Sunday, June 29, 2008


There are few things that are more spiritual to me than a good ol' fashioned Texas thunderstorm. Even as a child, I don't ever remember being afraid of storms. In fact, when I was in high school and getting ready to head off to A&M, I fully intended to major in meteorology. I love weather and how it develops. It fascinates me. But specifically, I love thunderstorms.

When Ty and I lived out on the west coast, the storms were amazing in a different kind of way. They were majestic, for sure, but they weren't as cleansing and fulfilling for me as a thunderstorm. There's something about seeing the flashes of lightning in the distance and waiting for the storm to approach. The wind picks up, the trees start to talk, and the temperatures begin to gloriously drop. The sky darkens, except for the streaks of light, and all is right in the world.

Big A and I were here tonight on our own -- probably very indicative of many nights to come. I'm embarrassed to admit that I got really choked up about it all and I let it get to me. In fact, I think I was on the verge of a panic attack. But then my friend, the thunderstorm rolled in. Rather than make me nervous, it calmed me. Aidan and I snuggled on the couch and enjoyed the storm as the lights flickered on and off.

I hope I'm teaching him to love these storms and not fear them. They're such a part of who I am, and they comfort me.

Friday, June 27, 2008

costco -- why I love her so ...

  • Less than a mile from the house is that beacon of American gluttony. That oh, so marvelous place that serves our desire to have everything all in one place (aka ... laziness) -- Costco! I don't know what I did before Costco. Really. I can't remember ... it's all a blur.

    There are so many reasons to regularly head down Bunker Hill to Costco ... let me count the ways:

  • Their GAS PRICES! Need I say more?

  • As part of my ongoing summer project (scrapping), I just ordered over 300 pictures for development. They were ready for pick-up an hour later, for less than $30! Costco will also mail them out to you for FREE, if you so desire. Can't beat that with a stick!

  • Their wine section is top-notch. Our local Costco has a super-knowledgable and friendly sommelier who is always willing to lend a helpful opinion or suggestion. Three bottles of La Crema chardonnay for $29.99?! C'mon! That's a steal!

  • Fruit. Always fresh. Always yummy. I especially love their raspberries, blueberries and limes. You can get a ton for very little money.

  • It*se*bit*se panties by French Dressing -- they're awesome! And no creeping up! :)

  • Books, books and more books.

  • Scrapbooking paper (who knew?!)

  • Gorgeous flowers

  • Spinach salad with poppyseed dressing

  • Fresh feta-stuffed filet migon

  • Tortilla-crusted tilapia

  • And my personal FAVORITE -- their huge wedge of parmigiano reggiano. You seriously, seriously, SERIOUSLY can't beat the price anywhere. We always have a big chunk in the refrigerator for cooking, or just nibbling on with some wine in the evenings before dinner. Amazing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

losing my keys ... or my mind?

Monday morning I woke up, got dressed, fed Big A breakfast, and then got ready to head out the door to take him to school. Small problem ... I couldn't find my car keys -- ANYWHERE.

Usually when things go missing, we have a set group of spots to check where Aidan has taken the stolen booty (i.e. underneath the hood of his toy Jeep, inside the Cuisinart wine cooler, in a side pocket of his backpack, and so on). So I didn't panic ... yet; however, after checking all the usual spots, and then some, I had to concede that this might be a little bit more of a difficult hunt than I'd originally thought.

Thankfully my mom was still home and was able to drive Aidan in to school for me. So I stayed behind and continued the search ... ALL DAY.

In the end, I started researching how to order a new remote key for my car (and found several cute new Hondas I'd love to have, BTW!). It started to sink in that maybe my keys had found their way into the trash or something and were long gone. After tearing up the house for two days, it didn't look at all promising.

Yesterday I borrowed Ty's spare key to my car for a quick trip to the grocery store. After filling up the basket with overpriced produce, pudding cups and Lean Cuisine frozen entrees, I began to load up the car. As I was putting Aidan in his car seat, I casually reached down for my keys (yes, THOSE keys), which were sitting on the car seat between Aidan's booster and the door. It wasn't until I went to turn the key in the ignition that I realized it wasn't Ty's single, ring-less key that I was using, but rather an entire set of keys on a keyring.

Holy crap. They were in the backseat, next to Aidan's carseat, the whole flippin' time, My routine is always to set them down on the seat before I unhook him from his safety-harness, and then pick them back up before closing the car door. This time, I'd forgotten.

