Friday, June 29, 2007


My husband thinks I might have an addiction on my hands.

But really, I don't.

So, I thought, in my defense, I would introduce you to all those people on my sidebar (including a few who are embedded on their sidebars on their sites) and also describe how it usually goes when I do have the time to write and read.

Since I decided to fair and do my sidebar list alphabetically, I will introduce them alphabetically.


I probably found them after I found Big Mama, but I have enjoyed what their site offers. Now, it is a rather overwhelming site if you are new to this thing. But just know, they are really about providing a free forum for other women to find each other, share what they are passionate about, support each other's businesses, and provide opportunities to learn new things. They are the real reason I actually took the plunge and started a blog. They had a HUGE party back in March with LOTS of prizes and LOTS of new people to learn about. So, I figured it might be as good a time as any to get started. Most of the contests I tell ya'll about originate from them. And remember, you usually don't have to have a blog to participate and win. Usually, you just click over, add a comment, and hope you win. And as we know, some of these prizes are not to be passed up!


This is one of my first friends that I made in college. Oklahoma Baptist University in my hometown, to be exact! Hey Andrew, did you realize you were one of my first college friends? Oh the honor-heehee! Andrew now resides in the Austin area with his lovely wife and their 2 kids. He is a middle school youth pastor at a church there. He is so much more intellectual than I am and I enjoy reading his insight about himself and God. I would love to hear him speak sometime. I know he is doing great things for those kids.

Big Mama

Obviously, there are some incredibly gifted people out there who share their lives on a regular basis. While there many that I love to read, I don't ever miss Big Mama. She is probably one of those people that makes everyone feel like she is their friend, but really you long to be in the inner-Big Mama circle. You want to dress like her, talk like her, be witty like her, be her BFF. But somehow, you are satisfied to tag along behind her life, picking up the scraps just to be near her. If I ever meet her, I imagine her to be much like my friend R. That person who always looks like she has her act together and always looks good doing it; whether she does or not. When I first found her, she is one that I spent a lot of time going back and reading her from the beginning. She is real and real funny. Don't miss out!

From her sidebar, there a few that I will catch up now and then when I have time. While I have read each of them at least once and they are all lovely, I am only faithful to a few. Check Big Mama's sidebar sometime and find the ones that you like! I read BabyBangs (who just happens to be one of Beth Moore's daughters and who lives in the DFW area; be sure to link to the LPM blog as well!), Boomama (i really like her and think she is funny, but since she changed her layout, i have hard time reading it b/c of the font is weird on my computer and hurts my eyes :( , Looking Towards Heaven, Life with the Wisners, and Living with Little Women.

Dallas Child

This is the blog of our local children's magazine. I mostly go there (yes, I realize it is the long way around!) to get to the sidebar where I check out Kelly Rasberry from Kidd Kraddick (ever since I found out her husband of less than a year and boyfriend for over 8 years and father of their baby girl LEFT HER while she was 6 months pregnant AFTER having invitro, it is like I need to keep up with her and her sweet baby girl!), Celebrity Babies (another cool site where I catch up on famous people and their families), and The Sweet Life. You can also find The Sweet Life off Big Mama. This is a local DFW photography-Sugar Photography-who is another of my inspirations for my own picture taking. I keep hoping my office manager where I work can score me some picture-taking of Anysa cuz I believe she is model material. Oh, she is the SIL of Sugar's assistant!


All I can say is, hold onto your seat belts. She does not hesitate to say exactly what she thinks. And I am not saying I always agree with how she says what is on her mind. BUT.OH.MY! She is funny. And I am not kidding with what I say next. I literally spent about 2 weeks every night after everyone had already gone to bed reading her from the beginning. Initially, she caught my eye because of her daughter who sounds like a sweet little girl that I might work with if she didn't live in Utah. After that, once I found myself laughing out loud at midnight, I knew I liked her. Be warned though. She can be raw. And maybe reading her blog is just my guilty pleasure, but she is funny and real.


She is a hilarious home-schooling mom.


If you want some incredible, Godly inspiration, then you have come to the right place. Apparently, Heather was well-known in the blog circuit long before her recent brain tumor diagnosis. She does a lot of blog designs. Take some time to read her thoughts.


Jennifer is my personal friend and this is her personal site about her and her life. It is fun to share our stories and our lives!

From her sidebar, I frequently catch up with Jennifer O where then I go visit Jenna where I recently discovered that I am familiar with Chelsea who I used to go to church with. See how the whole 6 degrees thing works! The other neat thing is finding Megann's blog. Megann recently passed away after a valiant fight against ovarian cancer. She and her husband also went to church with my dad prior to moving back to Texas.


I totally, 100% blame my friend R for getting me hooked on this website!! Our group of girlfriends always thought she was so in the know all the time and now we know one of her secrets!! Seriously, this site is the easiest way to catch up on the famous. Once a day and you are usually good for your daily dose of gossip!


Shannon is another one of my girlfriends who just took the blog plunge! Give her time and check back often because I think you will soon find what a neat and insightful person she is.


Ok, I am so going to totally pick on my friend Staci here! After thinking about it, she was actually my first blog read. Even though we lived in the same area until recently, we did not really get to see each other much. So, I loved catching up on what she was doing and seeing pics of her kids on her site. HOWEVER, it helps if she actually updates her site more than ONCE.EVERY.4.MONTHS! No worries, she sees the humor in it too! I usually keep up better with her life by checking on her sidebar and reading her friends' blogs!!

