Saturday, October 1, 2016


I'm interrupting your regularly scheduled weekend blog about the kiddos to post an update about the home improvements we've been doing for the past several months. Aurora doesn't like change so she was anxious going into these projects, but we are all happy with the results, which - while perhaps not dramatic in the photos - have been dramatic for our lives. First, we replaced three doors. My dad replaced the studio entry door (which was letting water in), Home Depot replaced our garage door, and I hired contractors to replace Chuck's studio balcony doors. It was a BIG job but they were water-logged, leaking, and infested with carpenter ants (yuck).

After replacing all the doors, we painted the whole house and studio. The colors are very similar but I think you can tell it's a little less orange & cream and a bit more brown & tan. The garage door was super old and rickety. The replacement is so quiet and has a keypad & phone app, so we have some convenient new options for opening and closing it. The lighting might not be as nice in the after picture, but trust me - this garage door is much nicer.

And now for the main front entrance. Again, not a dramatic difference but the update turned out great. Here's the before and after, which includes new light sconces (thanks dad!):

We had to strip layers of paint from the door and it is a new shade of red, but painting the side panels made all the difference. Of course, a house is not a home without family - so I'll post one cute pic of the fam wearing our new matching aprons!!! We still have a bit of work to do (mostly interior now) but it's so nice to have a majority of our projects done.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


After several weeks of little celebrations here and there, my birthday has come and gone and I am officially middle aged. I remember growing up seeing 40 year olds getting "Over the Hill" gifts and cards and not being completely sure what that meant. I get it now! I don't actually feel so old, so it's all good - and this week I got flowers, cards and gifts at work and home.

I got an amazing bouquet of roses from my sweet friend Laura Masch and an Amazon Echo from Chuck. We've all had fun getting to know Alexa and having her play music and give us the news of the day, weather reports, etc. I'm pretty sure that was a gift that Chuck has wanted for a long time, if you know what I mean ;) He also got me a hydration pack which I took on a 6+ mile run this morning. Now that's pretty awesome! I told the family I'd rather workout than eat cake, but don't worry, we had cake too!

The whole fam went out to the Cheesecake Factory where they sang a lovely rendition of Happy Birthday and gave me a sweet little ice cream sundae (which was mostly devoured by the kids). Today we picked up a big piece of cake to split between our little family and used the awesome candles Katie sent! I think I've had enough sweets for awhile, and PLENTY of celebrations for this milestone birthday. THANK YOU for all the kind words, cards, gifts and wishes! 

Sunday, September 18, 2016


What a weekend! I know, I say that every weekend. But this one was filled with all kinds of excitement. Yesterday we went to the gym, the library, and a birthday party at a painting studio. I love how focused Clark was on his work, though he spent most of the party saying potty words with his friend Elsie. Aurora was not amused.

What's this, a new play structure at the library? Aurora was trying to tell us about it ahead of time as she'd seen it before with Grandma and Grandpa. Pretty cool, but not easy to describe! 

Today we ran our 4th Annual Marathon Relay. Nicolette typically goes first, but she had to bow out due to a knee injury so I grabbed the #1 spot and while it made for an early (and very long) day, it was awesome. I ran this year's leg 3 minutes faster than last year, which was already 4 minutes faster than the previous two years. It was a great kick off to the fall running season, as always, and this year I've registered for more events than ever!

I had a great team and we ran in the final part of the last lap together with the girls. I love this event, but it was a HOT one today. Coming home to A/C and a shower felt GREAT, but no rest for the weary at this house. I gave the boys haircuts, did the food shopping, then decided to make Aurora's dream come true by doing a $10 Challenge with her. Her dream wasn't to do a $10 Challenge, it was to be a Youtuber. She watches videos like this all the time and really wanted to make her own. She has already planned many more so this may become a regular installment to the blog. Enjoy!


Sunday, September 11, 2016


This week was a little hectic balancing work with a bunch of home repairs, so Friday we kicked off my birthday month festivities with a group lunch at El Azteca and date night with Chuck at Odd Duck. Odd Duck was awesome - I wish I'd taken more pictures. It was also our first Parents Night Out at MyGym and the kids loved it.

Saturday we spent the day on a boat with Chuck's colleagues. Technically I'd say it was a Booze Cruise but most people brought their kids so there was plenty of family fun.

This weekend I also kicked my half marathon training into high gear with some of the best runs I've had in awhile and a yoga class at work. My legs are feeling it! 

This will continue to be a very busy month and it's going to be a little tricky balancing work with HR classes, lots of running and cycling, finishing our home renovations, and hopefully a little more birthday fun! But every weekend is fun around here...

Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day

Last week I got to head to school for parent orientation. Third grade honestly sounds like the best year yet! The topics are interesting and challenging but still super fun. Science, history, reading, writing, math, GT, and we signed Aurora up for CHOIR after school 3 days/week. She left a few fun things at her desk for me.

