Thursday, June 30, 2011

When It Rains, It Pours

I'm going to take a moment to boast about all of our financial pitfalls lately. It's been riding heavily on my shoulders recently and I figured why not blab to the world about it?!

Here's a list of our financial woes:

  • February 18 - Travis had his hernia repair surgery, for which we had a co-pay due before the procedure. We are currently still paying for the remainder of the balance.

  • Sometime soon after recovering from his surgery, Travis smashed his front tooth at work, which is actually a crown. That was a lot of money up front.

  • Travis was driving his truck several months ago and his tire blew out. It ripped completely from one side to the other, so he had to put on the spare. He is still riding on that spare while we wait for money to magically appear.

  • Last month, I went in for my annual inspection to find out that the tread on my tires are getting bad. They sad this is the last year it will pass so I need to get FOUR (as opposed to Travis' two) new tires by next summer. It would be nice to get them sooner than later though because I have noticed lack of control in heavy rain.

  • Travis recently went a week without pay. Because we had all these recent expenses, our savings has been depleted, making that time really hard to recover from. We technically had another two weeks without a paycheck from him because his new job only pays every two weeks. We were used to weekly paychecks for him.

  • AND NOW, I have been laid off. I have until the end of July to find a new job. I work in research and am paid with soft money. That means when the money runs out and they can't find more elsewhere, I get canned. My bosses are really sad to see me go and they are currently doing everything they can to keep me, but nothing is secured.

  • We thought we had some extra money lying around made plans to build a patio before all this mess started. I love our patio, but I wish we could have used that money for surgeries, dental work, tires, Aiden's birthday party and, honestly at this point, groceries. Hindsight is 20/20.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fish Face

You have got to watch this video of the human face developing as an embryo. It's trippy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Last week I was in the kitchen making dinner. Travis wasn't home from work yet and Aiden was playing in the living room. All of a sudden, he comes barreling into the kitchen holding a book, screaming "Pider Man! Pider Man!" I look at the book to see Spiderman on the cover. We have had that book since before Aiden was born and he has never shown any interest in it until now. I have never watched any Spiderman shows or movies with him up to this point, so I am a little unsure how he became so enthralled with him. I do recall Aiden coming up to me with a Spiderman action figure at daycare. Is that all it would take to capture his attention?

The next day I pulled out our Spiderman movie in the evening. Aiden was held in rapture for the entire movie. That is the first time he has ever SAT through an entire film. Aside from that time he barfed all over my car and sat in a vomit-zombie-trance for several hours afterward. He did watch the entire Elmo in Grouchland movie that day.

This past weekend I pulled out Spiderman 2. That one didn't hold Aiden's attention as well. I think there were less scenes with Spiderman in his suit, which happen to be his favorite parts. Maybe we'll try to take him to Spiderman 4 this year? We'll see.

Needless to say, I bought a couple Spiderman gifts for Aiden's birthday.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Very Ramby Weekend

Saturday morning Aiden and I met the Ramby's on the beach. There was an insane amount of seaweed covering the beach and more kept coming! We saw lots of little creatures that had lived in the seaweed. Very cool!

Travis had to work in the morning, but he was off by the time Aiden woke up from his nap. That afternoon, we met the Ramby's at a park that has a train caboose stationed within. Sadly, it was not open for the boys to explore. They did however, enjoy playing on the brand new playscape and watching the tons of turtles in the koi pond. Next time we need to bring bread so we can feed them!

After the park, we went over to the Ramby's house for dinner. We stopped at the fish market near their house so they could grab some tilapia and shrimp. I've never been in a fish market that big and found it very interesting. They had live crab and shrimp swimming around under the many tubs of seafood on ice. The guy that helped us explained that they keep the live crab in the water like that so they can get soft-shelled crab. They had octopus and GIANT squid. Seriously, I've never seen squid so huge.

The grilled dinner was EXCELLENT. Probably the best we've eaten in weeks, since we've been on the low-income Ramen diet. Hopefully things perk up here soon. I could really go for some more good eating!

Sunday we took it easy in the morning. Travis slept in. After lunch, Travis put Aiden down for a nap and I got on the road to buy stuff for Aiden's birthday party that is to be held next weekend. (Yay credit card!) Because money is so tight this year, we decided to throw a really small party. We invited eight of Aiden's friends and our family. Last year we had over 50 people come, so this is a serious downsize. As of right now, the only family that's attending is Ariel, Robert and my dad should hopefully be there. The plan is for him to stay a week or two and help us build that wall I keep talking about.

The shopping was really EASY without having Aiden. He is actually really good when it comes to grocery shopping, as long as I don't stop to compare products for too long. The key is to keep moving. Since I knew I would have to take my time shopping for Aiden's party AND I don't want him to see his gifts until his birthday, I made time for a trip without him. It was exhilarating to just jump out of the car for one item at a store. That is something I rarely do when I have Aiden. I bought everything we need for decorating and I also picked up his birthday presents. I got really excited picking everything out this year because I know he is going to love it all.