On her sidebar, I usually do quick checks often to see what all her friends are up to. Do I know these people? Nope! But my middle name is Lurker, so what can I say! I want to publicly hail my praise for the first time to her friend Kelly who is an amazing photographer. I am having serious thoughts of driving to Tulsa for our next family photos! Or maybe Staci and I can get enough people together to make a trip to Dallas worth it for her. Hint, Hint!! I love taking pictures and want to be like her when I grow up! My only concern is will I have to make sure my kids look as good as hers 24 hours a day so I can always have a photo opportunity available?! Some days, we barely get out of our pj's and my ponytail might get adjusted after I roll out of bed!

There are three more places I share on my blog.

Bellebijou- Wendy is a local jewelry designer who happens to be friends with and live right behind my friend P! Wendy also does other cute things besides jewelry. It is all good stuff!

Twignotes- Wendy (yes, another Wendy!!) is a local designer that does a variety of notecards, etc. She hand-draws each design and has a good website where you can order. I think her prices are so reasonable and have loved everything she has done for me! On a fun note, I went to OBU with her older sister Tiffany and got reaquainted with Wendy after finding she was friends with one of my friend's friend!

Arbonne- My business and website which you can read about on my sidebar and get more details on my business website.

I hope you enjoyed your tour! Stop by anytime and say hello!!


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Not what it used to be

I found out yesterday that subtle hints do work. But only with the female population. It is true. God may have made man first, but He tried again to take care of the qualities He forgot the first time around.

My lovely sitter substitute that I spoke of earlier returned yesterday. I am not entirely sure the kids were too excited, but they faked it pretty well.

If you remember, I was in a quandary about how to pay her for doing things I didn't ask her to do. We had just resolved to pay her a healthy tip for last Thursday and I decided that I would leave 2 specific tasks for her to do that I really needed done.

I had planned on mentioning these to her when she asked what she could do for me.

But she didn't ask.

And I was running late to work. And it was crummy weather, so I figured she would have her hands full entertaining the kids inside the house.

But I guess the systematically divided clean laundry-shirts in one pile and pants in another pile-along with 3 kinds of hangers neatly displayed on the small couch, along with the ironing board, iron, and starch perching curiously close to the small couch was just too much of that subtle hint I was discussing!

Only knowing roughly how much I would be paying her for the 2 days of childcare and other stuff, I stopped by the bank for the cash. I felt like such a high-roller carrying all that cash!

I arrived home to find the kids watching tv. Hmmm, that is how I left them earlier that morning. A quick and casual visual sweep of the area while greeting everyone revealed that I might be giving up all the cash.

Clean kitchen, all dishes put away, beds made, floor swept, trash gathered (that girl likes an empty trashcan!), piles straightened (oh, I forgot to look upstairs but will report back later!), and the crowning glory.....

Half of my laundry pile had disappeared!

Praise the Lord!


I love neatly ironed clothes. I just don't like doing it. And since you can only hit the fluff cycle so many times on the dryer before your clothes will need to be donated to the Little Family (remember that cute book about that mouse family!). And since I like to let my laundry simmer on the couch for days so that the wrinkles are just so.

Well, let's just say, that pile grows like a bad pimple on your nose. You know it is there. You try to make it blend in. But eventually, you have to attack it.

So now, I only have half of the laundry to iron and my house is as clean as it can stay with 2 young ones.

She seemed to graciously accept the cash I gave her. I consulted with several people prior to paying her and feel good about her earnings for the 2 days.

We ended on a good note with the kids giving her hugs and kisses before she left.

But don't mistake the obviousness of Anysa's comment to me, in front of her, during our earlier conversation.

"Mommy, WHEN is S coming back?! She has been with Mickey Mouse LONG ENOUGH!"

We will see her tomorrow!


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Put your requests in now for the Firecracker Fairy!


Click on "Janice and Susan" (5minutesformom) on my sidebar or on the link above and sign up for all the neat prizes in their 4th of July contest!!

Never heard of the Firecracker Fairy, you say?

Why you poor thang!

Back in junior high (when there only used to be elementary, junior high, and high school!!!), I got my first visit from the Firecracker Fairy. What fun!

The tradition continued in some form or another over the years. I knew once I had kids that I wanted another excuse for them to receive surprises. So, I sprinkled some Fairy Dust into the air with my request and Anysa received her first surprise at the age of 6 months!


p.s. I have decided to download all my picture cd's on our computer and should have a picture of the event to add here soon!

Busy Mom Alert

All I can say is the Schick Intuition is my new BFF!

Friday, June 22, 2007

How much is that doggie in the window?

Just consider this another entry into Luke's scrapbook album since I have NOT.EVEN.STARTED his 1st year album. Maybe this makes him and Anysa almost even since I did not know about this bloggity thing back then.

She has an album. He has my blog.

Goodness gracious, help me if I do ever have a 3rd and then he becomes the ultra neglected middle child!

OK, I promise I will start his album before he starts kindergarten!

There is actually a true story here, so let's begin!

Several weeks ago, I was picking up the kids from P's house. I walked through the garage and into the house. On my way through, I saw the turquoise rope laying on the floor. After conversation and much cohersion getting my kids to leave the "fun house", we headed back out the garage entry. On the way out, Luke picked up the turquoise rope which I then realized was a harness and leash.

