Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Going Without

Nothing feels better than appreciating some "thing" when you have had to go without. I am not talking days at the spa or coffee from Starbucks. I am talking about things in life that aren't exactly required but make things a whole lot less stressful.
For instance:

Yesterday we expereinced the 4th paid government holiday that we have had since the Bread Winner went back to active duty. A big change from 18 months ago when he was working like a dog and hadn't had a day off in over a year.

Last week I picked up a prescription and paid $9.oo for a brand name drug that without insurance cost $92.67. Compared to that time when we were waiting to see if the kids fever would go away on it's own or if we were going to have to pay on credit for Urgent Care.

Last month I had my teeth cleaned...with dental insurance. I paid my 20 dollars with such glee that the receptionist probably thought I had had a bit too much nitrous.

Three (or so) years ago I took all of this for granted. But after 18 months without it, I don't feel entitled anymore. I feel grateful.

Yesterday, as we watched our kids swim in the "kiddie" pool, that sweet man of mine and I raised our diet Coke and Mountain Dew in the air and toasted to a good insurance and paid holidays.

They may not seem like a lot, but to us they are a joy.

La Vida Dulce

Monday, May 29, 2006

It's The Thought That Counts

One of the great things about having moved all over the country is that you have the opportunity to gather friends.

One friend I cherish is a gal I met while living in South Texas. We'll call her CSG.

She was, and is, a dear friend to me. Although we don't have the opportunity to see or talk to each other very often, we have "marathon" conversations about once a year where we fill each other up on our families in a phone conversation that usually lasts 4 (or so) hours. We always easily pick up our friendship as if no time had passed at all.

Recently she sent me the little gift pictured above. I love it and it now hangs proudly on my computer desk.

However the funniest part is this...She mailed it to me with a note attached entitled: It's the Thought That Counts. She explained that she had bought the gift but the family pet had gotten a hold of it. She had contemplated not sending it since the puppy had definitely left his dental imprint upon the blue caribou feathers.

I loved this story, because CSG is very organized and very thoughtful and very "all together". But one of my favorite parts about her is that on those rare occasions when she isn't "all together" she readily admits it and usually will tell about it with a good (and very funny) story. I laughed out loud as I imagined her reaction to the canine caper.

When I got the pillow in the mail I thought that I would get my glue gun out and fix the bit of feather that had become detached, but then I decided against it. The pillow is fun, but the story that comes with it is priceless and makes it even more valuable. So it stays as it is!

Thank you, CSG! We need some chocolate chip cookie dough and a marathon conversation this summer!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Opossum Among Us

When I got engaged my parents sat my fiance down and said: You have our blessing but there are three things you ought to know...

1. She will steal your socks, sweatshirts, and t-shirts.

2. She's expensive.

3. She is a keeper of all strays. She has brought home everything from kittens to strange Japanese exchange students.

This week we had a baby opossum in our garage and it proved to me that ALL babies are cute...Even when they look like large rats. At first I didn't think it was doing too good...When the Hubby gently reminded me that that's what opossums do: play dead.

The next night however he came back and somehow got back into the garage and managed to make it up the steps to our back garage door. Where he was patiently waiting to be found. We again gently pushed him into the recycle bin and then transported him to the woods across the street from our house.

However there was a slight hesitation on my part, he was afterall, just a baby, and his mother wasn't anywhere to be found. And, with the exception of his baring his razor sharp teeth in one brief moment, he was so cute and fuzzy. When I said this out loud the hubby gave me that "don't even think about it" look.

After 11 years he's gotten very good at it.

So we can add opossum to the ever growing creatures that we share this part of the woods.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I have always had the habit of talking while driving.

