Tuesday, December 30, 2008

End of Year Resolution Update

So this was the very first year I ever did New Year's Resolutions. I meant to update them once a month, but as that wasn't a resolution I don't feel badly that I didn't. I almost feel better knowing it became a subconcious thing to work on them. I haven't gone thru them yet, but I have a really good feeling that I've covered a majority of them! We'll know by the end of this post!


On girl time
Keep up the girl time I started last year. So did awesome at this! Visited my cousin again - yay!, had SO many girls' nights not even including my weekly nights with my girls Li, M, and Ambr, took a cousins trip to Phoenix with my sisters and cousins. Not only did I have a lot of girl time, I had a lot of special guy time with my man, too. That came later in the year, and as a by product, but this year we went to our first vineyard and had our first wine tasting, had a date almost every week, sailed on our first boat together, ice skated alone for the first time together, and had date upon wonderful date doing something fun and new each time including watching Ballet Under the Stars at the Zilker Hillside Theatre, floating in Barton Springs, and climbing Mt. Bonnell.

On taking care of my body
Leave my freakin' face alone! Hmmm, not sure how I've done on this one. It's definitely not AS bad as it was at the beginning of this year. Part of that was discovering I needed to use separate wash cloths for my face than the ones I use for everything else. So mine are a special color now and used for my face alone. That helped a lot. I still irritate my face when I'm nervous but usually I'll catch myself and go do something more productive.

On my thought life
Be easier on myself. I'm working on it. I'm okay with who I am and seriously want to give myself a kick in the rear to be all I can be. Maybe that will be NEXT year's resolutions. In the meantime I don't apologize for who I am or lay blame. What happened in my life up until I could make my own decisions happened and all I can do is change what I do now and change what I do for my kids.
Working on it


On school
Finish another three semesters of classes. Eek! Well, finances kind of put an end to that for the moment as we barely scraped by this summer and fall. I am signed up for a class this spring though and am crossing my fingers I can once again handle work, kids, and school (how do you do it again, GFF?).
Working on it

On my home front
Get my  house back to where I need it to be. Somehow along the year I learned to accept my house for what it was and where we are in our stage in life with where it is. Along the way something amazing happened, and only in the last few weeks, I threw a wine tasting party for 25 people! I did not want to stress out the week leading up to it so I just busied myself decluttering and throwing out the junk that had accumulated that I hadn't bothered to toss. Shawners and I ended up clearing out 150 toys out of their closet alone. That doesn't count the two garages Brando and I compacted into one by putting up shelves and clearing an entire trunk and carload worth of things to go to Goodwill. Somehow my house has happily maintained itself since the grand decluttering and we are quite enjoying it.

On my family front
Enjoy life! In the moment. Oh my gosh, this has probably been the most fabulous success in my resolutions. I have so enjoyed every. moment. of this year. Doing what I want, when I want, and how I want. And not blaming others for myself not having a good time if I didn't open my own damn mouth and make what I want to happen happen. Specifically, I had a blast tubing the Guadalupe with my girlfriends and one of their boyfriends. Brando? He stayed home with the kids and I didn't apologize for it. The trip out to see my cousin, the trip to meet up with my sisters and cousins, the countless dates with Brando where I said where I wanted to go and stuck with it (Ballet Under the Stars was a major feat and he LOVEd it : ), the many many moments with the kids where I didn't apologize for doing what I wanted to do, regardless of what they thought we should do. And the pictures I took? Every single one I look at I can tell you the specific happy moment surrounding that picture. No ugliness at all. That doesn't mean there weren't fights, I just didn't force them into making a happy moment out of it. I just let them be and fall by the wayside. The happy moments take the stage and shine in every picture. And there are so. very. many.
Absolutely yup!

Four out of six ain't bad. That means I kept two thirds of my resolutions and am still working on the final third! Whoohoo! How did you do on your resolutions this year?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dance Party

I never used to understand how people had dance parties at home. When GFF would mention them or Laura, or any other blogger I can't think of right now, my mind would turn into a great big WTF? Then my neighbor taught me to sing even if I don't know the words, my best girl Kel Bel taught me sing from my gut and stay on key (most of the time), my girl Li taught me to keep the beat while letting loose and not giving a crap who cares if I dance, just dance, like a record baby ; ) .

