Archive for the 'Family' Category

Golfing after a 30-year hiatus

Golf in Austin

Golf in Austin

This weekend delivered more sunshine-filled days in Austin, which allowed me to accomplish a long-time personal goal of mine: I played a round of golf for the first time in more than 30 years. My husband, young daughter and I grabbed our clubs (yes, I have clubs) and hit the links. Here’s the TOP 10 LESSONS I learned after an afternoon of golfing with my family:

  1. My seven-year-old gives really good golf instructions. (“Mommy, glue down your feet so they don’t move!”)
  2. I have the potential to be a good putter.
  3. My seven-year-old child is a better golfer than I am.
  4. Golf is humbling.
  5. My husband is amazingly patient.
  6. I am not patient.
  7. I really need to apologize to all the worms I possibly beheaded while trying to get the ball from the tee-box to the green.
  8. I need cute golf clothes.
  9. I’m not good at doing things I’m not good at doing.
  10. My daughter and I can have an impromptu dance party anywhere we are!
-LTV Mom
Photo credit: Lakeway Country Club


Best Friends

Best Friends

My family moved to Austin a year and a half ago. We left amazing friends (read: my daughter’s godparents) when we left Silicon Valley for the Silicon Hills. Eighteen months later, I am happy to report we have met new and wonderful friends. We are thankful and blessed.

But there is an ironic downside. You meet people you grow to love. And sometimes those people face challenges and hardships you never want your friends, no matter how new or old they are, to face. Here’s the story:

The child of our good friends (and this child is one of my daughter’s best friends) has been in the ICU for more than two weeks. This little girl was named “the sickest patient at Dell Children’s Hospital” and one doctor said, “you don’t get any sicker than this.” This kiddo was on life support and faced failing kidneys, liver and pancreas.

Turns out, this beautiful child — who is named Skylar – is a fighter! As of today, she is out of ICU and is in IMC (intermediate care). She is off a ventilator, and her organs are on the mend. And even being after rushed into multiple surgeries, including Sunday, Tuesday and again today, she keeps a smile on her toothless, sweet, seven-year-old face!

I was lucky enough to see Skylar on her seventh birthday on February 1. Even in the hospital, this girl is kind, sweet and angelic. I’ve said it many times, but I could not have hand-picked a better friend for my child. I wished Skylar a happy birthday, and she replied “thank you, Mrs. Libby.” I did not want to stop hugging her.

Skylar is lucky. Not only for her improving health, but because she has amazing parents. And here is what her parents have taught me over the past two weeks:

  • Tell your kids you love them whenever you can.
  • When you have two hours between dinner and bedtime, put down your iPhone.
  • Kids are stronger than you think.
  • No parent should have to see a child in pain.
  • Parents are STRONG.
  • Have faith.

Many people have asked me what they can do do help. Skylar’s parents have asked for only one thing: Pray for their child. And I pray for that child each and every day.

If you want to read more about Skylar, you can go HERE.

Grab a tissue or two before you read.


- LTV Mom

Family Game Night: We Play to Win

My family plays to win!

My family plays to win!

I grew up with family game night, and the tradition continues with my own family. My husband, seven-year-old daughter and I enjoy all sorts of games from “trash” (our favorite card game) to Sorry (our favorite board game) to Start the Party (our favorite video game). But we have one important rule: we play to win.

Yes, that’s right. I make my kid play to win and I don’t “rig” a game to let her win. I’m sure there are parenting experts and psychiatrists who think I am too harsh and should let her win on occasion, and there are probably the same caliber of experts who think I’m doing the right thing. At the end of the day, I want to teach my kid how to play the game… and how to win and lose. I happily help her develop a game strategy, or explain a way to win, but I don’t sacrifice my game to “let” her win.

Oddly enough, she can hold her own, and more often than not, she beats me fair and square.

For example, we just recently purchased Clue, one of my all-time favorite board games. The Kid and I were a team, and we took on Daddy as our opponent. I walked her through the game, explained the objective and some basic strategies. The next day, she and I played each other - the first time she is playing this game by herself — and she beat me. Fair and square. She was so excited, and now we play that game all the time.

We also spend rainy afternoons playing PlayStation’s Start the Party, an interactive video game that uses a motion controller to play physical games where you pop balloons with a stick, catch balls with nets and scare away ghosts with flashlights. This game gets you up and moving, and you can see yourself on the TV, so it requires hand-eye coordination. This was a new kind of game for The Kid, so I didn’t want her to be frustrated and quit before she even started. So, I quickly learned to set her game-play level at “easy” and mine at “hard” to level the playing field. This allows her to win on occasion, but I can still show her that I am trying my hardest and she can honorably log a “W.”