Sometimes it's because I am on my way to a function where I know I will be speaking. Sometimes its when I know I will be asked to answer certain questions. Sometimes it's when I am talking to my imaginary friends. (That's a joke...sort of)

Last night was my last night at a Bible Study I have been attending all year called Bible Study Fellowship. We have been studying Genesis and I knew I was going to be asked what I had learned in the last nine months of study...Which isn't an easy task when you have just done and in depth study through 50 chapters of the first book of the bible! There's a lot of good stuff in there. So I was "thinking out loud", so to speak. I have done this since I was a child. I remember having a conversation with myself driving home from school in my Dad's brown VW bus. (I remember him asking me who I was talking to? He couldn't hear me over the roar of the engine...I told him I was singing) I think this is because I tend to process things by talking them out, however, one can really wear others out by talking all the time. So one resorts to talking to herself.

Back to yesterday. Everytime I would stop at a stop light I would stop talking. Afterall I didn't want the people next to me thinking I was some sort of weird bird who talks to herself. But then it occurred to me that they couldn't possibly tell if I was talking to myself, 'cuz in this day in age I could be talking to someone with my "hands free" cell phone.

Do you know what freedom there is in this epiphany? I can now talk to myself all I want and I can just be a "normal" part of today's culture.

So, fess up and be a weird bird with me, do you talk to yourself?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sugar Hangover

I can hardly believe that it has been 6 days since I last posted. For some reason in my head it had only been about 3!

Perhaps part of my problem is that I took that "box" out of the cupboard on Friday evening. I took it to Girls Night and shared some of it with 4 friends. When I got home it was late, so I left the box on the counter. BIG MISTAKE. Because what could have been stopped on Friday night lingered on into the weekend.

So now it is Monday morning and I have a serious sugar hangover: a headache, lethargy and general icky-ness. I might as well add this "sugar problem" with all the other maladies of being in your mid-30's. Now, suddenly, even though I have managed to consume large amounts of chocolate for most of my life, I get "chocolate sickness" that lasts for 24-48 hours if I eat too much...Now that I think about it... Maybe that's the problem. But with me it's usually all or nothing. ( Note to self: can chocolate be eaten in moderate quantities?)

And on top of it all, my face will look awful in the next few days because suddenly with "30" came the 15 year old acne.

Have a mentioned that when I have a sugar hangover I also have a great attitude?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Saltine Secrets

Do You remember that part of the movie Parenthood when the "perfect" mom who was a fitness fanatic and health food guru had a huge box of chocolate bars hidden in her closet? Well, I am far from perfect, and I am not really a fitness "fanatic" (although some may argue this point with me), and I am far from a health food guru, but I will readily, no proudly, admit I have a "Chocolate" box.

I had some Hershey bars in there left over from our last camping trip and then I had few chocolates from Easter. But I recently acquired more than my fair share of chocolates during Teacher Appreciation Week last week.

After two bags of Ghirardelli mixed chocolates, one bag of Dove chocolates, 3 giant size Hershey bars, 2 huge bags of M&Ms, several single serving M&M's packages, various bite size Snickers and candy bar varieties, and a gigantic box of Fererro Rocher hazelnut chocolate thingy's, I stopped counting...There was just too much to keep track of.

I couldn't get rid of it, but unfortunately it is bathing suit season, so I needed to "hide" some of this stuff... as to be sure that my new suit still stays where it needs to stay. So I put most of the chocolate in a clear tupperware box with a blue lid and hid it behind an industrial size box of Premium Saltine crackers and various other edibles. It's not that I don't remember it's there. In fact it is quite the opposite, I have actually thought about it sitting up there everyday since it made it's home there on Sunday night.

Sometimes, after all the kids have been put to bed and all is quiet, if you listen really closely, you can hear those little chocolates saying "Kellie! We can't breath in here! Come check on us!"

It's a sickness I know. Although If you look at it positively, we could say it's a talent...but I digress.

Some people think resisting such temptations is all about will-power. But I am here to tell you the truth. It's actually more about laziness. I can put all that chocolate up on the shelf and place piles of stuff on top of it because then it takes effort to move things around that cramped little shelf. I would have to pull the crackers out to make room to take the the box down and then open it, and then have to choose something and then I would have to do it all in reverse to put it all back again. This is why I often eat granola bars for breakfast...because pouring cereal takes too many steps.

