Monday, November 17, 2008

Six Years and counting...

Yesterday, Zach and I celebrated number 6. The anniversary has become a time to reflect, especially since we have some years under our belts to reflect upon. Last year I made a little list of questions for us to pour over together, like 1. What are some tough times we've weathered together? 2. What are some terrific life experiences we've shared? 3. How many addresses have we lived at? etc, etc... It was fun, but I was surprised by the number of "tough" things we were able to recall. When I think about my marriage I am shocked by how easy and natural it seems and yet we had worked up such a large list of "tough times" many, in fact, that we had to chuckle and agree to move on to the next item on my little list! I believe the key to this phenomenon lay in the way we handle the difficult times...TOGETHER! Tough times happen, losing my dad being the very toughest, but I had my rock to lean on. I needed that rock and he was there for me. It means more to me than he'll ever know. Zach is there for me and now he is here for Ella. He is an AMAZING father. I loved him passionately when I said "I do" six years and 1 day ago and I love him even more today.

Ella playing "dada" with his headphones on:

The new cold weather called for a new coat:

The park at night (last night after our Anniversary dinner at Chuy's:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A First Haircut

I don't know if you have noticed from recent posts, but Ella's bangs got OUT OF CONTROL! Heather and her assistant, Josie, were nice enough to make a house-call for Ella's first clip. Here are some pics:

Items used: bumbo, a dum-dum sucker and the great outdoors.

Snip, snip...

Josie, the assistant:


Major kudos to Heather because it was altogether a totally painless experience. Plus, Ella can SEE NOW!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Back to Normal

Things are completely back to normal. It was a little erie Friday morning because there was litterally no evidence of the previous day's events. Our neighborhood was as quiet and boring as every other day : ) I was able to hash things over with a couple of neighbors and hear their stories and that was fun. Our immediate neighbor to the left said that the SWAT team actually knocked on their door around 6:45 AM and told them to stay inside...we did not receive the same courtesy knock, but were well aware by then of the events unfolding. The same neighbors had the trunks of their car and truck checked no less than two times by officers. We also did not get searched...weird how we were so close in proximity, with different experiences.

The other neighbor admitted he was scared to come out and stayed home from work until almost noon. I understood that position, too. It was very surreal and we are happy that it is over. He said he was OK with the situations because: 1. The actual scenario did not begin in our neighborhood, it started a few miles away in another part of town and just happened to *crash* into our neighborhood, randomly and 2. The police were all over it!

The final story is something straight out of The Wire, our favorite series: the gunmen were kids (17 to 24 years of age) weilding AK 47's and wearing bullet proof vests and initially robbed a poker game at a private residence. They tortured and shot a few victims at the poker game before stealing their loot and attempting a get-away. The police chase ensued after cops were alerted to the situation and then *BOOM* the crash and police shoot out around the corner from our house. Can you say CRAZY? Two of the five are in custody, one is dead (a result of the police shoot-out) and two are still outstanding. The police know the identity of one of the two and are on the look out.

So, that about wraps things up. Zach has saved the story from the paper for Ella's scrapbook. My response to that is, "What scrapbook?" I put him in charge of that. LOL! I do have a bag o' stuff that I am keeping for her...I guess that is what he means. I wish, wish, wish I was more productive. Someday...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

No worries...NOW.

Shortly after my previous post we saw our neighbors leave, presumably for work. We formulated a plan for our exit as well. Ella and I dropped Zach at work and headed for the Villa's for an ALL DAY play date! Lyndsay is always super accommodating (this is not the first time she has put us up for the day) and even served us up some yummy pizza for lunch : ) Joshua and Tabitha are growing more cute by the minute. The kids played until they were worn out and then had a good snooze while Lyndsay and I got caught up and then I made some phone calls.

I thought my mom might be worried after the AM call about our neighborhood SWAT situation, but I had no idea how worried. She had called Austin Police Department and advised them that I was not answering my home phone (no cell-y) and she was worried. They, in turn, took this as a tip and came over to secure the premises. We were not home and that was the conclusion they came to before phoning my mom back. YIKES!

The search carried on until dark and has just dissipated, without results. They had a very small area blocked off, which included our home and they had AMPLE police officers/SWAT team members so it was determined that the guys were not in the area. We are OK with this and intend on sleeping well tonight....after double checking our doors and windows, of course!

Thanks to everyone for their care and concern over our little family. We are all doing great and enjoying a peaceful (aka: without helicopter) evening at home.

