Thursday, August 30, 2012

Overly Organized

Is it even possible to be overly organized?

I like being organized. As a mom I think sometimes it's the only way I can remain sane. Even Brian will tell you that without my planner (which I carry with me EVERYWHERE) I'm pretty useless at remembering what needs to be done or what is happening on that particular day or even week.

So with school supplies on sale and drawing inspiration from friends, I've decided to make our refrigerator an organization command center.

I've had our chore list chart up for awhile. It's pretty good to have as a reminder... although I'm pretty sure I remember everyone's chores.

Then inspired by Mary on her blog, I got a dry erase calendar and started putting meals on it for the week as well as some of our plans for the month.

Below that is my weekly work out schedule, also on a dry erase board. I'm trying to work out 6 days of the week and spend two days of the month doing a family activity.

Other things on the refrigerator that aren't pictured include Sophie's school information, Mass times magnet, and the city's concert in the parks weekly band schedule for the month of September.

So if anyone else is in need of trying to organize their life a bit (because I totally understand), feel free to steal some of these ideas.

Industrial Fox

So I rarely ever post anything about work, but I couldn't resist sharing this.  Working in the DFW area, in an industrial plant no less, one does not expect to see much wildlife. The exception to this rule being roadkill. However, recently we had a fox that has decided to inhabit the area outside of our office building, within the helicopter plant. I'd never seen a fox that was outside of a zoo, so it was neat to see him up in the tree.

Anyway, these are the pictures of our newest neighbor and helicopter enthusiast.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Car Wars

Brian and I have been doing 'car talk' for awhile. Mostly it boils down to a debate between which vehicle will outlast the other, and followed by a unresolved debate between a SUV or a van.

First off, our current vehicles. My car is a 2000 hail damaged Honda Accord with 250,000+ miles on it. It's had no real major repairs- exception being some brake work, the starter, and timing belt. Everything else has been routine maintenance. Other than my parents I've been the only other owner of this vehicle and it has a good long lasting vehicle. It also provides more leg room than Brian's car- a Hyuandia Elantra.

Brian's car is a 2001 Hyuandai Elantra without hail damage, paint chipping off, or a large dent in the back bumper (aka- better looking than my car). It also has a ton of miles on it, but not quite as many as my Honda. It hasn't had any major repairs either, exception recently being the brakes. Otherwise (since I'm not the primary driver nor owner) I'm not sure what other 'work' has been done on it. It does however have less leg room, which makes it difficult for our expanding family of 4 on long trips.

Brian is determined to believe that my Honda will die long before his Hyuandai. But Honda has had a good track record of outlasting other vehicles. And since I have an emotional attachment to my car (something Brian discourages and finds unrational), I'm wagering my Honda Accord will outlast his Hyuandai Elantra.

When one of the cars goes out of commission and ends up in a car afterlife (aka- scrap yard), we've decided to get a 'bigger' vehicle for our expanding family. Brian (ever analytical) put together research revealing specific components of each vehicle- mpg, space, mileage, year, Consumer Report ratings, and amenities which we would like (such as dual climate). His research and preference leaves his wanting to purchase a minivan like a Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, or the like.

Ok, so I get it... it he has provided good quality information, but I'm unfortunately swayed by a marketing perspective (for better or for worse) and see minivans as vehicles aimed towards large families and an older generation. Now yes, I know that the minivans appeal to both groups, but that several people who do not fit into those categories also own those vehicles as well. But I just have a hard time seeing myself comfortable driving a minivan, especially when we grew up as kids always riding in one. So I find myself leaning more towards the gas guzzling SUVs, like a Honda Pilot or Ford Explorer. They provide the same amount of seating as a minivan and most of the features, except less space. But, they also seem to say "Yes, I'm a mom, but I'm so much more". I don't think Batman would ever be caught dead driving a minivan... but would he drive an SUV? I think so. And who doesn't want to be like Batman? And do I realize that is a fairly irrational perspective because it avoids hard data and leans towards emotions- yes. But I also realize... isn't it important to feel comfortable with the vehicle you are driving?

Anyway... neither of our cars have died (yet), but when they do we'll finally have to come to terms and make a decision. But since this discussion has been going on for over a year; hopefully by the time one of our car's dies (cough-Brian's-cough), we'll be confident that we've researched lots of options and be ready to make a final decision.

Let me know what you're thoughts are on whose car will die first and which way you stand between the SUV/Minivan battle.

(Pictures of both our cars to be posted later)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Connor- 2 Months

Rather than tell you what Connor has been doing, I'll let Connor show you.

