Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

"Night, night Daddy"

I tried to put her to bed but she was having a daddy day and just wanted him to hug her. I also tried to get a cute shot of her with her head on his shoulder, but she kept saying, "cheese!" She's too smart.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Finding Your Balance

We are all going through a journey in our lives, each and every day. I think about all of the chapters in my past, all of the individual paths I've walked in my life and as I examine them, I realize that most of the time, the reason I struggled so deeply for so long is because I couldn't find a balance in my life. Lately, I've seen that everything in life, from handling obstacles to the choices you make, it's all part of a balance you have to find each and every day. I think God talks alot about that balance in the Bible. I think we have to balance our lives with God, our families, our work, our personal time. There has to be a balance to everything. You have to get equal to what you give, you reep what you sow, you are loved as you love, etc. These are all examples of balance. I feel very "Yin-Yang" right now, as I talk about this, but it's really, really true.

I have started to view life as a great balancing act. When something is off kilter in my life, I try to look at it and figure out what I am unconciously trying to either change or not change. When I am not happy or something feels off, it's because there is an off-balance somewhere in my life. As things happen to you, and life presents itself the way it always seems to, your balance shifts. You have to find a new balance, all the time. This is why, for example, that a diet or an exercise regime that worked for you when you were 24,  doesn't work now that you are 32 with a child and a husband and a full time job.

My balance has been getting better over the last few years. The first step for finding a balance is to realize that it even exists in your life. I think I started giving this alot of thought after I had Avery. I found that I had trouble finding my happiness in my new found roles. I loved my husband, my daughter, my family, and my friends. But it felt like I wasn't balanced and that made me very unhappy. I realized that I needed to find the time for everything. It might not be tons of time all the time, but it was time I found for each thing in my life.

Right now, the thing I am struggling with is balancing the exercise and diet into my life. The problem with me is that I will NOT wake up earlier than I already do to exercise (I already wake up at 5:30!). I won't go right after work and take time away from my child. And I know I won't consistently go after she's gone down, because I still have to clean my house and do laundry and dishes and other things around the house (and have down time!) so I have been struggling with when to fit in exercise. This morning, I figured out that I have about 20 minutes between the time Jason takes Avery to daycare and when I have to get ready for work. Luckily, Netflix now has the entire "10 Minute Solutions" DVDs on Instant Queue, so this morning I was able to fit in 10 minute kickbox bootcamp and 10 minute yoga. Hopefully, this will fit and stick!!! I also get motivated knowing that I don't have to commit an entire hour to it, only 10 minutes. I can do anything for 10 minutes!!! As far as the diet goes, I am still struggling with that one. I have yet to find a good weekly planning guide that allows our family to have easy to make, healthy meals every night of the week. I also hate fruit, so I am working on the sugary snacks that consume me.

Do any of you have any suggestions?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Oooh, I just love her!!!

When we got Avery back on Sunday, I thought she looked like she grew an inch! She looks like such a little girl to me now. Her legs are getting less chunky, her hair is getting longer. Sigh.

This is her favorite "book" right now. It's got pictures of her bubba and sissy.

We are getting in to some unchartered territory right now. She is starting to get upset when she sees the kids and then they go. Thursday night, after they left, she cried and cried, "bubba!!!" Over and over. Breaks my heart!

She must have been really hungry tonight. She was standing by her dad at the fridge saying "app-ease!" (Apples and please in one word.)

Her new thing is throwing tantrums, especially when we aren't getting her food fast enough or if we say "no." She smothers her hands in her face and cries. I swear she looks like a teenager. We just laugh (without her seeing) and just ignore her.

But lately, she's just a lover and is in a mood to give lots of hugs and kisses. What a great stage!

Blog Challenge Day Nine

"Something you're proud of..."

There are actually alot of things I've done in my life that I am proud of. One of the most important things I've done that I am proud of is getting back on the horse, despite being knocked off more times than I can count.

My perserverance is something I am incredibly proud of!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Anniversary Weekend

I honestly can't believe we've been married two years. It has just gone by so fast. I can't express enough how blessed God has made me by giving me Jason. He is not perfect but is completely perfect for me. I love hanging out with him, which is good, because that's what we've done all weekend long!

We went out on Friday afternoon/Friday night. On Saturday, we spent the day in Fort Worth, first at the Botannic Gardens, then at the Stockyards. It was such a great two days!

We even went to a petting zoo!!!