"Is that Daisy's old leash?"
(See, I remembered she was in a new cage because of growing, so I assumed the same for a leash.)

Silly me!

"No, that is what I used for Luke while we were at S's basketball camp today."

Brain scanning quickly for what to say.

"Um, WHAT?" (nervous laughter)

"Yea, it used to belong to S #2"
(Well, she didn't say S #2 but since all her kids start with the letter S, well, you can see my problem.)

"You put a LEASH on my child?"

"I didn't want to lose him with all the kids running around."

"Wait, don't tell me anymore. If it had been anyone else but you I might have been really upset." :) (real laughter!)

The following week, 2+ weeks post surgery and the week after grandparents, we had started experiencing toileting issues again after extreme success with #1 and relative success with #2. I was getting quite upset. Cleaning full on p**p underwear EVERY.DARN.DAY does not make me a happy person. AND THEN, for several days, he decided to mark his territory by peeing through his clothes and ON.MY.CARPET!!

Now combine that with his new found sensitive sense of smell and we might have ourselves a new puppy.

Thank goodness cuz Anysa really wants a dog when she turns 6 in 6 months and I had not been able to think of a good enough excuse to go back on my promise.

I may be saved!

Dilemmas & Dreams really do come true!

My regular summer sitter is gone for a week so I had to find a replacement for yesterday (Thursday) and next Tuesday. Typically, I am a responsible, plan-in-advance person, but I was a little lax in getting my sub. Like maybe I waited until Monday afternoon to start making phone calls. I have several back ups, but seems that they were all back outs this time.

Panic set in when I still couldn't find anyone by Wednesday afternoon. I had several unreturned phone calls and was really holding out hope. Not good.

I happened to receive a phone call from my neighbor about something unrelated and mentioned my problem. She would be thinking for me as well. About 4 pm, she called and said her husband's best friend's wife would be willing to do it. After asking a few questions and getting her phone number, the deal was made. I trust my neighbor as far as the safety of my children. OK, maybe I was still a little mom-nervous about someone I completely did not know staying with my kids all day.

Before calling her and while still talking on phone with my neighbor, I jokingly mentioned that maybe I could get her to do some other things for me around here. Neighbor said "oh she probably would be happy to make extra money". Later, I will wonder if that got mentioned to the new sitter.

My regular summer sitter is a lovely, highly responsible young lady. 12 years old. You can call me crazy that I leave my 2 kids with a 12 year old all day in my home 2 days a week. But if you do, then you obviously don't have one of these kinds of 12 years in your life. Here are her qualifications: oldest of 4 kids, raised by an extremely organized mom who teaches her children self-responsibility at a young age (and who happens to be my friend P!), very intelligent, loves kids, still enjoys playing with young kids, knows how to cook/clean/do laundry/whatever you can think of. P lives about 2 miles away. All I ask of summer sitter is to play with kids and feed kids. They love her (and all the kids in P's family) and listen to her. I feel good about it! And by golly, I was The Ultimate Babysitter, so I know good baby-sitting when I see it.

Now, I am not a high roller when it comes to paying sitters. I got extremely spoiled by the low fee-for-service request by my friend P and then my next adult sitter. New substitute sitter agreed to my pay out, so I was happy. She doesn't have a job, so maybe it sounded good to her.

Talked to her on phone. Lovely. She arrived right on time. Lovely. She seemed to warm up to kids quickly. Lovely. She asked follow-up questions to my household review. Lovely. (And she didn't roll her eyes when I presented my typed review of the house and kids!)

The night before I had gleefully mentioned to hubby that maybe I could pay her a little extra to finish my ironing and maybe even mop. He said, "No, let's pay our car insurance instead." Whatever. Where are his priorities?! So, I sadly put away the mound of ironing and straightened up and had him vacuum prior to her coming the next day.

As I am showing her around, she asked at least twice if there was anything she could do for me. I choked down my desired words and said to just take care of the kids and relax while they nap. "Do you need me to vacuum for you?" Looking at the vacuum lines in the carpet, I said, "No, he did it last night?". The nagging tug in my head started right then.

I arrived home to find kids happy (but with no nap; later that would be a discipline issue for my children because of their saying "no" to her. a big no no!) and found my home curiously cleaner and pile-free. She had cleaned my kitchen (which by the way was already clean with clean dishes in dishwasher), unloaded my dishes, put away the toy pile in the hall, put away toys upstairs, made both kids' beds, straightened their rooms, emptied several trash cans, swept kitchen floor, and straightened everything on back porch.

Wow, of course, I am totally grateful.

But, it is how she mentioned a few of the things she did, that made the nagging tug a reality. By the way, she did NOT point out everything that I mentioned above. Most of those things I discovered as I made my rounds later. Knowing I would probably find what I found.

Again, she was lovely and I secured her for next Tuesday. It is just that I have a hard time when someone does something AND mentions it in that way that says, "hey, look what I did for you and don't you want to acknowledge what I did by paying me extra." Of course, I will thankfully put a little extra in her payment because I am grateful. It is just that nagging feeling that is bugging me. So, I told hubby, "You know, she did those things expecting me to pay her for it. So, if that is going to happen anyway, I would rather have her do the specific things that I really need done and feel good about paying her extra." Agreed!

She is coming Tuesday. I am leaving mopping and ironing on her list after kids (which totally come first!).

