Monday, December 27, 2010

Resolutions in Advance

Wow.  I can't believe I haven't posted since much has happened since then!  I was thinking about posting all of the "highlights" I've "missed" this year, but then that isn't really what a true blog is for.... so I decided that those things just won't make it into the blog.  This year has been crazy busy, and I regret that I haven't had the time to devote much time to my "me-time" passions of reading, blogging, and scrapbooking.

Everyone has a hard time keeping New Year's resolutions.  It's especially hard for me, because I don't even MAKE them.  Well, I've decided all that changes this year...I am making resolutions.  And I am posting them, so that I will also keep said resolutions.  I figure if something's in writing, and published to where others can read, it's more likely to happen.  So, here goes nothing:

2011 New Year's Resolutions

1.  I will make time for myself.  I will regularly update my blog.  I will start scrapbooking again (at least get my wedding and honeymoon album finished!).  I will read...I have a nook that hasn't been touched since school's time to use it!
2.  I will start exercising.  My husband and I will take regular walks.  If the weather's bad, or the temperature is too hot/cold, I will use one of my new Wii games
3.  I will stop drinking carbonated beverages.  I'm not supposed to anyway.  Ok, if' I'm desperately craving a soda,  I will at least pour it in a glass and let it go flat first.
4.  I will have regular conversations with God.  Not just at church.  Or when I want something.  Or before meals.
5.  I will spend time with friends.  Thanks to Facebook, I can keep up with my friends' lives, but I need to spend time with THEM, not the computer.  If they live far away, I will call.  If they live in town, we will have dinner parties, games... something.   Connections that were once strong seem weak, and I think it's because lives are busy...but they should never be too busy!

Wish me luck, it's gonna take a lot of work... but I think if I manage to keep my resolutions all year long, 2011 will be the best one yet!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Stepmom Reflections

Stepmom has always been one of my favorite movies, but I can't put my finger on why.  Maybe it's the all-star cast, or the connections I made with the moments dealing with cancer, or that despite the box of kleenex I go through while watching, it is still a romantic comedy.  Or maybe it was the way I could distance myself from the plotline, because I never dreamed it could happen to me...I would never be divorced or a stepmom....

Oops!  Wrong!  Enter reality, I AM a stepmom!

I remember watching the movie when Scott and I first got married, and counting my blessings that life was NOTHING like that!  A year later, I'm still counting my blessings, but there are some moments when I feel like I could be a part of the film.

Take the stepdaughter for example...she hates Julia Roberts' character.  Kaitlin and I used to have such a strong bond.  Not only was I her stepmom, but I was also a friend, someone she would talk about her day with and confide in, and spend quality time with, but lately she has become a typical teen, talking about hating her parents....but not all four of us it least she didn't make hating her Mom and Mark public knowledge like she did about hating coming to our house.  (That's the thing about technology today...when I "hated" my mom, I would tell my friends and there would be no paper trail...nowadays with texting, myspace, and facebook (and even this blog) everything is in writing and visible.)  So does she hate me like in the film?  Highly doubtful.  Did she truly mean everything she said about us and our house? Probably not.  Does that make it any less painful?  Unfortunately, no.

Then there's the whole concert scene...when Julia Roberts is trying to reach out to the stepdaughter and asks to take her to a Pearl Jam concert, but Susan Serandon tells her not on a school night, and then gets the tickets herself and her daughter loves her that much more...  Well, this weekend was supposed to be our weekend with the kids.  It was also Longhorn Night at the Dell Diamond.  Jen and Mark asked to switch weekends because they had been invited to the lake with neighbors.  Since the lake trumps baseball in the kids' eyes (except maybe Harrison's), we switched.  So, imagine our surprise when we looked in the box above our seats and saw Kaitlin and Kennedy!  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Jen sabatoged me like Susan Serandon did by any means....she had NO idea we were going to take the kids to the game, mainly because we don't like to share many of our plans with the kids so they're not extremely disappointed if something comes up.  But it still hurts to see them do something special with their mom they were supposed to be doing with us.

But, not all of the resemblences to the movies are negative: I take great pride when I pick them up at their mom's house and see a picture I took framed on the mantle.  And besides, they ultimately become one bing happy, cooperative, extended family in the end...and that's what makes all the ups and downs worth hopefully our story can one day end as so many have before:
and we all lived happily ever after.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Wine Weekend

Between summer school and the kids, Scott and I didn't get much of a "break", so we decided we needed a weekend getaway.  What better place to go than Fredericksburg and the wineries of the Texas Hill Country?!  We stayed in the cutest little house just outside Stonewall near Becker Vineyard.  It was AMAZING...and surprisingly no more expensive than a regular hotel room.  I HIGHLY recommend it if you're planning a trip to the Hill Country!

