Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yea, I know, I haven't blogged in like, a super-de-duper long time. I have a few posts that I have started but not finished. Maybe this long weekend I will actually finish them and post 'em!

As I lay here watching "Love Actually" with a really full belly and catching up on blogs I follow, I came across one that I just had to post. It's from a Friend Makin' Monday. I know, duh, it's Thursday. But I don't read blogs daily like I used to. I am still extremely bitter that the company that gives me a paycheck actually had the nerve to put up a firewall. How dare they cut into my blog time! For you out there thinking I read them while on company time, you are sooooo wrong. I only read them while on a break. Wow, I'm really a liar, aren't I?

Better late than never, but this week's FMM was about Thanksgiving. Here 'goes:

1. Turkey or ham? Whatever is being served! But, if I truly had to be forced to pick, it would be ham.
2. Favorite side dish? Green bean casserole. Why do we wait for the holidays to make this scrumptious super-healthy dish?
3. Favorite dessert? Must I pick just one? So unfair. My grandmother's pecan pie. I miss her.
4. Black Friday: Are you going or not? Hell to the no! I'd rather sleep than wait in line to fight over a really well priced gadget or toy.
5. If so, what's top on your list? Well, if I WAS to go, it would be any of the TV's on sale.
6. Going out of town or staying close to home? Staying close to home. Thankfully all of our family lives fairly close, so no road trips for us!
7. Hosting or helping? Helping! Helping eat, that is. :) I actually DID help today at my mother-in-law's. I felt I should earn my keep so I could eat as much as I wanted and not feel guilty. Ha!
8. Name one family tradition at Thanksgiving. Eat a lot of food! Sadly, we really don't have a tradition. Wait, I just thought of one...we watch the Dallas Cowboys play. I do have my kids talk about what they are thankful for and call all of our family that morning.
9. What do you do after dinner? Sit around watching a football game, all moaning about how full we are and how we shouldn't have had that 4th or 5th helping.
10. What are you most thankful for this year? That's easy: being employed! After getting laid off last year, it feels good to be working. Thankful for my amazing kids that give me so many reasons to make me smile and laugh.

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I know I did.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Long Time No Blog

Anyone missed me out here in Bloggy Land? Whether you did or not, I have missed it! Here is why I have not been able to blog lately: the firewall in my office was put back up. I know what your first thought is: She blogged at work? Why yes, yes I did.
I won't bore you with the details of my job in the wonderful world of recruiting, but let's just say that I don't always have a full 8 hours of things to do at work. So I fill part of my days with reading the blogs I follow, blog myself, check Facebook (a lot!), personal email, US Magazine...well, you get the point. It is a far cry my my supreme busy days at Pfizer when I had days I worked through lunch and I most always brought work home to do at night. I just remind myself daily that I am grateful to be employed.
But noooooooooooo, my company had to get smart and put up a firewall. I know, how dare them! How dare them cut into MY internet browsing. Oh wait, they are the ones that pay me, right? Ok, whatever. I have tried to read blogs on my iPhone and it just isn't the same. I am constantly making the screen smaller and bigger, then scrolling up, down, right, left. It sucks. I want to read the blogs at night, but I have to be up at 4:30 am, so all I can think about after my kids are in bed is to get as much done around the house and get the kid's stuff ready for the next day in a hour. Then I get maybe 30 minutes to lie in bed and watch TV...which by the way is my most favorite thing to do when the house is quiet. So I have to choose...TV? Blogs? TV? Blogs? Sorry, TV has been winning these past 2 weeks.
For all of my loyal readers (ha!), please keep checking in from time to time to see if I posted anything. I'm not gone forever! And PLEASE leave me comments. They are music to my ears. Er, eyes. Music to my eyes? That doesn't sound right. You know what I mean, I love them and they keep me wanting to blog!
I need to close now. It is almost 10:00 and I need to get my rear in bed and watch just wee bit TV before I need to close my eyes!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lesson Learned