I am paying her for both days of childcare and chores.

In cash.

She will be a reliable sub for the future. But I think I like my 12-year old better!

Oh yea, the dilemma part!

Am I a bad person for feeling that nagging feeling that I feel?

Oh, and...

Do I tell my hubby that he ate a meatless meal last night?

As far as dreams really coming true...

I upgraded Anysa's bicycle yesterday. She had 2 already. Bike #1 was her original bike that was the smaller one with training wheels that had been passed down to Luke prior to his new Spiderman bike. She was riding it again because she could without the training wheels. But her knees always rose to her ears.

But she could pedal like a hamster, I am telling ya!

Bike #2 is her larger Schwinn I scored from my neighbor for $10. We had to put training wheels on it, but she loved it. Now, bike #3 is a resale shop purchase for $6.99 that I picked up yesterday on my way home. Pink. Disney Princess. Just a few boo boo's on it. The size between the other two. No training wheels.

As she was riding it like a pro last night, she yelled across the road to me,

"Mom, this is the bike I always dreamed of! It is the right size and it is a princess bike! I love it!"

Just add Dream Whisperer to my list of accomplishments!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's a wrap. Sorry, I will not be accepting bribes!

I know each of you have been sitting on the edge of your computer chairs each time you click on. Will she? Won't she? Will she? Won't she?

Well, here it is.

A story about The Power Bodywrap.

Pictures, you ask! Surely, you jest! They are carefully stored on my friend's camera. And knowing her, it is unlikely she even knows how to get them off the camera. Not mean, just true. Just ask her :)

And then you are probably asking why would you take pictures.

Um, good question!

So, P and I can hardly wait to pamper ourselves that day! We have only been talking about it for over 2 weeks prior.

Pampering might not be the right word for what we experienced. Torture is too strong, but you think of something in between and go with it!

Giddily we walk through the door not aware of what awaits us. Fill out obligatory paperwork and sign on dotted line that we agree to not hold them liable for anything. Ever. Meet Viet. Young, really muscular, really nice young man. Did I say young already? No seriously, he was totally professional and funny and if, after reading this, you decide you still want one for yourself then I highly recommend this place and him. Because if you are gonna have the junk, sweat, and money squeezed out of ya, you might as well have someone that can really put muscle into it!

Here is the progression:

* Talk about our body issues; areas we want most improvement.
* Undress down to undies and sports bra. You can also do a swimsuit. Put on luxurious robe and slippers. See, the pampering deception starts early!

And right here, many are saying, "you did what?!" But come on, do you not show just as much at the pool?

* Do a detox shooter.
* Viet takes our measurements and we take "before" pics.
* Wrap begins. Which means being tightly, tightly, tightly wrapped from toes to head in ace bandages soaked in some detox solution. There is comedy here that can't even come close to being shared via the Internet. There was wrapping around body parts, between body parts. There was major uplift in many places!
* Waddle to post-wrap room.
* Get sprayed down with more detox liquid.
* Get on the Gazelle to "relax" and pass the time watching a movie while gently moving on the machine. This was not about exercise but about keeping our circulation going since every major vein and artery had been significantly been compressed.
* More spraying, more moving.
* Unwrap ace bandages, get on robe and slippers.
* Get dressed.
* Get results and post-wrap instructions.
* Pay the bill. Thinking you should do that first!


I lost 16 3/8 inches. P lost 15+ inches.
I don't like to brag, but in case you couldn't tell just by admiring my body!

The Truth:

It is NOT, NOT a pampering experience. Please use your money for a great massage, mani, pedi, etc! You could do all three for the same price as one body wrap of this proportion.

It is NOT, NOT comfortable. In fact, P and I were both experiencing back pain from the posture we were wrapped in.

My theory is (and it is, just my theory) that if you are lucky enough to be someone with less, let's say, "junk in your trunk", then results might be more readily observed. Seriously, I do think that if you are skinnier than most, you will more than likely see good results. I did feel that my thighs looked slightly different and the cellulite was smoother. P did not feel like she saw any changes. Overall, not enough changes for either of us to warrant doing it again.

Everyone involved was polite and professional.

P and I decided that instead of regretting the experience too much, we would just remember all the great laughs we took from it! Cuz there ain't funny until you have seen your friend and yourself waddle around in a "body cast"!


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem. Oh and by the way, give me some of the good stuff.

Oh, I know you are thinking "Come on, can you not even think of your own cute title that you have to go and steal from Kenny!"

Well, no I can't.
And, oh yay I did.

Oh my the good stuff. Where to start telling ya'll about all the good stuff from Saturday night. Should I start with how it has been raining and pouring and raining and pouring in our big city for 40 days and 40 nights. Or maybe just a few days, but come on already! But no big deal really cuz there was no way it was going to rain on our date night with Kenny and Sugarland.

Make-up, check. Hair, check. Jeans, check. T-shirt, check, Jewelry, check. Hat, check. Flip flops, check. Tickets, oh BIG CHECK!

So I picked up Golda and her breast pump and wished her hubby good luck with twins 1 (3 years) and twins 2 (6 months) as we flip flop boogied outta there. Ok, so he had a grandma and a mom there to help him, but you were so starting to feel sorry for him! Jennifer was my next pick up and we did not even have to go to the door, as she escaped, leaving her hubby with their 3 year old and 15 week old. He is a good man, a good man indeed.

