippy cups, I bought two several months ago and he hasn’t taken to either one. What he has taken to are the old school Tupperware sippy cups. I’m pretty sure it’s because he can actually get liquid out of it easy and the cups aren’t some magical spill proof container like the others.

      Oh, and with the increase in food, let’s just say diapers are a lot different now. *crinkles nose*

    • Nursing:
    • When he’s with me he’s still nursing like a champ but he’s definitely spreading it further out than he used to. However sometimes he’ll do little cluster feeding sessions because he gets a bit to eat and gets distracted and wants more a little while later. He’s definitely not dropping nursing sessions right now and we’re still nursing 2-4 times at night. A few weeks ago it had been on my mind to go through and figure out exactly how much milk I had stored up. At that time I added up 740 ounces of milk which translates to 5.8 gallons. Some of it was getting on the older side and Chris was pushing me to donate it because we weren’t going through it fast enough. I mentioned my Facebook break in my reading post the other day, but figuring out how to donate it required me to jump on Facebook so I could access the breastfeeding group to get help from others in the area. I managed to put blinders on and only went to the group (success!) and found a few milk banks I could donate to. Then someone commented that they knew of someone privately that needed milk. I ended up giving her my email so the person could get in contact with me and after we exchanged a series of emails and texts I was able to give her and her daughter 190 ounces of milk! She was going to be having surgery in a few weeks which would put her out of commission for several days in the hospital plus up to a week after on medications, and coupled with a lower supply than I had which resulted in no milk stash, she was definitely in need of milk! I think in the future when I need to donate I will opt for the milk bank as it turns out you can give milk up to, it was either 7 or 10 months old. Since I’m still pumping roughly the same amount I have been, maybe an ounce or two less, but he’s drinking far less, I will still be freezing a lot.

    • Sleeping:
    • Oh man, we have definitely hit a sleep regression phase. I savored the nursing to sleep phase of this for as long as I could but that’s not always working. One night I could tell Forest was just so sleepy but he did not/could not go to sleep. He usually hits the sack anywhere between 6:30 and 7:30 pm but it was almost 10pm that night. As soon as he went to sleep, I did too. I decided next time he put up that much of a fight I wasn’t going to press him as hard to go to sleep because I ended up not getting anything I needed to do, done. Naps are becoming spotty. Times where he would definitely go down for a nap right around 9-10am, he’s pushing it back another hour or so. From what I’ve read about this sleep regression, it’s really a ‘progression’ because of all of the new things he’s learning and for some reason they want to practice these things while they are going down for sleep. The night he stayed up until 10pm I watched him go from being ok with laying there while I patted his pack to just promptly sitting up like he wasn’t sleepy at all. And tonight I watched as he twisted and turned and stuck his butt in the air, tried to stand up, before finally settling down enough to close his eyes and sleep. Phew, it’s rough. I definitely dream of the day where he understands to lay down and close his eyes and just lay peacefully, asleep or not, and I can walk away. I’ve tried that right now and it doesn’t work. He’s a hysterical crier, not a crier who calms down after a bit. So, I sit with him and rub his back and wipe his forehead and try to be as patient as I can be. That’s all if nursing him doesn’t work. If he falls asleep awhile nursing I’m like, “YES!”, and all is right with the world for the time being.

    • Developmental Stuff:
    • Right at the beginning of 9 months he started sitting up from being on his belly. It was like overnight he just started doing it. He hasn’t looked back! Ok, well, there are a few times he get’s whiny in his crib when he’s been playing with hit toys and he’s flailing there on his belly wanting someone to come get him. But for the most part he can get from his belly to sitting up and back to his belly with no problems.

      He still army crawls, though sometimes he gets up on his knees like he’s going to crawl-crawl, but doesn’t. He’s also a speed demon with the army crawling and makes a beeline for anything that looks like he shouldn’t be getting, which is why he now hangs out in his crib to play a lot more than he used to while we are trying to get stuff done around the house. When he was less mobile he was perfectly find on the living room floor. Now, not so much.

      As with the sitting up he started figuring out how to pull himself up about two or three weeks go, getting into a position on his knees in the crib. He’s then gnaw on the crib railing while looking utterly adorable! Just this last week he’s progressed onto standing completely in his crib, with lots of crashes down after he gets too wobbly. Yes, it is time to lower the mattress in the crib! This is really his only area in our house to practice pulling up as we don’t have a lot of low furniture, like coffee tables, for him to practice with. I feel confident he will be walking by his birthday, though. Maybe not perfectly but I’m pretty sure we’ll be chasing him a lot more!

      Vocally he’s not saying any definite words, though I think he said ‘Hi’ the other day. Still a lot of ma ma, da da sounds, and lots of growling, screaming, yelling, LOUD boy noises!

    • Health
    • At his 9 month appointment it was found he had yet another ear infection, or the one he had before that in early May just hadn’t cleared up. He was given another round of antibiotics and now that he’s a smarty pants, Forest is great at clamping his lips shut when we try to syringe the medicine in his mouth. He had a follow up appointment later in the month and it was shown that the ear’s had cleared up, however he was on the beginning stages at that time of another cold that he has since passed onto me (working into an 11 month post here, so I’ll stop there…). Also, at the tail end of June I came down with some kind of stomach bug which I thought initially was food related but two days later it appeared in Forest. I think I counted 8 times of being barfed on in 16 hours and at least one barf incident on Chris. I kicked myself a few days later when I went through his medicine to prepare for vacation and realized I had a bottle of anti-nausea medicine from another illness earlier in the spring that I could have used. *note to self*: use it next time! Unfortunately he got sick right at the time we were going to make a trip to Dallas to see some of Chris’ family, so we had to postpone that trip a few weeks.

    I guess that’s about it…here’s some videos and a few other photos from the month!









    Chris has been hard at work, still, though with a slight delay last week when trying to figure out an electrical problem. It’s coming along!







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