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Sunday, August 31, 2008

{I'm dreaming of...}

RATTLESNAKES!! Yes! Rattlesnakes!

Thanks to Mike's ingenious idea to show me some cool sites around his temporary apartment place, I am now constantly thinking of rattlesnakes.

Story number one: While coming back from lunch on Friday, Mike slowed down to show me a cave, right before the entrance to the apartments. It was a cool cave, until he told me the STORY that went along with it. He drove to the garbage bin. He said "OK, about a year or so ago, a tenant was taking her trash here, climbed up the stairs to dump her trash inside, and looked inside and saw a HUGE mountain lion eating the garbage. She freaked, of course (who wouldn't?), and the mountain lion was captured." Turns out the mountain lion had been living in this cave, which stretched under the property all the way to the end of the other side. ::shuddering::

Story number two: The city paved a new road to the side of the complex a year ago. While drilling and cutting through all the rock to make a road, they came across a den of rattlesnakes (aka, a den houses a TON of snakes). He said to this day, they frequently see rattlesnakes still around the area that it was found, which is near the car wash at this complex, the most recent a few days ago. ::shuddering::

Story number three: A year ago, a rattlesnake decided to pay a few tenants a visit, and coiled itself up on the first step of one complex, and wouldn't let anyone pass (well, who would pass a rattlesnake in the FIRST place?). ::shuddering::

So, last night, I had sweet dreams all FREAKING night long about rattlesnakes. In fact, I felt something brush my blanket, and I could've sworn my mind went directly to "oh no! There's a snake here!"

I am officially losing my mind. I'm scared to DEATH of snakes. Literally. What gets me even more afraid is the fact my husband doesn't seem to mind them, and is quite at ease with killing these reptiles as if it were no different than mowing the grass. Uh, HELLO! It can STRIKE at you! Course, he rolled his eyes at me when I suggested he pack his snake guards in his truck at ALL times.

I thought about posting a picture of a rattlesnake from google images, but I decided I would probably never come back to my blog if I constantly saw a picture of one of the things I feared greatly. That would be a travesty, right? :)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

{oh, she loves her bling!}

Last weekend my mom, Katie & I went through my jewelry box looking for the earrings that MY mom gave me when I was Katie's age. She ordered a package of something like 100 pairs of earrings for $5 (I'm sure I'm way off, but you get the point), and amazingly, I saved a bunch of these earrings. Katie knew I had them, and so she wanted to sort them out and look at them.

Maddie found the biggest pair of earrings I had.... the earrings I wore to church prom years ago (and I mean YEARS)... I showed her they were clip on earrings, and I have YET to get them back. They sit on her bathroom counter every single day, and she wears them every chance she gets. My only rule is that she can't leave the house with them, so she wears them IN the house. She wore these on our trip to the airport to take Papa & Grandma back home.

My baby loves her bling. Mom ... you have a better picture, please send it on!

Friday, August 29, 2008

{Marble Reward System}

I decided it was time to go back to the marble system again, for rewards, privileges and punishments. I did this a long time ago, but didn't keep up with it at all. Now that we've moved, hopefully I can restart this and this will be a success. Here's what I'm doing.

Every morning the girls have things they're expected to do: make bed, clean up their room, clean up their bathroom, brush teeth, clean face, etc. For all this, they get one marble. When they come home, they have chores they do (depending on what needs to be done), and for that they get one marble for each chore they do. These chores aren't just little piggly wiggly stuff either... it's "sweep the entire floor in the kitchen, living room, dining room and hall way", or "clean the bathroom" type of chores. Katie made a salad yesterday for one marble, for example. When they want to play on the computer for the Webkinz stuff, they have to pay ME a marble, and one marble equals 20 minutes. When they fight with me, or with each other, or just flat out disobeys, they lose marbles. When they go to bed, again they have things that must be done: clean their room, pick up their bathroom, pick up their clothes, wash their faces, brush their teeth, etc. They get another marble for that as well. And, to top it off, they get an extra marble from me if they were on GREAT behavior all day long, no fighting whatsoever, and was willing to help out wherever & whenever. Some chores they don't get a marble... but the harder jobs get marbles.

