Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day Came Early

As we were waiting to board our flight to Cancun, we saw hundreds of military personnel entering the terminal after getting off their plane.  Time stopped.  Everyone in the area turned towards them and cheered, clapped, waved, etc.  We abandoned our conversations, stopped fidgeting with our phones, and gave our complete attention to showing appreciation.  The servicemen and women just kept coming and coming and the clapping continued.  They smiled and waved, as if they needed to thank US for what WE were doing!  It was beautiful.  I had to fight back tears.  Here I was about to board a plane to take a relaxing beach trip, and these people were coming home from a treacherous situation.  Some of their comrades didn't make it home.  I was humbled.  To all the men and women in uniform, past and present - Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.     

Thursday, May 27, 2010

If It's Good, Why Change It?

I'm a creature of habit.  When I find something I like, I don't stray from it.  At my favorite Mexican food restaurant, Ojeda's, I get the cheese enchilada dinner.  Every time.  At Rosa's, I get the Queso Supreme and tortillas.  Every time.  At Taco Bell, I get double decker tacos.  Every time.  At Nordstrom's Cafe, I get the blackened chicken caesar salad.  Every time.  You get the idea.  Some people make fun of me for never branching out and trying something different, but if I'm happy, why change it?  The grass might be greener on the other side for some folks, but I like my current shade of green just fine.  I'll try something new if you happen to order it, but I'm not risking getting stuck with something I don't like.  You might think this makes me boring, but I prefer to think of it as just guaranteeing that I'm consistently satisfied.  :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Arcade Junkie

Last Friday, my company held its annual bowling tournament at 300 Dallas.  We got randomly assigned to teams and had to pick a name and order t-shirts.  My team was "I Drink Your Milkshake" and we wore these t-shirts:

 
I love this event every year because you get to mingle with folks you don't necessarily see on a day-to-day basis, everyone has at least some bowling ability, the drinks are free and ever-flowing, and the gaming is unlimited.  Yep, unlimited!  That might be my favorite part.  I freakin love playing video games at arcades.  My lane just happened to be right next to the arcade area, so I would bowl a frame, run over and play the basketball game with my coworker, and then run back to the lane.  I'm such a nerd.  I also hit up the Dance, Dance, Revolution game (which I sucked at), Guitar Hero, and air hockey.  At one point as I was playing guitar, my teammate yelled, "Hey Janet - after you finish your set....it's your turn to bowl."  LOL.  Sorry, guys!    

Livy Love

It was a good weekend.  :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Security System is the Bomb Dot Com

Today we activated the new security system at our house, and we are in awe!  It's really amazing.  We ordered all the control panels and sensors from FrontPoint Security and installed them ourselves.  It was super easy and didn't take much time at all.  Once they were up and running, we logged into our account and customized all our settings.  From the website you can see the status of your alarm system, arm or disable it, see the status of all the sensored doors and windows, and see the history of all activity in your house.  In other words, it will show me when each door/window was opened or closed, when the system was armed/disabled, if any sensors are malfunctioning, and if any sensors have low batteries.  The same information can be found on the free Iphone app provided by the company.  Here are some screenshots of what it looks like on my phone:




If I drive away from the house and realize I have forgotten to turn on the alarm, I can access the app and arm it remotely.  Or, if I need to give someone access to the house but don't want them to have our alarm code, I can also disable it remotely.  Nice!  We also purchased a wireless camera so I can periodically check in on any happenings inside the house, especially when we leave the dogs inside!  The live feed from it is always available through our online account, or through the Iphone app.  How cool is that?  It doesn't matter where I'm at, all I have to do is be near a computer or my phone and I can watch a live feed from inside my house.  It records short clips from the feed and saves it to a server if it detects motion, or if any alarm is triggered.  Here's a short video that was captured and saved when I came home from my football game earlier tonight:



We are so pleased with how advanced this system is.  ADT and Broadview have nothing on FrontPoint!
  

Monday, May 17, 2010

Family Fun Weekend

On Friday, I picked up Livy from daycare.  I peeked through the glass into her classroom and saw her playing with a toy.  I watched for a moment until she glanced up and saw me.  As soon as she recognized me, she threw down the toy and made a beeline for the door.  It was hilarious.  She was pointing at me, saying "Janet!"  I stepped in the room and swooped her up in my arms.  What an awesome feeling!  We headed over to Jo's house so I could babysit her there while Jo brought her friends from out of town to Top Golf. 


We had a fun time playing outside on the porch while we watched the rain gently fall.  When it was time for a snack, I let Livy pick out what she wanted.  There was one part of the snack that she liked a little more than the other, and I'll let this picture give you a clue...


Livy is always a joy to babysit because she's such a happy and well-behaved kid.  I'm so glad I'm around to watch her grow up.  On Saturday, I drove down to Midlothian to cheer on my nephew, Mikey, in his baseball game.  He's a very talented pitcher with a bright future.  I hate that his games are so far away though, because this was the first and only that I was able to watch this season.

