Wednesday, April 29, 2009



Lots of pictures on this post!

I have a great friend who takes incredible pictures come with us to take pictures of my kids in the bluebonnets. It amazes me how some just have an "eye" for good angles, lighting, etc. True, a really good camera makes a big difference, but it isn't just that. And from these pictures, you will know what I am talking about. The photographer's son, Aidan, is in a few pics. He and Joshua are two peas in a pod and play/fight together a lot. Thank you, Dustin, for taking these! You are truly talented!

Now for the hard part: picking out my favorites to enlarge and print!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tag, I'm It!

Can I just say that I love the game Tag? I love more than anything these that first started over email where you answered a huge list of things that varied from you favorite drink to if you prefer hugs or kisses. I then did them on myspace, now I do them on Facebook (love FB WAY better!). And now in the world of blogging. Not sure why I love it so much...does it mean I like talking about myself? Gosh, I hope that really isn't it! Do I love it because it is a distraction from what I am trying to avoid doing like work, laundry, etc? Anyways, I was tagged by Rebecca and am gladly accepting.

1. What is my current obsession?
Reading other blogs and Facebook. Nuff said, right?

2. Which item of clothing do I wear most?
Right now that would be my cropped jeans. Love them. They push in my gut without giving me muffin-top, which is a huge feat in itself. Don't be surprised if you see several pictures of me in them. When I am not at work, I am probably wearing them.

3. What's for dinner?
Today is not the day to ask that question. It is soccer practice night which equals throwing together anything fast enough for the kids to eat before bed. Usually PB&J. But, Jason is taking them to practice and I have a hankering to swing by Boston Market and bring something home so that we actually have something from each major food group.

4. What am I listening to?
American Idol...I started this at work and had to finish it at home.

5. Say something about the person who tagged me...
Where do I begin? Rebecca can put Martha Stewart to shame! She is the most crafty, creative person I know. Her brain is always on the go and thinking of fun things to do with her kids, it really is inspiring. She missed her calling as a teacher or running her own field trip company. I know the second one doesn't exist (or does it?) but she should do that for a living! Love her. So glad I met her through my previous job.

6. Favorite vacation spot?
Love love love the mountains! Colorado is my favorite, by far. I can think of other great places I have had a vacation like Cape Cod, Hawaii, Cabo, NYC, Seattle, DC. But I have to say, my heart is in the mountains. My dream is to retire in the mountains with Jason.

7. What am I reading right now?
Hold Tight by Harlan Coben. I am a HUGE Coben fan and have read almost all of his books. His grab me from the first few pages. The kind of book that I can't put down, will stay up late to read, I even think of sneaking to the restroom at work to read a few pages...I have not done that, but the thought has crossed my mind! I don't because I don't want people wondering why I am in the bathroom so long. Eeeww!

8. Guilty pleasure?
Watching TV, probably reality TV, ALONE while in my pj's in my comfy bed. Wait, that's not a guilty pleasure, that is a dream! *tapping head* guilty pleasure, guilty pleasure...oh yes! Some trashy reality TV like Rock of Love (admit it, you have watched it at least once!), The Hills, Real Housewives. If I had to pick a food that is a guilty pleasure, that would be Jack in the Box tacos. I don't even want to know the fat grams in those suckers, but man! They taste o' so good!

9. First Spring thing to do?
Clean out the closets. Toss aside clothes that don't fit the kids anymore and my clothes that I don't wear. Then take them to Goodwill. Feels great to purge!

10. What do I look forward to?
Our annual trip to the Guadalupe River with several ADULT couples for Memorial weekend. It is what we do each year (just in case you didn't catch the "annual" reference) by renting a house with other couples in Gruene or New Braunfels. It is Thursday through Monday and our kids have a great time with their grandparents while Mom and Dad have their fun. It is so relaxing where we go....can't wait!

Now I am tagging:


That was fun!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Rain Madness

I love the rain. Love to drive in it. Love to sit on the porch and watch it. Love the smell of it. Love the sound of it. Love what it does to my yard and flowers.

