Sunday, August 23, 2009

I'm moving!

I'm very excited to say that I'm moving! blog is moving, I should say:) After much contemplation (and irritation with Blogger settings), I've created a page at WordPress. Many of my favorite blogs are on WP, and I've always found them very visually appealing, so I was curious to check out the features there. I went for a visit today, and was so impressed that I immediately created a page. I've been playing with it, and it's definitely a work in progress, but I wanted to go ahead and let you all know.

I hope you will come visit me at my new home and let me know what you think. What works, what doesn't....feel free to tell me!! I'll probably keep this page up for a bit, and then delete it totally, since I've already transferred all my posts.

Here's my new address:

Blogwarming gifts are welcome:)

Grateful Sunday

It's already arrived. Sunday has crept up on me again, making me wonder, "Where in the world did the weekend go???". *sigh* Another work week awaits, five more days until freedom. I like my job, truly I do, but lately I've just been soooo out of work mojo. I think it's a vacation after-effect. Just can't seem to get back in the swing of things. Now that I'm done whining, here's my list of things that I'm grateful for this beautiful Sunday afternoon:

1. My job. Regardless of the moaning I just did in the sentences before, I am very grateful that I have a job, and that I enjoy the people I work closely with each day. I've worked in jobs that I hated, and know how fully blessed I am to have landed where I have.

2. You've Got Mail- movie with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks- circa 1998 (OMG.. I just had to look up the release date, and I can't believe it's been out that long!!). I love love love this movie. Two of my favorite actors, set against the backdrop of the book business. It doesn't get much more perfect to me. Add in the fact that I adore Greg Kinnear, and I totally lust after the Meg's brownstone in the movie, it's a constant re-watch in my house. It always makes me long for autumn, twinkle lights and crisp, new books.

3. Sturdy garbage bags. Operation Simplify started this weekend and I already have three huge garbage bags of items for the thrift store. I even placed on our curb a large toy that Jalyn no longer wanted and it was gone within 15 minutes. YES! I've been taking pictures of the process, and hope to share them soon.

4. Restaurants that deliver. I'm craving some hot wings, and think I'm about to place an order. I wish grocery stores delivered. Wouldn't that be awesome!?? I hate hate hate, absolutely DESPISE, going to the grocery store. Is there a grocery shopping internet site that I just haven't stumbled across yet? If there was, it would be number one on my Grateful List.

5. WordPress. For a variety of reasons, I'm in the process of converting the OB over to WP. I'm having fun stumbling around trying to figure things out, and I hope that my readers here will happily follow me over there once it's complete. But I certainly have to figure out what I'm doing first, LOL! It's definitely different from Blogger--but so far, it seems to be a little easier. (I'm sure I'll take back that statement when I become stumped and started hassling people for help:))

I hope everyone else is having a good Sunday as well. Thanks for visiting the OB!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Simply Happy

“Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.”- Charles Dudley Warner
We've survived our first week back from vacation, and boy, was it a doozy. Not only did I have to tackle all the work waiting when I returned (in addition, of course, to this weeks work as well), but we had to get the kids ready to start back to school. You all know what that entails-- new clothes, new shoes, school supplies, haircuts, robbing a bank to pay for it all (I kid, I kid!). I had planned on doing this all the weekend before we left, but due to Jalyn coming down with strep, we were confined to the house and unable to take care of these chores. I'm proud to say that we made it-the kids got to school, my work got all caught up, and I'm still standing.
But if I must be honest, I am feeling very nostalgic. Bittersweet even. Sad, to an extent. I miss vacation. I miss the 24/7 with the ones I love, doing whatever we want to do. I miss watching my husband grill delicious food every night, never having to worry about what to make for dinner, or getting everyone into bed at a decent hour. I miss the way my kids were insanely happy to not only be doing fun things, but to be doing them with Mom and Dad. I know those days won't last forever, and I'm struggling daily to remember to live in the moment and enjoy them. When I tried to nail down in my brain why I've been feeling this way, one word jumped to the front of the pack, lit up like a theatre marquee, followed by many exclamation points:

Vacation life was so simple. We had just enough clothes to get through the week. We had four plates, four cups, four sets of silverware. Two heavy blankets for each bed. Four bottles of water that we just kept
refilling. I think the only thing we had more than four of was towels. I was able to relax in this environment in a way that I haven't relaxed in a long, long while. I believe the last time I felt that way was during our honeymoon, when, you guessed it, we stayed at a cabin, where our lifestyle was very basic as well.
Although I like to consider myself an eternal optimist, I'm also a realist. I know that I can't escape responsibilities such as work, bills, school, etc. But I also know that I don't need all these possessions in my life to get me through the day. Every time I walk through our house, I just stall out. I get exhausted just thinking of everything that needs to be done. I can't even remember the last time I fully relaxed. What a sad thing to say about my own home. There's just too much. Too much paper. Too much furniture. Too many clothes everywhere. Too much...well... for lack of a better word, shit. The realist side of me fully comprehends that living in a home with two children is never going to be perfectly uncluttered or clean. But the older I get, the more my need for less clutter, aesthetically pleasing items, organization and calming scents increases.
In my search for help in obtaining this simplicity I crave, I ran across a wonderful blog called Zen Habits. THIS article in particular, Simple Living Manifesto, really spoke to me. It is chock full of wonderful ideas, many of which I plan to implement in an effort to get my life, my home, myself in order. To give myself, and my family, the gift of simplicity. Because I know, in the deepest depths of my being, that a little simplicity would go a looooong way to making me a better wife, a better mother, a better me.
What about you? Does anyone have any words of wisdom, nuggets of advice, pearls of ideas to share? And while I wait for your ideas, and contemplate my own, I'll stare at this photo and try to inspire myself to get off this computer and start simplifying!

white sheets Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dear So and So....

My sweet bloggy friend Amanda--you can find her here at (sorry, my stupid links aren't working again. I SO need a new computer). Anyway, Amanda has a wonderful weekly feature on her page called "Dear Someone" where you can write letters to anyone you feel may need a few choice words from you. Since I'm not smart enough to probably figure up how to link this onto her page to join the fun, I'm just going to go ahead and post it here, and then please make sure you visit her Family of Shorts. Trust me, it's well worth the click of your mouse!

Let the letters begin!!

Dear Jalyn, sweet daughter o'mine,

When you walk in the door after your first day of school, and say, "Mom, how was your day at work?", please don't get offended or frightened if I start to cry. Your kindness and thoughtfulness are just too much for me sometimes. Not to mention that I was almost unbearably proud of how compassionate you are.

Love always,

Dear Jaxen, six year old supa stud o'mine,

Your hair is the bees knees today. But trust me, your mohawk won't fall down if I touch it. There's no need to pull away from me. It's called Hair GLUE for a reason, you know.

Love always,

Dear Mrs. Mac_______, teacher whom I have yet to master the pronunciation and/or spelling of your name,
You can't possibly imagine how happy it made me to hear my son say, "My teacher is very, very nice. She has army men." You passed the coolness test of my son, and that's saying a lot. I know we are going to get along famously.

Thank you,
Jaxen's mom

Dear Lice,

Thank you SOOOO much for staying out of my daughter's hair so that she could get an adorable new haircut for school. I must admit, I was a nervous wreck when the lady at the salon started combing thru Sissy's hair. I kept expecting the "AAAHHH! No haircut today-- nasty bugs in her hair!!". I'm so grateful that you stayed away so that this did not happen.

Gratefully yours,
Mom of Lice-Free Children

DeAnna, soul sistah o' mine,

You always make me laugh with your embarassing stories. I can't wait till the next time you flip off a car that does NOT have your sister in it as you assumed, or the next time you rip out the ass of your pants while at work, surrounded by men, of course.

