Friday, February 29, 2008

Things that make a relaxed day

As I sat here trying not to get stressed out over the dog chewing up my perfectly coordinated bathroom rugs I realized my day was already stressful, and I sat down to think about WHY it's stressful. Here are all the things that when I am doing them regularly, I can handle things like this without flipping my lid. So I'm going to work on a few of them, and let the rugs slide.

*waking up early
*having a cup of coffee and toast in the morning
*reading time alone in the morning
*no more than two non-regularly scheduled events a day
*no more than four non-regularly scheduled events a week
*steaming my face once a week
*doing my hair and face in the morning rather than the afternoon
*taking the dog potty at regular intervals
*quiet time for the boys and I in the afternoon
*having the house clean before bedtime
*eating lunch on time
*drinking water thru out the day
*taking my vitamins
*occasional bubble baths
*keeping up with the laundry
*keeping up with the boys room
*telling my boys the rules of our family and sticking to them

What are the things you do that make your day relaxed, and able to handle things thrown your way?

Date night

So believe it or not the fact that my wonderful, amazing Grandma offered to pay for a date night every single week as our Valentine's Day present stressed me the heck out last week when it came to thinking about our second date in two weeks!! What were we going to do? What were we going to talk about? We'd already knocked it out of the park with our Valentine's Day date at our Valentine's day restaurant with our brewery shots, our grilled salmon, and chipotle mashed potatoes. We'd toasted to the night, flirted endlessly, and got out all the dating mojo we needed to last us the next six months... until the next week.

We had the babysitter planned for Friday night. We were going out, no doubt about that. That's when I thought - double date! Yay! We never get the chance to do that. To be nice, I gave Brando first choice with his friends. Fortunately they were such sweet friends they invited us out to a wine tasting and then over to their house for dinner so bonus evening for not having to spend any extra money! I tried my first farm-fed tilapia with portabellos and garlic, served with spinach, strawberry, and almond salad and french bread with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh ground pepper. At the wine tasting we decided it would be kick up our heels in pictures night, and later on we have the guys making fun of us girls and our posing. I have the pictures somewhere. We never get a chance to have that kind of outing together as a couple. We had such a blast, we are so going to do that every other week for our date night!

This picture would've been so much cuter if it was only ME kicking up my heels. Oh well.

Our yummy dinner

Monday, February 25, 2008


We've officially moved everything out of our storage unit into a garage here at the apartments. It's close by and ready to go if we move this summer!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


In short, the mention that the Oscars were on tonight put me in a better mood this evening. Brando and I went to church this morning and dropped Shawners off at Sunday school who was very upset and very tired. Turns out when we picked him up he was STILL tired and went on to lay on the couch the entire time during a two hour meeting we had with a couple from our church helping us with our finances. When we got home he puked. Fortunately he looked hot, but didn't have a fever.

This whole day has been off. The last few days have been off for me, but tonight it just culminated with not being able to have a family day with our meeting and Shawners being sick. I feel like I haven't seen any of my friends since my party any way and I was feeling lonely and overwhelmed with life and needed a friend to talk to. A couple of friends I have are having relationship difficulties, so my relationship with them right now is more give than get which can be draining. I pretty much called everybody in my contact list that wouldn't need me more than I need them right now.

Finally I got a hold of a girl I haven't seen in forever and she mentioned she was watching the Oscars which instantly put me in a better mood realizing it was on (dude, I heart Harrison Ford but man he is looking old)! I also made plans with her to get together tomorrow which helped the mood! While I was chatting with her another friend called back and when I got off the phone we were able to chat for awhile which put me in an even better mood and got everything off my chest that I needed to vent, as well as being able to hear some of her vents.

I always end up happy when I stick my foot out there and make the effort for my friendships when I'm the one who actually needs it, but sometimes it's hard just to gather up the courage when I'm feeling so lonely and down and don't really have anything to give back. Fortunately I did tonight and I am in a much better mood than when this evening started out!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Happy Space

Starting out this week I knew it was going to be insane and I was right. It was insane, but at the same time I got thru it without breaking down (okay only once) and now I'm on the other end and perfectly content that I did. Going into it I was perfectly aware that we had something planned every. single. night. of the week.

