Sock Monkey Love: Crafty Centerpiece for Valentine’s Day

Sock Monkey ValentinesI love decorating my son’s classroom for the holidays this year. It’s the first time I haven’t been working in an office full-time, so it’s something very special to me. My son (who is in elementary school) is jazzed about it too.

Getting cute decorations on a budget isn’t easy, so I went to Michaels to peruse their eye candy. And what did I find on sale? These shiny, fun, ribbon heart wreaths/door decor and some uber-cute red heart boxes that look like message hearts from back in the day…of my youth…like the Stone Ages.

Anyhoo, I grabbed a few items and headed to the school. The class mascot is the undeniably and infinitely popular SOCK MONKEY. All hail the sweater ape! And this classroom has a bunch of them on the shelves.

I was trying to work some magic with my hearts for the centerpieces, but I needed something to prop up the hearts and bring them to life. Enter sock monkeys! I picked various monkeys to put in various hearts, gave them each a monkey Valentine to hold and scattered the cute heart boxes. LOVED the bright colors! Thanks to Michaels for making this sometimes-crafty mom’s life easier.


Sock Monkey Centerpiece

Sock Monkey Valentine's Day Decor

Sock Monkey Love Centerpiece



Pure Barre & My Road to Recovery

Cathy Hale Austin, Cathy HaleThis month I am featured in the Client Spotlight at Pure Barre Lakeway! It’s very special to me, because my journey back to health has not been easy. I’m recovering from (and living with) a herniated disc. It was a long and grueling ordeal and as I sit here writing this post, I can still feel twinges of pain in my left leg. But thanks to Pure Barre, life is resembling “normal” again.

A catastrophic event did not occur to cause the injury, but I remember it seemed to happen the day after my boys performed in the school talent show last year. My back had been bothering me because I had slipped in the shower a few days earlier and in order to catch myself from falling, I awkwardly jolted my lower back. I woke up the next morning in excruciating pain and could hardly get out of bed. Little did I know, I had a degenerative disc (L5) and all hell was about to break loose. Continue reading “Pure Barre & My Road to Recovery”

Globe Life Park

Farewell Jeter: Thank You from a New Baseball Mom

I’m not a treasure trove of baseball trivia, but I’m a big fan of the game. I watched the entire 2004 series featuring an epic and excruciating battle between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. I was hugely pregnant with my first child (due in November 2004), so vegging out on the sofa watching other people’s awesomeness was all I could muster.

I especially loved the Yankees that year (Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, A-Rod — yes, A-Rod) and, in stark contrast, I detested the Red Sox. Maybe it was because Big Papi couldn’t stop crushing home runs or because Manny Ramirez owned one of the most disgusting batting helmets ever in the history of helmets. Jeter was, of course, my favorite player. There was just something everything special about his uniform him. He was a legit superstar. And the fact that he was humble made him a hero.

Today I have two young boys and one of them plays baseball. He just graduated from tee ball into coach pitch, but this is Texas, so sports are very competitive, even at a ridiculously young age. It’s like real baseball, people. He has a mini athletic cup, little cleats, custom bats, batting gloves, practice every week, scrimmages and we travel to play weekend tournaments. It’s a family affair. More importantly, baseball gives us endless opportunities to teach him about building character.

Forget the athleticism and the physical development – capabilities at the age of six are impressive, but rather silly to worry about. What he gets to experience and learn first-hand is how to be a supportive teammate, a positive thinker, a person who perseveres and a good listener. He grows and improves daily, which is great, but he’s also learning to take the knocks and the tough calls in stride, which is necessary. As a mom, I need my arsenal of “perfect athlete” pep talks in the pipeline and ready to go. Enter Derek Jeter.

Me: “Everyone strikes out. Even Derek Jeter.”

Me: “Don’t worry about dropping that fly ball. Even Derek Jeter drops a ball once in a while.” Okay, that is a lie.

Me: “I’m sure Derek Jeter has spilled red Gatorade on his pants too. We can wash that out later…”

Derek Jeter has held up his end of the bargain by remaining hero-worthy. Jeter gives us the chance to teach our children how to be athletes by example. What a novel idea, right? Based on the news clips flooding ESPN right now, it seems as though our heroes are falling from grace daily. Unlike those clowns, Jeter understands that the term is aspirational, not ass-pirational. Whether you love him or hate him, you have to agree that Jeter has been steadfast to the end. He is retiring with the stardom he earned. He is retiring with grace. He is retiring with dignity.

