Monday, December 31, 2012

The First Day of the Fifth Year

Today is the first day of the fifth year (not to be confused with the last day of this year) which means that yesterday was the last day of the fourth year- which was Tommy and my Fourth Wedding Anniversary!

Tommy spent the day at the movies with his brother. I ran a few errands and played with Emi. Tommy got home around 630, and we left Emi with his family so we could go have dinner.

Tommy had asked me where I wanted to go. Sure we were in a big city with lots of different and good options for dining, but after being away from home for ten days, I wanted something familiar. So we went to our favorite- Houston's Restaurant. And it did not disappoint.

Houston's is kind of our place. When we first dated and lived in Lawrence we would eat at Houston anytime there was something to celebrate. And Houston's did not disappoint this time! Tommy got the ribs and I got the chicken strips and we shared our dinners. During dinner Tommy got up to "wash his hands" but really he went to tell our waiter it was our anniversary and to bring us a special dessert. So after we finished our meal the waiter brought us a brownie and some ice cream on top. The waiter served it with a candle- which still makes me wonder whether the waiter misunderstood and thought it was my birthday. Regardless, it was a sweet! (Pun intended!)

By the time we got done eating I would normally insist on going home right away. I'm such a homebody. Tommy suggested that we go to Dave & Buster's instead. I'm not much into arcade games, but I must admit, we had a lot of fun. We shot baskets, played Deal or No Deal, Connect 4,  The Price is Right and more! Every time we would pick a number or pull a lever in a game- we would say "This is for Emi!" Or "Pick 2- that's Emi's number." I'm not really sure why 2 is Emi's number (other than to represent her birth month) but it now is.

As we headed home well past the 11pm hour, we arrived safely to Tommy's parent's house to find little Emi waiting up for us!

It was a lovely ending to a lovely year. And so far the first day of the fifth year is looking swell also.

Happy Anniversary, My Love!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our Almost Trip to the Zoo

We spent our morning like we spend most mornings in Houston- eating breakfast well past the 11am hour with much discussion of what we would be doing for the day.  I generally pick up on about five percent of the conversation as it is mostly conducted in Spanish. I'm always surprised that so much discussion occurs as we never seem to do what was planned.  

At some point during this conversation during breakfast, I did hear his brother mention that the Zoo is free on the first Tuesday of the month. I then replied "Well, Tuesday is a holiday, so are you sure it will be free?" No further discussion was had (at least in English) on the free zoo days.

So, at about 1pm we all got into our cars (yes, we needed two to travel) and headed to the Houston Zoo. We arrived a little after 2pm (which admittedly did cause some sort of anxiety for me because the Zoo closed at 5pm). We got Emi ready in her stroller, locked our car doors and approached the Zoo entrance. This is what the Zoo entrance looked like:

And that was as far as we got. Because as we approached the gate it was then decided that because the Zoo is free on Tuesday (it was Saturday) we should come back and visit the Zoo then.

So we fed the ducks....

And Emi rode the train with Dad and Uncle Hikaru...

And visited the Japanese Gardens....

We then headed to Ikea to get some storage containers that were on sale for $1.99 (regularly $7.99) but of course, because we didn't arrive until after 4pm, they were sold out.

My understanding was that we were going to meet Tommy's other brother for dinner, but I must have misunderstood because we did not eat with them.

But we did end the day with a trip to a Christmas light display at the ZOO! (Most animals off display). Also, this was specifically discussed that morning prior to us leaving home where we decided that we would not be going to the Christmas light display, so I had no packed extra warm clothes. But Emi did have lots of fun with her cousin, Farah, and Uncle Hikaru.

And as we headed home for the day, Tommy gave me a big hug and kiss and said 'I love you, honey. You did so good today."  And you know what?! He was right!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thankful Thursday...

I had to check my calendar twice today to make sure it was appropriate to write a Thankful Thursday post.

So this Thursday I am thankful for:

A safe 16 hour drive from Des Moines to Houston with a happy baby and semi-happy husband.

A fun ferry trip I just took with Tommy and Emi.

Some good TV on Bravo! I was missing Andy Cohen.

Extra time with Emi over the holidays. And it is even more fun to watch her play with her new toys.

But this Thursday I am most thankful for perspective. I think it is easy to feel sorry for yourself or a situation you find yourself in. But the truth is even my worse days are not as bad as some people's best.

Yearbook Surprise!

