The Day I Became My Mother

My mom was a good mother.  She got all of the big things right.  High expectations?  Check.  Unconditional love?  Check.  Balanced meals? Checkity check. 

Her attention to detail?  Well...  you can't be good at everything.

I may have mentioned that I was the third child.  And Mom was tired.  One of those little details that fell through the cracks?   Socks.  I was always scrambling for socks. Specifically, matching knee socks to wear to Sunday school.  If I found a pair, one was reliably stretched out and sagging around my ankle.  As a result, I swore that my child would never have this problem.

Fast forward to this morning.

Z:  Mom?  The only socks in my drawer have gray on them. 

Me:  Humph?  Zzzzpth.  (I'm not a morning person.)

Z:  The gray is going to show with my Mary Janets!  (aka: Mary Janes.  How cute is that?)

Me:  What happened to all of your socks?  If you would just put them in the hamper... (devolves into incoherent grumbling).

Z:  I don't know.  All I have are the gray ones.

Me:  (hangs head and sighs)  Get some out of the dirty clothes hamper.    


And if fully becoming my mother wasn't enough for one morning?  Five minutes later this conversation happens.

Z:  Mom?  All my panties are pinching me.  Can I just not wear any today?

Me:  (Brain explodes and I die.  The end.)

Post Script:  It was underwear day at the Mother Ship (Target) today.  Socks and underwear for everyone!  LOTS of socks and underwear.


Thankful 2011 - Days 23 - 27

23.  I am thankful that I had completed my grocery shopping and didn't have to hit the H.E.B. the day before Thanksgiving.  Whew!
24.  I am thankful for my family, both immediate and extended.  We had a lovely time at my aunt and uncle's house.  The kids really enjoyed the day with their cousins - and so did I!
25.  I am thankful the stomach bug waited to hit until we had arrived at the ranch (as opposed to in transit).
26.  I got nothing.  One completely unused day.  Okay, I am thankful for my mother-in-law who watched my hooligans while I was dead to the world sleeping off the stomach bug. 
27.  I am thankful to be back home.  Being sick away from your own bed is the pits!  I am mostly well now (about 80%), but am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed.


Thanksgiving Memories

I am thankful to be part of such a wonderful family.  We are spending the day with my aunt, uncle, and cousins, but here are some pictures of favorite moments from years past.

Sister L and Bro R are the hosts with the most.
My sweet husband on our first Turkey Day
Daddy frying the turkey...

then sleeping it off with Z.





A good time was had by all!

I hope you and your lil' pilgrims

have a great Thanksgiving!

I know we will!


Thankful 2011 - Days 19 - 22

19.  I am thankful for family date night:  a DVD and pizza with the hubs and chillies.  Captain America was a big hit - even if Z & Q fell asleep before it was over.
20.  I am thankful that I can finally, Finally, FINALLY get the air compressor out of my kitchen because I AM DONE UPHOLSTERING THE WING BACK CHAIRS!!!  (Pictures coming soon!  I am frantically sewing seat cushions.)
21.  I am thankful for my good friends who put up with my preference of McD's over Chic-Fil-A (it's just so crowded!) for rainy day play dates.
22.  I am thankful for the tireless efforts of my cousin-in-law for arranging a wonderful gingerbread house decorating party at the local Children's Museum.  I am not sure if our structure is still standing, but my kids had a sugar-buzzing good time!


Thankful 2011 - Day 17 & 18

17.  I am thankful for my Aqua Zumba class.  I get all the fun of Zumba without anyone ever seeing my legs - which is good.  It is really hard to keep the rhythm with all that resistance!  Luckily, none of the little 'ol biddies can either!  A super workout.  My calves?  Are mooing.

18.  I am thankful for my friend, Bun, who is keeping me accountable to my exercise regime.  The goal this week:  hit the gym four times.  DONE!  I am also thankful for the awesome sub we had for class this morning.  She was a salty 65+ gal in a leopard print swimsuit and giant dangle earrings.  She had  big boobs hiked up to her chin and a J-Lo booty.  Best workout I have ever had in that class.  I want to be her when I grow up!


