Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Recap

Found this idea over at Rachel's and wanted to see how mine would turn out!

The first sentence from the first entry of each month for 2007:

01/01/07: So many times I say that and I wonder what I really mean. (talk about a way to set off the year, maybe The Secret really is onto something from all I've heard about it)

02/01/07: We woke up this morning to Shawners in Brando's sleeping spot with legs and arms spread out.

03/01/07: Austin has an event called first thursday (yes, with no capitals) every first Thursday of the month on South Congress aka SoCo where all the local artists and musicians get together and display their wares and talents.

04/01/07: My parents had a business trip in Houston last week so we drove out Wednesday evening to have dinner with them and play at the Downtown Aquarium.

05/01/07: Next year plan Justinbustin's birthday party at the end of May when five million events are not going on.

06/02/07: Sitting here after a full day of a leadership meeting this morning, a baby shower later in the morning until the early afternoon, taking flowers to a friend who's Dad died last week (I bawled when I found out, I can't imagine her pain right now) in the afternoon, a full three hours at the pool later in the afternoon, studying for an hour and a half in the evening and finally crashing at home with a twelve pack of beer and a bottle of wine - neither of which we've cracked open yet.

07/01/07: Holy crap!

08/06/07: And that's why it's called Six Flags, Shawners says.

09/03/07: Wow we've had an awesome weekend!

10/02/07: Over the past several weeks something really really wonderful has come out of all this misery and financial hardship.

11/09/07: So we just found out though we fly out Saturday, Brando can't come out until Tuesday so he will miss two days of Disneyland : ( .

12/04/07: Tonight the boys and I put up Christmas decorations all over the house.

Oh my gosh that was so much fun to go back and see all those posts! You should try it, and then link back to it in my comments so I can go read it : ) !

Friday, December 28, 2007

Oh the Deals, the Steals, the *Stars* in my Eyes!


After Christmas shopping is a shopper's heaven. At least MY kind of shopper's heaven. Last night while doodling around online I discovered Bath and Body Works is having a $3 Signature Body Cream sale. Yay! I went and stocked up on body lotion for others... and for me. Then I discovered their 75% off section and scored this year's birthday gifts for the year for all my girlies for under thirty-five TOTAL. I actually texted Brando, "Agh! Get me out of here. So much good stuff I normally could never buy!" I just looked online and they only have the items I bought listed as half off. I'm so excited!!! Wheeee!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Our Embarrassingly Large Amount of Credit Card Debt

Originally posted Monday, November 13, 2006.

Inspired by Courtney.

Credit card debt $20,000.

Okay due to popular demand (ha) I’m taking off the house and car debt. We still want to get rid of the car debt but credit card debt was the start of this. I’m putting a link to this in my sidebar because I don’t know how to just put it in there. The point of this is to help motivate us into getting rid of it! Well we’re working on it before this, but this might be a good accountability tool.

Update May 2008: Somehow between the time I posted this and the time we actually started paying off our debt, our debt grew to $43k. Since then we have sold our rental house in Marble Falls and paid off half that so we are back down to our $20k debt. Not sure if that's an accomplishment or not, but it certainly has helped our bottom line: we are down from $3000/month over our heads to only $350/month over our heads (oh and both those totals do include the car debt so that is a $10k difference).

Update August 2010: We have been blessed beyond belief and our debt is gone. I cannot wait to start saving at some point in the future. In the meantime, we are hoping to just resist the temptation to use our credit cards, with some pretty darn big motivation not to.

Where to Easily Find Fun New Blog Reads

There are so many times I sit down to read blogs when I have a free moment and it turns out none of my regular blog reads have the same free moment! I'm always searching for ways to find new blogs to read in these moments which give me the opportune time to invest my precious blog reading time into a potential new read. I thought I'd list the most recent ways I've found along with tried and true ways I've found in the past.

One of the most FUN and productive ways I found was Twenty Something Bloggers. I've been looking for a way to find other twenty year old bloggers. Others who are in our stage of life and soul searching the exact same way so many of us are. Twenty Something Bloggers is the PERFECT place to find such like-minded people who have their own unique and fascinating path of life!

Some of my favorite newfound reads from 20Somethings include: Lava Rocks / Il Mare: a girl who loves to travel - a girl after my own heart, Acquired Taste: super organized poster, loves wine and shoes, need I say anything more?, Gooseberried: hilarious, satirical, sarcastic, Simple and Loveable: a brainy computer tech girl who just finished up her degree after a few years of it being almost done, and The Verbal Toilet Bowl: in the middle of working on her medical degree.

Teamsugar is SO much fun, and always has tons of reading material on fashion, food, beautyfitness, and almost anything else girlie you can imagine. There's a way to blog in teamsugar, but I wish there was an option to put in your blog url in plain visible site. I've found a couple regular posters there that I enjoy reading, but not so much in the way of personal blogs. One fun new personal read I just picked up from there is Fashion Toast: this girl has some major style and is extremely capable of pulling together outfits from completely random and fun sources.

Yvestown is the perfect place to find all blogs artsy and crafty in a girlie kind of way. I've found numerous blogs that are incredibly pretty to read through her. Some of my favorites are: Anknel and Burblets: she crafts beautiful and gorgeous crafts of all kinds, Happy Loves Rosie and her hubby Fredsworld: her and her hubby have way too much fun decorating their house, the result being lots of pretty pictures to look at, and Little Doll Face: Little Doll Face and her boyfriend are absolutely adorable, as is everything she thinks of to post about.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My Christmas Present to Myself

My skin has had the hell beat out of it this summer. I've been stressed out so I have been breaking out like mad, then I don't leave it alone. The combination has wreaked havoc on my skin.  On top of that I've had no money so my face has had absolutely no products used on it and (gasp!) body soap to wash with. With my Christmas money I decided to give myself a little present: a skincare routine. With help from S, I found some things from my favorite skincare line, Dr. Hauschka, including a cleansing creme, clarifying toner, facial steam bath, revitalizing mask, and eye creme, that will hopefully get my skin on the mend.

Now that I've gone from one drastic side of using nothing to another of using everything, I'm curious. What do you use for your face routine, or do you have one?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Oooh Christmas!


It's the most wonderful day of the year! So it has been today. Woke up this morning to the boys bringing in their stockings and opening them on our bed. Brando and I opened ours afterwards - mine was filled with underwear as it is every year (because I never buy underwear for myself and Brando picks out the cutest ones), only this time each pair had jewelry wrapped up in it! I made out with tons of fun new jewelry! Oh, yes, and Santa brought us each a ticket to see Water Horse this afternoon.
Our tree was so flooded with presents this year we didn't even bring out the batch from Brando and I for the boys until this morning and decided to pace the opening for the day. So after stockings and a few presents we had our french crepes with blackberry jam, fresh blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, powdered sugar and whipped creme for breakfast. Then opened a few more presents, got dressed to go and see Water Horse (which was FABULOUS, but INTENSE for a kids' movie - I walked away feeling a little stressed from all the intensity!). After the movie we came home and opened a few more presents and stuck the brown sugar ham in the oven. Which was a total fire hazard (don't try this at home) because we then changed clothes real quick to go take photos on top of the cliffs near the 360 bridge. We took both of our cars and loaded Brownie up in one of them so she could get in on the family photos.
After our photo shoot with a gorgeous view we were more than ready for Christmas dinner. We got home and the boys opened more gifts while we put the garnet yam souffle in the oven and put the french green beans in the steamer. Brando and I finally sat down to open some of our presents and watch the boys (finally) open the rest of their presents. I made out with a gorgeous nightie from Free People, cash, Ferrero Rocher's (my FAVORITE), Williams-Sonoma Peppermint Bark, two pairs of beautiful dangly earrings, and a gorgeous diamond necklace form Stephan's. Totally made out like a bandit this year! Brando got a gorgeous brand new Canon camera, a digital photo frame (you're right Courtney, TOTALLY fun gift! Unfortunately I wasn't the one who got it for him), a set of handblown shot glasses from me, a dress shirt, and a few ties.

Christmas dinner was absolutely delicious with sparkling apple cider and hawaiian sweet bread. Now I must run and help with the mass clean up of new toys and putting of little children to bed!

