Friday, October 29, 2010

Booked through December

The holidays have caught up to me unaware. I have come to realize that aside from the regular end-of-year holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas), I know a lot of people with birthdays during this time. My mom, Ariel and Alex all have birthdays within two weeks of each other. A number of my friends' kids have birthdays around now. AND I've got a wedding to attend next weekend.

Our financial plate is FULL.

Thankfully, this year Ariel and Robert are hosting Thanksgiving. We will still bring a dish or two, but at least I won't be responsible for the majority of the load.

We were hoping to make it to Illinois this winter for Christmas, but we made the decision to stay here after going over all our expenses for the next couple of months. Each of our parents had tried to convince us to stay in Texas anyway. I think they are all looking for an excuse to escape the frigid winter. As much as I would love to see my friends back home, it will be nice to not have to travel. I think it's a little less stressful this way.

This is the first year that we are truly drawing names from a hat for Christmas gifts. In the past, we sort of tried this, but always ended up getting a large gift for the name we drew, then a small gift for each of the others. This year, we all decided we are old enough to bypass doing hundreds of presents. The only one not included in the drawing was Aiden. Everyone wants to get him something. =D

Bring it on holidays! We don't need to eat, anyway!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

He's getting there...

I was trying to wait until we had the finished product, but I couldn't wait any longer. Travis has mostly finished with the kitchen side of the remodel (the bedroom side is still rough drywall). He has yet to put the trim back on the cabinet and the floor, and I am working on some art to hang on the wall that now seems looming and empty. There used to be a door there. Now it's a wall. Simple, but weird.

Anyhoo, you can see the clay red-orange we chose, and then just barely on the other side of the fridge you can see the yellow that covers the other three walls of the kitchen. I think the combination turned out rather well.

We finally went through our old cabinets and did a little rearranging to fill up the new cabinets last night. It's one of those things that I have really been looking forward to having finished, but haven't quite worked up the OCD energy to get it done. Back before we had Aiden, we probably would have had this done the night Travis put in the cabinets. My how children change things...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In Summary

Friday night: Oktoberfest with Ariel for her birthday, then we headed to Squeeze for appetizers.

Travis, Aaron with Aiden and Phillip (Travis' co-workers)

The birthday girl and Bo

Saturday night: Got to see Kai's new house and have dinner (fajitas!).

Chris and Travis with Aiden

Alexa and the kids hanging out in the living room

Sunday afternoon: Ariel's birthday BBQ at their house, then they all went to their softball game.

Monday night: Pumpkin carving at our house.

Aiden liked the pumpkin guts!

Except he kept trying to eat it...

Our pumpkin, the mummy (carving courtesy of Travis)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Almost 16 Months

Last Thursday, we took Aiden in for his 15-month check up, even though he's almost 16-months. He got pink eye right around the time he was supposed to have his 15-month check up, so the doctor didn't want to do vaccinations at that time. We postponed until he was healthy again. Here are his stats:
  • 2'7" tall
  • 22 lbs, 4.4 oz

I actually didn't catch what percentile he is in. Aiden was so frantic about the whole visit that we forgot to go over that information. The doctor asked if I had any concerns about him and I said the only problem is how he suddenly, about a month ago has had a complete 180 in his attitude. He always used to be a happy, easy going kid. Lately, he has been quick to anger or get frustrated. And once he gets in a bad mood, it never ends. He cries and fusses for the remainder of his waking hours.

It's horrible and I'm concerned. Ironically, as the doctor was giving me tips on how to handle him, Aiden gave her a taste of his wrath. The funny part was that he learned how to throw a tantrum after slowly lowering his head to the ground so he didn't smash it into the tile. He's a careful tantrum thrower.

We have already taken the doctor's tips. We were partially already doing what she recommended, but not fully. I can already tell a difference. I feel SO MUCH BETTER.

Despite Aiden's increased anger recently, he has been coming along nicely. His new favorite words are 'ball' and 'uh-oh'. Everything has turned into 'uh-oh' though. He throws everything on the floor, then 'uh-oh'.

He does most everything we ask of him, although lately he has been fighting us more than not. He gives us hugs and kisses, and he always pats the seat where he wants to be seated.