The beautiful jet tub to welcome the sunrise.

So, we decided to hit every winery on the official "Wine Road 290."  At each winery, we either split a tasting, or if there were several wines we wanted to try, we each got our own...making sure to get different wines, and splitting those too.  We calculated that together we tried almost 100 wines (combining the wines tasted on both Saturday and Sunday)!
Below are my thoughts of the wineries we visited Saturday:
Texas Hills Winery:  Great wine, casual tasting setting, best deal for your $
Pedernales Cellars:  Interesting flavors are brought out, making their wine fantastic!  I really wish it was sold in least it's not too far away for another trip!
Woodrose Winery:  The tasting was in a dance hall with the most beautiful wood floor...think it would be really fun to make a trip there when the dance hall is up and running.  Very good wine.
Becker Vineyard: What a disappointment!  All of my friends talked up this vineyard, but it was extremely impersonal, the wine was good, but not great... and they charge more per bottle at the vineyard than I pay for it at HEB!
Torre de Pietra:  One of my two favorites.  Loved everything I tried.  Deciding which bottle to buy was the worst part of this vineyard!  I would go back in a heartbeat.
Grape Creek Vineyard:  The other favorite.  If I were to join any of the vineyards' wine clubs, it would be this one.  I didn't try anything that I didn't like...and would love to have any of them delivered to my door!  
Fredericksburg Winery:  Not the best way to end a day of tasting.  Their wines were mediocre at best.

Touring the wineries...what number was this?!

We were also able to meet up with Paul and Tiffany, in part of her "uncelebration" of her birthday.  We met them for dinner on Saturday night, and then spent the day with them on Sunday.  We visited the last winery on Wine Road 290, Rancho Ponte, and then headed into Sisterdale to visit Sister Creek.  Both had some extremely yummy wine, but didn't quite make my favorites list.  Afterwards, we headed to Luckenbach, and ate the most delicious fried food while listening to a local band.  Luckenbach is seriously in the middle of nowhere, and there's absolutely nothing to it, but yet I absolutely loved being there!

Everyone is someone in Luckenbach...even us!

We stopped at Flat Creek Winery in Marble Falls on our way home Sunday afternoon...I would really like to go back there again and visit the grounds when we're not hot, exhausted, and ready to get home.
So, as it says on the sign Scott almost bought me, "Dinner is poured!"

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fun With Bo-Nana

So, the kids have always called my parents Sherry and David.  Didn't bother me or my parents, because they're not their "original" grandparents, but for some reason it bothered Scott...not to mention if I ever have a baby, they'll call my parents whatever their siblings do.  So, we started to brainstorm what they could call them.  Since Scott's parents were Grandma and Papa, I wanted my parents to be called something different.  Mimi and Granddad were also out of the question, because that's what they called Jen's parents.  So, we decided on Nana and Grandpa.  Nana didn't go over too well with Kennedy when it was first introduced, but when we went to Dallas this summer, Kaitlin managed to transform Nana into Bo-Nana, and it became an instant hit!  We really did have a fantastic time in Dallas (as usual!)'s how the week progressed:
Friday: The kids and I drove to Dallas, while my dad flew down to pick up Scott after work.  We had a really nice steak dinner with my parents, Mark, Aunt Judy, and Uncle Paul.
Saturday: We went to Medieval Times...which was SO much fun!  Although our knight didn't win the tournament, he was very handsome, and he did throw his carnation to Kennedy.  Kaitlin and Harrison preferred booing the green knight...and he seemed to enjoy the taunting.

Loves the Blue Knight
Sunday:  Loved seeing everyone at Northway!  Afterwards, we played in the pool and had dinner with Paul and Tiffany...SO FUN!
Monday: We spent the day at Hurricane Harbor.  Kennedy wasn't ready for many of the big rides, so my mom and Scott alternated spending time with her while the older two and I (and sometimes Scott) waited in line for thrill ride after thrill ride.  Despite the amount of time spent in line, we had a blast!
Tuesday:  Scott had to go back to Austin and help his mom out, but before he left we went ice skating at the Galleria.  It wasn't as cold as we thought it would be, but it was still a lot of fun!  While my mom delivered Scott to my father's office for a pre-flight teeth cleaning, the kids and I went shopping!  I was so proud of mom gave each of them cash to spend, and they all bought cute school clothes instead of junk!

Ice Skating: Daddy, Kennedy, and Bo-Nana

Ice Skating: Harrison, Kennedy, and Daddy

Wednesday: We went to see Toy Story 3.  Such a sweet movie!  What made it even better, though, was that we were at a theatre that instead of normal seats had couches, ottomans, and comfy!  Afterwards we went to Paul and Tiffany's to swim, make our own pizzas, and a much needed haircut! 
Thursday:  I went to see my daddy for a teeth cleaning while my mom swam with the kids, then we loaded up and headed home...then off to the hill country...the kids to Marble Falls for a family reunion, and us to Fredericksburg for some wine tasting.