Thankful 2011 - Day 16

Today I am thankful for fun packages that come in the mail.  I ordered a cute pair of boots from Jessica London - on super sale, no less - and they arrived today.  SO cute!  And comfy like slippers!  Huzzah!


Thankful 2011 - Days 1-15

Okay, so I'm a little late getting started, but I still have a LOT to be thankful for!  So, here goes for the first half of the month:

1.  As much as I love it, I am thankful Halloween is over for another year.  If any more candy comes into this house, I am going to turn into a Thanksgiving float.
2.  I am thankful that I got a haircut that suits me better.  I cut off two more inches and if looks SO much better! 
3.  I am thankful for my yearly trip to San Diego to visit Sister K.  This year, I am especially thankful for a trip to R Gang featuring gourmet tater tots, a visit with the chef and birthday cake flavored vodka - it was my birthday.  For which I am grudgingly thankful.  Definitely better than the alternative!
4.  I am thankful for excellent pedicures, a trip to Direct Buy that is going to save me thousands of dollars on the upcoming kitchen remodel, and for an amazing experience of a dinner with Sister K, her hubs and his super fun family.
5.  I am thankful for a WHOLE day at the beautiful Grand Del Mar Spa.  OMG.  It was completely amazing!
6.  I am thankful for the opportunity to spend a rainy Sunday with Sister K - even if we did get wet at the beach.
7.  I am thankful for technology.  Specifically, my Kindle and my iPad.  They kept me occupied throughout a long day of travel.
8.  I am thankful for my wonderful mom-in-law who watched my kiddos while I was in Cali - with Z barfing her head off and Q getting four shots.  She is so awesome!
9.  I am thankful for my fun new cell phone.  It is taking up WAY too much of my time. 
10. I am thankful that my husband's boss was not overtly judgmental of my housekeeping when he STAYED AT MY HOUSE with only two days notice.  (NOT thankful the hubs didn't give me more notice!)
11.   I am thankful for my own personal IT department who made my Bluetooth earpiece talk to the new fun cell phone.  Thanks, Brother M!
12.  I am thankful for Gigi's Cupcakes and the friends and occasions to share them.  (Happy birthday, CJ!)
13.  I am thankful for a lazy day in my PJ's and spending time with my DVR.
14.  I am thankful for Z's excellent school.  She came home with all A's on her mid-term report.  Go Z!
15.  I am thankful that one of Q's teachers thinks he's really smart - and that his behavioral mishaps might be a product of being bored.  That's way better than just thinking he is a bad seed!

More thankful tomorrow!



I ♥ Amazon!

There are a lot of people out there that hate on Amazon, but I'm NOT one of them. 

I was looking over my bank account and noticed that my a couple of Amazon purchases were for more than I had expected.  Low and behold, I had been charged shipping on a couple of free Super Saver Shipping items.  $28 worth of shipping. 

For about a second, I thought I would just let it go, but then I realized that was stupid.  If I dropped $28 in the parking lot, you can bet I would trot my round self right after it!  So I dug around the Amazon site for a bit and found the 'call me now' button.  And, wow!  They really did!  Like as soon as I hit 'enter' my phone rang.

A very helpful customer service agent name Andre listened to my problem, apologized profusely, and immediately refunded my money.  Problem solved.

Yep, I big puffy heart Amazon!


My Dog is Broken

Speaking of weekly vet appointments...

Last night Griffin came in from the yard with a limp.  I guess he had been playing with the big dogs (130 pounds to his eight) and maybe one of them stepped on him.  What ever happened, he was the loser.  For the rest of the evening, he wouldn't put weight on it or bend his knee.  His little tail was between his legs and he was generally pitiful.

I felt on his leg to find the place that was paining him, but no place seemed more tender than anywhere else.  When I bent his knee, it made a popping sound like when you crack a knuckle.  Eeek!  After that, I left him alone for fear of doing more harm than good.

