Monday, February 25, 2008

what a difference a year makes.

It's hard to believe that it's been a year since Kreg & I started a journey of living life simpler. It's been a year since we decided to take the plunge and make the daring move to La Grange.

It was scary and nerve-racking but all in all, I couldn't be happier.

I was scared of losing my beloved Target and 2 1/2 bathroom house and my walk-in closet. I was scared of moving into a smaller house. But now I look at that person and wonder why and who was I?

Living in the austin area, for the most part, was always having to live in "the house" or drive "the car" or be in "the neighborhood" or sending your kids to "the school." Kreg and I fell victim to that. The lifestyle of convenience and ease wasn't what we valued. And I look at that now and I'm embarrassed. That's not the life I ever wanted. That's not the person I wanted to be.

Things in life are suppose to be simple. We were so lucky to find the rent house that we did with a wonderful landlord. When we were first asked how long we would be here, we didn't know. All we thought was that we had to have more bathrooms and just plain more room. We seem to have had so much stuff.

As the year went on, and we started getting rid off all the excess in our lives (who really needs 4 sets of plates, one for each season), we have a new outlook.

I reflect back and realize that having 1 bathroom has NEVER EVER been a problem. In reality, more bathrooms would really just be more for me to clean. When we had 2 1/2 bathrooms, we only used 1 most of the time. But I got stuck cleaning all of them. Having one is SO easy.

As I now work in real estate and see houses on the market, I realize, even though we rent at the moment, we have a gem of a house. Granted, it needs some updating, but you aren't going to find another kitchen around here with 18 floor to ceiling cabinets. And for a cook like me, that's important. We lived in 2100 sq ft and we now live in 1700. Not that much difference. And really, it's a good difference. It's caused to see what we really value in life and what we don't. We've been able to shed ourselves of so much extra 'stuff.'

In a time of lead paint recalls, beef recalls, buying items that fund terrorists, the organic movement, it's nice to be somewhere that you can "Buy Local" and support small mom and pop shops.

The boys get a kick out of going to the meat market.

As spring rolls around, I'm looking forward to them help my dad with his garden. Or going to the farmer's market.

One thing I do terribly miss is our wonderful church we had. One of my biggest shortcomings is providing my kids with religion. Growing up Catholic and still being a practicing Catholic, religion did play a part in my up bringing and I want the same for my kids. It's one of the many reasons they, or right now, Hunter, goes to a Catholic school. He's getting some religion in his life and they can answer his 1 million quesions correctly. This year has been hard with both boys at different 'schools.' Today, Jayden got accepted at Sacred Heart and I can breathe a sigh of relief. No more running between schools and dividing my time. Next year there will only be 1 stop and I can spend time with them both on all occasions. One wonderful thing about being in a small town, is that you don't end up with big town private school costs. Let's just say that having both boys at Scared Heart next year will cost me less per month than my car payment. And it's actually the cheapest place in town to send Jayden if I'm going to work. And both boys at one school will be an ease. For Kreg and I, our kids education is something we value highly. Right now, it's one of the most important things to us. I can't even begin to list all the wondeful things about Hunter being at SHS this year. It's been a life changing experience for all of us. And we know it's only going to get better.

This move really made us look at what's important in life and how we want our kids growing up. We value so much more than what 'city' life could give them.

The way we live in our small house in a smaller town really does make a difference in the quality of life to us. We aren't looking to buy anything yet and it's nice. We are taking our time to do what's important to us. Taking time to get back to the basics of life where what you drive, where you live, the bigger is better attitude really doesn't matter.

Granted, we aren't where we wanted to be yet, but we are still working at it. We've had our fair share of ups and downs. The downs are getting fewer and the ups are getting so much better.

I have a new link on the right for my cousin Amber. Her blog is inspiring for me to read. (I know Amy would love to be her!) Amber is currently 'abroad' and I'm excited to read about her journies. It puts a simple life in so much more prespective. I think what she's doing is amazing!

And finaly, I'll share some lovely pictures since most blog readers haven't ever been to visit in the year we've lived here. (and don't tell me you are waiting for an inviation because you sure as hell didn't get one when we lived in Leander and that didn't keep you away! and I'm just picking on you guys!)

