Monday, June 30, 2008


Brian and I celebrated 7 years of marriage today. We also figured that it had been 10 years since we started dating. While we are going down this road - it has been 18 years since we met. That's a lot of Brian - I mean love. No, really, I do mean love. Brian is sarcastically witty with a mouth big enough to fit both his feet in but I know he loves me. Because of this his dad once asked me if I believe anything he says - only if he is telling me I look fantastic, he loves me, or that I am right or brilliant. This system seems to work for us. My dad asked me for the 2 years leading up to the wedding after we were engaged if I was sure. Oh, yes, I was sure - still am. We sat down to dinner tonight overlooking Lake Travis and Brian remarked, "Did you imagine 7 years ago that we would be here?" Nope, never could have imagined it this good. It has been a fantastic ride! I am excited to see what the next 7 look like.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Little Dog Gets a Makeover

Little Dog finally became too matted and ugly for me to groom at home. Known for being so ugly he's cute - he finally just became so ugly. I took the plunge (when I found a coupon) and got him groomed. This is a record of my experience.
On the phone:
Me: I need to make an appointment for my dog to get groomed.
PetSmart: What kind of dog do you have?

Me: (pause) um... a little dog?? a little dog mutt??
PS: We can fit you in Monday at 10:30.
PS: What is your dog's name?
Me: um... Little Dog...

PS: (stiffled chuckle) Little Dog for 10:30 Monday, see you then.

At the PS:
PS: Is that Little Dog??
Me: Yup, can you fix him?

PS: What would you like us to do?
Me: I dunno. What can you do?

PS: You want a hair cut and shampoo?
Me: I dunno.

Me: Look, he's an ugly little dog. If I get him back an ugly little dog, I won't be dissappointed. Anything will be an improvement.
PS: ??

PS: OK, we will be done around 2. See you then.
Me: Adios.

This is Little Dog now:

Reba cried when she saw him. Apparently she liked the old, uglier version better. I never knew this dog could look so good (less ugly).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Goodbye again...

Sorry for the long read... I think it is worth it.

It is no secret that growing up in the United Methodist Camps had a significant impact on my life. From the time I was 9 I have been attending camps as either a camper, counselor, nurse or dean. Last year was the first year I had not camped in 19 consecutive years. At 11 years old I would meet my husband to be (not realizing this of course until I was in college). We would also meet our best man and one of our groomsmen at camp. My side of the wedding party included 5 girls I didn't meet at camp but had all been there with me at one point or another. I met friends there that were the lifetime kind. These friends would pop up in my life as youth leaders, pastors, and co-workers, and finally family (and I am not talking about my husband either).

At 15 years old and about to enter my Sophomore year of high school I attended camp as usual. What I couldn't have know then was God's plan to bring a family into my life that would still be watching out for me 14 years later. It was truly meant to be when I met Mr. Insight (not his real name - but a fitting moniker) a counselor at camp who as it turns out only lived 8 houses away from me with his wife, Wonder Woman (not her real name - but one of the funniest, most talented women I know), and their infant, American Girl (gifted musician, brilliant and beautiful). They were reminiscing recently about how Mr Insight came home from camp that year and did the "I found a babysitter" dance. I went to work for them that fall usually logging two nights a week for the next two years. Oh how I loved their child. I loved them, their whole super family.

When news came up at the end of my Junior year that they would be moving to the East Coast I naturally looked for a university near by. For four years they would fund trips by train and later by car for me to come visit and babysit their now two children (Wonder Boy came along - known for his gift for gadgets and gab). I fondly remember long lazy weekends enjoying Connecticut seasons and scenery. I remember dancing with the children in their living room. I remember first haircuts and taking their then 4 year old to the mall for a "girls day". I remember manicures, lobster dinners, and the most fabulous baking you ever tasted by the funniest lady you ever met and her adorable assistants. I loved being on the East Coast and I loved having this family take care of me. I always felt like I was going home when I went to their house.

