Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Any Turkey Can Tango

How is it the end of November?!

I'm sorry for the long blog absences. I've written two lengthy updates but I never got around to adding pictures and actually posting them.

So for now, I'm just going to share a little video of my daughter Sophie, her partner Max, and the entire Kindergarten doing the Turkey Tango last week. I nearly died of the cuteness. Also, Max informed his parents that since he and Sophie were dancing together, that means they are getting married. Adorable!

I hope you and yours have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Blathering in Charleston

After chickening out of Austin in 2011 and waiting too late to register for New Orleans in 2012, I finally made it to The Blathering in Charleston in 2013.
In some ways, the weekend was exactly what I expected. In some ways, it was even more than I expected. I came home exhausted but feeling that in the span of four days I made some deep bonds with some special people who are now "My People"-my real-life friends, not just Internet friends. And that feels pretty wonderful.
I don't want to recap every minute of every day of the weekend, but I do want to capture some of my favorite moments, observations, and regrets.
Favorite Moments:
  • Saving a seat for and gabbing the whole way from Houston to Charleston with sweet DeeAnne on the plane. Meeting the chic and adorable Arwen at baggage claim.

  • Being picked up at the airport by the fabulous and super fun Erin, who later in the weekend called me "Carrie Bradshaw" and who I lovingly dubbed "Sassypants." Adore Erin!
  • Whisking Ginger out the door upon her arrival to ride Ollie the Trolley downtown for dinner with DeeAnne and me. We ended up on the rooftop of the Charleston Crab House and walked in a big square around downtown later in the evening. It was such a nice night and great way to get to know each other as roommates.
  • The first book club conversation I had over the weekend at Social with Ginger, Laura, Ashley, and Tara G. (aka Other Tara!). Love these girls and we had such a great conversation about books and just life in general. I was so glad to have a chance to get to know all these beautiful and amazing ladies better.

  • Having drinks with the larger group at Henry's on the rooftop. It was cool to see (almost) everyone in one place.

  • Getting to know Julie better when her GPS took us on a scenic route to Eli's Table for brunch (and the free beignets we grabbed while walking over). Thanks again for the ride, Julie!

  • Trying to get massages with Laura, Jessica, and Ginger and then heading back to the hotel to hang out poolside. The poolside chatting was so fun, especially after Laura and I decided to grab appetizers at the bar for sharing and then the fabulous Jen Bernardi, who I had the pleasure of getting to know over coffee in San Antonio the week before The Blathering, brought her famous trail mix! I feel like I got to talk to so many people by the pool and it was so awesome and relaxing to share lounge chairs and just gab.

  • Having an in-depth conversation with the beautiful Ginger about ourselves and our families on the bar patio while the sun was setting before the boat cruise. Then joining Danielle, Nora, Blair, Julie, and Jen Bernardi for more pre-boat bonding.
  • The Salami Pants Incident of 2013, which solidified my love of Laura!

  • Watching Emily do the running man on the rooftop deck of the Fish House. :) And finally getting a chance to really chat with Roomie Tara over drinks and then back in our room, when we got on the elevator and everyone else headed to the hotel bar. (We thought you were following us on the elevator, ladies!) We talked for an hour before we finally called it a night.

  • Hanging out with Danielle, Jen B., Caitlin, Tara G., Ginger, and DeeAnne at Queology after post-brunch shopping at the market. This was just relaxing and probably the first opportunity I had to get to know Caitlin, Danielle, and Tara G. even better.
  • Popsicles! I was a big fan of the chocolate sea salt and raspberry lime. I also really enjoyed chatting with Erin, Elsha, April, Laura, Jessica, Tara, and Jenna. When we caught the water taxi back to the hotel, I also got some quality time with Jennifer Lyker who is so lovely.
  • At the Alley, I was glad to get to talk to Blair, Maggie, Elsha, Miranda, Danielle, and Julie a little more, and my roommates Tara, Ginger, and DeeAnne. And Erin, aka Sassypants, made me laugh harder than I had all weekend!
  • Back at the hotel bar afterwards, I talked Pens hockey with Kate Welsh and we bonded a little over our mutual hatred of Marc-Andre Fleury.

  • Tara waking me up to give me a hug goodbye as she left early Sunday morning.

  • Despite the onset of a migraine, I enjoyed the last opportunity to chat with some great ladies, including Ashley and Tara G., and Jennie Canzoneri over donuts. I wish the darn migraine hadn't made me so woozy I couldn't really enjoy the cab ride to the airport I shared with Danielle and Blair. Sorry I was so out of it, ladies.

  • Everyone was really nice. There were moments I felt awkward, but those passed fairly quickly usually. (Or maybe I was awkward all weekend and everyone was just really nice about it.)

  • Maggie is totally as adorable and funny in person as I expected, although I think I stressed her out asking about the bakery!
  • The Organizers put a lot of work into the weekend-thank you ladies! I really appreciate everything you did to make the weekend fun for all of us!