On behalf of new baseball moms everywhere who are desperately trying to raise respectable young men, thank you Derek Jeter…

Our trip to Globe Life Park in Arlington this summer to see Jeter’s farewell tour:

Jeter Farewell Tour, Cathy Hale
Globe Life Park is my favorite! It is just beautiful. Yes, I’m all alone in my Yankee attire. You can take the boys out of Texas, but you can’t…wait, we were in Texas…never mind.
Derek Jeter, Arlington Park
Jeter crushed it and can you believe I captured the ball flying through the air? No way. Yes way. There it is. Boom.
Cathy Hale, baseball selfie
I’m not big on selfies, but if you know me, you know why this one is special… 🙂
Derek Jeter Jersey
This is what makes Rangers fans cool. They can “peace out” for Jeter. 😉
Baseball park food
Forget carb-loading, we were fat-loading…


Confessions of a Non-Stage Mom

There are four words that can strike fear or love in a mom’s heart. Elementary school talent show. Ahhh, I have such fond memories of mine. I did a tap dance routine with my younger sister every year. I believe in our very first show we wore raincoats and twirled umbrellas to “I Love a Rainy Night” by Eddy Rabbitt. Oh, yes, that was a 45 rpm record that we played over and over again until it was so scratched it wouldn’t play anymore. As we got older, we stepped it up with some clogging to “Mountain Music” by Alabama. Yes, that’s how we rolled in Virginia 30 years ago.

Last year, my 8yo son performed in his talent show for the first time. You can read all about it here. This year with both kiddos at the same school, we thought they should both perform. It was a no-brainer for my older son (he’s 9yo) who pretty much has one awesome talent – Kung Fu. Figuring out a talent for my athletic kindergartner was more of a challenge. He couldn’t dribble a soccer ball or throw baseballs on stage. Hmmmm.

One day Pharrell’s “Happy” came on in the car and my youngest son shocked me by singing all of the lyrics and singing with some attitude. Yes! He would sing in the talent show. He wasn’t very into the idea at first, so we got him a few singing lessons to test it out. After the first lesson, he was hooked. I was so excited for him to branch out and do something he had never done before. He was six! Everything is a big accomplishment when you’re six, right?

As the show got closer, we started practicing everyday. And then a few days before the show, my nerves caught up with me. No, not his. Mine! I suddenly felt like I had unintentionally pushed him into something that would blow up in my face. What if he forgot the words? What if he froze? What if he just puked on-stage? What if it was a horrible experience that plagued him for life? I could envision him walking into a therapy session at the age of 25 and saying, “Well, it all started when my mom wanted me to do that stupid talent show when I was in kindergarten…”

That’s when I realized God blessed me with boys for a reason. This mommy is not cut out for stage stress! Dance recitals, solos, gymnastics…balance beam routines? Oh lordy. I don’t know how moms stay calm. I would be popping Xanax like Skittles with wine chasers.

The night of the show, I told both boys I was proud of them no matter what happened during the show. They had impressed me so much with their hard work, nothing could erase that. And it was true. I was 100% proud. Doing well in the show (or just having the guts to try) would be icing on the cake. In my mind, they had already achieved so much.

And without a doubt, they both did great! My older son who just loves being in the spotlight did so well. He was psyched! My youngest NAILED IT. He sang, he did his choreographed moves, he smiled and he had fun. Afterwards he found me in the crowd and we shared a very special “I know exactly how you feel” hug that was priceless. Of course, we’re already discussing next year’s act… 😉 talent show steele3 talent show cruz3    talentshowcruz


Beyonce’s Baby Drama: Welcome to Crazyville, Blue Ivy

It seems Beyonce spared no expense when it came to her baby girl’s birth. Any why would she? She’s Beyonce. TMZ has released photos of her beautiful hospital suite which costs around $700-$800 per night. A tad expensive, yes, but that’s not an insane amount. Her posse used about four rooms during her stay – evidently her entourage travels with her for her birth – ew.  Why? In case she decides to record an album during delivery or needs a sequins bodysuit? Anyway, so four rooms would’ve run her about $3,200. Again, not a big deal when you’re sitting on kabillions of dollars. Click image below to see more of her hospital suite!