Yesterday after work was just like any ordinary day. Got on the DART, rode to Union Station, got on the TRE with some time to spare. It was empty when I got on and found a spot that is my favorite place to sit. 2 seats side by side, with a third one against the wall. I use that to put my purse and bag and a place to prop my feet up to read. My time on the train is MY time. I am rarely interrupted, I am listening to my music while either reading or playing a game on my phone. Sometimes I nap. I cherish this time because I can just "be". Those of you with kids know what I mean.
I am listening to my music, sending a text to Jason, when a tall large man with strange old-fashioned glasses on, asked if he could sit by me. My first response in my head was "really? This train isn't even half way full. There are plenty of seats to sit alone". I think I even looked behind me as if to show with my eyes that there were other seats. But you know me, I don't say what I think and I said "um, sure". He sits, and I noticed he had a bag of items in an orange plastic mesh bag. It looked exactly like those bags that hold firewood that you buy at the grocery store that sit outside in the front. I thought it was odd, but hey, I'm on the train. I see a lot of odd things.
One thing on the train and airplanes that everyone knows, if you have ear buds in or have your nose in a book, you leave them alone. Not this man. I heard him talking but didn't know it was to me because I was listening to my music. I took an ear bud out and said "excuse me? I didn't hear what you said". He started asking me lots of questions about how to load music on my iPhone, where he can get one, does he need a computer for it, how much do the songs cost, etc. After I answered all of his questions I put my ear bud back in and continued to read. I think he said something to me again but I didn't look to see if he was talking to me or someone else. I just wanted to read my book. The same thing happened again. I was starting to get annoyed. I wanted to move seats, but did not want to be rude. So I thought I would act like I was getting off at the next stop, then walk to another part of the train to sit elsewhere. I just really wasn't in the mood for idle chit chat. I talk all day at work, I like silence.
I don't remember what started the next time he talked to me, but he later started quizzing me again about my phone, the cost, the carrier. I thought "what's with this man? It's not as if cell phones are new" As I answered his questions, I heard him say a word that I didn't catch earlier. Incarcerated. I let it go and listened to him some more, not wanting to be rude. I then just asked him, "have you never owned a cell phone?" and he said "no, I told you before, I was incarcerated and just got out of prison". Now before you freak out and think "Alli, why didn't you get the hell out of there?", hear me out. I then felt just horrible for thinking all of the things I did about this man I didn't know. I clearly judged him. Then it all came together about the bag with his belongings, the glasses, the clothes he was wearing. Again, I felt horrible.
I then let my guard down and listened to him some more. He was very well spoken and talked about his past, why he was in prison (was in Huntsville for drugs), and what his goals and plans are. He had my ear and I just listened intently to his story. This was a man that was in jail for 10 years, got out and went back to where he felt safe: his old friends. Fell into the same habits and problems, then went back to jail. This time, state prison for 7 years. I asked him questions I was curious about. He told me about how they do nothing to reform them and prepare them for the real world when they got out. How crooked the Warden and Chaplains are. Here he was in his early 40's, dropped off in Dallas with $50 and a handful of condoms. Really. He said the most they were told about was safe sex (hence the condoms) and were given pamphlets about other resources. That is what the state of TX gives when they are released. Isn't that sad?
He talked about how he had been sober for 5 years, how it is easier to get drugs in prison than on the streets (awful!), and what he did for himself to prepare for the real world. It was heart breaking, yet inspiring to hear about what all he did for himself. Not relying on other's to initiate it for him. I told him to surround himself with supportive people and those that only want good for him. He then said "that's why I asked to sit by you". My heart just dropped. I tried to not show the shock in my face. I was just speechless. I then said "I am glad you did". After more talking, my stop was coming up and I told him how much I enjoyed our talk, wished him the best of luck, and told him he CAN version of a pep talk to someone I barely knew, but I truly wanted him to do well. I wanted to just hug him. Instead, we shook hands. He said "It was a pleasure speaking to you, Miss Allison".
When I got to my car, I just sat there and cried. Cried for how I judged a man before knowing him. Cried for what he said to me about why he chose to sit by me, and how at first I was annoyed to not get to sit alone. How selfish of me. How judgemental of me. I learned a good lesson and was reminded to take the time to see the good in others. It's there. I will never forget my talk and lesson I learned with L. W. I hope I never forget him.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Friend Makin Monday...or Tuesday!

With yesterday being Labor Day, I didn't even turn on my computer! Really. Well, I did check my email and Facebook on my phone. Does that count? I was busy yesterday taking my kids to the park, then to a friend's house for the kids to play in the sprinkler. They had so much fun and it just wore them out. BUT, when we went home I immediately cooked dinner, unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, did 2 more loads of laundry, helped Sammi with a school project, got both of them bathed, then finished my night with ironing clothes. Am I trying to sound like a martyr? Yes! After what should have been relaxing, it wasn't. I guess I could blame myself for not just letting it go for 1 more day and just relax. But I have a hard time relaxing in my house when things need to be done.

Ok, enough of my rambling! Yesterday was Friend Makin Monday and I missed it! So today I am just going to do it, even if it's Tuesday. So here to go, today's topic: Favorite Things About Fall.

Fall is my most favorite season. Being in Texas, I can't wait for fall season to get here so there is an end to the heat! Here are my favorite things:
1. Changing of the leaves! One of my dream vacations is to go to the New England states and drive around the countryside, looking at the beautiful trees with the leaves changing colors. Ooh, and stay in those cute Country Inns or a Bed & Breakfast.
2. Fall Decorations! I love getting out my wreath, a lot like this one, to hang on my door. It makes me smile when I see it. My favorite are the red leaves.

3. Cool, crisp air! I love, love, love opening the windows in the house to air it out and feel the cool air.

4. Sweatshirts! Love sweatshirts. Love 'em.
5. Football season! Mainly my favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys. I know some of you hate them because 1. you hate Jerry Jones or 2. you don't live in TX and you hate hearing them called America's Team. I grew up with die-hard Cowboy fans, I married one, so I am one. I enjoy having friends over for the games and an excuse to make lots of appetizers that are not healthy and eat 'em up.