The cutest thing he picked up in the last week or so, is when he walks up to one of the cats, squats down, sticks his finger out towards that cat and makes a clicking sound with his tongue, like he's calling the animal. He does EXACTLY what I do when I try to show him how to pet the cat. And it WORKS. Aiden doesn't usually move too quickly for them, so they usually let him pet them. It's hilarious. Especially since he really does not need to squat down to reach the cats. I do that because I'm too tall to reach them while I'm standing. Aiden is not more than two and a half feet from the ground. Definitely close enough to pet a cat's back. LOL!

This past weekend was filled with milestones for Aiden. Saturday, I had to go into work. The best way for me to do that, since Travis was working, was to drop Aiden off at Auntie Ayo's for nap time. I set up his travel crib, blanket, Mr. Lion - all the normal bedtime parafanalia - only thing missing was his pacifier. Where's his pacifier? Not in his diaper bag... not next to his car seat... WHERE IS HIS PACIFIER? No. Where. To. Be. Found.

I have nothing to work with. There is no substitute for his Binky, AKA Bink. We can say pacifier all day and he has no idea what we are talking about. Mention Bink and the Crank Monster comes to town.

So, I have no choice, but to leave Aiden for nap time without Bink. Turns out, Robert laid him down for naptime no problem. I figure, why not see if we can keep the ball rolling and just not offer it to him at bedtime. He goes down no problem. Nap time the next day? No problem. And so on. So Bink is out of the picture.

We had already made the decision to remove Aiden's last bottle feed. I didn't want to mess it with during the holiday season, and I am REALLY hoping to start promoting peepee in the potty after the New Year. Last thing I want to deal with is multiple life changes in one month for our toddler, so removing the bottle ASAP seems like a good decision.

I decided to do this during the weekend so I would have more time to deal with the unpleasant side effects of weaning. Saturday morning was pretty funny. I handed Aiden his sippy cup, filled with milk. He instantly denied it. I set it on the floor in front of him and the chair he was sitting in. He got out of his chair, crying, and sat on the floor. He "noticed" the sippy cup and drank from it. It seemed to soothe him. Until he realize it was not his bottle, which is when he threw it and started crying again. Then he noticed it again and took a drink. This went on until the cup was emptied.

Sunday morning went by without a hitch. It was like he knew what it was and he wanted it. No problem. Amazing. I hope this continues...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Seesta!

Lunch at Shrimp 'n' Stuff

Miniature golf in Galveston

Getting to know your brand-new nephew

Cake in the face on your 25th birthday

A bike ride with Toby and Dad for July 4, 2010

Our first Texans game!

Love you, mean it!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Experience

I would like to preface this post by saying that at the end of the trial, the judge let us all know that we could "tell whoever, whatever we want". So we are no longer on verbal lock down. The judge was great. He used humor to keep us all comfortable. He had a big bushy mustache that reminded me of a walrus. Ha!

Monday we went in to see if we would get called in for jury duty. I was not on the list called off, so I had to call the Juror Hotline every night to see if I had to go in the next day. Monday night, nothing. Tuesday night, I got called in! I emailed everyone at work so at least Wednesday's tasks would be covered. I figured I would see how the following day went before I made plans for the rest of the day.

The jury panel of 54 potential jurors was seated in the courtroom and the judge started the voir dire. Basically, the judge and opposing lawyers each asked us a series of questions that we answered out loud in front of the rest of the group. I was #7, so I was one of the first to answer each time around. We were asked questions like, "Would you always assume that a police officer speaks the truth?" "Has your home ever been burglarized?" and "Do you know anyone in the courtroom or on this list of witnesses?"

We did this for TWO AND A HALF hours before we took a 30-minute, so they could deliberate over which jurors to choose. Apparently I answered all the questions the way they wanted because I was chosen to be Juror #3. Which meant I got front row!

It took just a few minutes for them to read off the 12 jurors, then they led us into the jury deliberation room to give us badges and the rules for the courtroom (no talking about the case to the other jurors until the deliberation began, no talking to anyone involved in the case including the lawyers, stand up and sit down in unison and only when the judge says so, etc). They we broke for an hour lunch. We were back and court started at 1:15 pm.

The judge estimated that this case would take two to three days total. At my lunch I went to make arrangements for work for the next couple of days. After talking to my co-worker, I decided there was too much to hand over as it was, so I decided I would go into work after court to get everything organized for the following day.

The only information we knew prior to the trial starting was who the defendant was and that he was charged with attempted burglary of a habitation. Each lawyer opened up with a summary of what had happened before they got into the evidence and witnesses.
The defendant had pled guilty, so the purpose of this trial was to decide what his punishment would be. His particular charges, as a third degree felony, required 2-10 years in prison and a $0-10,000 fine.

