Happy HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!

It's the time of year again. Time to dress up and beg for candy. This year will be especially fun for me because BOTH my boys are going to trick or treat, although I intend on confiscating most of the candy from both kids and replacing it with good stuff like raisins and a new! toothbrush! I know, I'll be the most hated mother in America.

Happy Halloween everyone, be safe, have fun and see you in November!

P.S. We pretend to eat the pumpkin guts every year and it never gets old. Oh and excuse my attire, I had been working out and well, you know.


3 weeks and a thank you

Thank you all for your kind words on my last post. It was a tough one to write in that it was hard to post a picture of my not so awesome belly. But you guys totally lifted me up and mad me feel like a million dollars. So, thank you.

I have 3 weeks off of work that started this past Monday. Normally I make a mental list of things I want to accomplish while enjoying my time off. Unfortunately I'm not going anywhere on my vacation so I need to fill up my time.

I'm complied a list of things I'd like to accomplish while getting paid not to be at work. SCORE!

  • Workout at the very least every other day. (So far this is happening. I'm trying a new gym out for a week to see if I want to switch. I did a turbo kick class Monday night that I can still feel in the depths of my bones.)
  • Transfer spices from ugly store containers to pretty glass containers that I got at IKEA earlier this week.
  • Organize and purge the guest bedroom/office closet. (It's my dumping ground for all the random crap that I don't know what to do with. It's an awesome large closet which means it's stuffing potential is excellent.)
  • Keep up with tracking every single penny I spend. (So far, so good. I am truly amazed that I've already spent over $250 in groceries and it's barely been two weeks since I started writing everything down.)
  • Start writing down what I eat in a journal. (I have hit a plateau in weight loss and it's probably because I keep eating Swedish Fish (VEGAN!) at every chance I get.
  • Organize all of Jackson's clothes. (The kid has more clothes than your average fashionista. Speaking of Fashionista, have you guys seen this show? It's annoying and I can't stop watching it.)
  • Get a stupid lawn edger and edge my stupid yard, already. (My #1 dreaded chore.)
  • Organize my clothes by color and type. (I used to have a super organized closet, then I get pregnant, then I lost a few pounds, then all hell broke loose. I have clothes in 3 closets and I need to edit and purge and see what is worth hanging onto.
  • Keep up my running routine. (People! I started running! And I haven't died once!)
  • Organize pantry.
  • Take as many naps as humanly possible. (This should really be #1.)



I religiously read the Post Secret blog every Sunday and have for a long time. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I feel like I want to cry, sometimes I cringe and sometimes, rarely, do I nod and understand.

As women we are bombarded with images of body perfect models. Stick thin women who make us exam our own bodies, every inch, and wish we could look a certain way. I've wished for tanner skin, to lose 10 pounds, to lose 50 pounds, to have long straight hair, to have pretty knees, to have a tighter stomach, everything! It's hard when every time you flip open the newest issue of whatever magazine that showcases fashion and celebrities to not wish something was different about our bodies.

I've been ashamed of one particular area of my body for years. I cover it up on purpose, even when I've just showered. My most intimate moments are clouded with the panic that I need to cover my not so perfect part. I wish I could live just one day with this body part 'normal'. I've lost weight and it doesn't change. I've seriously considered how much it would cost to have it surgically fixed. But, recently, this all changed.

It must have been months ago this particular secret was revealed on Post Secret and it spoke to me like no other secret ever has. It changed my whole outlook and perception of my hated body part. I am forever changed and I am so grateful.

Thank you to the beautiful woman who took the time to reveal her secret to the world. You have enabled me to reveal my secret and I'm proud to show my badges of honor. They are my most prized scars.

It's not pretty and it's not anything to envy. But it's mine and I have two children that are my life that I owe these scars and sagging belly button to. I wouldn't trade this belly for the world. No sir.


Mom and Dad

I took my parents to get routine medical procedures done this morning. They are both in their 50's and that's about the time certain preventative things are done to ensure that a long, healthy life is in the future.

They were required to be put to sleep and my role was to help drive them home afterward. It hadn't occurred to me that I might be participating more than as just a chauffeur.

After they were both in recovery rooms I made my way back to sit with them and do whatever I needed to do. The doctor came in to speak to me and give me the good news of clean bills of health (Phew!) and to give me follow up instructions. He said it was a great idea that they both came in together and had someone to help them out. I casually said that it was their turn to be the kids and I was the temporary parent. He replied, just as casually, "Get used to it, it will happen again".

