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Archive for March, 2007

Family

Without further ado, all of us in our camping & make-up-less glory!!

Back row: “Little” brothers Matt & Bryan
Middle row: Jess-(Matt’s GF) Kay-(little sis, Bryan’s twin) Collin-(nephew, Bryan & Lindi’s 1st) Lindi-(SIL, Bryan’s wife) Mother, Dad
Front: Brandon and Me

The only family missing are my older brother Jeff & Jessica, and their 3 kids, Noe, Joseph, and Matthew who live in Arizona and weren’t up to the drive. I can’t say that I blame them there.

I have a big family and it gets to be more and more fun each year with the new additions. I am the 2nd oldest of 5 kids who are fairly close in age. Jeff is 13 months older than me, Matt is 21 months younger than me, and the twins, Bryan and Katherine are 18 months younger than Matt.

Growing up was interesting to say the least. Jeff was kind of a bully, I was always moody, Matt was into everything, Kay was whiny, and Bryan was sick a lot (thus grouchy). It is a wonder that my parents never had a breakdown. But for all our faults we all turned out pretty well. We get along great and annoy each other a great deal less than we did growing up.

I enjoy seeing the dynamics of how larger families interact and evolve through the years. It was definitely a different experience growing up then many of my friends experienced. As crowded and loud as it could be, always having to share, having to sacrifice certain things, I wouldn’t change for the world. I am close to my brothers and sister and I truly love them all and count them as friends.

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One of Those Weeks

I am glad that Friday is upon us. I have had quite a week. It is always fun to come back from a long weekend of vacation and get back into the swing of things.First of all, spring is upon us. Warmer weather, beautiful flowers, longer days, and oh yes that lovely buttery yellow substance that has decided to take up residence in my lungs. We decided to go for a nice jog in the park on Tuesday evening only for me to wake up Wednesday morning with a very irritated throat and dry cough. Nothing makes me more grumpy then a sore throat. So that has decided to linger with no other symptoms to indicate cold or flu or even traditional allergy symptoms. No itchy eyes, no runny nose, nope just cough and sore throat.Thursday presented a battle royal at work. I got caught in the middle of some office politics. After a long day of email wars and being accused of doing something wrong it was discovered that I was perfectly inbounds and those accusing had actually made the mistake. (I assure you I was as diplomatic as can be 😉 ) On top of the sore throat Brandon had a right little ray of sunshine to meet him when he came home.

I have been managing my accounts in a spreadsheet that I personalized for quite some time now. Recently with the purchase of the PC I decided to try Quicken because it could integrate my account balancing along with budgeting and such. After trying to learn this program I have just about had it. I don’t want the software selling me stuff, I don’t want the complicating investing junk. I just want it to be customized to my simple little world and apparently that is asking way too much. I’m not a dunce when it comes to the computer but I’m certainly no expert. I usually can pick up and figure out most programs fairly easily but this one is a no go for me. And I feel particularly stupid after reading all kinds of reviews saying that this program is THE top program and so simple to use. Thanks a bunch

Ranting is fun, it feels so good to do so sometimes. Now I can go back to my regularly scheduled weekend of relaxing, feeling better and forgetting about all the trash from this past week.

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The Texas Hill Country

A View From the Top
Matt, Me, Jess, Kay, Brandon

We are back from our camping trip in the hill country. We started out at Garner State Park. I have been there as a wee one but couldn’t remember much about it except that it had “mountain.” The above picture is from our half day hiking adventure. The weather was actually quite cool and the sun only came out a little. But we had a good time hiking, exploring, and making camping stables like silver turtles and smores.
Growing up with brothers, (and a really impatient father) I didn’t really get much of a chance to help set up the tent. Matt assures me that it wasn’t any fun to set up the huge bulky tent and that I was lucky to get a reprieve. I was happy to set up the tent that Brandon and I received for Christmas a couple of years ago. We have a simple to set up dome tent that sleeps 4 adults comfortably and allows a 5’10” person to stand up fully. I figured I should get used to setting it up as we would have to take it down to move to another park in a few days.The absolute best part of Garner is seeing the night sky. We live in a major city so we have horrible light pollution. In Garner you can see more clearly and if you look close enough you can see bits of the milky way. There were even shooting stars though I couldn’t seem to be looking up when any of them passed.