Our plan was simple. Leave early, drive closer to stadium, eat dinner, get there in time for Sugarland and ole' what's his name. Just kidding Jen! Eating went well cuz Cantina Laredo knows how to do margharitas. The waiter could have worked our table a little faster, but we weren't too worried. Yet. Leave the restaurant. Rain. Swoosh, swoosh. Drive to stadium. Rain. Swoosh, swoosh. Traffic. Red blinking traffic lights. Rain. Officials in yellow slickers directing traffic. Rain. I am thinking this might not be looking so good.

We puttered along, passing the time with picture-taking and good laughing. Good laughing!

FINALLY, we made it to the road next to the stadium, only to have Golda roll down the window and let sounds of WHAT! Sugarland! No.They.Are.Not! Seriously, did they let the first act play her one hit and then boot her off the stage? Oh well, we were so close to the parking lot and surely Sugarland was still early in it's set.

Big directing-traffic dude starts walking over to cars, waving his arms wildly, yelling,

"Ya'll just need to turn around now. The lots are full. Just turn around now. Go look for parking over there."

Seriously! Ok, here is where I interrupt my story for my soapbox commentary. Frisco, get a grip! You may want to be like big D. You may have some money like big D. You may think you are already like big D. Well, newsflash, you ain't! Don't host what you can't support in terms of traffic and parking. I will give you the weather issue this time, but still!

Off soapbox.

So we, and everyone else, drove "over there" and found a mud spot to park the car. We then power walked a good 1+ miles to the stadium, listening to 80's rock music. Made a quick bathroom stop. Do you even need me to describe the bathroom situation? Let's just say nice people were sharing their antibacterial lotion.

And then there was Kenny!

Nice cool breeze, no rain, good music.

Oh, and the people. And it is not that I don't get out much. I just like watching people and well, they made my job easy. One gal, I do really believe she was trying to test the durability of her "adopted girls" with all that gyration and such. Young girls these days!

And just because I like to make sure to keep my readers educated, did you know:

* cell phones, not lighters
* no encores. really!

We sat there watching people leave, kinda snickering. Jokes on us. No encores. No "Thanks! Ya'll have been great!" then come back for a few more songs. Nope!

Probably my most amusing part of the night was listening to Kenny sing "give me some of the good stuff" as Golda sat beside me and pumped under the big red rain jacket. Swoosh, swoosh ;) You are a good momma, girl!

Next time girls, we are all about the Marriott concert package!


p.s. and for those of you all excited thinking you were finally gonna get to see "the bangs", well, bangs and rain are not the best of friends. sorry!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Silly Silly Words


* "I be like Daddy when I grow up."

* "Mean Daddy, Mean Daddy, Mean Daddy, Mean Daddy..........." (You pick the melody, but just know he was singing this tune after being placed in his room for time out by, you guessed it, Mean Daddy!)


* "Come here Luker, Sissy loves Bubba so much." (much hugging going on.)

* "Moooooooooooooooooooooooom, WHY DID YOU HAVE TO HAVE 2 BABIES IN YOUR TUMMY?!! I never want a brother again!!" (As she is running from her brother who had irritated her, and me, one too many times.)

Saturday, June 16, 2007


I just started Week 5, Day 1 of my 5K training. Seems so silly to think of myself as "in training"! The weeks before have been tolerable, even with my inconsistent schedule. This week is:

5 min brisk walk
3 min run
90 sec walk
5 min run
2.5 min walk
3 min run
90 sec walk
5 min run

All I can say is....I did it! It wasn't horrible, but I could tell I was really stretching myself. I actually spent the running parts praying which remarkably (or maybe not if I really think about it) made the running seem relatively easy. God might actually appreciate me running every day if it means me finding some time for Him. My running gang and I are looking into several races to do in the fall and are excited about this new adventure.

Out of breath also explains this hectic week of evening VBS. It was a really good one, but dealing with the kids after 9 pm for bedtime got old. VBS + PMS = a very tired MRS.

Luke is an only child this weekend for the first time, at least that he will have a memory of. I met my sister 1/2 way so Anysa could spend the weekend with them. She and her cousin have an intense love/not so much love relationship and had been missing each other. She will be watching her cousin in her dance recital tonight and then we will meet to pick her up on Sunday.

And finally, 2 girlfriends and I will be spending the evening with our friends Kenny and Sugarland. We will be sure to say hi for you!


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Go Luke Go!

Our "baby" turned 3 on Monday and we celebrated jungle rescue style on Saturday. There is so much I want to say just about him and all his changes this past year, but will save it for another day and stick to the party details! I am requesting more pics from other family members. Hubby was in charge of the camera and since I like to be in charge of everything, I want to make sure there aren't some other great pics to be had. I had to use some subliminal messages to get this party theme. I am kind of a closet party planner. And I knew what would be cute and what I wanted and in turn what he would want-right? Probably one of those childhood things of wanting what you did not have as a kid. Anyway, Luke was sure he wanted some over-rated superhero theme, Superman and Spiderman led the votes. Me, however, felt like 3 was one of those last of ages-dangling precariously between one stage and the next. And besides, I did a fun little Dora Adventure party for Anysa when she was 3 and wouldn't it be cute and all if their scrapbook pages were all about the Spanish cousins! Anyway, I got my way and it turned out cute!

See how he fixed his hair "cool" with Daddy's gel!

I am in love with this precious smile!

