30 November 2009
When we got married, Anne & Fred gave us this awesome enamelware pitcher they got in Fredericksburg. Ever since, it's lived on our kitchen counter to hold our wooden spoons and other utensils. And every year when we go to Fredericksburg, I'm tempted to buy more pieces, but it's hard to justify that at Christmas time when we have the trip and so many other things to pay for. But that's the beauty of living on a budget--every paycheck, James and I each get what we call "blow money" (it's Dave Ramsey's idea, we're not that smart). It's money that we don't have to answer for, we can use it for whatever we want. We can save it up (that's how James got his awesome grill) or just waste it (that's how James got his new Little Rascals DVD set. Just kidding, boy-o!). The point is, I went to Fredericksburg this time with money to burn. It was the first time ever! I went to all of my favorite stores, but just couldn't get excited enough to buy anything. Until we went to the five and dime...and I saw the enamelware in the window. And I knew it was time. So I picked some of my favorite pieces to add to my collection, and 4 days later, I'm still smiling!
29 November 2009
This is one of my favorite weekends of the whole year, as we start going all out, getting ready for the month-long Christmas celebration. But this year I'm having a little trouble...I already miss our fall decorations. So here's my ode to fall--in expected and unexpected places. See you next year. :)
-- Posted from my iPhone
-- Posted from my iPhone
26 November 2009
20 November 2009
Yesterday morning was pretty crazy and hectic and just altogether...a lot like Wednesday--too MUCH like Wednesday. :) I did get to pop in to MOPS for a few minutes, and at every place setting, there was a very interesting bouquet. Later, I asked what they were for and Mitzie handed me a bouquet and a couple of pieces of paper as I walked out the door. When I had a minute, I read the papers. And smiled--because isn't this SO what I needed to hear right now? I know I've heard it before, but having the bouquet to go with it and continue to remind me...priceless! James' expression when he asked me, "uh, Girl, what's with the thorns in the jar?" was pretty priceless, too. I just told him to read it. So if you come over, just read it. :) And if you're not coming over, read this...
This is what I saw when I backed out of Lauren's driveway this morning after a quick visit. I brought coffee, she made homemade coffee cake...perfect pairing, and a great way to start my day. :) I couldn't resist snapping this picture--she assured me that they would move, but I was still very, very cautious driving out. I almost videoed this one calf who would NOT move from the path and then, once I edged him out, kept running and bucking beside my car. I was a little worried he'd jump the cattle guard and follow me home. Hee hee.
So it's Friday, and while I do have a ton of work and some stress there to work through, I am also pretty peaceful today. There's always going to be work and stress, but I don't have to stay all twisted up about it. Good advice, when you think on it. :)
18 November 2009
Remember in "Hope Floats" when Gena Rowlands tells Sandra Bullock she needs to "blow the stink off?" That exactly describes my mood this evening. I need to just quit talking to my poor boy, because he hasn't done anything to me and I don't have enough left in me after today to be patient with him. Or listen. Or not get grumpy when he complains about being tired--I'm the one who drove 4 hours today, worked 10 1/2 hours today, didn't get to see my kids, and oh yeah, slept less than 3 hours last night. Wah.
See? I'm a grouch, for reasons beyond James' control. I think I should just go to bed and start again in the morning. Tomorrow is going to be a GREAT day! Seriously, I've been looking forward to tomorrow all day long. I was at work today and I kept feeling like once my meeting was over, I could get in my car and head back to my "real life." I think that feeling is both a good and a bad thing...but that's another day.
I feel better already. I needed to whine some, so thanks for listening. I was in a good mood and ready to be home and face the chaos, but something happened that made me feel a little used and unsure of something (that sounds like the story line of a B movie, right?) that I'm not going to talk about here, but needless to say, after everything else today, it put me over the edge into the chapped zone. See, even that feels better.
Okay, I'm going to go hug my boy, apologize for being a grump, and find some protein. Good night, God bless...and thanks for helping me remember that I am blessed and grateful for the opportunities of today. And yup, I'm sooooo looking forward to tomorrow. I'm trying one of Jackie's recipes, so that should be fun. Hope it's recognizable after I get through with it!