But I don't like walking in it on my way to work.

Since taking my new job in Dallas, I thought of a good way to save on gas and miles on my car: ride the train to work. My office is just a few blocks from the Mockingbird Station. I took it for the first time last week and loved it. I loved having the solitude while reading. I loved avoiding a possible traffic jam. I do have to leave my house earlier in the morning and I get home later at night, but the pros outweigh the cons. My plan is to take it a few days a week. My drive round trip each day is 80 miles. That adds up fast. A full tank does not last a full week. True, gas is a lot cheaper now, but money is money when it comes to saving it.

So last night I planned ahead since I was planning on getting up earlier today to ride the train in. My main reason to ride the train this morning was to keep reading a great book my sister loaned me. I LOVE books by Harlan Coben. If you like suspense novels, I highly recommend any he has written. Any who, I was so proud of myself last night as I went to bed at how much I did the night before so that my early morning would leave little to do to get ready.

As I was starting to get out of the car at the train station at 5:50 am (yes, am!) I heard the DJ mention rain in the forecast. No time was mentioned, so I took my umbrella with me. Thank goodness I did because half way through my ride I saw it was pouring rain outside. I got a little wet waiting to get on my connecting train in Dallas, but thankfully I was able to get on an earlier train. But when I got off at my spot, it was coming down in sheets. Wait, more like coming in at a 45 degree angle. The kind of rain that proves pointless to be holding an umbrella. I called my mom that works sort of in the area to see if she just so happened to decide to go to work really early. Nope, she was just leaving her house. Oh well, off to walk in the rain I go.

Thankfully, I had pulled my hair up, but by the time I got to my office building, my pants were soaked from above the knee and down. My hair and shirt was dry. A lot of items in my bag got wet from the water falling off my umbrella. The entire time I am walking across the parking lots, I am thinking "you should have checked the weather last night like you always do!". I get in the office lobby and you can hear water squishing out of my shoes. And I love these shoes that I have not had very long. Thank goodness I wore black pants because you could not tell they were wet. But I was at my desk all morning with cold legs and cold feet. No space heater. Just had to let my body, pants, and shoes dry naturally. I took my shoes off to help them dry quicker, but when I put them back on to go somewhere, I can feel the water in them and my feet and hose get wet all over again. My toes look like raisins and prunes. My hair is just as limp as it can get.

I keep telling myself that this is probably better than driving in the rain and taking the chance to either be involved in a car accident or have to sit in traffic because of another car accident. We all know that people drive horribly in the rain!

Lesson learned when I want to ride the train and it is raining: bring my beloved Chi to work so I can touch up my hair and wear other pants so what I have to wear all day at work are not half wet all day!

5 Senses

It is Friend Makin' Monday again! To find out what it is all about, click here. Since discovering it through my friend Rebecca, I have come to love checking Kasey's blog every Monday to find out what the topic is. I know, I have not always been that faithful, but I try to do it every Monday, depending how busy I am at work so I can squeeze it in between calls.

Today it is about our 5 senses. We are to list 4 things we love, and one thing we dislike, for each category.

1. Bread, cookies, or cakes baking in the oven.
2. Babies after a bath.
3. Fresh cut grass or the rain.
4. Jason wearing my favorite cologne.
Dislike:1. Fish!


1. My kid's soft skin.
2. My husband's hand when he reaches out to hold mine.
3. Clean sheets.
4. The top of my kids head...I love to rub their hair!
Dislike: 1. My hands dirty or sticky...yuck!

1. Jason saying "I love you, Alli"
2. My kids laughing when they are playing together.
3. Rain or a thunderstorm...the best!
4. Songs that bring me back to a memory as a child.
Dislike:1. My kids crying because they are hurt.