Jess, whose abs are grateful for the work-out you give them

Whew. I feel better after getting those things off my chest. What about you? Is there anything you'd like to say to anyone? Come on... you know there is...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Well.. Kind of...

I know this is technically supposed to be a "wordless" Wednesday post, but there's just so much I have to say. I have a zillion blog ideas running around in my head, creating havoc and crowding the things that I really need to be thinking about. Like school starting tomorrow, whether or not I set the coffee pot correctly to auto brew at six (ACK!) in the morning, whether Jalyn's underwear are light enough to not show thru her new dress, whether I will be able to use the Funky Spiker gel correctly to get Jaxen's mohawk perfect in the morning without creating a goopy mess... well, you know, the Mom stuff that is always running through our heads. And now I'm also thinking about how long that sentence was. Hello, on sentences are SO not cool!

That being said - I have a ton of vacation pics that I'd love to share with everyone (and likely will in the future, along with details of our wonderful trip), but for now, here are two of my favorites that I wanted to share on this not-so-Wordless Wednesday. The sun wreaked havoc on the lighting in them, but oh well... I still love 'em!



Hope everyone is having a great week & that all of you moms out there are surviving getting back into the school groove!

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Internal Overflowing Bookshelf

I'm having such a hard time lately focusing on what I'm reading when I'm reading it. I don't mean that I'm easily distracted by the kids, or the television, or the fact that dinner needed to be made, oh say, two hours ago. It's more like my brain is thinking, "Hey... I know you're really enjoying this book, but could you please read a little faster. There are a lot of great books out there waiting for you!!" Now, I realize that my to-be read list is always pretty lengthy. Usually though I have no trouble prioritizing what I want to move to the top. At the moment, I appear to be having a little trouble with that:)

Here are the titles that are currently calling my name. Very loudly, I might add.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman : I stumbled into this book, literally, while at Borders this weekend. I was intrigued by the title and the cover, so I opened the flap and read this:

A thrilling and original coming of- age novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world. Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he's still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York.

Well, hell. That just moved to the top of the list. I was proud of myself for not purchasing it right then.

Another titled that sucked me in by looking pretty on a display, this time at Waldenbooks, is The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Any plot that centers around a "Cemetery of Forgotten Books" is just too much for me to resist.

A few months ago, author Jen Lancaster posted her picks of summer reads. I should have known better than to read that list, because then I had to add both I'm Down by Mishna Wolff and At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream by Wade Rouse. I'm a sucker for a funny memoir and both of these appear to fit that criteria.

Not to mention that I'm also fixing to begin THIS and also THIS, both of which are fun little series.

*Sigh* No wonder I can't concentrate on the book at hand-- there's just too much bookish goodness out there waiting for me!! If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand many books, too little time. :) What are you guys reading these days?

More Than I Can Chew?

For those two, possibly three, of my readers who don't follow me on Facebook, and are thinking, "What in the world is this girl doing posting a blog? I thought she was going on vacation?", here's the update. My daughter has strep. We've decided to still go on the trip but are delaying our leaving by one day. The doctor said that after being on the antiobiotics for 24 hours, she should be feeling worlds better. So today is going to be a day of rest and rejuvenation (and a more leisurely packing pace for me, since I'm still not done:)). Now that that is out of the way...

I wanted to toss an idea out there that I have been contemplating. I'm thinking of starting a food blog. (I can hear your snickers from here!) Wait, wait! Let me lay out for you the reasons behind this idea and maybe you won't be laughing quite so hard... maybe.

