Monday, August 30, 2010

Professional Aunt

This past weekend I fulfilled my responsibilities as an Aunt by going on a date with my niece, Olivia, on Friday, and then babysitting my friend's son, Ryan, on Saturday.  It was a wonderful weekend!  I picked up Livi from daycare around 2pm, right when she was getting up from her naptime.  She was groggy, but immediately reached for me when she noticed me standing in the doorway.  Not gonna lie - I love that feeling!  I took her over to the Galleria so she could play in the kids area for a while.  She was a little hesitant to just jump in and join the other kids, who looked to be a couple years older.  She decided to sit in my lap for most of the time and give me the play by play of what everyone else was doing!  "She's jumping."  "He is running." "That's a girl."  (There's a reason my sister calls her Captain Obvious, LOL).  I did finally convince her to check out the little puzzles in the play area.  She had a good time with those.

  Future puzzle nerd, like her Aunt

After we left the play area, we headed over to the Toys 'R Us store.  I honestly can't remember the last time I heard Livi exclaim something so loudly...."THERE'S DORA!"  "AND TINKERBELL!"  It was adorable.  She was so genuinely excited.  I bought her a little baby doll (which she named Purple Baby) and a bag full of play stuff to go with it.  She wanted to check it all out immediately, so we went home to play.

  DORA!!

I think it's pretty cute how kids, at such a young age, can grasp the concept of pretending.  She pretends the bottle has milk in it and gives it to the baby doll.  She pretends the jar has baby food in it, and proceeds to "feed" the baby.  It's like, how do you explain a concept like that to a 2-year old?  You don't really have to; they just get it.  My favorite, though, is that the bag of baby stuff came with a mini potty.  She set the baby doll on it for a minute, and then brought it all the way to the bathroom to dump the imaginary pee into the toilet.  Talk about being dedicated to the make-believe scenario!

  My little precious girl

On Saturday, I went over to my friend Sarah's house to babysit her son so she could attend a baby shower.  Her little 18-month old is the easiest kid to babysit because he's so darn happy all the time!  He's also great because he's not shy around me at all, and quickly adopted me as an honorary family member.  We played with his toys for about an hour, and then he kinda made a sad face and let out one of those sounds like he wanted something.  He reached his arms out, so I said, "Okay, you want me to pick you up?"  I figured we'd next go through the routine of figuring out if he was hungry or needed to be changed, etc.  Instead, he put his arms around my neck, laid his head on my shoulder and proceeded to fall asleep.  Cutest. Thing. Ever.  Apparently he just wanted me to hold him while he took his nap.  After he was out soundly, I could've moved him to his crib, but I decided to just enjoy the awesome feeling of having a baby sleeping on you.   I'm in no rush to have a baby of my own, but when the time comes, I'll be happy.  :)

  

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Paying it Forward

I'm a big believer in paying it forward.  I like to think it'll come back around eventually, but even if it doesn't, there's still joy in knowing someone else benefited in the meantime.  Some of our family friends are going through a rough time right now, because the matriarch of the family has a terminal illness.  One of the daughters spent a few days in a row at the hospital last week with her mom, which meant nothing was attended to at her house.  Her husband was also out of town, and she has an 18-month old.  My sister, Jo, and I went over to her house to see if there was anything we could help with.  We folded some laundry for her, helped with dishes, vacuumed, and watched her little one so she could relax for a few minutes.  She ran out of things she could think of to ask for help with, but Jo and I wanted to make sure we did as much as we could.  I walked by the patio door and noticed the backyard needed mowing.  I didn't hesitate to ask where the lawn mower was, and I hopped out there and took care of it.

I was talking to my mom about it a few days later, and she told me that the daughter mentioned how appreciative she was.  I was pleased to hear that, but really it was no trouble.  Jo and I were glad to help.  My mom went on to ask, "And did I hear that you mowed their lawn too??"  She chuckled about it, and I was like, "Yeah, it seemed like it needed to be done, so I did it."  She said, "You know, that's a perfect example of paying it forward.  You didn't ask me to, but I mowed your lawn while you were in Europe because it needed to be done and I knew that you would appreciate it, and you just did the same for someone else."  She was right.  I paid back her favor by performing the same nice gesture for someone else.  When we start to think of all of us being in this together, then we start to realize that one nice thing done for me is one nice thing done for everybody.  I like being surrounded by people who share this mindset.  When we're all connected, I can pay it forward and it's just as good as having paid back the person who performed the original act.  We can all appreciate when nice things are done, even if they're not personally done for us.  I'm thankful my mom taught me this mentality, and I plan on paying that forward as well.  :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

FU, Buddha

The title of this post is my favorite line from the movie I saw this past weekend, The Winnebago Man.  It was spoken by the main character, Jack Rebney, to his dog, Buddha.  If you have no idea who the Winnebago Man is, watch this clip.  I don't recommend you do it while at work though, or around anyone who gets offended by hearing excessive swearing.  Consider yourself warned. 