6. Halloween! The best is seeing your kids dressed up and going with friends to have our kids trick or treat together. Then we get to come home with tired kids, put them to bed, then I go through their candy and pick out my favorite that I just know they won't like. he he, I know, that is really mean. But in my defense, I learned that from my parents. I know they did that!

7. Thanksgiving! This picture isn't of my family (but they look nice, don't they?) but it shows what is great about Thanksgiving: the family sitting at the table, having a great meal (why do we make certain foods just on Thanksgiving??), and talking about what we are thankful for. AND, our meal is planned around the Cowboy game. Yep. We either eat before so we are done by the time the game starts, or we eat when it was over. It's just the way it is in mine and my in-law's family.

8. Samantha's birthday! I love planning birthday parties. I enjoy making invitations and just can't wait to figure out what the theme will be so I can make the invitations around it.
I have no idea why I used an ! after each item. Maybe it's because I just love fall and it makes me excited!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Friend Makin' Monday

I have been kind of off on Friend Makin' Monday lately and I'm trying to pick back up on it. Amber will be hosting FMM for awhile. I love reading her blog, which you can find here.

Today's topic is 20 Questions. Should be pretty easy, right? These are not your normal questions, which makes it more fun!

1. Do you cook every night?
I wish my answer was yes. With Jason traveling more and more, I have been finding myself throwing together dinner for a 3 yr old that is super picky, a 6 yr old, and me. Which usually ends up with all of us eating something very different. It is on my mind a lot and I am trying to be better at it.

2. What kind of laundry detergent do you use & why?
Purex High Efficiency. We have to use the HE for our washer and Purex is the cheapest. But it smells good and that is all I really care about.

3. Do you do laundry every day or loads at a time?
Loads at a time. Usually on Saturday morning. If we are away for the weekend, then it stacks up and I end up doing it Sunday evening and then catching up after work throughout the week. Yuck.

4. How often do you eat out per week?
For lunch, 1-2 times. I am using that as my treat since I am eating in more. For dinner, probably 2-3 times. For crazy weeks, add 1 or 2 to the number. :)

5. Where do you usually eat out?
Chick Fil A, Sonic, or McDonalds (do they put kiddie crack in their Happy Meals?) for the kids. Me, anywhere.

6. What is your favorite retail store?

7. What's your favorite thing to drink?
Coke...from Sonic, please!

8. Do you take vitamins? What kind?
No and I really need to. I get so overwhelmed in the vitamin aisle and have no clue on what to get. Can someone PLEASE leave me a comment on what to get?

9. What percentage of the household chores to you do?
100...ha! Some days it feels like that. I honestly would say 95%. I am an enabler and one of those "oh, I'll just do it myself" instead of just asking for help. I know, I know, I need to work on that.

10. Do your children do chores? {Or will they, did they, etc}
Another thing I need to get better at. Sammi (age 6) helps set the table and put her clothes away that have been folded. I make both pick up toys and put away as well as put their clothes in the laundry hamper. They clean their own rooms, although I end up having to help Josh (age 3).

11. Do you go to church?
Yes. This summer has been crazy with weekend trips here and there so we have missed several Sundays.

12. Do you have a housework schedule?
Sort of. During the week it is just trying to keep my head above water by picking up here and there, doing dishes from dinner, etc. I do the big cleaning on Saturday so I can rest on Sunday. It doesn't always work that well, but that is what I aim for.

13. Do you keep a working budget?
No, and I wish we did. Again, any suggestions on how to help when I am the saver and he is the spender? We have been married 10 yrs so this could be a tough one to deal with and change.

14. What do you do at night as a family?
During the week it is dinner, homework, playing, baths, read, bed time. When it is bath time, whoever bathes the kids, the other dries and puts on pj's. Each picks out one book and I read one, Jason reads the other. When it is time for bed, we trade off taking one kid to bed while the other takes the other one to bed.

15. How do you prepare yourself for a new week?
I like to get all of my laundry and cleaning done on Saturday so I can rest on Sunday and get ready. But I prepare by doing the same thing each night: get the kids bags ready, make Sammi's lunch, etc.

16. What do your mornings look like?
Mine is pretty easy...all I worry about is ME! That is just about the only thing in my life that is all me. I am out the door by 5:30 am. Jason gets the kids up, gets them dressed, gives them breakfast, helps brush their teeth, then takes them to school. Since I started working in Dallas, our mornings have been reversed and I am pretty sure he has a new found appreciation for crazy mornings!

17. What time do you get up in the mornings?
5 am. I know, yuck.

18. What time do you go to bed at night?
I need to be asleep by 10 or 10:30. The nights that go to 11:00 make for slow mornings.

19. How do you manage all of the paperwork that floods into your household? {bills, school work, magazines, ads, etc}
Oh Lordy, I seem to have stacks of "stuff" all over the house. The kitchen bar, the kitchen table...Jason doesn't like it, but at least it is nice and orderly in stacks, right? Then I go through them every week. But I go through Sammi's backpack as soon as I get home from work to see what needs to be done, signed, returned, etc.