When we first found the house:


And one year later:



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The wedding pictures

I can't wait to see the professionals.

bad lighting. not so great digital camera. so many people. kids. smiles....

at least I got what I got!

practice makes perfect
next time I will lay off the tanner
before the cermony & the shoes are already off
finally a good picture & NO beer involved
mom just doesn't like to smile
hmmm...not bad.
this was tiring for Jay. he actually feel asleep during the ceremony
I actually just noticed Hunter & the flower girl
about 1/2 of Meme's clan

we bolted early thanks to Jayden's asthma attack. it poured Friday night and Saturday about the time we had to make our way to the ceremony. Friday night was so bad we couldn't see the road at all on our drive back. sleeping was next to impossible. a double bed with Hunter next to Kreg and Jayden seeing who could snore the loudest was miserable. and who knew Jayden was a sleep walker! but the ceremony on Lake Conroe was beautiful even with the rain and wind. It's Wednesday and I'm still trying to catch up on my sleep

I agree.

yes I try to stay out of politics and keep them off the blog but I found this article to be so true. I LOVE John Kelso.

Democrats should tell TV to buzz off and get debate tickets out to the people

By John KelsoAMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFFFriday, February 15, 2008

Today I'm fixin' to kick me some Yellow Dog behind.

Yes, the Democrats are the party of the people. Only 100 people, but still the people.

When Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama square off to debate Thursday at the University of Texas Recreational Sports Center at San Jacinto Boulevard and 20th Street, 100 lucky folks who won a drawing will get to see it live.

Everybody else in the audience of 1,000 to 3,000 will be invited.

Give me your tired, your poor. Just don't give me too darned many of them.

To steal from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., many Austinites had a dream. They had a dream of seeing this historic event in person. Keep dreamin', friends and neighbors.

Why not pick a bigger venue? The Democrats say it's not their fault and the TV people are running the show. Well, TV runs the NFL, so why shouldn't it run the Democratic Party? "The larger the venue, the worse the audio," said Sam Feist, political director for CNN, which is showing the debate, along with Univision.

The larger the event, the worse the audio? If that's the deal, when the Rolling Stones came to Austin, why didn't they play at the Cactus Cafe instead of Zilker Park?

This is a historic event. This is bigger than Ali vs. Frazier, bigger than Texas vs. OU. This is a black man running against a woman for president of the United States.

This has never happened before in the history of the U.S. Fifty years ago, Obama couldn't have even gotten into this shindig unless he was hanging up the coats. (Come to think of it, the way things are going, if he weren't running, he might not have been able to get in this time, either.) One hundred years ago, Clinton wouldn't have been allowed to vote for president, let alone run for it.

This is important stuff. This is the earth shifting under our feet.

What the Democrats should be doing is finding a great big joint with lots of seats and then filling them up with every school kid in Austin, Texas. Then maybe when they get old enough, the little boogers might bother to drag their happy behinds to the polls instead of sitting in front of their computers adjusting their MySpace pages.

But instead of doing something good like that, the place will be filled with the press and, I'll wager, a passel of lobbyists. Hey, you don't want your TV debate to look like the front row at Willie's picnic.

OK, so yes, this Obama-Clinton debate is largely a TV show. But the fact that these two candidates even have a shot at the White House and that the March 4 Texas primary will probably pick the Democratic candidate makes this debate a magic moment. Do something about it, Democrats. Let the real people in to see the magic up close and personal before I get mad.

John Kelso's column appears on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 445-3606 or

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sneak Peek.


it's been a LONG couple of days and going to be a long couple of more. but stay tuned for more pictures.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dear Mr. Refridgerator Repair Man:

Next time you decide to use a leaf blower to clean the coil under the fridge, please inform me before doing so. The 7 years of dirt, dust, grime & just plain nasty stuff all over the kitchen is making my children sick.

And I really wanted to spend Valentines Night and the night before we leave for my brother's wedding, cleaning up hundreds, NO, make that THOUSANDS of dirt/dusk balls the size of tennis balls, wiping down every single item in the kitchen, mopping the floors and rewashing all the dishes.

Yes you were cheap. Yes you were quick but I'd pay anything not to have to clean what I have to clean.