Merry Merry Christmas!

The lights are shining on the Christmas tree, the chocolate chip cookies are set out for Santa with a glass of milk and a note handwritten from Justinbustin that says "Merry Christmas Santa Claus From: J, S, R, B, & Brownie" and a snowman drawn by Shawners, the stockings are  hung on the column between our living room and dining room, the boys are sound asleep in their beds, hoping to wake up to see Santa, who is coming soon. Justinbustin says, "Wouldn't that be cool if we saw Santa?" Shawners replies, "That would be SO cool. We could sit on his lap!"

We had a wonderful evening eating Dutch Pancakes with wild blueberry preserves and drinking hot apple cider mixed with wine with my sister's family at her house before we exchanged Christmas gifts. We played the game where one person gets a present and then picks the next present to open. Shawners was so cute as he took over the role of facilitator. As soon as someone would open their gift he would say, "Pick another one!"

GFF's post reminded me that normally I get matching family pajamas for everyone, or at the very least pj's. This year it slipped by me. That's okay, the boys and Brando have newish pajamas and next year I will once again get pajamas. I continued the tradition of getting each of them an ornament to symbolize something they did that was important to them this year, though. This year their most memorable ornaments are for Justinbustin a Yo Ho Ho Mickey Mouse pirate ornament (because he loved the Pirates of the Carribbbean ride) from Disneyland and for Shawners a Stitch ornament that flips from Nice to Naughty (because he loved talking to Stitch about his birthday) from Disneyland as well.

Tomorrow I am making french crepes in the morning and traditional brown sugar ham, french green beans, and sweet potatoes for Christmas dinner. We'll be opening presents throughout the day to break it up and enjoy each one.

Wishing you all a wonderful, merry Christmas with your loved ones and all your favorite memories!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Fun Week

This week has been full of fun playdates and catching up on my social life! Monday Justinbustin had a friend over, Tuesday the kids and I went to IKEA with a friend of mine - we dropped them off in the kid care and had an hour of kid free shopping where I got some fun stuff, Wednesday Shawners had his first playdate ever (SO cute!), Thursday Shawner's classmate had a Spiderman/Star Wars party (not a birthday party, just a... party) where all the little kids dressed up as a Star Wars guy or Spiderman guy (Shawners went as Spiderman). His classmate's older sister asked the older siblings to help make sandwiches for the homeless, after the party we drove around to different people on street corners and handed out brown bag lunches. Then later in the day I met up with Kels at Target and we shopped for Christmas gifts, then went to Starbucks for coffee and to exchange Christmas gifts before she takes off for the holidays. Today I chilled with my girlfriend, Li, who I haven't seen in forEVER - she's a teacher and had her first day of Christmas break today before she took off to go visit family tonight. We had lunch together, shopped at the mall, ran errands, and exchanged Christmas gifts (Bath and Body Works Brown Sugar & Fig body spray, Tuberose Body Wash, Choxie chocolate, and Liplicious Pink Grapefruit lip plumper for me! so fun!). What a fun day with her and SO needed! This evening the boys and I, a friend of Justinbustin's, and a friend of mine went to the Austin Trail of Lights. SO much fun spinning under the huge lighted Christmas tree. I couldn't do it more than once or I felt sick. Until I figured out I could hold onto Shawner's hands and spin and we would sort of balance each other out. So then I conned my friend into holding hands with me and spinning and we ended up balancing each other out. I must've started a trend because we weren't the only ones spinning that way when we stopped. The trail of lights itself was eh. There was a lot of wooden figures and statues and not so much Christmas lights. But the kettle korn and Christmas tree and company made it so much fun! It was neat seeing all the different displays. I've loved the social part of this week so much, and on top of that the RELAXing part of this week! It almost feels like when my kids were little and we were home together all the time, only better. Much better.
Eeeee!! I just got an invitation to hang out tomorrow night with the same friend I went to the Trail of Lights with tonight.
Some of my sweet gifts from Li and her sis:

Friday, December 21, 2007


Last night SUCKED. Talked to Brando on the phone, he misunderstood me, hung up on me, and sent me a series of NASTY texts. He was working that night so I took the kids down to hang out with my sister and a friend. We put the kids in sleeping bags watching Underdog and left them with her hubby and took off to the Palmer Events center for a christmas event until midnight. Got back and the kids were still up, so I laid down with them for an hour before I realized there was no way I was going to get any sleep in that house. So I packed the kids up and came home at 2am. Fun times. I argued all the way home with Brando on the phone as he'd just got home from his second job. I ended up calling my sister just before I got home and telling her we were going to kill each other. She told me it didn't have to be all or nothing and that I didn't have to solve every problem today. That was nice to hear. I got home and ignored him, doing the things I would normally do if I was home alone. And he apologizes!! Well today is better. I'm off to hang out with one of my girlies before she takes off for Christmas vacation!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Depression Recipes

Well I can tell when my depression started this year by my reviews on Allrecipes. My usage of allrecipes is akin to a religion and I review everything religiously (mostly for my benefit so I can find the darn recipe later and remember how I made it). I've read before that when you're depressed you stop enjoying what you normally do. I always thought that was bull because sometimes I would feel SO depressed but still enjoy everything I normally do! Then this summer I completely lost the joy of cooking. Hated it, frankly. And decorating. And being a mom. Well some of that is starting to come back now that our financial situation is starting to right itself (okay, fine, we're righting it). I'm starting to enjoy cooking again (still working on the other stuff) and just entered my first allrecipe review since January. The longest I'd gone between reviews before that was 3 months at most, and only because I was probably too busy or enjoying my favorite magazine Bon Appetit. Which means I was depressed for at least six months before realizing it and two or three months after. Thank goodness I am on the road to recovery now. Once I realized it was actually a sickness and not ME, I realized there was things that could be done to come out of it - or go see a doctor if I needed to. Fortunately my sister is incredibly encouraging and supportive and between her and her mother-in-law supporting me and me telling Brando that I really need his support right now, I am healing. Doesn't mean I'm all better each day, but most days I am better.

Rough Day

Woke up this morning knowing I had to throw the house together before Shawners had a little friend over. Got to about half an hour before he was to arrive. Things were in order and I was just about to blow dry my hair. Enter Brownie sh*t all over my living room. The thing is I KNEW she had to go, I was just getting dressed to take her out. I'm not exaggerating when I say I cried for the next forty-five minutes while I cleaned it up. I hate dogs. Okay, I don't hate dogs, but I hate the stress they create.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stockings are hung by the chimney with care

Or on shelf pegs in the boys room. Whatever. Santa's coming in the front door this year. According to Shawners he is!

We had a lazy day today. Woke up late and went out for lunch. Then drove through the new Hill Country Galleria and enjoyed the non-existent Christmas crowds due to it's out of town location. We stopped to check out the toy shoppe and watch Enchantment at the theatre. Out to dinner and back home where we unpacked presents shipped from Opa & Gma Terry and put them under the tree, which is now well flooded with presents.

(my) Kid in a toy store
Playing in the toy store (that was a good deal for that table)
The Hill Country Galleria (I wish I had gotten a picture of the front of my super cute outfit without the jacket!)
Our Christmas tree this year decorated (mostly) by the boys!! Didn't they do fabulous?!

Another fabulous Christmas light spot near our house: the Twas' the Night Before Christmas street. You can see the signs spread throughout that each hold a part of the poem to read.

8 days til' Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2007


Why is it any time we decide to go do something it's sold out? Or why is it I always find out about something just before it happens? And why is it I feel like I "just" missed the deadline or just missed the point that I could do anything? Why is it that when I miss out on the 'group activities' I feel like I am creating an empty shell of memories for my children? Cub scouts has fallen by the wayside for Justinbustin this year and he can never recapture those memories. I am so disappointed in myself for not following through on that.