Now? My boys and I have dance parties all around the house to Disturbia, Love Lockdown, Dangerous, and Don't Stop the Music, Shawners teaches me foot moves from happy feet, and when the boys take off with Brando for a game night at a friends' house? I get a work out to Just Dance by Lady Gaga. Now I understand, when you have an idea of how to stay on beat, sing sort of on key to the music and just enjoy yourself you can't help but have a dance party when the music plays.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Family and Friends

Christmas Eve we spent with my sister and her family at their house. We had pizza, salad, english toffee, and spiced wine. Yummy and easy. We exchanged gifts and it was so sweet to see Justinbustin's presents for them. He had a budget of $50 for his two cousins, and the three of us and he bought the sweetest presents! A kitchen knife for my chef nephew - his cousin, a car magazine for his car enthusiast cousin, a video game magazine and a ornament coke bottle for Brando, two Pokemon toys for Shawners, and a pyramid of Ferrero Rochers for me. I think he even had money left over! My middle nephew's sweet gift to us was a special time with him going wherever they want, and a few nights of babysitting for us! It was a special time spending Christmas Eve with my sis and her family, and a special new tradition we've begun for the last two years.

Christmas day the boys woke up and we all opened our stockings on Brando's and my bed. Then they brought the gifts from under the tree two by two and we spent the next hour and a half opening all our gifts on our bed, starting with Santa gifts. Shawners got a plethora of Pokemon toys, cards, and movies - exactly what he asked for. And Justinbustin got a huge Star Wars lego set that he has spent eight hours working on putting together since. He's almost done! He actually asked for a PSP or an iTouch but was reminded Santa doesn't do that expensive of gifts. Star Wars lego set was stretching it as it was!! My mom bought the boys remote control trucks which reminds me of Christmas mornings in SC, driving around and seeing all the remote control cars out on the streets from being opened that morning for Christmas. Santa did good this year, and all the gifts from our family were so sweet and thoughtful.

I made a baked frittata and raspberry crepes for breakfast and our neighbors, aka Justinbustin's substitute teacher and her hubby and two boys, came over for breakfast. They stayed for about three hours drinking mimosa's and coffee and visiting while the four boys played together. We've never had people over for Christmas before and it was a total blast. I can't wait to do it again!

We spent the afternoon brushing Brownie with her new furminator. We ended up with a pile of fur about a foot by a foot big!! It was AMAZING! I can actually pet her now without her fur flying all over the place or walking away with fur all over my clothing.

For dinner I made garlic and thyme crusted prime rib, mashed potatoes with au jus gravy, cranberry & feta salad, while KT joined us for Christmas dinner and brought an Alabama specialty - turnips and macaroni and cheese (she made it healthy by making it whole wheat). She also brought a DELICIOUS super soft bread from Whole Foods - yum!! I gave her the new Brittney Spears CD, Circus, a few days ago when we went shopping for Christmas because she mentioned she had wanted it a few months ago. I was so glad she hadn't got it for herself yet!! I told her she better not buy me anything in return, but she did - gorgeous silver etched earrings from Macy's that I absolutely LOVE. We had more mimosas for dinner, because she'd never had one and she hung out for about four hours. Another fun time with friends we've never experienced on Christmas before!! The kids LOVEd having their former babysitter over, and her and I sat at the table long after everyone was gone and cracked ourselves up until we were holding our stomachs and our faces were bright red from laughing too hard.

She left to go spend time with her little sister, and Brando and the boys and I settled in to watch Elf and laugh our heads off. I can't believe I hated that movie the first time I watched it!! It must've been my aversion to Will Ferrell that kept me from actually seeing the movie. Now with the boys doubting Santa's existence this year, and Santa having to write a detailed letter to Shawners explaining how he can live in the freezing Antarctic, how his reindeer can fly, how he can make it to all the houses in one night, and why he can't wake him up when he drops off the presents (last time he did that he didn't make all his deliveries and the elves made him promise not to do it again!!), I totally got into the spirit of Elf and believing in the Christmas spirit to make Santa's sleigh fly! I even sang along with Zooey Deschanel aka Emily to Santa Claus is Coming to Town!!