20. How do you keep your household organized? {calendars, charts, etc}
I have a family calendar on our fridge that is just for the week. You can add each family member to have their own row for the week. It is helpful!

Ok, I was honest. Now it's your turn!

Grandmother, You Will Always Be In My Heart

For 34 wonderful years, I had my amazing Grandmother in my life. How lucky was I? On Sunday, August 23rd, she passed away peacefully. Jeannette Johnson was 96. Yep, 96. And she lived a great, healthy (not a single surgery!) long life until Alzheimer's stripped that away. Thankfully we have modern medicine that helped prolong the inevitable. But it was still hard. For the past 4 years we have been slowly saying goodbye.
I was blessed to spend time in the hospital with her before she died. She didn't know who I was or understand what I was saying, but I did. I just held her hand, touched her soft face, told her how much I loved her and what an amazing grandmother she was to me. She didn't talk or make facial expressions, but when I said my last goodbye I kissed her cheek and gave the longest hug possible, she tilted her head toward me and lifted up the shoulder I was resting my head on. I will never forget that.
Things I will forever remember about her: making an entire batch of banana pudding (my favorite) for me. No one else. And she told me I didn't have to share either. Having tea parties with me and Meredith with Kool-Aid to drink. Having candy in her purse for me during the many musicals, plays, operas, and symphonies she and my Granddad took us to...I think she strategically gave them to me in the middle to wake me up. Teaching me how to cross-stitch. Her amazing cooking (she didn't know how to boil water when she got married). Her smile that lit up a room. Seeing the way she looked at my Granddad so lovingly, even after 65 years of marriage. Hearing her sing in church. Lying in bed with me until I finally fell asleep for my nap.
I could go on and on. I know that no one lives forever. I know that everyone dies. But it is still not easy to let go. What gives me a smile is knowing she is in heaven dancing with my Granddad.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Paying It Forward

Other than getting many hugs and kisses from my kids after work, I cannot think of anything better than seeing a box on my front porch addressed to ME. Not some golf item for Jason from eBay that seems to come weekly. No, a box for ME!

I barely put down my purse before ripping into this bad boy. When I opened it up, I saw this:

I love, love, love cute tissue paper. I do. I'm the one that saves it from a birthday party or just from any gift bag because I love them so much. I loved the bright colors.

Then after I smoothed out the tissue paper to save and re gift (don't be surprised if you see this in your gift bag!), I took out these goodies:

Some of my most favorite things! Clorox wipes (a must to have under every sink in my house), a Sonic gift card (I can get many 'o happy hour drinks with this!), Burt's Bees lip balm, and big hair clips for my massive, thick hair.

All of these goodies came from my friend from college (go TJC Apaches!), Angie at Just Shy Of A Y. She really pays attention to what I love! But you too can have gifts, for no apparent reason just for me passing this contest to all of you!

Here are the rules...

1) Be one of the first THREE bloggers to comment on this post.
2) You then agree to share your snail mail address with ME so I can send you a small gift handmade/purchased by ME!
3) When you receive your gift, you then blog about this game & link back to my blog in that post.
4) And most importantly, you ALSO AGREE to pay it forward and send a small gift to the 3 people who comment on your blog post.

Yep, it's that simple! So what are you doing?? Leave me a comment! Besides, you know how much I love comments!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Can Only Take So Much...

What an eventful weekend and day for my precious 6 year old! First she informs me a few weeks ago that she wants her ears pierced. Jason and I had talked about it when she was a baby after having friends and family ask if we were going to pierce them then. We agreed to wait and do it when she is ready. Just a year ago she was telling me emphatically that no way would she EVER put holes in her ears and how that would hurt too much. I told her that if she never wanted that done that that would be fine.
Flash forward to just 2 weeks ago. My how her mind-set changed. She was probing me with lots of questions about how it is done, if it hurts, how long it hurts, etc. She made sure that I knew how much she wanted it done and how she would take care of them when I explained that you have to clean them 2 times a day for 4-6 weeks. Personally, I think she had some friends at school with earrings and she wanted to be like them. Wow, that is just how I was at her age!
We waited to talk with daddy about it after he came home from a 2 week business trip. Off we went to the mall yesterday to get it done. She was so excited! Jason decided at the last minute that he wasn't going because he wouldn't be able to deal with seeing her in pain if she cried or freaked out. So he stayed home with Joshua and I went with my sister-in-law that was in town and her 4 kids.
Here she is getting ready and oh-so-excited. I could tell she was getting nervous because she was so quiet. For her, that's a big deal. :)
She even had a cheering section. Here is my wonderful sister-in-law, Julie, and 3 of her kids. They were so sweet with Sammi, telling her how brave she was.

Marking the points on her ears.!
Oh. Wait. This was not what I expected! Silent tears. I felt horrible! I felt removed from the situation, being behind my camera. Then I snapped out of it to console her. My poor baby.

