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Hello, Again, Hello

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Hello, Again, Hello

What? Has it really been 5 years since I last wrote on this thing?  Apparently so!  I say that as though someone other than me reads this blog.  hahaha.  Let’s see what has happened in the intervening time since the last post:

Got a new job, got laid off, took time off, got a new job, got laid off again.  Got another new job-this one 20 minutes from home!  But moving downtown in 4 months.  It’s all good though.  Downtown and I are cool with eachother.

The oldest kid, Dr. Spock, has graduated from 6th grade and embarks on Jr high adventures in the fall (OMG freaking out!)  plays piano, cello, competitively fences in epee, can do math (prob what I am most proud of); Precious Perfect has not changed, only ramped up the style and drama.  She is, as Grandma Mazur would say, a pip, cheerleading clinics, tumbling, fencing, piano, fashion and wannabe YouTube vlogger; No. 3 just graduated from kindergarten and we are more or less just thrilled he can read.  Sort of kidding.  Plays baseball, left-handed, has a wicked temper (picture Anger from Inside Out movie) and insists on only wearing “athletic clothes” at all times, doesn’t do pajamas.  Here they are:

so cute, yes?!

At the moment I am working with Mr. Neal to plan a China trip for extended family and some friends over Thanksgiving this year.  Wish us luck because that will be cookoo I suspect.  It’s been 8 years since our move and I think that marks this as the longest we have lived in one place (not to mention the same house).  Clearly it agrees with us despite certain challenges like my continual discovery that literally NO ONE in this town can properly make grilled cheese, and it takes 2-3 high school kids now to get my kids all the places they need to go after school.  That is not an exaggeration (the grilled cheese or the helpers).  The mad love for Texas that the schools teach is also a little unnerving, but we are learning to ignore than and make sure the kids know despite what school says Texas is not in fact the be all and end all (but you did not hear that from me).  Go Texas!

Only in Texas, thank goodness.

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Only in Texas, thank goodness.

Yeah, this is real. A beer holster. Made by some folks in Texas. Don’t ever show up at my house with one or let me catch you wearinig it. Wearing a cellphone is bad enough. If you can’t hold a beer or find someplace to set it down, then maybe you shouldn’t have one at the moment? I’ll loan you my Dr. Pepper koozy.

I’m Back!

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No, I really haven’t been anywhere.  Just busy and on my other blog most of the time . . .  and work has been nuts.  It’s cool though.

We had some visitors from NYC the other week.  Friends of ours that we knew when we lived there.  They have 2 boys and live in a 2 bedroom apartment on lower 5th avenue.  The apartment is prob. worth over $1M.  It’s not huge, decent by New York standards.  They came to our house for dinner and to visit and totally lost their shit over our house–in a good way, but it was funny.  I am still sort of freaked out by how big our house is compared to every other place we have ever lived but for folks from NYC it must seem palatial- then add on to that the comparatively low housing cost, and the pool and the hot tub . . . it probably does seem kind of crazy.

We are about to celebrate 2 birthdays next week.  Precious Perfect will be three and Baby Dude will be 1.  Little Dude is now almost 7. Yikes.  Hard to believe we have been here that long already.  Oh yeah- almost forgot, we joined the ranks of uber vehicle owners.  I resisted as long as I could but Hubs overruled me.  We traded in my adorable Audi for a big freaking suv with a third row.  It’s inaugural voyage was a drive to DisneyWorld in July for the marathon weekend.  You know, not bad.  I mean it is a nice car but jeezus it is large.  So now I guess we are like everyone else here.  At least in that respect.

Oh, and least I forget– it’s wildflower season here again.  Or as I like to call it, Hell.  You know wildflowers are protected so you can’t mow them.  All over the place there are giant [weed] patches that won’t see a mower until at least the end of May.  You can only imagine the amount of pollen and what not in the air.  And of course this includes those stupid blue bonnets.  I guess they aren’t stupid just the reaction to them from everyone is stupid.  You’ll be cruising down the road and all of a sudden here is some family on the side of the road trying to take pictures of their kids in a patch of blue bonnets.  Super idea- let’s have the little kids loose next to a busy road!  Awesome.  Precious Perfect can’t really pronounce a B so it sounds like she is saying “look at the vomits”.  It’s awesome.

So during the non-mowing season I have to make sure to take claritin everyday, use the neti pot and take the nose spray to keep my head from clogging and exploding.  Good times.  It’s actually not as bad as the first year though.    Knock on wood.