17 November 2009
I meant to go to bed an hour ago, but my stomach had different ideas. I overdid it this weekend with the high-fat foods and my body is revolting. Hee hee. Sadly, it's true both ways. :)
Anyway, so I had some time on my hands and I put it to good use, finally putting away (well, stuffing in closets, etc.) our stuff from Philadelphia and some work stuff that was overtaking my table. And the receipts that I need to file. And some Christmas gifts that haven't found a home yet that were just hanging out on my desk. And Noble's new coat that we bought...and then came home to warm weather. You get the idea--our room became a dumping ground over the past few weeks and it was driving me crazy. I met James in the driveway today at 5:15 with a stack of tubs to take back to storage (we swapped our summer for fall clothes weeks ago...and yet the tubs somehow lingered in our room), along with Kayci's twin bed. It feels good to go to sleep knowing the kids room--all but the closet, but we'll get there--is clean and organized. Umm...strike that clean. I need to move all of her pictures and dust on top of her tall shelf, but again, I'll get there. So it's cleaner than it was and more organized, and I even talked her out of a couple of toys that don't do much but take up space. (Woo hoo!) Oh! And I'm especially proud of my newly clean and organized bathroom cabinet. I won't go into too much detail there, but we had expired medicine from 2007...looks like I missed more than a spring cleaning last year. Whoops!
All in all, I had a great day. That's just the stuff that happened during my "work" time. I met Heather for coffee this morning (well, my tummy called for tea, but it was great!), and after school I took my kiddos and the Headleys to story time at the library. And then we went to storage and grabbed Dominoes for dinner and worked together to move some things on the kids' walls and put away a few books...and then the kids went to bed and James and I watched a little HIMYM before he gave up and went to bed. And then I got a ton done in our bedroom, so it's ready for the big delivery on Thursday. (New QUEEN size mattress, guys...we're moving on up!) It's probably going to bug me that we haven't actually gotten the bed frame yet, but there's just not time between now and then. And that's okay. After we walked through the other house yesterday and I realized that we're where we're supposed to be, I was suddenly ready to get our house back together again. It's been a slow process this year, learning to work on a schedule and still balancing everything else that needs to happen and trying to be present as a Mommy and wife...but it's going well. I think, all things considered, we're doing great. It's a good feeling. James asked me at lunch time how my day was going. I was honest with him--I told him that I was really busy, but I wasn't earning any money today. He came right back and said that there's great value in what I'm doing. That made me smile--he gets it. And when he came home and thanked me for what I'd done today around the house, that made me smile, too. He could have ignored it, not even noticed it...but he noticed. And he took time to appreciate it, which means a lot.
Now, here's hoping I can get up when my alarm goes off and get myself off to work before Noble wakes up tomorrow morning...
As I sit here this morning, reeling a bit over how much cash I just laid down on a major purchase and crunching the budget numbers for this month and next again and again...I'm holding on, with both hands, to the feeling of peace and joy I've had so far about this holiday season. This time of year isn't about money--although so, so much is required, I'm afraid, for the memories we like to make--and it's not about work and all of those things. It's about being grateful and spending time with loved ones. So I'm going to get up from this computer and make a choice to recapture my peace. I'm going to let go of the stress in my shoulders and get on with my day.
This is me going...
16 November 2009
A friend invited me over for lunch today. While it's not unusual to spend time with this friend, the invitation intrigued me--a luncheon, no kids? So I went, fearing that she was going to tell us she was sick or something...you know how your mind goes. Anyway, before we blessed the food, she said to the ladies gathered around the table, it's Thanksgiving, and each of you have blessed me or impacted my life this year and this is my way of saying thank you for what you've done for me. WOW! Blew me away, that she was sooooooo thoughtful and so grateful. What's ironic is that the girl who did this, if everyone I knew in town were to have a lunch and invite someone who's done something for THEM this past year, this girl would be on most of the lists--she's a natural born giver, and is always calling me to see what I need, can she feed Sami for us when we're out of town, you name it. And after Mom & Dad's fire, and at the end when things were so tough, she was always there to help out. So really, I should be thanking her, not the other way around. It was cool, too, because two of the ladies at the table are also great friends of mine who are always there, always encouraging, always OFFERING. And the 4 of you who read this blog, you would totally be invited to my table if I were to take time to say thank you for being my friend, and for making my world a better place. Makes you think, doesn't it? I guess in one way, it makes me think that the little things I do add up and people do notice...but that's not why I do stuff. That's not why YOU do stuff, either. What it really made me think about was this: who would be at my lunch table? Hmm. I'd have to get a bigger house!
