Monday, January 30, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear weekend, why did you have to be so conducive to having a perfectly unplanned schedule, yet everything was already completely planned?

strawberry chocolate cupcake from an actual unplanned weekend

Dear self, did you really have to go and injure yourself in the first five minutes of a sport again? Really?  Your tricep really could've gone without being pulled, and your knee cap would have been just fine without being bruised on the way down the rock climbing wall. Next time, wait for the easy wall. Seriously.

Dear boys, I'm glad you're better, Justinbustin, after staying home from school sick on Friday, then, going on a ten mile bike ride with Dad on Saturday. Shawners, I'm sad you're home sick from school. Crossing my fingers you feel better today!

Dear Brando, I really, really, really wanted to go on that ten mile bike ride with you Saturday. Perhaps my super strengthened legs would've saved me from injury on Sunday. But I'm glad you went.

Dear robotics team, I don't appreciate being injured at your celebration of the end of the season party yesterday I semi-planned but did a half-a*s job of because I was so tired after the season, but I am so glad you were all flexible with the two hour wait we happened upon once we got there and were happy to kill time with milkshakes at Red Robin. And I'm glad the season's over. 'Nuff said.

Dear new sunglasses, I heart you. You remind me of Breakfast at Tiffany's, whether you actually look like them or not. That is all.

Dear girls' night, I am so looking forward to you tonight. You've been a welcome reprieve back in my life the last few weeks.

And because I liked Basil's Dear God (and also because her letters were the push I needed to write this, especially after I saw only 23 minutes were left to link up):

Dear God, Thank you for my three amazing boys. Thank you for an amazing weekend, planned though it had to be. Thank you that I am able to stay home with Shawner's today. Thank you for my amazing hubby. Please help him to have a wonderful first day at his new branch. Please help the boys to get better. You are an amazing, awesome God!


Monday, January 09, 2012

What a Weekend

Brando likes to surprise me with new places to hike as he knows how much I love hiking *and* new places. It's the perfect thing to make my weekend a wonderful weekend and he knows it.
But you will have to wait to hear and see the rest of it, because today I am over here at sweet Lisa's at Momma's Me Time as a guest poster talking about Brando's and my love of travels and how very, very fabulous it has been for our marriage. My very first guest post! Eek! A little nervous, but super excited. Try not to get distracted by Lisa's gorgeous long hair and adorable little boy. Oh, who am I kidding, get distracted and spend a few hours getting lost in her site like I did.

Monday, January 02, 2012

New Year, New Goals

This is my third year to do New Year's Resolutions. It's been a few years since I did resolutions. '08's resolutions proved to keep me so focused and remembering my goals that they became a subconscious effort and when the end of the year came faster than ever I was shocked to see I accomplished so many of them!! I did resolutions again in '09 and now here we are again in '12. My, how time flies.

Fireworks at my sister's
New Year's Eve 2011


On girl time
Invest time in those who have stuck with me through thick and thin these past few years. Specifically spend more time talking to them on the phone, make a point to get together with them, make them feel special as a person,  let them know how much they truly do mean to me, and continue to realize the importance, along with the renewed energy and love they bring, of girls' trips and girls' weekends even when it takes precious time away from my family but gives in return a happier, more confident and renewed me. The reward, the personal satisfaction of knowing I have done for them what I am so, so grateful that they have done for me.
Celebrating one of my besties wedding with another bestie
November 5, 2011

On time with my man
Continue to soak up and enjoy living with this amazing blessing of a man. Back in February of '11 I decided to concentrate more on the relationships I go home to every night than the girlfriends that I love spending time with. What a payoff this has had as Brando and my relationship is like a rock, if that's possible. He has blown my mind with his maturity and has risen to the level of insane calmness when I have my moments. We are starting to parent a teenager, and he has slowly taken that aspect over with that same calmness, maturity, and desire to develop a deep bond between father and son with Justinbustin that I am in literal awe of. In the meantime, I've noticed the girlfriends that have stuck with me, not only through the hard times previous, but through this time of restrengthening my relationship with my family. These are the girls I am truly blessed to have in my life. The reward, a lifelong appreciation for the time I have with this amazing man, and in the long run, I cross my fingers, a stronger, God-focused marriage as a result.
Annual New Year's Day family bike ride
January 1, 2012

Adding another one...
Continue to realize the importance of time and trips alone with my man. The past five or so years we have been so good about going on dates and trips together, just Brando and I. These last six months or so we have slipped a bit. Specifically, I want to remember to keep those dates and trips going as they have welded together our relationship in a way where we realize things aren't all about stress and the day-to-day grind, but are about him and I and how we enjoy each other and get along as well. The reward, the personal satisfaction of not only enjoying every moment day-to-day with each other, but rewarding those moments with times where we get to enjoy the full benefit of each other's company, and, no, I'm not being dirty.
Montana De Oro, Pismo Beach, California
Celebrating our eleventh anniversary
March 19, 2011

On enjoying the beauty of nature
This one is from '09, but I'm going to leave it in here, because, unless we move to a new town, I could reiterate these exact words this year as well.

