Monday, June 30, 2008

I Got a Big Girl Bed!

Well, there is a reason why I haven't posted in a few days.....I've been working like crazy since the slow boat from China arrived with my new bedroom furniture. Cody and I have officially moved to a big girl/big boy bed....a KING size bed, that is. In our many years of marriage together, Cody and I have never owned anything larger than a queen size bed. We've had many luxurious opportunities to snooze in a king, and each time we make a mental note to upgrade. Let's take a look at my bedroom re-do.

First, I'd like to show you our bedroom before the makeover:

It's a fine room, in my opinion. It's shabby. It's chic. It's very girly, according to Cody. But the bed is just too small. Each night when I go to sleep, my foot inevitably gets touched by Cody's foot. If you know me at all, you know that I would rather have my eyelashes removed with an Epilady than to have someone else's foot touch mine. Especially in bed. Especially when the foot belongs to my husband.

Now let's take a look at our new sleeping headquarters:

I must admit that I really, really love how it all turned out. Usually, I'm not very decisive and spend a lot of time buying and returning things. This process was a little nerve racking because I had the pillows custom made as my "inspiration piece" before any of the other bedding was chosen. But after I put everything together, I was jumping up and down and giving myself hi-fives. I'm such a dork. I really love it!

Just so you have a point of reference, I'd like for you to know that my custom pillows cost more than this:

What's that, you say? You don't know what the yellow thing is? You don't have one of these? Well, by all means go out and get one. It's the latest fad....everyone will want one after they see mine. It's a parking ticket. A $300 parking ticket. Gasp! What in the world did I do to deserve such royal treatment by the Waco ISD police? I parked in handicap parking ($275 fine) in a school zone (add an extra $25). Yep, just call me Einstein. I seriously thought that since school was out for the summer that the handicap parking spot didn't apply. I know, it's a dumb thought. But guess what? It's a wonderful $300 reminder of my stupidity. It won't happen again. (And please do not berate me for using handicap parking. I usually never do this unless I assume something stupid like "school is out for the summer so handicap parking must not be in effect.")

Alright....moving on. I made a four-hour round trip and did this yesterday:

I dropped off my oldest daughter for a week-long stay at Frontier Camp. No, no....there were no tears since this was her third year to attend summer camp. Just lots of whooping and hollering and a Dave Ramsey "Freedom" yell. Just kidding. I'm really missing her already, but today I woke up and had completely lost my voice, and it would have been nice to have had Kellie-Laine's help. The blessing is that Cody is actually home this week, too, so I used his voice instead. I also used a lot of snapping, clapping, whistling, snorting, and stomping in a futile attempt to get people's attention. I know the neighbors think I'm using illegal drugs.

On a serious note, I think the next time I feel led to give up something for the Lord, I might give up talking/speaking for a day or so. Today has been a real trial for cell phones, no conversation with my husband or kids, etc. But the strange thing is that I have really enjoyed and savored the moments I've spent with my girls. I think it's because all I can do is watch them and listen to them. Imagine that.....more watching and more listening = more moments of joy with my kids. ( Maybe the monks are on to something!) Not being able to talk forced me to interact more with my kids through eye contact and non-verbal gestures like nodding, touching, hugging, holding hands, etc. I really felt like I was discovering my sweet girls all over again and soaking up each moment. You should try it. Only perhaps on a voluntary basis.

Finally, just a follow up from my plug for SJP's new line, Bitten. My friend, Nickster, told me that Waco is getting it's own Steve and Barry's we'll have access to all of SJP's fashion do's!
Have a great July the 4th!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hot! Hot! Deals!

How many of you could use a good deal? With the price of gas soaring this summer, I thought it would be nice to post some money-saving shopping tips in the food and clothing arena (and just a few of my current "favorites"). I cannot speak to stores or vendors outside the Waco area--sorry to all you out-of-town readers!

1. Every Wednesday TCBY offers a large waffle cone of yogurt for .99 cents. It's a super deal and super yummy.

2. This is one heck of a deal. Monday nites at Carinos is order a family size (grandioso) meal and pay the price of a solo dish, plus all the bread and salad you can eat for free! You can order take out, but you'll only be able to get up to three bread and salads. Our entire family ate for $12 last week and even had enough left overs for lunch the next day!

3. Here's the scoop (snicker, snicker!): Several nites each week, BR has a great special for your family.

--Tuesday: get a kids scoop for $1 or adult scoop for $1.50, 5pm to 10pm

--Wednesday: buy one Sundae get one free, 5pm to 10pm

--Thursday: all day long buy one beverage get one free

4. Who on earth doesn't know about Happy Hour from 2-4pm? Sonic is also running a special on .99 cent shakes.

5. I could spend my entire non-existent paycheck in this store. Old Navy is having a great Summer Lovin' Sale, which is especially wonderful in the kids department. I got a couple of dresses for Landrie and Emerie for $6.99 and all bathing suits are $10.