I get what he means. He must have been in his 50's himself and I bet he has aging parents he's cared for or knows someone who's care for an aging parent. My parents are young and healthy and I have no worries that I'll be caring for them long term anytime soon. But my first thought after the doctor said that to me was "Bring it".

My parents have taken such good care of me and my brother's. Whenever the time comes, many years from now, I'll be ready to do what I can to care for them. No matter what it is, I'm willing and ready to be that person who takes care of them and to be their advocate and their voice, just like they've done with me.

I'm honored to be the ones who's asked to help them. I consider it a privilege to be given such intimate access to their most vulnerable moments in life.They are my rock and I hope that I repay them the best way I can.


It's that time of year again.

It's October and around my household that means we are sucking wind, as my mom would say. (Mom, where on earth did that saying even come from? It doesn't make any sense.) Sucking wind, to us, means that all that money I diligently socked away in my savings account during the most recent highly profitable tax season is dwindling faster than stink on you-know-what.

Every year this happens. I float along in the months after tax season spending with wreckless abandon only to come dangerously close to having $9 in my checking account (this recently happened.) Then I'm forced to transfer money so that I can buy unimportant things like Twinkie pans. (I totally made vegan corn dogs with the pan and it was AWESOME.)

I have never been one to budget. I've tried, I swear. I make a list of the essentials like housing and fuel and electricity and I start out with a valiant effort but it always ends in a slow implosion. Strewn papers lie around with my awful penmanship. Numbers crossed out with newer numbers scribble beside it. Paper bits torn and crumbled and generally in a pile of chaos. Some efforts are followed through for a week or maybe two at the most and then I give up, accepting defeat.

Today is a new budget day. I have finally discovered what my problem is. Why I can't manage to stick to a budget. The reason I can't is because I really have no clue how much I spend on things. Sure I know exactly how much my house payment is and my monitored alarm system is the same each month. But, fuel? clothing? food? All variable. I used to give myself a budget of $150 on food a month, which made no sense because I knew I spent at least $300 a month. Now that I have an extra mouth to feed I'm positive that amount has gone up. Let's not even discuss the cost of food.

As a result of my epiphany I'm going to write down every single cent I spend including my $1.18 coffee that I get on the mornings I go to work. It's not much but I bet it adds up to more than I expect when this is all done. My plan is to do this for a month. I'm extremely nervous that I will look at my spending habits and realize that I've been wasting money with little regard to how it's affecting me and my family.

I'm aware that this tracking every expense for a month plan is nothing new. I certainly didn't invent it, nor do I take credit for it. But I do hope to take credit for getting myself in touch with my own financial destiny.

ETA: Just got an e-mail from Macy's. $.99 shipping ends today. GOD GIVE ME STRENGTH.


Internet, would you buy this dress?

Details are as follows:

Machine washable
Boat neckline
Removable synthetic patent belt at waist
Pleated below waist
On-seam pockets
Colorblocking at hem
Hits at knee; approximate length from center back neckline: 39 inches
ETA: It's on sale for $77.40 at Macy's


My new obsession is 'bananas'. That doesn't mean that I'm obsessed with bananas.

Um, I'm sort of embarrassed to say that I am currently obsessed with The Rachel Zoe Project. Since I stumbled across it last Saturday I've watched 6 episodes and it's like I'm a deer and this show are the headlights that are barreling toward me at high speed. I just can't look away. No matter how hard I try.

Even thought I think Rachel could stand to gain 10 pounds (which I don't mind at all passing along to her) and I think Taylor reminds me of my cousin, Rachel, except a way bitchier version and I want to strap Rodger down and give him a proper haircut, I just love this show. As for Brad, I adore him and want to stick him in my pocket. I won't even really bring up the fact the Rachel has this awful habit of wearing furs that make her look like a Yetty.

The clothes! and shoes! and especially the jewelry!!!! Some of the dresses that Rachel thinks will 'shut it down' are so not my style and I think should be given away to the Goodwill. But there are other dresses that I covet and wish I was independently wealthy enough to afford them. Or even to just touch them.

Recently I've really been into fashion. Really I'm into looking at fashion and how people dress. One of my favorite shows is What Not To Wear and I'm certain I've seen every episode. I love seeing how ordinary people learn to dress well. As I get older I am realizing that fashion is more than just a cute pair of shoes or a nice jacket. It's a way to express yourself and show confidence. Dressing well (even on a budget) is important for self esteem and one's overall well being.

Sure, I wear t-shirts and ill fitting running shorts and old crappy tennis shoes when I don't have to be anywhere important. But when I go to work or meet a friend for dinner I take the extra time to make sure I look good even if it's only for me. It makes me feel good and that's what's important.