And none of our travels would be complete without Chu II. My mother gave her to me a year and half ago when we traveled to my brother’s wedding. I was really sick and had lost my voice and was feeling pretty rotten so she bought me a stuffed cat to cheer me up. Since then we have taken her with us wherever we happen to go and include some pictures of her. We are making a little scrapbook of her travels.After a couple of days in Garner we packed everything up and drove 3 hours to Inks Lake State Park where my brother Bryan and his family were meeting us. It was much too cold (IMHO) to go swimming there so we occupied our time with canoing and rock climbing at the devil’s waterhole. We don’t have any pictures of Inks Lake because our camera decided to suck the batteries dry and we didn’t bring our recharger. I will have to get some pictures from Jess and my mother.All in all it was a nice, relaxing trip though I thought we spent way too much time in the car. By the time we finally got home late Sunday evening my body had had enough and I was ready to collapse in my nice, cushy, warm pillow-top bed. The Chu made sure to let us know that she was so happy to see us. She made sure to let us know all through the night by pulling things off the desk and “going shopping” in the shelves.

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What a Weekend!

For someone who always tells everyone that “nothing much has changed” and “we’re boring,” We sure had a busy weekend.First we started by hosting dinner for a couple of friends of ours on Friday. Brandon told Brian that I would make my world famous stroganoff for him since Brandon is always heating up his “yummy” leftovers at Brian’s store.Then Saturday we tried to get up early so I could make my triple chocolate brownies for the season’s first afternoon BBQ and swim at my aunt and uncle’s house in Brenham. My brownies were actually a flop because I tried to do well for all the dieters by using splenda instead of sugar. I have used splenda a number of times in baking with great results. This time when I pulled the brownies out of the oven, all the butter rose to the top and was bubbling there. I felt pretty bad because they are so good and it was a waste of good chocolate. I suspect maybe my baker’s chocolate may have been bad. After that we drove back home and dropped my grandma off before going over to Brian and Rainy’s new house for a BBQ with some college friends we haven’t seen in years. It was lots of fun as we told stories of a legendary friend from college who didn’t make it over. I always seem to miss him, he’s hilarious and fun to be around.

Sunday was church as usual but with the time change we got really confused. We didn’t expect our cell phones to change automatically and we use those for alarm clocks. Well they did change at 2am and Brandon had set mine an hour early just in case, needless to say it was pretty early and I kept hitting the snooze. After church I spent the afternoon shopping with Dyan and a friend of hers. We walked all over the mall and had fun goofing off like a bunch of teenagers.

While I was shopping Brandon decided to spend his $250+ Walmart gift cards that he has accumulated over the last few years. He is now boycotting Walmart over some confusion with them saying they would hold something for him. So we are now the proud owners of a PS2 and Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero II. He is currently out there still playing. So addictive.

This week will be a short work week for me. This coming weekend we are going camping with family in various parks in the Texas Hill Country. I am hoping for some beautiful weather, good exercise and the opportunity to take some good pictures.

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2nd Place

Our church’s annual Chili/Gumbo Cook-off was held this past weekend with great success. We raised over $10,000 which will go to help the local mission team this spring to Comunidad de Gracia and the 2 Mobility Project mission teams this summer to Mexico.I am proud to say that our team took 2nd place for chili!! It was some of the best chili I have tasted and I can be unbiased because I didn’t cook it. Unfortunately I didn’t get to taste the winning chili, that team was all they way on the end of the last row and by the time I rounded that last corner I was pretty full of chili and side dishes. I did our teams side dish of mexican cornbread which didn’t turn out as well as it could have. That is usually the way it is for me, I make something then taste it and immediately devise new ways to make it better. For the record I think it needed more jalepenos then the recipe called for and it definitely needed some corn. In all there was an interesting assortment of things to eat. I got to try “armadillo eggs” which were hard to describe but very good and bunuelos and ice cream which hit the spot after all of that hot chili.All in all it was a great night of fun and fellowship. It was a perfect opportunity to raise money for truly worthy causes.

