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.


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