As for the party, I am soooo behind compared to last year. That is partially due to lack of funding and because it just caught up with me suddenly. I got the invitations out really late. Meaning, everyone received their invites last week. I did send out an Evite Save-the-Date a month ago though. We decided to do a luau theme with a touch of Toy Story. I wanted to something tropical since we are going to have all the water toys out. And Aiden is obsessed with Buzz Lightyear. We've been in a drought since February and it recently started raining again. Just in time for Aiden's outdoor birthday party. I hope it doesn't rain Saturday afternoon!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Very Yeager Weekend

We had a weekend filled with the Yeager's. Saturday afternoon, Travis stayed with Aiden and I went with Linsey, Kenley and Zach's mom to a fundraising event for the Opera House in Galveston. Zach's mom has been a major player in the fundraising committee and every year she goes to this event and invites Linsey and one of her friends along. Linsey invited me last year, but I was sick. This year, the stars aligned and I was able to go!

Basically, a bunch of ladies get together to eat food, drink wine and paint pottery. It was so much fun! We sat at a round table when we got there and let Kenley sleep in her car seat for a bit. First we checked out our pottery options. I chose a trivet (it took me 15 minutes of web searching to figure out that word) and an oblong dish. After we had picked our ceramics, Zach's mom held Kenley (she was so good the whole time!) and we went to get food and drinks.

After everyone arrived and was settled, the painting began! I didn't want to do anything detailed since I am not a seasoned artist. I did basic colors and a little fading. Hopefully it actually fades and doesn't look block-like. I won't know until I get it back after they are fired. I finished well before Linsey and her mother-in-law. After sitting there staring at my work for a few minutes, I wanted to do more. But I didn't want to ruin it. Zach's mom is a seasoned artist and I attempted to copy some of what she was doing. Hopefully it turns out okay!

Father's Day was on Sunday, so I let Travis decide what he wanted to do. He chose to mow the back yard in the morning and then spend a few hours playing Playstation. After Aiden got up from his nap, we drove down to Galveston to meet the Yeager's at the Moody Gardens Rainforest. They had to remodel after Hurricane Ike and we haven't been since they reopened. There is now a catwalk in the canopy of the trees so you can get closer to the birds and various trees. It was really nice, but dang it was hot. 116 degrees, according to the readout display!

Of course, I forgot to bring my camera, so I have to rely on Linsey's photos from that day. She got some great shots!

We were lucky enough to get really close to one of the three sloths that call the pyramid home. I could have touched him. He was that close. I was amazed at how big he was and his hair was super thick. Reminded me of Chewbacca. I wonder if they modeled Chewbacca after a sloth? Hm.

Aiden was afraid when the sloth got close. He moved so slowly and came down to eat a banana. I tried to convince Aiden that the sloth liked bananas as much as he does. Aiden didn't care. He wanted far, far away from that thing.

Linsey also got several great shot of the boys together. In the first one, there are several blue macaws on a branch behind them. Sort of hard to see though.

Every time we came to a bridge, the boys insisted on leaning over to look at the fish in the water. It was nerve racking at times.

Chumming it up with the Day Geckos...

Luke LOVES lizards. LOVES. We have an abundance of a small lizard called an Anole (pronounced ah-nole-ee) in our area and apparently Luke freaks every time he sees one. So much so, that his parents are contemplating buying him one for his birthday. The joke is why don't you just go grab one from your yard? I can't imagine that would be an easy task though. And perhaps those from the store will be more comfortable with people. Ha! Should be interesting.

I can't wait to get my pottery back! I promise to take a photo to share with you, whether they're crap or excellent.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This is really cool

I have been really super busy for the past few days. So instead, I will share these waves with you:

Monday, June 20, 2011

No Mess Friday

Friday evening, I left Aiden with Auntie Ariel and Uncle Robert for a couple hours after work so I could meet some co-workers for dinner. Travis and I are currently the poorest we have ever been in our entire lives (including our college years), so I had some serious guilt riding my shoulders. But! One of my friends at work who is a student just successfully defended his dissertation and a celebration was in order!

We went to a new restaurant in town called Brickhouse. This is a complete oxymoron, but it was like a classy Hooters. The decor was very sleek and modern. The menu and the servers are definitely aimed at folks of the male persuasion. The food, however, is fabulous. I shared a sandwich with a friend that was amazing. Both the sandwich and the friend. I will definitely go back.

I left the restaurant in time to get Aiden home for bed. As I pulled up in the driveway, I had a moment of excitement where I realized I would not have any animal messes to clean up. Travis had to work a little past 6:30, which meant he got home before us. I got inside and asked Travis what the damage was when he arrived. Nothing. He said NOTHING! The dog didn't tear anything up, the cats didn't poop or puke anywhere. NOT FAIR! The one day Travis had to do it and there was nothing for him to do!! Gah.