So, what do they get when they have a ton of marbles? Not 100% sure yet... Katie is wanting $$ extremely badly, so I need to figure out if 25 marbles = $5, or if it's 30 marbles = $5, etc. Either way, the opportunity to earn 5 marbles a day is very easily & attainable, so I have to make sure I'm not always forking over $$ each week too, so I may raise the amount of marbles. Yesterday the girls wanted to play Webkinz, so they paid me a marble each. Course, I do have a rewards bucket too, w/ little prizes inside (that I pick up at Target's $1 bin), so many marbles will equal a treat in the bucket. They can also choose to get a Sonic's treat after school for so many marbles. Again, I need to figure out my pricing system for them as well, b/c I don't want to make it too hard for them to obtain a reward.

I have to say, in the past 3 days of doing this, this has been working out FANTASTIC! Hopefully I'll keep up with it. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

{Monkey Bread}

A few weeks ago I was at my friend Jenni's house, and she was making Monkey Bread (or bubble bread to some people). She gave me the recipe to make it, and so last night for dinner I tried it out! It was SO incredibly easy and very yummy!

Monkey Bread

Cream together:
2 T butter
2 T sugar
1 egg
1 t salt
1-2 T yeast

All alternatively:
3-3 1/2 c flour
1 cup water

Let rise 20-25 minutes, then roll into a rectangle, and cut into 1 1/2 - 2 inch squares (I used a pizza cutter), dip it in 1/3 c melted butter. I put these in a bundt pan (you'll lay these sporadically all over the pan) and let rise again. Bake 20-25 minutes at 350.


I'm so inexperienced when it comes to letting dough rise, and I didn't use the type of yeast that doesn't need proofing, so if this turned out great, then I know this is a dummy's guide for great dinner rolls! Thankfully, the Texas heat really does a great job at letting dough rise (if I set it on the grill outside and NOT on the ground, it rises!!).

I have seen monkey bread also made where you cut them in circles, and line them up in a bundt pan standing up (circles standing up), then you can just pull them off.

Course, one friend used to dip hers in butterscotch pudding (the dry mix) then line them up circle wise. You can also dip these in butter, then dip again in cinnamon sugar, for a yummy breakfast treat!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

{1st Day of School}

Much to Katie's excitement, I made the girls stand together, across from their school, to take the traditional 1st day of school picture. ::giggling:: Oh, how I love to torment her! She's getting old enough where this is probably driving her up the wall, but it's MY tradition to take a picture of her & Madison on their first day! I will continue this until she leaves for college! ::laughing wickedly::

I had to laugh inside when they picked out their outfits for the first day. Usually, the first day of school outfits are something *cutesy* and something they just LOVE.... not my girls. Well, they loved what they wore, but Maddie was OK wearing jeans (on a day that was 97 degrees). I made her change clothes. She ended up wearing a not-new outfit, but it was still cute. Katie's starting to want to go into that "tomgirl" look. She does have some cutesy outfits, so hopefully she'll turn around a bit and go back to dressing cute again. :) I can still get Maddie to wear cute stuff (well, stuff that is cute to ME!). If only I can get Katie to break away from the traditional ponytail hairstyle every single day. She can really do amazing things w/ her hair, when she wants to. Today, she did wear it in a bun, so maybe things are changing?

Oh, back to school topic.... both girls did great at the end of the day. At the beginning of the day, Katie went her way, and I took Maddie to her classroom. The minute we walked in the doors, she started bawling her head off. Poor kid. After they said the Pledge of Allegiance, then the Pledge to the Texas flag (which is new to us), she's over in the corner trying so hard to be quiet while crying... then the moment of silence, which wasn't so silent in the classroom when Maddie let loose all her sobs. :( That's when I finally let my tears flow too... it wasn't because she was going into first grade, it was because I had a hard time seeing my baby have a difficult time with this new scenario in our life.... new friends, new location, new home.... everything! But, after a few gags and threating to throw up (she tends to throw up when she cries sometimes), I left her w/ her teacher. She did amazing the rest of the day, and came to me that afternoon full of smiles!