Thus was the rabbit trail leading to this... Sometimes I feel like I am single mothering it around here. Brando keeps telling me I don't "need" to work, I don't "need" to work (this is his response to my venting about frustration about not being able to keep the house together while doing my own school, working, and homeschooling the boys), but if I don't work he's gone more and more and more and more. What kind of life and what kind of memories is that for our boys, never mind me? It hurts so much every time he tells me I don't need to work, it feels like a slap across the face, because it feels like he's saying he doesn't want to be with us. I don't know if you've ever heard of the book the Five Love Languages. It describes how each of us has a different way of feeling loved and giving love. My way of feeling loved is quality time. When I don't get that my world crumbles. For someone to say they would rather be away from me all the time, rather than us both making the money while we're away from each other any way and the kids are in school, cuts me to the core. When I vent about not being able to keep the house together all I want to hear is an, "I understand." and maybe a helping hand the few seconds he's home when I'm in the middle of doing something any way, not a "You're being selfish and only thinking of yourself by working, after all you don't need to work."  I thought I found hope, but maybe hopelessness has captured me.

Can you tell I am home today?

Justinbustin has a 103 fever. He's been laying down all morning saying his stomach hurts, but I didn't realize he had a fever. He had one Wednesday and threw up all night, but Thursday he was fine and went to his Christmas party at school. So today when he said his stomach hurt I didn't imagine he could have a fever again. Turns out he does. Now he's dosed up with Motrin, pedialyte popsicles, and a lukewarm bath. Prayerfully that helps. Otherwise it's to the emergency room we go.

I hate printers

I hate printers with a passion. My old one was hated. But this new printer I REALLY hate. The damn thing has six, count 'em one-two-three-four-five-six, ink cartridges. I mean, c'mon, who REALLY has six freakin' ink cartridges. It's been out of commission because of guess-what lack of ink and the kids and I missed a school day,  our school day relies on being able to print out materials and the days worth of school. It doesn't want to print when it's out of one because God forbid we should use other ink until the one which is out gets replaced. The "health of the printer could be damaged" if that was the case or so the little screen tells me. So we got the black ink it wanted. Before the black it was yellow ink it wanted. Now it's out of another kind of ink. Light magenta this time. Fortunately it still has barely enough to keep printing for the moment.

On top of that now it has a paper jam. Whereby I ripped the paper out of the place you can lift up to replace the ink because silly me forgot you can also take the back out and rip the paper out that way. I miss my old less-hated printer. If this one worked even TWICE in a row without some low ink or otherwise mishap requiring me to press the "OK I know you're a moron printer, you're fixed, now PRINT" button on it every single time, it would actually be kind of nice. It's a copier, a fax machine, a scanner, AND it prints, after above said requirements.

How I Can Tell my Neighbors Got a New Dog

(besides the incessant barking) Their wooden-look blinds on their French doors are destroyed at the bottom. I almost laughed at the irony of getting a new dog in these apartments means having that particular part of your apartment destroyed, no matter what else is in your house. I'm sure there's a pulled up carpet corner or edge in there somewhere too. Welcome to dog-ownership in these apartments.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A connection?

Looking back through old pictures I noticed my house went from disaster area to beautiful retreat and my personal style followed the same pattern. I feel a mess as far as any sort of style goes lately - maybe it's because my house is so out of order right now? I WISH SO BAD I could kick the kids out into a backyard so they could STOP DESTROYING my house for two damn seconds. That would give me the motivation I need to get back into decorating and keeping my house. Every time I get one area done, another explodes. By the time I make the entire round the area I first started with has already exploded.

As I speak my child is banging his skateboard against the chest my brother handbuilt for us. "Go outside and PLAY child! ...On the sidewalk that has a bush and a fence two feet from it on one side and three story high apartments on the other side, with infrequent patches of grass covered in dog poop... Oh never mind, I feel sorry for you, just stay and play inside with your skateboard and dent my refrigerator and handbuilt chest and see if you can mark up the wood floors while you're at it. Then when you're bored with that pull out your Legos and cover the floor of your bedroom with them. While you're at it see if you can draw a bunch of sweet pictures that I adore and in the meantime cover my entire living room, kitchen island, and dining room with little pieces of cut up paper, pencils, and more paper. Then next time you want to play, just pile it on top of what you've already done, as it'll be two seconds any way from whatever you were just playing with before." See what I mean?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Huge weight lifted off my shoulders

My second math class is finished. Finisio. Done. Nada. Zip. No more. For this one, any way. I took my final Monday night and immediately felt a HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders. Maybe I will start to get some of my social life back in the next few weeks with the kids and I both on break from school. If you haven't noticed I haven't had much of a social life in the past four months. Thank God for out of town visitors (A and Laura : ), our trip to Disneyland, birthday parties (where I soak up the socialization with other moms), peers, and people who come over at 11pm on Friday nights and stay til' 3am. BUT I've made dinner plans for this Friday night with a good couple friend of ours, and even though Brando ended up having to work, we're still going to find some fun Christmas event to go to and make a night out of it. So excited!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Decorating the Christmas Tree

While watching Daddy up on the step stool lighting the top of the tree Shawners says, "You could be a Grandpa when you're up that high". Mommy asks, "Because Grandpa's are that tall?" Shawners confirmed this could be the case.

I'm so proud of myself tonight~! The boys decorated the Christmas tree without me getting irritated even once! Normally they help decorate the tree, but usually there will be a point when I don't WANT all the ornaments bunched into one spot, or I don't WANT each ornament at the very end of the branches, and I let it be known. Well tonight I determined I wouldn't get irritated. Brandon must've taken a clue too because he gave up his normal tradition of putting on the lights to Justinbustin, who did a beautiful job. Both the boys and I (and Brando a little - he helped with the ornaments that were his when he was a kid) decorated the tree, with the boys doing the majority. There was once or twice I started to let them know where that ornament would go perfect, and when they balked, I told myself - does it really matter where that specific ornament goes. And you know what? They did an absolutely beautiful job. Each ornament is perfectly spaced all over and inside the tree. The lights are dispersed throughout lighting up different ornaments just right. It's the most perfect tree we've ever had. And I haven't even put the normal color coordinated ornaments on it that I normally do. I just might skip that this year.

There is one thing I must point out... Shawners likes to put ornaments at the very bottom of the tree where they are no longer in the tree but are suspended in air beneath the tree. So we have a "Shawners line" at the bottom of our tree, that is absolutely precious and enchanting all at the same time.

PS My previous post about Christmas decorations was about around the house decorations. After I reread it I realized it sounded like it was about Christmas decorations on my tree!! It wasn't! This is about the tree... hehe

Saturday, December 08, 2007

thanks katie!

After reading Katie's post on hairdryers I went on a googling spree on the Sedu hairdryer. I ended up finding a website with tons of positive reviews for the Sedu and how it makes frizzy hair turn back into healthy, silky, and shiny hair and started to feel hope for my frizzed out, can't-recognize-my-natural-color-anymore 'cause it's so burnt and split ended hair. Now I know what's on my Christmas wish list.

Many of the reviewers for the Sedu seemed to use their Sedu on the medium setting, so when I went to blow dry my hair with my regular blowdryer today I used the medium setting as I once used to back when I was patient with my hair. I have been using the high heat setting for a good three months now, once I figured out how quickly it dried my hair. It didn't even occur to me how much it was damaging my hair in the meantime. I actually didn't even realize it was due to the hairdryer until today - I thought it was all the straightening I do! Fortunately after using even my regular hairdryer once on the medium setting, my hair is almost recognizable again as the shiny sleek, smooth, pretty color it once was. Yay! Yay for reviews for high end hairdryers that I will have someday and yay for discovering medium heat settings on not so high end hairdryers that at least don't burn my hair and split the ends.