Monday I went to happy hour with a friend, which was the first time I've ever done happy hour with a girlfriend! Talk about interesting conversations involving way too personal information that will never go beyond the two of us...

Tuesday and Wednesday evenings Brando was working and I chilled at home with girlie tv shows and laundry. No wine, or chocolate surprisingly - maybe some ice cream.

Thursday Justinbustin had cub scouts - yay! I've renewed my commitment to getting him there this semester and so far, except for Valentine's last week, so good! I absolutely love, love the boys things they do there. For example, on Thursday, they sent the boys out to the courtyard to fill a bucket with dirt, sand, leaves, grass, and sticks and then brought them back into glue it on paper to be a sign for their pinewood derby race cars. So fun, and so something I would totally not do with my boys. LOL

Friday Brando and I had a date!! And I'm saving that one for a post of it's own...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How to Be a Morning Person

Whenever I've heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day I've always disregarded it. I've never been a breakfast person. Whenever we're on vacation or eating breakfast for another random reason, I would literally force myself to eat and whenever I'm home I never bother to attempt it. Morning time just does NOT bring hunger pangs for me.

Sometimes I feel like it's how I stay skinny. When I eat breakfast I'm always STARVING at lunchtime. When I don't I can wait until 3 or 4 to eat and my body burns off EVERYthing I've eaten the day before.

Then I discovered a cup of coffee gets me in the mood to be okay with having something else in my mouth. After a few mornings of having one cup of coffee and toast before the kids get up (I was actually using the coffee to motivate me to get up so I would have everything ready in time, and added the toast because coffee and toast just sounds right), I've realized having food in my stomach actually turns me into a morning person. The key being just one cup of coffee which is just enough to get me going before the food kicks in and not enough to send me into a downward spiral in the afternoon, and to get me in the mood to have food.

I've always looked forward to the time of day after lunch and dinner because those are the times I'm most energetic and enjoy life the most. Well, I discovered that having breakfast puts me in the same mood! Of course I don't want to drink coffee all the time so I limit it to the mornings I have to wake up early. But when I do, I'm energetic, I enjoy life, I get things done. Before noon!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Blog Rhythm

I've noticed every blog has a rhythm, whether it be a steady beat of weekdays, every two days, or an uneven beat driven by whenever the world stops spinning long enough to kick out a post. I've even seen some people churn out a number of posts a day. I believe blog rhythm is one of the keys to a successful blog if you're concerned about readership. What is the magic number? I think that depends entirely on whose blog you're reading or writing and what their or your life lends itself to. I read blogs that only update every few months, but that's where their life is at right now. Because I entered their blog life at a time when they were posting more often I cherish the words I get to read when they do post. My own blog rhythm changes and flows with the tide. Right now it seems my hot days are Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with a few random posts thrown in on the other days. What is your blog rhythm?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Valentine's Party!!!

Last night my girl Genie and I hosted a Valentine's party here at my house complete with chocolate fountain, strawberries, pretzels, pineapple, marshmallows, graham crackers, avocado dip and chips, and white, red, and sparkling wine. Yum! We played Wise and Otherwise which is hilarious and my new favorite game. Only we made up our own rules by voting for whoever came up with the funniest saying. We stayed up too late, drank too much, ate too much chocolate and strawberries, laughed a lot (because there can never be too much of that, even when we have tears streaming down our faces), and had WAY too much fun.

My chocolate fountain!! And our red velvet tic-tac-toe cupcakes!
We had to play tic-tac-toe to eat one.

These are double sized bottles of wine.  The six of us who drank finished off four. You do the math.

Purty setup. My girlie Li did this.

Mmmm, cupcake. Blurry, but too fun not to put in here.