Isn't this the saddest picture you have seen? But wait! Look at her cute earrings.

A few hours later and the shock has worn off. I couldn't tell if it really hurt or if it was the sound of the guns going off at the same time. I know I didn't like the sound when I got mine done when I was 10.

She must have looked at herself in the mirror umpteen times. It was cute. Then the focus moved from new holes in her ears to getting ready for her first day in the First Grade! She was so excited to see her friends again, but honestly, I think she was more excited to wear her special outfit she picked out to wear on her first day. Admit it, she looks so cute. Biased? Yes!

Had to get Joshua in the picture. My oh my does this boy need his hair cut! But to his defense, it is unruly when he first gets up in the morning. Trust me, there is a head underneath that massive amount of curly hair.

Her new, very own desk! She loved having her name on it. I like the look on the face of the kid next to her. He doesn't look as happy to be there as Sammi is. If she is anything like me, she is just chomping at the bit to tear into her box of new school supplies!

What a couple of days for me...I need a break! First the ears getting pierced and her looking more grown up, then moving up a grade. I should have thought better and spaced them further apart, a mommy can only take growing up "stuff" in small increments!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Camping in the Ozarks

Two weeks ago Sammi spent the week with Jason's sister Julie and her family in Arkansas. They were going to be camping the following weekend, then we would be picking her up. After Jason had been gone for work for 2 weeks I thought we needed some family time together. So we packed up my dad's travel trailer and off we went to meet up with them at Devil's Den State Park.
What appeared to be a good idea at the time turned out to be more of a headache. Jason was originally coming home Thursday night and then turning around the following Tuesday to to back to Vail. That changed to him coming home Friday afternoon and then leaving Monday morning. But we still went! Granted, we didn't leave our house until after 10:00 pm. But we still went! Hauling a trailer what should have been 6 hours turned into 8! Really. Thankfully, Joshua slept well, but I felt guilty for sleeping even after Jason urged me too. By the time we got there, unhooked the trailer, got it set up and to sleep it was 5 am! I quickly went to sleep as did Joshua. Jason? Nope. He ended up checking out the fishing holes. I think I got about 2.5 hours of sleep. Sammi, Jason's dad, and Julie's family were already there and sleeping soundly. Around 8:00 each of the 5 kids trickled over to our campsite. We were in a great area where the kids could walk or bike to each of our trailers.

We found out quickly that Joshua is ready for his own big-boy bike. That kid was barely off of his cousin's bike the entire weekend. Excuse the small pictures, I took them with my phone since my camera is getting fixed as I type this.
After breakfast, we headed out on a trail with another friend of Julie's with their kids. They have 5 kids. It was 6 adults and 11 kids ages 19 months to 7. Yikes! But they did great. We came to a cave that the men went in with several of the kids. Mine were not really wanting to go that far in so they came back out. It was really far in and they were gone for about 30 minutes. It felt like much longer. I tried with Josh, but it was really narrow in the beginning which I would have needed to carry him. The ground was slippery and I just saw it turning into a disaster.

Here is Joshua and his cousin Easton. Not sure why he has his hands over his ears, but this was the best I could get!

All 11 kids outside the cave. I felt pretty puny with my 2 kids against Julie's 4 and Emily's 5. :)

Joshua and Carter. See what his shirt says? "Lock up your daughters". A guy from Belgium saw it on the trail and asked to take a picture of it.

Sammi and her best bud, Carter. They love each other so much, I just love them having cousins their age!

Don't they look like a newer version of The Little Rascals? Joshua, Easton, and my precious niece Noel.

A cool Salamander Julie found. After I took this it went back into the hole in a flash. It scared the poop out of me! Not really, I was poop-free, but I really scared me. I had visions of it jumping out at me, covering my face, and me running around like a mad woman trying to get it off my face. Have I seen too many movies with cats and squirrels doing that? YES!

Jason and his dad took all of the kids fishing later that night. I didn't get any good pictures of it. I can't freaking wait to get my camera back! Argh. A few caught some fish, but not as many as they had hoped. I'm sure them screaming and throwing rocks in the river didn't help.

On Sunday before we left we took the kids to the pool. As usual, they had a ball!

We had an amazing, quick camping trip with our family. But is it really considered camping with the luxury of sleeping in a bed with A/C? I love camping in tents, but not when it is in the 100's outside and 2 other kids to deal with! By the time we got home it was almost 9:00 pm...but it was worth it!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

For Those That Find Dora Annoying

Don't get me wrong, Dora has been a favorite of both of my kid's cartoon-watching lives. We have had umpteen (yes, I insist that is a word) Dora toys, Dora movies that were on repeat at times, Dora bath toys, Dora games, you get the idea.

But as a parent, is it just me that finds Dora to be a tad bit annoying? Her whiny voice certainly doesn't help. I'd like to blame her for Joshua's constant whining. I mean, he watches her more than any other show so it's a learned behavior, right? Her haircut is ugly, her shirt doesn't fit, and her only friends seem to be animals that can be equally annoying.