Put a renewed effort into going out and enjoying our town. I'm not sure if it was the kids' school schedule, our jobs, or the pressure of the economy, but we've slacked off on our enjoyment of the local entertainment, nature, and beauty in the past few months and I'd like to get back into it as much or more so than we did before, as we have been having such a wonderful time doing over this Christmas break and had such a wonderful time doing this summer. Specifically, check out every new fun place we hear of in Austin, and every free new event that sounds interesting, including some of our favorites including Ballet Under the Stars, Shakespeare in the Park, South Asia New Year, Musicals in the Park, Barton Springs Pool, Mt. Bonnell, kayaking Town Lake, Laguna Gloria, Mayfield Park, watching the bats on South Congress, Whole Foods headquarters, and hopefully many new places this year!! The reward, knowing that I have enjoyed the beauty of my town to it's fullest and knowing that if I ever move away from here I will not be sad that I did not enjoy the time while I was here. Also, the satisfaction of having so many wonderful unique memories that can not be created any other time or place.
Annual New Year's Day family bike ride
January 1, 2012

On taking care of my body
Again, I may copy most of this one verbatim. Oh, it makes me laugh how similar my resolutions are this year to '09s. It makes sense though, as my life was semi put on hold in '09 when we moved, and then in '10 when we moved back again. '11 was a year of 'righting the boat' so to speak.

Put more effort into my hair. New year, new hair! Specifically, I've decided to change my part, and curl my hair a lot more to keep up with the current trend. Plus, it's soft, feminine, and feels freakin' gorgeous. To copy from '09 and continue on with the specifically, fluff up my bangs so they're not so freaking flat, get three haircuts this year instead of two, and put more effort into styling my hair even when I go out for simple things, but even more so for girls' nights out, dates with Brando, etc. By the way, this next part might be too much information for some of you! Specifically also to keep my eyebrows consistently groomed by shaping them at least once a month, plucking them at least once a week, and going into have them professionally shaped at least twice a year!! Oh man the way I look when I neglect them or forget to reshape them for even a week or two!! The reward, the personal satisfaction of having pictures where I put my effort in to look my best and can look back at and not nit pick at myself for not doing this or that with my hair and face!
New year, new hair, new part
New Year's Day, January 1, 2012

Adding another one...
Let go of the stress about my face and inevitable aging. Specifically, realize I look the FREAKIN' same in pictures now as I did two years ago. If anything is changed, it's only that I photo shop less because I realize this is what God gave me. I can love it, or I can photo shop it and think I've changed every time I see an unphotoshopped photo. I am not going cold turkey here and I am not saying my resolution is to stop photo shopping. The reward, the personal satisfaction of knowing I am aging with ease and grace and putting less lines on my face by doing so.
Nannying a little girl
October 10, 2008
Li's birthday celebration with Li and KT
October 28, 2011

On my thought life
Balance. Rhythm. Specifically, realize life is about rhythms, stop beating myself up when life is swung one huge way because Justinbustin has a regionals coming up, or a transition to school is starting, or a transition to Christmas vacation is starting. Realize life is a rhythm, full of seasons, just like nature, and that it's only for a season, and probably a short one at that, that something is happening. The reward, the personal satisfaction of going through these seasons with much more ease and calm.
Guest Speaker for Justinbustin's robotics club
December 16, 2011


On school
Think about doing school online. Specifically, research it, try out a class, and decide if it's for me. As per above, that's all I'm going there with it right now. The reward, the personal satisfaction of satisfying my insatiable desire to learn, as I love to do.
Butterfly hatched from the caterpillars off our parsley plant
May 29, 2009

On my home front
I'll keep this one from '09 as well, as I still like the sound of it.

Keep my home maintained and decluttered and invite more people into my home. Specifically, set aside a time every month to declutter each room and throw out items that are no longer needed. Also, maintain our daily habits and routines by cleaning up after ourselves and teaching the boys that in our family we clean up after ourselves. Teach them that we work before we play, so that once we're done working hard we can play even more than we would've been able to before. Make a point of having multiple couples over once a month for dinner and a movie or margaritas and chips and a game night. The reward, giving myself permission to buy one new kitchen, decorating or entertaining for my home each month as I succeed.
Gingerbread house making party
December 18, 2011

On my family front
I'll hang onto this one, too, as I've started this back up in the last few months, any way.

