Packed up and put away

I just finished putting up all our Christmas decorations and the tree. I know its so much more fun to put up the tree than it is to take it town, but I always like to think about where we were last year when the tree was up. What will we be doing next year when all the decorations come out? Will we still be living in this house? Will Jon still be working for Dell? Will I be on my way to supervising? I know I will have just finished grad school which will be great! I guess on everything else I will just have to wait and find out what God has planned for us this coming year.

Its almost over

My 2 week vacation is coming to an end very soon. :(

It has been a great 2 weeks. Jon and I had a great time in South Lake Tahoe and seeing all our family this week. It has been nice having him home for 2 straight weeks and not having to worry about school or work. I have been scrapbooking and catching up on some TV watching. We have a cool program called Hulu. You can watch a bunch of shows and movies on your computer for free (check it out here). Jon has it hooked up to his Xbox which lets us watch it on the TV as well. I started watching Friday Night Lights on Thursday and I am totally addicted! I am about to go watch another episode (I am on #19 already). I'm sure I will finish up the seasons by tomorrow. It is a good show and it is filmed all around Austin.

Tonight we went to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It was a very cool story and a good movie, but is it super long! We left Hiro out side thinking we would only be gone a little while. He was pretty upset when we got back.

Tomorrow night Jon has to head down to Corpus for a job (hopefully it will go fast and he will be able to come home Monday night). I don't have to go back to work until Tuesday and even then I only have 1 session. It's going to be a nice slow week since most of my kids are still out of town. Such a great way to step back into the read world.

Wednesday my best friend Amanda is coming down to celebrate New Years Eve with us. I think we are going to go see one of Jon's friend perform and then watch fire works from our roof. Jon and I did it last year and it was so fun! We climbed up on the roof (Jon better than me since I am scared of heights). We wrapped up in blankets and enjoyed the show together. Then on Friday I am going to drive back to Plano with Amanda. Unfortunately Jon has to work, but it will be nice for me to see everyone back in Plano for a weekend. Then January 5th work officially starts back in full swing. Luckily I don't start classes until January 20th so I still have a few weeks to relax before the projects start up again.

Fun and Family

Monday night Jon and I headed over to his grandparents' house for our first of 3 Christmas celebrations. It was great to see everyone including some super cute second cousins.

Last night we went to my grandparents' house for our 2nd Christmas celebration. Although we were missing a couple of my cousins it was still lots of fun to see everyone. After dinner we went around the room and shared our favorite Christmas memories. It was so great to laugh at old stories. We do a gift exchange were everyone draws numbers and then we either choose to unwrap a gift or steal someone's gift. It is always so much fun and this year Jon and I both did great! I got 2 cute picture frames which is perfect because I want to frame some pictures from out trip. Jon got his gift stolen and got to pick a new one...he walked away with a gift set from La Madeline's (which we brought). We love their tomato basil soup!

Last night my sister spent the night and we stayed up super late exploring digital scrapbooking. I think I have her hooked, we even set her up with a blog and made a cute header for her to get started. I made a new background for my computer.My parents came over this afternoon and Jon and I were able to show them all 371 pictures from our trip. Now everyone is laying down for a small nap before we go to church tonight. After church I am cooking chili and corn bread for everyone tonight. My parents and sister have to get back to Plano early tomorrow so we are opening gifts tonight which will be a little different for us, but still fun! My sister, Jon and I went in an got my parents something very cool (I can't say what it is right now on the off chance they read this). I'll be sure to post more pictures tomorrow.

Merry Christmas!!!

A few pictures from our trip









We're back

We got back in town last night. We had a great vacation but it is always nice to come home. I am going through our pictures right now and I will post some of my favorites later today.

I am so excited that I still have a week off of work! We have tons going on this week. In fact Jon's parents and nephew meet us at the airport last night and followed us home. They stayed with us last night (even though we had no food since we had been gone all week). This morning I woke up early and managed to stock up on food for the week. I am planning on making some sugar cookies today and chili on Christmas Eve when my parents come stay with us.

Tonight we have Jon's family Christmas at his grandparents house, then tomorrow night we have my family Christmas at my grandparents house. Then we are going to have a small Christmas at our house with my parents and sister. We are so lucky that everyone decided to come to Austin this year. I think both Jon and I are done traveling for a little while. Although I am going to Plano the weekend after New Years to see my other grandparents and great aunt. I am also going to see Steven and Ally and their new baby! I haven't seen them since their wedding (which was at least 3 years ago) so it will be a great visit.