This picture was a total joke, Miss Suzy Homemaker with fresh baked cupcakes... with the lid on them

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Then and Now

Got this idea from Michelle. Luv it. By then I mean this time last year, plus a few months.

Then: Scared about attending college.
Now: In my fourth class, three different professors, two different campuses, and one heartfelt friend later.

Then: Needed counseling desperately.
Now: Gone through counseling, feeling healed, and thinking about counseling to keep myself on track.

Then: $40k in debt and no idea how it affected how we live.
Now: $20k in debt and breaking out in hives realizing how it's affecting how we live and wanting to make sure we keep working towards the future as we have been.

Then: No steady income for our family.
Now: Steady income, plus second job for my hubby, as well as part time job opportunity for me when I need it.

Then: Stressed out about schooling decisions for my kids.
Now: Still stressed out about schooling decisions, but thinking counseling will help me develop a backbone with this and realizing working on that now rather than later will benefit all of us.

Then: Felt like I could never say no because I had to make up for the times that were sad around here.
Now: Developing a backbone with my kids, realizing I'm not being mean and seeing their appreciativeness of this new firm mommy.

Then: Brando and I never talked about finances. We tried to talk about it and ended up on the verge of divorce.
Now: Brando and I know we need to talk about finances and try our hardest. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. We are on the verge of realizing how to create a future together.

Then: I was scared sh*tless at every corner and operated all my life decisions out of fear. Had no confidence in myself. Thought I didn't have it in me to attend college.
Now: Still scared sh*tless but now I have the confidence to push past it and realize what incredible new opportunities change brings into my life (i.e. different campus = new sweet friend in school!). Happy and super confident in myself. Knowing that even if I don't feel it at the moment it's there because I have worth. Looking forward to earning my degree!

Monday, February 11, 2008

My Wish List


This is going to be an ongoing list that I'm going to bump every time I add something to it. This way I'll have a list when people ask me what I want!!

First on the list (possibly the least likely, but oh well, maybe my mummy will spoil me):

*a facial!! Or series of facials! I want my skin back! Especially now that I'm treating it nicer.

*Brush set
These brushes
in this cuteness...

equal this

*Train case because it keeps one's makeup sooooo neat.
*Teeth whitening because Crest White Strips can only do so much.

*a Miele vacuum. Because my current Walmart crap vaccum's handle falls off at least two or three times each time I use it. And I actually LIKE vacuuming when I'm using a Miele.

*Henckel Knives. Because I think I've finally done enough cooking that I'd be careful enough not to slice any pertinent body parts off with them. Really, anything German made will do.

Oh, and check out this to die for GORGEOUS Lenox China set I just happened across while looking up those knives. Now THAT is a China set I could do very well with. Not on my wish list but still so purty I had to share with you.

*Luxe Links - to hold my purse on my island when I'm at home - right now I just hang it off the back of my French cafe barstools

Well that's it for now. Those are the three that stick out the most in my brain. I'll be adding littler (or more big) wishes as they come up.

Faux Pas

Justinbustin has been on a cooking rampage lately and I have been enjoying every last tasty morsel. So far he's made blackened chicken, southern fried chicken, honey mustard chicken, strawberry banana muffins, and today he made maple pancakes.

His first batch turned out very... fluffy. Strange, I thought, but I've never made pancakes with maple syrup in them so I dismissed it. They finished cooking, then he served his brother and himself. A few minutes later I hear, "Mom, can you taste these and check if they're bad? They taste very... salty." Oh, no! Laughing to myself I asked him to show me how much salt he used and he shows me how he used the 1/2 cup measuring cup. I took the opportunity to teach him about the properties of salt, how it's used to bring out the flavor and a little goes a looooong way. I let him know anytime a recipe calls for more than a 1/2 teaspoon of salt I still usually only use a 1/2 teaspoon as I can always add more later. Then I reassured we ALL make that mistake once. He got to do his when he was eight.  Trooper that he is he immediately started in on a second batch, which turned out delicious! These one turned out MUCH thinner, almost crepe-like. They were oh so yummy!