Anyhoo, this photo shows what he did to my plants the day he trampled everything. The aloe plant on the steps survived, no problems. The plan in the red pot were all but destroyed. To the left of that pot, you can see a piece of long white plastic. That was a long planter with flowers. I saved three of the plants from that and those in the red pot. They look horrific, without a single full leaf, but I'm giving them a chance. I have worked so hard on my plants this year that I couldn't bare to just throw them out. Besides, we can't afford to replace them at this point.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Aiden Met Blanket

Aiden has been really great lately. He still has his moments, like every toddler, but it doesn't feel like he's constantly upset anymore. He just finished his 7th week at the new daycare and I think he's finally getting the hang of it. Before we moved him, most parents and the teachers at his daycare said it would probably take him a week or two to get used to it. Well, Aiden took 6 weeks. This is the first week he didn't cry every single morning as I left him. It is SUCH a relief! Although, in his defense, I did realize AFTER the fact that Aiden had four teeth come in at the same time, right around the time he was starting at the new daycare.

Yesterday was the Daddy & Me Breakfast at Aiden's daycare, to celebrate Father's Day. Since Travis is only in his third week at the new job, he didn't want to take the time off. He asked if I would sit with Aiden for a few minutes when I dropped him off so he wouldn't be the only kid without a parent. Turned out there were only three other kids with parents, out of the nine present. I stayed for a moment nonetheless.

When I went for the Mommy & Me Breakfast last month, it was during Aiden's first week at the daycare. He didn't really know anybody yet. I was relieved to learn he now has friends. When I pick him up in the afternoon, he's usually too excited to see me to really do anything else. But since I was sitting there for a few minutes, I got to see which kids he talked to. His favorite friend walked in as I was getting ready to leave. Her name is Bella. He screamed her name the moment he saw her and she screamed his name back. It was so cute!

Every morning when I drop Aiden off, I ask him if he's excited to go play with his friends. After I said that today, Aiden says, "Bella?" I said, "Yes! You're going to see Bella!" When we got inside, Bella was not there yet. I guess she doesn't usually come until after 8, which is why I had never seen her before. The teacher explained that she is the most rambunctious of the girls, which is probably why Aiden is drawn to her.

I have been keeping my eyes peeled for any clues that Aiden is ready for potty training. There are pretty much NONE. I've decided to hide his potty for a couple weeks. He pays absolutely no attention to it. When we ask him if he wants to sit on it like Elmo, or like Mommy and Daddy, he flat out refuses. I think he's only actually sat on it three times. I keep several of his toys in his closet and every few weeks, I pull them out and replace them with the least used toys. Whenever I pull out the "new" toys, Aiden has a renewed excitement with them. I'm hoping we'll get that effect with his potty. I was also thinking about letting him decorate it with Buzz Lightyear stickers. Maybe then he'll be more interested?

Travis is really enjoying his new job. He has gone out a couple days on his own. I think he'll probably go out more starting next week, after he's had a chance to finish organizing and stocking his truck with materials. He goes into work a little later than he used to now. It's nice because he helps me out with Aiden a little in the morning. The downfall is that he works later. We're still trying to get used to that. Aiden has gotten so used to Daddy being there in the morning, that when he had to work early one day this week, Aiden asked, "Where's Daddy?" when he woke.

Aiden has really been loving Elmo in Grouchland lately. In the very beginning of the movie, we get introduced to Elmo's best friend Blanket. It's literally his blanket. But they've made the blanket into a puppet so it can hug Elmo back and bop it's head to the music. Well last weekend when I was putting Aiden down for a nap at Auntie Ariel's, we had a funny incident. I had set up Aiden's travel crib in the guest bedroom and we went up to read books before nap time. The guest bed wasn't made, but there was a pile of clean sheets lying on top. I was getting ready to help Aiden up when he stops, points at the sheets and says, "Blanket?" I look to where he's pointing and I see a corner of the sheet flapping in the breeze of the air vent.

Oh man it was so cute. He seemed a little scared at first, but I just patted "Blanket" on the head and said "Hi Blanket!" Then Aiden was scrambling up the bed to see for himself. He kept patting him on the head so hard that the blanket would get smashed and stop flapping in the wind. Eventually I had to mush "Blanket" down so I could get Aiden to pay attention to the books I was reading. SO CUTE.

Earlier this week Aiden got a hold of my cell phone. Since I don't usually let him play with it, I decided to let him have a go. He was sitting on the bed with Travis and I was on the computer nearby. Travis starts chuckling, so I turned around to see what was up. He was tapping on the screen like he was dialing a call, then he put the phone up to his ear. He chatted for a few moments and then he rubs the phone on his shirt. He kept doing it over and over again, even rubbing it on his shirt afterward.

The funny part? I rub my phone on my shirt whenever I get off the phone to get my makeup off the screen (gross, I know)! I cannot believe that Aiden caught on to that! He really amazes me sometimes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Our anxiety must be rolling over to the animals

Our animals have gone insane. I don't know what is up with them lately, but they have ALL gone bonkers. I mentioned already that Callaway has been escaping from the yard. Well, it hasn't stopped. He manages to get out of every obstacle we give him. We tried tying him to a stake all day. It worked for a day or two, but then he somehow figured out how to finagle the carabiner just right so that his collar becomes unattached from the leash.