A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Be sure to clean UNDER your fridge more than once every 7 years. Nobody ever told me that.

Nothing says Valentines more.........

than opening your fridge & getting hit with the smell of spoiled milk, defrosted frozen yogurt & rotting meat.

on the bright side, at least I discovered this today and not when we get back on Sunday.

too bad I also need a new tail light thanks to the juveniles running around town shooting BB guns.

I also just realized I haven't used my camera since Christmas (HUGE GASP) and now I don't have any clue where I placed the charger.

just when I thought my stress levels had reached an all time high.............

Thursday, February 07, 2008

This sums up our day pretty well

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A day in the life of

I know as a mom, it seems what I do everyday gets tossed into the wind. People have a hard time seeing what your day entails and how it's spent. I thought I'd share a day in the life of:

6:15 - after a night of tossing and turning due to my husbands loud, obnoxious snoring, my alarm goes off. I begin by praying that hopefully, just maybe, today will be the day my husband realizes I need the shower when my alarm goes off because my alarm is MY alarm.

7:15 - after getting myself almost completely ready, it's time to wake the kiddos and get them going. After bugging them for 5 mintues I finally get out of them they'd like
French Toast for breakfast. Hunter wonders out of his room, in a sneezing fit, with red, puffy eyes. I damn myself for not picking up the Zyrtec yesterday. I add it to my afternoon list and give him a dose of Benadryl. Jayden emerges coughing up a storm and I realize we aren't going to make it out of the house without a breathing treatment. I get him started and decide an extra B vitamin might be good today. Thank goodness for the vitamin cocktail.

7:40 - I can't stress enough to Jayden that he needs to wear his newer tennis shoes, not the ones I had hidden in the back of the closet because I was tired of constantly having to tie them. Not only that, but the soles are falling off. Damn my husband for giving those shoes back to him. I swear I try to keep things easy for myself.

7:45 – I manage to get everyone’s folders, books, homework and the kids ready but we are leaving the house 5 minutes later than usual. Not a big deal, right? Yea…….there would be the 7:45 train.

7:52 – Jayden’s off.

7:54 – I watch as Hunter gets out the car, sneezing and I pray he stays awake today thanks to the Benadryl.

8:10 – I’m at work, finishing yesterday’s fires, about to start in on my caffeine for the day, when the phone rings, and the caller id would be Hunter’s school. I’m secretly shouting NO in my head. Thankfully, it’s not for me but for another mom.

12:00 – I’ve finished as much work as I can in the 4 hours a day I work and I’m off to get Jayden.

12:10 – We are now at home and I’m trying to put together lunch for not only me and Jayden but for Justin who also joins us.

12:30 – I realize the dishes aren’t going to get done by themselves and my kids aren’t quite old enough for chores yet.

12:45 – I spent 15 minutes pleading with Jayden to find another movie to watch since I can’t find Tom & Jerry. I’ve also GOT to get the dishes done if anyone wants dinner tonight and we still need to run to Wal-Mart for Zyrtec. And my god, it’s amazing how much dusts collects on the floor of my house each day.

1:00 – Daily vacuuming and sweeping are done but the darn dishes lay ahead of me.

1:45 – Dishes are done and I sit down at the computer to find the $4 off Zyrtec coupon I had just emailed to my mom last week. I open Outlook to realize I have 217 unread emails. No time for that now. The coupon is gone/expired so I’m off to google another one. There has to be a better one that the $1 one HEB is offering. It’s also then I realize I need to call about Jayden’s shot record, my medical chart, the boy’s old school info for taxes, and the list keeps on going.

2:00 – Coupon in hand, Jayden and I run to Wal-Mart. I’m hoping for a quick trip so that I can get home and take a small break. Jayden is insisting on wearing those darn shoes again.

2:30 –1 bag, $20 and 30 minutes later we make it out of Wal-Mart after 2 trips to the bathroom and my having to tie his shoes 3 times. I secretly think he knows it irks me. And one wonders why they were ended in the back of the closet?

2:45 – I have enough time to get home, find the tickets and information for Hunter’s Valentines Dance, get a check written and back up to school in enough time to pick up Hunter.

