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.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Old School TV

Tell us a *memory* of  watching a specific tv show/movie during your childhood.

My favorite TV memory from my childhood was watching the movies they made a television event. You know back before VCRs and DVDs when Mary Poppins and Wizard of Oz came one once per year.  It was a special occasion. My mom would get TV dinners (that had to be cooked in the oven because we didn't have a microwave then) and we got to eat in the family room in front of the TV. This was a rare treat since I grew up in a house where family dinners were a nightly thing. We all sat at the table and ate together. The one that stands out the most was the year they showed (or I should say tried to show) King Kong in 3D. They sent the 3D glasses out in the local newspaper so everyone would have them for the movie. However, the 3D didn't really work so we ended up ditching the glasses and just watching movie without. But it was so much fun to have nights with my family in front of the TV all watching the same thing and making a night of it. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sold!

The number 1 thing on my 2015 to do list was buy a new house. We have been in a rental since we sold our house in 2013. While there is nothing wrong with our current living situation, this house always felt temporary. The house met our needs when we had three weeks to move but now more than a year and a half later, I can see the faults in it.  Chris finally agreed with me around Christmas after looking at a picture I took of the Christmas tree where he declared, "This is not our house."  Since then, he has been a man on a mission to find "our house." 

We started the house hunt at the beginning of January. For three weeks, we spent hours touring houses and attending open houses.  We found houses we liked only to have them go under contract before we could see them or put in an offer ourselves. I was printing novels from the MLS and making notes like crazy. Our preapproval was in process. Everything was heading down the path to home ownership.  We just had to find the house.

Last Saturday we had an appointment with our realtor to take a second look at a house we both really liked. Chris would have made an offer at our first viewing. I wasn't sold then but the more I thought about it, I really started to imagine the house as our's. It had a great yard and was in a fantastic neighborhood with amenities galore. The kitchen was newly upgraded and it had all the space I was looking for.  But I just couldn't say yes.  We left the house to go see a new neighborhood that had a few inventory homes I was interested in.  I figured we would look at them and then head back to the office to write up the offer on the other house.

All along I had said we weren't interested in a new house because we didn't have time to wait for one to be built nor the money to put down up front.  An inventory home was a nice idea because it would be ready sooner but we wouldn't get to pick out the features that we wanted.  Imagine my shock last weekend when we sat down with the sales agent to run the numbers and it turned out to be way more affordable then we expected to build a house of our own. I had told Chris on the way to the new neighborhood they would really have to impress me to change my mind on the house. Well, they succeeded. 

After much thought and prayer and a chance to sleep on it, we went back on Sunday to sign on the dotted line.  
Some time between June and August, this plot of dirt and rocks will be our new house.  I'm still. In shock at this is really happening but, boy, are we excited!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Past Self

What’s something about you today that would totally shock 10 year old you? Why the change?

     At career day in 5th grade, ten year old me dressed up in a hot pink unitard and stated that I wanted to be a dance teacher and open my own dance studio. Ten year old me would be shocked that I don't dance anymore.  Mom put me in dance at age 5 because I need an activity to get my energy out. For the next 12 years, Gale's Studio of Dance was my second home. I would do dance camp in the summers. I would do my homework in the dressing room between classes. It was my life until high school. In high school, I started to branch out and get involved in school activities.  I was in band, a cheerleader, on dance team, and in clubs.  I also started to realize that I wasn't as good of a dancer as others around me and the idea of making dance my life wasn't realistic.  I quit dance half way through my junior year in high school. I was recovering from the chicken pox and I had just found out I made the Azalea Trail Court for the next year. I just didn't have time for it anymore and my teacher resented the fact that doesn't wasn't my sole focus any longer. I dusted off my pointe shoes my Freshman year in college and took Ballet for my PE credits. By then I knew it wasn't my career but I still enjoyed it. Since then, I have danced in a few shows at the University of Mobile and did two years as a Can Can dancer for Wild West Night for the Fort Hood Officers' Wives Club. But extra age, extra weight, and lack of consistent training have taken a toll on my body. I just don't have the stamina for it anymore.  I missing dancing but I'm not sure dancing misses me.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

2014 Year in Review

So I'm late to the game but I think 2014 is a year that definitely needed to be reviewed. So much happened, both good and bad, that I want to remember it. Plus I wasn't very good at documenting the events of the year.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
Rode in an ambulance and a police car. Had an organ removed.

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?
I don't think so but I don't really remember.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Both Chris's grandmother and uncle passed away within less than a month of each other. Then Chris's shift mate died in the line of duty when her patrol car was swept away in flood waters.

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

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you didn't have in 2014?
A house that we own. Not to lose anymore organs. No more funerals.

7. What dates from 2014 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
September 18th - the morning I got the "I'm OK" text

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
Getting a new job that I love

9. What was your biggest failure?
Gaining back all the weight I lost in Weight Watchers in 2013

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had my first gallbladder attack in October which led to me having surgery to remove my gallbladder the week of Thanksgiving.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our Spot Bot. Sadly, we have needed it more than once this year but it definitely does the job.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Chris's - We had a rough year in 2013 but we started the year strong and he has put up with a lot from me.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The general public and their response to many events that occurred during the year

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

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Taking Jackson to Sea World. My new job.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
Praise You in This Storm - It got me through Jessica's funeral and the events surrounding it

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) richer-we finally got some bills paid off this year

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Blog - I really had a lot to say but I just couldn't find it in me to sit down and write.

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?
Christmas Day we stayed home and took it easy since I was sick (again) on Christmas. Our good friends came over to hang out and eat our Trader Joe's buffet that evening. It was a great day. The next day we headed to Alabama to spend the next week with my family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?
In the end, I think yes. While we dealt with a lot of bad, the year ended on a good note. We have been mostly happy and that is something to celebrate.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Still Downton Abbey. I have watched every episode about three times.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
No, I can't really say that I hate anyone.

24. What was the best book you read?
Attachments, Gone Girl, The Ten Thousand Dollar Tan Line

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I can't really say I got into any new music this year.

26. What did you want and get?
My new job (are we sensing a theme here?)

27. What did you want and not get?

A house of our own. We had planned to to move at the end of our lease in April but that didn't happen for many reasons. 

28. What was your favorite film of 2014?
The Veronica Mars Movie of course! And The Fault in Our Stars

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 37 this year. My co-workers ordered Tiff's Treats for me. The boys and I stayed home and took it easy on the actual day since Chris and I had a date the night before at The Thinkery 21.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More spending money.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2013?
Business casual which is a nice step up from the t-shirt and jeans of the last few years

32. What kept you sane?
Being able to come home at then end of the day. I really enjoy my family even on the rough toddler days.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
I'm not sure that I really want to get into but it really boils down to the public opinion towards law enforcement right now.

34. Who did you miss?
Always my family...I just hate being so far away from them. Also my friend, Martha, who passed away in 2013

35. Who was the best new person you met?
My new co-workers.  This new job has really been a good fit me, especially personality wise.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
To make sure you take the time to let those you love know it because life is short.