Oh...listen to my new Christmas time track...this is my favorite Christmas CD. My mom has been playing it every Christmas since I can remember. We would always listen to it on our drive from Plano to Austin every Christmas. It always felt like it was really Christmas when my mom would play this CD. I hope to carry on the tradition!

Vacation pictures so far

Check out our vacation pictures so far...http://picasaweb.google.com/laurenelissa/TahoeVacation2008?feat=directlink

We are having a great time! So far we have enjoyed 2 days of down hill skiing, a day of cross country skiing and a day of snow shoeing (my favorite). Tomorrow we have opted to do something less active (ok I decided we should do something less active). We are going to drive into Sacramento and check out some museums and shopping!

Frustrated

Jon and I are having a blast on vacation...I will post more about that later this week. Right now I need to vent.

I got an email last night from one of my professors. She had gotten an email that indicated that I had concerns about the grad program and that I thought that I had learned more at a conference than I did in school. Ugh, I absolutely hate drama!

First I have never said that I have concerns about the grad program I am in...I mean seriously I am paying about $1000 per class...if I didn't think it was a good program I probably won't be there. Second most of my classes this semester were entry level courses geared at people without a lot of ABA background. I have been doing this for going on 3 years. There is not a whole lot of new information being taught in my classes yet...next semester I will be in more advanced classes where I will get more in depth information. This semester I was able to go to a 3 day conference and I did learn a lot of new information (completely unrelated to what I was learning in my classes). I am so frustrated because any comment that I made was just how I enjoyed learning new information to apply to my current job (nothing to do with class). The person that emailed my professor appears to quote me yet they name a conference I have never heard of.

I was able to clear things up with my professor but the fact that I had to take care of it of it in the first place and while on vacation non the less is just ridiculous. I am not sure who would email her but apparently someone has it out for me...not sure why. Ugh.

Vacation days 1 and 2

I just wanted to send an update about our vacation so far. We landed yesterday afternoon in Reno and after picking up some water and other much needed winter wear we began the 1 hour drive to South Lake Tahoe. It began to snow about 10 minutes into our drive, and there were even parts where we couldn't see the cars in front of us. Thankfully we made it here safely and enjoyed dinner at a local pub.

Today was our first day of down hill skiing. It snowed all night (and all day, in fact it has not stopped snowing yet). When we started skiing this morning it was only 10 degrees at the top of the mountain. It warmed up to a cozy 14 degrees before we rode the Gondola back down to the base of the mountain this afternoon.

Tomorrow our plan is to do some cross country skiing by the lake. Hopefully I will be able to take some great pictures.

I started a web album with some pictures from today, check it out here.

We're off

Jon and I are about to head to the airport. By 4:00 today we will be in South Lake Tahoe!! Hopefully I will manage to take some good pictures this week and post them.

cookies

A few months ago I went on a cookies making spree. I was on a quest to find my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I tried a bunch of recipes and I came up with a couple that I think are really good. Last night I decided to use my new free time (now that I am done with school) to make some cookies for the families that I work for.

Here is what you need:
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 egg
3 teaspoons of vanilla (the recipe only calls for 2, but I like to throw one more in)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 package of chocolate chips

Directions:
Blend the sugar and butter until fluffy
Add the egg and vanilla and blend until smooth
Add in dry ingredients
Stir in chocolate chips
Bake at 300 for 20 minutes.
And the enjoy a couple of cookies with a tall glass of milk. :)

Do you have a favorite cookie recipe? I would love to try it out.

Done with school!

I took my last exam this afternoon and came straight home to give my blog a make-over. How do you like my new header? I am getting so much faster at making them. :) I am officially done with school until January 20th! After work tomorrow I will be on vacation until December 28th, I can't wait!

Jon and I pretty much finished up our Christmas shopping and last night I wrapped presents instead of studying..which was way more fun. Tonight Jon is having a "boys night" with his best friend...they are playing some new Xbox 360 game...yay (can you hear my sarcasm?). I am about to head out for a "girls night"! I have been so busy with school and work that I have not been able to go to my weekly small group in about a month. We all decided to get together for dinner tonight since everyone has been so busy. I can't wait!