I had the pleasure of viewing Tommy's Spring Forest Middle School circa 1996.

Some of my favorite comments that friends wrote in his year book were:

-- "Tom, You are very ghetto but you 'r' still my boy peace!" (signature not legible).

-- "Hey Sweetie, What's up (except enter arrow pointing up here). Nuttin much over here. I am just chillin. I am sorry you did not have good luck w/ the girls this year. Love ya, Scotti Thompson"

-- "Tom, stay nice and dont treat girls like shit anymore! Ill miss you when I move! Sara. Ps. Im Pimpen."

-- "Baby, I know at time u may think I'm mad at u so dont worrie I will always love you. Love Cherry."

-- "Tom, Sweetie sorry for what my dad did. Just want to say please dont forget me. k. I love Nathanial always + forever. Charity."

No news on whether Cherry and Charity eventually became strippers.

Seeing Tommy's yearbook also reminded me of two things when I was in junior high.

1. My friend, Andrea, had this girl, we'll call Lisa Haltom, write in her yearbook "Have a good summer you annoying b***h." What was so bizarre about this was that none of us really knew Lisa. Andrea was too classy to write anything negative back. This is probably why Andrea is saving lives everyday in the E.R. and Lisa is probably standing in the welfare line with her fatherless children. Probably.

2. I am fairly certain that I wrote in my 8th grade boyfriends yearbook that I would always love him. I feel bad for lying. :-)

Stay Cool!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

10 Things... Texas Driving

Here are ten things I noticed about Texas driving...

1. Nobody uses cruise control. I mean nobody.

2. Toll roads are so dumb. Can't I just stop at the toll booth, show you my tax return proving I pay taxes, and proceed without paying a toll? When is enough, enough?!?

3. It's easy to forget you are on an interstate because its totally common to come to a complete stop every few miles or so.

4. All interstates have highways that run parallel to the interstate. It is then from the highway that you exit/enter onto your roadway from the interstate. It's an extra step to getting on/off the interstate. It is supposed to be faster, but I can't tell a difference.

5. Nobody goes the speed limit. People are either ten over or ten under regardless of the surrounding traffic pattern.

6. The mile markers must not mark actual miles because it takes FOREVER to get anywhere- even when traveling at a high rate of speed! The marker will say I only traveled one mile when I swear I have gone three.

7. The left lane is never the fastest.

8. The road construction that was started in 2009 is still ongoing. Get these people some stimulus money!

9. Before every single bridge a sign reads "Bridge may be icy." Every. Single. Bridge. Yet, I have yet to encounter an icy bridge. Wouldn't they be better served just putting that question on the DMV test?

10. Did I mention it takes FOREVER to get anywhere?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all! I hope your Christmas is filled with as much love as ours!

Monday, December 24, 2012


I saw this picture the other day on Facebook:

What do you think when you see this picture? This is what I think!

"Wow! It looks like my cousin and my cousins' kids are having a good time sledding. But nothing will ever beat sledding with my cousins when we were kids." Why's that, you ask?

My cousins Micheal, Missy and Jason lived on a farm in southeast Iowa. One year for Christmas while the adults played Rook at the kitchen table, my cousins, sister and I went sledding on the farm.  We tried a few trips town on the toboggan on the steep hill by the hog shed. But let's face it, a few times of that and the fun isn't worth the cold.  That's when my cousins said to my sister and I "Follow us. We found a car hood and mattress that somebody threw in the ditch on the farm. We turned the car hood upside down, threw the mattress on it, and hooked it up to the 4-wheeler." Let's really go sledding."

My cousin, Michael, took the seat on the 4-wheeler while my cousins Missy, Jason and my sister, Erin, and I hopped on the mattress in the back. We spent the afternoon sledding up and down acres of farmland covered with fresh white snow.

I distinctly remember my cousin going over backwards on the 4-wheeler at least once while going up a steep hill. I kind of can't believe we laid on that old dirty mattress. But to this day it is one of my favorite memories with my cousins.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for the little high-five my Emi gave me this morning. She also said "Hi, Dawn!" yesterday when I got home from work. I swear I'm not exaggerating as much as you think!

I'm thankful that my new checks arrived in the mail. I'm also thankful for my mom.  My mom so generously bought me a new wallet for Christmas that my life is nearly put back together since the purse burglary.

I'm thankful for half-price boneless wing night tonight!

I'm thankful for my blogging friends. I have not been able to sleep well lately so I reminisce with my friends by reading old blog posts. So much fun!