And of course, the day wouldn't be complete without a Dublin Imperial Sugar Dr. Pepper. It tasted a little bitter, considering a purchase the traitor's drink, but it was still mighty tasty.

I believe the word that described our weekend was a "stay-cation?" Where you stay in your home town and go do stuff like a tourist. We had a blast. Yesterday was a perfect day!!

And don't worry about this munchkin. We probably missed her more than she missed us...considering she was at her Gigi and Pops!

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games Review **Spoiler Alert**

I don't know how many people have read the book or not, so when I mean "spoilers" I don't want anyone who hasn't read the book to read this. If you've read the book, you will understand.

I went to see The Hunger Games last night. We went two hours early to get a good seat. The theater was full of noisy, obnoxious teenagers. When the movie came on, they were quiet as church mice!

Coming out of this movie, I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. The reason I loved this book so much is because it was very clearly a story of political inequality, political suppression, brain washing and propaganda, the difference between classes, and lastly, the story of a girl caught up in it all. I thought the way they discussed the poverty and lack of food in her district was well done in the book, it was very thorough and showed a very clear picture of what life was like for these people in these districts. When they got to the Capital, it was decadance, riches, and more food than they could ever imagine eating. This was not really shown very well in the movie. Yes, it showed District 12 and yes, you could tell that they were poor. But almost starving to death is the reason Katniss became such an inept hunter in the first place. I thought they could have played more up on this fact because it is an essential story line to understanding what this society and culture was truly about. They also never mentioned that whoever won the Hunger Games would have food for their district the following year, which I thought was a mistake to omit. This was another level of control the Capital had and an important one, at that. District 12 hadn't had a winner in a long time at this point, so saying that would have been a good thing to include.

Another thing that bothered me is they didn't make Haymitch a drunkard, not really. He is a very important character in next two books and him being drunk most of the time is very important to the story, because he can't deal with the unfairness and sickness of it all and what he did to win, but it doesn't really portray him that way in the movie. I do like this character, he is very likeable and Woody Harrelson does a great job. But, it was a story line I thought could have been more exaggerated, as it was in the book. The other characters were really good and I liked them very much. Cinna, played by Lenny Kravitz, is clearly a Katniss fan in this movie. In the movie, it no where near went into describing his role in her future and the revolution to follow, nor did it describe their relationship in detail. Effie, however, was portrayed very well and I thought it was pretty true to her character in the book.

I think they really wrote the movie to go as fast as they could through the beginning half of the book to get to the arena scenes, which I understand. It was a 2 1/2 hour movie as it was. The arena scene was great, in fact, I leaned over to my sister several times and said, "That's exactly how I pictured it in my head!" And the way they show the "control center" over the arena was different than the book, but I see why they did that. It showed how they could make things appear out of nothing, the sky changing, stuff like that. It reminded me a little of The Truman Show. But they did leave out alot of the violent scenes, and a very important scene at the end was changed and I thought, for the worse. The mutant "dogs" who came in at the end of the book were actually their fallen tributes that had been morbidly mutated and Katniss and Peeta saw it in their eyes, which was incredibly haunting and very important piece to the story that showed just how sadistic the Capital could be to make their control known. In the movie, they were just, dogs. Mean dogs, yes, but just dogs.

The only other thing that truly bothered me was the camera work. I am not a fan of the "shaky camera for dramatic effect" and there is alot of that in the movie. I had to look away a time or two because it made me dizzy. So, just be warned, if you aren't a fan of that either.

All in all, I can tell you that the movie was not intended for people who haven't read the book. Would you get the story? To a certain extent, yes. You understand the very simple story of the politics and disgusting nature of it all. But you will never truly understand why this book was such an impactful piece of literature unless you read the book first. So, keeping that in mind, it was a good movie. Jennifer Lawrence is a great Katniss and her performance was spot-on to the Katniss I imagined in my head. The people who lived in the Capital looked like I thought they would, too, with their colorful, over the top clothes and hair. But all in all, if you go in expecting it to be more than an entertaining movie, you would be disappointed too. It might not bother you that they left things out. But for me, I really enjoyed what this book had to say about government and control, so for me, the reason I truly loved the book was missing from the movie.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day Eight Blog Challenge

T-Minus 15 hours (or so) until THIS

For any of you who are interested, I will absolutely give a full review of the movie tomorrow on my blog.

Ok, blog challege: "What are your short term goals this month and why?"