I'm not going to get into the nitty-gritty of the case, but I wanted to give a quick summary. What happened was very traumatizing for the victim, but there were still a few instances when I had to fight not to snicker from the jury box.

A 31-year-old male left his uncle in the truck as a look out as he approached an apartment within a retirement community. He knocked on the front door. The 64-year-old owner of the home, looked through the peephole and did not recognize the man, so she did not answer. He went around to the back of the house and knocked on the patio door. She didn't answer there and was starting to get scared. Throughout all of this, she was on the phone with her 85-year-old mother who is also her neighbor.

When the man started to bang on her patio window with some sort of a tool, she ran back to her bedroom to grab her 9 mm Beretta that she keeps loaded at all times. I would like to make a side note here: DO NOT MESS WITH TEXANS, PEOPLE. THEY ALL HAVE GUNS. Including grandma. Probably moreso grandma. Especially when grandpa is a retired vet.

The victim then proceeds to go back out to her living room, point the gun through the window with it's closed blinds at the perp and pull the trigger TWICE. This could have been really bad. Lucky for the perp, the woman was not extrememly educated on how to use the gun, so she never put a bullet in the chamber. LUCKY GUY.

When the defendant kept trying to pry the window open, she ran next door into her mom's apartment. That's when the perp's uncle and "look out" saw her and took off. Without his nephew. After unsuccessfully prying the window open, the guy ran off, realized his uncle was gone and jogged down the street until he found him parked on the side of the road.

While the perp was still attempting to break into the apartment, the victim called 911. She was able to give an exact description of the guy because he was standing right outside her window. We even got to hear how clearly she described the guy on the 911 tape. The cops were only six blocks from the scene, so they reached the area just as the perp was jumping into the passenger side of his uncle's truck. Both were apprehended immediately. No chase.

The defendant pretty much had to file guilty. He was caught red-handed. When the lawyer asked the victim how this had affected her, it was heart-wrenching. She said that her husband calls her 15-20 times per day to check on her. She walks around her apartment with her gun in her HAND. She can't sleep. And every time the ice maker drops ice into the bucket, she panics because it sounds like her window breaking again.

After the lawyers gave their closing statements, we were sent into the jury deliberation room to discuss and make our decision. We went over the evidence - we mostly focused on the photos and the previous charges the defendant was carrying. When it came down to discussing the actual punishment, we all agreed unanimously without much discussion.

In the end, we gave him 7 years and no fine. We spent a whopping total of 25 minutes in the deliberation room. We all felt bad that we were able to come to a decision about this man's life so quickly, so we joked that we should stall for a while. Of course, we didn't actually do that.

In the beginning, when I was first chosen to be on the jury, I felt wholey unqualified to be making such a decision. But by the end of the case, after I had heard every single little teeny tiny detail about the case (from three different views: the victim's, the defendant's and the cops) and the defendant's background, I felt good about what we did. The lawyers made sure we new the laws related to this case. I felt educated the best I could be.

Overall, it was a great experience. I am glad I was chosen to be on a jury. I think that may have been different if it would have been a murder trial, or if it would have dragged on for days. Missing a day of work, did not affect me too much and the trial itself was not traumatizing. I thought it was all very interesting to get to see the inner workings of how a trial runs. This was my first jury summons and first time to serve on a jury. There were people there who had been called numerous times. I guess I still have time...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Patch 2010

I got called into jury duty this morning (!!!), so mostly just pictures today.

On our way back home on Sunday, we stopped at the place where we bought our Christmas tree last year. It's called Dewberry Farm and they have a HUGE pumpkin patch. I wish we'd had more time to wonder around, but we had to get back for Travis' 6 pm softball game at home.

Local plant life

Riding the John Deere tractor trike through the little kids play area

Aiden and I took a ride on the Cow Train.

It's a bunch of barrel carts, painted like a cow, pulled by a tractor. Aiden and I were in the last car, which meant we were "chased" by the tractor a few times. Aiden wasn't too impressed - I'm pretty sure he whimpered a little towards the end of the ride.

On the "hayride" out to the pumpkin patch.

A reinactment of last year's aerial shot. He called all the pumpkins "balls". So cute.