 
Mikey pitched well and his team won!  Afterwards, I went out to lunch with my sister, Jill, her husband, John, and 3 of their kids - Megan, Michael, and Joseph.  We had a nice time and I was glad I was able to spend some time with them in their neck of the woods.

On Saturday night, a huge group of us went out to eat at Stratos and then played some Whirlyball.  There were a couple of whirlyball virgins in the group, so that made it even more fun.  You are pretty much guaranteed to have a hilariously good time whenever you play, and that night was no exception.  My friend, Rebecca, managed to slam into the wall and do some damage, and my brother-in-law, John, somehow broke off a piece of the court.  There were plenty of "oooooohhhh" inducing collisions and lots of scoop-stealing (reach over and yank someone's scoop out of their hand and throw it down the court!)  It was a great time with family and friends.

   Rebecca over in the corner breaking stuff

John putting back the floor piece he broke




Sunday, May 16, 2010

Order Has Been Restored!

As soon as we got the go-ahead to set foot on the finished hardwoods, I made Jer help me put the house back in order!  I know I'm neurotic like that, but it feels SO much better to have all the furniture back in its place.  Here's the finished office, with the newly purchased rug:


I love the way the green walls look next to the hardwoods.  And the rug ties all the colors in the artwork in the room together perfectly.  Another view:


I grabbed a rug from our bedroom and used it in the dining room.  I think it works with the wall color in there and the seat cushions on the chairs.


View from above:


I am so relieved to finally have all the carpet from the downstairs gone.  These last couple days of rain have been much less stressful now that I don't have to worry about muddy stains on carpet!  With this project done, I'm already thinking about the next.  We have tile in the kitchen, but it's the cheap, plain white variety.  I want to install travertine like I did in our house in Lewisville.  The question just becomes, do I install it myself like I did last time?  Or pay someone else to do it?  I swore I'd never do it again, but it sure did save money and bring me a lot of pride.....

Friday, May 14, 2010

Need a Self-Esteem Boost?

Hang out with a toddler for a little while and then try to leave.  Yesterday, I met my sister at her daughter's daycare so she could give me her extra carseat.  (I'm picking up Livy today to help Jo out since she is entertaining guests from out of town).  We went inside and as soon as Livy saw me, she said my name and asked to be picked up.  We stayed at the daycare for a little while, talking to the teachers, and going over what I'd need to do today to pick up Livy by myself.  Then we went out to the parking lot so Jo could secure the other carseat in my car.  All the while, I've been holding Livy and chatting with her about her day and her friends at school.  When it came time to put Livy in her own car and part ways, she started crying.  I gave her hugs and kisses and kept telling her I'd be seeing her tomorrow, but she continued to cry.  She kept repeating my name and reaching out for me.  It's hard to walk away from that!  I started to get in my car, and Jo rolled down Livy's window.  I could still hear her yelling my name.  It's such a funny, bittersweet experience.  I felt bad about leaving her, since she was obviously upset, but I also had a pleasant feeling from knowing she really didn't want me to leave.  If that doesn't make you feel loved and needed, I don't know what does!  I can't wait to see that beautiful little girl again today!



 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Work in Progress

The hardwood installation is coming along nicely.  Last week the planks were installed, but they needed to sit and acclimate in our house for a week before the sanding, scraping, and staining began.  Here's what it looked like after the first day:

Office

Dining Room

Yesterday, a group of guys showed up to start the scraping.  Yes, they actually do it by hand!  There were wood shavings all over the place.  Then they put down the first coat of stain.  We were instructed to stay off the floors to let them dry, which isn't an easy task with 3 dogs.  I had to go to Lowe's and buy some of that construction netting since there aren't doors separating these two rooms from our entryway.  The guys added one more coat of stain today, and then they'll be back tomorrow to seal them and put our baseboards back up.  I can already tell they're going to look great!  I'm excited about being able to put all our furniture back into those rooms.  Right now our breakfast nook has been overtaken by our dining room table and china cabinet, and our entryway is filled with two desks and two bookcases.  You have to do some maneuvering to get around, that's for sure.  I'm not a big fan of disarray in my house, so I'm looking forward to this project being completed!  More pics to come.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Weekend Fun

On Saturday, I headed down to DeSoto to pick up my birthday present from my Mom.  She tiled the top of a table that my grandparents used to have in their house, and included some of my Opa's hand-painted tiles in the design.  What a beautiful gift!  I love when things are passed down from generation to generation.  Every time I see this table, I'll think of my Opa.


After that, I headed to the rehab center to visit my Oma.  I didn't tell her I was coming, so it was awesome to see the surprised look on her face when I entered the room.  She seemed pretty lonely, and I was more than happy to give her some company for a while.  It was a beautiful day, so I wheeled her outside to the courtyard.  We chatted for a couple of hours, and her state of mind was so much better than the last time we had talked.  It's neat to spend time with her one-on-one, because sometimes our conversations just go in the most unlikely directions.  One thing leads to another and she's telling me about the time, as a teenager, she was on her bike and was hit by a car.  The first doctor she went to told her her leg probably wasn't broken and she could walk tomorrow.  She tells me, "If I can walk tomorrow, then I can walk today."  She's hilarious.  Tough as nails, for sure.  (It turns out her leg was broken, and she ended up needing a cast from thigh to ankle!)  My Dad showed up to visit also, so the three of us sat and talked for a while.  Three generations of vWs, just shootin' the shit.  It was a nice scene.