Back to the box of chocolate...It's hidden and hard to get to but I like to know it's there...Because if you are a woman, or you are married to a woman , or you were raised by a woman, then you know there are times when that box of chocolate could be sitting in a nuclear vault and wrapped in bombs and we would take the time to carefully dismantle it for consumption.

So, the secrets out. I have a hidden box of chocolate.

The good news...I'm willing to share.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Strawberry Time

Living in the south is fun because you always have something to look at that is pretty, and there is usually always something to do.

For instance for Mother's Day we took a drive and passed a grove of Magnolia trees that were in full bloom. After our drive we went out to a strawberry farm and picked berries. We picked 18 pounds and carried them out of the field (we ate 10 pounds in the field...It was encouraged!) and then came home and took a siesta! The great things about strawberry time is that there aren't any bugs out yet and the weather was awesome...A mere 71 degrees!

This was a fun Mother's Day for me, hanging out and picking berries with 3 of my favorite people.

Now, for the next few weeks, I may be sounding like the guy on Forest Gump: Strawberry short cake, strawberry pie, strawberry smoothies, strawberry bread...

La Vida Dulce!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Dear Mom...

Thank you for sleeping on the couch while holding my hand after I had a nightmare.

Thank you for filling my bedroom FULL of flowers after I had had a particularly bad day.

Thank you for riding the train all the way to San Antonio so I could come home from the hospital with my first baby, and eat my favorite mashed potatoes that you made sure where warm and fresh when we arrived. (Thank you for extending that trip for one more week because I wasn't ready to let you go)

Thank you for paying for guitar lessons when I was old enough to pay for them myself.

Thank you for loving my children as if they lived next door...For being intentional in knowing them.

Thank you for loving my husband as if he were your own.

Thank you for the un-countable boxes of chocolate you have sent me.

Thank you for driving me around town to ballet and auditions and all sorts of things...Thank you for making me learn to drive even though I was content to let you do it.

Thank you for helping me to pursue those things in which I had some talent...I still use those things today.

Thank you for believing me...And believing in me.

Thank you for loving me well.

Happy Mother's Day...

your Kellianne

Saturday, May 13, 2006


It was 11 years today that I tied the knot.

I was told I was the most calm bride they ever saw...little did they know the doctor had me on a low dose of valium. I highly recommend it...because without the anxiety I had the greatest day.

We married on a Saturday evening, the night before Mother's Day. The next Morning my Mom planned a Sunday brunch for all the out of town visitors and the Groom and I opened our gifts...She, doing what Mom's often do, sacrificing her day for her daughter and new son.

I look at our wedding picture and we look like babies. Being only 22 years old, I couldn't even drive the rental car on our honeymoon...you had to be 25. Today we have gray hairs...I cover up mine in an attempt to look like I did, and that handsome Groom becomes more distinguished by the day.

Eleven years ago we thought we could never love each other more. Yet with each passing day my heart expands with love for this man...Constantly it stretches...making room for more.

Eleven years ago we were more like the Lion Couple who thought we were the King and Queen of our jungle. Of course we never napped because back then we didn't know how illusive sleep would become.

But the reality is that today we are more like this couple...just happy to have a minute or two to ourselves.

It is a jungle out there...but there isn't another in this world I would rather live life with...

Happy Anniversay my Love...here's to decades more!

Friday, May 12, 2006


As I type this I still am shaking my head.

As many of you know I got this amazing job teaching pre-schoolers music in February. There isn't one thing about this 10 hours a week that I don't love. It's a creative outlet with a group of people I am totally comfortable with...and not everyone is within the ages of 18 months and 4 years old!

This last week was Teacher Appreciation Week at the school. Being new, and "just the music teacher", I thought that perhaps a few parent's (mostly staff with kids in the school) would be kind. Not that the non-staff parents aren't kind...it's just with most of them I have never even had a conversation...nor would I even know which parent belonged to which kid...all this to say I had no expectations.

The picture above is what I brought home this morning after my last class. So many gifts and notes of appreciation that it took three trips to load it up. I could barely fit it all on to the kitchen table.

The truth is I would do it even with out Teacher Appreciation Week, but today I felt genuinely appreciated... and that is such a treat.