Tomorrow Jon and I are going to 2 Christmas parties that are back to back. One is a dinner my professor is throwing for all the people in the autism concentration. Then the other is for all the therapist I work with. Luckily the parties are literally going to be walking distance from each other. In fact it is possible that the 2 houses share a back fence. I think it is going to be the perfect way to begin my 2 weeks off.

Some pictures

Here are some pictures from my new camera. I haven't figured out all the editing tricks but I am working on it. These are just a few that I thought looked ok on their own. :) I'll get better.























Living with a boy

It is amazing how fast the house gets dirty as soon as Jon gets home. He has been gone a lot over the last couple of weeks and my house-work to do list seemed to have shrank. I only used a few dishes and would put them in the dishwasher right after using them. I only had to run the dishwasher once and it was unloaded as soon as it was done. I made up the bed and straightened up the house every morning before work so that I could come home to a clean house in the evenings. I could lay my jeans on the floor in the closet and not have to worry about dirty soccer clothes being thrown on top, making them unfit to wear the next day. No one was around to play Xbox so I didn't have to come home to world war 3 in my living room.

Jon got home late last night and today when I got home from work at 12 the house was a mess! As I was making up the bed (which took twice as long because my husband insists on wrapping up like a burrito causes sheets and blankets to go everywhere), doing a sink load of dishes, and sweeping up the mounds of dirt Hiro brought in last night (that has nothing to do with Jon coming home, it just rained last night which leads to very messy floors at our house) I was gently reminded that while living with a boy is totally different than living with roommates or by myself, I am so lucky to have married my best friend, who loves me despite my borderline OCD cleaning nature among my many other flaws. I am so blessed that he is home safe and sound and that thanks to his wise financial decisions and hard work ethic we are doing fine despite the economy. I will do dishes, laundry and deal with a messy house any day to have the life I have with the man I love.

Another Monday come and gone

Whenever Jon goes out of town Hiro gets the special treat of sleeping on the bed with me. Jon would totally let Hiro sleep in the bed with us every night, but an 85 pound dog is just too much for us in our queen size bed. Anyway, Hiro loved it and I think it makes us both feel more safe and comfortable when Jon is out of town. Unfortunately Jon didn't get to come home tonight, and now it is looking like he may not even be able to come home tomorrow night. :(

Jon has been traveling a lot lately, but we are both looking forward to a week long vacation next week in Tahoe. We are even planning on taking a day to drive up to Napa. We may even get to stay at the Napa Valley Lodge for a night. We stayed there during our honeymoon and it was amazing. Here is the view from our room. Can you imagine living somewhere like this? I remember driving from a winery one day and we pasted a school where kids were outside practicing soccer with the mountains in the background. Amazing! I am looking forward to our second vacation as a married couple. :)


I had my last night of class tonight. In my first class we had our final. It was fairly easy but I didn't agree with all my professors questions/answers. Luckily she is always willing to hear our opinions and she even changed 2 of her answers. In my second class we turned in our huge FBA group project...I am so glad it is over! My teacher's assistant came and told us my professor had jury duty today and will be at least an hour late, maybe more. Ugh...seriously, just cancel class. My friend and I decided to turn in our project to her mail box and skip out on class. All I have left is to take my last final on Thursday! I am so ready to be done with this semester.

This week I have to finish my Christmas shopping, wrap all the gifts, study for my final and make sure we have everything we need for our trip. I am thinking it is going to be a busy week...

Weekend update

I had a great birthday weekend.

Friday I got off work at noon and Jon and I took Hiro out to Auditorium Shores to play. I got to take a short walk around Town Lake - I love where I live! We also played with our favorite outdoor toy the aerobie. We also got a little Christmas shopping done - we are almost done! My camera came Friday night and I had a blast trying everything out.

Saturday we slept in super late and went out for breakfast at El Chilito. They have awesome food and a patio. In the winter they have heaters and blankets at every chair. It is great to drink Mexican hot chocolate with a breakfast taco and wrap up in a warm blanket. From there we headed to Petsmart to get the Furminator (it is supposed to work wonders with shedding). We had Hiro with us and as we walked down the toy isle. Hiro got so excited when he saw all the stuffed animals. One feel on the floor and he immediately picked it up. We could not resist and let him take one home. When we got home I decided I wanted to clean out our extra bedroom closet. Its a pretty big walk-in closet and we could barely open the door. Well one thing lead to another and not only did we clean out the closet, but the room and we reorganized Jon's office so we both have a work place. It looks great and it will be nice for us to be able to work in the same room. Saturday night we went out to dinner and to Barnes and Noble to get some helpful photography books.