It was only natural for me to want their beautiful long haired American Girl as the flower girl in my wedding. Donning matching dresses American Girl and her American Girl made it to CA for my dream wedding. But not before her parents, as a wedding gift to Brian and I, gave us their Honda Accord. Gasp!! We had been driving my parents mini van and comparatively this was a very cool car. We felt truly blessed by this huge gift and would drive that car for the next 6 years (my dad is now using it as a commuter car).

Two summers ago we realized that they had moved to Austin and we were to be just an hour away at our family reunion. We couldn't leave the area without seeing these terrific people so we swung by to stay for less than 24 hours. In that time we, of course, fell in love with Austin and fell in love again with this family. It was clear TX was the place for us and of course we would spend the next year planning our move. With the help of their relocation expertise, house hunting skills and approval, and a few weekends putting us up in their guest room, we became Austinites - and part of their family - again.

Over the course of a year we would enjoy another set of grandparents (Mr Insight's parents - Grandma and Grandpa Dentist - not their real names), many holidays and meals together, two amazing "kid grown-ups" (as the kids refer to them) for my children to adore and look up to, knitting, crocheting, and quilting lessons, and the incredible generosity of this family. They would, during this time, give us a car - again, provide us with family far away from our own, make us laugh until we cried, cheer us on in our successes, and pray for us in our trials. I have not known more lovable people.

In an unforeseen job change (to the best job ever) this fantastic family is moving to Wisconsin. Don't worry, I am not following them - this time. They have helped us make Austin a home. But we will miss them terribly and have already begun to make plans to visit. We waved goodbye to them Saturday morning and managed to stave off tears until they were driving away for real. When Reba looked up at me and her little lip was puckered out and her chin started to quiver I felt myself let go too. Mr. Insight, Wonder Woman, American Girl, and Wonder Boy, we love you. Safe journey and thank you.


The other day, after agonizing for months on how out of shape I am, I bought a pair of running shoes. I bought these, of course, with the intention of actually running. Back in my prime I could put in 9 miles at Cross Country practice then play an hour and a half soccer game. But not now. And God forbid anyone in my neighborhood actually see me hurdling I mean running my now out of shape over-sized body down the sidewalk!!

I devised a plan and left after sun-down with my trusty yellow lab for my first run in my super cute pink and white adidas running shoes. Everything started off fine. I had mapped out a course that was exactly one mile (hey it has been a long time since this body ran anywhere without my kids laughing at me). I started at a pace I felt was acceptable and trotted off proud of myself that I was doing pretty well. Until I looked down. Tut, the yellow lab (bless his heart), was WALKING!!! "What!!" I yelled. He looked up at me sheepishly and gave me a half hearted little trot as if to say, "Oh, sorry. You thought we were running here." Thanks for the moral support, dog.

The lesson from this story is: You know you are out of shape when you think you are running and you look down to see your dog is actually walking. I am happy to report, however, I went out again tonight and Tut walked just a little less. I am getting better!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A boy's birthday

I completely forgot to post on this child's birthday party. Since Reba got such a spread for hers (how could I resist posting all of those hysterical photos) I thought I would backtrack and update you on my boy being six. We hit the parents of his classmates hard this year with a three-in-one party. His best friend is a twin and all three kids are in the same class. Their birthdays are about 10 days apart and twin mom and I decided we would be brilliant and share the work of a 6-year-old party. We were brilliant. Poor parents though, can you imagine, not one birthday gift but three? Sorry...

My reading boy...

Now that we have completed Kindergarten and my child is well into the world of reading we find him reading EVERYTHING. Add to this the fact that his teacher gave him the "Most Observant Award" for his known character traits of correcting someone (parents, teacher, little sister) when they misspeak, noting changes in his environment, and finding all lost things. Unfortunately for us he will observe even the things we hoped he wouldn't. For instance reading the signs at IKEA, "It's OK, you can bring it back," and "The tag tells it all," are fairly safe and innocent. Things get a little dicey when he is sitting at breakfast reading Daddy's coffee mug (a gift from my mother) that has the Davey Crockett quote, "You may all go to hell, I will go to Texas." Yes, we had an impromptu lesson on what is and isn't OK for kids to say. Sheesh.

