Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 To Do List

1. Serve vegetables nightly with dinner when we cook at home
2. Bake from scratch and actually try some new recipes
3. Blog at least once a month
4. Read at least one book a month
5. Get Jackson ready to start Kindergarten in August
6. Attend Bobbye's Graduation in May
7. Learn to make gumbo like my mom does
8. Finish my community placement in May
9. Buy new living room furniture
10. Finish decorating the house before August
11. Clean out the garage by the end of February
12. Lose 20 pounds (and more if possible)
13. Get Jackson involved in some sort of activity, either more sports or something else he will enjoy
14. Take a vacation that doesn't include visiting family
15. See Alabama play in the Cowboys Classic in September
16. Work on a budget and stick to it
17. Celebrate Jackson's 5th birthday in July
18. Volunteer at VBS
19. Spend a long weekend in Houston with my brother
20. Spend a weekend with Chris's family in Wicitia Falls
21. Get caught up on Jackson's yearly picture books
22. Go to the theatre and the ballet
23. Take a cooking and/or wine pairing class
24. Schedule a family photo shoot
25. Use my fine china or Christmas china at least once a month
26. Establish and stick to a cleaning and laundry schedule
27. Start our tour of the Daytripper's locations this summer
28. Visit the murals of Austin
29. Try a new restaurant once a month
30. Take more pictures with my actual camera

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 To Do List - Review

1. Buy a house. - Done. Contract signed in January. House completed in August. We have been loving it ever since.
2. Finish my JLA Provisional year in May. - Done. I was so happy to end that year. It was a lot of hard work. Rewarding but hard.
3. Start my community placement in the fall. - Done. Although I haven't been very happy with my placement so far. I have a lot of work ahead of me between now and May.
4. Get Jackson involved in some sort of activity. - Done. Two Seasons of T-Ball with Chris coaching one of them
5. Get the boys back into swim lessons. - Done. Although Jackson still isn't too comfortable in the water. Sean was able to take lessons during his summer camp at the Y. Two birds. One stone.
6. Take a vacation. - Disney for Thanksgiving! Done. So much fun. I'm ready to go back.
7. Celebrate our 5th anniversary in June. - Done. We spent the weekend at Sea World in San Antonio although we spent our actual anniversary at the emergency vet since Maverick decided to eat a baby rattlesnake that day.
8. Welcome my newest nephew in April. - Done. Patrick is just the happiest little man.
9. See Alabama play in the Cowboys Classic in September.  - Sadly this didn't happen thanks to closing on the new house in August.
10. Work on a Budget and stick to it. - We did a lot of work on our finances this year in order to buy the new house. It wasn't exactly a budget but I would still say this counts.
11. Do something about my weight. - Yeah right...that didn't happen but it really needs to.
12. Celebrate Jackson's 4th birthday in July. - Done. We had his party at Pump It Up and it was a blast for the kids and easy for me so I say it was a win.
13. Volunteer at VBS. - No, when the time came, I just couldn't take off work to do it. I was actually really sad about this.
14. Make time to read. - Not really. I only read 7 of 12 for my Goodreads goal for this year. I started a book on our trip but a month later I haven't touched it since we got back.
15. Buy a new bed for Jackson to replace the toddler bed. - Done. We bought Jackson a twin daybed for his new room when we moved. I don't recommend Wayfair though. We purchased two items from there including the bed and both had issues when they arrived.
16. Spend a long weekend in Houston with my brother. - Sort of. Jackson and I went down for Patrick's Baby Dedication in May. It was the first time Mom and Dad had been to Texas since her cancer diagnosis in February 2012.
17. Spend a weekend with Chris's family in Wicitia Falls. - Almost. We had a hotel booked. Our bags were packed and we were ready to go and Jackson woke up throwing up the morning we were supposed to leave so we had to cancel our plans
18. Get caught up on Jackson's yearly picture books. - Not even close. I still haven't completed year two. I just don't think it is going to happen.
19. Cross stitch something and have it framed. - Haha! Wishful thinking. Not even sure why I included this one.
20. See the sights of Austin. - Nope. I have such high hopes at the beginning of each year.
21. Schedule a family photo shot. - Scheduled and cancelled. We just got too busy and we had no money and we had a ton of pictures of the boys from school and activities.
22. Close out our storage unit. - Done. I was amused watching the movers unpack our stuff and bring in things I forgot we even owned.
23. Use my fine china and Christmas china this year. - I did use my Christmas china for our Christmas Spaghetti. It was nice to get them out but not so much fun for just three of us.
24. Establish and stick to a cleaning and laundry schedule. - Well...again...I had high hopes. We haven't had time to buckle down on anything.
25. Make the most of our Y membership. - We cancelled our membership because we weren't really using it for anything other than discounted sports leagues and after school care and the occasional parents' night out. Once I realized we didn't like their sports leagues and the after school discount was only $20, I knew it wasn't worth it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
Had a house built.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't really do resolutions but I did do much better on my to do list than I thought I did.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My coworker, Sarah, and my Sister-in-Law, Jenny

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My Aunt Carol

5. What countries did you visit?
None and this answer probably won't change anytime soon.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you didn't have in 2015?
More free time. More money.