Of course, we were off to the vet first thing this morning.  Diagnosis?  Luxated patella.  (Dislocated kneecap for those of you with healthy trouble-free knees.)  The vet said it was just slipping in and out like crazy.  And would require surgery to fix.  Gah.  The vet gave him a shot for the pain and said to watch him for the next two weeks.  It was possible that the ligaments would tighten back up.

Unfortunately, I know from personal experience that once a patella sees the world, it is very hard to keep it in its proper place.  I dislocated mine at 16 and it has been in and out ever since.  Picture a midnight trip to the E.R. on my twenty-first birthday.  Ouch!

I guess what they say about pets resembling their owners is true.  But in this case it is health related instead of appearance.  First Griff's thyroid pooped out, and now his knee.  Poor puppy!


They Cut Off My Fierce!

Normal women have standing appointments to get their hair done.  Or a mani/pedi.  Maybe a massage.  Me?  I have a standing appointment with my vet. 

I have been to the vet every Wednesday since school started.  Poor Griffin's skin condition - that I have been trying to cure for a YEAR - had reached crusty-I'm-afraid-to-touch-it proportions.  His ears had lost all the fur from the inside and the ick had crept from his elbows across his chest.  No fur.  Black flaking badness.  Resistant to topical medicines.  Shudder.

The vet took one look at him and told me I had to shave him (!).  And bathe him weekly in shampoo that cost WAY more than anything I have ever used.  And give him thyroid medicine.  And a fish oil capsule the size of his head.  Every day.

Here are my sweet pom poms in Colorado.  Izzy is on the left and Griffin is on the right.  Aren't they cute?

Here is Griff after his trip to the beauty parlor.

Could you just die? How cute is he? (Not a super picture, but it was hard to get him alone in the frame!) He looks like a little teddy bear!  He is now so woolly and adorable that I just have to pick him up every time I walk by him - like a thousand times a day!  It is really funny to see his little fuzzy self keeping gigantor Holly in line.  She jumps and cringes just like he was twice her size.  Hilarious!

The good news is that he is like a whole new dog after his hair cut.  More energy.  Less eye watering.  The crusty is clearing.  Yay!  T thinks that maybe all that fur was holding allergens that he couldn't escape. 

Take It All Off!

So.  A looooong time ago I mentioned something about cutting my hair.  Blah, blah, significant birthday blah give hair to charity blahbity blah.  There may have even been a poll?

Without further ado, the winner, Short and Sassy:
So even after the decision was made, I put off and put off actually doing it.  Finally, I couldn't stand it any more and chopped off 15 inches.  Myself.  In my bathroom.  In pajamas. 

And I grainily documented the whole thing for your viewing pleasure!  (No, I'm not mad in these pictures.  Just trying to figure out how to take a picture of myself in the mirror.)

DURING (I cut between the two rubber bands.  I read an article in Glamor 20+ years ago that said doing this was an easy way to give yourself long, easy layers.

Now, I knew this step would be temporary, so I wasn't worried about messing anything up.  I actually took another six inches off the back after this picture was taken.  It turned out to be a pretty okay haircut.  My curls were definitely curlier, but in a good way.  The downside was that if I put it in a pony tail, I'd have a kink from the rubber band until the next time I washed it. 

Last week, after both kids were back in school, I finally made it into the salon to get my official new hair cut.  The stylist didn't believe me when I told her I wanted it short, so we ended up re-cutting the whole thing twice.  Much blow drying and flat ironing later, it looked really cute!  Ironically, it still wasn't short enough.  I want it OFF my neck.  My stylist said to come back after I had lived with it for a while and we would tweak it to get it just right.