Well, one of my short term goals was accomplished short term goals always consist of saving money on our monthly budget. Yesterday, I saved us over $175 a month from our cell phone bill! I get GIDDY over saving money.

Basically, I've been with T-Mobile for 10 years. TEN YEARS as of February. That's a LOT of loyalty to a cell phone company. Every couple of years, or so, my bill creeps up for no apparent reason and I have to call them, complain, and they change my plan to a better plan and the bill goes down for a while. They've always been good to me about this. Also, until recently, they had good upgrades for pretty cheap. Lately, their upgrades have been terrible and they've started charging an upgrade fee. They also, recently, outsourced their customer service, which I was upset about, because their customer service was the reason I stayed so long and their willingness to always try and save me money. February, I received my bill and I was furious. My bill started out around $190 and my bill on February had grown to $270. I was so angry! I refused to pay the bill because I wanted them to help me. They'd always done this in the past and this time, they could have cared less. I was on the phone saying, "I've been with you 10 years, how are you so willing to let me cancel my contract after I've paid you tens of thousands of dollars?" Their response was "I'm sorry you feel that way, ma'am."

So, Jason and I spent the day, with our phones shut off while I sat on my principals, to try and find a different phone carrier. Guess what? They are all the same. We couldn't find another cell phone plan that would justify the cost of us canceling our contract early (which wouldn't be up until next August, 2013). So, I relunctently and begrudgingly paid my bill to get my phones turned back on and went on my way. This month, my bill was even higher. "Nope," I said, "This is ridiculous. There has got to be an answer." Well, I came across T-Mobile pre-paid plans. Apparently, pre-paid plans are becoming much more popular because of their ease and lack of fees. I pay $50 for each phone, every month, for unlimited talk, text and web. When I called to cancel my account yesterday, I asked the lady why everyone wouldn't do this? And she couldn't give me an answer. So, we switched. We kept our same phones and our same numbers.

So, short term goals??? This next month, my goal is to get one old bill paid off and to finally paint my bedroom!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day Seven Blog Challege

Well, we had some windy and stormy weather on Monday and Tuesday. I couldn't sleep very well the other night, the thunder kept me up. We got home from work Monday and found this enormous limb in our backyard that had fallen from a very tall tree. This picture doesn't show how heavy and big the limb was. Thankfully, it feel about 5 feet from our house, but it could have done some major damage to the roof.

My daughter was in a good mood last night, so we had to snap some pictures!

Ok, now on to the blog challenge!

"A picture of someone or something that has the biggest influence on you..."

Now, I know the biggest influence on me is God. But for the purposes of this question, I will answer it a different way.

I am not doing this to gain favor or "points," as my husband doesn't even read my blog. But I gotta give credit where credit is due, ther person who has the biggest influence on me is this guy right here.

Of all the people in my life, Jason has had the most influence on me RECENTLY. (This does not include growing up, Mom and Dad.) Jason has taught me so many things and decisions I make are really influence by either how Jason will feel or what he would do in the same situation.

He is patient, even keeled and never lets things get him ruffled. I think that is rubbing off on me the longer we are married.

He is a "glass half full" kind of guy. Very positive. I love that about him. And it makes me feel the same way.

Jason has faith in the Lord. My faith has grown leaps and bounds since being with him.

He is a great parent and the way he is with our kids constantly helps me learn how to be better at it myself.

Man, I have my very own super hero living in my house!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day Six Blog Challenge

"Who is my favorite superhero and why?"

This is going to sound so funny, but Hancock is probably my favorite superhero.

If you've seen the movie, you would know that Hancock is incredibly flawed. INCREDIBLY flawed. To the point where people were like, "We want him in JAIL!!" He was an alcoholic, disrespectful, cursed, just in general, he destroyed everything he touched.

I love how Hancock learned and grew as a person. I loved that he changed himself for the better because he knew people in the world were counting on him. I loved how he progressed. It seems like in later years, people have begun to portray superheros as extra-ordinary people, meaning, ordinary people with extraordinary abilities and I like that. If you think about superheros of the 70s and 80s, Superman, He-Man, they are all perfect specimans, both physically and mentally. I love how now, we get to see the ones who aren't so great, but rise to the occasion!!

Some Avery Stats, it's been a while!

Avery loves to look at "cooks" (books). She always puts them in front of us and wants us to read to her. Just some stuff about Avery at this age:

She can tell us what a cow, horse, cat, dog, squirrel, bird, duck, sheep, and snake says. She can tell us what a car says and a momma says (blows kisses).