7. What dates from 2015 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
February 13th and August 5th

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
Getting our finances in order so we could buy a house

9. What was your biggest failure?
My weight as usual. Allowing our credit cards to build back up after we closed on the house.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major this year which is why I'm still trying to figure out how to use up my FSA money.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our House of course and the Memory Maker at Disney World. Seriously so easy to get tons of pictures taken without having to mess with a camera and still able to download them when I get home.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Chris's...he stood up for himself on a matter that he believed in even though he knew it could cause him problems. I'm proud of him for not backing down when it mattered.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Much of society. I'm tired of the anti-law enforcement propaganda I hear and see almost daily. I don't think anyone realizes how much that effects LEO families. I have had many sleepless nights wondering what might happen to Chris on duty.

14. Where did most your money go?
Credit cards, rent/mortgage, daycare/tuition, food...the usual

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Disney World! Our new house!

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
Pretty much anything Disney. I spent the months leading up to our trip listening to Disney Cds in the car with Jackson to try to get him excited about the trip.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) happier - we are in a very good place right now
b) fatter - unfortunately
c) about even - we have a mortgage now but we got rid of a lot bills in the process

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Blog, Read, Relax

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Yelling at the kids. It is so easy to get frustrated with them.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Hanging out at home with Jackson and Maverick. Chris had to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Night so he slept most of the day after the boys opened their gifts. It was a quiet day and we never got out of our jammies.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?
This question always confuses me. Fall in love with what? The year? It wasn't a bad year but there were some things that happened that I don't want to repeat.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Our favorite new show this is NCIS: New Orleans. I loved Scott Bakula on Quantum Leap so it has been been fun to watch him as Agent Pride. Of course, Lucas Black as Chris LaSalle just makes my day. He is the perfect Bama boy!

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I am still really frustrated with the media and the way law enforcement is portrayed so I guess that is the closest to hating anyone.

24. What was the best book you read?
I didn't get to read near as much as I wanted to this year. I tried but life just got in the way.  My favorite of everything I read was probably Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
So I downloaded Taylor Swift's 1989 which I absolutely loved. I wasn't really a fan of her's before but that was a fun album. I also really loved Josh Groban's Stages. Combine two of my favorites: Josh Groban and Broadway musicals and I am in heaven.

26. What did you want and get?
Our house

27. What did you want and not get?
New furniture for the new house

28. What was your favorite film of 2015?
Pitch Perfect 2 I actually really enjoyed it. (I should also say that I can count on one hand the number of movies we show this year.)

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 38. I worked. It wasn't good. We were in Alabama helping my mom recover from knee surgery and work drama came up. So I worked.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More time with Jackson. I'm watching him grow before my eyes and I feel like I'm missing it.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2015?
Business casual (whatever fits)

32. What kept you sane?
Enjoying my family and my new house

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Not sure

34. Who did you miss?
Always my family...I just hate being so far away from them. Carol...every day

35. Who was the best new person you met?
I can't think of meeting anyone new but I did get to know some people better this year.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
"Don’t be afraid to take a chance. Move to a new city where you don’t know anybody or quit your job to travel. Do something that you are unsure of because life is short and you don’t get a do-over. Roll Tide."

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Post I've Been Trying to Write for a Year

One year ago this morning, I woke up to a text that said, "I'm OK. It's not me." A couple of years earlier after a local officer was shot and I couldn't reach Chris, he agreed to text me if there were any incidents over night to let me know he was OK.  I didn't know what had happened when I woke up on September 18th last year but I knew it wasn't good if I was getting that text. I immediately started scanning Twitter for any news of what might be going on. And then I found it: a car had been swept away in the flood waters overnight and the driver was missing. Based on the location of the incident, I knew his shift had been involved in the search. I just wasn't sure how they were being effected by this.