That’s about that.



So, yeah . . .

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It’s been a while hasn’t it?  But then I have been busy with work and coordinating the activities of the other people I live with.  I guess that is no excuse.


Little Dude started first grade end of August.  He has a workbook now called “Texas Math”.  Say wha?  Does that mean math in Texas is somehow different than the rest of the world?  Why does Texas always have to make it about them?

Election season here is better than I thought it would be though.  Primary reason for this is because the majority of people I work with everyday are not born and bred Texans but are transplants from more moderate political climes.  And of course being who we are we don’t talk to our neighbors so if there is any Pres. Obama hatred we don’t know about it which is just fine with me.  it would only make me hate the neighbors.  Biggest frustrations of the moment are Facebook and being secretly (or not) worried that my mother is being inundated with right wing nonsense in her email from her friends and she is voting for Mitt without really even considering what that would mean.  I say secretly b/c she refuses to discuss it with me so I don’t actually know that any of this is going on.  it is just a guess and something I feel in my bones.  But seriously, cannot you not take 5 minutes on the internet to find out if something is true or not?  and maybe she does but persisting in her GOPness anyway.  I like to think my Mother is smarter than some of these other ding dongs that just parrot what they hear on Fox no matter how skewed and inaccurate.  Maybe she’s not?  Maybe that is just her world view and she is sticking with it.  As far as Facebook goes, having some serious internal debates about defriending some people for exactly that– not fact checking and harshing on Obama.  I mean, harsh all you want just make sure it’s ACCURATE. Don’t buy in to this misrepresentation about the Affordable Care Act, don’t get fooled by some video of Obama being a diplomat and visiting a mosque while on a Middle East state visit (by claiming he’s secretly Muslim), and critically think about the logic of that insane 2016 movie.  His world view was shaped by a dad he saw twice in his life? the last time at age 10?  You buy that, really?  No surprise of course that that movie is showing here at our local theater either by the way.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m cool with people voting for whomever.  It just makes me feel better to think that it’s for an actual philosophical reason other than the candidate is “not President Obama”.  Otherwise, it’s just too depressing.


That is all!


The Buc-ees Phenomenon . . .

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Our family drives a lot.  Mostly up and down 1-45 to Dallas to visit family but also to other places in and out of Texas.  If you’re driving in Texas chances are you will run across a Buc-ees.   If you decide not to stop that is to your own detriment.  Buc-ees is AWEsome.  I’m not above being wowed by a rest stop/convenience store/gas station/deli/bakery/gift shop.  I wish I had thought to take some pictures to post to capture the flavor.  If Buc-ees doesn’t encapsulate the whole Texas “bigger is better” vibe then nothing does.

First, they have ginormous signs.  Of a beaver.  Who knew Texas had Beavers?  Maybe they don’t, but Buc-ees does.  Second, you have probably never seen a bigger highway gas station.  In fact, I’m pretty confident you haven’t.  Mostly b/c I haven’t and I have driven through a lot of highway gas stations.  Next- the store part of this little venture is huge and they sell EVERYTHING.  They have a fresh deli counter, they make candy, they make beef jerky for chrissakes.  they have a bakery, they have about 4 fountain drink stations, they have computer order stations for all the respective counters.  They sell BBQs, hats, knives, homemade preserves and spice kits, and cutting boards in the shape of Texas.  They have their own branded merchandise.  High school kids think it’s cool to buy Buc-ees boxers and a t-shirt when they go on school trips.  They have BEAVER NUGGETS.  Initially I thought these were like chicken nuggets made out of beaver.  They are not (thanks goodness.  How gross would that be?)  Beaver Nuggets are puffed corn in a caramel coating like crunch-n-munch.  Only way way WAY better and more addictive.

I haven’t even gotten to the bathrooms yet.  I can’t vouch for the men’s room although I have heard it is impressive in its own way.  The ladies’ room is a labyrinth of toilet stalls so big that an employee is generally stationed in the middle to direct customers to open toilets.  No matter what time of day it is there is always a line.  Sometimes the line is people actually waiting to use a stall (b/c the employee is not there directing traffic) or it’s a line of women and girls standing around looking dazed b/c they don’t know where to go or can’t get over the size of the bathroom.   Can’t say that I blame them.  The first time you experience Buc-ees it is a little stunning.  It is mandatory to stop there and eat/pee/fill up.  Come to think of it there has maybe only been one time when we took a trip that went by a Buc-ees and we didn’t stop.  Everyone must have been asleep or something.  Can’t imagine why we didn’t pull in . . .