I'll leave you with a couple pics from our visit to the Museum with Sammy:

Ella, behind the controls, at the Austin Kiddie Limits~

Sammy, climbing the steps in the train tower~

Ella, driving a city bus!

SWAT Situation....'FO Real!

Here's my timeline:

4 AM: Police Sirens, POP..POP......POP,POP,POP! (Zach and Ella are both sleeping soundly)
4:40 AM: Helicopter *seemingly* lands on our roof for 20 minutes! (Zach and Ella are both sleeping soundly, my heart is pounding out of my chest!)
Just before 5 AM: I wake Zach, advise him of the pesky helicopter and gun shots and ask him to bring the phone into our room. We turn on the news.
5 AM: News reports this.

It is now 8 AM, our neighborhood is on LOCK DOWN. A few friends have called after seeing our neighborhood on the news. We are smack in the middle of this thing and the suspects are still at large: ARMED AND DANGEROUS! I have seen 5 SWAT team members with rifles patrolling our street.

Here is Zach and Ella staying abreast of the situation on the news:

Our new "friend":

Saturday, November 1, 2008

PICS, w/ minimal commentary, Part 2

Halloween, mid-morning, a visit to Aunt Charley's work:

Ella, waiting impatiently for Aunt Charley to wrap up behind the counter and come visit, even though she has a pizza pretzel and her very own cup of water with a straw!

Aunt Charley as Sally from Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas":

Halloween photo op with the Villas:
Ella, begging to not have to pose for pics~

Ella, content to pose with a sucker : ) Joshua is Handy Manny and Tabby and Ella are both flowers!

Halloween, time for Trick or Treating with the O'Baughs. Here is everyone exiting their house to hit the streets. Notice there are no children besides Ella in any of my photos. They were waaaay to fast pre- and post- sugar. It was all I could to to keep up with my 1, but we stayed with our group of about 10 kiddos:

Ella, running with reckless abandon from house to house. Here she is pushing an adult out of her way:

Taking stock of her inventory:

Professing her love of Trick or Treating:

Where to next?

More running! This is the main view I had of her all night:

PICS! w/ minimal commentary, Part 1

Dinner at The Meurers Three on Wednesday. Kudos to Heidi for the delicisouso chili and beer bread...YUM!

Ella, not so sure about this Haunted House thing:

Ella, on the keyboard:

Sammy and Ella...IN THE SAME FRAME..shocking!

Sammy, charging down the hallway with the biggest smile EVER:

Halloween morning, carving the pumpkin:

During, Ella and Gizmo fight over the innards~

Done, It was inspired by Gizmo since he was hanging around us the whole time. I even tacked on some foam ears to complete the transformation, but they aren't shown here in this pic:


Wow! It was better than I could have imagined. Ella had no trouble keeping up with the big kids last night. We started with dinner and pictures at the Villas. Thanks for the scrumptious burgers, Lyndsay!

NOTE: Since I am at work, my post of pics will have to be delayed a bit.

We then headed over to the O'Baugh's for a Halloween bash for kiddos. Summed up in one word: CRAZINESS! It was so fun. The parents and kids were all decked out for the festivities. Whitney had a great spread of food/treats for everyone. By the time we arrived, the sun had just set and it was time to Trick or Treat. Ella walked slowly and cautiously to the first house with her dad. There were so many other littles she got pushed around a bit...understandably...there was candy involved here! After the one house, she was HOOKED! She held tight to her Elmo head Halloween bucket and ran...yep, ran from house to house. She had no regard for adults and would push them aside while going top speed to the next house. Sure, she needed some direct...ok, a lot of direction, but she KNEW what she was doing. She would even pick a single candy from the bucket if it were offered to her and place it ever so delicately into her Elmo head. She selected her favorite candy from the mix: SUCKERS! Mom and dad could not get over it all. I didn't know that an 18 month-old little could participate to this extent, but she was all about it. She hit a dozen or more homes before she sat down on a porch and said "no, no, no"...which meant she was done, the bucket was too heavy already and she was ready to be carried on dad's shoulders around the rest of the neighborhood. She was so happy grasping her lute and watching the bigger littles continue to run top speed from one lighted doorway to the next. I know I'm rambling here, but it is so fresh in my mind. Ella had TWO suckers when we got back to Whitneys and a box of animal crackers, thanks Miss Judy! Mom and dad scored some good peanut butter items from her pail which she is not quite ready to have...Yay!

Pics to come shortly...