The topper however was today in the bookstore when he read a book title at his eye level that started with the word Sex. I heard him attempting to sound it out and quickly looked around for what he was reading. Ultimately he looks up at me and says, "Hey that's funny, they spelled Six wrong! It's supposed to be an i not and e." Exhale...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A year in review...

The other night Brian and I were in that in between place between awake and asleep where you have your best conversations and solve the greater issues of your life. We started talking about this year of Kindergarten and another summer coming up and it dawned on us that we bought our house exactly one year ago. We reflected for a while - long after we should have been asleep - about what this year has been for us and the significance of moving here. Here are some of our thoughts:

One year ago we signed what felt like a million papers, pulled a million strings, and budgeted for what seemed like a million dollars (which we all know was much less than a million) all to purchase these walls, the floors, and this roof. Or so it seemed. What we really purchased was a life that we never imagined we could live. It was a pipe dream in Los Angeles for us to afford this kind of lifestyle. We would have committed to private educations, an outrageous mortgage, and a lifetime of endless commuting. It was a future that we assumed was ours. Then one day we visited Austin and our outlook changed.

Within 24 hours of our first visit to Austin Brian and I had resolved that we would move to TX. Two California kids raising two California kids - I never imagined we would ever leave. But we saw something fantastic in Austin. All the beauty and diversity that we loved So. Cal. for without the cost, smog, and irate people. It was TX and that made all the difference. I grieved over our decision to leave everything we ever knew on the car ride from TX to CA and by the time we were back in LA I was looking forward to a new life. (Family and friends, please don't misunderstand - we miss you a great deal - and you will always be a huge part of our lives. I grieved for CA - and somehow, it didn't take as long as I thought. I still miss you and am working on getting you all to move here ;-).)

On May 26th we were official homeowners and by June 26th we had moved in. Here to greet us was a school system that we would trust with our baby and would teach in one year's time a very stubborn but intelligent Kindergartner to read. We were greeted by a neighborhood that would love us, take care of us, and pray for us. We were greeted by a church home that would wrap their arms around us and invite us into a thriving and growing Methodist Jesus centered ministry. We were greeted by bills we could pay and jobs we would love! We were greeted by friends we would call family. We were greeted by a preschool where our child would be the favorite. We were greeted by T-ball that didn't play on Sunday mornings. We were greeted by clouds parting and the sun shining down on us - even through the rainiest summer in TX in 50 years. The darkness of hopelessness was lifted and God had blessed our family.

So, you see, we bought so much more than a house. This past year has been so good to us. We thank all the people who helped us get here. We know for our CA family it was bittersweet. You helped us attain a lifestyle at the cost of us moving away. We are so grateful. Tonight as I walk through this massive house (much bigger than I could have dreamed several years ago) and I turn out the lights and tuck my babies in I say a prayer of thanksgiving. Thank you for TX, God; thank You for our house, our friends and our family; help us, Lord, to be good stewards every day of Your blessing on us.

In honor of this occasion I thought I would provide a tour of the house. Many of you have been asking me for photos (Grandma and Cheryl). I hope this helps.

Please ignore my giant green rear end.

The entrance.

The front door and the dining room. The dog can see the entire neighborhood from his post at the front door window.

Just a peek at the master bedroom.
I know it's a mess. Thought I would give you the real picture of my house.

Jenny's room/what was Reba's room.

Since they have had to share Jacob's room, the kids have exploded in here. All efforts to keep this room clean are futile.

Brian's office/our guest room. So, you are welcome to visit, but you have to be up by 8am so Brian can go to work.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


My dog smiles. It's true. How could you resist loving on this sweet yellow lab? It has not been easy to capture his smile with the camera since he is also very fond of chasing lights and reflections and the lights on the camera distract him. But my dad managed to get a great shot of the grand-dog while he was here. So for every one's amusement - this is my smiling dog.