I'm thankful for the show "Watch What Happens Live." It is on the Bravo network and is hosted by Andy Cohen. I used to hate it, but I've learned to appreciate Andy and all his awkwardness. Even Tommy said the other night "This show is actually kind of good!"

I'm thankful for my smartypants hubby. For a few days I had been rocking Emi to sleep. Two nights ago he was putting Emi down and I could tell it wasn't going well. I thought "Oh, my little Emi needs mommy to rock her to sleep." And as I started up to her room suddenly the crying stopped. I said "What'd you do?!?" Tommy said "Oh, I just turned her sound machine from the "wave noise" to the "rain noise" and she fell right asleep!" What?!? Emi has been listening to the wave noise since birth! She just wanted a different noise?!

Monday, December 10, 2012

10 Months!

(Emi is smiling so big because Tommy is behind the camera singing La Bamba- and he knows all the words!)
Tommy said to me the other day "I asked your dad once if he ever felt a little unsatisfied that he only had girls. He told me 'no'. I had always thought he was lying to me, but now, after having Emi, I believe he was telling me the truth."

I know when you dream of having kids, you dream that they will be absolutely perfect, but somehow it is still overwhelming and unbelievable when you have them and they totally are!  The way Emi smiles, laughs, talks, eats, sleeps is just absolutely perfect. Love her- to pieces!

While my little one is an incredibly quick crawler she is not a walker. She stands up all the time, and occasionally with no hands, but she still has some work to do on her balance.

She still has the same sleeping habits- going from about 8-7 straight, but lately has wanted to be rocked to sleep. And since she NEVER wanted to be rocked to sleep as an infant, I'm loving every second of it.

Emi still says Mama and Dada, but I'm still not entirely sure that she knows what that is. However, she does know "no" and I'd say she uses it correctly most often. I'm glad it is still cute and not yet annoying!

Emi still has 4 teeth totally in, one broken thru, and another one that should be here soon. Her hair is growing so much! I can't wait to put it in a pony!

Emi still loves crawling on the floor with Daddy chasing her like he is the lion and she is the prey. She is so giggley and funny. She definitely knows more tones to use with her voice and when that is appropriate, and is developing more and more of that each day.

Emi still loves her car seat and loves looking out the windows. She loves her Minnie Mouse shopping cart and cash register, but she loves her Minnie Mouse Credit Card the most! She also loves this new riding toy that we bought her for Christmas. We havent given it to her yet, but its under the tree, unwrapped, and in packaging. She loves it that way- imagine how much she'll love it when it comes out of the box! Probably not as much!

Today a new baby started and daycare which means that Emi is no longer the youngest. I couldn't believe my eyes watching my little girl crawl around the room ready to pounce on the new infant. It made me realize just how much I want another one big she is!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thankful Thursday!

After hearing my series of bad news, a friend told me "You are surprisingly upbeat for everything that is going on right now." And for that, I am thankful.

I am thankful for the upcoming weekend. I hope to get lots of time in with my hubby and Emi.

I am thankful for the nights like last night when Emi wouldn't go down easy. She stood in her crib and screamed and cried. I would pick her up and instantly she would start snoring and fall asleep as I held her. I would then put her back down and she would wake up again. This happened a few times. Every once in awhile it is nice when your baby needs you. And its nice to take a few moments out of your day to spend that extra time with them.

Ironically, I'm kind of thankful that I haven't had any money over the past week since my purse was stolen. I have packed my lunch everyday. Not made any trips to Target, grocery store, or TJ Maxx. Every night we have eaten at home. We are saving so much money! And when my mom takes me out for lunch today she knows she has to buy! This is a good lesson that I can really live on much less money!

I'm thankful that my credit card is supposed to arrive in the mail today so that I can score the Pampers deal at Baby's R Us this weekend. $35 off two boxes of diapers! (Mom- my card wont come until after lunch so you still have to buy!) (Lesson learned- I want my money back!)

And after doing a home visit for three kids that I have been appointed as their attorney, I'm thankful to have a roof over my head, and the ability to pay for water to shower, and access to good health care. Its easy to forget the simple things to be thankful for!

I will be thankful if every reader takes time out of their day after reading this blog and thinks of five things to be thankful for! I bet it only takes a moment!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Remember how my last post stopped after "If only that were the end of the story...."