Continue to take pictures that are actually a happy moment this year. Also, to take more fun and goofy pictures rather than smiley ones where you say 1-2-3 cheese all the time! Aw, it makes my heart smile thinking how many happy pictures we took last year. Specifically, making sure that I continue to capitalize on those happy moments before or after the fact and remind them how happy they will be to have those pictures later. Also, specifically, find and pay attention to interesting and fun set ups and faces in magazines, other pictures, etc. that will make our own pictures more interesting and fun.  I am so camera happy that people get irritated with me for it sometimes! Thanks to people like KT for encouraging me by telling me how good I am at snagging other people to take pictures for group photos. Most of the time I feel like I embarrass everyone I'm with when I do that. Good thing I don't care either way! I've also learned to take group photos by catching them naturally - when people are already standing together and talking and saying, "Look at me and smile!" The reward, the personal satisfaction of moments of our lives captured to look back and smile on.
Annual New Year's Day family bike ride
January 1, 2012

Adding another one...
Take more family vacations. Specifically, take the boys' snowboarding and skiing again and to Disneyland. Last year, we went snowboarding and skiing, and once snowboarding before the year before. The boys loved it. I didn't realize til' just now those were truly family vacations. I'm so glad we've already done them and I can't wait to do even longer ones this year. The reward, the personal satisfaction of knowing we took that time together as a family to create lifelong memories that I'm crossing my fingers will be stress-free as possible as a result of our maturing relationship as per above resolution.
Justinbustin's first time snowboarding
December 23, 2010
Mommy, Justinbustin's, and Shawners' first time snowboarding
December 23, 2011

Shawners' first time snowboarding
December 23, 2010

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year and a (belated) Merry Christmas!

One of the highlights of 2011 and one of my favorite Christmas presents for Christmas was meeting Ashley, one of my favorite bloggers. The minute we decided we were heading to Phoenix to visit my Grandma, I knew I would be emailing her to see if she was in town. Turns out she was for two of the days I would be there. We ended up driving to her town, just twenty minutes away from my Grandma's town, to see the Glendale Glitters Christmas Lights. We met her at her house where she greeted us with her sweet barking puppies and "puppy chow" (link to another blogger I've met and love in real life who happens to share a fondness for puppy chow with Shawners and Ashley ;)!) - a yummy chex mix Trav made that I brought home to Shawners who gobbled it up and has been begging for it ever since.

Ashley and I had both already admitted via email that we are shy people until you really get to know us. But I already felt like I knew her via our blogs. She's just one of those people that is easy to know. She also knows me a little more intimately than some bloggers might because she's seen a few more of my personal struggles. So I was crossing fingers we would hit it off as I have with a few of the other bloggers I've met and become lifelong friends with. I had nothing to worry about, because it instantly felt we had known each other for ages. We hugged the instant we met and chatted incessantly from the moment we saw each other. Had our limited schedules not been around, we would have chatted half the night away.

She was so excited about asking Brando about some of his photography tips for her new camera, and Trav was easy to talk to while they talked camera. Actually, Trav was also interested in the camera tips. I had to keep myself from getting distracted, because for some reason when Brando goes to a certain point with talking about camera stuff my head gets all in a muddle and I can't quite follow him anymore. It's almost like I need a notepad so I can take notes to keep up. Regardless, in between photog talks, we snuck some cute, fun pictures and chatted about similar things we are dealing with such as not feeling pretty or cute in photos lately and feeling like we used to be and not knowing what happened! What is with that?! Of course, she is gorgeous in all her photos and so I am crossing my fingers the same is the case with me, but I am so glad to know there is someone out there that feels the same way.

She was off to Indiana to plan her wedding with her family the next day, and I back to my Grandma's where I had an... interesting weekend that I'm not even close to being prepared to write about. I am so excited for her, and am so, SO glad I took the opportunity to meet her! As I told her, I've learned from past experiences, if you pass up the opportunity to meet bloggers when you can that perfect opportunity may not ever come again. Something I didn't say, but have noticed, is that the blog friendship may dwindle, because if that person was an in real life friend you definitely would NOT pass up the opportunity to see them. This hasn't held true for in-town blog friends, but for out of town friends, it seems to have. And I just realized I have not kept up out-of-town blog friendships with a few people who I go nearby and visit sometimes. Little do they know I have SO many people to see, I rarely see everybody. I haven't seen Justinbustin's godmother in five years!! And she lives in my hometown. I need to remedy that!

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year
from both of us to all of you and your loved ones!
Here's to an aMAzing 2012!


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