Thursday, May 11, 2006


One can't even go to the zoo without feeling guilty about one of the finer things in life.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Random Poll

I just finished reading a book called What a Girl Wants by Kristin Hillerbeck. This is a book under the new genre of "Chik Lit" and I really enjoyed it. I also enjoy that it is written with a Christian perspective...but without being cheesy.

The story takes place in today's time and the main character is a successful, smart and single female named Ashley who is my age. She also believes in the three C's: Coffee, Chocolate, and Clothes. To which I shout: Amen!

I love that Ashley's just a normal girl trying to make the right choices and sometimes not doing so well...maybe that's why I like her...she's just like me! In this book she realizes that all the things she thought were important aren't the things she wants to be remembered for.

In the book, Ashley has an epiphany, that "success" isn't exactly what she thought it is.

So that is my question for the month.

How would you define "Success" in ten words or less?

Happy writing!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

OK! I Give Up!

I really tried to put my foot down. I had moved ahead.

But today I surrendered.

I pulled a sweatshirt out of the winter clothes pile.

I had taken a stand against the cold. I had announced to those within shouting distance that I was officially finished with winter....But it seems winter wasn't finished with me.

So as I type it is 50 degrees outside, with a high only to get in the upper 60's, and I will humbly , yet comfortably, wear my favorite sweatshirt and will allow nature to do it's thing without complaint or whining...cuz quite frankly...it doesn't work.

Although, maybe pulling out the winter items will make summer come sooner!

Monday, May 08, 2006

He's Been Found

For those of you who have been losing sleep ever since the Pillsbury Doughboy was kidnapped, there is good news!

He's been found!


Friday, May 05, 2006

Happy Cinco De Mayo

...Or No Mayo Here

I needed to clarify what we are celebrating here. Just so that you are sure that my celebration has nothing to do with mayonnaise....Because even as a Hispanic women who finds any reason to celebrate I would not be celebrating anything to do with mayonnaise.

AS a side note, this may be a good time to tell this tidbit of information.

I hate mayonnaise.

I hate the way it looks: all gelatinous and yellowy-white.

I hate the way it smells: Indescribable.

I hate the way the knife sounds when you work it through the jar: qwieegh!

I am pretty sure that most of my readers include my long suffering friends (because I call them up and say "Did you read my blog today?") and my faithful parents ( because they have to due to that whole They-Brought-Me-Into-This-World-issue) so if you're reading this you probably already know and are very sick of this information. But on the off chance that someone doesn't know....Like if you happen to see me in the store completely avoiding the mayo isle, or if I snubbed my nose at you when you served me a sandwich in a restaurant with that vile disgustingness on it, or I wouldn't eat your covered dish because it's held together with it....you can rest assured I am not trying to be rude. It just happens when Mayo and I are sitting at the same table.

For example, our good friends came to our house a month or so ago, they brought the main dish, cold cuts and yummy bread. When my guest pulled out a huge jar of mayo I said very calmly under my breath "It's OK we can still be friends." Only it was after I said it that I realized it wasn't exactly under my breath as much as it was out loud.

I am working on it....but it is taking quite a bit of time. And honestly I haven't been that successful.

But on to the real reason for this entry today. It is the Fifth of May! What could be better than Mexican Independence Day falling on a Friday?

To celebrate I took a siesta!

Today is a great excuse to have some enchiladas and some tortilla chips and salsa and wash it down with a margarita, frozen with salt... preferably in a glass the size of a fish bowl.

As an added bonus, this is a meal completely free of mayo!

Fiesta Time!
PS: Miracle Whip = Mayo...with a different name.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Learning Never Ends

Or...Our Idea of "Normal"!

It is with great excitement that I announce that everyone in our little family will again all be in school starting January 2007. The kids at their elementary school, myself teaching music at the day school and that sweet Always Hungry For Knowledge man of mine will officially be in Graduate school...Again.

We received his letter of acceptance to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program and with it the knowledge that we are back in the (school) saddle again!

When we met over 13 years ago, he was in school. Then we moved so he could continue to go to school. Then we had a short break where he again, went back to school. So it is only fitting that he should be in school again...Otherwise I might not know what to do with him!