The Trip Back Home

On Sunday I had to wake my 3 boys up for the 9 hour trip back to Dallas.
We did however, stop 3 hours later for a break (and lunch) at McDonalds in Wichita. Prior to arriving at Sophie's resturaunt of choice I called my parents (rectangle Papa and oval Grammy) and my sister-in-law, Amanda to come join us. Amanda had not yet met Connor so it was a great opportunity to introduce Connor to another one of his aunts. It was also a good opportunity to catch up with Amanda.

After our brief stop in Wichita, we arrived at home in Texas around 7pm and promptly collapsed at home.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hot Alma Nights 2012

Coincidentally the weekend we came up to Kansas happened to be the same weekend as "Hot Alma Nights". Hot Alma Nights is a car show for Relay for Life that is hosted in the City of Alma. I'd never been in Alma during this time, so we were anxious to go.

There were a little over 250 cars there I think. If 250 isn't the exact number, it's pretty close. The cars ranged from classics, to pimped out 70s vans, to old service vehicles (firetruck & police car), to brand new cameros or corvettes.

And despite the name "Hot Alma Nights" it was a perfect evening with temperatures in the 80s. Definitely an oddity for August, but definitely not unwelcome.

After the show was over and the kiddos were in bed, Brian & I met up with Kayla, John, and John's family at the bar down by the railroad tracks for live music by Three of a Kind (a local band). The band played on a flatbed trailer outside the bar with the area nearby enclosed by tiki torches and cattle guard fences. Kayla and John had extra chairs, so we relaxed and listened to the music under the stars. It was a nice night.

For more information on 'Hot Alma Nights' click HERE.

For more information on the band- Three of a Kind, click HERE.

Ohioans in Kansas

This past week Brian's Aunt Tina (aka- Teenie) and Uncle Fred came to Alma to visit Brian's family. While we couldn't be there the whole week, we did get an opportunity to spend part of a weekend with them.

We really enjoyed their company and the time that they spent with our little ones. It was so good to see them and hopefully they had a safe trip back to Ohio. Thanks for visiting Kansas Tina and Fred! We love you!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sophie says....


(Mom walks in the door from work)
Daddy: "Hey Honey, did you know that Sophie says she has a rectangle Papa and an oval Papa"
(Mom almost dies laughing)
Sophie: Yeah Mommy, I want to go see rectangle Papa ok?
Daddy: Yeah and she tells me she has 2 oval Grammys.


Sophie: Mommy, you can sit next to me ok?
Mommy: Ok. Give me a minute to take care of Connor.
Sophie: Connor can't sit next to me. You can sit next to me.
Mommy: Why can't Connor sit next to you.
Sophie: Because he's a boy.

(End of conversation for Sophie. Her last statement seemed to be enough of an explanation.)


Sophie: Are we in Kansas yet?
Mommy: Almost. We are in Oklahoma right now.
S: Oh. Why?
M: Because Oklahoma is between Texas and Kansas.
S: Why?
M: Because someone drew lines and decided where all the states are.
S: Huh?
Daddy: Somebody colored the lines on a map Sophie.
S: Oh ok. I like to color.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chihuly & the Dallas Arboretum

Since we decided to cut back on television, I thought it would give us the perfect opportunity to explore and be more active around the Dallas-Fort Worth area. After all, being in a big city offers lots of events, museums, entertainment, gardens, parks, zoos, etc...

While browsing the cities options and trying not to burn our budget with our adventures, I stumbled across some discounts offered by the Dallas Arboretum. During the month of August, all admissions were $5, which is a steal compared to their usual prices for non-members ($22/adult, $12/child 3-12). Plus if you pay for parking online (where you also purchase the discount tickets for August), you pay only $5 for parking instead of $10.

So in order to avoid the crowds and the heat, we loaded into the car around 8:30 and arrived shortly after it opened at 9 am. Part of the reason I was so excited to go is they currently have an exhibit going showing the large blown-glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly. It looked impressive on the television ads, but it was even more so in-person.

Mexican Hat & Horn Tower

Yellow Icicle Tower

 Niijima Floats

 Scarlett Asymmetrical Tower

 Mirrored Hornets

Aqua Blue & Amber Chandelier

Float Boat & Carnival Boat


Blue Polyvitro Crystals


Fiori Sun

Garden Glass

Dallas Star

Blue Icicles

The other part of the attraction was that I love taking pictures of my family. I know... I'm sure this shocks everyone. So if we are going to take pictures, I'd rather take pictures of everyone in a beautiful setting.

So if anyone is around the Dallas area looking for something to do and is willing to brave the heat and do a bit of walking, visit the Dallas Arboretum, especially while Dale Chihuly's work is on display if possible.

For more information on the Dallas Arboretum, click HERE.

Fore more information about Dale Chihuly and his artwork, click HERE.