The first time he got off the tether, it was immediately after I had hooked him up. I assumed I hadn't latched the carabiner properly. I hopped back out of the car and hooked Callaway back up. When I got home that evening, he was unhooked again. Travis switched the latch type, hoping that Pupdini wouldn't be able to figure that one out. He didn't get out of it the first day, wiggle his way out of his collar on Tuesday.

That evening, Aiden was playing on the back step and Callaway went out there with him. He was okay for about 5 minutes, but then he just freaked out. He started acting the way he does when I pull out the vacuum. He was crouched low to the ground, tail between his legs, ears and head down. I never figured out what scared him.

Tuesday we tightened Callaway's collar and Travis removed the lattice-work that hides the underside of our house. The dog started digging to get under in another spot. I don't know why he can't just use his original GAPING hole.

When I got home last night, Callaway had managed to knock all of the potted plants of the back step along one side. One planter was completely destroyed, in a million pieces, strewn for several feet. Two other pots had completely lost their contents and were located, again, several feet from their original location. He also managed to tear apart half of the sago palm that guards our back door. I replanted the roots of the plants, in hopes that they will grow back. I don't have high hopes, since they were severely trampled, with only a few leaves left.

We were unable to buy rebar this past weekend because Travis has been without a paycheck for almost three weeks now. We broke down and did a redneck fix with wooden stakes stuck into the fence. God I hope he doesn't find a way through that. We NEED this to work. If I have to spend 30 minutes cleaning up animal messes when I get home tonight I will just scream.

I was so mad at Callaway last night that I left him outside for an hour after we got home. I finally decided to let him in. First thing he did was chug a bunch of water and regurgitate it in the middle of the kitchen. Since Aiden and I were in the middle of eating our dinner, I ignored it. But then 5 minutes later he did it again under the dining room table. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

We took Callaway to the vet this weekend. His skin allergies have gotten out of control again. I was kind of hoping Callaway's anxiety would calm down if he wasn't so worked up with itchy skin. His sores are still healing, but he barely scratches anymore. Sadly, his need to escape from our yard has not diminished at all. We also talked to the vet about putting him on the Prozac. The doctor said if it was only occasional anxiety, like in the case of a thunderstorm for example, then he would give him a mild sedative. But since Callaway has constant anxiety ALL THE TIME, Prozac is the drug for him. Although, at this point, I'm wondering if the Prozac is having the opposite effect on him.

We have not been giving the cats any Prozac. The pooping all over the place died down for a while. But then we caught our THIRD cat taking a dump on our bed. I don't want to medicate ALL our cats, ALL the time, so we haven't started up giving them Prozac again. But since then, the crapping has gotten out of control. I keep the litter box clean, and now we have two. That means if two of the cats aren't getting along, they can relieve themselves in separate boxes. It hasn't helped at all.

Just this week, the cats have been acting erratically as well. I have caught all of them perched in places they are not allowed to be. They could very well hang out in those spots ALL DAY LONG, but at least in the past they had the decency to jump down before I entered the room. Now they just sit there and stare at me lazily, defying me.

Phage now thinks it's okay to put his butt on the counter where I prepare food. NOT OK. He also thinks an excellent hang out is on top of our fridge, next to the bread. Also NOT OK. Oh and Monday when I was getting ready to wash my hands, he jumped right into the sink. Ugh, the nerve! The other day, Bella was laying on her back on our coffee table, hugging one of Aiden's teddy bears. NOT OK. Sagira has random fits where she runs all over the house with her hair standing up, yowling.

I noticed some flea poo on the sink, which means the cats probably have fleas. We have not been good with applying their flea medicine, due to lack of funding. We bought some at the vet this past weekend and finally applied it last night. Maybe that's why they're freaking out? Please?

I used to enjoy spending time with my pets. Now I'm thinking they're more trouble than they're worth.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Add this to my list

Here's another item I'd love to have, but will probably never have. A girl can wish, right?

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mud Bugs

Saturday Travis and I celebrated our 5 Year Anniversary together. We went to Ariel's in the morning so Aiden could go down for his nap there. I was hoping he would sleep longer than he did. He woke up before we had to leave for the movie, but he did well with us leaving him. We went straight to the theater and watched The Hangover 2. It was the same concept as the first movie, but it did not disappoint. There were a few fairly disturbing parts, but all in all it was hilarious.

After the movie, we stopped for dinner at a Greek restaurant I haven't been to in a while. That really hit the spot. We managed to get back to pick up Aiden and have him in bed on time.

Sunday morning was similar to Saturday. Travis went to Home Depot to pick up some tools he needs for the new job. Aiden and I got up and hung out for a bit and ate breakfast. When Travis got back we headed to Ariel's before Aiden nap time.

One of our mutual friends is currently attending Texas A&M and he's in the corps. Part of being in the Maritime Academy is going on a summer cruise in the battleship-like boat. I actually don't know which boat they are going on specifically, but he is going to some pretty amazing places. If I didn't worry about being seasick, I would be more jealous of him. Ariel and Robert threw a bon voyage crawfish boil at their house Sunday afternoon.