The best part of all the cooking is how  his little brother ends up right there cooking with him and he lets him help in every step. I'm so proud of my little chef!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Making Cookies

Tonight after we put the boys to bed and kissed their sleepy heads, Brando and I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Afterwards we sat on the floor and enjoyed feeling like kids again eating the cookie dough from the bowl with a spatula and licking the beaters clean. I don't get to do that when my kids are awake.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

On Marriage

While I'm rocking Shawners in our rocking chair after his bath he says, "I don't even have a girlfriend yet."

Holding my urge to lecture how a girlfriend at this age is not necessary, I ask, "What does that mean?"

"It means I can't get married when I grow up."

And a few seconds later he adds, "I need to."

My mommy instinct kicks in and I tell him, "There's plenty of time for that. You have to get thru college first, and a lot of people meet their wives or their girlfriends in college. There's plenty of time baby..."

Friday, February 08, 2008

Seeing things as what they could be instead of what they are

I have a tendency to look at things as they are, instead of what they could be. My kitchen counters, for example, when clutter overtakes them I look at the clutter and focus purely on how my kitchen is SO cluttered and I can't take it and my kitchen will never be the same and whine, whine, whine. The other day a lightbulb went off in my head and I realized underneath all that clutter there was still a beautiful, spotless kitchen counter with my pretty coffee cafe decorations sitting on it underneath all that clutter. And so I moved the clutter. And I had my sparkling kitchen counter and island back. Just like that.

I started to think, what else have I been looking at just the clutter and not what it could be? My life, maybe. The clutter being debt, the fact we don't own a house currently and subsequently the kids school situation is completely up in the air year to year. Then I thought, well what could our life be? The debt will be gone (someday), we can buy a house, move to a neighborhood where I'm comfortable with the school and the kids will have a stable school situation. Just like that we have our sparkling life. Okay, it will still get dirty but underneath it will be sparkling and we'll just have to shine it occasionally.

Another place I've been looking at what is instead of what it could be is people. I tend to look at all the clutter in their lives. Job situation, debt situation, relationship situation, how their free time is spent, the personal issues and struggles they deal with on a daily basis, and judge them by that clutter instead of looking at what they could be and trusting that they will be that someday. I'm not just talking about people I meet on a day to day basis, on a very raw and honest level I'm talking about the people I'm closest to - my family. It's easy to believe what my friends could be - their decisions don't directly affect me and who I am. My family, on the other hand, when I'm going through hard times it's easy to believe it's the people closest to me that are part of the problem with the clutter in their lives affecting me as well as them. Instead of realizing they can be something too, and realizing that I am one of the biggest parts in their lives that has to help them see and move past the clutter and see the sparkling shiny them that will always be there. I'm loving this new focus, this new question I can ask myself to right my perspective, "Instead of what it is, what could it be?"

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Mixed Feelings

With Brando's job comes a few perks. When they send him out of town to go on trainings he has a dining "budget" involving four times what we normally budget for all four of us to eat. To him they may not seem like perks because they involve him having to be out of town at boring ass trainings, but to me they are perks. At first I was happy for him - if he has to go out of town, at least he's got a corporate card to splurge on, heck even drink on! Oh, the places I would try and the drinks I would drink with having three quarters of my week's grocery bill to spend in one day! Well I was happy that he was able to do that. Right now, I'm not happy. Here I am, sitting at home for the second f*in week in a row eating toast and crackers while he's eating at Landry's in Dallas, which I just looked at the menu and they have fried zucchini. I heart fried zucchini. On top of it all I missed my math test today which just makes me want to have some sort of release even more. So, yeah, right now I am NOT happy for him.