I finally got Chris on the phone about an hour later and what I heard wasn't good. He couldn't tell me what was going on but he was upset. All I was able to get out of him was someone he knew was not OK. The news finally broke on my way to work that the car that had been swept away belong to one of the sheriff's deputies on Chris's shift. As soon as they said her, I knew who it was. Chris had been telling me stories about Hollis, the deputy who had joined the shift right after the new year. More than 36 hours after she went in the water, the body of Jessica Hollis was recovered from Lake Austin.

The next week passed in a blur. There were meetings and memorials. There was the funeral that was attended by law enforcement all over the state. There were tears, lots of them, from grown men who were broken from searching the woods for their partner in the wee hours of the morning. I just remember feeling an ache that I didn't understand. I had never met this person but her death was effecting my family so profoundly. All I wanted to do was hold my husband and my son tight and pray that I never had to experience this again.

One thing that has stuck with me since the funeral is the words of another spouse from the shift, "It is hard not to put yourself in that tent."

The last year has been especially hard for law enforcement. Many claims of police brutally and the militarization of police. Law enforcement being accused of failing to do their job to serve and protect. Officers being targeted simply for wearing a uniform and doing their jobs. I would never ask my husband to quit doing a job he loves but that doesn't mean I don't worry about him or fear for his safety. I don't want to be Mrs. Goforth. I don't want to have other deputies walk Jackson to school on his first day because his dad can't be there. At the end of the day, I just want my husband to come home safe.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Aunt Carol

Carol was my mom's only sister, younger by two years, and as different from my mom as she could possibly be.  The two drove each other crazy but they would do anything for each other. I was named after her and planned to use my middle name for a little girl if I ever had one. 

We lost Carol early Friday morning. 

When I was home last April, we knew something was wrong. We were visiting the college my mom, Carol, and I all attended and she was just out of sorts. By June, we had an answer: ALS. This was devastating news to hear especially since my family had dealt with Alzheimer's in my grandmother for nearly 20 years until she died in 2008. We had no idea how long she would survive or what obstacles we would face. My mom and my uncle stepped to start caring for Carol. They were by her side when she passed. 

My aunt spent most of her career as a school teacher.  She also graduated from seminary and worked as a children's pastor for several years. She was married for a short period of time before I was born. She was a loyal supporter of Judson College. She was more than an aunt to my brothers and me. She cried tears of joy when she watched me walk across the stage at Judson to get my degree. She loved my Jackson. She could always be counted on for a card or a phone call though those were fewer and further between over the last year. She would listen and give advice when I needed it. Sometimes we thought she was a little off her rocker but she just had a different way of doing things.

This weekend has been full of family, friends, and food. A lot of love has been shared and a lot of tears. Carol will be missed by many people but I know my family will feel her absence most of all. Rest in peace, Aunt Carol. You have earned your crown and you aren't hurting now. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day

On his way out the door tonight, Chris apologized for having to work all weekend since that meant we couldn't do anything special for Valentine's Day. I'll admit I'm actually a little bummed about it this year. I'm not really sure why since we aren't normally ones to do anything big for Valentine's Day. I think Chris has had to work every Valentine's Day since we got together so we usually recognize the day but celebrate later. Besides I always hate how hard it is to go to a nice dinner that night because you either need a reservation or have to wait two hours. Our fancy Valentine's dinner is always the Heart Baker pizza from Papa Murphy's (I'm a sucker for a heart shaped pizza). So I don't understand my melancholy this year. I guess the holiday being on Saturday and knowing we could have taken the boys to the Y for Kids' Night makes me sad that we can't actually do anything. Instead we have a play date with a daycare friend and hopefully the boys will cooperate so I can have a semi-relaxing day. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Meet Clay

One thing I don't normally do on this blog is prompt myself or goods that I am trying to sell or anything like.  However, the time has come for a little shameless self promotion of sorts.

I would like you to meet Clay. 

Clay is my big brother (the younger of the two big brothers) and he is participating in the HEB Slimdown Showdown this year. 

For those of you who are Texans, HEB is a Texas grocery store chain that is based out of San Antonio. Each year they host the Slimdown Showdown as a way to prompt healthy living in the new year.  The contestants are put through a Fit Camp at the start of the program and given tools to help them be more physically active and eat healthier. They are asked to blog about their experience through the contest and talk about how their habits are changing and how the program is helping them.

That is where you come in. Clay needs people to check out his blog. To comment. To share it on social media. To do all those fun things people ask you do when they are participating in a contest.

Here is a link to Clay's Contestant Profile:

Here is a link to his first blog post:

If you are from Texas, register to be a part of the community challenge and try to lose weight along with the contestants. I am excited to see what will come out of this for my brother and for the rest of us as we follow long in his journey.