Then I washed it.  I had to see what it would look like if I didn't take time to fix it.  Oh, the humanity!  It shrunk (shrank?  shrinked?) right up into a puffy round grandma hair do.  All I needed to fit in with the biddies in my water aerobics class was a blue rinse.  My look went from mid-30's to mid-50's.  Swell. 
Face blurred for your protection!
UPDATE:  The next day I broke out a whip and a chair and was able to tame it into something resembling a cute style.  I had to buy a better flat iron and MANY straightening products, but even so, I was unable to get it as straight as the stylist.   So now the question is do I go shorter?  Take out a little of the bulk?  Or do I just wait it our until it is a little longer and the weight holds it down?  I am open to suggestions!



There's nothing like a vacation in the mountains for relaxing and enjoying the scenery.

Hold, please, while I download the ol' vaycay photos....


There is a reason that my commitment to fitness is renewed at this time every year:  vacation photos.  In this year's crop of pictures, it looks like the current me ATE the me of last year.  And I was no dainty flower last year.


On the plus side, I have already been attending classes in the pool at the Y since the beginning of August.  (Water = Happy Place = Exercise that I will do voluntarily, even if I am the only one in the pool that doesn't have blue hair and a helmet perm.)  And I am back on the old diet wagon.  Again.


Goal for this time next year?  To be fit enough to hike Uncompahgre next summer.

See you at the top!

Shampoo Warning

I don't know why I didn't figure this out sooner!  The shampoo I use is making me fat!  When I wash my hair, the shampoo runs down my whole body, and (duh!) printed very clearly on the shampoo label is this warning:


No wonder I have been gaining weight! 

Well!  I have gotten rid of that shampoo and I am going to start using Dawn dish soap instead.   Its label reads, 


Problem solved!  If I don't answer the phone . . . I'll be in the shower.


Hold, Please!

The good news is that I have finished sewing all seven miles of piping.  (It turned out AWESOME, by the way.)  I have stapled on about half of it and completed the outside of one of the wings.  If I didn't have blisters to prove otherwise, I would swear that chair was purchased from a high end furniture store!  You know, if you only look at it from the left side.

The bad news is that I am in Ginormousville for a fun-filled week and a half of dental work.  I promise to post pictures of the finished wing backs as soon as I get home.  Next week.  After my dental implant



Wing Back Love

Are you sick of the wing backs yet?  I'm not!  Here is the progress report:  I have done all the recovering I can do before I sew about seven miles of piping.  So far, so good!  It looks so awesome!

Freezer Jam - So Domestic!

In an uncharacteristic fit of domesticism, I made freezer jam this evening.  So easy!  I had no idea!  Basically, you just squish up a quart of raspberries, throw in a cup and a half of sugar and a packet of fruit pectin (the kind made for freezer jam), stir it up and done.  You don't even have to sterilize jars!  You just throw it into whatever clean container you have on hand; in my case, Gladware.  It made four one cup containers.  The containers will keep for up to a year in the freezer and three weeks in the fridge. 

Guess I'll be eating a lot of toast and jam in the near future.  Yum!


Rae Ann v. Wing Back

Further progress on the wing backs:

I am not sure who won this battle!


My Next Big Project: Reupholstering Wingbacks

My friend, CJ, the interior designer, has been asking me lately what my next big project will be.  I have been waffling among several projects on my 2011 To Do List.  A painting project was in in the lead until I stumbled on this cool tutorial on how to reupholster a wing back chair.  My original plan was to just do a semi-permanent slip cover, but the tutorial inspired me to do the real deal.

Before I could lose my nerve, I grabbed my sharpie, screwdriver and needle-nose pliers and got to work.

We started out here:

 Almost two hours and two giant blisters later, we were here:

I have gotten the mesh and piping off the bottom of the chair.  Who knew this was going to be such a workout?  I worked up a full body sweat and required a rest and a beverage before I could go on.  I think I pulled out 1,000 staples - and I have barely started!

I'll keep you posted!



* that would be the french for 'the end', not the pokey part on the back of a fish.

Z finished her first year of real school.  I am now the mom of a first grader.  How is that possible?  I was just in labor with her ten minutes ago!