Taste (I can only list 4?)
1. Salsa, queso, and chips from my favorite mexican restaurant.
2. Blue Bell Pralines and Cream ice cream.
3. My mom's fried chicken.
4. Fudge-covered brownies
Dislike:1. Seafood, meat loaf, potato salad. Sorry, I couldn't keep it at just one. :)

1. My kids big smile when they see me after work.
2. My husband cleaning. Really!
3. Mountains. Too bad I live in TX and don't get to see them everyday. :(
4. The scale showing pounds lost!
Dislike:1. People in despair.

So there ya go! Please comment and let me know yours!

Oh, and after the morning I had in the rain today, I would like to add that the TOUCH of cold, wet pants on my legs is not a great feeling!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter Weekend

This is a week was a crazy week. Tried to get over a double ear infection and sinus infection. That was not fun! All I can say is, thank goodness for modern medicine! If you are ever offered to have a steroid shot versus the pills, take the shot! It clears you up so much faster.

Any who, we had a fantastic weekend at my mom's for Easter weekend with Meredith and her family. I am so glad that my kids have cousins their age that they truly love to be around. I pray that they are always so close. Sammi and Kate are like best friends. It is fun to stand back and watch/listen to them play.

My stepbrother Andy was there as well with his son Shaun. He is 2 and so cute! We had to take advantage of him being there and get a group shot of my mom and stepdad with their grandkids. Only one grandchild was missing, who lives in San Marcos.

Friday night, Meredith and her husband spent the evening out with friends, so I came with a project for the kids. They were to make cupcakes that looked like Easter baskets. It wasn't as much of a hit as I had hoped, but they made a few.

Will with his creation. I cut the sour patch ropes too short. They were to be the handles and I was so irritated that I did that! Oh well, they still tasted good!

Josh pretty much just ate the icing. Just what a 3 yr old needs: more sugar!
Saturday we all went out for breakfast, then came home to have the kids dye eggs. They had a lot of fun doing that. I love seeing what creations they come up with.

After lunch we had the kids hunt Easter eggs. We knew it would be rainy on Sunday, so we told the kids that the Easter bunny watches the weather too. Jason was the official basket holder for Joshua and helping him move along with finding more eggs.

My mom and stepdad get Cascarones for the kids every year. We find confetti in every nook and cranny for days. Here, Joshua snuck up and got Uncle Greg.

All of the cousins together before leaving for church. I was so sick that weekend that I stayed home to sleep. Yep, I was that sick that I even missed Easter Sunday at church!

...and of course we have to get in a silly picture.
Other than being sick, we all had so much fun being with each other and watching the kids play together.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Friend Makin' Monday

It's Monday, so that means it is time for Friend Makin' Monday! A fun way to meet other bloggers out there. Check out Kasey's blog for the rules. Today, Kasey asked us to share the best advice we have received.

I am sure if I sat and thought about all of the advice I have received over the years, I could come up with many. But the first one that came to mind is from someone I used to work with. When I was about to get married back in 1999 (so long ago!), my colleague Linda told me this: When I am married and have kids, make it a point to have a date night with Jason AT LEAST once a month, or more. AND, we could not talk about the kids. At the time, not having kids, I thought that seemed like an easy task. Boy was I wrong when we did have kids!

I was almost 24 when I got married, which seems so young now that I look back. Jason was 26. We had Samantha after being married for 3 1/2 years. After she came along, I was able to see and understand what Linda meant. It is so easy to have our children be the center of our life, which is fine and expected, but we have a marriage that is like a garden. It needs to be watered, fertilized, and weeded. It cannot be ignored or it will slowly die and the weeds will overtake the garden. When Julie lived in TX, we had it set on the calendar with her and my mother-in-law to watch each other's kids. Julie had my kids the first weekend of each month (we could pick Fri or Sat), she had my kids the 3rd weekend of every month, and my mother-in-law had all of our kids the last weekend of the month. AND, we had the kids overnight. So we were guaranteed 2 date nights a month. It was great! Some nights we went out with friends, some we made elaborate plans for just us, sometimes it was just dinner and then back home. Since we had so many nights to just us, we got creative and came up with all kinds of things we never did. Once we played Bingo. Even though I walked out smelling like I smoked cigarettes all night (I don't smoke, those places are so smoky!), I came out winning $750! Not kidding, I won that much on my first try. Movies, bowling, sports bars to play trivia, coffee houses...we tried all kinds of things. It was great and got us to reconnect as a couple.