Today we slept in again (amazing). After breakfast we headed to Jon's soccer game. Unfortunately they didn't do to well, but the weather was amazing so it was nice to be outside. We had lunch at Texidelphia and headed home for a relaxing afternoon in our nice clean house. Jon had to leave for a business trip tonight :( but he comes home on Tuesday.

I promise I will post some pictures later this week. I just need to practice a little with my photo shopping took (GIMP).

I am so looking forward to get my 2 exams this week over with and head to Lake Tahoe next Sunday!!

It's here!

The UPS man dropped off my birthday present! I am now the proud owner of a Cannon EOS Rebel XS! I have been taking pictures all around the house this evening. Tomorrow Jon and I are heading out to take some cool outdoor shots. I can't wait to come home and try out my photo editing program. I will try to post some pictures later this weekend. :)

I should be...

doing laundry...the dishes...studying for my finals...reading for class...cleaning my house....working out...Christmas shopping...and so many other things

Instead I am sitting on my couch watching Lipstick Jungle. Jon got us this new program Hulu (because he canceled our cable). I was upset at first but I am starting to like this Hulu business. It has a bunch of different shows and movies that you can basically watch on demand. I saw a preview for this weeks Lipstick Jungle and thought I would see what they show is about. I was able to watch the pilot and 2 other episodes last night...I am on number 5 now...good grief.

I have a presentation tonight followed by a final...after tonight 1 class will be done!!

Count Down:
3 days until my birthday
8 days until my last final for the semester
9 days until work Christmas party
11 days until we leave for vacation!!

Oh goodness...I have so much to get done in 11 days!! I have to be completely done with my Christmas shopping...I am usually a wait until the week before to buy kind of girl....yikes!

It's only Tuesday...

I am hoping the rest of this week goes by faster than yesterday and today. Not that I have too much to complain about...

On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings I spend my morning shadowing a first grader in a private school. I have been working with this little girl (I'll call her S) for 3 years now. Some days are harder than others but today she was great!! It was nice to have an easy morning finally.

Jon is out of town until Friday :( And my birthday is on Saturday...I'm ready for it to be the end of the week already. My new camera is in the mail and should be delivered on Friday! My plan is to play with it around the house Friday and then Jon and I are going to head out to Mount Bonnell on Saturday to start taking pictures. We haven't been out there in awhile...we had a date there when I was still living in Dallas, its were Jon proposed and were we had our engagement pictures made. There is a saying that if a couple walks up the 100 stairs once they will fall in love (worked for us), if they go up twice they will get engaged (on the second time there Jon proposed), and if they go up a third time it is inevitable they'll get married (we had our engagement pictures made there). And look at us now...married for almost 2 years! Before we go up there we pick up lunch from Kneaded Pleasures. They have wonderful sandwiches and a cute atmosphere. I can't wait for Saturday...a cute picnic lunch with my great husband while playing with my new camera. :)

Monday, Monday

Ugh, I always hate the first day back after a break. At least there is a light at the end of this tunnel. I only have 2 weeks left of school!! Then Jon and I are headed to Tahoe for a week long vacation followed by another week off to enjoy Christmas with our family and friends.

Here is the break down for school (more for me to see it visually, you probably don't care).
  • Monday (today) - I have a research paper due, and handouts for our presentation - both of which I completed last week.
  • Wednesday - I have a research presentation and a final exam
  • Next Monday - I have my second final exam
  • Next Thursday - I have my last final exam...then I am done with school until January 20th!!!

I'm becoming addicted to digital scrapbooking

Just wait until I have a good camera! Here is what I did tonight after dinner.


This one is the background on my computer now. I may have gone overboard with the elements on this one, but I found a free package with tons of stuff in it and I just wanted to try them all out.

Sadly it is getting late and I have work tomorrow morning and class in the afternoon/evening...ugh I guess its time to stop for today.

A blog day

I spend a better part of the day playing with a new photo tool that Jon downloaded for me. Its called Gimp and you can find it here, its open source so it is completely free. It is comparable to Photoshop which can be as much as $700 so its a pretty good deal. I read some tutorials on making your own headers and signatures for your blog and I played around a lot.