One of Ariel's other friends just had a baby three weeks ago. Her name is Jodie Reef (hippie name - ha!) and she is SO tiny. I remember when Aiden was just a little frog like that. =}

We have been to many cookouts at Ariel and Robert's house in the past two years. This was the first one I thoroughly enjoyed because Aiden was able to entertain himself so well. It was always difficult in the past because there is usually only one other kid at their parties for Aiden to play with. He's also easier to play with now, so several of the other adults took time to hang out with him.

We introduced Aiden to crustaceans. He got to hold a crawfish and "pet" a crab! He was a little weary of the crawfish at first, but then we had to hold him back because he kept reaching in to play with them.

Aiden ate a good amount of crawfish from the first batch. The first batch is usually the least spicy because there isn't as much crawfish boil in the water yet. He really seemed to like it. He kept saying, "More? More?" The ladies next to me at the table helped peel some crawfish for him.

Allison (pictured on the right), is expecting a baby girl in a few months. Ariel and her took some time to dote over the baby so mom could eat a little and play a game of bags.

Saturday evening, Ariel went with a friend to catch blue crabs to boil as well. She caught at least 30!

It has been a long time since I've eaten blue crab. The last time I did, it was with Travis for an anniversary dinner at home. Travis caught the crabs himself and then we attempted a mini-boil at home on the stove. We turned down the lights and lit some candles for our romantic dinner. I took a few bites of the crab to find it was really mushy. I felt horrible, but I did not want to eat it, so I asked Travis if his was mushy as well. He said yes, so we turned up the lights to see if it was under or over cooked. Turns out we were eating the gills. The meat itself was fine, but I was so grossed out that I didn't want to have anything more to do with the crabs.

This time, I got a refresher course on how to properly open the crab so you can get to the meat the easiest. It was delicious!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mr and Mrs

Five years ago today, Travis and I were married in the middle of a cornfield in Illinois. It's crazy to realize how much we've done since then. Whenever I get to milestones like this, I look back on that day and think about how I had no idea what life would be like today. Now, when we start something new like when I got pregnant, I wonder what life will be like in one year, two years, 10 years.

Aiden is turning two in less than a month. When I tell people this, they can't believe it's been two years since I was pregnant. Time FLIES when you're having fun. =)

We were hoping to do something extravagant to celebrate our milestone anniversary this year, but we have to postpone our big plans for (hopefully) later this summer. Due to the fact that Travis hasn't had a paycheck in two weeks and we don't expect one for another week. Instead, we're going to drop Aiden off at Auntie Ariel's tomorrow and go out for dinner and a movie. Sometimes simple things can be just as fun. There's a whole lot less planning going into this, which in turn means less stress.

I was a little over a month pregnant in the photo of us above, taken in 2008. We had just found out a few weeks prior and weren't ready to tell anyone yet. We had plans to go to a Halloween party at a friend's house in Houston. I didn't drink any alcohol at the party and blamed it on being the designated driver. People were very concerned about my lack of drinking. "Just one Jello shot," they would say. "No biggie." HA. It all made sense to them when I announced the pregnancy after the New Year.

All in all, it's been a good life thus far.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pupdini Escapes Again

Somehow, on Monday, Callaway managed to get out of the yard despite our blockades. The bricks and plank of wood were all still in place, so we had no idea how he did it. To avoid him getting out of the yard while we tried to figure out how he was getting out, we decided to kennel him on Tuesday.

After work I had to stop at the gas station near our house. While I was standing there, I saw a work truck from Travis' new company drive by. I was unable to see who was driving. I didn't expect it to be Travis since he doesn't take the work truck home, but I didn't know for sure.

When I pulled into the driveway, I noticed Callaway wasn't in his kennel. Then I thought, maybe Travis' co-worker had dropped him off at home for some reason? And then Travis let Callaway out of his kennel on his way inside? When I walked into the yard, Callaway didn't come running, which could just mean he was inside the house. But it was weird that the door was latched. We always leave it unlatched in case Callaway wants to sit inside while he's hanging out outside.

I was starting to feel a little Twilight-Zone-ish when Callaway came running from his hideout under the house. I checked the door and it was locked, so I called Travis to see if he knew what was going on. I asked him if he had stopped by earlier in the day to let Callaway out of his kennel. He said no. Well then did the neighbor tell you he was going to let Callaway out? Again, no. How else could Callaway get out and then have the door latch behind him? It has a very difficult to use mechanism that requires an opposable thumb.

While I was talking to Travis, I was staring at the kennel waiting for it to yell out it's secret. I noticed a crack on the side, but it was barely big enough for a gecko to get through, let alone a 75-pound dog. After closer inspection, I realized he had broken one of the screws off. I still cannot believe that he can fit through there, but that is the only explanation I can come up with. If this is how Pupdini escaped, then he could most definitely fit around the boards we placed in the hole he dug under the fence.

When Travis got home, he brought in the mail. Written on the top envelope was the following: "Dog got out. 6/7/11" Not only did Callaway escape his kennel, but the yard as well. I'm assuming the postwoman put him back in the yard because that's where he was when I got home.