I am amazed with how much she has learned this year.  She can read.  Like, for real.  Not just Dick & Jane, either.   Books.  Signs.  Cereal boxes.  Amazing!  She can do math.  Addition, subtraction, some basic multiplication.  She now speaks some basic Spanish.  She can even roll her r's.  Wow.

My baby is growing up.  It is hard to believe she went from this to this in nine short months.  I couldn't be more proud of her.

Now, if I can just keep from killing her over the summer, we will be in good shape!


It's... a Salad!

Wow!  There are sprouts every where in my little garden!  I now have enough sprouts to make the world's tiniest salad: basil, dill, carrots, lettuce, cauliflower, onion, peas, snow peas, okra, corn, and tomatoes.  Oh, and mint, strawberries, pumpkin and cantaloupe, too, but they didn't fit the salad theme. 

Now if I can just keep everything watered and critter free for another six(?) weeks, I might actually be able to eat that salad. 



This little guy has me SO excited!

When we moved to Wester, the previous owners left us a perfect little garden spot.  The fence was half-a$$ed and the patch was weedy, but it could have been a going concern with a whole lot of little work.  Instead, we ignored it and it became a shoddily fenced patch of the lushest weeds in west Texas.  Go us!

Eventually, T took down the shoddy fence and made some noise about putting up a 'quality' fence.  Then... nothing.  We had a second summer of super luxe weeds and lots of vicious stickers.  And Holly adopted the area for her bathroom.  Super!

This year, I was determined to get that garden in. My grandmother (who lived in Wester) always gardened in raised beds, so I had vague notions that I would do that, too.  She used cinder blocks.  Sounded good to me, but the rest of it was still a hazy mess in my mind.  The whole thing might have stalled out right there if I hadn't serendipitously run out of things to read on my blog reader one afternoon.

I read all the way to end of a post I might normally have skimmed and stumbled onto a website about square foot gardening.  I clicked through and started reading about the methodology and was immediately sold.  No amending soil!  No rows to hoe!  High yield in a small space!  Sign me up!  (Seriously, it's like a gardening cult.  I am totally gung-ho brain-washed.)

Sounds simple, right?  And it would have been... if my darling husband hadn't been involved.  There is no simple task that the man can't make more difficult in the name of 'quality.'  My plan was to set up my cinder blocks up in the nice flat garden area and get to work.  T insisted that the blocks had to be set down into the ground or they would just wiggle all around.  Sigh.

Once we got the blocks set, it was just add Mel's Mix (a soil alternative) and go, right?  That would work if I didn't have two giant shovel-pawed-digger-dogs, but I didn't see the point in planting the garden only to have my dogs destroy it in a nanosecond.  I needed a fence. 

I got the stuff for a two-foot fence and started pounding posts.  Little did I know that I would hit bedrock a mere four inches under soil.  T didn't believe me and just pounded them harder.  And bent the lightweight posts all to hell.  Not only that, but when they hit the rock, they bent under and formed a hook so they were impossible to remove.  Yay!  We actually had to buy a post puller to get them out of the rock.

Next, we bought heavy-duty keep-the-cows-in-the-pasture fence posts.  I left the pounding up to T.  They are very tall.  Maybe I'll dress them up with bird houses somewhere down the line.  But they hold up the fencing!  And keep out the dogs!  So they are great!

The fence still needs a little work.  The big plastic lattice will be cut down into a small-ish gate.  The composter will be moved all the way up into the front corner for easier access.  I think I'll leave the gloves.  Adds a touch of class, no?

But this guy?  Is what it is all about!  So excited!

UPDATED:  I now have multiple sprouts!  So far, pumpkin, cucumber, and basil have come up from seed.  My mint and strawberry transplants are doing well, too.  Squee!


New 'Do

Since I had that, ahem, significant birthday a few months ago, I have been talking a lot of smack about cutting my hair off and donating it to charity and getting a whole new look for this whole 'middle aged' thing. I had T snap a photo, a control, if you will. Then... nothing. Six months later and nothing.