Cousin Landon with Luke and Anysa. Landon got to come spend the night along with grandparents in order to attend the party. The kids had a great time but we missed big sister Hannah to complete the foursome. She couldn't make it. My sister and I have daughters 3 months apart and sons 1 month apart. We also have a cute nephew, Jackson, that we never get to see because they live in CA.

The cake! I have used the same cake lady in Grapevine several times and have never been disappointed. Her prices are pretty close to retail in stores, feed the same amount, but are just way darn cuter! The cake was kind of a jungle background with the large cookie tree. I added Diego and Baby Jaguar!

The jungle rescuers singing the birthday song. Here is where I am hoping someone got a picture of Luke's face! We had to do the birthday singing and candle blowing first b/c I was experiencing technical difficulties with the cake due to the humidity. I had the party at 10:30 at our park, but we still didn't beat the heat. But no rain!

Luke and his friends were helping Diego rescue jungle animals. They each brought a rescue backpack and then we let them choose the picture of the animal they wanted to rescue. We had hidden the animals around the park for them to rescue. Everyone also got handmade telescopes to help them find their animals. They loved it! I had already done all the goody bags weeks before and was just going to have them rescue another picture animal to match their first one. Then, on my balloon run, I ran into these adorable stuffed jungle animals for $.99/ea. Another party favor and so worth it!

Our menu included Jungle Worms (boiled hot dog strips), Dried Ants (raisins), Snake Eggs (grapes), Beetle Wings (chips), Crocodile Teeth (cringe-cut apple wedges), and Jungle Juice (juice boxes). As you can imagine, some of them were less than thrilled with the idea of eating animals, but they were good sports. Can't say I really blame them on the Jungle Worms (see up close pic by cake!).

The present thing is always a struggle for me. Like my children need anything. In fact, for Anysa's 4th bd, party guests brought a book to donate and she opened family gifts. She may have been a bit young to understand, but with a January birthday, sometimes she gets a little greedy! The other struggle is the mob-like thing that happens every.time! They can't help themselves, they love the thrill of what they give and what is being received. I know that, really I do, but I am a picture person and it is all about my kid at the time! Anyway, only twice have I remembered to put my kid up higher than the fans. It makes such a difference.

Saying "thank you" and "good-bye" to all our jungle rescue partners!


Monday, June 11, 2007

A Blog Carnival!

disclaimer- I have TRIED and TRIED to get the links to insert and KEEP FAILING! Sorry and HELP!!

Chilihead over at is hosting a "get to know your fellow bloggers" kinda thing! It sounded fun and maybe less overwhelming than the Blog Party, so let's join in! I am sure all 5 people that read my blog will enjoy more insight into my life!! Right!

How did you start blogging?
Deep breath aaaand GO....Ok, some time back, I started reading a friend's blog. I had heard about them, but was totally in the dark and frankly knew I had no time for one myself! And besides, we did even own a digital camera which made me feel really out of the loop. Also, I finally started checking out a celebrity blog type site my friend raved about (and we were always amazed at how tight she was with all the celebs!). Somehow, admist all my clicking, I ended up on a site of a local photographer at I LOVE to see other people's pictures and then try things myself! The funniest part really is that I work with (and adore!) her assistant's SIL-way small world! Well, clicked onto Big Mama over at and I was so hooked from there! Even at that point, I had no intention of actually doing my own but the lure of prizes and visitors from the Ultimate Blog Party had me hastily put one together. I had just written an article for our ladies' church newsletter and received good reviews, so I copied and pasted as my first blog post!

Did you intend to be a blog w/a following? If so, how did you go about it?
Well......I would not in any way consider myself a blog with a following. But thank you to those who do stop by faithfully!! I am trying to write not only to share with family and friends, but also to engage others like me. I tried to visit a lot of sites from the Party and will leave comments occasionally on other sites I read.

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog?
World fame! No, not really, but apparently it is possible by the looks of others' sites! I hope to share, learn, laugh!

Have you been successful?
I am successfully trying to improve at all this! I need to spend some time over at Blogging Basics 101 cuz I so need help! But even then, some of the words seem way over my low-tech brain and I feel silly asking for help! I am constantly looking to other bloggers' sites for inspiration and guidance. And boy, can you learn a lot about so many different people!

Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?
Not sure I have one focus and feel too much of a blog baby to really feel anything has changed so far.

What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?

Do you make money with your blog?
Not yet and maybe never. I have looked into it, but with no serious attempts yet. Again, it seems a little overwhelming and I am good to stay current with my posts!

Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it?
As far as family, only my brother and sister know about it so far. I really don't think they read it. Initially, I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the blog and wanted to be cautious since parents and in-laws can have a different perspective of my life. Which probably isn't fair at this point because I do post a lot about the kids and include pictures. Guess I need to let the secret out! A lot of my friends know about it. And of course, a few strangers!

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?
Um, well, on the chance that I will sound like a broken record-or scratched CD-again, I feel a little underqualified to be dishing out advice!

1. Read, read, and read some more other people's blog sites. It is just a great learning tool and darn good medicine most of the time!

2. Don't be too hard on yourself in the beginning. And by "beginning", well, that could mean for a long time! You will have second thoughts, wish you could have a do-over, really wish you could be as insightful and/or funny as your blog idols. Be yourself, as much as you can while hiding behind the keyboard, and it will work itself out.

So if you blog, go on over to Chilihead, sign Mr. Linky, and start sharing!