So I have exactly 8 months to have him to myself (and to get him to finish that honey-do list...Hey, I have dreams of my own you know) then it will be back to the late nights of hearing his computer type like crazy and finding heavy books, that could kill a small animal, lying all over his desk. Back to Saturday afternoons of his being behind a closed door studying and me trying hard to not bug him (because he looks so darn cute when he is thinking). Back to a way of life that, for the most part, always seems to work for us.

I guess we could say we will be back to "normal".

La Vida Dulce!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Reality Train

Although vacations are really great, the reality is that life still goes on...even when you aren't there.

I have never had to come back home from a trip where I have left my family and 1. Go back to a job outside of the home and 2. Have a huge amount of "small" things happen while I was away.

For instance, the night before I left we had a storm blow through our little town and it completely knocked out our hard drive. Luckily we have a friend who is computer savvy and had a new drive up and running before my airplane taxied out of Texas, but unfortunately there was a lot of things that had to be done on the computer to get it to function the way I used to have it (i.e., reloading software)...it is amazing how much of my life is wrapped up in this little piece of technology. It's kind of sad...what happened in this world before PC's?

Then there was the garden that needed some Miracle Grow....and my guys both needed haircuts. And The Girl had some sort of pretzel and water explosion in her back pack, and, oh ya, by the way we are out of milk, bread, cereal, cheese and apples.

I am grateful to have all these things to complain about...I remember the days when I used to visit AZ and come home to an empty apartment and cry for a couple weeks with homesickness, while my sweet husband did everything he could to make me feel better this side of just sending me back home to stay...shipment paid. Who has time for homesickness these days?

Back in the day I could leave for a few days and then take a whole week getting unpacked and "back on track". Today nothing stops this train. You run like the wind along side the track, take a deep breath, close your eyes and jump back on with both feet.

All Aboard!

So it's back to the sweet life.

La Vida Dulce

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Top Ten: Fave Texas Moments

Other than the company of good friends, lots else happened that either made me very, very happy...or just made me laugh. Here are the Top Ten:

10: Sitting in the jacuzzi and boiling myself under the Texas stars.

9. Sleeping in the most comfortable feather bed.

8. Having a friend in a panic because not one, but two, of her coffee grinders had broken down. (A potential crises when I am in town.)

7. Feeling coffee'd out when I went to a quaint new coffee shop in town...yet feeling very southern when I order iced tea and a lemon square.

6. Drinking more Route 44 Diet Cherry Cokes than one should do in a five day period.

5. Almost peeing in my pants on the way to Dallas.

4. My roomates and I, waking up entirely too early when we had only gone to bed a few hours before, piling together in one bed and talking from the heart...Learning something new. (OK so that''s two for one)

3. Looking around the room at my sweet friends and realizing that time and distance does change somethings...but not really a lot. We can all still talk like we saw each other yesterday.

2. Mexican food...and eating two Hostess Ding Dong Cakes in one day.

And the #1 funny moment of my Texas Vacation;

Having my suitcase exceed the airline weight limit and having to unpack some of my suitcase into a plastic American Airline shopping bag...Apparently 12 packages of tortillas and 2 pounds of coffee are heavier than I thought.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Texas Tale (In Pictures)

If there is anything better than the feeling of the buzz off of a hot cup of coffee in the morning it is the buzz of a great 5 day trip to visit friends whom I love more than chocolate...and believe me I really love chocolate. I love these girls not just in the description of "love" that one throws around like a tired pillow but a genuine affection one has for family.

There is too much to say regarding my time in Texas, but a picture is worth a thousand words.

The following display is priceless!

Tomorrow: 10 Ten List of my favorite Texas moments!

Lara doing my hair...instead of her laundry.

Coffee...With a cheesy grin! It's kind of sick isn't it?


Spa treatments for the feet!

Texas Girls

Texas morning on the Ant Ranch

Together Again

Dinner with The Mom's.

Jen and Family

Jane and I after coffee.

Reading with Julia

Laughing 'til it hurt.