This post was inspired by participation with the PlayStation Family, where amazing women share thoughts on kids, tech and games each month. While PlayStation is my client, these thoughts are mine and I did not receive compensation for writing this post. #PSFamily

Photo credit: Christmas Unwrapped

So much thanks to give…

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving could be my favorite holiday. It’s the day we pause our hectic lives, focus on family and friends, and most importantly, give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. This has been a wonderful year for me and my family. This year, I am thankful for…

  1. Family = I’m not sure how I deserve such a wonderful husband and daughter, but I am beyond thankful.
  2. Sisters = I am one of three sisters. I am thankful they are also my best friends.
  3. Mom = She is a kind, loving and giving mother. I am thankful and blessed.
  4. Friends = When I think about my friends from childhood, high school, college, California, and my new friends in Texas… I get misty-eyed, and thankfulness fills my heart.
  5. Co-workers = I seriously get to work with some of the smartest, brightest, and most talented people in the business. Oh, and my colleagues are insanely funny and sarcastic. And for that, I am beyond thankful.
  6. New community = We moved to Austin a year ago, and I am so thankful to have been welcomed into a wonderful community.
  7. Re-discovered family = I have really smart, funny and wine-loving cousins across the country. We met as kids, and then grew apart as we grew up. I am so thankful to rediscover family members who fill my heart with love.
  8. My pets = Sometimes I have empty days, and an unexpected lick on the cheek can make my day. I know it sounds cliché, but I am thankful for the unconditional love from my adorable puppy and nasty (but beautiful) cat give me every day.
  9. Housekeeper = It was hard for me to hire a housekeeper; I felt bad having someone else clean my mess. Our housekeeper more than cleans my house, she eases my mind. I appreciate her and am so thankful for her time and energy.
  10. Laptop Television = Ah yes, I love my TV and the escapism it allows. I love Modern Family and Parenthood, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, Top Chef and Chopped, and the incomparable Ellen. I am a busy working mama, and I am thankful for the laughs, tears, and “oh no you didn’t” moments only a TV can provide.
What inspires you to give thanks this year?
-LTV Mom

Wordless Wednesday: Halloween 2011

The Princess and The Frog

The Princess and The Frog

Happy National Play-Doh Day

National Play-Doh Day

Sept. 16 is National Play-Doh Day

There are certain must-haves for every mother of small children. When you have an infant, I highly recommend Gripe Water to settle upset tummies and a Swaddle Designs swaddling blanket for hours of sleep. Once you get past the baby-stage, you only need two things to make a child happy: sidewalk chalk and Play-Doh. And in honor of this year’s National Play-Doh Day on September 16, I am happy to share my favorite Play-Doh memories:

  • The smell of a freshly cracked can of Play-Doh takes me back to my childhood. I always volunteer to be the official Play-Doh-canopener of our family.
  • When I was a little girl, I would sit at the kitchen table with my grandma and cousin creating Play-Doh art. Then we played a game where we had to guess what each other had created, and the first person to guess won a point! I can vividly remember trying to make my creations more interesting and challenging to stump my fellow artists.
  • Once my husband and I had a child who discovered Trick-or-Treating, our family decided to hand out mini Play-Doh cans at Halloween instead of candy. The best part is that the neighborhood parents were thrilled for a break in the candyfest, and the kids were equally excited for a unique Halloween treat.
  • AND, those mini-cans were perfect dining companions for visiting restaurants with a youngster. We would fasten a disposable placemat to the table, hand her a can of Play-Doh and let the kid create. She was entertained, and we were able to enjoy a meal.
  • Of course, the best memories I have are the recent ones with my young daughter. We have spent hours playing ice cream shop with Play-Doh. Did you know that pink Play-Doh makes the best “ice cream” flavor. Bonus points for silver “sprinkles.”
  • My favorite memory? Play-Doh comes with endless imagination, giggles and smiles.

Thankfully, the fine folks at Play-Doh want everyone to celebrate today’s holiday, so I have a Twirl-n-Top Pizza Shop to award one lucky reader! Just share your favorite Play-Doh creation in the comments section below, and one winner will be selected at random on Friday 09/23.  To be eligible, you must have a non-P.O. box shipping address and live in the Continental United States.  And if you don’t win, you can buy one HERE.

– LTV Mom

The words, opinions and thoughts represented in this post are mine, and I did not receive compensation for writing this post. The giveaway prize is provided by Hasbro.

Photo Credits: Hasbro


Remembering 9/11

Remembering 9/11

Today marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The numbers nine and 11 will forever be etched in the minds of people around the world who were old enough to be aware of what happened that tragic day. I’ll never forget my husband walking up to me and simply saying “something has happened.” After hearing those words, my husband and I were glued to the TV, we called everyone we knew in New York, D.C. or possibly on a plane in Boston to check on them. We cried and hugged each other. Stunned.

Ten years later, I still am at a loss for words to express how I feel. I spent time watching the anniversary specials on TV, reading the new articles and shedding more tears. I was not a mother on 09/11, so ten years later, the events mean different things to me. It affects me differently now. Still impactful and still horrific, but different.

I was not sure how to remember the day. Honor the people who died that day, the people who saved lives that day. My husband and I proudly hung the United States flag on our house. We dressed in red, white and blue. We went to church. The flag is an obvious choice. The clothing is just a way to honor our country; we wear patriotic clothes every Fourth of July and today seemed fitting too. Going to church was seeking comfort, reason, inspiration and hope.