The movie we watched was a documentary about a filmmaker being intrigued by the above clip that made the rounds on the internets, and wanting to track down Jack.  He found him, living alone in a cabin on a mountain in California, with no idea he was an internet sensation.  He turned out to be just as crotchety and profane as the short clips made him out to be, and it made for some hilarious footage.  This movie was pretty hysterical, and I wish I could incorporate Jack's sayings into my everyday life!  (I'm guessing my coworkers wouldn't approve, though).  You should definitely try to catch this movie, if you have any sense of humor at all.  Unfortunately it's only playing at select theaters, but if you're around Dallas, you can catch it at the Angelika.  For the rest of the locations, check out the website here.

"I don't want any more bullshit, anytime during the day, from anyone....and that includes me."  - Jack Rebney
    

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nothing Beats Brinner

The theme of our latest Supper Club was Brinner, breakfast for dinner.  Like all our previous gatherings, the food was amazing.  We had breakfast enchiladas, breakfast pizza, homemade cinnamon bread, waffles, fresh fruit, and Bloody Mary and Screwdrivers for the drinks.  Jer and I were only responsible for bringing the vodka, OJ, and fresh salsa to top the enchiladas and pizza, so we decided to try something a little crazy and bring it as a surprise.  Not sure what gave Jer the idea, but he wanted to attempt "Breakfast Sushi."  Of course we wouldn't actually be using any ingredients normally associated with sushi, just the idea of rolling up a bunch of items and eating them LIKE sushi.  We tried out two different small rolls, and then made a big biscuit "loaf."

   
Above is a before picture of the loaf.  It had hash browns, bacon, sausage, ham, onions, and cheese.  We wrapped all of that with a massive biscuit and baked it in the oven.  Here's the after picture, along with the two small rolls.


Here's what the loaf looked like, sliced:


We put some of Jer's fresh salsa on it, and it was delicious!!  One of the small rolls that we actually sliced up like sushi had ham, bacon, onion, bell peppers, and cheese, surrounded by a biscuit.  See picture below.  It was also delicious topped with salsa. 


The other roll, which came out the best appearance-wise, is below.  It included onions, bell peppers, and jalapenos wrapped in an egg omelet, which was then wrapped in bacon.  Based on the look and the taste, I'd say Breakfast Sushi was a success!! 


This meeting of Supper Club was the first we'd had since two of our members, Pappy and Shawn, had their home burglarized.  The rest of the group wanted to help in whatever way we could, like we did when my sister's house underwent the same fate.  P & S had already replaced their electronics, so we couldn't go that route.  We debated on giving a gift card, but all decided that cash would just be the best bet so they could spend it on whatever they needed!  Handing them an envelope full of cash is just not this group's style though.  We all agreed that "making it rain" on them was more apropos.  And of course we needed dollar bills for that.  Each couple decided on how much they wanted to contribute, and then went to the bank to get one dollar bills for that amount.  The result was quite impressive!

  (Don't get crazy - they're just ones)

We designated Rebecca to be our "Make it Rain" girl, so she did the honors for the rest of us while we cheered and laughed:

 
It was greatness.  Pappy and Shawn were shocked and grateful, and not to mention very pleasantly surprised at being able to partake in this ritual usually only reserved for rap stars.  :p 


They let the bills marinate for a while, so they could really soak up the experience!  We love you guys, and we can't wait to hear about the look on the bank teller's face when you bring in that fat roll of ones!  (Please tell me Shawn will be the one doing it). 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It Was Bound to Happen

Sometimes when I mention an injury I sustained playing sports, people accuse me of being injury-prone.  I don't necessarily think that's the case.  I think it has more to do with the fact that I play sports four nights a week, which greatly increases the probability of injury!  It seems also that my recent injuries were only sustained during flag football games, even though I play three sports in total, so there might be a connection there....  It's not supposed to be a contact sport, but it has turned out that way!  My latest escapade involved a receiver running a route, but turning his head back to look at the quarterback instead of where he was going, resulting in a full-speed collision with me.  It was a guy that was taller than me, so my outer thigh took a direct hit from his knee.  It was quite alarming at the time, but apparently my adrenaline was pumping enough that I played the rest of the game without paying much attention to the pain.  Afterwards was a different story!  My drive home was about 25 minutes, so my leg was in the same bent position for that long.  When I got home and tried to get out of my car by stretching my leg out into the upright position, I thought it was going to buckle!  The severity of the collision was finally kicking in, and I guess the muscle had gotten tight from being in the seated position.  It's been a tender couple of days since then, and I have to say my leg is not a pretty sight.  Take a look for yourself:

