Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Recap

Hello blog readers! I can't believe that the weekend is almost over! Mason has had the entire week off of school, but it flew by too quickly. We have really enjoyed Gail's (Mark's mom) visit. She leaves on Monday. I hope to update later today with pictures from our Thanksgiving week.

I worked for 12 hours on Black Friday -- 3 four hour shifts with 2 two hour breaks in between starting at 4:00am. When I got home on Friday night, I was incoherent! I have never experienced Black Friday that early before (I have been to Target at 5:30pm, but never in time for store open/door busters) and it was completely crazy. When I got to the store, there were people camped out since midnight in lawn chairs and pup tents. I understand that a lot of people do this (my family included!), but I have always valued my sleep more!

We went to see Bolt tonight at the Alamo Drafthouse. When we first saw the previews, I thought, "Hey... I've seen this movie before!" Well, Bolt was REALLY cute. We all enjoyed Rhino, the hamster, the best. I think I'm going to go on Zazzle and get Mark a Rhino shirt for our next trip to Disney. In other movie news, the Alamo is showing both Gremlins and Christmas Vacation in December. We love going to the Alamo because you can eat an entire meal while you watch a movie. Mark and I are hoping on Friday to see Four Christmases while Mason is in school . This is the best date place for parents because you can get dinner and a movie at the same time, which equals less time to pay a babysitter! ;-)

Since I've been working this weekend, we haven't put up our Christmas decorations. Yet. We are later today. So, I best go to sleep and will update when our house is completely Christmasified. With pictures!! I will leave you with two pictures from Christmas 07.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!! I will be updating soon with new pictures. For now, go over there ----------> and follow us!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

November Update

I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is NEXT week. Crazy! Even more crazy is that I will be working on Black Friday for 16 hours (with 2 two hour breaks in between). HELP ME! ;-)

Since the last update, Mason has had a Rube Goldberg presentation in Quest, I got an early Christmas present, and we had a visitor for the weekend. Mason's best friend, Ryan stayed with us while his parents were in Hawaii. We took the boys bowling and then to a birthday party for their friend.

Ready for the pictures?
A picture from the Fall Theater Arts performance. Mason is in the middle. Ryan, Chandler, and Mason at Chandler's birthday party.
Mason bowling, picking up a spare.
Ryan and Mason at Mel's Lonestar Lanes (we love that place!).

The final score. Way to go, Mason!!!
Merry Christmas, Me!!!! My new 50 inch Plasma (and TV stand).
Mason with his Rube Goldberg demo.
Smiling after the presentation.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fall Theater Arts Performance

Last night was the Fall Theater Arts Performance at Mason's school. In October, when he had music as a special and was in the choir, the performance was about America. Since he is in Theater Arts, he got to be in the show. Last night's performance was all about autumn. Leaves changing colors, football, turkeys, and Halloween. Mason's class did the Halloween section. He's the first "zombie" in the dance and is in the middle during the big group part. He's wearing last year's Ghosbuster costume.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Guess Who Is Back?

I apologize. I have been a very, very bad blogger.

I could blame it on my new job. Because after almost 2 years in Texas, I finally have a job.

I could blame it on our calendar being jammed pack with all of Mason's activities and practices.

I could blame it on socializing a lot more. I'm now chairperson of our neighborhood Social Committee.

I could blame it on Mark's exhausting work schedule that has him traveling 80% of his work week.

I could blame it on my nagging DVR that has hourglasses nagging at me to watch my recorded shows.

Truth be told, it's probably a combination of ALL of these. It's not that we've stopped doing things and photographing them -- I just don't have the time to write about it.

Until now.

So get ready to play catch-up on our lives.

Yes, I got a job. I work Monday-Thursday for about 5 hours a day. I'm here in the mornings to send Mason off to school and I'm available to pick him up from school on my way home. I may even have some time to catch a coffee or visit Target on the way. Which doesn't benefit my new income. Or when I have to take the toll roads home in order to pick Mason up, because there goes even more profit. But anyway, I enjoy it. I don't love it. It's not a career. It's a job. One with a major benefit that now gives us a discount at a store that does not sell panties or lotion. And one that pays for a cleaning lady.

Mark's company had some major revamping. My husband went from covering Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso to covering ALL of Texas... plus New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. I think I covered them all. Anyway -- he now covers most of the country which means more travel. On most weeks, he is gone Tuesday-Thursday. This adjustment has not been easy on any of us. We are trying to be positive (because at least he HAS a job, since his company did this to downsize), but it has taken it's toll. Mark is forever exhausted. He is also going back to school FULL-TIME AND learning Spanish on Rosetta's Stone. Mason has more responsibility and misses his best friend. And I am single parent for a few days a week. And anyone who has had one of my meals knows how scary THAT is. We do get the extra bonuses of having enough frequent flyer miles to NEVER have to pay for airfare again, as well as enough Hilton Honor points to go on vacation. Plus Mark gets to experience parts of the country he has never been to. Like Eskimo Joe's. Or the American Girl Store (I need to point out that he was buying a birthday present for my niece -- he just didn't decide to go into a doll store on his own free will!).

Mason is in fourth grade and doing quite well. In fact, he got his report card today and he is on the All-A honor roll. We're very proud of him. His two best friends are in his class and we adore his teacher. At parent-teacher conferences, she told us that if she had waited one year to have her son (he was born last year), she would have named him Mason in hopes that he would be as great as OUR Mason. That was a huge compliment! The only bad thing is that he is a mess. We have called him "Messy Messy Mason" since his first day eating jarred baby food. His room is VERY clean. He can be VERY neat. Except, apparently, at school. His desk and locker are a pig-sty. In the grand scheme of things, there are far more worse things to be, but it is very aggravating. Especially because I'm such a neat freak.

Also, Mason is now swimming at Nitro. I love it. He loves it. He's thriving. He's always loved swimming and, if I do say so myself, is quite good! His freestyle stroke is so impressive. He is still working on his kicks (that's what you get when you are basically taught how to swim by a mother who can't kick!) and hates doing flip turns, but he loves it. And I love it because he finally is interested in something that I like. Mark, however, is the odd man out. When HE takes Mason to practice, I ask him how it went and he replies, "Well... he didn't drown" because that's the best way he can describe it. I have complete faith that my husband will one day understand swimming. For now, he just grumbles a bit about getting soaking wet anytime someone does a flip turn wearing fins.

Gibson, our puppy... well... he became a man and then we took that away. And I thought it was supposed to CALM him down. Bad idea. Our previously calm dog now can go psycho at any given time. Don't get me wrong -- he's still a good dog... he just is a bit bipolar, I think. And now, he has the charming habit of NOT going into his crate. ESPECIALLY when I'm already running late for work. Or he decides to start digging right against our fence after our neighbors have flooded their backyard, causing him to become a muddy mess -- ALWAYS when Mark is out of town. Let me tell you -- I will NOT bathe this dog. I'm in a wheelchair, I didn't even bathe my own son when he was an infant because it's downright impossible to do unless I get on the floor (which I DID do when Mason was a babe).

Since my last blog entry, we were hit by Hurricane Ike. Well, if you watched the storm, you saw that Austin was completely MISSED by this huge hurricane that even traveled to the Buckeye State. No -- we were "hit" by becoming a shelter for the homeless. And by homeless, I mean my sister and her kids. ;-) Jill's family lives in Pearland (near Houston). They moved from Cleveland just a few weeks prior to Hurricanes Katrina/Rita and experienced the Evacuation from Hell in 2005 when it took them over 16 hours to drive 100 miles. So, when they started seeing what Ike was looking like, they got the heck out of dodge and came here. And we were glad that we could host them. Especially once the news stories came in that some of the area shelters had child molesters in them. Not good. Anyway, Jill's house got some minimum damage, but they were powerless for over a week. Who wouldn't rather be in nice, air conditioned Austin with luxuries like... food and internet and bowling and shopping and television and Xbox 360? Exactly. And let's be honest... our house was like Club Med compared to a shelter. All of the kids got along SO well. We had minimum complaining (mostly over who's turn it was on the aforementioned Xbox 360) and only TWO injuries! Poor Ian (Frank, as I call him) was attacked by a sprinkler that came out of NO where and tripped him. When he got home (the kids were all walking Gibson), Jill was out back on her cell and I tried to clean him up and get him taken care of. BIG problem since the first think Aunt Kiki suggested was Frozen Peas. Massive hysteria from the child who doesn't like very many vegetables -- what kind of Aunt forces an injured kid to eat one of the most disgusting vegetables ever?? He didn't quite understand that the frozen peas were to make his nose feel better. I felt bad. He was howling. Jill's call ended abruptly and she solved world peace. Or World Peas because he finally DID let the frozen peas be placed on his face. The second injury was Jill's. Again, she was outside on her cell at night. She came in and looked like a Muppet. I couldn't stop laughing, but was scared because her upper lip was suddenly the size of a banana. I took pictures. I love my sister too much to share them. (Pssss... unless for a reasonable fee....) We went to the local hospital ER and were told... that they couldn't do anything. It was just a bite. But, I'm glad I took her because it could have been serious. And after spending the previous night awake till 4:00am watching Hurricane Ike and Anderson Cooper, of COURSE I wanted to stay up after 3:00am the following night! Good times!!!

So, our happy, little family has gone through some adjustments, but we're pulling through it all. Sure, I may not be caught up on laundry, there may be a few dirty dishes in the sink, and our backdoor window is NEVER clean (seriously, Gibson -- I KNOW you want to come in. You don't have to smear your nose and tongue against the glass to get my attention!), but we're doing great!!!

Now... pictures? Pictures you say? Alrighty then...
Gibson, the wondermutt, getting caught in the act. He thinks he is a cat.Our local, neighborhood tarantula as seen on our front porch.
What do most people do when they evacuate from a Level 4 Hurricane? Go shopping and have Steak N Shake, of course!!
Alec -- as you can see, he was terrifed of the damage of Ike... and that he doesn't like tomatoes, celery, and cucumbers in his salad... Maddie. Milkshakes do, in fact, make all worries go away.
Frank -- terrified that his home would be blown away.
Gibson was tired after having three new kids to play with.
Maddie and Frank. Check out Ian's footrest.
What can I say? The kids love their Crocs.
The best thing about all of this? Frank finally decided he could swim!
The sky when we got to the pool.
The sky when we left as Ike came closer.
Talking to Grandma and Aunt Shelly on Skype helped the kids' worries. Gotta love webcams!
Maddie and Mason, finding their inner chi. Oh -- did I forget to mention that they also were able to watch the OSU game??
Poor Frank's nose! Luckily, he didn't have school for a few weeks!
Where's Mason? Mason at his school's music and theater arts program about America.
Mason and his best friend, Ryan, at the Fall Festival.
Getting messy after making S'mores.
Mason meeting Kaitlyn Sandeno at the Nitro Olympic swim clinic.
Discussing Halloween costumes with an Olympian.
Mason and Kaitly and the Gold Medal!
Why yes, we take pictures at HEB! Mason and I were excited when we discovered that our HEB seels Heini's cheese from Berlin, Ohio! We LOVE going there when we are in Amish Country with Grandma!!!!
Our neighborhood Halloween Parade.
Snake Eyes Mason and Baseball Player Ryan.
The Miller Family Pumpkins 2008.