Now that Julie doesn't live in TX, we have had to really make it a point to go out. Luckily, all of our parents live within a 1 hr radius from us, so we have them to watch our kids or a few set dear friends that we trust. If you don't have family near you, reach out to find a good trusted babysitter to pay. I know, that cuts into budgets, but for the sake of your marriage, it is worth it! Add it to the family budget. You and your husband will thank me for it!

On another note, I will try to post pictures from our great weekend at my mom's for Easter. I was sick the entire time with horrible sinus headaches and allergies. I even missed church! That is how horrible I felt, missing church on Easter Sunday of all days! Check back tomorrow for that post.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Game of Tag

Thanks to Jason's cousins Jodi & Marcia and his sister Julie, I started this blog and just love reading other's as well. I love being able to keep up with other friend's this way (other than my other addiction, Facebook) and read other people's blogs, even if I don't know them.

Today my friend Rebecca (former colleague at Pfizer that I just adore!) tagged me in a neat game to do and pass on. I am easily distracted and love doing these anyways, so I was immediately game for it!

8 Things I Am Looking Forward To:
*Easter weekend at my mom's with my sister and her family
*Getting pre-sale U2 tickets next week
*Seeing the pictures of my kids in the bluebonnets from yesterday that my talented friend took
*Learning and doing more at my new job
*Going to my sister's the end of this month
*Finishing the book New Moon
*Catching up on TV shows I have on my DVR
*Another scrapbook retreat in November...I know, that is so far away!

8 Things I Did Yesterday:
*Had lunch with my new team and our CEO
*Took my kids to have their pictures taken in the bluebonnets
*Had a wonderful, quick, nutritous meal from McDonald's for dinner (one of those nights!)
*Gave my kids a bath
*Read books to my kids
*Listened to Samantha read a book (love it!)
*Ironed my kids clothes (yes, I iron their clothes before they are hung up)
*Gave Jason a big, long hug that he really seemed to need after a rough day

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
*Play the guitar
*Take a European vacation with Jason
*Eat whatever I want without gaining weight
*Buy a bigger house
*See Meredith and Julie more often
*Take a leap and start my own invitation/stationery business
*Sing! I am so envious when I watch American Idol. I can't carry a tune to save my life.
*Give jobs and money to my friends that are unemployed

8 Shows I Am Currently Watching:
*Grey’s Anatomy
*Brothers & Sisters
*American Idol
*Desperate Housewives
*Real Housewives (whatever city is on at that season)
*Private Practice
*Rock of Love (don't judge! And yes, I watch it after my kids are asleep)
*The Hills
*Dancing With the Stars

8 People I Am Tagging in this Game - YOU’RE IT!:
*Julie (I want this to get you to start blogging again!)

Please don't dissapoint me and do is fun! Thanks for tagging me, Rebecca!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Break in Arkansas

I found my camera cord, so I finally was able to upload my pictures! This is a late post about our trip to Arkansas for Spring Break. Jason's sister Julie, and my amazing friend and second sister, moved there with her family from Virginia. We are so glad they are closer! It only took 6 hours to get there...much better than a 19 hour drive to VA! Jason couldn't get off work, so it was just me and the kids on a fun road trip through OK and AR. They did great in the car for that long.
The first night we took the kids (6!) to Chuck E. Cheese. Gosh, going on a weekday is so much better than the weekends! Not many people there, so it made it so easy to keep up with everyone. I love this picture of Sammi and Carter. They are only 1 year apart and are best buds.

Playing outside...the weather was amazing the whole time we were there! I didn't pack well, as I brought mainly cold weather clothes. They played outside so much and had a blast together.