First off, in prior posts I have referenced numerous times my inadequacy as a "housewife". Or at least what I feel to be inadequacy. I'm sure it could also be called laziness as well. When it comes to the kitchen though, a lot of my avoidance stems from the fact that I'm just not comfortable there. I grew up with a mother who was very obsessed with having a clean kitchen-- thus it was not a place where I was allowed to be. Which of course resulted in my having very little experience in the kitchen when I left home. I've always been able to follow a recipe, but if it contains ingredients I'm not familiar with, I steer clear our of fear. Not fear of taste-- I'm up for anything-- but more fear of not knowing how to cook with said ingredient. And I'm certainly not an adventurous being in the kitchen. My husband can look at what's in the cupboard and whip something up that resembles a meal, and often tastes pretty darn good. I have just never had that ability.

Secondly, my daughter has said for around two years now that she wants to be a "cooker" when she grows up. (Some things are just too cute to correct!!) She likes to be my helper in the kitchen, and I desperately want to encourage this behavior. (Not to mention that it will be great when she's big enough to start taking care of dinner:)) But I would like for her to be more of a natural in the kitchen environment than her mother is. Hamburger Helper is the shiznit, but I'd like to encourage a little "from scratch" cooking.

And lastly (although I could go on for days with the reasons I've created in my head), my poor family needs some good food. And what better way to force me into the kitchen than to document my successes - and failures, I'm sure - for you, my lovely readers. I fully recognize that there are a million fantastic food blogs out there, and I'm certainly not striving to be at their level. I simply want to make a mess with my kids and maybe eat a little better in the process.

So there you have it-- my grandiose idea:) What do you think? Would anyone be interested in following the adventures of "The Hall Cookers"? Simply put- I've never cooked a roast... not even in a Crock-Pot. I've never baked a pie. I've never cooked any type of fish. Raw meat scares me. And I think it's time to change that.

Now, off to stare at beautiful food and pick our first challenge. I think
THIS may be the one. I've been lusting after it for months.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

At Least I Leave My Clothes On....

I've realized lately that I only tend to write when I'm happy. This bothers me to a certain extent, since I don't want anyone to ever think that I sugarcoat my life. I certainly don't want to be one of those mommy bloggers who writes nothing but glowing things about her family and her clean house and her perfect four course meals every night... well, you get the drift. So here's a snapshot of my reality:

My house is messy. All the time. That comes with two kids, I guess--I can't seem to conquer the clutter!! I don't cook every night. Hell, I probably only go to the grocery store once a month -I hate it THAT much, so we're lucky if there's even fresh milk in the fridge. I don't "fulfill my wifely duties" enough (according to my husband). I have difficulty being a consistent discipliner, if that's even a word. Sometimes I let the kids eat whatever the want in the morning, just as long as they'll get their butts out of bed. I wear the same things over and over cause I'm just too lazy to really care. I don't change the sheets every week like I should. (Argh.. I hate that word!!). See... I sound like a total sloth, don't I?

My life is certainly not a picture perfect world. But on the other side of the coin... .I often don't want to write when I'm not happy simply because I don't want to deal with whatever it is that is bothering me. Writing about it means that I will have to analyze it enough to get it out into words, and often that's just too much work. I'm a classic avoider. I avoid confrontation in any way that I can. When faced with a situation I don't want to deal with it, I would rather just go to bed. Not so productive/healthy, I know, but at least I can admit it. Admittance is the first step, right?

After reading numerous posts lately by bloggy friends dealing with this issue, I guess I just felt the need to say these things. I kept feeling this little guilty bubble pop up over my head, like in a cartoon, thinking "Are they talking about me??" Lord, I hope not. My life's not perfect, but it's mine. And I love it. Messy rooms and all. Hey... at least I don't do this:

bad mom Pictures, Images and Photos

Everyone's got standards, right??