Time to change my routine.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

flooding in the Midwest

...received this from a friend today. Thought it was worth posting.

Where are all of the Hollywood celebrities holding telethons asking for help in restoring Iowa and helping the folks affected by the floods?

Where is all the media asking the tough questions about why the federal government hasn't solved the problem? Asking where the FEMA trucks (and trailers) are?

Why isn't the Federal Government relocating Iowa people to free hotels in Chicago?

When will Spike Lee say that the Federal Government blew up the levees that failed in Des Moines?

Where are Sean Penn and the Dixie Chicks?

Where are all the looters stealing high-end tennis shoes and big screen television sets?

When will we hear Governor Chet Culver say that he wants to rebuild a "vanilla" Iowa , because that's the way God wants it?

Where is the hysterical 24/7 media coverage complete with reports of cannibalism?

Where are the people declaring that George Bush hates white, rural people?

How come in 2 weeks, you will never hear about the Iowa flooding ever again?

Friday, June 20, 2008


I'm taking an online class this summer for staff development credit at work that requires me to create a blog and sort of chronicle my learing on it as I go.

So I created the blog, but it's not a fun "ME" blog. It's more of an academic type of thing. Regardless, it's time-consuming and requires regular posting. I've been working on it over the past few days, so it's kept me from having much creative energy left-over to blog on my "ME" blog (this one!).

Anyway, I was sort of dreading the whole project, but I'm actually learing some stuff! Imagine that! One of the tools I explored today was mashups ... specifically, Mosaic Maker on If you've never played around with it, and if you're a picture junkie (like I am), I highly recommend checking it out! I'm attaching the project I made today -- obviously, the theme is Big A. It was fun.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

father's day

In honor of the three most important men in my life -- 2 are fathers, one a son.

Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

honeymooning in Carson City

Five years ago I was preparing to do the craziest thing I've ever done in my life -- get married in Las Vegas. I spent my last day of swingin' singlehood with the people I love the most ... my closest friends and family. It was great. Kickin' back by the pool, soaking up rays, and strolling down the strip was a fun way to spend the hours before tying the knot. Great memories.

Tomorrow is my anniversary. When I look back at the past 5 years, I can hardly believe all we've been able to cram into such a short period of time.

Talk about an adventure. As stated, married life for the Farrells began in Las Vegas. We spent our "honeymoon" roadtripping across the western states. I have some particularly fond memories of Carson City, Nevada. I'll never forget the older couple (in their 80s, at least) whom we met at the blackjack table at the Best Western. They wished us well by providing us with words of wisdom on life and love and marital bliss. That gentle old man still had a sparkle in his eye when he looked at his bride. It was awesome.

We ended up planting some temporary roots in Long Beach, Washington where we were fortunate enough to be stationed, care of the U.S. Coast Guard. I had a tough time adjusting from life in Houston, Texas to life on the Long Beach Peninsula. But looking back, I can't think of a better way to spend the first year of marriage -- together and dependant only on eachother. I learned a lot about myself, and even more about my new husband.

Since then, we've lived in Pearland and Friendswood (two suburbs of Houston I knew little to nothing about, despite the fact that I've grown up in this great big city), and now find ourselves living with my mom (again, courtesy of that good ol' U.S. Coast Guard)! Aidan and I will be here for the next two years while Ty completes a tour of duty far, far away. Our current living situation sure makes that tiny apartment in Long Beach seem huge!

Along the way, we've become parents. We've evacuated from hurricanes. We've been through sickness and health (Ty now has one less gall bladder to kick around). We've been through richer ... ok ... poorer and poorer. We've grilled countless steaks and chickens, taken long walks pulling Aidan behind us in his little red wagon, decorated Christmas trees and strung lights outside, and even hosted a Thanksgiving where I served raw potatoes. Basically we've lived a very blessed life.

My guy isn't perfect. It annoys the hell out of me how he "sings" along to songs when he doesn't know the words. He's terribly dramatic when he catches a cold. And the inside of his truck looks like he's been living out of it for years. But you know what? He's mine. And I wouldn't have changed a single minute of this blur of a half-decade for anything. Except, maybe ... Ty's orders to Quillayute River. I really could do without those, but I digress....

I can't wait to see what happens next. It's starting out with an unexpected twist, that's for sure. But based on how we've ridden out the storm so far, I have a feeling that the fun is only just beginning.