Mona Lisa Smile in a different light

I watched Mona Lisa Smile years ago and for some reason it left a sour taste in my mouth. Having had the year I've gone through and watching it a second time it left a completely different taste in my mouth. The first time around I looked down on Katherine [Julia Roberts' character] for being so hard on Julia Stiles' character for choosing to be married. I looked at Betty [Kirsten Dunst's character] as a biotch who got what she deserved and not much else. The second time around I realized I had never noticed the way Kirsten's character was groomed and raised to believe what she did, and what Katherine did for her was provide a different way and an okay to be that way. Which is why in the last scene Betty is crying. Her life could've been one way - miserable, lonely, sad, heartbroken day after day - but instead she realized the freedom she had to choose another life and was so grateful for it. Joan realized that same freedom - in the love that she had. The underlying message of the movie, we all can be what we choose, and it's okay to choose what will be happy for us, not the next person. I used to view this movie as one I didn't see the point of. I hadn't lived enough to. Now I view it as a great movie.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Okay I'm not going to lie

I don't know when this is ever not going to turn into a sick blog. Shawners had a 104 fever this evening before I gave him motrin and I'm so worried. I have him sleeping on an ice pack and I've checked his temperature every 2.4 seconds since and it's steadily gone down, but I know motrin wears off after awhile. I guess it's then that I alternate to tylenol. I don't think my boys have ever had that high of a fever before. He'd been running a low grade temp since I picked him up from school on Thursday but never above 100.9 and his fever broke yesterday morning. We went to a superbowl party and he even got treats (bad Mommy, I should've known better) and then this morning he woke up with a 102.5. I dosed him up (again bad Mommy, I should've known better) and took him on his field trip that he's been looking forward to to ages and he came home about 3pm and crashed with the fever back. Ugh. I'm so worried that his fever is so high after being so low grade and even appearing like it was gone! I may take him to the doctor's again tomorrow after I drop Justinbustin off at school.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Ohmigosh I'm so excited!! Annie Chun excited!!

Look what I just ordered for less than $2.40 a bowl!And Korean Kimchi and Hot and Sour soups too. Yum, yum, yum! Of course I'm hoping we won't have this need for hot soothing soups by the time they get here, but they're still yummy just because! These things taste sooooo fresh and are soooo yummy and are the next best thing to Chicken Sizzling Rice Soup which I can't find anywhere in town.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Part of me feels like I should've just sucked it up and gone, then the other part of me looks at my sleeping six year old who's been asleep all day and was up throwing up at five this morning and feels like I'm a good Mom, even if everyone (including both him and I) is disappointed. Thanks to Brando for making me feel better by saying it's good for us to rest and get better, and even though Justinbustin may not have anything right now he may be able to fight it off chilling at home, but it may get to him if he got on the plane and did all the activities a trip to California and seeing 28 different people in two days requires.

Has anyone else discovered Yahoo answers? There seems to be some genuinely caring people on there. There's some idiots on there too, but this letter from someone who does care makes me feel better, too:

Hi Rose,

       Yes, we have had to cancel or postpone travel plans because of sick children (or us being sick). In fact, my husband is sick, and hasn't worked [editor's note: her hubby's a pilot] these past two days (he had bronchitis). He just called in saying he can't work tomorrow either because his ears are still clogged. It is not recommended for anyone who is sick to travel. Aside from just feeling crummy on the flight, you can do damage to your ears. Of course there are precaution methods to help with ear popping, but when your sick, sometimes those don't help. If you still want to make the trip, then you should have a check-up with the doctor first to make sure he gives the okay. If it were me, personally, I wouldn't risk taking my sick children on a flight.

I did have to make a flight when my son was sick once. We had gone to Paris and he caught bronchitis. We took him to the hospital, got him medicine, and decided to fly back to our home in Tunisia so that he could get the care he needed. It was the hardest 2.5 hour flight I have ever had! There were moments when he was moaning, throwing up, crying, or lethargic. Thankfully because everyone knows my husband since he is based out of the airport we landed at, we were able to de-board first, and cut through customs and security. The first thing I did when we landed was to call the doctor (it was 12midnight). From the time he had been diagnosed in Paris to the time the doctor saw him when we landed in Tunisia (half a day?) he went from having bronchitis to having pneumonia. It was terrible. 



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