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Monday, June 29, 2009

It's the Little Things

Back to work Monday. I didn't feel too much dread. It is my week to be off at four, and it is a four day week. Four just may be my lucky number. I'm not sure why getting off at four makes the day seem shorter. I am at work for the same amount of time. I suppose the old early bird from Starbucks days still resides within.

There is one things I really dread during the week and that is lunches. As a part of our total money makeover we have tried to reduce the amount of money spent on going out during the work week. I'm not one for frozen meals. This has relegated me to the plain old sandwich. Unless we have leftovers I try to stay positive once the lunch hour arrives. Usually it is just nothing to get excited about. Today I decided to add lettuce to my sandwich. I don't know why I haven't before, but when the clock hit eleven I remembered I had a turkey sandwich on wheat with some crisp lettuce waiting for me. Something about the crisp lettuce just added a little boost to the ordinary. I know it sounds silly, but it made all the difference. I also decided to buy some brie. I know it's one of those things you either love or hate, but I have a special place in my heart for some good wine and French cheese. Of course I can't bring wine to work so I decided to bring a small piece of brie everyday. It is like a small mental getaway to a picnic overlooking a vineyard somewhere in the wine country.

By this point you may be laughing at my peculiar blog or scratching your head as to why I would put any thought into a blog about my mundane brown bag lunch. I am finding life so much more pleasurable when I find little burst of joy in the common activities of the day because every prevalent memory is just a picture made up of all the little things.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Less Blogging Makes Me Unhappy

I have not had the opportunity to blog as often as I was. I'm still here. I have had so many topics bouncing around in my head, but when I get home and sit in front of the computer I can't get all of my frazzled thoughts together into something that sounds vaguely coherent. Since I don't know what will transpire over the weekend here are my thoughts on a few things.

#1 Iran-What a horrid tragedy is occurring in this country. Still our country has no balls (sorry people that's just what I'm feeling) to stand up and take a hard line stance against Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah. I know we can't save everyone, but the U.S. population cares more about a John & Kate split over innocent people being murdered. The people have spoken, now let's stand up with them for some freedom!

#2 John & Kate plus eight?-I've never watched the show. Exploiting children to pay for your own poor choices...priceless entertainment here in the states. My take, absolutely devastating. Get those kids off the air.

#3 Texas Heat-It sucks.

#4 Being positive-I need to be. This heat sure is great compared to the frozen tundra of the arctic.

#5 Dad-Still miss him. He's making us proud on the African front.

#6 Family-I love them. Thanks for loving me Chris, even when I'm a grumpy lady.

#7 Governors who sneak off to Argentina without telling anyone-Not cool buddy. Time to resign.

#8 Two celebrities dying in one day- It is sad when anyone dies under such tragic circumstances. Enough said.

#9 Weekends-A time for rest and contemplation. I can't wait!

Most lists are comprised of ten. It's just logical. Well I don't feel like being logical. That will be my blog for the night. I hope everyone has a great Friday. Stay tuned for more news on the blogging front.

Friday, June 19, 2009


I'm just going to come out and say it. I am a giant ball of stress. There that feels a little better.
I've always dreamed about being one of those cool,calm, zen people, but I'm not. During the week I find that many little things can set it off. After a long day at work I come home and just want the world to be perfect. Yet I look around and see clothes that need washed, dinner to be cooked, kids who need attention, walls to be painted, books to be read, places to go,budgets to calculate, and then my mind wanders to why didn't I finish college again. I want to be everywhere and do everything, but in my heart of hearts I just want to be content. My mind is so busy, I grow weary of myself.

Forgive this blog please. I truly love my life, but it is just one of those moments. I'm just reconciling these thoughts on this blank slate in hopes I can make sense of it all.

It has been a long week. I have been tired and not felt much like myself which makes me irritable and not the greatest mom or wife. I am committed to providing for my family, but how long can one work in a job for which they have no passion? I know the answer and it is as long as it takes, but I am still just a mere mortal. I want to reach the dreams I have longed for. I want to do something I am passionate about. I want to change the world!

My balloon of dreams is descending back to reality. Oh it is in these moments that I must trust you God once again. Please strengthen me because I can never do it in myself.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I could have been bogged down by a typical Tuesday, but Chris e-mailed me this morning to wish me a Happy 'Out of prepayment penalty' day! How could I forget? Three years ago we signed the papers to close on our home. Three years ago we made one of the most misinformed financial decisions. Today we celebrate making it three years against the odds, and we are free from a hefty prepayment penalty! I find it is easy to get lost in the forest and forget to celebrate the small victories. I just wanted to take this moment to revel in this victory.