{The Beach}

Friday morning we pulled away to go to Corpus Christie for the day at the beach. Prior to leaving, both Dad & I looked at the weather report to make sure it wasn't going to rain, and they said it wouldn't, at least not until 4:00 that afternoon. We get halfway there, and it starts pouring. Darn. We didn't have a clue where to go in Corpus Christie, just head in a direction that faces the beach, and eventually we'll get there. We found a place to go, and the big dark clouds hung over us threatening to drop rain at any second. Thankfully, we had enough time to play in the ocean as we could see where the rain was exactly.

The last time Madison had been to the beach, she was 6 months old. Katie was 4 years old. So, Katie remembers it a little, but for Madison this was a whole new world. She was so hesitant about the water and just soaked all the glory & beauty a beach has to offer inside herself. You could see in her eyes & expressions her awe of it all. I find the beach the most beautiful, relaxing place to be (with the exception of what lies in the ocean... I can push that out of my mind as long as no one is in the ocean deep). I love to walk the beach and find shells (here we found crappy broken shells, but Dad did manage to find a huge shell complete w/ a crab inside).

Katie jumped right in the first second. She had so much fun. Papa & Grandma bought the girls some mini surf boards to play around with. Course, with the storms moving in so fast, the waves were a bit rough. Mike didn't wear his swimming trunks (aka, he lost them on purpose, I think), and I think he finally decided to go find some swimming trunks, so he left to go shop around. He came back in a swim shirt (only Mike would do this) & trunks, and proceeded to have as much fun as the girls did.

While Mike was gone, my mom got in the ocean w/ the girls. She loves the water as well. I waded up to my thighs as well, and stood by Katie as she waited for the waves. All of a sudden I saw a floating white "thing".... JELLYFISH! I made the girls get out of the water ASAP. After walking a ways, we finally found the jellyfish washed up on the beach, and the girls had fun poking at it and rolling it to Papa to show him their prize.

When Mike came out later, he went out pretty far to do some mini surfing as well, and he said there were jellyfish everywhere. Why he didn't come in is beyond me. He likes danger, I guess.

The rain finally came, and we had to hurry to the truck for protection, and so we ate our picnic lunch. After the rain had passed, we walked the beach some more, then decided to call it a day.

{The Beach}

Monday, August 25, 2008

{It's really true!!}

Everything IS bigger in Texas... very true!

I have found two HUGE gigantic cockroaches in my bathtub (came up in the drain)... each on separate nights. I've never seen a cockroach that big in my life. Thankfully, my knight in shining armor (aka Mike) came to my rescue and killed them for me. I can handle the little ones, but not the big ones. ::shuddering::

Anyways, after seeing billboard after billboard saying "everything is bigger in Texas", they really do stand by their words. :)

Girls started school this morning. Katie was nervous, as was Maddie. Maddie started crying as soon as we entered the school. Didn't stop for 15 minutes, and made me cry as well. Weird thing here... they do the Pledge of Allegiance, then they do a pledge to the TEXAS flag (that was odd), then they have a moment of silence (which I like). Finally had to leave Maddie... still crying. :(

Mom and Dad left last night, and so it's a crash back to reality for us now. We are truly alone in this big area..... The girls (and I) had bouts of crying spells all night long. This is going to take some getting used to being away from family. Hopefully this will make us a stronger family unit. :)

Will upload pics from our beach trip & first day of school as soon as I can get internet access going from INSIDE the house. Right now I'm sitting outside and being bit to death by mosquitoes and flies. Ick!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

{Hey Y'all}

OK, for the record, I have to laugh and giggle everytime I hear someone say "y'all" here in Texas. They say it w/ a southern drawl. :D

OK .... things I've learned during this entire life change:

1) Expect to argue with your husband when he loads all HIS tools (aka crap) and then proceeds to tell me that MY stuff has to be tossed.... that is not a pretty picture. Thankfully, most of my stuff made it on the truck or somewhere in the vehicles.

2) Driving with a quiet 6 year old isn't as bad as I thought it would be!

3) Maddie loves classical music. She took over the radio controls, found a classical music station, and proceeded to make me fall asleep several times during our drive.

4) I memorized Penske's number... it's 1-800-G0-Penske. (I followed Mike the entire way). I think I can even give you his license plate number!

5) Dad & Katie really know how to party hardy in their vehicle. Dad had enough of Martina McBride after 30,000 times of listening to her music.