Our temporary fix is tethering him to a stake in the ground. We made sure he can't jump over the fence and strangle himself. He will be able to go 3 feet under the house, so he'll have sufficient shade. It still makes me nervous. I hope we will be able to buy some rebar this weekend to tie the bottom of our cyclone fence down, because then he shouldn't need to be tethered again.

Could our pets be any more annoying?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

JP Star

Sunday afternoon, after we had the Callaway-situation under control, we drove back north for our friend Jacen's birthday cookout. Travis and I were both in a horrible mood by the time we were en route. We fought Aiden for two hours, trying to get him to lay down for a nap, with no success. Then we had to deal with Callaway. We thought about not going to the party at all, since neither of us were in a socializing type of mood. But then I decided it would be good for us to go. If we stayed home, we would definitely remain in a funk. If we went to a party with friends, we would have the opportunity to cheer up. And man am I glad we went. We all had a lot of fun.

I took boat loads of photos (to make up for missed shots in the past?) and I had trouble choosing between them all. Chris made sure to show off his muscles for the camera...

It was outrageously hot on Sunday, but if you stayed in the shade it wasn't so bad with the breeze. Some of they guys played the Longest Game of Washers in History, while the rest of us lounged nearby.

Supermodel Marina (pictured on the left below) did a great job with all the food. There were hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken breasts, ribs and then pasta salad and veggie salad and corn. I'm not even going to go into the list of appetizers she had out beforehand.

Kai, Travis, Skylar and Marina's right half:

After the Longest Game of Washers in History, we continued to hang out. There were a lot of kids there, which were quickly dubbed the Pack of Children. Aiden followed behind as they ran around the large property with walkie talkies, looking at rocks and plants and the horses and doing whatever else it is that entertains children for hours without a single toy (aside from the walkie talkies, of course).

Eventually a few of the older boys pulled a boat into the little pond. It was so funny because all they could really do was push the boat in and quickly turn around again. Aiden watched from the grass, while I tried not to have an anxiety attack about the possibility of him falling in. We could see everything the kids did from the house on top of the hill, but just because I can see him doesn't mean he's safe.

At one point, a small group of us went with Jacen over to their barn to feed the horses. We took a moment to check out the chickens and the one rooster with the longest spurs I've ever seen. Aiden was absolutely enthralled with all the animals.

When I was in middle school, I was at my friends house when she decided we were going to go play in the woods behind the horse pasture. That meant we had to climb the fence into the pasture with the horses for part of the trek out there. My friend warned me that one of the horses was still a little wild and I should run for the fence if she came over. Well, she tried to come over, so I ran. I had no experience with the large animal, so I just did what she said. My friend quickly realized I was not faster than a horse and yelled for me to stop and stand still. The horse then bit me on the shoulder.

I'm fairly confident that it was mostly lips and just a little nip with the teeth, but it scared the crap out of me. Nothing was broken or torn, but I had some bruising for a week. Ever since then I have been terrified of horses. I have tried to show courage, but I always had that animals-can-sense-your-fear saying in the back of my head. It doesn't matter how calm I am or if I have a smile on my face, I am sure that animal knows I am terrified.

Lucky for me, I'd had a couple glasses of Sangria before heading over to the barn, so I was (mostly) carefree when we stepped into the pasture. Personally, I think I did pretty well considering.

Here's a shot of Jacen (AKA JP Star) feeding Choctaw, the biggest horse I've ever stood next to.

Blair watches on as Choctaw and Cowboy eat their dinner.

Note to self: Do not mess with horses while they eat. They may get irritable.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Our Beach Escape and Callaway's Yard Escape

I have been wanting to go to the beach with Aiden for a few weeks now. I want to get in as many trips as possible before the heat and tourism becomes unbearable. Travis wasn't up for it this weekend - he didn't feel like dealing with the sand. I feel the same way sometimes, but the need to get out of the house overpowered my disdain for sand everywhere. So Aiden and I headed to Galveston beach Saturday afternoon.

Aiden has been taking naps later in the day ever since he learned to climb out of his travel crib, so we were later getting out of the door than I preferred. I went straight for East Beach because you can park your car right where you want to sit on the beach. Having Aiden, I've found this much more convenient than having to walk a ways from the car with my arms full, all the while keeping track of Aiden. I knew there was a sand castle competition on Saturday, but I didn't realize it would go so late in the day. So when I was stopped in traffic half a mile away from the beach, I decided to back track a bit to another beach.

I had never been to this particular section of the beach, but Rachel frequents it when she can. It's known to have more than the normal amount of rainbow umbrellas and same sex hand-holding. The perfect place for a woman to go if she's not up for flirters.

I recently bought a stake umbrella, so I was excited to put this to good use. This was the first time I'd used it and it was only a bit breezy. Perfect for umbrella usage. We applied our sunscreen and went straight for the water. Aiden loves it. The water is warm now. It was still cold when we were on the beach for Mother's Day. It's not the hot bath water that it is in the dead of summer, but it was warm enough that I didn't hesitate sticking my feet in.