The man DOES owe me a real honeymoon, however. Carson City was a nice stop along the highway, but I'm aiming higher. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

my baby isn't a baby anymore

** Nostalgic post warning **

Last summer, Aidan was just learning how to walk, and wobbling all over the place! This summer, he's climing up and over everything (and has suffered more than one bruise as a result), playing with trucks, pointing out all the diggers and dumptrucks that we pass in the car, and basically, becoming a TOTAL BOY. He's not a little baby anymore.

Yesterday afternoon he was "lounging" on a chair outside, and it made me smile to look at him. I snapped a few pics of my big boy. Thought I'd share it today.

And special, heart-felt prayers to the four families who lost their sons when a tornado hit a Boy Scout Camp in Iowa late last night. I can't even imagine the pain they must be suffering.

Monday, June 09, 2008

it's a cheap pink kind of day

I woke up this morning feeling like I needed some fluorescent pink in my life. So I got dressed, dropped Big A off at school for a few hours, and drove to CVS to make the ultimate PWT purchase -- cheap nailpolish.

I was looking for some neon cotton-candy/pepto-bismol type of shade for my finger nails. I'd actually love it on my toes too, but I don't have the heart to ruin my pricey French pedi from last weekend. So I'll have to settle on the fingers.
Wouldn't you know it! The more reputable" brands (if there is such a thing at a chain drugstore) didn't sell quite the shade I was looking for. So I had to settle on one of those displays at the end of the aisle. You know the ones ... they have glittery lip glosses, bright blue and green eye shadows, and wacky crappy nail colors. Low and behold, I found exactly what I was looking for!

So now I'm sporting "Pink Pop" by Milani Nail Art (I love how they try to make it sound classy) on my digits. I'm sure it'll chip by the end of the day, but whatever. It made me feel good for a while. And that is the ultimate goal, right?

Oh, and the picture I've provided in no way does it justice. It's much tackier with much more neon! Promise!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

a perfect summer wine

Last weekend I picked up several bottles of wine at Leibman's. An added bonus to the shopping stop was the help I received from one of the employees -- a wine importer from Alsace, France who now works and resides in Houston.

She was a wealth of information and really knows her stuff. That afternoon, we got to talking about rosé wines, and how misunderstood they are, especially here in the states. Most folks see the color and immediately expect a white zinfandel.

My favorite bottle so far from that day's picks is Sauvion, a rosé d'Anjou, one of three French rosés from the region. Sauvion is made from gamay and groslet grapes grown in France's Loire Valley. It comes in a clear bottle to show off its coral color. I found a review in the Augusta Chronicle: "This beautiful, light, refreshing wine is the perfect summer sipper,"-- my thoughts exactly!

Time for another trip to Leibman's!

Friday, June 06, 2008

I did it!

Yippee! I'm finally starting to work on one of my summer goals -- scrapbooking!

As I've written in the past, scrapbooking is something I've wanted to do for a long time, and I'm one of the world's worst at putting my "best laid plans" into action. I'm flippin' notorious for making excuses, and finding a million other things to do that get in the way. So today has been huge for me!

I've also written several times about signs and synchronicity that seem to be presenting themselves in my life right now -- well, the beauty of it all continues! The mother of one of my students from this past year has come along into my life at a perfect time (actually not THAT perfect, considering that school is out, but I digress). Anyway, I heard through the grapevine that she was a big scrapper, so I talked to her a few weeks ago about how much I wanted to get started. She gave me some great tips, as far as local places to visit, online resoureces to explore, and so on.

Over the past few weeks, this lovely lady hasn't given up on me! At least once or twice a week, she sends me little notes of encouragement and asks me about where I am in my little journey -- but in a totally non-pushy way. It's like she's there to remind me that she's THERE.

This morning she sent me a note about some resources available on an online magazine site. After checking it out, I decided to order a print subscription to the magazine. From there, I found 2 other magazines that looked like fun, so I ordered them too! But not wanting to wait the full 6-8 weeks time that it's going to take to receive my first issues, I decided to hit the magazine rack at Barnes and Noble. I found a few magazines that looked like they'd be fun ways to help get my creative juices flowing.

Sidenote ... have I mentioned that Aidan is in school 3-days a week this summer, so I was able to do all of this ME TIME stuff on my own?! It's so fabulous! I love my little boy to pieces, but I didn't realize how much I needed some alone time. I feel like I'm doing something naughty! I even drove through Sonic for a diet cherry limeade! :)

Back to the story. On the way home, I stopped at Michael's, just to check out what they have on the scrapbooking aisle. OK! That should've read AISLES! There's a ton of stuff there! Who knew? On top of everything, a very kind lady (thanks, April!) who works at Michael's spent about half an hour with me and recommended some basic tools, as well as gave me some tips on getting started. It's so great how everything just seems to be falling together for me on my newest endeavor!