6) Chocolate is not good for a long drive. It makes a horrible mess.

7) Cheap MP3 players is just that... cheap. They only last an hour when fully charged. UGH! (that's why we had to listen to the radio, and how we ended up w/ classical music).

8) It's humid here in Texas. Not sure if it's b/c it's been raining, or if it's just humid. Either way, it still sucks b/c it feels worse here than in Missouri/Kansas.

9) I really miss my family & friends. :(

10) Gas is cheaper in Oklahoma. Like $3.23 cheaper!! Dang!

11) Okies in Muskogee's has the BEST chicken fried steak, and unfortunately, that's also where I was bitten to death by mosquitos. I can count 20 bites on my legs alone.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

{More Homestead Pictures}

Here is the mining... they give you a huge bag full of sand & stones, and you have to wash it all away and sift for the stones... or what you *think* is stones

Katie finds a stone

Maddie tries to make corn meal

Our friends, Ally & Reese MacArthur, standing outside an Indian teepee

Here is another picture of Maddie petrified over the goats. Jenni is trying hard to get the goats out of Maddie's face.

This is a letter Maddie wrote to her friend Ainslea... Papa Rod finally told her to sound out her words with letters, and she wrote the rest of the letter on her own! (the only help she got was Dear B & A). Can you read it?! Amazingly we could the first time!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

{The Homestead}

Katie is feeding the baby goats by bottle

Last week we enjoyed one last trip to the Deanna Rose Homestead. I had promised the girls weeks ago we could do the mining part of the farm, as well as feeding the baby goats. Our dear friends, the MacArthur's, invited us to go one last time, and we had a great time!

Maddie is starting to feed a baby goat... there is HOPE!

Still feeding the goat, but look at her face... not very happy
Get me out of here! Sob sob (and she's hysterical at this point) One would think I am a concerned mother and rush to comfort my daughter, but no, I stop and take a picture for all posterity to know that Maddie, at age 6 is deathly afraid of baby goats & is crying her heart out. Do you think I qualify for a Mom of the Year Award? But just know that as soon as I snapped that picture, I did rush out of the pen to save the day and comfort Maddie. :)

Early in the summer, Maddie tried to feed the goats at the farmstead, but they were instantly drawn to her sweetness, and jumped all over her, and proceeded to bite her hand, which held their food, and which in return, she clamped the food even tighter in her hand, refusing to give it to the goats.... I was hoping that by now she would be brave enough to try the baby goats this time .... with a bottle instead! But no, it wasn't meant to be.
Reese appears to be afraid of the goats too
But not Owen! Owen loves the goats!

Ahh.... relaxing on a tractor trike, and it's PINK! The goats are safely gone from her mind at this point.

Sadly, I didn't upload the pictures of the girls mining, so as soon as I download more pics, I'll be sure to add that picture.

Monday, August 11, 2008

{It's So Hard To Say Goodbye}

Katie & her betta fish, Henry

Maddie & Ainslea

Last night of dance was Thursday, and these are our final pictures of our friends.

Katie + Bryn = Best Friends Forever (BFF)
(or so they tell me) & yes, they're sweaty b/c this is after dance

Katie took it really hard as she left one of her dearest and bestest friends, Bryn. In fact, in the car she broke down and exclaimed "I don't want to move anymore!". Then at home, she had a full breakdown. Broke my heart. Bryn & her family took Henry, our betta fish. They don't promise that he'll be alive long. {{giggling}} I'm just surprised Henry lasted this long too!

This is Stephanie, mom of the two girls. We were trying to be as cheesy as the girls were (cheek to cheek). Didn't really work well, but I'll miss this girl as well!

and one more hug for the road...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

{Oh Mamma Mia!}

Tonight one of my best friends Jennifer and I had our last "GNO" (girls night out). We had dinner together, and debated which movie we wanted to see. She didn't want to see Mamma Mia, and I did. We both wanted to see Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, which came out today. Course, we couldn't get tickets, so we saw Mamma Mia! instead.

Let me tell you... IT WAS THE BEST MOVIE!! We were dancing in our seats and singing out loud! We were laughing at Pierce Brosnan's horrible singing and imagining him saying "Bond, James Bond"... well, James Bond singing, and it wasn't a pretty picture. And oh, my favorite Colin Firth.... the poor thing! He was done injustice with HIS storyline! But, his voice wasn't bad at all...