   Day One

Day Two

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Didn't Know You Were Art

That title stems from the time our friend Pappy showed us the awesome drawings he made for us, and my sister Jo said, "I didn't know you were art."  Haha.  We know she meant to say artistic, but it's way funnier to think of Pappy as being art in human form.  But I digress.  I didn't get the chance to go to my friend Dani's art show this past weekend, so I asked her to show me all of her paintings today on facebook.  They are awesome!!  I immediately asked Jer if we could buy a piece because I fell in love with a couple of them.  He thought he could use some art in his office, so I let him make the decision.  Here's the one he chose (sorry for the glare):


One small problem...it had already been sold!  Luckily Dani let us commission her to create that piece again, so it's all good.  We just have to wait a little longer for it, but I'm excited!  The one I personally fell in love with the most is this one:

     
How cool is that??  One of these days I'm just going to give in and buy that piece from her too.  Here are some more of her pieces:

 

(my second fave)





And the piece de resistance:


If you see anything you like, let me know!  I can get you in touch with Dani to see if the piece is still available, or you can commission her to make something unique for you!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Riley Weight Loss - Update 1

I took Riley to the vet yesterday for his yearly exam.  I had some bloodwork done so we could verify that he didn't have any other factors contributing to his obesity.  They tested his liver, kidney, and thyroid.  The results all came back good, so it looks like just good ol' healthy eating and exercise are what he needs!  His weight at the vet was 50.6 pounds.  I'll be bringing him back monthly for weigh-ins to track his progress.  I bought him some (stupidly expensive) diet food at the vet, that should help him shed the pounds.  We've been doing regular walks for the past two weeks, and I hope to continue that as much as possible!  Hopefully my little bubba can get healthier and stay with us as long as possible!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Give me back that Filet 'O Fish!

Don't worry, you'll get that title phrase stuck in your head too before this post is over with.  This past weekend we floated the Comal River in New Braunfels with a group of friends.  Jer and I had never done this before, so we were excited to join.  Our friend, Rachel, rented a vacation house for the 11 of us to stay in.  On Saturday, we headed over to Landa Falls to get our tubes and get on the river!  Besides your personal tube, you could rent tubes with a bottom, that held a cooler, to make sure you had beverages while floating.  We had three of those for our group, so everyone had to keep an eye on them.  That wasn't too difficult since the river was a pretty lazy one, and we were all trying to stay connected to each other anyway.  But, we had no idea this one area you have to go through, called the tube chute, would give us so much trouble.  We thought the whole route would be a leisurely one, until we arrived at the chute and saw what looked like a ride at an amusement park!  It was a fast-moving, choppy section that ended with a pretty big splash.  The current at the end of it was pretty strong, so it pushed you in a certain direction against your will.  Our friend, Todd, was in charge of one of the cooler tubes and it got away from him during the chute.  He was carried away with the current, but the tube with the cooler on it was sent in another direction to calmer waters!  We could all see it, but were pretty helpless to do anything about it.  As Jer and I started making our way over to rescue it, some random guy noticed the cooler, swam over to it, and get this - opened it and grabbed a beer!  Can you believe that?  What a db.  We started yelling at him, since he grabbed the tube and was apparently just going to keep it, along with the stocked cooler, for himself.  We finally got his attention, and made it clear that that was NOT his cooler.  We tried to get over there as fast as we could and pry it from his trashy little hands.  Stay classy, folks!

After Jer grabbed the tube with the cooler on it and attempted to make his way back to the rest of the group, I tried to follow suit.  We had to pass through the exit area of the tube chute again, which meant the water was pretty choppy and hard to navigate.  A kind of whirlpool had been created, and once you got sucked into it, you had no control over where it took you.  I swear I entered that area three times, trying to make it to the other side, and kept getting brought right back to where I started.  It was pretty comical.  On my last attempt, I felt the string on my bikini bottoms brushing against my leg, lower down than I'm used to it reaching, which got my attention.  Yep, sure enough my bottoms had become untied.  Here I am, holding together my bottoms with one hand, frantically trying to paddle with my other hand, all the while falling victim to an inescapable whirlpool.  If it wasn't so funny, I could've cried.

After I fixed my wardrobe malfunction and managed to get over to the side of the river and climb out, I decided to walk along it a ways and just completely bypass the "whirlpool of futility."  My friends were waiting on the other side, so I joined back up with them.  The rest of the float was much less eventful!