I LOVE Dora when I am cooking dinner because she keeps Joshua occupied, happy, and out of the kitchen. Oh that makes me think of another thing I don't like about that show: where are her parents? She is just left alone all day to roam the world (planet, sometimes) with talking animals and going into scary forests. What's up with that? Don't her parents know what kind of scary world we live in with evil predators lurking? Sheesh, someone needs to call the CPA and report them. I have gotten evil glares if I have snuck out of the INDOOR playground at McDonald's get myself another refill of my drug of choice: coca cola. And Dora's parents have no clue where she is. Ever. Maybe it's her annoying voice that is making her poor mom want her out of the house and out of her hair all day. Just a hunch.

This ranting of our bilingual friend, Dora the Explorer, brings me to why I started this post. Check out Wendy Aaron's blog. She has a guest poster, Lulu & Moxley, and it is freaking hilarious. I found myself nodding from agreeing to so many other things about Dora that are annoying and odd.

Even if you have not watched an entire show of Dora, please read. You will laugh out loud. I know, I could have just shortened those last 3 words with LOL, but that really annoys me too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mommy/Daughter Day

Wow, it has been awhile since I have written anything. My normal routine has been thrown into a tailspin these past 2 weeks. What started to be a week long business trip for Jason turned into 2. I really think this has been the longest we have been apart. While he is gone, I need to have help from friends and family with dropping off the kids at school in the morning. I am SO grateful to have our parents live within a hour from us. My mom has stayed with us here and there to help out, my dad has come over my house bright and early before 6 am, and the kids have spent a few nights at my mother-in-law's so she can take them in some mornings. I pick them up after work, it is just the mornings I need help with since I leave my house at 5:30 most mornings. Yes, that is early!
Soooooo, most nights I have not had the luxury to just relax after the kids go to bed or fiddle around on the computer. And work has been nutty, so no down time to blog during the day.
BUT, I had a great idea a few weeks ago to surprise Sammi with what I call "Mommy & Sammi Day". We have done this in the past and that is all she has been asking me recently, "mommy, when can we have a just-us day?". Great idea! Her school had a Christmas in July party that she wanted me desperately to attend. My previous job was really close to home, so I was able to attend pretty much every party, even in the middle of the day. Not so much when I work 45 miles away in Dallas. I decided I would take that day off and surprise her at the party, then go out just the two of us for the day. I made up an excuse that I had a doctor's appointment and couldn't make it. I felt bad for lying, but I had to come up with something because I was actually home in the morning when she woke up. I loved the look on her face when she saw me come in her classroom that morning. I wish I could have gotten a picture of it.
She is fascinated with me riding the train to work everyday, so I thought we would ride the train into Dallas. Not 5 minutes into the ride, she was asking me "how much longer?". Really? Sheesh.
Here she is waiting for the train to arrive. She was so excited. Oh, and the hat she decorated at school.
We walked around the downtown area, went into the old red courthouse, then ventured to another building to eat. Here she is playing with the water fountain. About 2 seconds after I took this, I was scolded by security that I cannot take a picture. My arguing self said "why? I don't see any signs saying not to do that" ah-hem, in my nicest voice, that is! She said there wasn't any signs but the owner doesn't like pictures to be taken. Really? Doesn't that seem a bit much or is it just me?
Eating lunch together...she insisted I sit on the same side of the table with her. I loved it, as I know there will come a time that she doesn't even want to be at the same table with me. :)

View of Dallas from the 40th floor of some building. We were going to go to the top of Reunion Tower, but the observation decks are still closed for renovations. I wasn't willing to shell out the dough for us to eat at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant just to see the view from there.

We did a whole bunch of more walking around, going into shops, and just talking. It was great, just the two of us, no interruptions. She got a doll that is like a Webkin where you do things with it online. Here she is on the train back with her. She took the clothes off and giggled when she saw it had boobs. Oh my.

When we got back to our area, Sammi wasn't quite ready to go back to reality and pick up Joshua. So we took a detour to Marble Slab and had ice cream together. was good!
I cherish these moments with her. I know it won't always be this way, so I will enjoy it while I can! My goal is to do this with her every other month, even if it's just a few hours together on the weekends. My little girl is growing and I don't ever want to look back with regret that I didn't spend more time with her, one on one. I remember having those times with my mom and they were priceless.
I love you, Sammi-girl! I am glad God gave me YOU!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Flip Flop Exchange

How many times have you participated in one of those gift exchanges where you were promised recipes, kitchen towels, etc and never received a gosh darn thing? Yea, me too. But my great friend Rebecca hosted a bloggy flip flop exchange. I LOVE flip flops (no telling how many I own) and thought I'd give this one a try. The neat thing about this exchange is that we were to send along with the flip flops a special item from our state. I was sooooo excited when I checked my mailbox after a long day at work and saw a package...just for me!