3:00 – Jayden and I arrive at Hunter’s school and walk to the office to turn in everything. Jayden shoes are untied yet again. I guess they are going into the trash tonight. My Aunt greets us and tells us about how over ½ of Hunter’s class is out sick. G R E A T. The flu, strep and a stomach bug have wiped out 10 kids in Kindergarten. There’s only 23 total to start with.

3:30 – We are know back at home and I’m ushering the kids out in the back to play while I start prepping for dinner and CRAP, I’ve got to finish business cards for work in the process.

The kids are in and out of the house the whole time, fighting, tattling, asking for a drink, asking for a snack, crying, so I end up getting nothing done. At least the boys were able to play outside and get their daily dose of vitamin D.

4:45 - Kenny calls and needs help with his taxes. I'm trying to walk him through the process while keeping the boys from fighting.

5:00 – Time to start dinner. The third meal of the day I’m preparing. I’m heading outside only to walk into the back room to realize the kids had been tracking mud inside the house with each slam of the door. I just want to sit and cry. I get the grill started and the chicken fajitas going. I’m now trying to make a small opening in the piles of laundry in the utility room so that I can pry open the armoire to get out my mop and bucket to clean the floor. Whenever will the laundry get done?

5:15 – Floor has been mopped, kids are working silently and I’ve got to finish the fajita fixings. WHOA. Wait a minute. Silent and my kids should not be in the same sentence. Where the hell are they? Sitting around the coffee table working on something. That can’t be too bad. HA! They successfully taken apart some pen their father gave them and were using it to ‘write’ on the coffee table. Yes, my coffee table is now full of very deep scratch marks.

5:45 – Dinner’s ready. I only managed to slice off half of the skin on my thumb in the process of trying to cut tomatoes. Damn sharp knives. My finger is now bandaged and the kids are washing their hands.

6:00 – The boys are finishing dinner and much to their dismay without guacamole and sour cream. Mom just didn’t have time to run to the store. I try to settle down to watch the day’s latest news.

6:30 – I managed to catch about 15 minutes of the news before Jayden spilled his drink over the table. After running to the bathroom to grab some towels, I have to ponder very hard on why is it my children can’t seem to pee in the toilet. Little boys are the worst.

7:00 – Hunter is doing his reading to me for his test on the computer the next day. The floor is clean and the dinner table is cleaned up. I guess I will be stuck doing more dishes tomorrow because it won't happen tonight with the big bandage.

7:30 – Both boys are in the shower and I’m trying to get clothes lined up for the next day. Did that weather man say the cold front was coming in that morning or evening?

7:45 – I’ve managed to get the kids slathered in lotion, allergy meds, vitamins and settled down with a bedtime snack. Yet they are now all riled up again after their father arrives home.

8:15 – I’m reminding everyone about school tomorrow and the need for sleep and 8:00 bedtime as I’m also trying to make muffins for the next days breakfast.

8:30 – Muffins are done and there’s nothing more that I’d like than a hot bath to finally shave my legs. Crap……I need to finish the business cards.

9:00 – ARGH. I’m exhausted. I really want to settle down to watch my one guilty pleasure of the week. Thank goodness I can wear jeans to work. Laundry will have to wait another day.

10:00 – I’m ready for bed. I go to set my alarm on my cell phone to realize I have 7 missed calls and a voicemail. Where was I when the phone rang? Boy’s shower? Vacuuming? Searching for the mop? Cooking yet another meal? Cleaning up a mess? I don’t have time to think. I really need sleep since the night before was tough. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to return the phone calls or the emails. Or work on my list of things to do. Or maybe I will be able to shave my legs, give myself a pedicure, fold the laundry, clean my room or hell, just have some much valuable, WANTED, NEEDED, time to myself.

My day as a mom is about giving to everyone else. That’s my gift to my 2 boys. While they are young and don’t understand and can’t value it, one day they will.

Until then, I must get some rest because I know I will be up half the night due to snoring, hit with 100 questions to answer, 200 things to remember and left with a million things to do.

I give SO much credit to full-time working moms. Honestly, if my kids were younger, I don't know if I could do it. At least now, they are sometimes self-sucifient and can get themselves ready in the morning. I still have to help some. Getting myself and 2 kids ready each morning is a job.