What a perfect way to end the evening as we finished up our movie and tucked the boys in bed. Shawners cuddling with his teddy bear in a sweater that Gma gave him, dressed in his moose pajama pants that I gave him to match the ones I gave Brando and Justinbustin (mine are pink with owls in scarves and hats and white pine trees - so cute!!), and Justinbustin big man stretched all over his bed that he is almost as big as.

Brando and I fell asleep to Fred Clause, and I savored the thing that I enjoyed most about Christmas this year. The fact that we are together, and happy. After hearing about my friend's husband moving out last week, it struck me how shallow I had been with gifts and realized I could have returned them all and been happy just having my family with me and being happy together with having friends there as a sweet added bonus.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A broken economy

makes for very last minute Christmas shopping. KT and I did our mall thing Monday, but didn't come up with much. Yesterday Li and I made round two. First stop at Walmart, second stop at the mall where I FINALLY found Brando something and Li helped me put the finishing touch on it. Yay! The boys played their DSs again, and didn't say a peep. Afterwards we stopped by Chilis for afternoon margaritas, southwestern egg rolls, spinach dip, and buffalo chicken. Mmmm.

Last night I started some of the grocery shopping for tomorrow's meal, and Justinbustin did his Christmas shopping with Daddy.

WARNING!! This next part gets deep!!

I also heard the news last night that my BFF is getting a divorce. Her husband moved out a week ago. They have been working alternate schedules for the last year and a friend of hers has been coming over and helping out with the kids while she is working. It got to be a little more than helping out, and now they are done.

My heart breaks and I am so very, very humbled thinking about how I have been stressing over gifts here and gifts there when the very most precious thing to me is that Brando and I are together and on speaking terms this Christmas. More than that. We haven't spoken about money lately so we are on pretty darn good terms. Not that we don't need to speak of money and won't, but not speaking of it allows us a breather amidst the stress. Then we have to take in a big gulp of air again because we'll realize while we thought we were breathing, we were actually just holding our breaths.

My heart is so broken right now for my good friend. She is not on good terms with her mother and sister either, and it sounds like she will spend Christmas alone. I am so very grateful for my family right now, and wish her the deepest peace in her heart over any gift this Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Growing up at the speed of light

I just talked to my 9 1/2 year old about pu *berty after noticing his upper lip area is darker than the rest of his face. Holy sh*t. When I throw things in as a conversational bit and don't make a big deal about it they accept it as part of life that just is. While I walk away reeling.

What the cold does

Delicious breakfast with blueberry pancakes, maple sausage, bacon, eggs, coffee, and strawberry peach smoothies that the boys made. Being so excited for breakfast I could hardly eat.

Trail of Lights in the freezing cold. Scarves, hats, gloves and socks when there aren't enough gloves to go around. Standing close to the giant bonfire. Spinning around under the Zilker Christmas tree. Drinking hot cocoa and eating kettle corn. Walking at a steady pace along the lit up displays is almost worth the cold. Pictures in the tunnel of lights and next to the huge blue and white lit up tree are priceless. More kettle corn. Warming up our hands on the heater when we get to the car.

Last minute Christmas shopping with my neighbor and new friend, JenH, while three of our boys do chores together and play the Wii at home. Bringing Shawner's Nintendo DS so he'll stay distracted while we hit up World Market for stocking stuffers. Picking up KT while she waits for her cars oil to get changed. Going to Walmart for socks, gloves, and an airsoft gun for her oldest. Dropping off KT, then JenH, and having leftover yummy breakfast for lunch. 

KT picking the boys and I up after lunch for my first four hour mall shopping excursion I've had in a looooong time. Parking them with their Nintendo DS's in a corner of each store to keep them entertained. Hitting up almost every store in the mall and having so much fun remembering all a mall has to offer. Eating mini chocolate chip cookies from the cookie store. Perusing for our men. Getting a small item for Brando, but finding nothing else for them. Wondering why guys are so hard to buy for. 