First I used some blog header templates where all the elements were in place and you just added photos and text. I think this was actually harder than just doing it all yourself. I had a hard time getting my pictures to fit over the gray boxes they provide on the template. So I decided to search for some free digital scrapbooking kits. I found some here. She has lots of options and I was easily able to download a kit. After a cropping and resizing things I came up with my new header. Thanks to my computer savvy husband it is now on my blog. :) I have to say I really like it and I had a lot of fun working on it. I can't wait to get my new camera and start editing pictures on Gimp. Now that I know more about this digital scrapbooking I can foresee this becoming a great hobby!!

Group projects are almost a thing of the past

Today my group meet at my house to work on our group project. This is the one that I have been having problems with...its 60% of our grade and we didn't get to choose the members in our group. Luckily my friend and I got put in the same group, but our third member was not exactly our first pick.

Today we got together at 3 and worked until 7:30 :( After 4.5 hours of work we had completely our 12 page paper + 3 graphs + 2 12 page draft papers + 10 attachments made up of teacher interviews and data collection. We are finally done!! We get to turn in our huge mound of papers on Monday!

Now all I have to do is finish a PowerPoint and handouts for my other group project. I am thinking about doing that tonight since I have already been working all day on school work. I might as well finish all my work and take tomorrow to relax.

Christmas cards have been ordered

Thanks to Shutterfly my Christmas cards have been ordered and should be here at the end of next week or the beginning of the following week. Its going to be close but I am fairly sure I will be able to get them sent out before we leave for our vacation on the 14th.

Here are some of the pictures that Aaron took for us. I think his pictures look great, but I'm not happy with the color of shirt I am wearing or the fact that it was super windy and I had to wear my hair up. Oh well...next year hopefully I will have a new camera and take some good pictures throughout the year to use on our card.












Check out this awesome picture of Hiro jumping in the water after a ball. This is his favorite thing to do. Sometimes he will be playing with other dogs and just run down to the water by himself and jump in then he gets out and goes back up to play some more...too cute!


Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a blessed and happy Thanksgiving today!

Jon and I are heading over our good friend Jason's house this afternoon. He is the one we can thank for introducing us to each other almost 4 years ago. We are looking forward to lots of good food and fun with his family and some more of our friends. This will be the first Thanksgiving we will not be with our extended families. Since I moved to Austin I have not been driving back to Plano for Thanksgiving because the traffic on I35 is horrible. My family typically comes down here a week or so before Christmas so I get to see them then. Jon's family typically comes down here for Thanksgiving and we go to his grandparents' for lunch, but this year they decided to avoid the traffic and stay home as well. Our plan is to go to breakfast with his grandparents tomorrow since we just hung out with my grandparents a few weeks ago. We were just going to spend the day just the two of us, but then Jason invited us over to his place. We are so blessed to have wonderful friends and I am really looking forward to having a great time!

I also can't wait to start decorating for Christmas tomorrow!! I am going to try to convince Jon to get all the stuff out of the attic tonight so I can go through what I have. I am thinking I may head to Hobby Lobby tomorrow and pick up a few new things, but other than that I think I am going to stay in on Black Friday. We went out early last year and got some good deals, but I am more looking forward to just having the day off this year. I will post some pictures tomorrow night after the decorating is complete.

For the Twilight lovers

My sister informed me that Stephenie Meyer (the author of the Twilight series) was in the process of writing a 5th book. It was going to be called Midnight Sun and it was going to be all from Edwards point of view. Someone leaked it early before she was ready to publish it so she decided not to go through with publication. You can read the full store about what happened here. She didn't want fans of the series to miss out on the 5th book so she has made in available to anyone on her website. How cool is that! You can download from the link above. I started reading it last night and I am already hooked. I poured through the 4 books in the original series and I would have loved the opportunity to buy a 5th book, but I am happy that I can at least read it online.

Birthday wishes

My birthday is coming up...ahh, 25! I have been wanting to get a new camera for awhile now (my current camera had a run in with some sticky punch at a wedding last year and has not been the same since). Jon and I having been looking at cameras every time we go to Costco or Best Buy. At first I just wanted something small and similar to what I have now. But over the past few months I have been thinking more about photography and I really want to get better at taking pictures. I want a camera that will allow me to make adjustments and have more control over the settings than a typical digital camera.