4th of July

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Guess what I got on the 4th at the waterfront festival in The Woodlands?  A beer koozy y’all!  You cannot make this stuff up.


Sidenote–also had some freaking fantastic popcorn from DocPop or something.  These people could not make it fast enough.  I need to look that up and find out how to get more.


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Is that even how you spell that?  I’m talking about soda can koozies, beer koozies, whatever those neoprene/foam things that you put on your drinks so they don’t sweat.  That is like the official tchotchke of Texas (I guess here it’s a “doo dad” and not a tchotchke.)  If anyone gives anything away for free, chances are it will be a beer koozy with company name on it.  Hell, my own company gave them out last March for Rodeo (yes, that’s proper noun Rodeo as an event not to be confused with just regular rodeo).  Being from Oklahoma the only time I recall ever seeing the koozies broken out was when we went to the lake and for whatever reason were on a boat.  Boats on the lake = koozy.  No idea why.  Now and then one of your hickier friends will have his own personal one for his beer when you go over to his house for a backyard BBQ.  But you don’t get one, you have to bring your own.  Otherwise, I never really noticed the koozy much growing up.  East Coast, the koozy is UNHEARD of.  And I mean it.  Does not exist.  I should prob. qualify that to northern east coast so like Northern VA on up.  I can’t speak for south eastern US but somehow I feel eerily confident that they have lots of koozies there too.

So since moving here we have amassed a collection of about 6-7 koozies without buying a single one.  All you do is show up at any local event and you can score some.  Arbor Day, koozies.  Soccer camp, koozies.  Dentist, koozies.  Work, koozies.  Disclaimer on my part, we do use them when we drink bottles of beer in our hot tub.  That’s right, I just used beer and hot tub in the same sentence.  We’re not gettin’ above our raisings.  We use the koozies.  It just cracks me up how getting a beer koozy is almost like taking a toothpick on your way out of a restaurant.  Wait, what? that is hicky too?  Like I said . . .

The Bitch Is Back . . .

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Someone once told me years ago that they thought of me when they heard that song.  Nice.  Although now I don’t mind.  Back then, not so much.


So- back at work which is nice if not tiring.  I could really use a nap in the afternoons.  And of course the minute I get around other people and more germs, boom. I’m knocked out with a bad cold and have to take a sick day starting in week two (which is this week).

Adjustments with Babymeister:  Little Sister (2) is still periodically insisting that Mama “put baby in the bed” or “put the baby down” and “come with me”.  Mostly recently this happened this morning when she wanted to go upstairs to get Big Brother out of bed.  Since going back to work my mom has been here to handle baby management which has been nice but that all ends this weekend.  Starting next Monday I have to figure out how to get all three kids ready and out the door, not to mention The Dude who is moderately incapable of waking up in the morning in a timely fashion.  Pretty much no one should expect me at the office before 8:30 for the rest of the summer.  At least once school starts we have to leave the house or Brother will miss the bus.

Sister’s Terrible Twos are in some ways better and in some ways worse than a few months ago.  Worse in that she insists on carrying a ton of crap to daycare with her in the morning.  Yesterday it was a bikini top (the “kini”), a blanket, an apron I just got as a birthday gift, a sippy cup and a binky.  I was able to get binky and sippy cup back out the door with me.  Today it was the apron and flip flops.  Remind me to not buy her any more shoes that she cannot also wear to daycare.  Said apron she has also been wearing as soon as she gets home every evening, and that would be without clothes.  Just a diaper if we are lucky.  She also then wears this apron to bed and every morning I have to negotiate it off so she can put real clothes on and then carry the apron to school.  Sigh. It’s exhausting.  On the other hand she is speaking more in complete sentences and what she says is pretty darn funny.  She did a very diva “no pictures mommy” when I tried to get a  photo of her in the apron and also told her grandmother, “stop it” when she took her picture as well.  She also insists on putting clothes on herself and the resulting combinations are often amusing.  Among my favorites are her knit hat with anything and her bikini top with pajama bottoms and no underwear.  Another favorite is when she layers about 4-5 pairs of panties on over a pull-up diaper.  High heels are a requirement and shirts are optional.

here she is in her knit cap and apron giving g-mother The Hand and with her more casual weekend look.