We should close on our refinance by the end of this month. It is not all we had hoped it would be. We will only refinance the 80% portion of our loan, but that will bring the interest rate down to 5.5%. If home values don't increase in the near future we will probably stay in our home a few more years. No matter what we will still save money, and we will not be subject to the formidable ARM. With inflation on the horizon I am truly grateful we will not be in danger of an increasing rate.

Time to get back to work.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I love Monday

I know it sounds crazy. In fact this morning I don't want to love Monday, but I'm trying to be positive so stick with me. Love is not always a feeling right? I'm just going to dig my heels in and love Monday even if it kills me!

There is just something awful about preparing a meal that tastes so good, and then waking up the next morning and feeling like you need to puke. That's how I felt today. I don't know if it was bad food, or dehydration from the sun, but I felt horrible. Have you ever seen the cartoons where the character gets out of bed only to literally drag themselves across the floor picking themselves up and falling as only a cartoon character can do? That was me this morning, just not as cool looking as a cartoon character.

It was a fairly good weekend. We saw UP. I loved it, but I love most Pixar films. Kaylie said it was the best movie ever. Of course she is three and anything in recent memory is usually the best. I believe there is also something wonderful about an air conditioned movie theater in the middle of hundred degree weather.

We spent Sunday at the water park. This has become a weekly ritual. Kaylie is slowly getting braver. She still has a tendency to panic in the wave pool, but she now goes down all the slides in the kids area. These are not the slides from the kiddy area I remember as a child. These are a lot bigger and a lot of fun. Sometimes we have to convince her it would be a good idea to go back to the kids area and ride some slides. Hey even adults can be kids at heart :) Micah isn't quite ready for all that excitement. His favorite passtime is crawling around the most shallow area of the kids pool, and chilling with momma on the lazy river.

Well it's time to get back to today. All this weekend fun has been brought to you brought to you by the paychecks from Thomson and Pavestone.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Water Garden Pictures

A week has gone by, but here they are.

Kaylie took this picture. A little bit dark, but I think we have a photographer in the making.
Kaylie and I are about to make the dangerous journey to the bottom. ha ha
I told Kaylie she needed to hold my hand for her own safety, but secretly it was to help me keep my own equilibrium.
Micah just wanted to sleep. Can you blame him in this heat?

Finally, an escape from the scorching sun.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Across the Ocean Seems So Far Away

My dad has been in Africa for over a month now. I knew he would be far away, but when you are a busy working mom you find that it's easy to pass the time by just living life. When I go over to their house it's often just like dad's at work or in the office. I haven't spoken to him much because of the time difference, power outages in Burkina Faso, and all the things that can make transcontinental communication difficult. I just happened to pick up the kids this afternoon, and mom was on the phone with him. We were able to talk briefly before his phone disconnected.

When I was little there were a few times my dad traveled without us, or we traveled to visit family without him if he was working. I remember hating the moment we had said our goodbyes and he turned to walk away. I dreaded those few moments knowing how much I would miss him and how far away it seemed he would be. I just wanted to get a good cry out so all those bottled up kid emotions could get out. Talking to my dad today made me feel that way again. Of course I am all grown up and I know I will see him again, but it's just the reality of how far away he really is.

I suppose no matter how grown up we get there is always that child in us that longs for the closeness of home, and not the structure. Instead the home we found or always wanted to find in the safety and security of our parents love and presence in our lives.

When you read this dad I love you and miss you. I know you will come home, but tonight across the ocean seems so far away.

Flash Flood

We are so close to building boats to float away. This may seem like an exaggeration, but it's not to far from reality when I can see the Trinity river from my front door. If you have never been through a true Texas thunderstrom it is a sight to behold. I remember my grandparents coming from Seattle one spring. We had a classic April storm. It was nothing too out of the ordinary, but my gradmother was scared out of her mind. I have spent the morning watching lightning bounce across the sky from my desk. I am still amazed we have electricity.
Last night was cool to watch. If only I wasn't so chicken I could have taken some good pictures. I'll leave that to the crazy storm trackers. I prefer the perceived safety of my own home.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


No I'm not going on one, but I sure wish I was. Unfortunately I have no vacation time until September 17th. Yes I have it down to the day. This warm summer weather has me craving a sunny beach If it wasn't for the economic mess and high cost of living, California would be my place to live.