Like churches all over the country, my church offered an Act of Remembrance, which helped me find the words I needed. I share those words with you today:

When we remember stockbrokers, office workers, maintenance workers, bystanders, window-washers and all the others who worked together so valiantly to help each other, we can say together,

We remember great courage.

When we recall the firefighteres who rushed upstairs as most of everyone else was racing out, we can say together,

We remember selfless service.

When we recall teh police officers who stiod to protect and defend the people and perforned their duties, we can say together,

We remember selfless sacrifice for the safety of others.

When we recall those citizens who rushed to help, did all they could to helo we can say together,

We remember and give thanks for dutiful commitment to those in distress.

When we recall the thousands of workers, women and men, old and young, single and married, American-born and those born in countries around the word who did not escape the buidlings, we can say together,

We remember the loss of human life.

Please share my thanks and respect to Rev. Dr. John Elford and the University United Methodist Church if Austin, Texas for those words. Read more from Pastor John at his blog, he’s doing his best to Keep Jesus Weird each and every day.

God Bless America, my home sweet home.

- LTV Mom

Photo Credit: SB Nation

365 Days in Austin

My Southern Belle

My Southern Belle

One year ago today, the Libby family rolled into Austin. In the past 12 months, we have had highs and lows as we built our new life in Texas. It was hard to adjust to a new hometown with very few friends, a remote job and shallow roots in the community. As I look back at the evolution of our life, even since I wrote a post at the six-month mark, I can happily report my favorite parts of the past year:

Becoming a Tex-Mex and BBQ expert: The food in Austin is awesome, as evidenced by my impressive flabdomin and muffin top. I have found my favorite fried fish tacoahi and avocado tacofried egg sandwichSunday brunch, and Mexican martini. My mouth waters just typing this post…

Finding an amazing elementary school: One of the reasons for saying “yes” to a work transfer was the public school system in Austin. I am happy to report that our elementary school is excellent, and we are so happy with our daughter’s progress and thankful for her wonderful teachers.

Cheering for the Cyclones: I do have to admit, I love being back in Big 12 Country. We were lucky enough to witness an Iowa State football win at UT… and not-so-lucky to witness an Iowa State slaughter on the UT basketball court. Regardless, this loyal Iowa State grad loved watching my team with fellow alums.

Making some great friends: I’ve said it before, people in Austin are kind and nice and welcoming. We have made some very nice friends… and drank a lot of wine in the process.

Buying a house: We sold our house in California and bought a house in Austin. This helped with the “deepening the roots” process. We have nice neighbors, and even found babysitters and cat-sitters just a few doors down.

Enduring a Texas Summer: Dude. Summer in Austin is hot. H. O. T. We are talking 107 degrees for days on end. Thankfully, we have air conditioning and a neighborhood pool. I hope to forget about August in Austin when it’s March and we are enjoying the 75 degree-weather while we eat dinner outdoors.

Buying my first cowgirl hat: Now, this might be the highlight of my year. My husband organized a bash to celebrate my 40th birthday in February. Many friends (who happen to be some of my favorite people ever!) traveled to Austin to help me celebrate the Big Day. My friends decided I needed boots and a hat, so they took me to Cavendar’s to go shopping. I got a cowgirl hat. I love my hat… and just look at how cute my little girl looks in it!

While we miss our California friends terribly, I’d say life is good.

- LTV Mom

Wordless Wednesday: Costa Rica

... and some of my very favorite people in the world!

... and some of my favorite people in the world!

“Like Mother, Like Daughter”

I was fortunate to attend the Mom 2.0 Summit in April, where I spent time with the wonderful people from the “Milk Mustache” campaign. I’ve always liked the campaign, I think it’s a clever way to engage celebrities to promote a healthy lifestyle that includes vitamin-rich milk.
At the conference in April, I learned of a new initiative from the Why Milk Foundation where they examined role modeling and influencing the next generation of women. The campaign — beautifully called “Like Mother, Like Daughter” — is anchored by a commisioned-study that suggests that mothers have a unique opportunity, and a powerful responsibility, to influence the next generation of women. Research shows a mother’s lifestyle and eating habits have a profound effect on her daughter’s health, weight and self-image. Read the report HERE.
The campaign also powerfully reminds us that the first female role model most of us have in our lives is our mother.  I was inspired to reflect on the values, morality and kindness my mother has role-modeled for me. I also acknowledge that it’s now my turn to be that role model for my young daughter.
To promote the “Like Mother, Like Daughter” campaign, a collection of moms attending the Mom 2.0 Summit participated in a video called “Thank you, Mom” to offer thanks and gratitude to the moms who have been inspirational role models in our lives. I was honored to participate in this video. Link can be found HERE.
Find more information on the “Like Mother, Like Daughter” campaign by following @MilkMustache on Twitter or find them on Facebook.
– LTV Mom