This is why I never talk on the phone during the day

I have done nothing this morning but yap. Yesterday I skipped the boys' homeschool work to study for my math final coming up on Monday. Today I was going to try and make it up while Brando is working and so we don't have to do it next week. Instead I spent the last three hours on the phone. With a friend who really needed it, so I'm not sad for her sake, but dang if I can't get anything done while I am on the phone! That's not entirely true as I did paint my toenails and later made and serve lunch, but not any of the things I really needed to get done today. I.e. my explosion of a house so when my hubbers IS home this weekend we can actually enjoy it, and the homeschool work. Thanks to my sister's recommendation my voicemail now says, "If you're hearing this message I am either homeschooling my children or working for my sister's company. Please leave a message and I will call you on my lunch break." That was after hearing me vent that my other sister and mil take it personally when I don't answer the phone. That's helped during the week, but man I wish I had more time to talk with those who are in crisis mode right now. I just feel like every ounce is taken out of me already, I squeeze anymore out and I have nothing left for what (still) needs to be done.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Christmas Snowfall

Tonight the boys and I put up Christmas decorations all over the house. Let it Snow, Winter Wonderland, Silver and Gold, and Rudolph the red-nosed Reindeer playing in the background. The tiny Christmas tree decorated with Department 59 red, green, and gold glass balls with Monkey hooking the ornaments on the tree and Ducky hanging them with Mommy counting off the branches, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5" to decide where we might hang the next one. Christmas town square with the the tiny church, city hall, fire station, court house, and lighthouse, that the boys arranged solely on their own with only the elevation provided by Mommy. A picture of Monkey as a one year old sitting in Santa's lap with his red shirt, khaki pants, and tiny feet in red socks, framed in a wooden frame with bright red mittens hanging off hooks strung across the top. The frame Ducky created last year at Home Depot with Christmas stickers covering inch and a picture of Grandma and him in the left frame, and a picture of Oma and him in the right frame. All three of the Santa fairies: the velvet blue robe Santa fairy with shiny gold stars and gilded gold wings clutching a toy soldier for the next child he visits, the winter white Santa fairy with threaded gold ringing his shiny gold bell announcing Christmas to all, the not so Santa fairy straight and tall straight from the deep woods with his fur lined deep red coat and fresh Christmas pine needle wreath to hang on his winter cabin door. Nutcrackers lined up ready to crack nuts, or look fierce enough to make anyone believe they could. Advent calendars filled with chocolate surprises, each day with a different chocolate as delightful as snow on Christmas morning to a little one's eyes. While the boys are asleep, setting up a Christmas village in the boys' room: the tiny toy shop, the carousel gift shop, and the collectible stamp store to surprise them when they wake up in the morning. I love Christmas. My favorite part is the boys' delight that they get to help Mommy "make Christmas".

Music inspires me to blog.
Tonight it's The Music Box by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Lights

The boys and I drove around to check out Christmas lights after dropping a friend of Justinbustin's after a playdate. We hit the mother lode and found this house:

There's a cute little seal balancing a ball on his nose who is in the lower left hand corner of the picture, a waterfall coming off the house, an ice skating santa, Rudolph, and way too much more to list. The lights on the trees light up in sync with the music on a radio station they have. We had SO much fun!

Santa Funnies

Sara's recent post about Santa got me thinking about some cute Santa things Shawners said recently. When he saw our favorite Santa at the mall, "That's not the real Santa. He's not fat enough." And when he saw another Santa in a preview for a movie, "He's not Santa. His beard isn't long enough."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Six Degrees of Separation... or Three

It continuosly amazes me what a small world we live in which the blog world continues to make even smaller. When Laura got here we found out her aunt and uncle go to my church and her nephew is in Justinbustin's Sunday School class. How small does that get?! Another example, last week when we took off from the airport we ran into a girl who was also heading to Disneyland and discovered she also teaches at a school just down the road from me. Guess who was sitting across from me in tutoring lab tonight? Yup. It was her. It just makes me think about the possibility of knowing a close friend I haven't yet met through the person sitting directly across from me. I love this small world God's created and I've always looked forward to meeting as many people in my small circle as I can - things like this excite me even more.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Blogging Moves On

How cute is this? Justinbustin asked me how to start a blog yesterday. We started one for him this morning called "monkeybunky" (because it's a nickname of mine for him, and I didn't want to bother trying the fifty other more common names he was coming up with). He's been working all morning on a Star Wars post, complete with battle scenes acted out by Lego star wars figures he's built (pictures to be uploaded when Mommy has time). Check it out at monkeybunky . blogspot . com . Shawner's to be coming soon!

Oh, and as for my previous post Brandon totally forgot about our anniversary as well until I texted him "Happy Anniversary by the way! I love you." from class. I'll pass along the sweet credit any way Court : ) . And the comments about him knowing what I like. Thanks for the sweet anniversary wishes all!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy Anniversary to...

Us! We've been married 7 years today. I totally forgot until I got to class tonight and looked at my calendar to write down the homework assignments and saw the "Our Anniversary <3". Ha. Both of us completely forgot, and I'm not even sure Brando's remembered yet as he's working tonight! I guess this is what happens after 7 years. Hehe.

He came home with chocolate, my favorite: Rochers, Raspberry Lindt, and Orange Lindt, a sweet card, and my favorite kind of candle: vanilla in a jar (that I can just burn and burn and burn). Sooo sweet! I felt bad for not getting him anything and was very glad he did get me something ; ) !

Girl Time

Oh my gosh, Laura and I had soooo much fun on Sunday when we got together! We got in from Disneyland on Friday, and Laura had been here visiting her family the whole week. We had made plans to get together Sunday to go ice skating, and she called Saturday night to see if I wanted to go to Broken Spoke and experience down home Texas country with her. However, it was Shawn's birthday, and on top of that I was exhausted from the trip. I was sooooo sad I had to turn her down, especially since I didn't think we would have any time for girlie time the next day.

Turns out her family goes to my church so we met up after church and ate at Austin's brand new BJ's Brewery in honor of my cuz, who Laura spent time with in San Diego last year after I hooked the two of them up when I heard Laura was going to be in SD. BJ's has my cousin's absolute favorite dessert, the pazookie. We sacrilegiously didn't have a pazookie because we were way too full from the Turkey Cobb sandwich and Blackened Chicken pizza we shared. Shawn got one for his birthday with a candle in it and finished nearly the entire thing himself, so we figured that was good enough.

Afterwards we went ice skating on top of Whole Foods, which has now become a yearly family tradition for us. It was SO fun to have Laura there this year!! It was 40 degrees outside and we were all bundled up. Shawners learned to ice skate! Previously he used the two blade ice skates that fit over his shoes. This time he used the one blade ice skates with no shoes and learned to skate all by himself! It was absolutely the cutest thing ever! It's an amazing freeing feeling ice skating on top of a building in the middle of downtown Austin.

Next we warmed up with hot chocolate and toured the Whole Foods headquarters. We got a yummy fruit tarte, which we took to Mt. Bonnell and ate after we climbed to the top to see the gorgeous view and take a ton of fun pictures. Pictures, which are on Laura's camera, because I completely forgot mine!! Bummer. We ended up getting some really cute ones on hers, thanks to Brando. It was so neat to see the town I live in through the eyes of someone who loves Austin but doesn't get to visit that often, and is so appreciative of all the beauty we have here.

After Mt. Bonnell Laura and I dropped the kids and Brando off at home so we could have a girlie night. We headed to the famous Salt Lick first (oh soooo yummy bbq) out in the middle of nowhere and got lost on the way. Later Laura googled a place to listen to music on Sunday night and found The Continental Club. We headed there, a little wary of what we would find. Turns out it was the place to be on Sunday night. We heard the Heybales and watched country dancing with a very eclectic group of people - cowboys, guys with dreds, lots of guys in beanies and their girlfriends, greasers. Very fun people watching! Laura danced three or four dances with a guy who took some really neat pictures for us. I can't wait to see them! We left after midnight and had such a good conversation talking til 1:30am sitting in her aunt and uncle's driveway before we finally went our separate ways.

I can't believe how much we DID and how much fun we had doing it in such a short amount of time! I continue to be amazed at the world the blog world opens up. This is the first time I've met Laura in person, yet from the second I saw her I felt like we had known each other for years. Like a friend you haven't seen for a long time but could instantly catch up where we left of. As she put it so eloquently to a guy who was in disbelief that we had met through a blog, "We're not strangers. We've known each other for two years." I feel exactly the same way.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Headed Home

We are at the airport where I've bought a connection in order to get a hold of Laura's phone number which I meant to put in my cell phone before we left on our trip. She is in Austin right now and we are planning to meet up on Sunday, and were possibly going to meet tomorrow. I just got off the phone with her and am SO EXCITED!! Her cousins go to our church (surprise, surprise - although our church is so big and well known if somebody doesn't go there they at least know about it) and we're going to meet up for service and then go and have fun afterwards!