"Boys Of Summer"

Blake and Scott both have early July birthdays, so Emily and I decided to throw them a joint birthday party.  I think we thought it might have been cheaper than throwing two separate parties, but I highly doubt it ended up that way.  Since we both love 80's music and it was July, we decided on a "Totally Tahiti" theme...with "Boys of Summer" as an obvious theme song.  We planned the party for months, and I think the prep turned out better than we could have imagined!

Scott's birthday cake

The Birthday boys and the pinata

The slide...yes, that's my mom!

There were basically three invitation lists: Blake's friends/family, Scott's friends/family, and CD Fulkes friends/family.  Although there was a great turnout, none of Scott's friends came, so I felt bad that Blake had a huge pile of gifts and Scott didn't have any...but  I think Scott's ultimate gift was the fact that the waterslide was in THEIR backyard and not OURS... :-)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer's Princess

Kennedy had a BUSY summer!  It started with her very first dance recital.  She was SO excited and looked absolutely adorable!  She had two whole rows full of spectators!  Even though I'm a little bit biased, she was definitely the most beautiful ballerina out there!  Unfortunately, towards the end, she tripped, but she even fell with poise and grace!

Then it was her birthday.  I can't believe she's already 7!  She's growing up SO fast!  She LOVES the Wizard of Oz, so we went to see "Wicked" in all-time FAVORITE musical!  My favorite part was when Glinda says something about "Dodo," and Kennedy shouted out, "His name is TOTO!"  Too cute!
No Oz birthday is complete without a yellow brick road and ruby slippers!

Her sister was even sweet enough to wear a matching outfit!

We had the kids most of the month of July, which was really fun!  We spent a lot of time in the pool, relaxing around the house, and went to Dallas (to be detailed in a later blog post).  Our month of "kid time" culminated with Kennedy and I going to church camp...which almost didn't happen!  Kennedy was registered for camp, but couldn't go unless I was there to monitor her blood sugar overnight.  Unfortunately, I wasn't needed as a counselor this summer, so that put us between a rock and a hard place.  We met with Pastor Karen, and Kennedy was allowed to go as a day camper Thursday and Friday.  I am so glad she was able to go...she had SO much fun!  She really wants to be able to go for the whole camp next year...I hope we can work something out!
Look at me!  I'm a fish!

Playing in the mud pit!

Me, Kennedy, and her new BFF, Ella

Fathers' Day

Although I didn't actually get to see my dad on Fathers' Day this year, the weekend was really nice.  Scott and I went to Ruth's Chris on Friday night to celebrate both Fathers' Day and our anniversary.  We were seated in the wine room, and had the room entirely to ourselves.  Both the steak and the ambience were FABULOUS!  After dinner, we went to join my parents for drinks at the Four Seasons.  It was really neat to spend time listening time to the jazz band and drinking champagne...just like we had done together almost a year earlier!  On Saturday night, we took both of my grandfathers (and one of my grandmothers) to the Salt Lick for some BBQ.

It was really neat getting to spend time with them in honor of Fathers' Day, and I think they enjoyed each other's company!  At church on Sunday morning, all the fathers were given a backscratcher (VERY useful, Pastor Joe!), and that evening, Don, J.D. and Megan, and the kids all came over for fajitas and quality family time.  I am truely blessed with a family full of AMAZING men!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mothers' Day

I never realized how difficut managing holidays could be.  I had always spent them with my parents, and sometimes my grandparents.  That's just the way it was...the way it's supposed to be.  I remember the first holiday I spent away from them.  It was Easter, I was in graduate school and working, and couldn't take off to go home for the weekend.  Although I spent that Easter with family, it didn't seem right...I wasn't with my parents.  I remember my mom calling in tears, and I just felt so horrible!

Fast forward to the present:  married life.  Now, two sets of parents have to be in balance!  CRAZY!  But, wait....there's more!  Being a step-family means that there are four sets of "parents" to please!  Holidays can be almost as hectic as a circus in our family, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!

But, somehow, on Mothers' Day, all of the planets seemed to be in alignment, and I got to spend the day with most of the mothers in my life.  The kids were with us that weekend, so I woke up to sweet homemade cards and gifts, and then their Mimi picked them up from church so they could spend the majority of the day with their actual mother.  After church, we went to see my grandma at the nursing home, and then went out to lunch with my parents.  For dinner, we celebrated with all the in-town mothers on Scott's side of the family: his mom, grandma, aunt, and expectant mother sister-in-law.  I was so blessed to have such an amazing day!