So why so much drama about Beyonce’s baby? It really didn’t cost a ton if the above info is correct. Wait, there’s more! On Wed. of this week the NY State Health Department got  “complaints from new parents who claim they were mistreated by the staff at Lenox Hill Hospital while Beyonce was giving birth in the VIP room.”  The parents who were having babies in the hospital while Bey & Z were there said, “they were neglected by staff and prevented from visiting their newborns … due to the drama surrounding the superstar.” Gee, ya think?

Let me tell you this, had I given birth at my hospital while a HUGE superstar like Beyonce was there, I would’ve delivered my baby myself with a bedpan and a sheet. I’m 1,000 times certain I  would’ve been totally ignored. They ignored me most of the time anyway! Talk about ruining a special moment for you and your family. Who cares about your normal, boring baby when BEYONCE and JAYZ are birthing royalty down the hall. Seriously? You know I’m right.

The baby rumors continue to swill about and who knows what’s actually true. All I know is that kid is gonna hear the most unbelievably cool nursery rhymes ever.

What’s on my iPod? One Mom’s Confession

I made a joke on Facebook last week about not friending people’s kids. I said something to the effect of my subtle innuendos, jaded perspective and bad jokes would be lost on a child. I also joked about the upside, which would be I probably have the same taste in music as a 10-year-old. Well, until you get into my love of rap music. That should bump the median age up a notch.

Picture it.  A dorky mother of two be-bopping around suburbia in a black Mercedes mini SUV (for the mom who can’t park a Suburban) with this music blaring through the speakers. Yes, it’s as pathetic in real life as it reads on-screen. However, my elementary-aged kids think I’m super awesome, so I’ve got that going for me.

I’d also like to add that not only do I listen to these artists constantly, I know every word to every song (including rap) and have been known to poorly choreograph dance routines to said songs. I happen to be watching the 2011 American Music Awards right now and these folks are so not as cool as Phil Collins. And way too tall.


Here’s what’s on my iPod:

Maroon 5 with and without Gym Class Heroes
Brittney Spears
Justin Timberlake
Lady Gaga
LMFAO (twice)
Flo Rida (also twice)
Black Eyed Peas
Pitball (and lots of it)
Jason Derulo (Omg, I’m making myself  laugh now…)

My personal “explicit” faves inlcude:
50 Cent
Little Kim
Foxy Brown
Beastie Boys

My sad attempt at “cutting edge” includes:
Jessie J
Black Keys
Arcade Fire
Far East Movement

What makes me cheesy as heck:
Phil Collins (Sussudio, of course)
Michael Jackson
Duran Duran

As one of my besties would say,”SHAZAM!” What’s on your iPod? Is it even remotely as cheesy as my playlist? Go ahead, thrill me.

Why 4-Year-Olds Are Hilarious

“Look at me. I’m wearing daddy’s shoes and I’m naked.” Hysterical laughter errupts.

“Mom, when you wear your glasses, you look like a grandma.” Hysterical laughter.

“Mommy, listen to my new song. ‘I hate you. I hate daddy. I hate bugs. I hate turtles. I hate candy. I hate pillows.’ More hysterical laughter.

“Guess what, mommy? Butt. Pee.” Total giggle meltdown.

I have to admit, being four must be fun because everything is totally hilarious. The mind of my 4-year-old is so interesting and entertaining, it almost makes me jealous.

Sometimes he is actually very funny and seems to have inherited comedic timing, but sometimes what he says doesn’t seem funny at all. And it’s only his genuine reaction that makes it funny. He enjoys laughing at his own bad jokes almost as much as I like laughing at mine. That’s my boy. Tear.

I’m not the kind of mom that gets weepy as my kids get older, but I will miss this tender, silly and highly amusing age. I can only hope he’ll always have that fun-loving spirit and maybe when he gets older, he’ll laugh at my bad jokes too.

P.S. When I kissed him goodnight,  I asked him who is the funniest person he knows. He thought for a minute. “Me, mommy!” Of course.