Watching the boys give K the gifts I bought her. Girls night in with Christmas presents from and for Li, M, and Ambr. Finale of the Hills and warm fuzzies (I won't say anymore since I just realized blog readers might not be so yellow text friendly if I were to make it blend into my background). Warm tortilla soup with avocados, lime juice, cheese and tortilla strips. White wine that doesn't keep me up at night.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Friends have always been a big issue for me, whether near or far. I have never felt close to anyone I can't connect with. Yet I hesitate to call ANYbody a best friend. Every friend of mine meets a different need in my life, fulfills a different purpose, and lets me meet a different need in their life. There are a few friends I have today who are so like me that calling them my best friend is always on the tip of my tongue. I can say anything, do anything around them and they won't judge me. They'll think of me as they always have. There are a few others where I am so very grateful for the need they fill in my life, the need that even the ones who feel like best friends don't or can't meet. The need that challenges me to look at who I am and make sure I am on the right track. The ones who make sure I really am aware of what is going on in my life and not just sailing through life as if it's a ride on a pleasure boat (which I sure enjoy sometimes). Today was an example of that. This afternoon I met Brando for his Christmas party at my favorite restaurant ever. His co-workers are so fun and goofy that I am so grateful for him that he gets that opportunity to work with guys and a girl who are his age and a blast to work with. I wish I had that opportunity. At the same time I have surrounded myself with girls who give me that environment. I left Brando with the boys and the Christmas party not long after I got there, well after two mimosas with maraschino cherries at the bottom any way, and met my girl Genie for her tattoo appointment. I was at her first one in Texas and so glad I was there for her second. Poor girl was breathing hard on this one. Afterwards we picked up our traditional sangria Saturday and headed down to another friend of mine for a cookie bake off. Genie is so versatile she fit right in with these girls and had a blast, consequently making it a blast for me. After she left, my girl Christi asked me, so how are you REALLY doing with Brando? as if I hadn't been telling her the truth with Genie there. Even though I had, because I can with Genie, I did tell her more about how confused I feel sometimes, and it made me grateful that she pushed that question. She knew how Brando and I were last year and being married herself knows it's not such an easy fix, and pushed for the answer she was really looking for. While I shared the same amount that I did with Genie, it was nice to see her care so much and really want to know how things were going. She also shared some more personal things about her and her hubby after Genie took off and it reminded me of why her and I get along so well. We have so many similar views on life and issues in marriage, yet are different enough that it makes it interesting to share our views with each other. Genie is my let it all go and be who I really am and no matter what I am girl, and Christi is my infrequent but when she is make me look at who I really am girl. They are both more than I could have ever asked for in a friendship.

I am so grateful for friends today.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Then Meets Now

Oh my gosh I met Samira!!! Remember the girl with her blog dedicated to coffee? You know if she was still blogging you would read her by that sentence alone. She was going to school in Gren*da and chronicling her adventures until one day she needed to be done blogging for the moment : ) .  Girl From Florida was around, Tall Poppy (who blogs no more but is still out there and doing wonderful) was around, even Cecilia, and Amanda.

I was in shock going to meet her and could hardly believe that I was. I didn't allow myself to let the excitement out until I actually saw her. When I did it all came bubbling out and we had one of those girlie moments you see on TV, like say on the Hills ; ) . We had presidente margaritas at Chili's and their new Chocolate Chip molten lava dessert. Oh yum. We yakked way too long, had way too much to talk about and we still didn't get to talk about it all. I hope she got enough sleep last night! The best news is she may end up living here! I'm not sure how much more I should say, but OH MY WORD I am beyond excited! Can't wait to see you again Sam! I'm excited you'll be around in SA until February!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Gosh it's been freezing lately! Yesterday it barely hit 36F and today it's 50F but it still feels freezing because of the humidity hanging in the air. Did I mention it SNOWed last week? And stuck around in the eaves of our building until 2:30pm? Totally hot chocolate and curled up on the couch with a book evenings.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Days Running Into Nights

Where have I been lately? Everywhere really. I've only been home two weekends from Thanksgiving but it feels like so much has gone on. Last weekend we had our fourth annual Christmas party for our Sunday School group. My favorite part is the pictures and the ornament exchange. I'm such a dork but I love getting an ornament somebody else picked out. The white elephant party is always a blast as well. The best gift was a box with three rolls of toilet paper, febreeze, hand soap, and two magazines. Awesomeness.

The rest of the weekend and week was filled with work, home-school, coffee with friends, catching up on appointments I completely skipped out on the week after vacation, girl nights, and decluttering the house for our holiday wine tasting party.

