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Friday, March 29, 2013

March Fave Five

It is that time for favorite photos of the month! Seems like a majority of the ones taken this month were while we were on vacation, but I still have at least one or two more I have yet to share at that time. We have an Easter party with family on Saturday, and I was going to wait until after that to do the March Fave Five. However, that will be a post all in its own :) Now introducing the Fave Five!

At the beginning of March, a retirement celebration was held for the chief of the local volunteer fire department. I've met him a couple times before. He is a very respectful man who worked very hard to get the department where it is today. A department of hard working individuals who truly are like family.

My daughter by heart had her baby shower on St. Patrick's Day. She is expecting her third baby boy! Heather is also very creative when it comes to food. She made cakes for both my sons for their birthdays. Also, she made adorable cupcakes in a jar--using baby food jars!

Found these beautiful and delicate little blooms at the park just a couple days ago! Finally, something new to add to my Etsy shop.

Kaden loves the merry-go-round! I love his smile! He is so energetic and loves the outdoors.

Finally, my favorite place---Galveston at the beach. Taken just before we headed home, and I got a bit teary eyed. It was such a gorgeous day taht I wished we could stay a little longer.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blog Dare #1--I was afraid to say....

The Blog Dare on Bloggy Moms

Bloggy Moms has been a nifty website to help get ideas on blogging. I was excited to come across the Blog Dare, which gives daily writing prompts. I may not do every single writing prompt, but it will be fun trying!

This one is probably going to get a little emotional at times:

I was afraid to say.....

.....thank you, I'm sorry, you're right. Things that should have been said to people I cared about, but never could quite show it. To this day, I am still struggling with certain people to let them know how I really feel. Yes, they may have an idea, or do they? My mother-in-law and I had a bit of a struggling relationship with each other. When she got sick with cancer, our relationship mended. I often wondered, "Is it only because she is sick?" I was always afraid to say that thought out loud because I knew deep down it was just because my mother-in-law was all about love and peace. If anyone was hurting, she would fix it. If anyone was angry, she would calm them down. If I had to vent about her son--the man I married--she was quick to say with an amusing smile "I warned you!" The last few months, I made it a point to tell her, "I love you, Mama Leigh!" But, I never truly apologized for being a pain in the ass daughter in law. I admit it! I was a major pain in the ass! Still, certain things she would say would make me think she read my mind. When she told me she will always worry about her son, I was thinking, "Am I that terrible of a wife you have to worry?" As if she read my mind, she finished her comment with "I am so proud of the man he has become. He is a husband and a father, and I admit that is something I thought he would never be since he has so many challenges due to his accident. But, I see the patience you have. The way you keep him going. You are a great wife and a great mom, and I thank God every single day he has brought you into my son's life."

I recall that day greatly! Just a couple days before we had a major disagreement....what exactly, I don't remember, but I just remember a major disagreement. This was actually before finding out she was sick with cancer. We never had another argument ever again. We had more in common than we realized. Both of us were passionate, stubborn, and focused on taking care of our families. We were mothers who had the same worries. We were wives dealing with strong willed husbands. We were our hearts on our sleeves.

Although we had made amends, I still wish I could have one more day to say, "Mama Leigh, you were right! You were right about how no matter how old your children get, they will always be your babies. You were right that we did not need to get this or that just yet." or "I am sorry for all the pain I have caused." Still, maybe she did know...maybe she did not. My husband will comfort me for a brief moment saying that my actions showed how much I appreciated his mom.

June 2012 she lost her battle to cancer. Standing over her grave a couple days after the funeral, I spoke softly as if she was standing next to me. She inspired me to never give up and to fight for all that I believe in and for all that I love. I never really understood what people meant when they say they can almost feel the spirits of the lost loved ones. The moment I closed my eyes and whispered, "Thank you for being not only the best mother-in-law, but being a mom. Thank you for giving me guidance, and most of all thank you for blessing me with the greatest husband any woman could ask for."

As I turned to leave, the breeze picked up and I almost felt the slightest touch on my arm...a moment I never experienced. It could have just been the way the wind was blowing, but it still gave me peace and some closure. Mama Leigh definitely lives in my heart. Her memory lives in her children, grandchildren, and all members of the family. I was afraid to say so many things back then. I cannot hold regret for that. Instead, I just focus on making sure the people I love and care about clearly see they hold a special place in my heart.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Social: All About Spring

Sunday Social

It is FINALLY Spring, but still not enjoying the pollen very much! It is so bad here that you can actually see it on the road. Luckily we had a nice bit of rain on Saturday so my allergies have toned down. Still, I love Spring! Time for Q&A on this beautiful season.