Worst Blogger Ever . . .

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Of course I refer to myself there.  Oddly I only seem able to use the computer when I am in the office.  I only rarely use it at home and when I do its not to blog or do much of anything outside of checking email.  I barely even send emails from home.   As a result, after spending 11 at weeks at home on maternity leave with ample time to blog and do lots of stuff on the internet I have done none of that.  I can’t even say that I really even followed the news.   So, what have I done?

I have followed; all Closer reruns on TNT; the end of season episodes of Bones; The Young & The Restless; Kathy Lee and Hoda; Rizzoli & Isles; and have gotten hooked on Supernatural reruns and the new season of Franklin and Bash.  The Mark-Paul Gossalear and Breckin Meyer combo is charming and a real treasure rivaled only by that of Shaun and Gus from Psych.

I also managed to read 10 books:  All 3 Shades of Grey, Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Pride & Prejudice and Zombies, The Help, Cutting for Stone, The Drop, Port Mortuary, Flash and Bones, The Abbey, and Red Mist.  I however, lost my ability to do simple math–that is really 12 books.  I ran, I did Pilates, I had facials, I lost 25 pounds (but have 20 more to go), I took naps with the baby.  Napping with baby being the highlight of my time home.

On the car front- we went with the Infiniti JX.  Nice third row, big but not ridiculous and nicely outfitted.  Now I have joined the legions in Texas with a white car with air conditioned front seats.  It kind of always feels like you are sitting on ice cubes.  Definitely takes some getting used to.

Am I glad to be back at work?  yes, I am.  Admittedly, I’m not the best at being at home.  The longer I’m there the less I want to do on a daily basis until the point comes where I am spending most of the day in bed in pajamas and eating cheese and olives and drinking espresso all day.  It’s a truly sad sight.  My ability to hold a conversation slowly dribbles out my ear and I can’t remember anything 2 minutes after thinking it or being told.  Perhaps now that I am back I may start thinking about renaming my blog too.  My big move was just about 2 years ago-as soon as I think of something catchy I’ll do it.  My biggest concern right now is finding work clothes that fit.

That pretty much covers everything from the past 3 months.  Baby is awesome, the sibs are good and I am back to balancing work and frivolous internet pursuits.  Ahhh .. .

Name game . . .

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The Hubs and I are really bad at picking names.  You’d think we’d have a better idea after doing it twice already.  With the first it was hard b/c we honestly didn’t like (for us) that many boy names.  When that boy came 6 weeks early we at least had it narrowed down a little bit, but the Dude was more adamant about “his” name than I was about mine so after some intense negotiation where it was agreed I got to name the next boy, we went with his choice.  Girl names were easier b/c there were more we liked and more we agreed on so that one was at least fairly easy even though we didn’t pin it down until a few weeks before Precious Perfect arrived.  Naming Number 3 is trickier.  We’ve already used up the one boy name we thought was pretty good–at least the one we agree on.  And conveniently our verbal contract on my naming the next boy is being disputed by Dude.

It seems we find ourselves in the same spot as nearly 6 years ago.  I have about 3 name combos I can work with.  hubs has 1 first name he will agree to and the middle name is up for grabs, however he seems pretty set on the one he has picked and its doubtful he would go with another suggestion.  Result- negotiations on naming rights are once again open.

2 weeks to go before No. 3 gets here.   Note, if someone wants the name he has picked then he had better find something good to offer up in exchange.

Aside from all that, still at work.  People are starting to look at me like its painful to see me.  I guess I can understand that.  Random women are soliciting my due date more and more and acting shocked its not say, tomorrow.  Can rarely get through a day where my feet don’t swell out of my shoes.  My hands look like the Man Hands ep of Seinfeld, lovely.  Looking forward to working from home next week so I can  wear yoga pants, a t-shirt and flip flops.  Last Pilates session is tomorrow b/c I just really can’t move that much anymore.  But thank you to my awesome instructor Melanie Nasser who has kept me in line and pain free as I pack on all this extra weight.  It has made a huge difference.

Car update: for that wider vehicle looks like we may be able to go with the Infiniti JX (test drive tk) and avoid a monstrous big SUV for now.    That is, at least until Little Dude gets too big for the third row.  Maybe then we swap him up front and put Precious Perfect in the back?  Somehow I feel she would not stand for that.  Another problem for another day, thank goodness.