Since this is going to be a big purchase Jon has been letting me know what he is looking at (usually he like to keep me in suspense about my birthday present). Here a a couple of the ones we were looking at today. On the less expensive side there is this Cannon and then on the more expensive side there is this Cannon. This first one is like a cross between a typical point and shot digital camera and a high tech digital camera. It would give me more control and be a good step toward advanced photography. The second choice is more advanced and would give me even more control. It would probably take me longer to figure things out, but in the long run if I do end up loving photography this camera would allow me to purchase upgrades in the future.

Jon has been talking to his friend Aaron (the guy that just took our pictures on Sunday). He is giving some good advice and is willing to share his knowledge once I get the camera.

If anyone has any camera advice I would love to hear it!

I hate group projects

In one of my classes 1/2 our grade depends on a group project. Everyone in the group has a part, but everyone gets the same grade based on the end results. Ugh. Luckily I requested to be in a group with a good friend who I know will do the work...but the third person in our group, well lets just say I'm not a fan. I was in charge of part 1 and my friend is in charge of part 3. Our part 2 sucks! We still don't have all the information we need and the project is due next week. Ugh...I'm so frustrated.

We are all getting together this Saturday (even though we could have been done before Thanksgiving if this member had completed her part on time). I am hoping that this member comes with ALL her information completed. If not I am going to talk with my professor (for the second time) about it. Not that she is much help...her response is well in the real world you don't always get to pick your coworkers and you just have to deal. Its one thing to deal when it is a coworker. Its another when it is a grade...ugh I pay $1000 per class and I can easily make A's. I am going to be so mad if this project is what causes me to make a B.
We just got finished taking family pictures. I can't wait to see them! I know Aaron got some great ones of Hiro jumping in the water...one of those should make it on the front of our Christmas cards.

We are about to go meet Aaron, his wife Stacie, and their sweet baby, Bryson, for dinner at Azul Tequila. Yum, I can't wait to eat some good Mexican!

Finally a lazy Sunday

Last night Jon asked me what we needed to get done today (Sunday). I stopped for a second and thought about it...then I realized we don't really have anything we have to get done today. I have a paper I need to edit, but I don't need to turn that in until Dec 1st. We don't even need to go to the grocery store. Its nice to finally have a day to just be lazy.

Since we don't have anything going on I am getting our good friend Aaron to take some family pictures this afternoon. I need to order our Christmas cards soon! Aaron and his friend are in the process of starting up a photography business and have been asking to take our pictures as practice for awhile. This seemed like the perfect opportunity. I am hoping to get some candid shots with Hiro too. I'll post some as soon as I get them. :)

Jon took me to see Twilight last night...he is such a good husband. I give the movie a C+. There were parts that seemed very cheesy and the effects are very poor. It was more like a made for TV movie in my opinion. Regardless I am glad I saw it and I still love the books (they get an A+).

Ok I am off to make some my great grandmothers French Toast...yum!

Yay for cold weather and boots

Today it was cold all day so I finally got to try out my new target boots (see link in yesterdays post). I got lots of compliments and my feet stayed warm and comfortable all day. They look just like uggs but for a fraction of the price...I love Target!

Say tuned tomorrow for a review of the Twilight movie. :) FYI I already recommend the books, they are a fun read!

Things I am looking forward to...

  1. A cold front just came through so tomorrow I get to wear my new fake ugg boots from Target.
  2. Tomorrow Twilight comes out. I read the series over the summer...basically all 4 books in 2 weeks. I totally fell in love with the books and Edward of course. Jon is taking my to see the movie on Saturday...I can't wait, even though I am sure the books are much better than the movie will be.
  3. Next week I have 2 and 1/2 days off and I am going to start decorating for Christmas! It looks like everyone (both Jon's family and mine) is going to come to our house so I want it to look cute :) I'll post some pictures next weekend after I decorate.
  4. I only have 2 more weeks of school after Thanksgiving and then Jon and I get to head to Tahoe for a week of skiing.

Our puppy has a weight problem

Earlier this week Jon took Hiro to play at a Auditorium Shores. He loves to play in the water with the other dogs. We try to take him out there a couple of times a week. We have started to notice that he is a little chubby compared to the other laps out there...in fact we started calling him our chunky monkey...sad I know.