I think the excitement that you can see on Rachel Zoe's face when she sees a dress or accessory that she loves is what I get excited about. I have a closet full of clothes that I like for the most part and a few things that I love but I want to love every item I have with such enthusiasm as Rachel. Maybe that's why I'm obsessed with her show. Or it could be I just like the shoes.

Do you watch either show? Do you think they are brilliant or total crap? What's your new obsession?


Happy Monday. Please enjoy a few pictures.

Before the weather turns cold and because it's not scorching hot anymore (for the most part) I've been trying to get outside more. Fortunately I have people who go with me and fortunately I like them and fortunately they like me. I've taken my kids on 3 outdoor picnics in the last 3 weeks and I fully intend on squeezing in a few more while I can.
We have some amazingly gorgeous parks in the area and even though I've lived in North Fort Worth for most of my life I rarely take advantage of this. No longer! I want my kids to remember going to the park for picnics and playing outside. It's such a shame to waste the opportunity to get outside and just have a fun weekend with friends and family.
I no particular order, here are a few photos from the past weeks...
My niece, Sadie and me. She's all holding her head up like she's a big girl now!

This photo makes me think of celebrities that are hounded by the paparazzi while doing normal, everyday things with their kids. Except I'm not famous. And I don't have a $900 pair of sunglasses on. In fact, these sunglasses cost me $20 and they just broke in half.

Quack Quack! These ducks about attacked us when we ran out of bread. Side note: when I was in high school and didn't feel like attending my first class I'd drive my car around this park until I got bored and then head to school. (Hi mom! Did I ever tell you that?)

This is a HUGE tree that's magnificent. Poor Jackson didn't think it was fun when his momma made him go inside the tree. I'm so mean.

Because I couldn't really get inside the tree thanks to nature giving me hips, Derick and I posed outside of the tree.

My sister-in-law, Jenni, me and Jackson. Jackson's face turns bright red when he's been outside playing. He looks miserable doesn't he? I promise he was just fine.

My sweet baby, Jackson.

I gave

Sadie an acorn hat! And apparently it was 12:54pm.

I don't normally pass up an opportunity to make retarded faces. See my brother, Thomas? He looks thrilled doesn't he?

Momma and baby.


Almost 2 years later

Almost 2 years ago I got a skimpy, shiny, lacy, extremely inappropriate nightgown (that's putting it politely) from Victoria's Secret as a gift from my now insignificant other. I was 8 months pregnant, large as an ocean liner and slept in cut off sweat pants and size 3x men's t-shirts. I had absolutely no interest in looking even remotely sexy. As if that nightgown would have even fit me if I wanted to wear it. As soon as I possibly could, I went to Victoria's Secret and returned the offensive items in exchange for a gift card loaded with $60.62.

That gift card has been slowly burning a hole in my wallet ever since. People have been giving me a hard time about not using my fully functional gift card. The same people (Hi sweetie!) have even sent me e-mails with offer codes for free stuff from VS if I'd just go use my gift card.

Well, people, I've finally used it. I am usually leery about buying clothing on the Internet because who knows if it will fit, but I bit the bullet and decided to go for it.

This dress is so cute. I got this in the lake blue color. I figure I can add a jacket and knee high boots and wear it during the winter. And then I'll also have a cute summer dress. Thank GOD for strapless bras.

This top in grass green will look so cute with jeans.

I think this shirt will be fantastic with black slacks and a coordinating jacket. I surprised myself and got this in a yellow color. I used to think I looked bad in yellow, and maybe I still do, but I'm branching out.

And lastly. I'm hoping that along with these panties that I get the ass that goes with them.


Crunching numbers.

In May of last year I went to get my cholesterol rechecked because it was too "high" according to the doctors. I hadn't been back to check the numbers again until last week. My momma convinced me to go get everything checked now that I'm eating totally differently from how I was eating just a year ago.

I'm ecstatic to report that I'm no longer in the increased risk department for heart disease!!!!!!!!!!!

A rundown of my numbers:

Total cholesterol:
Before; 253
Now; 180
Difference of -73

Here's a chart of what these mean:
Less than 200 is best.
200 to 239 is borderline high.
240 or more means you're at increased risk for heart disease.

LDL (bad) cholesterol:
Before; 161
Now; 110
Difference of -51

Here's a chart of what these mean:
Below 100 is ideal for people who have a higher risk of heart disease.
100 to 129 is near optimal.
130 to 159 is borderline high.
160 or more means you're at a higher risk for heart disease.

HDL (good) cholesterol:
Before; 43
Now; 42
Difference of +1

Here's a chart of what these mean:
Less than 40 means you're at higher risk for heart disease.
60 or higher greatly reduces your risk of heart disease.