Aiden found some seaweed that he didn't want to let go. He carried it around for the remainder of our time on the beach. After we played in the water for a while, we went back to hydrate and build a sand castle. Or should I say compacted sand pile? Finally, we went back to the water to rinse off. I showed Aiden some shells and he quickly started collecting them. He had his hands full by the time we left. It was nice and relaxing.

Saturday morning, Travis and I attempted to go for a walk to the park with Aiden.

We had about 5 minutes playing at the playground before one of our neighbors pulled up at the park to notify us that our dog kept getting out of the yard. He said he put Callaway back in twice, but somehow he kept getting out. Our neighbor was worried he'd get hit by a car since we live on a fairly busy street, so he drove over to get us right away.

We quickly started the trek back home. When we got there, Callaway was sitting on our front porch. Travis put him back in the yard and then we tried to figure out how he was getting out. We couldn't find anything strange or out of place. I was worried he was jumping over the fence. The only way to solve that problem is to build a taller fence - a luxury we don't have at the moment. I didn't want to have to go back to kenneling Callaway. He's lost so much weight, just by being allowed to run free outside during the day.

Aiden and I went for a short walk while Travis stayed on the front porch. We were trying to get Callaway to show us his secret escape route. It was time for lunch, so we didn't have enough time to figure it out.

That afternoon, we had plans to go to our friends' house for a birthday BBQ. We threw Callaway's collar on, put him in the yard and started north. We were pulling into the grocery store when a different neighbor called Travis to say Callaway kept getting out despite repeatedly being put back in his yard. We turned the car around.

When we got home, Callaway was still in the yard, but Travis had spotted the escape route. He was digging a shallow spot under the fence near the new patio. I am so thankful that this is a problem we can work with. Assuming he doesn't start digging in another spot, we can just fill this hole with bricks or boards. Also, this is the part of the fence we will be bumping out to encompass the new patio. Which means eventually, we won't have to keep the bricks under the fence.

Hopefully Callaway can avoid getting himself killed until then...

Monday, June 6, 2011

My thing for Travis's

As I look back at my life with boys, I am amazed by the number of Travis's sprinkled throughout. My very first crush, ever, was a boy named Travis. It was Kindergarten. I decided he was the bee's knees the moment I saw him in class that first day.

My parents hadn't had time to get my school supplies together that first week, so I had to share with my fellow classmates. The day that stands out in my mind, was the day we did watercolors. I had to share and the teacher chose Travis to share with me. I was soooo nervous, but excited! We started on our pictures, but had to stop one minute later when Travis got mad at me for mixing the colors together. I was heartbroken and embarassed. As far as I can remember, Travis was never my boyfriend, just a crush.

I now believe that procrastination with the school supplies and the years of similar stories in the years to come are the reason I am meticulous in my need to buy things way too far in advance. In the same vein, I am usually entirely too early at functions. I would rather be 30 minutes early to an event than 5 minutes late. It's just not right.

There was another minor Travis-crush in middle school. Fast forward to Freshman year of high school, and a new Travis came into my world. I attended a consolidated high school. The grade school I came from was the largest school to feed into our high school, but it was really interesting to see new faces at school. We had all been together pretty much from Kindergarten through 8th grade. High school was a small change for us. One of the other grade schools contained a Travis. He was so cool, laid back. I really liked him. We were friendly, but it was never more than that. I kind of got the vibe that he wasn't interested in my, so I never pushed things with him.

THEN! The King of all Travis's came into my life my senior year. It seems almost serendipitous that I should end my dating years with someone who has the same name as my first crush. I think it was meant to be.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Working History of Travis

Travis' first week at the new job is going great. He likes the guy he's riding around with this week, but he hasn't had much of a chance to get to know the other guys (aside from the one he already knew). I really hope this week is a glance at his future with this job. He has worked so hard for many years, he deserves a job with a little slower pace of work. Because they service such a wide area, he spent more time driving than he ever did at the last electrical company.

He already has his own truck that he is in charge of inspecting, although he won't be driving around on his own for a few more weeks. He came home Wednesday night, excited about getting to arrange the truck how he wants. The guy he's driving with right now had some great ideas on how to set up the bed of the truck, so I have a feeling Travis will be doing some of that to his own truck.

When we first moved to Galveston, Travis got a job immediately working for Quizno's, since that's who he'd worked for in Illinois. He worked there for a few months before hearing about a job at a plant east of Houston. It was a horribly long drive, especially during rush hour. He had an hour and a half commute each way. That was in addition to a 10-hour work shift. We barely saw each other while he worked there. I hated it.

Soon after I started my first semester at Texas A&M, I made some friends. We hung out at their apartment frequently and got to know their neighbors, Cristin and Kai. They had a baby who I think was around 1 year old at the time. Kai was in the middle of building a house on the west end of the island. He had contracted out all the big work, but was getting ready to get his own hands dirty to do all the smaller jobs. Since Travis had some construction experience from when he worked for my dad during the summers in Illinois, Kai hired him to help.