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My Very First Computer

I finally, finally got my first computer. I made it through college without one; I simply trekked across campus to use the labs. So now, nearly 5 years after graduating I got my first computer. Brandon has an old mac lappy that while using it I always get an urge to drop it from great heights. I got so frustrated with it that I simply boycotted the computer at home, hence the lack of posts for a very long time. I don’t hate mac’s, but his is so ancient and sooooo s l o w. When it was announced that he was getting a nice bonus this year, he told me I could pick out our next computer and it is so nice. I can actually type sentences and not have to wait for the letters to appear while the computer strains to keep up with me. We have spent the last week or so getting everything set up and installed and now I am on the computer as much as he is. I don’t think he likes that too much.

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Our Wild Ride

Ten years ago I was a senior in high school. I had sworn off dating until college because the high school guys I dated were “like” so immature. I figured I didn’t have much time left and college guys would be so much more mature. (I’m rolling my eyes right now, how stupid was I?) I was having the time of my life though, senior year was so much fun. And the anticipation of what was to come was exciting.I had met Brandon our junior year when our class was punished for talking. As a punishment our teacher sat us in alphabetical order. I sat directly in front of Brandon who at his first opportunity decided to tease me. (They never change, do they?) We became fast friends as we were “kindred spirits.” He would steal (borrow) books from my locker and leave funny notes in the pages. We didn’t really become friends outside of school until that summer when he wrote me letters while I was away and talked on the phone. I soon became interested in him but the timing wasn’t right as he was chasing some other girl. And of course he always wanted girl advice from me. So I was patient.Fast forward to senior year, around new year’s he called to get more girl advice. The girl he had been seeing dumped him and he wondered what he should do. As I did a silent happy dance I gave him good (unbiased) advice telling him to move on. 😉 I then waited a good bit as I wrestled with the idea of dating him. I didn’t want to lose his friendship because it was a special bond, but at the same time I just kept thinking, “What if?” I finally decided that it was senior year and he we worth the risk. So I spent the time around his birthday and Valentine’s day trying to devise clever ways to let him know. It took writing him a blunt note so all my creative ventures were all for naught.So, ten years ago today I was standing in line at the movies with a big group of friends waiting to get in to see The Empire Strikes Back. We decided to go with a bunch of friends on our first date to make things a bit more comfortable. We had a great time together, holding hands, being silly teenagers. I remember the ride home was interesting because we had to drop a friend off first. When he got me home we did the uncomfortable, awkward first date thing. I knew he was a keeper that first date despite the awkwardness. And he must have thought the same thing because he decided to stick around.We have had a wild ride in these past ten years. We finished high school together. We spent the first year of college apart, I joined him a year later. I finished college first and moved away. He proposed just before he graduated a year later. The economy was not so good and job hunting was a real challenge but we decided to not put off getting married. Our first year of marriage was the biggest challenge I have ever faced but we made it through even stronger than before. We have been tested in the “sickness” vow of our marriage. We have laughed and we have cried. And through it all we have had a blast.These ten years have been such a blessing. To be able to grow and change together has been so much fun. I am truly grateful and blessed to have a wonderful husband like Brandon in my life. It is so much fun to be married to my best friend. He takes care of me the countless times I don’t feel well and when I am feeling down. He puts up with my sometimes incessant chatter. He truly loves me for who I am. Even though I’m not perfect, he treats me as if I were. Thank you for these 10 years Brandon, I love you and I look forward to 10 times 10 more.

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