So, our trip. Wow. Crazy. Fun. Exciting. Insane. Awesome. Tiggerific. Way. too. much. fun. There are so many pictures I'm going to have to create a whole (online because I'm way too lazy to do it the other way) scrapbook just for them! The kids and I flew in to LA Saturday and all nineteen of us had dinner at Mimi's Cafe at 10:30pm at night. The next day we check out my Mom's old stomping grounds - where she grew up in Garden Grove, where her first job was, where my Dad and her met, where her Mom and Dad are buried. That was really special to experience a small part of her childhood and time before she became known as Mom with her.

My sister had planned a dinner at Pirate's Dinner Adventure on Sunday for Shawner's birthday. It was similar to Medieval Times, only with pirates. Who sang. And talked about being drunk. A lot. And called a lot of volunteers. Including me. Who forgot to rig the Christmas stocking when I was supposed to. Oops. Let's move on shall we. The kids loved it and we re-experienced childhood saying "Aye, matey! Arrr!" with red snowflaked pirate bands around our heads.

Our first day at Disneyland was SO MUCH FUN!! We hit Frontierland first with Pirates of the Carribbean arrr matey, Indiana Jones, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the pirate show and ship, and Jungle Cruise. From there we conquered Disneyland land by land, well that was the idea any way. By the end of the trip we had gone on It's a Small World (only they sang jingle bells and the mermaids sang Jingle Shells for Christmas), Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Peter Pan, the teacups, Astro Blasters, Star Tours, Autotopia, Tomorrowland, the rocket ships, Space Mountain, the Matterhorn, Splash Mountain, the Haunted Mansion and who knows what else.

Yay! Two photos I found in my email for you:
We're really concentrating. Must. shoot. the. robots.

Shawners is so cute in here - you can barely see his eyes (maybe he was ducking)!!

My cousin on my Dad's side joined us for the first two days and after she left on Tuesday, my aunt on my Mom's side joined us for dinner at the restaurant in Disney where my Mom's Dad worked 50 years ago on Main Street, the Plaza Inn.

Over in California Adventure Land we checked out California Soaring where we soared over all the beautiful spots in California, smelling the orange trees and feeling the ocean breeze. We rode the giant orange peel swing, checked out the 3D Bug's Life show where an acid bug sprayed us with water, spiders came down from the ceiling, and maggots crawled on our seats underneath our butts (ew). We also checked out the Muppets 3D show, the Honey I Shrunk the Audience 3D show, and the robot show. The 3D shows are so definitely worth it. They are amazingly real to life! I reached out my hand to touch what was in front of me so many times I couldn't begin to count. Hollywood House of Terror was absolutely terrifying. It was set in the movie setting of the same name and it takes you up in a maintenance elevator shaft. You wave goodbye to yourself in a mirror as you watch yourself disappear and then watch your dissappearing figure get electrocuted. Then you go up to another level where you watch the original four people in the Hollywood Tower Hotel disappear and get electrocuted. Next you enter the Twilight Zone right before you get dropped. Twice. Then you go up for a view of all of California Adventure land and get dropped again. Go back up to another level for another view and get dropped again. Then, for good measure, once more. By the time it was over I was curled up in my sister-in-law's lap and losing my voice from screaming. California Adventure Land was less Disneyland and more theme park like, but it was amazing just the same because it was all Disney and Disney technology, all in a beautiful California setting.

Shawner's birthday is tomorrow and since we won't be around family tomorrow we celebrated all week. We started with the pirate dinner on Sunday and a birthday song there, wearing a birthday pin on Monday at Disneyland where every other Disneyland employee told Shawners happy birthday, and then again on Wednesday where he got told Happy Birthday again and had another birthday lunch in California Adventureland at the winery. His loot included a bag of goodies: pirate treasure, swords, noisemakers, twirlies, from Grandma on Sunday, a Build-A-Cheetah from mommy and daddy, complete with Skechers, skateboard, and army shorts, a Mickey mouse with an I Heart You t-shirt from his 16 yr old cousin, Bre, and a Perfect Petzz sleeping Border Collie from Grandma and Grandpa, and let's not forget the trip to Disneyland. Pretty sure he made out like a bandit.

We had Thanksgiving dinner at Madonna Inn, where my Dad ended up getting us all hotel rooms to stay the night. This place is insane gaudy in mostly pink and red with each room being completely different from each other - some of the more fun ones with rock waterfall showers, and so much fun if you don't mind a little outdated richness. Our room was Morning Star. My good childhood friend came over from her house a few minutes away and we stayed up until 11:30am reminiscing and chatting like the closest of friends who haven't seen each other in a long time do. We drove to Santa Cruz this morning and then headed straight to the airport.

There are so many special memories from this trip that will come to me in the next few weeks as any of the family drama memories start to fade and the special memories get permanently implanted in my brain forever, to wistfully remember and wish for the day we get to do it all again.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Knocked Out

So I read Laura's comment a little too late about putting on the tunes and knocking out the paperwork but I DID knock out the paperwork yesterday. Yay!

Oh I just have to mention an ADORABLE thing Shawners said this morning: I wish God would make the sun go down and then go up so that we could get on the plane and go to California right now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


We are off to Disneyland on Saturday and the house seems like it is opening up and devouring me with all the clutter it holds. Starting the month I was working things spun out of control from barely hovering beforehand, and now it has completely enveloped me in it's clutter glory. There is a corner in my living room that has four boxes of paper (kids' school stuff, contract papers from selling our rental house, resume copies and work applications) sucking part of my brain into a black hole every time I think of it. Then there's the laundry, which makes me think of kicking back and watching girly guilty pleasure tv shows (the Bachelor, Gossip Girl, ANTM), so that's not such a bad thing even though it's taking over my dining room. Next there's the boys' schoolwork which has overtaken my dining room table with a sea of papers, pencils, erasers, and cute little kid creations. Let's not even talk about packing. I'm creating our packing list and my Kel girl came over to drop some of her fun clothing and jewelry off, which I feel better about because sharing wardrobes with her makes me feel like I just went shopping! Last but not least, Justin came down with a fever yesterday and wasn't able to go to school. On top of that we are all fighting something - be it allergies or virus, I don't know. Oh, and let's not forget, some kid in their school came down with chicken pox last week. My prayers are for a safe, healthy, happy, fun time before, during, and after our trip full of creating special memories.

So, ending on a super happy note, Shawners can READ!! And ride a two wheeler!! Last Thursday he read his first book, and Sunday he took his first two wheeler ride and rode for at least half an hour before his first fall which wasn't much of a fall any way. I'm SOOO proud of him.

Friday, November 09, 2007


So we just found out though we fly out Saturday, Brando can't come out until Tuesday so he will miss two days of Disneyland : ( . My Mom is willing to keep us out there until the following Sunday to make his trip a little longer than having to turn right back around and come back Friday, but at this point will cost an arm and a leg unless we fly out Monday, which Brando can't do. Pout. I figure we'll save it for another time when Brando is able to stay out longer. It sucks though that we will be back here and everybody (prob. incl. my sis) will be off celebrating the Tday weekend with family, except for... us.

Ummm the prelude to this vent would be WE ARE GOING TO DISNEYLAND!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! My parents are fulfilling a long awaited dream of taking ALL of the family and we're doing it over Thanksgiving week. All the cousins, all (well, almost) the siblings, WHEEEEEE!!!! Talk about CRAZY, UNFILTERED, BEST TIME IN THE WORLD BECAUSE IT'S FAMILY NO MATTER THE DRAMA time!!! I'm really excited that even though Brando won't be there for the first few days, I've been enjoying my newly found freedom while he's been at work at night (now I know a little bit of what it's like to be you, Alyssa, with your oh so hard working of five jobs husband) and hopefully a little bit of that will spill over into this trip. Heck, Allison did it, Girl does it, I'm golden. I hope. teehee Yay for Disneyland!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I'm not sure what it is about the last few days but we have been doing more fun family things that don't cost a penny than ever before. It's pure bliss. Saturday Brando passed his third and final test - yay! He came home for dinner and we made fajita meat, rice, and corn, and took off when the moon was starting to rise to climb Mt. Bonnell and watch it rise. The night before the moon had been perfectly full and brilliantly bright, this night not so much, but he still got some gorgeous pictures of the Austin skyline. Climbing up Mt. Bonnell at night was breathtaking.