Mothers' Day 2010

Mothers' Day 2009

Mothers' Day 2008

Friday, March 5, 2010

Stepmom Stories

So Saturday was the first meeting of my stepmom small group, and it was FABULOUS!  We are reading an amazing book (see image), and I think the other moms in the group are going to be my friends for life!  I learned that although being a stepmom is difficult at times, I am truly blessed because my extended blended family is pretty normal (which as it turns out, is abnormal in the blended family world...)  Everyone is civil, and we are all on the same page for the most part.  I left the meeting on cloud nine with great optimism for the future...

And then Satan decided to test me.

Kennedy had two birthday parties to go to this weekend.  One overlapped with the small group, so Scott and Harrison took her, but she made it pretty clear to them that they were not welcome at the party.  So, I got there as quickly as I could to relieve the boys from a "girls only" party (even though there were several other dads and a couple other brothers there...)  I made some great conversation with some really nice women, until they asked who's mom I was.  I answered that I was Kennedy's stepmom, and everything changed.  It's amazing what those four small letters can do!  All of a sudden, it was like a "mommy club" had formed, and I was not invited, because since I didn't give birth to her, I was not worthy of their conversation.  I was really confused, and kind of hurt, but then Kennedy came over and gave me a hug and a kiss, and everything was all better.  I didn't need to be part of a mommy club to know that she loved me.  I shouldn't doubt myself because of four silly little letters in a word!

But he continues...

I'd like to say that I wasn't a difficult teenager, that my mom and I had a good relationship through everything, but that's probably not true.  At least we had a million childhood memories to think about and share when the relationship got rocky.  But what happens when you enter someone's life right before those teen years?  When you cherish the 10 days a month you get to spend with them... but the 10 becomes 6 because she has something better to do, and the 6 becomes 2 because she rarely comes out of her room?  When your heart breaks because you're at the same event, but your presence isn't acknowledged (not even a smile, wave, or hello...)?  What do you do then?  I know, I'm just the stepmom, she doesn't have to love me...but she used to...or at least I thought she did!  All I can do is look at the wonderful relationship I have with my mom, and hope and pray that eventually we might end up close again...I miss that.

Being a stepmom isn't easy!  I have learned to put four other people before myself daily.  Satan continually tries to drag me down, but I have a great support system in my faith, my family, and my friends.  If I could do it all over again, I would... I am one lucky lady!  My life isn't perfect...but it's perfect for me!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Yes, I live in Austin.  Yes, it is February.  Yes, it did snow!  And yes, I have proof:

Texas vs. Nebraska take 2

UT offers discounted basketball tickets to groups of 10 or more...and since Santa Claus loves a discount, he included some when he was stuffing stockings this year!  So, on February 13, our family joined the Guerrero family for some Longhorn basketball.
If you've ever read the book Flat Stanley, this is Austin's take!  A popular country DJ, Bama Brown, has turned himself into "Flat Bama."  We thought he would like his beautiful multi-colored striped pants made by Kennedy, and the fact that we waited and took his picture with the Texas Pom instead of the actual basketball players!
I have never been at a school where I have felt comfortable around the principal, much less spent time with their family outside of school, so this is such a great change!  She always talks about how CD Fulkes faculty is a family, and I really do think I am blessed to have two wonderful families!

Sunny California

So much for my New Year's resolution of keeping up with my blog!  There seriously needs to be more hours in the day, so that I can get done what I WANT to get done, instead of feeling like i can't even get done what I NEED to get done!

So, Scott and my Christmas presents to each other was a trip to the National Championship game.  Although the results didn't turn out the way we had hoped, the trip (and the weather) was still spectacular!

We arrived in LA late Tuesday night, so the festivities started on Wednesday.  We went to Hollywood and Beverly Hills, and did all the fun touristy things like the Chinese Theatre and Rodeo Drive.  I learned that even though I don't have Bette Davis eyes, I DO have Bette Davis hands! :-)

Thursday was devoted to the game.  We arrived at the stadium early, but were still concerned about parking.  Luckily Aubrey had his cane, and we had a handicapped parking sticker, so we parked like rock stars!  We tailgated with 10, 000 of our closest friends under a bright sunny skies and prepared for the game of our lives.  The heartache and what ifs still linger, but we still had an awesome time.

Friday was our day of culture!  We went to the Getty estate and museum.  I have never seen so many items from Greek antiquity in one place before (but then again, I've never been to Greece, so...).  The wine, food, and view were spectacular...and the company wasn't too bad, either! ;-)  On Saturday, we walked along a couple of beaches before heading back home.

Although I wish the results of the game had been different, it was nice to get off work a few extra days, especially to go somewhere with such BEAUTIFUL weather!  I could really get used to this "honeymoon" in California every six months....