Not only did I get a cute pair of flip flops, I got an oven mit (can never have too many!), and a delicious chocolate bar. All from Seattle! My kids were crowding me as I tore into my package to retrieve my goodies. Thankfully only Sammi wanted a bite of my chocolate (Josh isn't a sweets eater) and I actually shared A LITTLE with her. Really, just a teeny bit. Call me selfish, but I don't get much to just myself anymore!

If my friend hosts another exchange and I post about it here, trust me, you should participate. It was fun!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Sort Of Camping Trip

This post is a few weeks late. I have been meaning to load pictures up from the long weekend over the 4th of July, but when I get home from work, the last thing I want to do is to get back on the computer. But I know each and every one of you have been dying (ha!) to read about my trip with Jason and the rug rats, so here you go!
When I found out that I had Friday before the 4th off, I told Jason that we needed to do something fun with the kids. Jason came up with the idea to leave Thursday night and go camping with the kids. My dad has an awesome travel trailer that is pretty new and rarely used. In fact, we have used it more than he has! So after quickly packing after work on Thursday, we headed off to the wild blue yonder (aka: Cedar Hill State Park). We didn't go far, but no matter where you are that isn't home, it feels far away.
When we got in late that night, Jason hooked up the trailer and we found out quickly that the electricity box we were plugged into wasn't good. It kept blowing it's fuse and it was super hot that day/night. When the a/c quit working, it got hot inside quickly. In fact, it was cooler outside! While Jason tried to get maintenance to come help out (it was after 10 pm and they were closed) and work on it himself, I put the kids in the car with the a/c on and had them sleep there until it was fixed. My worry-wart daughter wouldn't sleep until all was right with the world. Long story short, Jason took the chance and moved the trailer to another location, hoping and praying it wasn't reserved for someone else and they would come in the middle of the night knocking on our door to move. Thank goodness, it wasn't! Needless to say, we went to bed late that night, but grateful for working a/c!
The next morning I took the kids and our dog, Lucy, for a walk and we found a playground for them to play on. Even at 8 am, we were sweating from the heat. We headed back and I took the kids to the grocery store. Jason grilled outside for lunch. We scratched the plans for an outdoor picnic and opted for the cool, bug less indoors. Why do kids freak out with tiny bugs? Ugh, I lost my patience with that.
While Joshua took a 4 hour nap (yes, 4 hours!), Sammi laid down for some quiet time. She ended up playing games on my iPhone for quite awhile. I watched a movie on Jason's laptop and Jason went fishing. So much for the great outdoors!
Joshua woke up in the greatest mood! Whew.

We then met Jason where he was fishing off a covered dock. Thank goodness for some shade. We really picked the wrong days to go "camping" in 100+ degree weather.

I have no idea what they are doing here. Oh yea, they were singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" I love hearing him sing.

My cutie patootie.

Awe, they really DO love each other! Well, most of the time.

There was this cool crane (is that even a crane? I'm guessing) watching us fish the entire time. After we left, he walked over to where we were to stake his claim. The kids loved watching him.

More fishing...

Minus the heat and staying indoors most of the time, we had a great time just being together. We left Saturday morning on the 4th to spend the day swimming at my dad's. Next time we are going in the fall!!

Friend Makin' Monday - Vacation Edition

Happy Monday! Jolanthe at No Ordinary Moments is hosting today's FMM, which is all about vacations. I was excited to see the topic because who doesn't love a good vacation? I grew up going someplace EVERY summer. We drove to Colorado most summers, which I loved. One summer my dad changed things up and we went to Disney World. What a great trip that was! My dad loved to drive and my mom loved to stop at historical markers or just neat places along the way. I cherish the memories or our annual summer vacations.
Today's task:
This task has two parts . You can do either one or both ~ it's up to you!
1. Tell us about the best {or worst} vacation that you've ever taken.
2. Tell us FIVE places/vacations that you would like to take at some point your life. It doesn't have to be next year...maybe it's the vacation of a lifetime or somewhere you just dream of going years from now.
I have a lot of great vacations I have been on. I honestly can't think of a bad one, although I am sure my parents might disagree. :) But the one that comes to mind that tops my list of great vacations is when Jason and I went to Boston and Cape Cod. It was right before we started our family, and I just look back at that as our last "care free" trip before kids came along. I don't have a picture of us there, as that was before every picture was digital. I did find this picture online that looked like so much of what we saw. We started out in Boston and Jason showed me around. He was stationed outside of Boston for 3 years when he was in the Army and I heard so many stories, so I really wanted to see what all he had been talking about for so long. The first night we asked the dude at the car rental place for a recommendation of a great bar. We were driving on the street to find it and I told Jason that I couldn't find the place called "Clocks". He started laughing and said we were looking for "Clarks". Oh yea, most Bostonians don't enunciate the "r". He drove me to his old Army base which was neat. Then we spent several days out in Cape Cod. Beautiful! I highly recommend going out there. So serene.