6. Okay, so this isn't exactly a sale, but this shirt from Target is one of my favorites right now. It's called a Slub shirt by Merona. Typically, I'm not a fan of Target clothing (especially Merona) nor am I a fan that someone in marketing thought that "Slub" would make a good name for this shirt. However, I purchased this shirt in zephyr blue for $9.99 and let me tell is so comfortable! It fits like a tiny fit shirt, but doesn't show the belly bulge that I've developed since birthing three children and eating ice cream every afternoon at 4pm, Carinos each Monday nite, and indulging in Sonic's happy hour.

6. Okay, this is total heaven for me.....Bitten is Sara Jessica Chain-Smoking Parker's new clothing line. Did you see her on Oprah? All of the pieces in her line are $19.98 or less, which is right up my alley. Her line is carried in Steve and Barry's department stores....ever heard of it? Me neither. I was searching for store locations, since you can't order anything off the website. But would you believe there is a Steve and Barry's store in Temple and Killeen (and of course, several in the DFW area). I took a "mommy break" last weekend (thanks, Honey!) and visited the store in Temple. EVERYTHING in the store was $8.98 or less. Kid you not. I will say the customer service was extremely low (think Wal-Mart) but I found some decent pieces that I'm excited about wearing this fall. The thing with SJP is that the article of clothing by itself is not that's how she puts it together. If you plan on visiting this store, I strongly suggest visiting her website to see how she pulled together an outfit by mixing and matching pieces. A black dress becomes more than a black dress when you add a wide belt, a pin striped button down, and a great pair of shoes.

So I think this is enough information for now. If you have any "hot deal" tips, please share them in my comments section. Every penny saved is a penny more towards your next clothing purchase.....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wakin' Up a Little Older

I woke up this morning and this was sitting on my kitchen island:

My wonderful husband surprised me with it for my birthday today! YES......I'm a year older today! 33 to be exact. I'm currently struggling with some physical ailments, which I'm sure have nothing to do with my old age..... a low back (bulging disc?) problem and an upper respiratory infection. Talk about feeling your age!!!

I'm sure most everyone already owns one of these mixers, but since Cody and I eloped to the Bahamas....we didn't have all the traditional wedding showers that most brides and grooms do. Therefore, I completely missed getting one of these babies. If you have any helpful tips or great recipes, let me know. I'm Kitchen-Aid-Mixer-Illiterate!!

And, thank you, honey for always surprising me with just the right gift, at the just right time. You and my kiddos are the best "gifts" I ever have or ever will receive.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I Won!

I won a bloggie award, y'all! My sister gave me a "You Make My Day Award" and I'm thrilled. I'll give away this award at the end of this post, but first.....let's talk about summer.

This week has been my first official week of summer since we spent one week in Watercolor and the following week doing VBS and basketball camp. This was the first week that I actually had to come up with all sorts of fun things to entertain my three girls who don't like to do the same thing. Adding insult to injury was my husband's work schedule, which left me as pseudo-single parent.

So here's what our week looked like:

Monday: bible study, nap, Kellie-Laine goes to play with a friend, Kellie-Laine's friend spends the night, trip to Keva Juice

Tuesday: Jumping Party, lunch at Fuddrucker's, basketball practice

Wednesday: morning at the donut shop, story time at the library, weekly Wednesday babysitter for Emerie, movie (Kung Fu Panda) with older girls, bathing suit shopping at Academy

Thursday: swimming at the Y, took dinner to a friend with a new baby, double header basketball game in West, Texas

Friday: dropped Kellie-Laine off to spend the weekend at Lake Granbury with a friend, lunch and play date with the Stanfords.

Whew...factor in trips to the grocery store, picking up the house, filling up my car with $100 worth of gas, chasing a toddler who's goal in life is to break every boundary I set for her, listening to my four-year-old talk non-stop, and refereeing the incessant arguing that goes on between my girls.....and there you have it!! The reason I am insane.

Is anyone else having school withdrawals?

And finally for my award: my award goes to my high school friend, Juli, who was the one who not only inspired me to start blogging, but also convinced me in high school to pull the "I'm spending the night at Angela's/Juli's house" trick and instead we snuck out to visit some boys camping. We got caught....duh (my hometown is really, really small) and were subsequently grounded for a long time. We even painted prison bars on our windows to commemorate our grounding. Juli also shared my love of heavy metal bands and attended the Poison concert with me in my dad's neon green VW van in 8th grade (that was you right, Juli?). Anyway, Juli has made my day in many ways and for many years. I love keeping up with her life through her blog. Thanks for making my day, Juli!