Travis spent the entire summer helping Kai finish up the house, along with a occasional help from another friend of ours. The work Travis did for Kai was hard labor, but Kai was a good boss. It probably helped that we were friends. While Travis was working there, he got to know one of the guys Kai had contracted out to do the interior work. His name was Patrick. When the guys had finished the work at that house, Patrick took Travis on as his first full time employee.

After a couple months, Patrick hired another guy to work along side Travis. He did general construction for Patrick as well - trim, painting, installing appliances, windows and door knobs. He even took a stab at a little electrical, helping out some of the other contracted workers. Eventually, Patrick's health declined as he lost his battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma (hopefully I'm recalling that correctly). Patrick was unable to stay as busy with work as he wanted to and had to let Travis go.

While working with Patrick, Travis got to know his last boss, Guy. Guy quickly agreed to hire him on with his small company. Travis had always shown interest in the electrical side of construction and was looking forward to learning more. He immediately got his Apprentice license and began learning the trade. After a few years, he tested for his Journeyman's license and has kept that active ever since.

Working for Guy was hard work. They worked long hours during the week and every Saturday. The work itself was grueling and fast paced. A lot of what electricians do involves houses and businesses without the electricity turned on. That means no air conditioning, which in southeast Texas is a pretty big deal. Add to that a lot of work in attics and you've got one tired employee by the end of the day.

Travis also worked at an oil refinery plant as an electrician for about a year in the middle of his time with Guy. Needless to say, Travis has been working his butt off for years. I'd say that he is overdue for a job that is a little more laid back and I think this new position is just the thing he needs.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

We're enjoying our yard

We try to find time to relax in the hammock. Aiden really likes going for a swing in that thing. He absolutely refuses to sit on my lap though. Independent stinker.

The tomato plants are thriving in our garden. We planted them too close together to use those metal cones for them to grow into. Instead, we stuck some dowel rods in the ground and tied the plants to it. Seems to be working well. We have some green tomatoes growing. They're only the size of large marbles, so we've got a ways to go.

The onions and peppers are not doing very well. It seems like all the plants against the garage are doing better. We thought it might be because they get more shade, so Travis built this partial sun cover for the garden. The white trellis sticking up in the front are for the cucumbers. My favorriiittteee...

We tucked Aiden's new sandbox into the corner of the house in the front yard. After the wall goes up it will have more privacy. We are hoping to eventually put up a swing set next to it as well.

My dad, Travis and I had a teleconference last night to discuss more options for the wall. We were originally planning on doing a stucco wall. That is definitely still in the running, but we are worried about the grill smoke staining the wall. We are trying to come up with solutions for that. At this point, we are thinking about putting tile in the grill nook. That would be easier to clean than stucco. We are also contemplating a prefab vinyl wall, with some sort of metal surround for the grill nook. The vinyl would melt, so that would not be an option around the heat (hence the pressed metal).

My dad is in the process of finalizing some stuff at work. If that all goes well, then he should have some time off to come help with the wall. He is also working on getting quotes for the different wall types to see what we're working with. The prefab wall would be soooooo much easier, but I think the stucco wall would be more unique and personalized.

Here's a mock up my dad made of the new wall from the patio side.

Looks like a smiley face, right? I have a hard time seeing past that. The eyes are lights, the nose is a window to the front yard and the mouth is the only grill option his computer program has. We'd really like to do the pergola as well, but it will of course depend on cost. I was thinking about building benches to place on either side of the grill nook on which to place potted plants. That's something we can worry about down the line. I'm already trying to accessorize this new yard and we don't even have it yet!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

We had a lovely three day weekend with Travis at home. We spent a lot of time sitting in the yard while Aiden enjoyed his new sandbox. We had some boards leftover from building the veggie garden, sand leftover from laying the patio and Travis had some time leftover without working for the past week. Bam! Sandbox.

Saturday afternoon we had some friends over to enjoy use the new patio space with us. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera existed on that day. Boo. But we had a great time! We ate burgers and lots of sweets. I'm fairly confident I gained a few pounds from all the junk I ate this weekend. My clothes are feeling a little snug this today.

I am looking forward to bumping out the wall around the patio moreso now that we had that party. I think it was a little stressful for all the parents with small children running around (me included). We live on a busy street and it would be all too easy for one stray child to run into off towards the danger zone. That left all the parents on their toes, which means they had a difficult time socializing. It will also be nice when the overflow of people on the patio can stand in the yard, as opposed to the driveway.

Travis and I stayed up chatting with my work-friend Michelle until 12:30 in the morning. !!! I was exhausted the next day. We watched TV and the movie Astro Boy (very cute!) and did some more sitting outside. We even took a nap at the same time as Aiden!

Monday afternoon we went over to the Ramby's. The boys played in the kiddie pool and the adults chillaxed.

Snack break

Laying in the sun

Skylar has her own little pool of bath-warm water

Play zone

Just hanging out with us

Rough play in the yard

Coming back to work on Tuesday was rough. Especially since I had such a busy first day back. Travis had yesterday off, but he's at his first day at the new job today. Wish him luck!