On top of Mt. Bonnell
The moon
Austin Skyline

Tonight we went to P. Terry's, our favorite place, for dinner and had free snow cones on their last day of the season. Then we drove by Austin's "Halloween House" where some lady goes crazy with the Halloween decorations and lights in front of her house. She lets people walk through her driveway taking pictures and enjoying the sights and sounds. We had fun scaring ourselves silly telling ghost stories in the car while waited for the lights to go on. We had such a great time enjoying a night of Halloween fun.

Halloween House

I love how we look like ghosts in this picture! Perfect for the setting!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chasing Happy

At age 19 I moved to the rolling hill country of Texas absolutely sure I was going to end up deliriously happy as a result. My year and a half old son came with me and we were going to scratch out our life here. A life consumed by our own opinion, not the opinions of those who think their opinion is more important than ours. I was so SURE I would be happy if I would just pay the price then. A happy price at the time, but a damn broke price. A quiet, country, have one car, a little house, and a few pennies to rub together price.

A few months later I was married. Soon after, we had the quiet, country, one car, little house, and few pennies, paying the happy price. Four years later we moved back to Cali, sure that we were going to position ourselves to make the big bucks and be even more deliriously happy than we already were.

Three years later we are back here in Texas paying the price of chasing happy and I realize happy is never going to come because of what we do now. If we make wise choices now we may enjoy the outcome of those later but it's never going to bring happy. Happy is what we make it each moment, this moment and the next.

As I think about these thoughts overtaking my head like a spring shower that comes as quick as it goes I realize how many times I screwed up thinking it was wise. Point in case, Justinbustin's education. I was sure homeschooling him was going to bring me the perfect kid, and him the perfect opportunity. He is an AWESOME incredible child, and I have no doubt homeschooling has formed some of who he is. At the same time he is struggling through so many education issues that could've evened out along the way had I trusted the system that's been in place, at least enough trust to put him where a little education repetition wouldn't hurt him. Now he's in that system missing a few pieces of the puzzle he never got from missing it earlier. So we resort to cutting those pieces new and shaping them, at a cost, and hoping we catch up on all the missing pieces in part so that he can fill in the rest on his own with ease, and in part so that he doesn't have to miss anymore.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Heart Pounding

The smoke alarm goes off, I smell smoke. I look around and see a candle burning innocently and my oven has just been turned off a few minutes before. We live in apartments and I remember that fire coming from other apartment homes can sit in the walls from and whole buildings can burn down. I tell the kids to go outside. I look around, wondering if I should save anything and decide I just need my purse and my cell phone to get to safety. I grab them, along with my cordless phone to call 911, and walk outside with the kids. The alarm has gone off now and I tell the operator that, but that I still smell smoke. He sends someone out. We wait outside for a few minutes and then come back in to see if it still smells. The smell is fading. I call 911 back to tell them the smoke alarm has gone off, the smell of smoke is fading, but I still don't know where it came from. He says they are almost there, let them come check it out any way. A few minutes later the house starts getting warm and I realize I've turned the heater on. Then it hits me. The heater turning on for the first time this season caused the smoke smell, and the fire alarm. Does this count this as a Courtney moment I wonder.

They ended up coming inside to check it out any way (thank God for my ten minute mad dash to hide the laundry and clean up the lunch dishes as 4 firemen + messy house would = one embarrassing moment). They did tell me I did the right thing. I couldn't figure out why I was still shaking after they had come until I realized I had gone through the thought process of "What should I save?" and realized the only important thing was to make sure the kids and I could get to safety.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Like a TV Show Only Better

I've been forced away from blogland for a few days. I tried sending a friend all of the pictures we took with her last time we were out in Cali and it took over my email program and my computer. Brando fixed it today by deleting the 204mb email that was making everything crawl. Oops. Now I'm happily back in blogland and there are so many good posts that have gone up the last few days. Having blog posts to read is better than having TV shows to watch. I laugh, I cry, I feel when I read them, only it's not over something made up. I'm so excited to read them all when I have a second!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

After School Snacks

Snacks of any kind were not a factor in my childhood. We occasionally had wheat toast with cinnamon sugar or fruit, but other than that we were not a snacky type of family. Now when I go to the store I hardly ever walk down those aisles and when I do I can't bring myself to buy anything. Thus I hardly ever have anything to snack on around the house, except for ice cream, fruit, or wheat toast (funny how the circle rolls). At the moment my child is snacking on raw spaghetti noodles. Ew. Though I remember doing that.

So now I'm trying to think of healthy, yummy, READY snacks and my mind is drawing a complete blank.

What were your favorites as a kid? What are your favorites now? I would love to have some healthy, yummy snacks around for my kiddos for in between meals!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sometimes I live on here

And sometimes I just live. Occupied enough with my own brain thoughts that I don't feel the need to share them with the world (although I wish I could write particular blog posts to some of you each day). This is one of those times. We're taking baby steps. The effort from one step to the other is so great it occupies everything in me and everything else (school, friends, hubby, kids, family, down time, tests, all the fun stuff that gives my brain a break) in my life occupies the rest.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Financial Workshop Week Three

On Saturday we went out to lunch as a family and then went to Chick-Fil-A and let the kids play in their indoor tunnel playscape and worked for two hours on finances creating our 'cash flow planning' system. We came home to the business center and worked on it for another two hours until the kids had enough and we called it quits. It ended up showing exactly how far in the hole we are in, how far in the hole we will be in once our house sells, and gave us an opportunity to figure out what the heck we are going to do with that negative income once the house sells.

Today we went to week three of FPU and learned about relationships with money. Rather how we handle money affects our relationships. One thing he mentioned is that money fights are the number one cause of divorce in America. I've always heard it was money, but it really is the money fights not the money 'cause boy have we been there. There was a part on teaching our kids about how to handle money as well and how to pay them for work, how they can handle money as a teen, when to open a checking account, etc. Great information!

We talked to the leader of the class afterwards and showed him our entire cash flow plan and he agreed we are down to the barebones, now it's just a matter of finding out where we are going to get the extra money to come in.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

good things about today

We have a car wash station! In our community! I just used it! For the first time! I'm so excited! I can vacuum however long I want because I'm not paying for it! The kids are going to have a blast using the water sprayer to wash off the car!

My alarm didn't go off this morning. Probably because I didn't set it last night : ) . BUT I got up at 7:18am, three minutes past when we normally leave, was out of the house with the boys dressed and ready with breakfast (because I'd laid out their clothes and packed their lunches the night before, and my sister had given me easy go cereal containers leftover from their camping trip last week) by 7:22am. We got to school ten minutes early!

Office Depot had rolling backpacks (I can't BELIEVE the amount of books my eight year old has to carry!!) for $9.99 and I scored two!! In red! Yay!

After all that I STILL got home before my dog shite all over the deck and took her potty on the grass to her duty.

On top of that I just caught my neighbor who is off to work with her baby girl and looks SO FREAKIN' CUTE - both of them. Her little girl had a pouty face and had been a brat this morning. I told her attitude is good with girls - you don't get that with boys! She said she guesses she should be grateful for that. I said, "YES! Be grateful for things! I'm trying to be grateful for things today!" Then she says, "Well, you just got me to be grateful so that's one good thing for today!" Chalk it up baby!!

Now I've got a few hours to myself and I'm off to see what I can do with this (surprise!) already clean house of mine. Maybe I'll sit back with a cup of coffee instead...


is good. That and a (few) glasses of wine sound good right now.