Easton, who is 4, is ALL boy. There isn't a ball from any sport that kid can't master.

Beautiful Noel is 2 and is the family princess. She is only seen without a bow on her head when she is sleeping. Seriously. I did get a picture of her without one at the park, but I promised Julie not to publish it. :)

Joshua and Easton love to play together, but they love to fight over toys too. Their temperament is the exact same. So Julie gave Easton some alone time and had Joshua and Noel play with puzzles for awhile. It was really the first time they both played together! It was amazing to see how different he was around Noel. Much more calm!

Everyone tackling Carter.

My precious, handsome, gentle Aiden. He is 6 and the sweetest boy I know!

Love this picture of Julie hugging Carter.

Sammi showing Noel how to log roll down the hill. Noel came up and imitated Sammi doing it, even covering her eyes. It was precious!

Can't you just hear them saying "cheeeeeese!!"?

The morning we left to go home, I wanted to sight see on the way back, so we stopped in Devil's Den State Park. It was in the mountains and you had to drive up and down a really, really windy road. I love just pulling off the road and stopping at places to see. It was really pretty and ended up being a semi-cold day. The trees and mountains were gorgeous!
This is Joshua's first official picture! I was a nervous wreck that he would drop the camera, but he did a great job!
My favorite of them...

We had such a great time seeing them and can't wait to go again soon!

10 Things That Bug Me

Kasey over at ALL THAT IS GOOD has a neat concept every Monday that is called "Friend Makin Mondays". It is about learning more about others out in the blog world and it is so fun! I started with 5 and ended with 10. I know, that doesn't look very good for me. At first I had very few, then as the day progressed, I kept thinking of more. Let me know if you agree with any of these...

1. Smacking while eating. Ugh, that just makes me not want to eat. Did their parents not teach them to eat with their mouth closed? For me, it isn't seeing the food, it is the sound.

2. Not saying thank you when someone holds a door open for you or, better yet, when someone does NOT hold the door open for you. I understand there is the time that they didn't know you were behind them, but you know when THEY know you are there behind them. I have been known to say to people that didn't say thank you, "you're welcome!". Come on people, it is so easy to say. Say it with me...THANK....YOU. Now wasn't that so easy?

3. Misuse of their/there/they're and your/you're. I have WAY too many friends that do that and it just gets under my skin.

4. Constant negativity. Now don't get me wrong, we all have days here and there where we are just flat-out not having a good day. I get that. But those that no matter what is going on in their life, good or bad, they complain and are constantly pointing out the negative. You can always find the bright side to things! I have some dear friends and family where every time you call them and ask how they are doing, they start it with "well....." You know where that is going. Try finding the positive!

5. Parents that ignore the pick up/drop off rules at schools. Every morning when I took Sammi to school, I just got so worked up before even parking my car because I knew I would witness several parents that just ignore the rules. The biggest were the ones that didn't wait in line to drop off their kids. Instead, they would pull into the parking lot and just let them get out there then go to the cross walk. We were told several times with letters sent home and at enrollment to not do that. And the ones that parked in the handicap spots at the front to let them out and drive off. At first I thought that maybe the parents were just running late. I was proven wrong quickly, they were constant repeat offenders.

6. Not commenting when reading my blog! I LOVE reading comments on my blog. I know so many friends that tell me they read it, reference it at times, and yet they never leave me a comment. You know who you are! For those that blog, comments is what keeps us going. We know people are actually reading it! So please, all of you loyal readers, leave me a comment!

7. Wet towels left on the bed or floor. Jason is guilty of this. Thankfully he doesn't do it often, but when he does, it just bugs me!

8. Parents that don't parent their kids. This could be a whole blog in itself. But you know what I mean without going too much into detail. Parents that are completely oblivious to their kids and their lives. You don't have to be a helicopter parent, but talk to them, be aware, pay attention! I still to this day can't get over when the details after the Columbine shootings came out. One of the shooter's parents said they remembered hearing glass breaking and noise in their garage. Why didn't they just walk out there to find out what was going on? They were making bombs! Or you hear about kids talking about getting drunk in their bedroom while their parents are in the other room. How do the parents not know what is going on? I couldn't have my bedroom door closed. At the time I didn't like it, but now as a parent, I understand why. Ok, I'll end this one now, as you can tell, I can go on and on about this.