She can point her Gigi, Pops, Jordy, sissy, momma, dadda, nawni and poppy in pictures. She can point out (and say) Bert, Cookie Monster (Cookie), Melmo, Grover (Go Go), Minnie (Mouse), puppy, and point to a cat (but she says meow).

She is starting to sing the ABCs, although her letters are not discernable. But the tune is! It's pretty nuts. When we tell her to sing the ABCs, she will start to sing and tune and say things sounding like letters. When we count to ten, she can say "thee" and "nine" and will count with us. She can also sing the B-I-B-L-E, but she says, B-I-B-I-E. But she does try to sing it. She also will sing to "This little light of mine." There is a part that says, "hide it under a bushel, no!" and when that song comes on, even from the beginning, she will say "NO!" over and over. I don't know how she recognizes it so fast. The other song she will sing is "I've got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart." There is a part that says, "And if they devil doesn't like it, he can sit on a tack. Ouch!" And when THAT song comes on, she just starts saying, "OUCH!" over and over.

She loves to play peek a boo. She will walk around with things covering her head, and take it off and say "Boo!" Or any time we are hiding, when she is looking for us, she says, "Boo!" Last night, after her bath, she kept putting the towel over her head and saying "Boo!" over and over.

She is very, very good at saying no. And she will also say "uh-uh." So she will say, "no, uh-uh" to us when she doesn't want to do something. Last night we were playing and she ran away with delight and said, "no no ma!" Sometimes, I like that she can say no. Like, when we say, "do you want any more bites?" If she is hungry she will eat, but if not she will simply say "no." I do think we are going to have some issues with her being obstinent in her life. She is a little stinker at times. When we tell her "no," especially with something like touching the controls on the TV or standing up in her rocking chair, she will look at us, AS she is doing it, and say "no, no, no." Like, "I know what I am doing is wrong, what of it?" Luckily, Jason and I don't want to raise a kid that doesn't obey so we are working on it. It's her age and she is not hard to deal with, even when she is disobeying. And if we work on behaving, obeying and consistant discipline, I have no doubt we will get through this stage just fine.

She also says "yes" and knows what it means. "Do you want to go night night?" we will ask. The funny thing is, if she does, she will shake her head yes and go lay right to sleep. She sleeps through the night and usually goes down around 7:30. She is only taking one nap a day now, she just kind of transitioned into that herself within the last couple of weeks. She will usually eat anything you give her. She calls everything crackers or cookies, or "yummy" if she wants a bite. She can identify an "apple" and "nana" (for banana).

She can also identify her hair, head, toes (and say it), feet, belly button, eyes, ears, nose, and someone else's mouth. She can say and identify "shoes," "bow," "cup" and "dink" (for drink).

She can march if you ask her, run (or try to), dance, and jump (or try to, she never gets off the ground.) She can also put her hands up and say "Ta da!" She is a great copier and will almost always at least try to say something if you tell her to. She picks up on it so quickly. Usually, if you tell her something, it only takes her a few times to say it and learn it. Her memorization skills are incredibly advanced for her age. It's amazing how well she remembers what you teach her. She also has a very large vocabulary. I couldn't tell you how many words she can say, but as far as how many she can say and use correctly, I would say it's around 20, if not more.

She is also a very tough cookie. She falls down alot and almost never cries about it. She will just look at us and say "Uh-oh." (This is the Sophia gene in her, because she is almost exactly like her sister!) She has alot of people in her life who don't make fusses about falling down, luckily. Every once in a while, she will fall and it will scare her and run over to her dad and me. But a quick kiss and hug and she is out and running again. She is also very determined and doesn't let failing once stop her from trying to do something. She will try something once, then try it a different way. She is ALWAYS experimenting. She will pick up a scarf and have it on herself 4 different ways, then lay it down, then pick it up and do something else with it. She tried to climb stairs over and over until she got it. Now, we can't keep her off stairs! She will go up and down (and up and down, and up and down, and up and down, and up and down). I guess a good word for her right now would be "busy!" Always busy.

Lately, she is a very loving kid. She loves to come up randomly and hug our legs or she will say "ups!" just so we pick her up and give her kisses or hugs. I am loving this stage right now. It's so fun that she can finally love you back and show it physically. She will get up from where she is and come sit in my lap, or lean on me when we are watching cartoons, or put her head on my shoulder. It's the sweetest thing.