And speaking of...last week sometime, there was a knock at the back door. I opened it up and there was our neighbor. You know, THE neighbor I referred to in the scary Friday night post a few weeks ago. Naturally, after all that's occurred, they're moving out of the house and he thought we might be interested in renting it. Let me stop here--we/I LOVE this little green house. We LOVE the owner, Amy, and she is just the best-case renting scenario. She's awesome! We have no plans to move until we buy another house, which will be after we finish paying off our debt and save up the cash to do it right...so, a while. Lately, as much as I love this house and as happy as we are here, I've been feeling very cramped. It's a pain to have to get my work stuff out and then cram it all back in the closet before I go pick up the kids, blah blah blah. Wah, right? The kids' room feels like it's overflowing with books and clothes. The bathroom cabinet and kitchen pantry are both so disorganized...ugh. Basically, I didn't do my spring cleaning this year and I'm feeling the pain. And I'm really interested in my work right now so I want to be able to get it out, leave it out...I'm a creative. I need space to create. These two things are at war in my head--the house is, behind cabinet and closet doors, at least--getting messy. I don't have enough space to work the way I want to work (see, I know it's a want, not a need).
Wow, I digressed. Anyway, when he knocked on the door, James thanked him but turned him down nicely. But I thought about it and thought about it, and so I asked James if we could at least look. I had to ask him twice before he'd agree (of course, the second time I told him what I just told you, about needing space to work, which he understands better than anyone). Since then, it's been on my mind constantly. Like, even putting clothes away I've thought, well, I don't need to worry too much if we're about to move. Furniture shopping last week I thought, we can totally get a bigger bed if we move. Stuff like that...I've been imagining having my own dedicated office, and how I would decorate it. It's sad, but I've really been thinking about having more space and getting excited. Discounting, completely, the work and expense that would be involved in moving--these were fantasies, right? :) It's taken us a while to get it coordinated, but we just got back from walking through the house. And it's a cool house, in a lot of ways. Great yard, covered patio, garage, two fireplaces, two bathrooms, three bedrooms, two living rooms, bigger kitchen, huge dining room. It's more than double the house we have. And if you figure in what we pay in storage fees every month, about the same price. Tempting, right? Well, it was. Until I walked through and realized that the house we have now is our HOME. Sure, we want more space but we can totally live without it. It's not worth trading Amy the awesome owner to rent from an agent. It's not worth trading our laminate floors that James laid himself for some crazy indoor-outdoor carpeting someone thought was a great idea for a rent house, even if it's more than twice the floor space. It's not worth having a bigger kitchen...if it's not my kitchen. As crazy and small as it is, it's mine. I love this house. I love that it feels like home. It's not as pretty as some of my friends' homes, and it's not as big as anyone else's home. But it's home to us. We've been happy here, and we ARE happy here. We've actually lived here longer now than we've lived anywhere else our entire marriage. For a lot of reasons, these have been the happiest few years of our marriage and of Kayci's life. We've had great holiday gatherings here, a hurricane party that lasted two weeks, lots of dinners with friends, and tons of great everyday memories. Sitting here, I can see my Dad standing over the counter or the stove. I can see him sitting out on the deck, so proud after he had it pressure-washed and stained. I can see him pushing Kayci on her swing. I can hear him walking through the house with Sami at 3 AM, waking everyone up with his whistling as he headed outside to smoke. I could go on...but when I think of him here, I smile. I remember the last time he visited, how as he stepped across the threshold I thought, this may be the last time he ever comes to my house...and it was. But you know what else I remember about that visit? We made the PERFECT guacamole, and James and I have had it probably 50 times since then. It's that good. :) There's a lot that I love about this house--I love that it represents the place where James and I learned--and are learning--to eat healthy. I love that it's the place where Kayci will lose her first tooth. I love that her first day of school picture was taken outside in front of our red door. I love that each of the four of us has a place here, our own place but also places where we spend so much time together. Would we do that in a bigger house? I don't know. If Kayci had her own room and could go upstairs and watch TV by herself, would she? Probably. That's a bridge I'm just not ready to cross, yet.
So much on my mind today. But there's so much in my heart, as well.
Thank you, Lord, for this little green house and for the little life we live here. Thank you for showing me--before it was too late--that a bigger house isn't necessarily better. Thank you for my friends, and all they add to my life. Thank you for this beautiful day. And thank you for all of the memories, and that I'm able to remember the happy and sad times and be grateful.
11 November 2009
This happens so rarely, I just have to share...