  • Since I'd been to Charleston several times before, I felt no need to try and see any of the sights, which freed me up to relax and hang out with people. I think I could've sat by the pool talking all weekend.
  • Not doing beach yoga with Jen B. on Saturday morning (even though Creepy Old Guy was totally checking the yoga ladies out).

  • There are SO many fabulous ladies that I did not get to spend time getting to know. For that, I am very sorry ladies! Guess that means I'll have to go to Seattle next year, right? I've never been to the Pacific Northwest or the West Coast at all, so I think I'm required to go.

Plus, now that I've found "My People," I can't wait to see you all again. :)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Forty is Fab With Four to Go

Moving isn't the only thing that's been keeping me busy the last few months. Two things that were on my list of things to do to celebrate turning 40 have been going on as well.

Round 1, Game 1, April 20th against the Lakers

In April, my BFF and I started going to all the NBA home playoff games for our beloved San Antonio Spurs and watching all the away games as well. It's all Spurs all the time right now and it is so exciting, because the Spurs are officially the Best in the West, having won the Western Conference last Monday night! They will face either the Miami Heat or the Indiana Pacers in the NBA Finals starting June 6th.

When I fangirl, I fangirl hard.

The Spurs have been to and won the Finals four times previously (1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007), but it's been six long years since their last title win. It is so amazing that they have made it back and that we've been a part of it, at games in person! I am praying they win it all and would love for the deciding game to be at home-it would be amazing to be there!

My favorite part of the experience is not just the games and the winning, although I love that! It's the ritual of driving to the games early with my friend, parking in Lot 4, grabbing a bite to eat somewhere in the AT&T Center, catching up with other people we know, watching all the players warm up, hearing some amazing performances of the national anthem, enjoying the hoopla surrounding the Spurs introductions, alternately cursing, cheering, and dancing throughout the game, getting bottomless soda refills and deciding what to stress-eat in the second half (popcorn, cotton candy, or regular candy), walking elatedly to our car after a win, and listening to post-game sports talk while dissecting the game on the way home. We only have a few games left to enjoy it for this year (Four to Go!) and I'm starting to miss it a little already, but I'm hoping for a wonderful winning end to the experience. Go Spurs Go!

View from our seats in the second row of the upper level.

In the midst of all the Spurs fun, my actual birthday arrived and I threw together a small birthday party at our house in about two weeks' time, once I figured out when our Spurs games were going to be. It was actually fantastic, as the Spurs won the semi-finals just after midnight ON my birthday, we had the party the next day, and then the first game of the Western Conference Finals was the following day and the Spurs won that game too. So much Spurs goodness! But, back to the party...

J worked hard all week putting lights up in our trees overhanging the deck, mowing the grass, and generally cleaning up the yard and deck for the party. I ordered Tex Mex food from my favorite restaurant and a cake from my favorite bakery and invited my three girlfriends to come over with their families. I bought bubbles for all the kids and pulled some of Sophie's toys outside for entertainment purposes. We set up the food inside, but we ate on our tables outside. I also made margaritas for the first time probably since Sophie was born and everyone seemed to enjoy them!

I have great friends.
And we all have great kids.
Love these ladies.

Thank goodness Sophie didn't make J put 40 candles on the cake-this was enough!
Sweet girl helped me blow them out!

Party deck!

Many years of friendship in this picture.

I had originally thought about having a much bigger party, but in the end, the size of the party was perfect. I felt like I got to talk to everyone, the kids played great together, and it was relaxed and chill.

On my actual birthday-getting my glam on with Sophie at the kiddie salon.

Forty has been pretty fabulous so far (my boss even arranged for all my client teams to serenade me on the :40 mark of each hour when we celebrated my birthday at work!). Looking around at my party, I just felt happy and blessed to have such good friends, to live in our new house, and to have such a sweet family. And since I'm lucky enough to have all of that in my life, I made the same wish when I blew out candles on two different birthday cakes this year. And based on the rest of this post, you can probably guess what I wished for. :)

Let's do this Spurs! Go Spurs Go!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I Still Have Boxes to Unpack Three Months Later