Saturday, August 8, 2009

For My Husband

Years ago, when we first started dating, I composed a list for Darrell of things that I loved about him. I've decided that today, our one year wedding anniversary, would be a might fine time to compose a new list. I'm sure that some of the things will remain the same (and I'm sure that some of them you just really wouldn't want to know:)). I'm also going to include some pictures of us throughout the years...always good for a smile;) This one's for you, baby!! Thus begins:

Darrell's List/ Why I Love You (circa 2002)
Because you make me laugh
Because you love me even with morning breath
Because you think I look like a bulldog when I wake
Because you actually like my cold hands and feet
Because you love your mama dearly


Because you take care of others unselfishly
Because you love kids and aren't afraid to hold them
Because you are kind to animals
Because you are a hard worker
Because you always smell good


Because you look so damn sexy playing pool
Because you can make my heart flip by simply looking at me
Because you can light up a whole room with your laugh
Because you will sing with me
Because you will lower the shower curtain to make me feel tall


Because you will help me move in the freezing cold
Because you don't care that I sweat more than a normal person
Because you have faith in me and my dreams

Darrell's List (circa 2009)

Because you are a loving, hand-on father who was never afraid to change a few diapers or be a stay-at-home dad

Because you will give the shirt of your back to help a friend in need

Because you make our children laugh till they cry


Because you will ask about what book I'm reading--when I know you really don't care:)

Because you rub my aching back, arms, legs, etc.

Because you spent this entire summer making our front yard nice and green


Because you work so hard to be able to spoil our kids & me (in a totally good spoil kind of way, lol)

Because you are passionate about many things

Because you get even more handsome with age (which is highly unfair, by the way)

Because you've learned how to comfort me- sometimes I don't need opinions or things to be fixed, just need someone to listen


Because you don't laugh or get frustrated when I play (bad) golf with you... you're just happy I'm there.

Hey... it's the little things, right? I love you, baby, kudos to us for making it through the first year! Here's to many more to come!

Friday, August 7, 2009

It's Finally Here!

Finally... my vacation time has arrived!! I am officially off work until the 17th. Can I get a woot woot??! We have quite a few things going on during this time that I'm really excited about. First up: my soul sistah Renea and I have back to back birthdays (she is Aug. 12 and I'm the 13th), so every year we celebrate by having a joint birthday shindig. Nae and her hubby bought a beautiful new home this past year, and they are graciously opening their doors to our scandalous friends to celebrate tomorrow night. Getting all our peeps in one location takes an act of God these days, so I'm SUPER thrilled that so many people will be able to make it.

Our bday party is also taking place on Darrell and my's one year anniversary. When I asked him if he cared if we went to the party (I was trying to be a good wife & make sure he had made no anniversary plans without my knowledge), of course, he replied, "Sweet!!" What he didn't speak aloud was his inner voice saying "Hot dog! This means I don't have to come up with any plans!!" LOL-- I love my man, but I also know his inner dialogues very well.

Next up we have school clothes & school supply shopping on Sunday. It's tax free weekend (I just realized that I don't know if it continues on Sunday...guess I should check into that:)). Need to get the kids haircuts done that day as well. to be honest, I'm not looking forward to fighting the crowds and I'm really not much of a shopper, but I am going to enjoying picking out super cute outfits for my adorable children.

Monday morning I have to take Jalyn in for some five year old shots so that she'll be all current before starting kindergarten. That will definitely be the low point of the vacation week, but she has assured me that she'll be tough. After that's all taken care of... off we go!!! We're going to head to northern OK and spend the night in my husband's hometown and visit with his family that we don't get to see very often. Come Tuesday, we're headed for Robbers Cave State Park (also in Oklahoma) to stay in a rented cabin until Friday. My birthday actually falls on Thursday, so I'm excited about being in a spectacular & fun locale with the whole family. We check out on Friday, and then are thinking about heading into Ft. Smith and seeing what's shaking in the big Arkansas town, LOL! Then likely back to the hometown area to spend some more time there...likely enjoying the 100 acres & spring fed creeks that hubby's aunt and uncle own.

But my favorite part of this entire week is likely going to be when we pull into the park at the cabin. The kids don't even know we're going on vacation- much less that we're going to be staying some "cool" :) They are going to go CRAZY!!! And that, of course,is what it's all about.