It is absolutely NEVER lost on me, how blessed I am to have her. She is a true miracle, a pure joy in my life that I didn't deserve but got anyway. I never take one minute of her life for granted and I never ever stop thanking God for her. I love her with all of my heart!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day Five Blog Challenge

"A picture of somewhere you've been!"

I will put the pictures that are easily accessible. I have also been to New York, but that was pre-digital photos. I need to scan those.


Lake Tahoe...

New Orleans...

Of course, there are others. But sometimes, I can't believe how many places I've already been in my life!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day Four Blog Challenge...

I didn't take one. single. picture. all weekend long. Bad mommy. My phone was dead, though, so I guess that's a good excuse.

We have had a crazy busy weekend. Friday night, we went to my mom and dad's and Brooke did my hair. I am back to blonde, baby! Saturday, we ran around all day. We also went to the viewing of a boy that I knew growing up. It's a very sad story, but we will just say that our friends have had to bury both of their boys within two years of each other. Both had the same condition that ended up taking them to Heaven. Their oldest was 23 when he passed and their youngest would have been 23 next month.

Today, we went to church, got a new lawnmower and weedeater on loan from a friend and then organized our garage and cut some grass. Whew. I am ready for a night of this in about 15 minutes.

Seriously, addicted to this show.

And, this week, on Friday morning at 12:01 am, we are going to see this...

AHHHH!! I have been waiting for this moment since last spring, when I read all three novels in a matter of days!

So, onto the blog challenge...

The challenge for today is to write about "a habit I wish I didn't have or something I am looking forward to."

So, I will combine them together. A habit I've had my whole life is prostrastination. This has led to many problems. One problem being money issues. I will ignore something or put it off, not realizing how hard it would be to fix later on in life. Well, this year, it's time to pay the piper. I would love to say that all of the problems we are fixing financially are a result of Jason being laid off and us both being underemployed for a while. But that would be a lie. These problems would have been easily fixed along the way, but my prostrastination is the problem behind the most of the them. So this year, I am looking forward to getting some of these monkeys off my back and taking a next step towards financial freedom and a home of our own in the very near future.

Ok, now it's on to The Walking Dead! Am I the only one watching this show?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Blog Challenge Day Three - A picture of you and your friends....

This one was great fun. I actually went through and posted pictures of myself with all of my friends I've had over the years. Or at least, the pictures I could find!

This was a very fun blog post. I realized how many of these people I've loved over the years. And what's more amazing is that even though I don't talk to these people every day, or even every year, I still am friends with them on Facebook, or I could call them up right now and go hang out. It makes me feel like I've had an incredibly blessed life. And I have so many memories with each and every one of them.

The picture quality on them aren't the greatest, but they are such great memories!

Senior prom. My friends, April, Kendra and me, went stag. We were lookers. You know, we were all three single at the time, and now I know why. We WERE intimidating, if I do say so myself!!! (Sorry for the flash!)

My sister and I on our way somewhere fantastic...

My 25th birthday. I wanted to be gold all over. That was such a fun night. The group of girls that went were SO MUCH FUN...This was me, Lindsey, and Amber.

My friend Nikki and me...

I don't even remember which dance this was?? Karen, Lauren, Tanna, Brittany, Jennifer and me!

Us crazy choir gals on our trip to San Antonio my junior year...

The ladies of Atrium, Crystal, Heather and Brenda...

Ringing in the new year in our ugly sweaters (the year I swore I would never find a husband or family...ha!) This is Kate and Jenn.

Me and Kate at Brooke's bachelorette party...

And one of my favorites...St Patty's Day, 2009. That night I cried to Kate that I would never find a husband. Funny.

My 21st birthday. Ah, the days. These were my roommates the year I turned 21. Amy, Brittany, and Leah.

Brittany, Tanna and Me, 2007, I think?

Reagan and me, 2007? 2005? I don't remember.

Ah, my Texas Roadhouse girlies, looking so good for biker night...

Me and Brittany, freshman year, trying on our Halloween costumes. I don't even remember where we went, do you?

Me and my friend April, who left me right after graduation but I've gone twice to see. I miss you!

Me and my friend Micah from Roadhouse.....he was a funny, funny guy.

Me and Christina (AKA, Stinky-pooh)

My sister, Brooke and I, as we showed up at my bridal shower wearing the same dress!!

What a great trip down memory lane!!!