I neglected to mention one of my sweetest friends had her baby a few weeks ago!!!! A baby girl!!! I would post her picture on here because after all, she is a baby : ) , but I'm not sure if that'd be okay with momma. Suffice it to say she is PRECIOUS. 20.5 inches, 7 lbs. 14 ounces. I'm ashamed to say I've been so self-involved in my own crazy life that I don't even know her name!!! I'm sure it's beautiful given her mommy has my mother's name as a nickname and my sister's first and middle name : ) !

CONGRATULATIONS B!!! I can't wait to hear how mommyhood is going!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Over the past several weeks something really really wonderful has come out of all this misery and financial hardship. My sister and her mother-in-law have come alongside of me in prayer and encouragement and giving me hope. Her mother-in-law, who has always been my kiddos Texas grandma only by mention, officially became my kids grandma by their hearts. Shawners now calls her MY Grandma and requests french toast on Saturday mornings. She has also adopted me in the process, as her second daughter. Last week my sister and I went to Rolling in Thyme and Dough and ate chicken salad sandwiches, turkey sandwich croissants, and a fruit dessert, for Grandma's birthday. She shared with me financial struggles, personal childhood hardships, and depression periods she has gone through and reminded me that if I just keep going there is hope. I have always idolized her, thinking she is the perfect woman, mother, wife, grandmother, mother-in-law. She has a beautiful Tuscan-style dream house, decorates gorgeously in french country style, is a gourmet cook, a fantastic gardener and knows the name of every plant she sees, and has the sweetest spirit. She'd always talked about her uncle who was a botanist and her mother who loved to bake. I never would have imagined she had gone through anything so hard in her childhood or life had she not told me. Somehow hearing her stories encouraged me that I'm not screwed up for life - there still is something beautiful ahead for me, and right now.

Yesterday she took me to Fredericksburg and treated chicken salad, tuna salad, mango iced tea, ginger peach hot tea (air conditioning + iced tea = goosebumps), and strawberry crepes at the Peach Tree. Unfortunately my camera was not charged so I only have pictures of strawberry crepes with creme filling, our table for two and mango iced tea and our garden and terrarium view window on my cell phone!

Wild Seed Farm Market Center

Afterwards we stopped by the renowned Wildseed Farm for pineapple salsa and peach salsa she bought for me, and to enjoy the beautiful gardens. She even paid for my fuel for my car!! It was soooo nice to feel like I have a nurturing grandma/mom figure here in Texas. It's nice to be spoiled!
Wildseed Farms Market
My sister had watched my kids while we were gone and when we got back into town and my sister picked up Grandma, they both kept my kiddos so I could get to class. While I drove home in traffic and straight to class, they drove out to the Marble Falls library and checked out five books for Justinbustin's book report that's due, then went to the local nursery and purchased bedding plants to take back to Grandma's house and plant with the boys. That was our main reason for stopping at the Wildseed Farm earlier but they didn't have the bedding plants Grandma was looking for.
Acres & Acres of Seasonal Flowers
By the time I picked up the boys they had planted five plants, made caramel popcorn, cleaned my sister's house and earned money for doing it, and had an amazing time. I feel a sense of perfect contentment when my children and I have had such a fulfilling, nurturing, and hope filled day.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Financial Workshop Week Two

Today we looked at Cash Flow Planning. Cash Flow Planning is a politically correct word for the word 'budget' for those of us who cringe and feel like an instantly caged animal when hearing that word.

They introduced a plan where you plan to spend every penny of your money before it is even received. It covered normal bills and expenses, to saving, to debt, to money to blow. Basically anywhere our money can go it can be accounted for before it goes there, all the way down to a ZERO balance. They actually mentioned if you have leftover money when you're done at the end of the month you didn't get it. Things like savings, holidays, vacations, and blow money (for when you just want to blow money - haha that sounds perverted) all get taken care of and accounted for now, not left by the wayside for when and if we get there.

We are only on the second week so far. Already I have been getting way more out of it than I thought I would. I thought I was just there for Brando's sake ; ). After all I know how to save. Turns out I don't know how to spend : ) .

Saturday, September 29, 2007

My song

No, really. My sister always calls me Rosie Posie and today her mother-in-law informed us there was a Rosie Posie song. I do prefer it to be spelled Rosey Posey if she HAS to call me that though... those pesky big sisters who think they are still your mother ; ) .

Al Jolson - Ma Blushing Rosie

There's a little bunch of sweetness,
That I long to call my bride.
And believe me I'm not happy,
Lest my baby's by my side.
Her baptismal name was Rosie,
But she put's the rose to shame.
And almost every night,
you'll here me call her name.

Rosie, you are my posie,
you are my hearts bouquet,
Come out here in the moonlight,
There's something sweet love,
I wanna say.
Your honey boy I'm waiting,
Those ruby lips to greet
Don't be so captivating
My blushing rosie
My Posie sweet.

Rosie, you are my posie,
You are, my hearts bouquet
Come out, here in the moonlight
There's something sweet love.
I'm gonna sing about my baby,
Your honey, your boy I'm waiting
Those rubies, those lips to greet
Don't be so captivating,
My blushin rosie,
My posie sweet.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Young Mothers

Did I ever tell you about N*cole? She's in my class at school. We've been through the first math class together and now we're going through the second math class together. Her, K*m, and I together.

N*cole is my age. In December she'll turn the same year I turned in July. She has an eight year old and a half year old. Just like me. Before her I'd never met another mother who is the same age as me with a kid as old as mine. My jaw dropped when I learned she had an eight year old. We share a special bond, her and I, knowing what being such a young mom in such a f*cked up life is like. She's my rock, my fun girl, my one I share glances with that only other 25 and 26 year old mothers with eight year olds can understand. She is everything I've never been and so much of what I am and have been. She makes me feel not afraid of my crazy and isn't afraid to face her own. Being a mother this young of such an older child is crazy and I feel it. She emailed me the sweetest email last night, cheering me on, empathizing with me, and telling me to chill the f*ck out. Then she emailed me an email she sent to one of her lovers, because she has two. One she's with and one she wishes she could be with. And I laughed when I received it and felt a kinship with her over our crazy. Way back when I would've chosen my friends based on my closed-mindedness and couldn't have imagined a friendship with someone so different, yet strangely similar. God's taken me down so many different paths that I now find the people I am the most judgemental about getting to know end up being the most fascinating and intriguing people I've ever known. His opening of my mind and overflow of that open-mindedness into my heart and our similarities brought us together and she is one of the sweetest closest friends I could've imagined and always has my back. Always. Now I find her lifestyle isn't so different than mine, we've both taken different paths to get here with some similarities along the way, and here we are, crossing at the same place and walking along together for awhile.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who I want to be

Somebody with desires and passions. Dreams, both fulfilled and unfulfilled. Happy and able to enjoy life in whatever situation I am in.

That used to be me, what happened to me?! I need to figure out how to be that in the space I am in right now i.e. with having LOTS of those dreams unfulfilled (owning a house we actually live in, being able to buy something I just want without breaking the bank, being out of debt).

For some reason I felt like me working would've fixed a lot of those, maybe that's still the case, I don't know. Part time work with kids in school part time is near impossible to find, unless (wait for it) you're college educated. I still do want to have a family by the time I'm done with it all. And somewhere in the back of my heart I still want to do what's best for my children.

I'm getting sick of my own plea. Where's the baby step for this? I need something to pour myself into and this sniffling about it is not it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Family Night

Brando got home from work early today to study at home. I took off when he got here to pick up the boys from school and when we got home the boys got out their bikes and scooters, I put on my work out clothes and we headed up to the gym and basketball court so the kids could play while we worked out. We ran/rode/walked/scootered up there - all five of us - Brownie too, then worked out/played basketball/watched animal planet and emeril for a good two and a half hours before we headed back home. Once home I ran to the grocery store for salad fixings, hamburger meat for spaghetti sauce, and ice cream, then got back and made a yummy dinner of spaghetti and salad. Then the boys settled in for a few minutes of Iron Giant while Brando and I took a shower. Now the boys are off to bed and we'll catch up on any shows that might have been put online in the last day and have our ice cream. Nights like these are like rainbows after a rainy day.
P amIr Three Men on a Letter K

unplugged red s U n

letter d r O P S

Monday, September 24, 2007


And theme songs. Since earlier this year, well since a few years ago really I have had theme songs for the space in life I'm at. It started off with Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield, moved on to Say It Right by Natalie Furtado, then Into the Ocean by Blue October, Glamorous by Fergie, then Big Girls Don't Cry by Fergie. And now. Now I don't know what it is.