Aiden sat on the pumpkin

It was a little breezy out in the pumpkin patch!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Landry's ONEderland

Landry's first birthday party was this past Saturday afternoon. We decided to leave first thing in the morning, instead of rushing around to leave after work Friday. We arrived at their house, between Austin and San Antonio, around 1 pm (~4-hr drive, with a lunch stop). I had to run to the store for a couple things for Aiden, which worked out because Sara was running party errands when we got there.

I got back just in time to start eating the food before the rest of the guests arrived. It was mostly Sara's family, but there were a couple friends as well.

The birthday girl

Opening pink presents

Eating birthday princess cupcakes

Landry and Aiden played with her cousin Isaiah

Logan passed out on the couch. He sleeps with his eyes open.

I made a joke, asking if anyone had checked to see if Logan was alive. He was looking a little pale, and the open eyes were a little freaky. Sara had a moment of panic when she looked closer, but he was okay. Just panicky parents!

After the family left, we played a game of quarters. That is a BAD game. Results in hangovers. We thought about going to the local carnival, but after quarters decided that it would be best to stay off the roads. Instead, we ordered a pizza and moved the party outside. It was nice and cool out. People started dropping like flies, until the last three of us decided to call it a night at 1:30 in the morning.

The next morning I was EXHAUSTED, but it didn't matter because Aiden was ready to get up at 7:30 and he was MAD. He did okay for a little while, but then decided he wanted out of the bedroom. Since everyone was sleeping in the house, including on the living room couch, Travis took him to the store to get donuts. I stayed home and tried to sleep, but just couldn't get myself to fall asleep. By the time he got back, Sara and Landry were up, so we all went outside to eat breakfast.

Sara and I chatted while Travis and Aiden went to the park. After a few hours, it was time for Aiden's nap so we got back on the road for home. We stopped at a farm on the way home, but I'll have to get to that tomorrow...

Happy birthday Landry! I can't believe how fast time flies.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jury Duty

I slept hard last night after a very busy weekend. Although, I think it will take me another night to actually feel rested.

I got called in for jury duty for the first time today. Not sure if I will get picked or how everything will run, but if I can muster the energy tonight I will post some photos from the fun-filled weekend (Landry's 1st birthday party near Austin, picked our own pumpkins from a pumpkin patch and Travis finally had a softball game after starting three weeks ago).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Squeeze | Sleepy

I don't know why but I have a REALLY hard time falling asleep without Travis in bed. It's silly, because it's not like I need him to snuggle with every night. It's more like his presence is what allows me to sleep comfortably and safely.

Last night was rough for this reason. Travis made a last minute decision to meet the guys from work and their family for drinks at Squeeze, a tequila bar attached to The Spot. I took advantage of this alone time to have uninterrupted reading time. Unfortunately, this meant I didn't have Travis there to point out when it was time for bed. Next thing I know, it's 11 o'clock. I freaked, because I wanted to go to sleep immediately. I turned off the light and rolled over.

Blink, blink.

I didn't feel tired. I thought about reading more until Travis got home, but I didn't actually know if he was going to be out much later, so I sent him a text. He had no idea when he would be home, which meant I definitely shouldn't wait up for him. I flopped back over in bed, then decided to go to the bathroom and let Callaway out one more time. On my way back to the bedroom, I stopped in Aiden's room to see if he was cold (our windows are back open again). Really, I think I was just making up excuses to not go to bed without Travis.

Travis pulled in the driveway at 3 in the morning. I know this because Callaway made sure I knew he was home. Dang dog.

I woke up with a crick in my neck and a headache. Not sure if it's the lack of sleep, or just how I sleep, but it's enough to make me a little cranky. I took Tylenol and now I'm working on some coffee. Hopefully that will help...

Happy FIRST Birthday, Landry!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Keenan Cahill

This kid makes me laugh. A lot.

He's Keenan Cahill, 15 years old and has a hundred million more videos if you'd like to check them out on YouTube. HILARIOUS.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lots 'o' dust

This is the best I can do for a before and current-after of our kitchen. I was too busy, then too sick, this weekend to think to take real photos. I took this photo of our cabinets in place to send to my dad and see what he thought about it since he's an architect and good at kitchen layouts in general. But behind the cabinets you can see our open doorway (leads to guest bedroom/office). Then the photo with Aiden in it shows the doorway closed off, taped and floated and the most recent update is the texture on the kitchen side.

Let me tell you right now that texture is not meant to be done in a closed house. Open ALL windows and doors BEFORE you do spray texture. Then a couple fans after it's applied couldn't hurt. Ugh. I was all the way back in our bedroom when the acrid chemical fumes made it's way back to me. I immediately threw all the windows open, including those in Aiden's bedroom (he was asleep). I imagine that's what standing in a bottle of acetone would smell like.