BTW: if anyone has any summer fun suggestions for me.....I'd love to have them!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Does This Say What I Think It Says???!!!

I think it does.

You must give congratulations to.....

My sister, Flo!!! (and her family)

Did I trick you? I promise that if that test had belonged to me, I would have already plucked each strand of hair from my scalp. I would also be sitting in a corner rocking back and forth while chanting, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home."

But, alas, it's my sister who's expecting a BABY and will finally give me another niece or nephew. I am so excited for them since they've been working on this "project" for about a year!!!

Congrats, Ferrell's!!! We love you.

(And please remember that you are scheduled to keep little Miss Fussypants August 3rd-6th, so you aren't allowed to have any morning sickness!)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Not If, But When

I find it a tad bit ironic that I was just about to publish a post about reaching my "100th Blog Entry" when, yep, you guessed it. My computer died. Let me re-state that: my less-than-a-year-old-anniversary-gift-HP-Pavilion-$800 dollar-laptop-that-I-live-and-breathe-by died. No rhyme nor reason why. It is just dead and will have to be sent back to the factory for hard drive replacement.
I could cry about this, but we have a home computer that will do just fine until my laptop comes back. It's not as convenient or as fast as my laptop, but it will do.
I write this post for one main reason; heed this warning: the question is not if your computer will crash, but when. So many websites and articles have taunted this warning over and over again, and I will now personally endorse this advice. If my laptop (remember it was less than a year old) can crash.....yours can, too. The techie-guru at HP didn't have a reason for this failure. "It just happens sometimes" is what he said.
Now the good news is that I didn't loose too much. All of my photos and digital scrapbook stuff is saved in two locations not related to my actual laptop: my external hard drive and my portable external hard drive. If you do not own either of these two items, and get at least one of them. I have over three years worth of photos on my EHD (external hard drive) --all of which would have been lost if I had saved it directly to my computer.
As a protective back up, I also burn each month's photos onto disc and store it in a three ring binder complete with printed photo index sheets. Yes, it's anal.....but so worth it. Especially in the midst of my laptop death.
And now please observe with me a moment of silence for my lost beloved....
Laptop Dies Quietly in Home
Waco, TX--
Memorial services for Angela's laptop will be held daily between 2pm and 4 pm until replacement returns.
Laptop is survived by frustrated dad, Cody, mother who is now addicted to narcotics, Angela, three siblings who remember fondly banging on the laptop's keys in a futile attempt to revive it, and a desktop computer who never liked the laptop anyway. All reside in Waco, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to be made to the "Angela's Future Purchase of a Mac Computer" fund.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Water From The Moon

Does anyone remember the sappy Celine Dion tune from the 90's, "Water From The Moon" where she desperately pleads with her lover for ways to win back his love? The song goes something like: "Do I have to bring you water from the moon; is that what I've got to make you love me"? Oh, Celine. No man is worth that kind of sounds pretty impossible that you'll find his love again by holding a Solo cup of dirty water freshly milked from the crater of the moon. Really. Just move on.

Okay, so desperate women wanting love is not what exactly what this post is about, but I am a desperate mom who yearns for something. I want to be able to photograph my tiniest tot, Emerie. While gathering water from the moon is a near impossible task, I have discovered that taking a good photo of Emerie is just as elusive.

In my family, being comfortable on camera is somewhat of a genetic predisposition. My sister and I both grew up in front of the camera, and my scrapbooking hobby allowed my children the same fortune (or misfortune, depending on your perspective!). In fact, by 18 months of age, Landrie was very well accustomed to posing for the camera.

My photo karma has been turned upside down, though, by my little Emerie. I cannot get a good photo of her no matter how hard I try! And she's such a camera tease. She will look at the camera. She will find the nearest tree and run to sit and pose in front of it. She will be somewhat motionless while I take the shot. She will even say "cheese."

Instead, she makes face contortions.

Let me give you a few visual aids to help make my point.
Here is Kellie-Laine at my recent "Watercolor Front Porch Photo Shoot." She can hold this pose for days. Even weeks, possibly. Every now and then I'll get a shot of her with a snarling lip or vampire teeth, but 98% of the time I get a great shot. (And thank goodness for photshop!!)

Then there's Landrie. She grumbles and whines quite a bit before the shot, but once the camera points her direction she's all smiles and sparkly eyeballs. My main problem with Landrie is that she gives me too much.....too much of a head tilt, too much of a smile, too much of a serious look which makes her look angry instead of pensive, you get the point. She overdoes it. But again, I can regularly count on her to give me a shot worth turning into a Christmas ornament or a hand-hooked afghan from HEB.