This is where the balance comes in. Brando mentioned all my songs are "girl power" songs. And yes I am on that trip. I CAN be powerful and be a girl, dammit. But right now I just want to curl up and feel the safety of Brando's arms. I don't want to do it on my own. How do I feel like the take charge woman I can be and enjoy being and still feel that safety and that comfort of having the relationship I have? Or am I supposed to feel one way or the other? Is there a balance in between the two?

For a moment there I thought I caught a glimpse of who I am. Now I'm not so sure. Was that me or who I want to be when I'm not feeling the satisfaction of who I am when I'm at home? These are the days I wish I had those confusing and clarifying days of college to have already gone through so I would already have had those defining moments of me.


So my hubby's been reading my blog. As well as creating one of his own which is a hundred times prettier than mine has ever been (pooey). For some reason him reading mine weirds me out and every time the writing juices start flowing they stop when I get here.

We started a financial workshop yesterday. Yay! Action points Brando came up with when we left was to start our emergency fund and start saving $100/month and giving both of those to me to hide, as the case may be. I love taking the first step, I just hope it turns into more steps.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Back at Square One

So the schedule for my new job? Insane. Not what I signed up for, and with it being a new property, wouldn't change for a long while. She had me working six days in a row last week and this week would've been near the same. Besides working until 7pm plus in the evening every evening - and don't forget class till 8pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. I'm exhausted, I'm tired, and I'm done. With that job any way. I'm trying so hard not to feel like a failure and a quitter because I totally do. That time frame would NOT have worked for my family and I have been enjoying every second of time I've had with them (and sleep) this weekend. I'm trying hard to look at what's coming up on my schedule and realize MORE job search is coming up - maybe even harder this time around because I realize what will happen if the schedule doesn't fit mine much. Plus I've got school with the boys two days a week and they need a fun Mom around, not depressed Mom around. Although I have to admit depressed is better than the panic attacks I was having last week with going from 6am in the morning to midnight every day and not seeing my family at all in the interim.

My sister and her mother-in-law have been praying for me (thanks Laura, I appreciate yours). That has really helped me hang on to the idea that there might be hope. 'Cause I sure don't see it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I just quit my job

I think my family is falling apart every which way imaginable and I don't know what to do anymore. I am so scared for life and I think I'm losing it.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I start my new job. I am so scared.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I feel like I came home to a hotel...

but it's my home. My clean home. I actually walked back outside so I could come back in and smell the clean. Mmmm.

My cousin is visiting tonight and I have had time to do zilch the last month. In the meantime Brando has kept things up but done absolutely no heavy duty cleaning. And who signed me up to clean blinds any way? My blinds are clean, my fans are clean, my showers are sparkly, wherever my fingers touch they don't come back dusty including my baseboards, and I haven't even walked barefoot on my floors yet, though that sounds really good right now. All that and I didn't do a thing. I will so be having my house cleaned more than once every two years from now on.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Afraid to Finish

Not THAT kind of finish, just finishing things in general. I get ALMOST to the end and then I cop out, especially if it's not an absolutely perfect situation (because so many things are, right?). Because I'm afraid. Afraid of turning the next corner and what I may find. Unless it has something that I'm remotely comfortable with or somebody else before me has done it, then I'm all over it. Otherwise I am scared. Scared to finish. Where are my wings?

Case in point, finding a nanny. We found one. I'm afraid to call her and offer her the job. What if she doesn't end up working out? What if she doesn't take our offer? What if we change our minds (again)? What if she doesn't take care of my kids as well as I would? I did finally call her this morning after realizing being scared of finishing is my hang up.

Second case in point, my job. I'm supposed to start permanently on the tenth and I am scared. to. death. Someone else to be responsible to? Someone else who can tell me I'm doing a shit job if I don't happen to juggle all the work, home, family life just right? Someone else who can fire me if I don't live up to the expectations? Somewhere I have to go almost every day and make sure my kids are taken care of absolutely without a doubt every single time and get fired if I don't? Scared shitless.

Buying our house? I picked out all the stuff for it, even the door in the garage that will be perfect for the dog or muddy kids. But I'm going to have to live with all those decisions day in and day out, and won't be able to blame the placement of the door, or the color of the counters, or the fact that we didn't choose to upgrade to the glass block tile in the bathroom on someone else. Just me. I'm scared of the finishing process of actually BUYING it, going ahead with the loan. Even if it means walking away from the $3500 we've put down that almost sounds like a better option to me than actually finishing the job.

Also. Finishing one job means I have to take the next. That scares me too.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Labor Day!

Wow we've had an awesome weekend! We started off the weekend right with friends over Friday night for drinks and inappropriate movies. She's a bartender and is good at it, so we had our own personal bar all night long.

Saturday we checked out Austin's BatFest and chilled at the pool and Sunday we barbequed with the same friends, plus a few other friends. We started out at the pool but a storm blew in and we transferred the fajita fixin's to our place and played the night away here.

Today we took the boys down to Zilker park for a bike ride and three quarters of the way there realized we'd lost Brando's wallet. We spent the next three hours looking for it and finally gave up and took our bike ride. We got home and I grabbed my notebook to go inside and out fell his wallet. Awesome.

We're kicking back with some barbeque chicken pizza and a movie in a few minutes here. I've taken the last few days off and the next week off to figure out the kids schooling situation and I love not working for the moment.

Friday, August 31, 2007


I was just thinking I should create another blog about the adventures of a homeschooling mom putting her kids in public school. Ha. Any way Shawners wanted to go to his public school today, and so off he went with his new TMNT backpack. Poor Justinbustin has had so many issues in this first week - for example, he was play wrestling with a friend and the teachers took them out of the room to tell them they were breaking the rules, on the way out to the pick up line that same friend told him he hates him, then the next day the teacher moves J to a different spot and tells him he and this other kid can't be friends. He really doesn't understand what's going on, frankly neither do I, but I suppose that's part of getting used to public school. Fortunately he's so much his own man already that it hasn't affected his demeanor, thought process or his kind heart one bit. I did talk to the school registrar and she said she had to deal with the same issues with her daughter and that I need to make sure and speak up for him, protect him, and talk to the teacher about it. I called the teacher and left a message with her this morning.

On the other hand, wow does it smell like freedom without two or even one little one running underfoot! I stopped by McD's and spent just two dollars all on myself. Yum. Normally it would be $6-8 or only $4 if I didn't want anything. Honestly though, I'm such a mean mommy I never stop by McD's any way when they're around cause it's so bad for you. I've usually left that to the grandparents to spoil them with - unfortunately they haven't been out here lately so no McD's for the boys lately.

On Wednesday when they were both at school I scrubbed my kitchen and living room from top to bottom as it had gone south while Brando has been home the last four weeks with the kids. He's taken care of picking up and laundry real well, but toilets? Are you kidding me?! They were disgusting. I wouldn't have wanted my boys to use theirs had I known how bad it was and my poor guest used theirs last week. Oh well. Off to scrub those a little more today and see what else needs dedisgustinated.

PS I am continually impressed and in awe of the amazing people that come out of different environments (public, private, homeschool, or otherwise), i.e. Courtney :) , Becky, Kels, Jen, Al, Aime, Jodi, my first professor, my sweet cousin, at the same time I have to remember the crazies in my family and Brando's and wonder where they went wrong and see if there's anything I can do with my family to make sure they get all the love and care they need, however they need it, and in whatever environment they need to make it. Does that make sense? I feel like I'm doing wrong by Shawners if I see that he needs more attention at this stage in life than he's getting in a certain environment and don't do anything about it. Personally, over the past nine months I've been doing a study of girls in different school environments and by all accounts any way they go they turn out fine - except in the cases where they go to five day a week private school their entire lives which screws with their head, especially in the teen years. Maybe I need to do a study of males in different school environments since d'oh that's what I have!!!!!!!!


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