It was a good weekend. We made the mistake of going to downtown Fort Worth Saturday afternoon. We walked from Sundance Square all the way to the Water Gardens behind the convention center. The walk there was not too bad. Kaylie loved the unique fountains and pools. I recommend checking it out if you are ever downtown. It really is an amazing piece of work. Unfortunately the temperature really started to heat up and we had a long walk back. We were all dragging the whole trek back to the car. Saturday night Chris and I went on a date. We had some wings at Buffalo Wild Wings and then coffee at a new shop called Roots. It was a cool little shop in North Richland Hills. The decor was aweseom and the coffee not too shabby. My only complaint was the people were not too friendly, even after I attempted to engage one of the baristas in conversation.

Sitting in the coffee shop made us realize once again what a great desire we have to one day open our own coffee shop. It has been a dream of mine since I was a teenager, and Chris just happens to share that dream. We spent the rest of our date brainstorming and crunching numbers. It was fun to converse about something we are both so passionate about. Hopefully that dream will be fullfilled in the near future, but more on that later.

Sunday was a relaxing day. We had lunch with the family at Saltgrass (so very good). After lunch we took the kids swimming for the remainder of the afternoon. It was quite enjoyable. As usual I did not want it to end. I will post some pictures later this week from out trip to the water gardens.

Time to sign off. Until tomorrow!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cup,Slurp,Identify, & Describe

Close your eyes for a moment. When was the last time you really experienced something? Was it the taste of a delectable dessert? Was it the sweet morning air? Perhaps it was a song that captured your ear and brought you back to a moment or place in time.

During my tenure at Starbucks my absolute favorite activity was the coffee tasting. It was something that was drilled into me from the moment I walked through the doors. We did coffee tastings for everything:meetings,first days, parties, and just for the fun of it. The point of it was to get the partners as well as customers involved in understanding the complexities of coffee. We usually paired it with a dessert that complimented the flavors in the coffee. Nothing delighted me more than when I would conduct a partners first impressions. We would always start with a tasting. I favored a French press of Kenyan coffee for the first day, and usually paired it with a lemon bar. I loved to watch as an ordinary cup of coffee was transformed in front of them. It did not matter if the partner was a coffee drinker or not. I always got a reaction once they made the connection between the flavors of the coffee and the pastry.

The basic steps were to cup the coffee and get a good whiff of what you were about to taste. The next step was to slurp. This had a two fold purpose. The first was that it cooled the coffee down so that you could actually taste, and the second helped to spray the liquid across the pallet so a true flavor profile could be assessed. After getting a good taste you could then identify what parts of the tongue were affected by the flavor. Last but not least we described what we had tasted.

I may be losing some of you who don't love coffee, but bear with me. The reason I loved this practice so much was not simply because I enjoy coffee. It really was the experience of awakening the senses to something deeper than the eye can see. Too often we resort to hyper drive in our fast paced society. We inhale food, ingest millions of bits of information, and simply run through life without stopping to allow our senses to catch up. There is something pure and wonderful about stopping and allowing the senses to soak in the experience. I promise the price of time will be well rewarded.

Never Take for Granted

Tonight was one of those nights. A night where I came home and just needed some quiet. The kids were loud. Micah wanted to be held all night. Kaylie wanted a snack, to go the the park, to play, and to interrupt any conversation I was having. I know every mom can relate to what I'm talking about. Sometimes you just want some time for yourself. Time to feel like you are more than just a cook, nurse, and maid. I finally put them to bed, and decided to pull out some old notebooks full of my writings over the years. I came across this poem I wrote the night after I found out I had miscarried our first child.

October 18th
October 18th I found you were not there
My heart was broken, nothing seemed fair.
To know I would not see you
Or get to hold you to my heart,
My soul was devastated.
Will time ever heal this tear?
I am so sad.
I miss you so much now.
In just a few short weeks,
God has given you so much to endow.
You opened my heart is so many ways.
Slowly I would give up my selfishness,
For this love so great.
Baby, God wanted you to be with Him.
So once again I cannot be selfish.
I will give in.
I will always love you, my very first.
I'll keep your little snoopy,
To always remind us of you.
I love you, goodnight,
Until we meet again.

Reading this brought back a flood of memories. My children are my babies and I can never take them for granted. In those times when I'm tired, or feel I can't listen to that song one more time, I remember how precious these gifts are to me. These times are but a moment, and in a blink they will be grown.