Travis still needs to do the texture on the bedroom side. It's a different type, so I don't know if that's another smelly one. Hopefully not. Then we are going to paint the entire wall on the kitchen side a clay red-orange. The rest of the kitchen is a mustard yellow, so hopefully it will look okay. I didn't want to try to match the existing paint and not get it perfect. That would bother me and I'm sure that's all I would see when I walked into the kitchen thereafter.

Describing those wall colors makes me think about what a hamburger wrapper looks like after scarfing a McDonald's Big Mac, but I promise, it's much nicer than that.

To celebrate our 11 years, Travis and I left Aiden with Auntie Ariel and Uncle Robert last night and went out for sushi happy hour at a restaurant in downtown Galveston. We used to go there almost every Wednesday when we lived right down the street, for what we dubbed 'Wasabi Wednesdays'. Those were the days...

It was nice to get a break for just Travis and I. Aiden has been so unbelievably cranky lately with what I think is a combination of teething and a verbally-challenged, and therefore frustrated, toddler. Robert is always so great with Aiden, so it sounds like he did a lot better after we left. When we walked out the door, Aiden was crying after us. Ugh.

It was great to get some quality uninterrupted adult conversation in. We didn't have to stand at a stove to make our dinner, clean dishes, or attend to Aiden for the night. Usually, by the end of all that on a normal night, we are just ready to veg out on the couch or in bed for the remaining two hours of wake time. We were able to just talk and it was awesome.

After dinner, we headed across the street to a swanky bar called 21. I enjoyed a glass of wine, and Travis his beer, before we went back to Ariel and Robert's. We sat at their house and chatted for an hour since Ariel has been home in Illinois for several weeks. I didn't collapse into bed until nearly midnight. Needless to say, I'm a wee bit sleepy this morning...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Decade + 1

11 years ago today, Travis walked me to my Advanced Biology class (like he did everyday) and before he sent me in he asked if I would go out with him. I remember the first time I told my parents that so-and-so had asked me to go out with him, I was in 4th grade. Their response? "To where?!" LOL! I didn't understand what they meant. We weren't going anywhere. That was just how you asked if a girl would "go steady with you." So funny how the wording changed. And it doesn't even make sense, when you really think about it.

I was a senior in high school and Travis was a sophomore. I think his mom was just about as thrilled about her son dating a senior as my parents had been when I did it as a sophomore. But this one stuck.

It is insane to think that we have been together for so long. Or that it's been that long since I was in high school. But really, I can't imagine NOT having Travis in my life. He's been there through the thick and the thin, as they say. I'm so happy to have him.

This photo was taken not long after we started dating. We were at a party at my friend's house. Good times.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Ward House of Sick

Friday afternoon, Travis sent me a text complaining that it felt like someone had punched him right in the eye and it was bloodshot. Oh and he's crazy light sensitive in that eye. I stated the obvious, considering our son fought pink eye a week and a half earlier. He said, "No, it's not pink eye. I've had that before and this is not it."

"Ok, well, why don't you go to Urgent Care right after work?"

A reluctant, "Oookkaaayyy." That guy NEVER wants to go to the doctor. UGH.

Travis calls after his appointment and says, "You'll never guess what it is."

"Pink eye."


He then proceeds to tell me that there is a two hour wait for his prescription to be filled, so he was going to go buy some stuff from Home Depot, then go back for the antibiotics. He finally pulls into the driveway at 8:30 pm. His eye is GROSS, you guys. Seriously gross. I have since dubbed it his zombie eye, because that's exactly what it looks like. Just his left eye, mind you. I need to remember to take a photo tonight because it's crazy. You can see all the blood vessels in the whites of his eye and his iris is clouded over and yellowish. Yucko City.

Travis headed straight to bed after his shower in the dark because he cannot stand any light whatsoever. He had to drive home at 8 at night with his sunglasses on because the headlights threatened to split his head apart.

Saturday night, Aiden enjoyed playing with the dancing ghost my dad sent for Halloween last year. It never ceases to amaze me how much Aiden is growing up. He is able to go up and push that button as often as he wants. And he dances every time. This was him last year with this same ghost. (Feel free to peruse the other Halloween videos - oh how he's grown!)