What is your favorite thing about Spring?

The flowers blooming, trees and grass getting their lush green color back, Easter, Mother's Day, and even more outdoor fun!

What is your favorite kind of flower to grow or receive?

I am so pitiful when it comes to growing flowers that I much rather stick to fake flowers of any kind. Now for favorite flowers in general I love roses, wisteria, daffodils, and those adorable little wild white flowers. Most of all, I love Dogwood Trees and Crete Myrtle Trees!

What is your favorite nail polish color?

Just recently, I purchased an awesome nail polish from Ulta (oh how I LOVE that store...it fills my girly-girly needs) called China Glaze, and the color is called Rare & Radiant. It has a blue, gold, and green tint that is sparkly and gorgeous!

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

Camping!!! Oh I am so ready to go camping, again! Ready to sleep under the pine trees and stars in our cozy tent, roast marshmallows, watch the kids explore, and play in the lake. It is so relaxing and refreshing! Must nag my Bubba some more on us going in April--we are a big camping family :)

Do you have any fun Spring plans? Details!

I do have a bit of a wish list compiled. First, as mentioned earlier, must go camping soon! We also have the traditional Easter fun with my side of the family. For a few years, my parents have hosted an Easter egg hunt which involves family and long time family friends plus my husband's sister and her little family. Eventually, I will like for us to go to the Ft. Worth Zoo which is about 2 1/2 hours from us. It will make a nice little day trip.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

So It Begins....Spring Cleaning

Every now and then, I will catch an episode of Hoarders in hopes to help me feel better about my own situation. Before anyone jumps to conclusions, I am NOT a hoarder and you can walk through my house with ease. The problem is with my husband, although not quite as extreme as what you see on the show. He does have a bad habit of collecting little things that will NEVER be of any use. When I want to toss it out, I have to wait while he is at work and discard it before he returns home. Every now and then I will be lucky enough for him to agree to tossing some paper with an old number or a wire that has no use at all.

The Spring cleaning has started today in my bedroom. At first I thought I would organize, toss out, and then give it a good wiping down. After filling up two trash bags, the wiping down will have to come later. Yes, TWO trash bags....SO FAR!!! May not seem like much, but a few months ago we switched rooms with our boys------filled up SEVEN trash bags! Is there reason behind my husband's hoarding? Yes, there is and it's a result of a head injury he endured from a car accident in 1993. He has actually gotten a lot better! There is no more of saving this and that or bringing home something that will just get tossed to the side. It is just a matter of finishing my project from a few months since I was guilty of it myself. I would get things tossed out then just got tired and stashed it somewhere else. Finally, I am getting around to it!

The fact that I have spent only an hour in our room and already got quite a bit done is an accomplishment. I am not stressing over it too much, and I am thinking of the end result which will be a neat and organized room. It is coming along easier than I thought. My focus will be on one or two areas of the house. Today, the focus is on our room then moving onto our boys' room. If it does not get all done today, no worries! It may take a month, but it will get done! Meantime, if I don't venture back online--check any mental facilities to see if I have lost my mind in the process ;)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ocean Air Please

As I sit here blowing my nose, barely able to hear out of one ear, I am already missing the wonderful ocean air of the Gulf! I promise if you ever want to figure out how you are back in east Texas after going to Galveston, just travel with me. You will notice I go from all chipper and breathing to sneezing away. This was our second vacation to Galveston, and I am so ready to go back for the sake of my nose, eyes, and ears. Maybe talking about our trip will help give me the illusion that I am not suffering from a mixture of allergies and sinuses?
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Our friend Arien and his two kids, Brianna and Joseph, got to join us for our trip to Galveston, which added more fun! Four and a half hours in a car with two men who keep me on my toes and full of giggles plus the excitement of four kids made it even more memorable. I was delighted to see that an old fort was opened this time. Last year, it was closed off so we did not hesitate to go exploring. We rode the ferry to Bolivar Peninsula and headed to Fort Travis Seashore Park. The forts had this old, haunting yet peaceful feeling. All the kids desperately wanted to go inside, but it was thankfully fenced off so no one could enter. Kaden, Kody, Brianna, and Joseph have NO fear! If they had their way, they would have climbed their way to the top. And they did try until we grown ups dampered their fun by pointing to a sign warning to not climb. I think they have a future as stunt doubles in movies.

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Our second day in Galveston was quite busy with visiting two museums and going to The Strand. Considering Arien and Justin used to work in the oilfield, I've always had a fascination with that industry. Also, I come from a town with the World's Richest Acre and an oil museum based on the boom days of the oilfield. The Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum really is an awesome place showing the various tools used, models of boats and rigs, and the chance to get outside on two different levels. We were also informed that they allow Cub Scouts to have sleep overs at the museum. I still have a mental note of bringing this to the attention of our den leader. It is educational yet fun for kids and adults.

After our visit to the rig museum, we ventured to the Galveston Railroad Museum. Both my sons are very much into trains, and it just helps them get more back into Thomas the Train. Not only are there railroad cars you can go in and explore, but the old station itself has statues situated to resemble what it may have been like back in the day. You will also get to so photographs from the effects of Hurricane Ike, and stand underneath the tape on a wall at the gift shop to get an idea on how high the flood waters reached. The best part was the model they had with the electric trains and a wall full of glass classes holding model trains.

Due to the crowds, I was not able to get as many photos of The Strand, a shopping district in downtown Galveston. We kept it simple this time. I highly recommend La King's Confectionery! The best salt water taffy they make themsselves! I actually still have some left, and that is a shocker right there! It is also a dream come true for chocolate lovers with all the varieties of chocolate candies to choose from. It also has that old soda shoppe charm to it for those who love anything with a vintage feel. After collecting our favorite candies, we visited my favorite store to pick up some keepsakes. One of these days, I will get a picture of my little pirate dudes :)

We ended the day with Seawolf Park, but did not venture onto the old battleship. The kids were so ready to just run and play so they got to have some fun on the playground. We walked around for a little bit before we got hungry, and headed to The Spot for some delicious burgers. Our second day seemed to just fly by!

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Day 3---Pleasure Pier was amazing, fun, and the funnel cakes will leave you the feeling of craving more! I have got to learn to make funnel cakes! My 9 year old son Kaden got to ride his first roller coaster. I'm so happy he takes after his daddy on the love for thrill rides. Iron Shark has a hill that goes straight up and straight down. I was so proud of him for being such a big and brave boy, but also sad because it just means he is growing faster than I ever realized. The only rides Kody would dare touch was the good old carousel, tea cups, and bumper cars. Before I continue, even if your child only rides two or three rides, it is still worth it getting the all day pass for them. After doing the math, I figured it was easier to go that route instead of paying the walk on pass and paying for each ride individually. I only did bumper cars and another ride with the kids. Since I have a huge fear of heights, Arien was able to get a beautiful shot of Galveston from the Galaxy Wheel (I think that was the name of it). The view from the pier itself was just breathtaking! My dream of visiting an amusement park on a pier finally came true that day :) Still craving that funnel cake!

We wrapped up our day by visiting the pocket beaches on the west end of the island--Sunny Beach and one other one that I don't even recall the name. We soaked in the beautiful sun, got in the cool water (okay it was frigid), hunted seashells, and just watched the waves. I feel like the the near three hours just was not enough. Whenever we go back, I am just going to dedicate a whole day to the beaches--yes, more than one beach. We also went to the eastern end of the island to take in the gorgeous golden sunset. It was the moment my heart started to break because I knew it was the end of a fabulous vacation.

On day four, we headed home with the post vacation blues setting in. We all agreed we just need to spend a whole week in Galveston. The food was great, people are incredibly nice, and the owners of Red Carpet Inn always make you feel welcomed and at home. Riding the ferry each day never gets old because the scenery is just beautiful plus seeing the dolphins is always incredible. As I type this, I wish I could be breathing in the fresh air and smelling the salt water--works wonders on the sinuses! I want the next year to go by quick, but not too quick. One thing I learned about vacations--the more you wish for them to get here quickly, the faster they seem to go by. In the meantime, we will find other adventures to take even if they only last a day. Time with family and friends who are like family makes for the greatest memories!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Little Letters Link Up

First of all, I have to say that I really love doing link ups! Today, I am linking up with The Freckled Fox

Dear Lucky, My sweet little lab mix doggy we lovingly adopted a few days ago. I knew as soon as I said that you were not much a barker, you would prove me wrong. Just because you see a leaf fall does not mean you have to bark at it!

Dear music, Thank you for keeping me motivated and energized this week as we prepare for our upcoming vacation.

Dear Shrimp N Stuff, Only two more days until I can have your ever so delicious popcorn shrimp po' boy! I have made them myself a couple times in the past year, but it just is not the same!

Dear Mother Nature, Enough with the insane weather and the confusion! On behalf of everyone around the world, take something for your mood swings!

Dear Saturday, Please hurry up!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Best Bubba

My husband and I first moved to the neighborhood in 2001, but we mostly kept to ourselves mostly because we are a bit shy to meet others. One neighbor in particular I thought was an annoying and obnoxious country boy. To be honest, I had a brief history with one country boy and swore them off! And to think I am a country girl by heart. His grandmother stopped by a couple times to say hello and to not be shy. It took about 6 years for Justin and I to finally come out of our shells to finally start mingling with them.

Turned out I was partly right about the man I now call my Bubba. He was not annoying, but a little obnoxious :) His two kids were close to the same age as my oldest son Kaden so they hit off really well. Kody was just 2 months old when we first started being around Bubba and his grandmother. She was and still is a huge help to him due to at the time he was in the oilfield, and now he is doing the fire academy while being a volunteer firefighter. Bubba is 100% country boy to the core. He has done the rodeo, oilfield, loves his country music, has the cowboy hat, drives the big Dodge Ram truck, the true East Texas accent, and going muddin'.

A brief history about Bubba (yes, I will continue to call him that in true Texas nature). He has lived in this town his whole life. He has seen more than anyone I will ever know! He has done more than anyone I will ever know! Some might think, "Yea, right!" If you could just spend 5 minutes with him, you will find that he has an outgoing personality, adventurous, and has had his fair share of laughter and heartache. Too many women think "When will I find the right man?" Bubba thinks just the same and has been hurt just as much as woman has been hurt---I've witnessed that a couple times and talk about big sister mode coming out! That is when I think we bonded the most because he was getting out of a difficult relationship with a girl (she does not deserve to be called a woman) that I had actually introduced him to. Bubba, my husband, and I stayed up until 3 am talking and laughing, trying to keep Bubba in good spirits. Since then, we developed a brother/sister relationship.

My kids have grown to call him their Uncle Arien. Kody is the one who really looks up to him. He actually took a marker and decided to draw pictures on his arms like he had tattoos, saying he was going to be just like his Uncle Arien when he grows up. When he gets a fire call, Kody waits until he is gone then starts making siren sounds as he rids his bike. Kaden just simply thinks Uncle Arien is cool and crazy. They all love it most when he gets out the 4 wheeler. Bubba is safe and cautious when he takes them around the block. Sometimes, they like to ride their bikes beside him. Kaden used to be very closed off and shy almost to the point I was getting very concerned. I honestly give credit to my husband Justin and to Bubba for helping him becoming more social and more confident.

I could write all day about my Bubba! Today he turns 33 years old which is why I decided to dedicate a blog post all about him. He has been more than a friend. He has been a brother to me who even helped my husband and I work through a rough patch of our marriage. Sometimes, I wish we had met him a lot sooner than we did, but I think God just waits for the right moment for people to come into our lives. We had our moments of not speaking to each other, but the bond is just way too strong to be broken. Justin and I are like many other people who have crossed paths with Arien--he makes an impact on your life and makes you a better person. Happy birthday to my little big brother! The man who gives the true meaning to friendship.

Monday, March 4, 2013


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Manic-less Monday

Oh sweet Monday and the silence in the house other than the television! I might be the only person on Earth who does not mind Mondays one bit. Although I do miss my boys while they are at school and husband is working, it is just so nice to be able to sit and relax. The house could use a little straightening up, but this is just my day to unwind. At some point I would push myself and stress over the cleaning, but I finally got to the point where I need to learn to slow down. I was so bad that I HAD to do certain things on certain days. Every other day, I had to do laundry and clean the bathrooms. The kitchen had to be cleaned every single day. Polishing furniture was done twice a week. I was to the point of OCD that if I missed a day of doing anything, I would seriously because overly stressed out. It took me a long time to finally just slow down. Did I do away with my schedule? I admit, I still have a schedule I like to go by. Now, it is laundry each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The bathrooms still get cleaned every other day, and I keep with the dishes on a daily basis. As for polishing the furniture, that is now once a week on any day of the week. Vacuuming gets done once or twice a week depending on how much we are in and out of the house, etc. If the house is not 100% spotless by the weekend, I just shrug it off because that is time to enjoy with my family outside or a day at the park. Anything important like running errands or going to the store, I have learned to take care of while Kaden and Kody are at school. If I'm lucky, I will get dinner going at 3 pm, at the latest 4:30 pm. Living in a house full of guys, I've learned that a quick snack just will not hold them over until 6 pm. The quicker I have dinner ready, the better! We then have the evening doing as we please. Homework gets done, baths, and snuggle time on the couch watching Disney Channel every evening if Kaden and Kody are not busy with drawing and coloring----sometimes I will even join them. Mondays are not manic for me, but the rest of the week can be at times. So, as I ignore the buzzing of the dryer, I will take the chance to enjoy this day before the week gets crazy---need to get ready for our vacation :)