Like a Punch in the Gut

Have you ever been strolling through life happy, unaware of the pot hole waiting just around the corner? Well I just hit that pothole, and it feels more like a punch in the gut. This may be an exaggeration, but it's a fresh hit so I need to vent. No one is completley immune to this recession. Today we found out that due to some foreclosures in our neighborhood our appraisal on our home was not enough to meet the refinance requirements. Not only are we paying a ridiculously high interest rate, but Dallas county in gouging us on taxes with an inflated property value. We wanted to dispute this and lower our payment, but ironically the deadline for the 2009 year was June1. There are still a few options on the refinance, but right now things look pretty bleak. It looks like we could be stuck with this ARM for a little while longer and who knows what rates will start to inflate to in the unstable market . It is completely frustrating when we were banking on paying some major debt off with the monthly savings.

Now I just need to take a step back. I know there are others in much dire straits than we are. It's times like these that patience and perseverance are what keep us holding it together. Now I guess I will just put on my big girl panties and do the only thing I can. Deal with it!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Haircut

I am guilty of breaking the cardinal hair care rule. A trim every 6-8 weeks will keep your hair looking healthy. At least that is what my stylist tells me. As a teen I had my hair cut regularly. I don't think I ever went longer than six weeks. Of course I had short hair and that requires a little more maintenance. Ever since I let my hair grow long I have been perpetually tardy in the salon chair.I would say on average I cut my hair twice a year. Pathetic I know.

I used to say it was money that kept me from getting my haircut. I just hated dropping down $50 or more for a cut, but now I guess that excuse won't fly. It is pretty sad when your husband starts saying," honey you can get your haircut, no, I'm serious your really should get your haircut." I believe now it is a matter of the daunting practice of choosing a style. I have had everything from short, to long and straight. I love the super cute short styles, but I find that our love affair is short lived. No pun intended. I am happy with the cut for a couple of weeks and then it starts to grow out and becomes impossible to deal with. I have a girly side, but I definitely like to keep things low maintenance.

I like all of the possibilities long hair offers. There is the ponytail. Every mom loves this. Roll out of bed in the morning and can't stand the ball of frizz that settled on your head? Throw up a ponytail. Ball cap optional. Need to go formal? A sexy up-do will have you turning heads in no time. Heading to the Carribean? Microbraids and beads will have you fitting right in. Of course nothing beats the classic sultry long, flowing hair look.

Now I have gone and deviated from the main purpose of this blog, and that is choosing a hair style for my cut today. Can you see why I only do this twice a year?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Problem With Blind Justice

I have been around long enough to see a few supreme court nominations in my time. I have watched with great interest as the drama unfolds around Ms. Sotomayor's nomination. I am a firm believer in blind justice. The symbol of a blindfolded women holding the balance is a completely beautiful picture of the ideal system in any society. Of course in our politically correct world we find each side battling over the fairness or unfairness any potential candidate will bring to this high court. Should race, gender, poltical affiliation, or family background have a place in the hallowed halls of our justice system? Absolutely not! Those who mete out justice should do so with no interest in either party. Judgements should be evenhanded. The scale should not lie. In our society the scale is also tempered with a strict constitution that should guard from any man who would utilize a dishonest scale.

Unfortunately there is a great problem with blind justice, and that problem is man. How can anyone expect humans to be what they are not. Our species is wrought with unjustice to the core. Each one of is a viewing life from our experience. In a perfect world one can only hope that we would do our best to keep justice blind and her scales fair, but when humanity is involved I do not know if that is possible.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A True Cynic

I have always wished I was one of those individuals that saw a glass as half full. I must admit, I am a true cynic. I don't trust easily, and I usually am looking for ulterior motives. I suppose I am a true child of this age, exposed by media from all sides, with a hardened exterior to withstand disappointment. In this intense climate it is easy to fall back to what is comfortable and revert inward. If you can't really trust anyone, maybe I can at least trust myself?

As I ponder my own cynical outlook, a verse from Colossians 1:27 came to the forefront of my mind.

to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

So God what you're saying is it's not Crystal the hope for glory? What a relief! With this one simple truth all my cynicism and tough resolve melts away. There is no human knowledge I posses, nothing I can build, no magic words I can say that will provide hope or peace for myself or anyone. It is this strange mystery that God has chosen to reveal to the humble and lowly of heart. Who am I to be cynical when it is Christ alone that is our hope for glory?