After we had a chance to clean up from the day's activities, we headed out to dinner at Gristmill.  We met up with some other friends that happened to be in New Braunfels that weekend, which brought our total to 13.  Hmmm....dinner with a group of 13 on a Saturday night....surely that's no problem!  Haha.  We knew we would be in for a wait, but after 2 hours, we were reaching our tolerance level!  Jer went up to the hostess to inquire about our position on the list, and she informed him that she had no record of our group.  What. The. Fudge.  We know she wrote it down upon our arrival, so I guess they just completely lost that page of the waiting list!  That's highly plausible considering there were hundreds of people waiting for tables.  Hundreds!  No lie; I'm not exaggerating.  I've never seen a situation like that in my life!  

Jer laid the smack down and they put us next on the list.  Another friend, Ryan, negotiated free drinks and appetizers for us.  Not too shabby.  We ended up having a great meal and a really fun time, but it was definitely the longest dinner experience I've ever been a part of!  We were pretty beat down after that 4-hour dinner, so we headed back to the house for the night.  The guys in the group needed something at CVS, so they made a little road trip.  I'm not sure what they originally intended to purchase, but somehow they ended up with like 7 singing fish.  You know, the fake mounted fish plaques that sing a stupid song when you walk by?  Yeah, those.  We were all curious why they purchased them, and the response was, "They were only $2!"  That deal was apparently so incredible, that they even convinced a few people in line behind them at CVS to also purchase the fish.  Hilarious.  Men are definitely from Mars.

I brought Jer's fish home yesterday and introduced it to Juneau.  Make sure your sound is on (you might need to turn it up louder), so you can experience the extent of the awesomeness.  Juneau wants that filet 'o fish!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Date Night at the Rangers Game

Summertime is definitely my favorite time of year, but it is also the busiest for me.  I play on sports teams three nights a week, so it starts to feel like I don't spend enough quality time with my hubby.  Last Thursday was the first night in a while that neither of us had anything on the agenda, so we quickly claimed it as "date night" and started making plans for just the two of us.  I'm a huge Rangers fan, but Jer....not so much.  His philosophy is that he'll only go to baseball games if he's with a large group of friends, or sitting close to the field.  The baseball action in itself will not be enough to lure him there!  Since we just wanted it to be the two of us, I had to find us some good seats.

I got on Stubhub and saw that there were still seats available in the Commissioner's box on the 3rd base side.  We've previously sat in that box on the 1st base side and the vantage point was incredible!  I gobbled them up and we made it a date!  When we arrived at the field, we realized that our seats were a little further away from the dugout than we thought they'd be, but still on the first row, so all was good.  I love being that close to the field.  It makes it more exciting when you always have to be on your toes because you might get beaned in the face with a foul ball, LOL.

The Rangers won the game, and the hubby and I had a great time on our date.  Here are some pictures I shot from our seats.  Enjoy!





Monday, August 2, 2010

A Year in the Making

The hubby and I love tackling home improvement projects, but we'll never claim to be efficient in executing them.  Last summer, we decided that the muddy swampland adjacent to our existing 11' x 10' concrete slab patio was atrocious.  Water would pool there and the dogs would run through it often, which led to it being only useful for hosting mud wrestling events.  We had to remedy that.

We dug a 6' x 11' area, starting where the current patio ended.  That was no easy task in itself, since the depth had to be a few inches.  We were left with a lot of dirt/mud that we didn't have anywhere else to put.  We bought some 6x6 and 6x9 pavers from Lowe's and decided on a design.  Jer and I also purchased some large 12" stones to section off a fire pit.









We put down a layer of paver sand and got the area leveled.  I started laying down the stones, and even got my mom to help out on a couple of different occasions.  The most tedious part was cutting the pavers to fit around the fire pit and around the border.  We made a lot of progress, but then we started hosting a foreign exchange student, and the weather got colder, and that project fell by the wayside.

During that break from progress, we noticed that the water was still pooling on the new patio.  Jer decided it was time to bite the bullet and install a french drain.  I've never seen him work so hard on something in his life!  He spent HOURS out there, completely covered in mud, until he had dug a deep trench from underneath the gutter downspout, to the alley.  His tremendous effort immediately paid off, because we could tell the water was funneling out and no longer just sitting on the patio.  I was so thankful for that!  Unfortunately, though, the installation of the drain necessitated the removal of some of the stones I had already laid.  So we had made progress in one area, and went backwards in another!

This past weekend, we finally decided to take this project to completion.  We laid out the remainder of the stones, cut the final border pieces, and poured the finishing sand to fill in the spaces.  It looks awesome!!  I'm so glad we did it.  Here's the final product: