Monday, April 28, 2008

Great family - great photos

'
This is Paige with my mom's cousin, Margie Murillo.

This is Ashley with Tia Maria.

I admit the quality isn't what I prefer, but one thing's for sure; the people in them are near and dear to my heart. This is a picture of Ashley and Paige with my great Aunt Maria (or Tia Maria as we call her). She is my grandma's little sister. These were taken last week at the funeral and I would have had these few pictures posted sooner except I'm still on a learning curve with the new computer and uploading pics from my iPhone...so you'll have to bear with me. Ashley took some pictures with her digital camera, so I may add more pictures to this once I get that software added.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Ashley's 12th birthday!


Ashley turned twelve on Friday, April 25 - sorry it took so long to get this posted!

LEMME SQUEEZE IN SOME BIRTHDAY PICTURES I TOOK.
NEIL AND I ARE PRETTY BIG STICKLERS ABOUT FOLLOWING RULES, SO WE MADE ASHLEY WAIT UNTIL HER 12TH BIRTHDAY TO SIT IN THE FRONT SEAT OF THE CAR. WE MADE A BIG DEAL ABOUT IT AND WENT TO SONIC AFTER SCHOOL TO GET SOME NICE COLD DRINKS TO MAKE THE EVENT SPECIAL!


It's official!




Thursday, April 24, 2008

Triple play Thursday

Anatomy of a photo shoot:

I thought I would share how I came up with Drew's five month photo. So, here we go:

1. Find cute subject - check

2. Find nice location - check

3. Feed subject so he is ready to smile like a crrrrazy.

4. Take a bazillion photos.

5. Pick one (ooh, easier said than done!)

6. Do a little fine tuning in photoshop.
7. Upload to scrapblog and create new header.
8. Share 'leftovers' with friends and family in a post.

9. Voila! there you have it!

Triple play Thursday - part II

Here's to Grandma and Paka

{this post is for Grandma & Paka who gave Paige this pretty necklace for her birthday}

Paige loves wearing this every Sunday to church
it's the perfect accessory for a pretty princess

Triple play Thursday - part III

I give you: St. William's Spring Festival
**WARNING: VERY pic heavy!**











~~~~~
Sorry all, things have been incredibly hectic. It all started last mmm, last Thursday I think when we got a call from Neil's brother who said he would be in town on business and would get in Saturday evening. It was a really nice, but short visit - I'm pretty sure fun was had by all. Earlier on Saturday we spent some time at our church's spring festival. The kids had a blast. Ashley was not with us since she spent the weekend at a retreat put on by Challenge, a Catholic girls' group that helps them discern vocations. Sunday morning we found out my great Aunt Josie passed and we made the trek up to Waco to pay our respects on Wednesday. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, we all had a lovely time visiting with family. The kids even got to meet some new cousins! It was nice hearing the priest reflect on my Aunt Josie's life and how incredibly kind and wonderful she was. My memories of her were mostly from my childhood and I remember she had the most sweet and melodic voice. Always had a smile on her face. Never an unkind word.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thursday, April 17, 2008

They say it comes in threes

**UPDATE**

Well, I have two updates. My great Aunt Josie passed away this morning. We're still waiting to hear details for funeral arrangements, but hopefully with everyone's prayers she made a peaceful transition to her eternal life with God. The second is my friend's mom, who we found out yesterday that it is, in fact, lung cancer. Please continue the prayers as I am sure they are comforted by them.

**PRAYER REQUEST**


When anything bad happens, you can usually count on it to happen in threes. Except the year after I graduated from high school...then it was threes times two. Six relatives died from June '94 to September '94.




This time, I am asking for prayers for three different people in my life. The first is my great Aunt Josie who is slowly leaving us. Her blood pressure is high and is experiencing renal failure - her body is simply not responding to medication any longer. My sweet cousin, Natalia, has been keeping me informed of the situation and despite storming the heavens with prayers for her return to good health, it seems as though God's will is different than ours. The second is my father-in-law, Larry, who is going in for a biopsy next week to determine if they will be dealing with cancer. And lastly, a dear childhood friend of mine just found out her mom, Kathy, who initially went to the hospital with a blood clot in her leg, found out that the clots had moved to her lungs where they then found an aortic aneurysm and black marks on her lungs. Doctors are now saying there is a 50-50% it is lung cancer.

Life is precious and fragile and if for no other reason, let me serve to remind everyone that life is too short. Don't let time slip away without telling those around you that you love them. You never know what lies around the corner...waiting...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Shameless self-tag

In an effort to get creative with blog topics, I'm doing a reverse 'tag, you're it' from Emily's blog - if you get a chance to peruse her blog, it's well worth the time spent. She's a total blog artisan and I just hope she doesn't mind me blog stalking her for great ideas. :)


Four Jobs I've Held:
# Gallery assistant at Austin Children's Museum - translation - gave tours to huge groups of people and made sure kids didn't get lost, lol
# Commercial accounts receivable for Long Fence
# Kindergarten Teacher
# Wedding Photographer

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over:
# Reign Over Me (thanks Kat!)
# Anne of Green Gables
# Anne of Avonlea
# Notting Hill

Four Places I've Lived:
# Austin, TX
# Clifton, VA
# Manassas, VA
# Nacogdoches, TX

Four TV shows I like:
# Scrubs
# How clean is your house? BBC
# CSI (the original and Miami)
# Little People, Big World

Four People Who Email Me Regularly:
# Beth, my BBC buddy :)
# Blog updates
# Fly Lady
# Holly, Emma, Kat, Melissa, Cindy

Four Favorite Foods:
# Filet Mignon from Cool River Cafe or Truluck's
# Yogurt pretzels
# Dark chocolate covered peanuts
# Cream slushes from Sonic

Four Places I'd Rather Be:
# On the beach in Hawaii
# At my favorite day spa, Halina's oh wait, I get to do that this Saturday courtesy of my thoughtful hubby's b-day gift to me!
# Shopping, by myself, or with the family.
# Italy - absorbing all the culture and seeing the beauty of Catholicism

Four People I'm Tagging:
# Kevin
# Dana
# Kat
# Cindy




Monday, April 14, 2008

A Friday on the horizon...

That's what I have to tell myself each Monday because it is sincerely my hardest day of the week. Three Monday posts have proven that, I think. This past weekend was inadvertently busy. I wanted to spend Saturday in my jammies and watch movies. It would have been reminiscent of my single days lazying around watching Lifetime and thinking about how great my life was compared to those dark movies I'd watch.

**Yeah. So much for that.**

Neil pops up first thing in the morning and says he'll tackle the shrubs that are *long* overdue to be trimmed. We're talking small tree trunks sprouting out the top here. My honey-do list for him initially involved him hanging some wall decorations above Drew's crib - getting him ready to move in with big brother and taking care of hooking up the computer to make it wireless so I can finally retrieve all my e-mail lists. If you haven't
gotten an e-mail from me in the past two weeks, this is why.
****
I didn't end up bothering him with those tasks since he offered to cut the shrubs. All last week I debated making a call and having someone come out and trim them. The problem isn't that we're lazy or that we think we're above the work. The problem is that the hedge clipper we have isn't long enough to reach over to get everything up against the house. So...that nice little yard chore parlayed itself into other yard grooming like de-deadifying the pampas grass we have and finally taking care of our front bed, which has needed to be dealt with for quite a while. Some of you know the craziness that happened last July when a driver ran the curb, launched off our beautiful hedges, caught some air before taking out our neighbor's tree and totaled not one, but two of their three cars.

I give you...the "before" photos

the MLS pictures from when we bought our home - don't ask me *why* I have them, but that's the only picture I have with the shrubs in tact.

our beautiful hedges, destroyed just two days before we left for Myrtle Beach - July '07

the trail of destruction...the tree and the cars that were totaled
small brag - I took these with my iPhone - not too shabby, huh?

I have to mention that the driver did not hit either of our cars, despite the fact that Neil parks closest to the neighbors and parks far away from the garage because their pine tree leaves sap everywhere. It was reported to be a large truck, possibly the size of a 250. He also managed to miss our trash can which sits between our driveway and our neighbors in his quick getaway. So...he didn't hit our cars initially or in backing up in his 'getaway'. He was never found despite my rapidly circulating neighborhood e-mail.

Over the course of three months we took out those shrubs (which, by the way have the most gnarly root system I've ever seen!) and it left us with bare ground...winter was on it's way so we decided we'd wait until Spring to take care of things. That turned out to be this weekend. We spent all Saturday...and I mean *all* day Saturday out in the yard. Parked the car in front of the driveway so the kids could ride their toys...used the shade from the other car to put Drew's exersaucer out so he could play. Jonathan rode his scooter like a mini pro. Then Ashley got home and took out a blanket and laid down with Drew. Paige had a blast riding her Radio Flyer tricycle (via a great Craigs List find!) and her little hitchhiker - her Sprite bottle. By the time she was done riding and after all the falls it took, I'm sure it tasted like sweet lemoney limey water, lol. So, our yard is complete...for now. The bed closest to the house is the last to be taken care of and we'll probably do something similar to the front bed.

We got a nice little letter from our neighborhood HOA late last week - about a few weeds that have sprouted - obviously our lawn service is failing us. Either that or the weeds grow just that fast! From the looks of things, they were on the warpath because all of our neighbors were out working in the yard to spruce things up. I *wish* I had time to devote to our yard. But it just isn't happening and I've conceded defeat on that front. So, here are a few pictures of the finished product. We *were* going to put down (and still might) some flagstone or slate in the bed with some wildflowers growing between them. Yeah. We'll see how motivated we are and how long it takes me to post that it was actually done!

my beautiful purply grassy plant. I just wanted something a little different

I call this stuff pony grass - who knows what it's called, but it's drought resistant so it works for us!

the garden bed in profile...it's got nowhere to grow but up!

So, this was our Saturday. Inhaling grass dust from our pampas plant, spending time perusing through the landscaping magazines at Home Depot and finally deciding on the bare minimum to keep the HOA fairies away. I was a little hesitant at Neil's choice of black mulch as well as how very little we put into the ground, but I'm starting to think less is more. It looks good and it makes me think about how nice it is to pull into the driveway and have something pretty looking back at me.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Today's my birthday...how should I proceed?

Well, I've been monitoring my food intake the past two weeks to lose the remaining baby weight and I've been doing really well. So, I go to Costco to pick up something for dinner, get Paige her usual hot dog and Sprite combo and an extra drink for myself. About two years ago, I gave up drinks with aspartame in it to get rid of some killer headaches, but with this new 'diet' plain sodies are out, leaving diet drinks as my only real caffeine carbonation fix. The problem with this is I don't remember how in the world I *ever* made myself drink that stuff in the first place. The only diet drink they have is Coke. The aftertaste is hideous - I mean super nasty. So, I'm thinking about a phone call I would make to Nutrisystem - what would I say? Then the phrase 'Today's my birthday...how should I proceed' comes to mind. Mix half diet coke with regular coke I tell myself.

OK.

That was *SOOO* much worse than just plain diet coke. It tasted like medicine...or like the syrupy coke-like stuff they make you drink for the gestational diabetes test.

Aside from all that, I'm proud of myself of being able to stick with the plan, not starve, and still be able to make dinner for the family.
***
So, turning 32 isn't quite the obstacle I thought it might be. Why? Here's what I *could* have written. My name is Martina and I'm an ageist. Crowd responds - "hello Martina!" I have always had a hard time coming to grips with each birthday. I have no idea, but it started when I turned 18 and most birthdays following have had similar reactions. Why? I dunno - maybe it's the poignant realization that life is short, life goes on, or that you can't go back in time.
But one thing's for sure. You've got to enjoy every minute you have and
soak it all up because it's all you get.

Each year for my birthday, I treat myself to some nice pretty flowers (truth be told, the yard needs it about this time each year, so two birds with one stone, right?) and spent some time in the yard planting my flowers and filling the water fixture so I can hear that lovely cascading sound when I leave the house. I absolutely *LOVE* springtime. It's just proof that the world regenerates with such beauty. So, I took a few photos of the flowers I planted yesterday. I'm not entirely done planting everything. Ashley and I have a project for our old rickety rustic shed and then she wanted to plant some tomatoes and carrots...we'll see how those come along. So, I give you my flowers. I apologize they're not great photos, but I was losing light fast and had to wait for the camera battery to charge.







Tuesday, April 8, 2008

...and the award for International Man of Mystery goes to...


Mr. Andrew William K
the crowd erupts into cheers!

Eye see you!

Oy! It's difficult being an international man of mystery...think I'll just go back to being a baby!

This bit of levity brought to you by your local IMoM club.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Out of the fire, into the frying pan...egads, what have I gotten myself into?

I got the roster today for the volleyball team. It's official. There's no turning back now. Eeeks! I just hope I can infuse a little fun into this season. I have to admit, I'm amazed at how well these girls play given their age. Some of the more experienced girls are *really* competitive. Ashley and I went through the roster together and she told me who was who...just based on what she told me, it looks like we're going to have a really strong team.
***
Update: April 7 - well, I got the group e-mail out, and the parent response so far has been overwhelmingly positive, so I'm feeling pretty good about things. The overachiever in me has been dormant for a while, so I'm going to have to wake "her" up and tell her to get a move on if she wants to make this season fun *and* organized. I have to get the practice schedule down before Thursday. Oh, and get this. Neil's office has an annual dinner, usually after an outstanding month. That's March 08 to you and me and so a dinner is scheduled for this Thursday. They asked for input on which day and since Wednesday is my birthday and I doubt anyone wants to hang out on a Friday night and "talk shop", that left Thursday. Thing is, we thought the practices for volleyball started next Thursday, but they bumped it up (no pun intended, lol) to this week. Practice starts at 6, dinner is at 7. Assistant coach is out on business all week because he thought it started next week too. See the conflict? Sooo, I've decided to hold the first practice at 5:45 to go over all the business information and leave around 6:15 to give me enough time to get home and get ready. This will also be our first attempt at leaving Drew home and it's his hardest time of day. We've warned Amy, lol. She still wants to babysit. God love her!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Argh matey?

So, this morning I woke up to a strange set of circumstances. First of all, this was the second day in a row of oversleeping. Rats to that, but I guess that'll teach me not to stay up past 10 p.m. on any given day. Anyway, there's a group of people standing around outside, huddled if you will, looking over something I can't see. The kids are in school so I make my way out to see what's going on. Apparently someone left some cargo behind - turns out a some folks got caught pirating some booty and were trying to get rid of the evidence. So, I finally get a look at what they're staring at and I was shocked to see what they left behind...
{be sure to read the caption at the bottom of the photo}