This weekend we did a little shopping. We're preparing for some exterior home repairs and maintenance and dad's helping us replace a door, doorknobs and lighting, then we're having the septic tank pumped, balcony doors and garage door replaced, and once it's all done we'll be painting. There will be a lot of laboring happening at our house in the coming weeks. Thank goodness my parents are still here to help in exchange for a few meals and use of our washer/dryer!

My main goal for the weekend was to get in some good workouts. I did yard work, went to a cycling class and went running twice. It's hard to get back into the swing of things after a long, hot, somewhat lazy summer. After all that, I tried to spend my remaining time like this; reading, relaxing, and watching movies while Clark was on the iPad. The best way to spend Labor Day...

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Kitchen Helpers

Lately both kids have been very interested in putting on aprons and helping me out in the kitchen. I've been checking out kid's cookbooks from the library and trying to get them interested in different types of foods for their lunches, hoping that if they pick out the recipe and help prepare it, they may be more inclined to eat it - and it's working!

Clark and I got up early and made waffles for the family yesterday. Then he went food shopping with me and helped pick out lunches and dinners for the week. He saw melon balls in the kid's cookbook and said he'd eat those, so we bought cantaloupe, honeydew, and a melon baller. Then Aurora suggested we make sno-cones, which were a hit!

My parents can attest to the fact that both kids helped make dinner and dessert tonight, and Aurora prepped celery for ants on a log, and turkey/cheese rollups for this week's lunches. It was a pretty relaxed weekend without much on the calendar, but sometimes those are the best.

Monday, August 22, 2016

3rd Grade

On Friday I spent a mommy/daughter day with Aurora and this weekend we focused on giving her a super fun last weekend of summer before starting school. Not that she needed it to be fun. Going back to school is the most fun thing this girl could imagine! We spent Friday morning at the Valley View Elementary Meet the Teacher open house. Aurora's 3rd Grade teacher is... her Assistant Teacher from 2nd Grade!!! Here she is with Mrs. Kephart.

Afterwards we decorated cupcakes together, which was so much fun. Saturday she had a sleepover with Presley and it looks like the girls got more sweet treats!

Sunday we went to Creative Action's community art day, a free event full of fun activities. We met up with friends and both kids had a great time, but especially our crafty girl. Clark preferred our time at the park playground afterwards...

And this morning, it was finally the day she'd been waiting for. During Friday's open house she said "I wish TODAY was the first day of school!!!" but as with everything, the time finally arrived and this little sweetie squealed with excitement.

Aurora's feet skipped a size this summer (from size 1 to size 3) and yes - that's a Minecraft t-shirt she's wearing. I'm sure that she's had a great day at school and EZ Care. Clark's already ready for the end of the school year, but he's got a loooooong time to go.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Reunion Ranch

This weekend Chuck's company was holding a family picnic at a place called Reunion Ranch way up in Georgetown, TX. When I looked at the map I noticed it was close to a nice sized lake and decided this might be a good excuse for a camping trip. I did a bit of research and reserved two nights at Russell Park, which was awesome; the gate attendants were so nice and knowledgeable, the camping area was safe, well maintained, and it was NOT BUSY AT ALL. In fact, we only saw a few other families in the park during our entire stay. It's the first camping trip we've taken where it was quiet all night long. It was also the first time the kids have decided they wanted to help set up the tent, and then they actually helped!

We got very lucky in that the weather held up about as well as we could've hoped. When we arrived it was 100 degrees with chances of scattered thunderstorms all weekend. It did rain a bit, but all that did was cause the temperature to drop to 75 degrees, which was awesome.

It was still pretty hot during the company picnic, but nobody seems to mind the heat as much when they're riding ponies, eating sno-cones, playing bingo, riding a peddle boat and playing mini-golf in the shade! Reunion Ranch was awesome, and the only substantial rainfall came later in the afternoon while we were at the movie theater. We went to see Pete's Dragon and grabbed burgers for dinner before settling in for our second night. This morning we packed up right after breakfast and were home by 10am. If the radar wasn't calling for more rain, we would've spent more time at our private beach. Ahh well. I told Chuck that after such a successful camping trip, my inclination is to get working on our next vacation! But we have a very busy fall ahead so I think this was our last chance to get away for a little while. I'm glad we didn't let the weather deter us.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Grandparent Camp

There's so much going on, I decided we need a mid-week post, specifically to thank my parents for watching the kids during the break between summer camp and school. They've had both kids for the last week and a half and have taken the kiddos all over town to help us out!

Last week I set aside a bunch of games, movies, and crafts (including the cute animal visors and sidewalk chalk pictured), and there wasn't a ton on the calendar. This week they delivered Clark to his 4 year well-child visit, where he was weighed, measured, vaccinated, and tested. He has perfect hearing, 20/20 vision, and he was able to differentiate red and green!

Today they dropped the littles at Valley View for Clark's meet the teacher open house. He's going into Pre-k but apparently he isn't quite ready to be dropped off at school yet. He was actually kind of a grump and wanted to go home right away.

Ready or not, school starts tomorrow for our little dude, a week and a half before Aurora. My folks aren't off the hook quite yet, but I'm sure the dynamics of watching both kids vs one is a bit different. Hopefully things will be a little more relaxing from here on out!