I'm a horrible procrastinator. I kid myself--you know, I'm so busy I can only deal with one day at a time...but really, I just procrastinate. Always have--can't tell you how many times in high school and college I wrote papers the night before. All night, most of the time. So I'm an old pro at putting things off.
I'm the WORST when it comes to some of my writing gigs--if it's not something I'm writing for me, I tend to keep shuffling it to the bottom of the list. You know, I can't write now--too much on my mind. Can't write now, the house isn't quiet. Can't write now, I have this report I have to write...seriously, I'm gooood at this procrastinating.
But I'm very, very proud to report that I have a 2-project deadline tomorrow, and I have just completed BOTH projects. Woo hoo!
Hee hee. But I'm still me, so now I have to go finish the agenda for my meeting tomorrow...but hey, could be worse--I'll still be in bed by 10:30. That almost NEVER happens the day before a Region 4 deadline!
09 November 2009
So you know I had to quit meat again a while back. It's gone well--I've not been sick much at all, though there was the day after I ate that horrible Tastycake on Kayci's field trip and felt like I'd been kicked in the gut. Ugh. No Crisco-filled cakes, duly noted. But a strange thing happened this fall as I found myself having more and more "sick" days and gall-bladderish symptoms...I quit drinking my water and started drinking Cokes. A lot of Cokes--like, 2 or 3 a day. Which of course cancels out the healthier diet. And my poor teeth--not nearly as white as I'd like. (By the way, if you're just joining us: I had my gall bladder out in April of 2007...so really, should NOT be having gall bladder attacks anymore. You'd think. What works for me is to cut out meat, although a few grilled shrimp and light fish don't seem to hurt, and to cut down on fats.)
James and I have made a pact: starting today, with the exception of Mommy water (plain carbonated water that I love with Sonic ice & lemon), our life is a fizz-free zone. Not even...gasp!...beer. We're both quitting cokes and all things fizzy and calorie-laden. He's a man, so he'll decide today to quit cokes and by this evening his 6-pack will be reemerging. My motivation? Well, cutting out those calories is a big one. My other motivation? Over at Today's Housewife, they challenged us to make one small change this month, and to be purposeful in bringing about that change in our lives every day this month. I think that getting healthier is a huge change that I need to make, but since it's me, I need to take baby steps. Cutting out cokes is both a baby step and a huge step, so it just feels right for that to be "my change."
Wish me luck! It'll probably be fine until we have tacos or something else that I don't like to eat without a coke or beer...or, you know, until tonight when we sit down to watch "Mad Men" and I'd like a beer. Or, you know, until lunch when we run errands and I'd like a Sonic coke. Who am I kidding? It ain't gonna be easy. But it's way worth it, so I'm all in!
08 November 2009
Spot's bowl got pretty funky while we were gone, so Thursday I decided to take a few minutes and get him all cleaned up.
But we were out of water conditioner tablets, I discovered once I had everything in motion. I quickly weighed my options--I'd put Spot in the smallest amount of his dirty water I could stand to think of dumping back in the bowl, which meant I was hustling. I didn't think he could hang long enough for me to get to WalMart and back.
So I did it.
I put Spot into his clean bowl.
And Friday, we had a burial at sea. Well, we flushed him but I assured Kayci that, as Nemo said, all drains lead to the ocean.
She took it well. I, um, haven't told her yet about my possible role in the situation.
07 November 2009
So it's birthday week here in our family...GoGo and Angus this weekend, Nana & Dan this coming week, Reagan next Sunday. And in there is also the anniversary of Luke's (Carol's 2nd husband, who was Jame's stepdad when we dated and were first married) death. Which, sadly for Carol, will always be on the day before her birthday.
All of this is enough, every year, to make me crazy or reach for a brown bottle. With a long neck. Wink wink.
But this year, it's hard to really get into any of it, because the one (sorry, guys) that I most want to celebrate is conspicuously absent. A week from today is Dad's 66th Birthday. Last year he turned 65, and while we couldn't do what we wanted to do because of his health and treatments (rent a houseboat, a dream of his), we were able to celebrate BIG...with a surprise visit from Ronny, who told Dad that weekend that they were coming home early from Taiwan. Somewhere on one of the blogs, we posted a picture of me & my family taken that Saturday last year. I don't know when the last one was taken before that, maybe at my wedding, or if one was taken after. I don't think so. So it's a special picture, even though Dad looks well, sick, and we're all sitting on my couch that doubled as Dad's bed when he visited. Only I care about that, right?