But, if you haven't seen this, go.. no, don't go, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN! to the movie theatre! Go with your best friend! The one you can laugh at anything with! You'll be dancing in your seat and laughing so hard you'll pee your pants.

We walked out of the movie theatre, and Jen was thanking me for telling her we have to see it. I told her "The entire time we were watching it, I was thinking... this is High School Musical for adults!". ::giggling:: Sadly, I can't get the Lycra scene out of my head... that was wrong on so many levels, but oh so funny!! Again, poor Colin Firth.... but, if anyone wants to see it, I'm GAME!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Never in my life would I imagine saying these words:

"Maddie, please stop cleaning"

She has been on a nonstop cleaning episode since this afternoon! She'll wet a rag down, and start wiping everything... walls, doorknobs, the floorboards, PICTURES (had to tell her to stop on those). She finally stopped, then just now, she decided to clean again. Oh well... whatever floats her boat, right? **thinking of her desire to be a cleaning lady when she grows up**

Another Maddie-ism:

Tonight I took the girls swimming and we came in from the pool. They took showers, while I made some brownies. After their shower, and while the brownies were baking, the girls decided to eat a banana. Here is my conversation with Maddie Rose:

M: Mommy, I decided from now on, I'm going to eat healthy.

Me: Oh really, well why did you decide that just now?

M: From eating my banana.

Me: Oh, well then I guess you can forget about eating brownies, because those aren't healthy.

M: Oh, that's OK. I can still eat one.. THEN I'll eat healthy after that.

{Mike's Going Away Party}

Last night Mike's company threw him & his property manager a going away party. We met up at this awesome place that has bowling, laser tag (which was broken), and mini golf all in one. Best of all.. the place was NON-SMOKING! No hazy clouds to look through and choke through!

We all bowled two games. The girls and us were in one lane. What was really neat (can you tell we don't bowl much?) is that it's all computerized to the point that we tell the front desk when a kid is playing, and they add it to the computer so when Katie's or Maddie's name came up, the rails for the bowling alley went up, so they could bowl straight down without it just going in the gutters.

We had a blast... both girls did a few strikes & spares. Mike did a few strikes and spares, as did I. BUT.... what was shocking, was how well I did. Yes, ME! At the end of game 2, where we're on the final 10, and you have to bowl 3 times (sorry, I don't know my bowling lingo), I did THREE strikes IN A ROW!! Wahoo! I wished I had a picture for Mike's jaw that was on the ground. But, I did take a picture of this miracle for all to see, and to KNOW it wasn't a tall tale! (to see what I'm talking about, on the top row, it says A... go all the way across to the right, and you'll see XXX and recognize my final score?! Now, go down to the bottom M at the very bottom, and you'l see Mike's score. Bwah-hahaha!) Let it be known that Amy finally beat Mike at SOMETHING!!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

{Bon Voyage Party}

The girls are approaching their final weeks of dance classes with their friends. Katie has been dancing for 4 1/2 years, all with the same girls. Maddie has been dancing 1 1/2 years now... amazing it has been that long! They've really made some long lasting friendships with these girls (as I have with their moms). This summer Carla, their teacher, had an extensive Highland Dance class for all the girls. Katie danced for 2 hours, and Maddie danced for 1 hour. They learned so much this summer!

Sadly, it all has to come to an end with our move to San Antonio. Thursday night the girls (and I) were surprised by our friends with a going away party! Every family came loaded with gifts (travel gifts) for the girls, a cake & cupcakes and a lovely card with a gift card inside for me (OK, for the family). We are so blessed with wonderful friends!!

{My Lil' Baker}

Maddie loves to help out in the kitchen... she always is eager to do anything that is asked of her, whether it's emptying out the dishwasher, setting the table, or stirring anything consisting of food. One of her favorites is to help me make her favorite: chocolate chip pancakes. She stirs the batter (sometimes measures it out for me, with some help, of course), and once I pour it on the griddle, she loves to add chocolate chips to her pancakes.

On this particular morning, she found a shower cap, and came to help me... guess she doesn't want hair in her food. ha ha
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