Saturday morning, I already had plans to help Rachel move. Since I was unsure if Travis would be around to help because he might have to work, I had already arranged for Robert to watch Aiden. I dropped him off, then headed over to Rachel's. It took two trucks, four cars, two trips and four hours. I was bruised and tired, but felt good about getting in the only workout I've had in years. HA.
I ran home, took a shower, then headed off to the Ramby's to visit wee Skylar. Again, I forgot my dang camera. My cell phone takes pretty good photos, but not good enough for my liking! The little boys played in the sand box all evening while the adults chatted and ate dinner on the back porch. Alexa's parents were both still in town. It's always so nice to see them!

After dinner, Aiden and Blair took a bath to get rid of the sand that had found a home who knows where. That was really nice because the idea of putting Aiden in his carseat like that made me cringe. Plus! Now we have ammo for when they are misbehaving teenagers. ;)

Blair gave Skylar a good night kiss. So sweet!

Sunday was my turn to feel like crap. Aiden had been cranky all weekend because he was teething, so he was handful. And since Travis fell too crummy Saturday to work on the house, he decided to do it Sunday. The result is a totally trashed house. I did nothing to stop Aiden from getting into everything and I never made him put up his toys. There is stuff everywhere. Plus, Travis thought there was no need to put a tarp up to block the doorways to the rest of the house before he started to work. That means there is now drywall dust covering the entire house.

I told Travis that we needed the tarps. He said there was no need, there would be barely any dust to get around. Whatever. I told him he had to clean the dust up then. HA. We'll see if he actually does that, because it is definitely coating all the flat surfaces of our home.

So, the work he's doing... Travis and I have wanted to close off the door from the kitchen to the office since we bought the house. That way we can market it as a three-bedroom, instead of a two-bedroom. We had hoped to sell the house this spring, but our real estate agent urged us to wait at least a year, since the market had not improved enough for us to make a profit. So, we have a few things we'd like to do before next spring, closing this doorway is one of them.

To keep Aiden out of the work zone, we spent the afternoon in the backyard.

Aiden has recently mastered his ability to back up and sit down without having to look at what he's doing. He used to crawl onto a chair, then flip over onto his butt to sit. Now he just backs it up like a pro. And he is all over this sitting business. He sits on anything he can find that is the right height. The step into the garage for example.

When Travis had a moment to break before dinner, he came outside for a bit. We got out the sidewalk chalk and the boys drew a few pictures. I remained in my seat, since the process of standing took every last drop of energy I had.

There's still a lot left to be done for that doorway, but the construction portion of the work is complete. Travis closed off the doorway and now the guest bedroom seems so much smaller. There is more wall space to arrange the furniture along, but the room itself appears less spacey. I cannot tell much of a difference on the kitchen side though. The only irritation I have right now is remembering that I can no longer walk through the house that way.

Travis temporarily set in the cabinets so we could discuss layout and that made the space seem much smaller. It's for the better though. I don't have nearly enough cabinet space, and all that extra room in the kitchen only meant more hot bodies taking up space while I cook.

I'm not sure how I feel about the cabinets just yet. Without paying a fortune for custom cabinets and counters, it was impossible to match the original countertop and cabinets. We also cannot afford to replace the existing counters to match at this point. The new cabinets will not be permanent though, so the next owners can easily remove the cabinetry if they see fit.

I hope we're making the right choice!

Friday, October 8, 2010

It's reached the Danube

Did you guys hear about the toxic waste spill in Hungary? If not, look it up. The destruction is immense, and we haven't even found out what the long term effects of the toxins will be yet. A reservoir broke that was holding the toxic by-products of an alumina factory. The sludge that was left behind is clay red, making it very obvious what it has touched.

The photos of clean up workers standing next to buildings gives you a good idea of how high the toxic tidal wave was that rolled through the three neighboring villages. It looks to me that it was at least 5 feet high. The aftermath looks like an angry, red hurricane made it's way through the center of the continent.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Going Mobile

It's always so irritating whenever one of your utilities gives you a problem. They are all things you use on a daily basis, so for one of them to fall out from under you is to ruin your daily life. My most recent struggle was with my cell phone. I have have been using Verizon Wireless as long as I've had a cell phone. All of my family and all of Travis' family uses Verizon, so we have stuck with it. Actually Travis and his family used to use Sprint, but had too many problems with them, so they switched to Verizon.

I have ALWAYS had a good experience with Verizon - until my last phone that is. I had the Samsung Sway. They are no longer selling it in the store, but it is still available on eBay and Amazon. DO NOT BUY THIS PHONE. The chances of someone getting a plain phone like that are probably minimal, but I want to put that out there just in case.