More and more every day, it's getting hard to smile and push through, because every day there's something else I want to tell him or show him or run by him...every day he's not HERE. Ronny's planned a great weekend next weekend when we'll get together and eat Dad's gumbo and celebrate his life and birthday...but he won't be there, and I just don't know how to do it. I know we'll all get through it, one step at a time. We don't have a choice, right? I don't mean to be all poor us on Saturday morning, and I don't mean to take anything away from the people we ARE lucky enough to celebrate with this week. But that's what's on my mind, and in my heart. I want to spend time with my Dad, I want to celebrate him. I want to watch him open his birthday gifts and place bets on how long it will take him to spend $50 at Academy, $1 at a time. I want to watch him open the apple I know Kayci would wrap for him, and the unh-unhs we'd probably wrap up from Noble. I want him to hear Noble laugh, and hear Kayci talk about her Science Vocabulary test in first grade. I want to whine to him about how tired I am after our trip last week...and then tell him about all of the things we saw that made me think of him. I want to get him a new Grandpa's fishing team shirt that we forgot to buy after Noble's birth--how did we miss that? I want so much...normal. But for today, I'm remembering a year ago at the Bread Basket, seeing Ronny for the first time after a few months (the longest we'd been away from him since the Marines), Noble's snot bubble at breakfast, seeing Timmy & Emma...building Sami the craziest dog house ever. It was a good day. And that's enough, I just need to remember that. These are good days, too...there's just someone conspicuously absent. I'm grateful for the good days present and past, and that's what I try to focus on. But somedays I let my mind go and remember and wish, and this is what I think about.
06 November 2009
This is a picture I snapped as we flew into Houston Tuesday night. I know that I wasn't born in Houston, and we've lived in Brenham for 3 1/2 years now (really!), but Houston, for whatever reason, is still HOME. So when we saw Downtown, it was like, ahh...home. Of course, getting home from vacation is always a great feeling...until you GET home. Then the suitcases come in, the house gets trashed, real life comes crashing back...and all of the peace and serenity from vacation? Gone. And when you bring home sickly kiddos? Ha. So there's my gripe--it's been a bit of a rough re-entry here this week. But right this second, I'm sitting in a mostly clean house, laundry's half-done, and I've got 4 hours to bang out some work (work this week has been accomplished in small increments, but I'll take it!). It ought to be a great weekend, and I'm looking forward to both great family time and some DOWN time on Sunday. Well, I hope, anyway! Perhaps, as we talked about yesterday, I should quit freakin' making plans. I made plans for yesterday and sent Noble off to school...only to find out that a friend was having a major crisis and my day's plans would need to change. And then change again. And that's okay, because it's all going to work out in the end. We had Kayci's first Girl Scout meeting here last night, and that was lots of fun...we've been blessed with 7 great girls and some awesome parents. So that's fun! I need to quit babbling and get to work...hope you all are going to have a great weekend!!!
04 November 2009
I don't know what I was thinking, really, making plans for today. After traveling for several days with kids, no less, the nerve of me to make plans to work today. In Houston, no less.
Have no fear, though, as my plans quickly gave way to THE plan this morning when it was apparent that Noble wasn't going anywhere today. He and I ran some errands (it was fun, you can imagine) after dropping Kayci at school, and he's actually slept most of the day which means I did get some work done. Of course, now he's in his bed yelling "my Mom Mom, my Mom Mom..." because he's too tired to go to sleep. I put him in his bed and came and sat down for a second to see if it would work...so I could work for a while before sweet Paula drops Kayci off at home. (Thanks, Paula--so glad to skip car line today with the fussy one!)
Ah, but you see, there I went again, making plans. I thought I'd be able to put Noble down for a nap and get a couple hours of work in between James' departure and Kayci's arrival. But alas, it wasn't meant to be. Guess I'd better go rescue Bubby before he decides I've forsaken him. I know, I know...a sick baby means drop everything.
But I had plans....
02 November 2009
It's G-rated as Kayci is the photographer (right?!)...I wonder if she'll remember this morning whenever she sees this LOVE statue/logo from now on? :) I hope so. One of the many things I hope to teach her is that life's most fun when you marry your best friend--but I want her to know, too, in an age-appropriate way, that Daddy and I looooooooove each other, as well. This parenting thing--it's hard to balance it all, no? But we muddle through as best we can and make the most of the moments we're given.