And the piece de resistance: Emerie--first attempt:

Okay, so this is cute, but not really the look and feel I was hoping for.

Second attempt:

More of the same....I told her to give me "pouty lips" and this was her interpretation. I should have known better.

Third attempt:

This time I got smart and said, "Emerie, give me a big cheesy grin" thinking that wouldn't cause the confusion "pouty and sultry" command did. Unfortunately, she's inherited Landrie's propensity to over-do things a bit. And would it kill her to look at the camera? Once? Just once?
Final Attempt:

And so this concludes today's photo shoot at Watercolor. Does this photo scream, "Frame me, baby!" or what?! (I should also mention that in between these shots Emerie was no less active than a rabbit just placed in a flour sack.)

In all seriousness, I am chuckling my way through this post. This is my little fireball. And so someday soon I will frame these photos for display in my home and hope that Emerie doesn't kill me when she's older. It marks this season in our lives. (But you can all together forget about me getting a group shot of all three girls! I'd rather have my mouth wired shut.)
Much like getting water from the moon, once you have it--it's a priceless treasure. I have the pictures to prove it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

More Observations from Watercolor, Florida

I could really, really get used to this.

Sadly, I already have, which will make leaving this cozy little beach town all the more difficult. We're nearing the final countdown with only one full day left before boarding American Airlines and landing on Texas soil, once again.

Here are just a few more observations about Watercolor....for those of you who may visit one day:

1. I love that "dressing up" means putting on a swimsuit cover up. I think this is true of most beach communities, but I just love that my bathing suit is my primary attire. I packed around 20 different outfits. What a waste! And because everyone here is swimsuit-ready, you quickly get over the "unsightly" areas of your body and let it all hang out! (And, believe me, there's been some hanging on this body!)

2. You can't help but get a daily dose of exercise in Watercolor. As mentioned before, we bike everywhere, so my thighs are getting a great workout. Walking on the beach is good for the calf muscles, too. And, finally, just plain ol' sunshine does a body good.

3. Everyone in your family should get a bike. This has been my favorite part of the trip, really. Especially when we ride at dusk. In fact, Cody and I had a date night last night, and we rode to our fancy restaurant on bike. It was too funny to see us dressed up, pedaling our way down the neighborhood streets! I've seen so many kids chasing each other on bikes, exploring the trails, and even a few who were attempting to remove their training wheels just to keep up with the big kids. I'm sad that there aren't more neighborhoods in Waco where bike riding is prevalent.

4. If you don't like the beach....Watercolor is not the place for you.

5. Did I mention that screened porches and outdoor showers are NOT overrated?

See y'all back in Texas!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hello, From Watercolor Beach, Florida!

I've finally figured out why people work so darn hard to retire early. Watercolor, Florida is the reason.
We arrived here on Sunday after a very early, 6:20 am, flight from Waco. After spending a full day here, I've decided that I'm not returning to Waco. Don't miss me too much...
Seriously though, Watercolor is everything that Norman Rockwell, June Cleaver, and Shirley Temple encompass. It's sappy sweet, picturesque, and reminiscent of your favorite childhood memory--all wrapped together. Here are just a few things I've noticed about Watercolor so far:
1. The main mode of transportation is bicycle. We've enjoyed strapping Emerie in a baby seat and Grace and Landrie in the toddler trailer and riding to the beach each day--it makes us all feel like kids again! In fact, people who drive their cars around here are sissies.
2. While Watercolor is a 500 acre doesn't feel busy. Most of the homes are rented, but it's not crowded at all. No waits at restaurants, no food shortages at the grocery store, no scrambling to find a spot at the beach.
3. The pace here is sloooooooow. I love it. The only time we rushed around was tonight as we tried to attend a Steve Irwin-like show. Unfortunately, it was not worth the rush.
4. The beach is sandy white; the water is the perfect shade of blue.
5. Sand can get into crevices that I didn't know existed.
6. Outdoor showers and screened porches are NOT overrated. My next home will have both. And with the mosquito and fly population in Waco, Texas, I'm surprised more people don' t have them.
7. The architecture here is beautiful. Each home looks like a Southern Living beach house, and the one we're staying in costs around $2.5 million dollars. I'd like to ask the owner what he does for a living. Then I'll ask Cody to make a job change.....
8. This is a very family-oriented place to stay. Everyone here is so friendly with nice warm smiles. Except for when we decided to bathe our kids on the front porch outdoor shower. Then they looked at us like Texas white trash.
9. This is a really safe place to stay. I don't think we've locked our doors since we've arrived.
10. 22 month-olds and planes do not mix. Thank God I have four more days until I have to do that again!!
I'll try to post more photos of the cool beach houses soon.