  2008

On Sunday, eleven of us went to the Frisco Rough Riders game for Mother's Day.  I had never been to a minor league game before, and I've been missing out!  They are really fun because you're close to the action and they try to get the fans involved as much as possible.  (Did I mention we sat in the section where the tickets include free all-you-can-eat hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, popcorn, and soda? Hellz yes!)  My mom even scored a foul ball!  She gave it to my nephew, Joseph, who managed to get one of the players to sign it after the game.  Very cool!  It was so nice for my sisters and I and our families to be able to spend the day with my parents.  I know how lucky I am to have such a wonderful family, and I welcome every reminder!  

  Me, Jo, and Livy

Livy pointing to the mascot.

Livy and her Oma

Happy Mother's Day

My sister, Jill, and her son, Michael

Jill's son, Joseph, getting an autograph

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Doggles and Livy

My niece, Livy, spent the night at my house the other night when my sister was dealing with the aftermath of her house being broken into.  This isn't the first time she's been over, so she's had a little bit of prior interaction with my three doggles.  I taught her all their names, and she knows who is who.  Apparently Casey is her favorite, but I'm not sure if it's because she actually likes her the best, or just likes saying her name the best.  She always says it with such gusto, and then smiles!  I love it.  I have multiple nicknames for my Corgle, Riley, and sometimes I forget that I'm using them.  I referred to him as "Bubba" when I asked if he wanted to go outside, and Livy mimicked me.  Oh my gosh, hearing a 21 month old say "Bubba" is adorable.

We took Riley for a walk, and I couldn't help but laugh when Livy pointed to his leash and said, "tail."  Well, it does look like a tail, and since Riley doesn't have one, it would definitely seem logical that it was his tail.  My sister told me later that she's got a monkey backpack that Livy wears sometimes, where the tail of the monkey is a long leash.  Now it makes perfect sense.  She's a pretty smart cookie, even if she wasn't technically correct!  When it got close to bedtime, I laid down on the couch with Livy, side by side.  Riley jumped up and laid on top of me, where he could be near Livy as well.  She pointed to all his different facial features and told me what they were.  Then she squeezed his face, poked his eye, patted his head, etc, etc.  Riley just sat there and let her do whatever she wanted.  I was so proud of my Bubba.  He's going to be a patient big brother some day.  After Livy fell asleep, I kicked Riley off and set up a pillow fortress around Livy to keep her secure.  I moved over to the other couch and expected Riley to follow suit since he usually goes wherever I go.  (He's a big-time mama's boy and feels the need to claim/protect me as much as possible).  Instead, he laid on the floor next to Livy's couch.  I guess he's got a new companion to look after now.  I'm okay with that.  :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Couple More Warrior Dash Pics

Spicy!

Being a little dainty fire jumper

We made it!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Warrior Dash....and Crash

On Sunday, Jer and I participated in the Warrior Dash in Forney, TX.  It was a 3.51 mile foot race, complete with outrageous obstacles.  Most of the obstacles involved mud in some way, which meant we were pretty disgusting by the end of it!  Some of the fun challenges were diving over logs in a river, sliding down a mud slide into a creek bed, and jumping over fire.  Lots of people dressed up in ridiculous costumes, which made it even more entertaining.  The event was more than just a race though.  They had a live band, lots of yummy food and beer, a rock heaving contest, and an axe throwing contest.  It was actually a cool little festival, and I'm glad we went. 

Before we reached the halfway point of the race, there was a cargo net that we had to conquer.  Jer and I both climbed up one side without incident, and then climbed down the other.  After letting go of the net, there was a short drop onto the ground.  Well, the ground was really uneven and slick, and Jer landed on the side of a small mound and completely twisted his ankle.  It was bad.  He heard a pop and that's never a good sign.  I could tell he was in a lot of pain, but we were nowhere near the finish line.  He decided to try and stick it out, so we had to alternate walking and jogging the rest of the way, depending on his pain level.  His ankle was already starting to swell and show bruising before we even crossed the finish line.  He hobbled around after the race, through the shower area, and over to the medical station.  They wrapped his ankle, so that at least it would stay immobilized long enough for us to make it home.  I took Jer to the doc yesterday and he got an x-ray.  Nothing is broken, but it's possible that he tore a ligament.  We got him a brace and some crutches to help him stay off of it for a few days.  Hopefully it starts to heal quickly and there's no long-term damage! 

Despite Jer's injury, the race was still a lot of fun and all the festivities they offered before and after were pretty cool too.  I look forward to doing the race again next year, hopefully with a larger group of people, and hopefully without injury!  Here are some pics from our experience (I'll share more photos once the official ones are released):

 A little muddy

"showers"

Shoe donation pile

fire jumpers

mud pit crawl under barbed wire