Then I stumbled across a fun makeover tool on the Real Simple website. Awesomeness! Here are my results: (please to ignore the funky Barbie-esque hair colors. I tried to get them as close to my own hair color as possible, but... well, you can see the results. The make up looks pretty aweswome though, right?)

Au Naturel

This is what I look like on a daily basis.  My hair is long (almost to my waist) and curly and not quite as blond as it used to be.  I have a LOT of hair and it gets HOT.  That is why it is almost always in a pony tail or, lately, a bun.

Broadcaster Bob

I really like the bangs on this style.  Unfortunately, the rest of it is a little blah.  Mom-ish, if you will.  (And not in a MILF sort of way!)  I think it could look cute either curly or straight.

Hip Flip

I think this cut would work really well with my hair.  I had a cut similar to this years ago (before my hair was curly) that I really liked.  It doesn't seem like it would be too difficult to style.  Unfortunately it is widest right where my face is widest...

Short Shag

I am strangely obsessed with this look.  I fear it would require a lot of flat ironing - which in my world equals not getting done a whole lot.  If I didn't iron it, would it shrink up into the dreaded 'mom helmet'? 

Shaggy Shag

This might be what my hair looks like on a good day.  On a bad day?  I look like Mikey from Orange County Choppers.   Perhaps this isn't quite the change of look I am looking for.  Or is is?

Short and Sassy

Unexpectedly, this one is my favorite!  If I got this haircut, I would be losing something like two feet of hair!  Might have to get a keratin treatment to pull this off.  Lots of maintenance.  Hmmm.  Maybe I am talking myself out of this one.

Beach-y Keen

This?  Is my fantasy hair.  The reality is that I would always put it behind my ears and end up with a butt-crack part.  My hair looked like this for about a minute in college - before the hormonal soup of my thirties gave me curly hair.

Bang-less Bob

Do I love it?  Do I hate it?  Honestly, I don't know any more.  I think it might look like the ill-advised haircut just-cut-it-all-off haircut I got when I was pregnant with Z.  Or it might be a perfectly nice age-appropriate style.

Help me!  With this here poll?  Anyone?  Crickets?

Which 'do should I do?
Au Naturel
Broadcaster Bob
Hip Flip
Short Shag
Shaggy Shag
Short and Sassy
Beach-y Keen
Bang-less Bob

Web Polls


Farmhouse Table Idea

I was at Tractor Supply the other day looking for garden supplies.  While I was there, this little beauty caught my eye:
My first thought was that it would make a fun mini-pool for the kids and when they were done, I could use the water for the garden.  (The garden is a whole other post.  SO excited!)  Captain Killjoy (aka: T) said it would make the water too hot for the kids and would never work, blah, blah, I'm-no-fun blah.  So I sadly walked away.

Earlier, I had been discussing my future kitchen/dining room plans with my sisters.  (You can read about that here.)  I am planning to build a banquette along the long wall of my dining room.  My current table is an antique Duncan Phyfe.  Every child-inflicted nick and gouge kills me, so I want to replace it with something a little more kid friendly.  I figure if I start out with something distressed, kid-damage will just be enhancing it, right?  Like adding patina. 

So a farmhouse table seemed like the way to go.  I found an Ana White plan I really liked here.  The chunky legs were what sold me.  I thought it gave it a modern edge despite the rustic materials.  When I told my sisters about it, they pointed out that a classic farm table would be a real knee-banger for whoever was sitting on the banquette, and a pedestal would be way better.  They were totally right, of course.  But how would I build a pedestal that didn't look totally DIY?

Enter the galvanized stock tank.  I think it could make a totally cool table base.  It is only 24 inches tall, so I would have to come up with five to six more inches to make it standard height, but I think I could cover that with a wooden base and the height of the tabletop itself.  If I was feeling particularly ambitious, I could even punch holes in the sides and put a light inside.  How cool would that be? 

T thinks it would be too rustic and wouldn't go with the rest of our house.  I think the contemporary eclectic style of our decor could handle it.  What do you think?