I had horrible reception with the Sway, where Travis' phone always worked. The battery only lasted from 6 am, when I took it off the charger in the morning, until maybe 5 or 5:30 in the evening. Most of that time I am at work. So there was little to no talking on the phone during that time. And I didn't have the Internet, so I wasn't burning up battery surfing the web or looking up apps. It was just a crappy phone.

I used to charge the phone on my ride home from work, but the car charger broke from such frequent use. I didn't want to sink any money into this stupid phone, since I had planned to get something else as soon as possible.

I went into the store on four separate occasions in an attempt to fix the problems. The first time, they gave me a new battery. The second time they uploaded new software (what the hell that has to do with a battery, I don't know). The third time they insisted on trying to give me a new battery again since it had been 6 months since I'd had a new battery. The fourth time, I went in and said, I don't want a new battery, I don't want a software upgrade. I want a new phone. The new phone had the same problems. So I guess it was just THAT model that sucks.

I get discounts with Verizon through my work and one of those is that I qualify for an discounted upgrade before my 2-year contract is up. I counted the days until I could throw out that stupid Sway and that time came a couple weekends ago. I had talked around to everyone I knew with Verizon to see what they thought of their current phone. I have always had excellent phones until this one, so I had hope that I could find a phone that wouldn't die before I got home from work.

I decided to go with the enV Touch by LG. I have always had LG phones. I don't know what made me sway from that brand. No pun intended. Ok maybe a little.

This is a big step for me though. I have avoided touch screens like the plague. I have always had a hard time using the screen with my nails. I text a lot, so the idea of struggling with a touch screen key pad really did not appeal to me. This last time I went into the store and got that horrid phone, I realized that the majority of the phones in the place were touch screens. I worried that the next time I went in there, "normal" phones would be obsolete and I would be forced to use a touch screen phone when I wasn't ready. So this time, I opted for a touch screen with a QWERTY key pad. That way, I can go back to the real keys when I get frustrated with the touch screen. Which, as it turns out, is pretty frequent so far. I'm learning though.

The only downfall for me with this phone is the data package. I got the smallest one, since I didn't want to be spending anymore money on a cell phone. It seems so frivolous. I have access to a computer all day long. The only time I can't get to a computer is when I am driving. And it doesn't really seem like that great of an idea to be on the Internet while I'm driving. So why should I need Internet on my phone? So far, the part I like best is the Mobile Email. I like that I get a text whenever I get an email.

I ordered the phone online and had to wait over the weekend for the Monday delivery. I was worried FedEx would come while I was at work. Since it was a Signature Required package, I didn't want to miss it and then have to drive into Houston to pick it up. Travis suggested leaving a post-it with a message stating I was expecting a package and to sign it. I was skeptical, but did it anyway to get him off my back. Turns out, IT WORKED. They took the post-it and left the package. Awesome.

So far, the battery has lasted all the way until I go to bed around 11. And it was showing no signs of dying on me. Tuesday it was down to one battery bar (out of four) because I spent all day learning how to use the darn thing. Wednesday, it still had three bars left, which is HUGE. I am ecstatic about that. I should probably try calling Travis at lunch time to see how well the reception is here at work. The Sway didn't work at all in my building. So obnoxious.

Things are looking up!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October at the Beach

I really wanted to go to the beach this weekend since the weather has cooled down so much. We have been going first thing in the morning whenever we go, to avoid the midday heat. Probably not such a good idea now that it's started to cool down. It was SOOOO windy that we had to use the Murano as a shield from the wind. We still had a good time though.

I made Aiden a "motorcycle" out of the sand. I think he enjoyed it for a good two minutes before crushing the "handlebars". =)

Then Sunday night we went to Travis and Robert's softball game. Sadly, it was cancelled for the second week in a row, but we didn't waste an opportunity to play on their playground!

We went up to meet Skylar last night and she is just as precious in person as she is in her photos. It was so surreal going to meet Alexa in the same hospital in which I had Aiden. It brought back a lot of rough memories. Aiden was a great baby, so no stressful thoughts about him. 'Just' the recovery. Seriously though, Skylar is adorable. She slept the entire time I was in the room. When I went to trade posts with Travis (Aiden wasn't allowed in the room), she woke right up. I ran back in after Travis came back with the news of a wide-eyed baby. Alas, she was nursing by the time I got in there.