In the end, April the Michael's lady's biggest suggestion was that I start organizing my pictures before I even begin tackling a page or a full book. So I purchased 4 photo boxes to get me started. I'm going to sit on the floor over the next few days and get myself in order! My friend from school (the parent) has invited me over in a few weeks for a "weekend of scrapping." I have no idea what that means, but she's already hinted that wine is involved, so it can't be anything but great!

Again, I'm discovering so many good people in my life, at just the right time -- blessings galore! God is so good.

I know this is a silly little thing to get so excited about, but it just feels really great to have a fun project going on in my life! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

great road trips for Texas families

I stumbled across this link in this morning's Houston Chronicle, and fell instantly in nostalgic love with it.

It's no secret that I'm a Texan from the tips of my fingers to the corners of my soul -- it's so much a part of who I am. One of my favorite things to do is to get in the car and explore this great state. I haven't done it in a while ... life and motherhood has sort of gotten in the way.

I know gas prices are high, and there's always something to be done around the house. But I'm thinking a road trip somewhere in the Lone Star State this summer would do wonders in replenishing my spirit.

So, add it to my list of goals! A meaningful road trip, complete with small town stops along the way for fresh beef jerkey and cold beer!

Here are the places listed in the link above (minus all the gorgeous pictures!)
  1. Capitol building, Austin

  2. Austin Children's Museum

  3. Barton Springs Pool & Deep Eddy Pool (Austin)

  4. Enchanted Rock State Nature Area (between Fredericksburg and Llano)

  5. camping in Pedernales Falls State Park

  6. swimming in the Pedernales River

  7. Texas State Aquarium (Corpus Christi)

  8. Mustang Island State Park (Port Aransas)

  9. Bird Island Basin in Padre Island National Seashore (watch the windsurfers!)

  10. the beaches of Padre Island National Seashore

  11. USS Lexington (Corpus Christi)

  12. Schlitterbahn water park (New Braunfels)

  13. tubing on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers

  14. Snake Farm and Exotic Animal Park (New Braunfels)

  15. Natural Bridge Caverns (just south of New Braunfels on I-35)

  16. The Alamo (San Antonio)

  17. The River Walk (San Antonio)

  18. Six Flags Fiesta Texas (San Antonio)

  19. SeaWorld (San Antonio)

  20. Stockyards National Historic District (Fort Worth)

  21. Six Flags Over Texas (Arlington)

  22. Fort Worth Zoo

  23. Dallas World Aquarium and the Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park

  24. Uptown and West Village areas in Dallas (McKinney Avenue)

  25. Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Sunday, June 01, 2008

first official day of summer

It's been a long time since I've been able to just relax over on "this" side of town (the west side of Houston, where I grew up), without having to drive all the way back to our home in Friendswood -- it's about a 1-hour commute. On the list of positives that I'm trying to focus on with our looming deployment rapidly approaching, is being able to live and work in the area where I grew up, with the peole I love.

Yesterday, I kicked it all off with Mom. We hung out, shopped, and were in absolutely no hurry to be anywhere or do anything -- it was great. I told her that I felt like I was on vacation!

We started our day out with a [much-needed!] manicure and pedicure -- hot rocks and all. Then we drove out to a new teacher supply place and stocked up on a bunch of fun goodies (including a new fire fighter outfit for Aidan!). Then we stopped in Blue Willow, a great independent book store in Houston, to visit with B -- my dear friend and fellow book junkie. It was fun to just wander from place to place!

Next we headed over to Liebman's Wine and Fine Foods for some wine tasting (and way too much wine purchasing!). Then we rounded things out with a shower gift at Baby Gap and a trip to the Aveda salon to replenish my supply of Firmata and Confixor.

My first official day of summer vacation ended with a yummy dinner at Taste of Texas with Mom, Ty and Aidan. How bad can sharing a porterhouse with the guy you love be? Although, I will say that navigating the salad bar with a 2-year-old in my arms proved to be rather challenging.

Finally ... the cherry on the top of my perfect day ... my Fightin' Texas Aggies KILLED the University of Houston on the baseball diamond in Regional play, 22-4. Yep. That was the final score.

It was a pretty darn good day.