The end of the story involves these jerks:

(There were actually three indiviuals, but for some reason the third person's picture will not copy onto the blog- but since the third guy cooperated with the police so I feel okay not putting his picture on my blog).

After we attended the firework display (where my coat was ruined) we returned to my parents house. We got Emi out of the car, settled down, and went to bed. At about 3am somebody banged on the front door. It was the Clear Lake Police. They asked me to come look at my car because there was a suspected Burglary and my purse had been retrieved from the vehicle and they just couldn't figure out why these jerks had my purse. Well, they had my purse because they STOLE IT! Along with my gps, ipod, sunglasses, hotspot.... and so on and so forth. Don't worry, my ruined Northface jacket was safe inside!

Apparently these jerks were going around Clear Lake looking for vehicles to steal from. Another individual saw them stealing, reported it to the police, who put out a watch for a vehicle. The vehicle was stopped for suspicion of burglary by the Mason City Police. As the officer approached the vehicle, he saw my purse sitting on one of their laps. Inside my purse was about half of the belongings which included my business card with both my maiden and married names. The officers were able to then track me to my parents house in Clear Lake where I could identify what was left of my property. One of the suspects fessed up to the burglaries and identified all the other vehicles that were stolen from as well so those people were able to get what was left of their belongings (see- they could only identify me because of my purse. Everybody else they would have never known who it belonged to until they called in to report it stolen.).

Two of the jerks are still sitting in jail awaiting their initial appearance later this week. Unfortunately I didn't get all my property back. I am working with the County Attorneys Office to try to recover anything else I can from these jerks- since you know, my deductible on my home owner's policy (it goes on home owner's not on vehicle sine it is loss of personal property) is $1000. This is approximately the value of my property that was stolen. These jerks will probably be out of jail by the weekend and be slapped with a year or two of probation with no additional jail time, never pay their court costs, and never pay me restitution.

Somedays our justice system feels so.... unjust.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas By The Lake!

We went to the annual Christmas By The Lake in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Emi and Anthony had their picture taken with Rudolph!

Sam stayed cozy in his stroller!

Sam, Emi and Tony met Santa.

Emi hated it!!!

Tony saw the petting zoo!

Watched the geese stroll down Main Street.

Took a horse carriage ride!

 Which made this boy very happy!

And this one too!

Enjoyed the beautiful scenes of the quaint town!

And was hit by firework debris and burned my Northface Vest. I'm quite thankful the debris burnt my vest rather than my daughter who was just inches from me. But I'm still pissed.
If only the story stopped here....

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What?!? How Much Do I Owe You?!?!

I distinctly remember lending a quarter to a classmate in second grade so she would have the remaining funds she needed to purchase a book at the Scholastic Book Fair. I went home that afternoon and told my parents the news. My parents responded "It's nice that you lent that money to your classmate, but anytime you lend money to anybody you should do it with the expectation that you will never be repaid. If the person repays you then you should accept the money, but if the person does not repay you, then you should not fret about that money you lost and not let it destroy your relationships."

While that day may parents were only speaking about the quarter I had lent to a friend, the lesson reached beyond the scope of actual money. Throughout my life I was taught that when we do things for people we do it to foster that relationship. We do things because it is common decency. We do things because we like to help others out. We do not do things so that people are forever indebted to us.

I have been fortunate enough to mostly surround myself with like-minded people my entire life. The generosity of my family, friends and sometimes complete strangers never goes unnoticed. And I hope that they find I have a giving heart as well. And I hope they know when I do something for them I do it because I want to do it, not because I want them to owe me.

I came across a situation recently that foolishly took me by surprise. (Foolishly because I had witnessed this person believing the rest of the world was in debt to her- why would I also not be?) I have an acquaintance that has without question helped me in my life. What I did not realize was that my relationship with this person was tied to a debt. And every thing this person had done in my life that assisted me caused me to go more and more in debt to this individual. And the value this person has placed on their actions far exceeds the value I would place on their actions- if I were so required to do. And, like my parents had taught me to do so many years before, I had also done things in my life that had benefited this person, but I did not keep a tab. I have now been asked to start a repayment plan on the debt I owe to this individual.

While I have yet to figure out how I am going to deal with this situation. It reminds me to be grateful for all the people I do know who love me and support me and my family not so that I will owe them, but just because they want to. And I want to keep doing things for them too. I find sitting around at the end of the day all looking at each smiling and thinking "Wow, isn't this life great?!" is far better than sitting around and fighting about how much we owe each other.