I'm not sure I can actually call myself a blogger, as I post so infrequently. Honestly, I was never very good at keeping a diary, and this blog feels more like a diary to me most of the time. Who am I kidding, no one is reading this anyway, so I can write whatever I want. Or not. :)
Anyway. The reason for the blog absence since February is simple. We moved. That should be in all caps. WE MOVED. And this was my biggest, most adult move ever. Instead of loading up a UHaul or a friend's truck with stuff from a storage unit or apartment, we hired movers who spent nine hours over two days moving an entire houseload of furniture from our old home to our new home.
I didn't think it would be hard. Buying and selling the houses had been fairly simple. In January, we saw a new house we liked, put an offer on it, and had the offer accepted in about three days. Our closing date was March 6th. We debated moving to the new house before we listed our old house, but in the end, I panicked about having two mortgages for any amount of time, so we put our house on the market on Valentine's Day, had 11 showings and received three offers over the weekend, and accepted an offer on the 18th, with a closing date of March 18th. Done. Twelve days between closings seemed adequate. I took the week off to facilitate the move. Seemed easy enough.
I just didn't really understand how much stuff we had! When we moved into our first house in 2005, we bought new furniture that was delivered directly to the house. Then, we had a kid, and all of her furniture was delivered...directly to the house. When I contacted the moving company, I was all "1,800 square feet, three bedrooms, two sofas, a dining room set, and boxes." The day the movers came (three guys, one truck) I was all "Oh, yeah, all this stuff in the attic needs to go, and the garage, and the patio set..." and on and on. I didn't think we would ever get it all to the new house. I was like, "WHO BOUGHT ALL THIS STUFF?!"
Once the stuff was all IN the new house (nine hours of the movers' time, plus several additional trips to get clothes out of closets and such), what did I do? Immediately begin buying more stuff. Yeah, I know. I'm never moving again though, so I won't have to deal with moving all this stuff out! We actually needed some more stuff though, as our new house is bigger than our old one (3,000 square feet, five bedrooms, three full bathrooms, three living areas).
I was really looking for about 2400-2600 square feet and four bedrooms, but J and I both loved this house immediately. It was the only house we saw that we both agreed on. It felt like the right house, and we are so happy with it, although it is strange to have two bedrooms more than we have people in our family. With our previous house, the loft and two upstairs bedrooms overlooked the living room and our master bedroom was right off of that on the main floor, so it kind of felt like we were all in the same room, all the time. J works from home when he goes on call every few weeks and it was hard for him to get privacy, as Sophie would be playing in the loft right by his computer. Nothing says "professional" like a four-year-old informing 40 of your colleagues on a conference bridge that she has to go potty. Also, Sophie's bedroom was small, so her toys were in every room...the loft, the living room, our bedroom, both bathrooms. It drove me nuts.
In the new house, one bedroom is a playroom for Sophie's toys. One bedroom is an office/mancave where J can be on the computer and work in privacy. The only downstairs bedroom is the guest bedroom with a full bath next to it, which was fantastic when my mother-in-law visited in April. It will also be fantastic if my parents ever have to move in with us someday-the bathtub even has one of those bars in it to assist you getting in and out of it! Sophie has a bathroom that connects to her bedroom, which I think will be nice when she's a teenager. Our master has a separate sitting area that I'm making into a reading room for me.
Besides the move itself, we have been on a renovation streak in the new house...there has barely been a week without a contractor/workperson of some ilk in our house. We've replaced the water heater and put a water softener in. I had tile, crown moulding, and new lights put in the kitchen. Then, we had a plumbing problem and had to have some pipes fixed, which meant new drywall in our family room ceiling. This week, we are having all 28 windows in our house replaced (they are single pane and we live in the flight path to San Antonio International Airport, so we are upgrading them to block sound as well as help with energy efficiency hopefully). Sometime in the future, we also need to get our shower retiled and our showerhead raised as it currently is at the level of J's nose...the previous owners were shorter than we are. :)
Some of the best things about the new house have nothing to do with the house itself really. Sophie seems to have grown up a lot since we moved in. She is more independent and spends more time playing on her own than requiring us to entertain her. She was excited to visit the terrific elementary school she will start at in the fall and seems to harbor no longing for the old house at all. We are one subdivision over from one of my best friends, so she and I get to spend more time together casually. It seems easier to have people over as the house itself holds more people, has more places for people to sit, and has a bigger backyard. It's just so lovely and I'm really enjoying living in it.
It's still a work in progress, which is OK since I'm never moving again, but here's a house tour.
Starting with the outside.
Here's the formal living room, a nice place to sit and read. This is our old living room furniture with new pillows to spruce it up.
We didn't have a formal dining room in our last house, so it's nice to have my nice table and china cabinet together here instead of in the kitchen for all the entertaining I do-ha! That's a joke. I still love it though.
The family room is comfy with reclining couches. (These are new purchases.)
Here's the kitchen before the work we had done.
Here's what it looks like after. No more 80s lightbox, new tile, and crown!
The eat-in kitchen overlooks the deck in our backyard, which is one of my favorite parts of the house.
Guest bedroom and bath downstairs.
Upstairs, the playroom is the first room you find.
Sophie's bedroom is next and it connects to her bathroom.

Down the hall is a game room with a wet bar...currently, it just contains furniture we don't have a spot for...we don't know what we're doing with this room yet.
Off the game room is J's office.
Off the game room in the other direction is the master, starting with the sitting room. I need to buy bookshelves, a lamp, and a ladylike desk for this area.
Here's the main part of the master bedroom and the master bathroom.
Here's the house as seen from the backyard. There is a balcony off our master that I hope to get some lounge furniture for and the deck has built-in benches and a built-in picnic table, perfect for get-togethers.
Easter 2013

My 40th Birthday Party-that's another post
I'm so happy to have the move behind us and to be making the house a place we'll love to live in forever, because, again, I'm never moving again!
How have you survived buying, selling, and moving? Anyone else addicted to HGTV? I'll try to post a little more frequently once I get more boxes unpacked. :)