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Galveston 2007

Well, we did it. Our first real family vacation. Another adult in our family, who shall remain nameless, is somewhat of a homebody compared to the other adult, who loves to travel and experience new things. And it didn't help the second adult's case that we had 2 children, 5 and younger which made convincing the first adult to travel an even harder sale. So...... with free hotel in hand and 2 children who were both essentially potty-trained, the trip was a go. I will go ahead and say now that while Galveston certainly would not have been my first choice in terms of a beach vacation, free hotel does tend to have it's influence. And my friends, as many of you may already know, Galveston IS.NO.FLORIDA! I was completely spoiled by living in both Florida and Alabama, enjoying many great beaches including Key West. But luckily, the kids have no other reference point and both had a great time.

The pictures are in reverse of our stay because I didn't have the energy to move them around after I realized I had put them on backwards!

On our final day, we hit the beach for a few hours in the morning, then quickly cleaned up and checked out in order to make it to Moody Gardens for one of their 3D shows. Although Luke really thought he wanted to see the dinosaur movie, we chose the ocean one. And glad we did since he freaked out during the advertisement of the dinosaur movie. The kids were so cute in their 3D glasses but the picture did not turn out. It was a first experience for both, and except for Luke getting a little nervous several times, we all enjoyed it.

Curtis and I had been to Moody Gardens before for a 1-night stay with friends, but it has grown so much and really is a great inclusive vacation spot for families. We told the kids we would come back for sure!

These are some shots I got of Luke feeding the seagulls. Which we learned later is highly discouraged, for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, he had a great time doing so and the last shot is of the sea gull catching Luke's cracker in mid-air!

Anysa by a painted store front on The Strand.

Luke by a painted store front on The Strand

On our last afternoon/evening in Galveston, we took the free ferry ride across and back to another island before eating dinner. After dinner at Salsa's, we headed down to The Strand to look at the big ships and eat ice cream. Of course, there were cute shops! The kids did great on our walk and enjoyed seeing the horse pull the carriages.

These are pictures of Curtis out in the water with both kids. Luke always took more convincing than Anysa to get out there, but had fun most of the time as long as the water stayed out of his eyes. In the last picture, you can see Anysa on her cheap, blow-up boogie board. We probably should have rented her real one after seeing her out there the first day, but we didn't.

Yes, Anysa volunteered herself for this activity. And, Luke was happy to oblige!

Luke realizing his Twizzler had a bit of a salty crunch to it!

Anysa with her Daddy in the water. She has her cool orange goggles on! The girl lived in the water while we were there. She really loved the waves which were always strong and big later in the day. She truly is my water baby compared to my land-loving son. Luke did have fun in the water, but enjoyed being on the shore more.

Beach buddies!

Sand castle artists hard at work!

Galveston Summary:

* We stayed at The Commodore on the Beach. I would label it a decent place to stay, but certainly not fancy in anyway. Rooms were not very big, but big enough for a family of four for the time you spend in them. More than that, would require the suites they had. Free continental breakfast which wasn't too bad-no protein, but other than that, it did the job. Free cookies in afternoon. Hotel is located (like many others) directly across from the free beach. I think summer rates are between $109-$170 for the time we stayed.
* We ate at 2 restaurants while there for evening meals. Both were on our inexpensive list I got off a website.

Guido's, which was a short walking distance across the street from our hotel. It is part of a hotel of the same name. When you walk up, it looks like you are eating at Casey's, so I am a little confused, but our bill did say Guido's. Prices are really reasonable, especially considering the enormous amount of food you get. The kid's meals seemed pricey at first ($5.99), until we saw that they got almost the same sized portions as us. I had the grilled fish taco salad which was very yummy. The kids had chicken nuggets and fish nuggets. Curtis had some fish and shrimp dish.

Salsa's was the mexican/seafood choice. It was voted best margarita's, but I have had better. Prices were decent and food was good with reasonable portions.

* We only saw one show at Moody Gardens, but there are many attractions there. Even if you don't stay there, you can buy day passes for the whole place or pay per attraction if you are only there a short time. There are tons of discount coupons available around town.

As a fun wrap-up, I thought I would share some do's and don'ts in terms of family travel, beach vacations, and Galveston in general.


* Waste 90 minutes of your life if it means something significantly free in terms of a vacation. In other words, go share a meal with strangers and while listening about something you probably won't purchase. Remember, we also had a cruise but had to decline due to timing.

* Take plenty of food and drinks for the car, hotel, and beach. We chose to eat what we brought for lunch and snacks and only eat out once in the evenings.

* Do have an afternoon rest time. Can you believe that both kids practically begged, or at the least did not resist, taking afternoon naps. Neither did the adults! What was funnier, it that they both wanted to go to bed each night as well.

* Rent at least an umbrella (if you don't bring one) if you are going to be at the same beach all day. The rentals were quite reasonable I thought. Umbrella and 2 chairs were $23. Boogie board was $5 for an hour or $10 for all day.

* Get larger goggles (the scuba size) that fit for younger kids if they love to be in the water.

* Assure your children that, yes, there are beaches where the sand is white and the water doesn't look like you had diarrhea when you are taking off your swimsuits.

* Know that you will be finding sand in everything you own that went with you (whether it was on the beach or not!)for a VERY LONG TIME. Even if you think you cleaned it out!