Top 5 Places I Would Like To Visit:

1. Anyplace in Europe. I have been to England, Wales, Scotland, but I would love to go to Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, The Netherlands...just take me anywhere in that continent!

2. Australia. I regret us not going out there when we had friends that lived there for a few years. But they were there when we were poor newlyweds. :)

3. Napa Valley. Wine. Enough said.

4. Alaska. I saw a show about traveling through Alaska and they showed these travel trains with glass ceilings so you can see the amazing trees and mountains. Ever since I saw that, I have been dying to go.

5. Puerto Rico. Several of my friends have gone there and told me how amazing it is. From the pictures I have seen, I want to go there myself!

So what is on your wish list?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fun Game of Tag!

Who didn't love the game of tag as a kid? I certainly loved it. Any old made up game that we came up with out of boredom after church while waiting for our parents to stop gabbing so we can go home or waiting for the school bus. Looking back, some of those games were just odd. I chalk it up to just plain old boredom and being a kid.

But in the adult world, the new game of tag is on this here bloggy land. And I love it. I was tagged by my dear friend Becca at The Texas Darlings. It is a Photo Tag game and you have to pick the 6th photo in the 6th folder from your photos file then explain about the photo.
This picture was taken in August 2005. Sammi and I went to the Ft. Worth Zoo for the day. I was pregnant and took off a day from work to hang out with her, just the two of us. It was scorching hot and I definitely picked the wrong day to go to the zoo. But I promised her, so off we went. I even packed our picnic basket to have a picnic inside the zoo. I scratched that plan and we ate inside the air conditioned car instead. I love looking at her in this picture. She is just so well accessorized with her matching bow, visor on backwards (not sure why she did that), sunglasses, and her polished toe nails. So like a tom boy with a hint of girly. You can see on her face how hot she was by how red it is. To this day, she still talks about the picnic we had in the car. I love that she remembers it as being fun for her.

Now tag 5 friends:

Allison at All Things A

Jennifer at Stuff About Jennifer

Amy at The Bryant House

Marcia at The Hensley Happenings

Angie at Just Shy of a "Y"

Ok, now I really need to get back to work!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Friend Makin' Monday

I love Mondays because it means I get an excuse to blog about something AND I am given the topic for which to blog about. Woo-Hoo! Today's is perfect because I have a lot on my mind and this is giving me a reason to think about something else.
Today's Friend Makin' Monday topic is My Favorite Things. I love this! Who can't think of at least 5-10 things that they just love? It can be a person, place, thing...just anything that is your favorite. I did this several months ago in a different post, so I had to come up with things that I didn't already mention. And I came up with such a huge list that I had to whittle it down. I guess I have a lot of things I love!
In no particular order, 10 of My Favorite Things:
iPhone. How did I live my life before this hand-held goodness was invented? I just can't say enough about how amazing this phone is.
Burt's Bees chap stick. I love this chap stick. Love, love, love it.

Almonds. I am now addicted to these. I just discovered them (call me a late-bloomer, I don't care) last month to eat alone and I can't get enough! I feel good eating a handful (or two or three or four) of these and not thinking that they will make my rear get any bigger. Trust me, it doesn't need any help!

Chi flat iron. I have naturally curly hair and tried various ways to straighten my hair over the years and never had any luck. Enter the Chi. Even on slightly humid days it stays straight. My original one broke late on a Sunday (I dropped it and the heating plate was broke loose) and I rushed out to Target to get another one. They were sold out so I thought I would try another brand. I was almost in tears the next day when it wouldn't straighten my hair. Needless to say, I went to a beauty supply store that night to get a Chi. I didn't care what it would cost, I would have paid whatever they asked just to have one again. I love it that much.

Chuy's restaurant. Not to steal a phrase from Rachel Ray, but this place is Yum-O to me. Have you had the creamy jalapeno dressing to dip your chips in? If not, then you must do it if you are ever at this place...that is if you are in the Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, or Houston Texas area. :)

Clorox wipes. They are under every sink in my house. I love having them to do a quick wipe down of a counter top, faucet, toilet, etc.

Hair clips. This isn't the exact one I use, but I have them in my purse, bag, car, nightstand, etc because I use one daily. I have long hair and hate having it on my neck when it is hot outside. So being in TX, it is a must for me.

Movies! I love going to the movie theater. I can also go alone, I have no problem with that at all. I just love seeing movies on the BIG screen.

Roomba. I love this thing! I can program it to go off and vacuum my floors when I gone during the day. I love coming home to vacuumed floors. It scared my 3 year old at first, but now he thinks it is cool to watch go all over the house. And I love that it finds it's dock when the battery is low to get a recharge.

Cokes from Sonic. What do they put in there to make them so good? Is it the large straw? Is it the crushed ice? Do they put drugs in there to make them so addictive? Whatever it is, I love them. But they do not help me in my quest to not drink Coke so much! I really don't drink them a ton, just more than I should. So when I am craving one, it does not help me to pass a Sonic!

That was fun. Cue the song "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of what are YOUR favorite things? Are any on my list yours too?