It was such a surprise to see how tiny Skylar was. I know they come in a small package, but sheesh. Aiden is a MONSTER now. I know he was never actually as small as Skylar after he was born, but I know he was only a pound heavier. That's itty bitty. Seriously... can't believe it...

I'm hoping to visit the Ramby's this weekend after they are home from the hospital, so hopefully she'll be awake at some point while I'm there. She was mighty colorful in her sleep, but I'd love to see her awake!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Scattered Thoughts

I had a hair makeover this weekend. It was probably a month overdue for a trim, so I went in for that. Unfortunately the lady did the opposite that I asked for - I wanted my hair tapered around towards my face, but she angled it away instead - but I cannot complain. I get the $13 hair cut at whichever chain store is closest when I think of it.

I also dyed my hair. I do this from time to time to help hide the greys that started to take over my head when I was 25. They are actually a startling white, but calling them 'whites' just doesn't sound right. The brand I had been using before was fading too quickly for my preference, so I talked it over with a few of my friends and family who dye their hair regularly. Since I was buying a new brand, I didn't know exactly which shade to get. I ended up going a little darker than I had wanted. But! I guess it's getting into the colder months and a darker 'do couldn't hurt.

I cut my finger this weekend on the tamper-evidence foil of sour cream. I didn't realize it until there was blood everywhere and Travis was questioning the blood in the sour cream. Oh. Guess I cut myself?

It's super annoying though because it's on the tip of the index finger on my right hand. I'm right-handed. Now, every time I write, or try to open a bottle or vial, or anything that puts pressure on the pad of my finger, the wound opens up and starts to bleed again. Gross. And annoying.

New found morning struggle: Putting a jacket on Aiden. He HATES them. As Alexa puts it, you'd think it was burning his skin off. He literally throws himself on the ground immediately after getting the jacket on. I'm hoping he gets used to this soon. It may only be chilly in the mornings at this point, but that will change as the winter progresses!

Travis forced me to buy some things for myself this weekend with some extra money he earned. He didn't have to force me into it, but I sure felt guilty afterwards. I don't know why, but ever since I had Aiden, it feels horrible to spend money on myself. One of my favorite items from all the shopping I did is the Mr. Coffee Electric Coffee Grinder.

Why did no one ever tell me what heavenly goodness comes from grinding your own bean?! I know that coffee usually tastes like it smells when it's in the bag, but the level of intensity that comes from freshly ground coffee beans is insane. I now fully understand why coffeehouse coffee always tastes so much better than what I make at home. BECAUSE IT DOESN'T COME FROM WEEKS OLD PREPACKAGED COFFEE GRINDS.

Seriously. Yum.

Can't wait for tonight! We're going to meet Skylar!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Skylar Sophia Ramby

Alexa had her scheduled c-section this morning!! I got a text from Dad, but no photos as of yet.

Skylar Sophia Ramby

Born at 9:13 am
6 lbs, 15 oz
19 inches

I can't wait to meet her! We're going to visit them in the hospital tomorrow after work. I wanted to give Alexa a chance to recover a little today and spend some undivided time with their new addition. I can't wait to hold a fresh baby!!


I've got photos! She's so tiny and round!!

Dad took a photo while she was in the nursery

Close up (with the tiny hospital hat)

Mommy and Skylar (check out that hair!)

Friday, October 1, 2010


Aiden has a favorite show. This is the first time that I have seen him ever sit down when a show starts.

If you aren't already privy to the world of Nick Jr, it's called Yo Gabba Gabba. The first time I ever saw a clip of this, I couldn't believe it was a real show. After watching it through, start to finish, I actually like it. It's a little trippy, but the colors are vibrant and the "host" is hilariously entertaining. I usually find myself singing along to the various jingles (which happens easier the longer I'm a parent to a toddler). It can be repetitive at times, especially when they are trying to get a lesson across, as in the clip above. BUT! That is excellent for a toddler. Repetition is the only way for him to learn at this point.

I don't know if it's because he has been sick with pink eye and his teeth have been bothering him off and on for weeks or if he is genuinely interested in the show. Honestly, I think he just likes the show. Aiden LOVES music and this show is full of it. If the tickets weren't so dang expensive and currently only available in the middle of a week day, I would take Aiden to the live show.

For the time being, I enjoy that if Aiden is being really cranky and nothing seems to make it better, we can just turn this show on (thank you DVR!) and let him dance his irritations away!