* Consider taking a vacation with a girlfriend and her children, along with a responsible teenager that will stay with the kids while they watch movies in the hotel room and you enjoy the evening together.

* Watch either the sunrise or sunset, or both at least once!


* Worry you will be lacking in people-watching opportunities!

* Buy a white or light-colored bathing suit right before you go to Galveston! No worries, mine was brown already!

* Even entertain the idea that you will be the largest person in a swimsuit on the beach. Or even close to! You won't EVER be the largest person. EVER! We were entertained by the number of considerably (I am NOT talking pudgy) larger people on the beach. Or more so at what they were willing to wear in terms of swimsuits. Now, before I get myself in trouble. Maybe they love their body and I say more power to them if they don't struggle with body image issues. Maybe they just say "scr*w it, i am here to enjoy.". Maybe they are hating every minute of it and hating people like me who are hating their own bodies in a swimsuit at the same time. Who knows! I just found it fascinating!

* Waste your money on a Power Body Wrap right before you go thinking the miracles that will happen. (I promise a separate post JUST on that alone!) Enjoy a good massage and mani/pedi instead!

* Expect to eat on the beach and not have sand in your food!

I could probably think of even more, but this post has taken me forver already!!

Happy Summer!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Luke's Surgery Highlights

I am trying to catch up on sharing thoughts and pictures, so I thought I would backtrack at least to this! From previous posts, you know we scheduled Luke to have his tonsils and adenoids removed due to various reasons. We had previously experienced all this with Anysa, so knew what to expect roughly.

He was not scheduled to arrive until 9:30 am, so we had time for Luke to gather all the necessary items he would need to take along. Let's review! Superman pj's with cape for heroic endeavors. Hat and sunglasses just in case the paparazzi were waiting for his arrival. Scooby Doo slippers to sniff out Popsicles when necessary-I think one is in his mouth because his hands got too full. A book. And of course, his "gun" in case his super powers don't do the trick.

His favorite trick to make Mommy laugh. And a sure sign he really has no idea what he is in for!

After the "silly juice" but before being wheeled in. He wasn't really goofy like Anysa was-she cracked us up! He was more restless than anything. He was so brave going through those double doors. Much braver than Mommy!

Hanging out with Papa and Gigi and Anysa during his 2 hour recovery wait. He was fussy and crying briefly when I first held him, then really just wanted a Popsicle and a blanket. He did not like the IV in his foot one bit, but that soon came out. He was really ready to go after about 30 minutes but because he was under the age of 3, he had to stay 2 hours for obs. Nothing kills time like a movie and 5 double Popsicles!

Here is the biggest difference we noticed right away between the two surgeries. While Anysa pretty much looked like the next picture for at least 3 days, Luke took the opposite route. Carefree, playful, and hungry from the time we got home. He even wanted some of our pizza! Here he is enjoying a little yogurt. Personally, I think he still had a good bit of O.R. drugs (steroids, narcotics, etc) in his system plus we had to give him pain meds every 4 hours which really just made life great for him. The crash is coming!

The next 2 pics are really out of order. Literally, we would have had to physically restrain him from riding his new bike along with sister if were to keep him from "excessive physical activity". So instead of fighting it, we just minimized how long.

He did spend quite a bit of time on the couch in between medicine times. However, if he was awake, he was usually up and about.

We had already scheduled their grandparent trip and Mommy-oops, I mean the kids, were not going to miss it for anything. So they went as planned with a pharmaceutical arsenal in tow. He did OK taking meds because it wasn't his parents forcing it upon him. However, he was feeling pretty lousy unless he was drugged. Drugs made him happy and allowed him to do all the fun things he loves to do there. Grandparents were troopers for taking that on!

We watched the progression of the scabs coming off in his throat-BLUCK!!! And of course, the most painful for him. But overall, he was a true "Superman"!! After 2 weeks, he is fully recovered from the surgery except for a little gurgly sounding voice still. Now, I thought they were going to remove his "I am almost 3, moody,I am the boss-not you" attitude but somehow it is still here. Hopefully that comes with many more nights of easy-breathing sleep!

And just because, I would like to throw kudos to Dr. Murray, his office staff, and the staff at the children's surgery center. If you live in DFW area, I would highly recommend either his office in Coppell or Dr. Biavati in Dallas. They are both part of a group which has pediatric surgery centers in Plano and North Richland Hills. They are the best and both my kids had great experiences!!

Thanks for thinking of him and us!


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

It's Official!

No sillies, not that kind of "it's official"! Officially, I am back! Back from using my "get a week without kids" card, back from picking up the kids with lots of hugs and smiles, back from visiting hubbies' roots, and back from our trip to Galveston. Lots to share later! But just to make all you other mommies proud, after pulling in around 6:30 pm, I managed to unload and put away all the kids' stuff, do 2 loads of laundry (including pre-soaking due to nasty brown water), unload and clean the cooler and beach bags, eat, fold a mound of about 4 loads of laundry left over from my special week, give the kids a tour of their new clean home (along with new rules), put kids to bed, and catch up completely on all the celebrity gossip, email from 3 email accounts, and favorite blog reading before posting here by 11:20ish! And just for the sake of what I like to call wife humor, let's compare to hubby who managed to unload the car, open the mail, feed himself and the kids weiners on fake buns, check the computer, and go to bed by 9:15 pm. Ahem!

I will try to catch you up some more tomorrow and will get pics developed for a future post!