This weekend was our party which went off without a hitch. Twenty people in our TEENY house!! We set everything up so wonderfully it wasn't even a squeeze. There was dove chocolate, brownies, ham and swiss, salami and mozzarella pinwheels, seafood salad in fillo pastries, and spicy meatballs to go with the wine pairings, and s'mores for the after party. We were up til' 2am and spent half of the next day sleeping before we had friends over for dinner, games, and the Dark Knight.

Today Brando did a photo shoot for the same friends. The rest of the day was spent watching a Christmas cantata at church which Jen was in, and eating at P. Terry's of course.

Now it's time to start the week again. Happy Monday!

PS Oh, and I had my Texas Martinis at Trudy's with Kels last Friday night. Way too many, then we went to Sixth Street and downed some beers on top of that. We had fun people watching a group crash a bar with Goth Christmas though!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More Shawnisms

Upon seeing the snow melt off the roof of our apartment building into a puddle he says, "It's like a dog dancing, with his feet going really quick."

Oh and his candy "storage" is the entire middle portion in between his chest and stomach, illustrated with the use of his hands.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Thanksgiving Week

Arriving in San Jose, picking up a Sa*ab to drive in for the week, eating at In N Out, driving straight to Ol*vehurst/Plum*s Lake. Turkey dinner on Sunday with my brother's ex-wife and three kids, my sister, her hubby, and their five kids, my parents, and us. Seeing her new 2600 sq.ft. that had more than enough room for all of us, and more than enough room for six cooks in the kitchen. Watching the kids play, play, play their hearts out and spend every night with my mom and dad in their RV they brought up from Santa Cr*z. Playing games with my sister and her hubby every night and with my ex SIL and niece before they went home. Liars dice, skipbo, Uno. Driving to Placerv*lle to meet Brando's family I've never met in eight years. Going from flat land valley Cali to mid size mountains and tall pine trees. Being EXTREMELY bored with people I've hardly met before. Getting over it and playing golf cards with Justinbustin. Shawners joining in, then Oma, then a cousin. Thanksgiving dinner with two cousins and an aunt of Brando's I'd never met before. Pictionary with Justinbustin and Oma on my team. Waking up early in the morning. Going to Apple Hill with Brando's family and discovering the quaintest experience I've ever experienced. Taking gorgeous mountainous pictures. Buying fudge, apple pies, apple cider, and Christmas ornaments. Watching the rest of the family take off to see a veteran's memorial. Going to our first. ever. wine tasting with Brando. Taking kissy pictures in the vineyard. Watching my sons collect pine cones outside the window while we wine tasted. Meeting the family-owned estate owner's son. Having birthday cake for Shawners birthday with Oma. Driving home in order to have a full day in Santa Cr*z. Playing more games with my sis and her hubby. Going out downtown with my good friend, Jef. Waking up early and taking boudoir pictures at U*SC campus. Laughing at the guy biking by on the bike trail nearby biking by and asking if that's a n*ked lady in the grass. Thinking in my head, "No! You're imaging things!!" Finding out I need to get linger*e for Brando at Hot Top*c instead of Vici's. Going to my dad's financial class. Seeing how cute he is with all the little things he does for his clients. Payday bars, lucky pennies, cash drawings, cute analogies, tear-jerking stories. Going on a sailboat with Jef, his girl, Brando, the boys, and my parents. Spending two hours on the Monterey Bay with wine, beer, pizza, and good company. Drinking way too much wine. Going to the Boardwalk any way after we get off. Riding the sky rider with Brando. Taking pictures to ease my fear of hanging 200 ft. about the ground with no way to get down. my Dad and the boys there. Watching them have a good time without being involved or them knowing I was there. Stalking them and taking pictures.  Riding the pirate ship with Brando and laughing at the guy giving me evil looks for standing up. Going home and taking a nap. Oversleeping our dinner date with good friends. Picking up Jef and his girl again to go to dinner with us and other friends. Eating dinner with Cris & Kris and their sweet baby boy. Shopping downtown. More games with my sis and her hubby, this time with Jef and his girl, too. Hanging out with his new girl, the longest girl he's had, that I absolutely love and adore and hope he marries the heck out of her one day. Going over to a friend of Brando's afterwards. Playing the Wii until the wee hours of the morning. Waking up. Hanging out with my sister at Trader Joe's. Going to breakfast at my favorite restaurant ever, Peachwoods. My dad attempting to take me shopping. Giving hugs. Oma's tears. Going home.


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