9. Talking loud in movies. It is just so disruptive and makes it hard to concentrate on the movie. Same when the idiots that forget to put their cell phone on silent AND answer the phone!

10. People that cannot park. Those that either park completely crooked or have the tires on the line. Then the space over can't be parked in unless you drive a compact car. I was guilty of this when I got my new car. I was used to a smaller car. But when I got out of my car, I would either see how bad I parked. I can't be a hypocrite (oh, another thing that bugs me!) so I get back in and straighten up.

Now don't I sound like some whiny complainer? I seriously am not, but you sit and think about all of the things that bug you, you too could come up with a lot!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Traffic Observations

Yea, this is going to be a boring blog to some that never deal with traffic. A little over 8 months ago, I was one of those! Now I realize how completely spoiled, or lucky, to have lived close to my previous job. The only set backs I would have driving to work was a light out at an intersection or I got stuck behind a school bus driving in the back way to work. That was my biggest annoyance, or taking a short cut that had me go by Southlake Carrol High School and I had to drive the school zone limit. So slow! But I didn't like going that way because I would see what cars those kids drove to school that were WAY better than mine and it just flat out ticked me off. I don't care if that Porche was their dad's hand me down, it is still a Porche! Sorry, I digress...

So in my new world of driving to Dallas with some traffic (not a lot at 6 am!), I have observed some things that people do that irks me. *Disclaimer* I am by no means perfect and I am sure I have been guilty of some of these before, so now that I know how annoying they are, I am trying to make a point to not be a hypocrite!

1. Failure to use blinker. Do people forget it is there? It is a great invention that is put in your car for a reason! I can't tell you how many times, and this can happen while not in traffic, that I put my blinker on to change lanes, and a car 2 lanes over wants the same lane I am moving into, yet they don't use their blinker. How am I to know they want to move to the same place I want if they don't tell anyone with the blinker? This can cause car accidents!

2. Don't you all just get annoyed with the person that is trying so hard to get ahead of everyone by zig zagging lanes constantly? Nothing is more thrilling than passing them after they played Leap Frog across the highway and never got ahead. Just be patient! All that effort for nothing. Jason laughs at me and wonders why that annoys me so much. I don't know why either, it just does.

3. Why oh why must you stay in the fast lane after you see car after car that is behind you move to the right to pass you? Do they not see this? Use your rear view mirror once in awhile to see that people are behind you, driving faster than you, and you are holding them up! What cracks me up is when they do move over for you, then move back to the left lane. Um, didn't you take Driver's Ed and know that technically that is the passing lane? Get in the right lane and stay there. It's ok to have people drive faster than you, just leave the fast lanes to them! And don't get me started on the fools that drive UNDER the speed limit on the highway. Dangerous!

4. People that drive in a lane that is clearly marked EXIT ONLY and they take up that lane to the very last minute and get over, usually cutting someone off. Nice move. While us that actually DO need to exit have to wait on you to find a spot to move to.

5. If you see that the exit that is 1/8 miles away and you aren't in the far right lane, don't cut people off and cause near accidents by quickly turning your car to the right so that you don't miss the exit. Really, just go to the next exit and turn around! Or, better yet, don't put on your breaks to slow down to a dangerous speed until you can get over after other cars pass. Someone not paying attention could rear-end you!

Ok, I really feel better for getting these out. Sorry if I sound like some lunatic with severe road rage. I don't, but these things can be avoided! Just remember: you are not the only car on the highway!! Thank goodness for books I have on my iPod to listen to so that I am nice and calm while driving. :) I know most of you, my loyal readers, have experienced most or all of what I just described. Or am I the only one it seems to bother??