(This is the one I'm confused about. Obviously this is the only number that I want to go up and it did, barely. I've got to research how to raise this number to 60 or higher.)

I about jumped for joy because hello!? this means that I'm not a vegan for nothing. I feel better and this is probably one reason why.


In other news...

I got all greedy and applied to get BlogHer ads to generate a few bucks. See it over there on the right?

I'm hoping that with the economy in the toilet that maybe I can take this money and put it under my mattress. It won't earn anything in the way of dividends or interest, but at least I know where it will be.


A real blog this time. Maybe.

Have you noticed that I've been SUPER lazy with the blogging lately? Mostly it's pictures and some random words thrown in for good measure. Today I will attempt to write something at least worth your time.

I'm taking Jackson out of his expensive fancy preschool. Today is his last day and I swear when I dropped him off he knew it. He cried and cried and whimpered MOMMY over and over again to which my heart replied by breaking into 400 billion little pieces that it regularly does as a mother. Fascinating how the heart heals itself and moves forward.

When Jackson was little he actually came to work with and my family helped watch him while I prepared tax returns for clients. I took 15-20 minute breaks in between appointments to nurse him. I even had a select few clients that held Jackson while I worked. It was great. I could be with him all the time and my family could see him often.

When he got a little older I would take him to my mom's house in the morning and then he'd come with her to our office in the afternoon. Some days his other grandma kept him also. Again, it was perfect. We'd hangout most days and I always knew he was well taken care of.

As he got older and more mobile things got more interesting. No longer could we park him on the floor with a blanket and some toys. It was impossible to expect a mobile baby to sit still and not want to explore all the surroundings he was seeing for the first time in his little life. We needed a new option.

During this time I joined an online message board for cloth diapering mommas and found a lady, Debi, who made these awesome cart covers and I ordered one. We realized that we lived not far from each other and she offered to meet me instead of mailing the cart cover. We met for lunch, I met her kids and she met Jackson, she offered to watch him a few weeks later after I had gotten to know her better and well, it was perfect.

He loved going to her house. He cried when I dropped him off maybe a handful of times and then was just fine when she picked him up. He played and had a blast. Other than the first time I dropped him off, I never worried about him. I knew she was taking good care of him, just as good as her own kids.

A few months ago, for reasons beyond my control, Jackson stopped going to Debi's house. She had to get a job outside of the home and our schedules just didn't mesh well so that she could continue to watch Jackson. I was so bummed.

As the last few months have gone on I've seen Debi a few times and consider her a friend. She came to my birthday dinner and I came to her son's birthday party. We e-mail and chat on occasion. She missed Jackson and I'm sure he misses her.

I didn't look for a new daycare or babysitter for over a month when Debi stopped watching Jackson. I kept hoping she'd call me and tell me she hated her job and wanted him back. After a while I realized that I needed to find a place for him to go to. I picked a place close by that was an actual preschool with real teachers. It was impressive. Except that it didn't live up to my expectations.

To be blunt, the teacher was lazy. She seemed nice enough but I don't think she was well suited for a toddler room. Almost every time I saw her she was sitting down. And Jackson cried every time, except once, that I dropped him off. The real kicker was that I had to ask her to hold him when I left because if I didn't, he'd stand at the door crying his little eyes out and she'd sit in her chair and call his name over and over again until he gave up and finally went to her. There's that heart breaking again. It just wasn't a good fit for him or me.

So, last weekend I called Debi and practically begged her, told her I'd get a second mortgage on my house just to pay what she needed, I might even consider prostitution (not really, but it sounded good). I knew we had gotten a cheap deal when she watched him before and that the same price wasn't going to cut it this time. I also knew that what she charges would be a hellofa lot cheaper than a school that Jackson hates.

Starting next week Jackson and Debi will be "teacher" and "student" together again and I am SO HAPPY! We'll try preschool in a year or two when he's a bit older, I'll be wiser about meeting the teacher and making sure it's a good fit before I put him somewhere. It's been a good learning experience, but I'm so glad it's over and my baby won't break my heart every morning when I drop him off.

To be honest, it broke my heart to drop him off at school, too. But no longer. I am positively giddy that he's going back to where he started. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!


Leave it to the crackers

We love these vegan goldfish crackers. We love them so much that I had force Derick to stop eating them last night when we made them so that there would be some left for Jackson. Even though Jackson ate the rest of the last batch I made.

So, as opposed to blabbing on and on and on about them, I'll just show some more pictures of these deliciously yummy crackers.

Next up I need to make these vegan Twinkies.