Anyway Jon was picking up after Hiro earlier this week and noticed a worm (gross I know). Actually he has had this before...he loves to drink the water at Auditorium Shores and his best buddy Woodrow had worms a few weeks ago so we were kind of expecting it to happen. Anyway its not a huge deal, he just has to go to the vet and get a single dose of medicine. Jon was able to take him to the vet that afternoon. While there he asked the vet if she thought Hiro was a little chubby for 1 and 1/2. Her reply "He's only 1 and 1/2?!?!". I guess we have our answer. :( Hiro is now on a reduced diet. Every time I feed him he looks at his bowl and sighs...so sad. We are going to start taking Hiro on longer walks and some runs, hopefully we can get this chunky monkey in shape soon. :)

Procrastinating

Based on the amount of times I have posted this week clearly things are slowing down for me. Yay!

I have 3 papers and 1 project due tomorrow. I have pretty much finished all of them...thank goodness! I turned in my project early for my teacher to look over. She forgot to give it back to me on Monday so now I have until next week to turn that in. All I need to do tonight is proof read my 3 papers 1 last time...clearly I am procrastinating on that! My plan is to finish watching CSI from last week, make some brownies (for Jon) and then proof read my papers.

The reason for the brownies...Jon has been such a great husband over the last few weeks (he is always great, but he has been extra great lately). I have been so busy and stressed with work and school. Jon has taken care of everything...taking Hiro to the vet, on walks, and to play, going to the grocery store, cooking dinner, and cleaning up around the house. All this in addition to working. I'm not sure what I would do without him. Thus in a few minutes when Jon leaves for his soccer game I am going to clean the kitchen and then make some brownies for when he gets home. :)

Good news

One of my best friends and his wife just had their first baby...I can't wait to meet Jackson in a few weeks when they move back from Japan!! Congrats Steven and Ally! :)

My semester is finally coming to an end. I finish up 1 class the week of the 1st and the other 2 the week of the 8th. I have some big projects due in all 3 classes, but luckily I have made some good progress throughout the semester and over Thanksgiving break I plan on finishing them up. Once this semester is over I will have a break until January 20th! I am so looking forward to having that time off...I will still be working, but only about 20 hours a week and only in the morning. I think Jon and I may tackle painting our kitchen cabinets...we'll see how that goes. :)

By the way...I absolutely love my new blog background! I thought my other one was cute, but this one tops them all. :)

We have a plan

Well I think we have a plan to kill the weeds that plague our front yard and finally begin to see some grass grow. For those of you who have seen our front yard it is pretty bad...maybe I will post a picture to make more of a point.

Anyway Jon and I went looking for wood floors (more on that later) and while at Home Depot we found a weed killer/grass feeder made specifically for this time of year. It also has a plan on the back of the bag...supposedly if we sprinkle this stuff on once a month (there is a different type for every season) we can have a nice yard by next summer/spring. We came straight home and followed the directions...we are hoping for the best.

Back to the wood floors. We have wanted to put wood floors in ever since we moved in. Now that we have Hiro (and may be getting a second dog in January..more on that later) we are so ready to get rid of the carpet. I vacuum and there is always hair left behind. With floors I will be able to sweep and mop and get rid of all the hair. We shopped around at Lumbar Liquidators, Floor and Decor and Home Depot. Lumbar Liquidators had the best prices hands down. We found a bamboo that we loved but it is a softer wood and probably won't hold up to Hiro's paws. We both love real wood, but ultimately we think a laminate is going to serve our needs better...price wise and scratch resistant wise. We found one that has the look of hand scraped wood and I love it. We were going to wait until Jon gets his bonus in March but I am thinking we may move on this in January. Yay!

What a week

I can't believe it's already Saturday night...

On Tuesday after work I headed down to Houston with the consultant I work with. We went to a 3 day conference over the VB-MAPP. It's a new assessment that can be used on children with autism. The cool thing about it that it has been normed on typical children. The research that was done to make this assessment stresses that it is so important not to introduce and try to teach skills out of sequence with kids. We tend to work with kids who are 4-7 years old but may have language and social skills at 1-2 year old levels. It is so important that we teach them at that level so they have a solid foundation before you start teaching new skills. Anyway it was great. I learned so much. I feel like I go to school and they teach about things I already know about, it gets really boring...this conference was so great because I actually learned something new.

We got back late last night and I had to be up at 5:45 this morning in order to pick up donuts and be up at the Dell Diamond for the Greater Autism Autism Walk. We had a booth set up and it was so fun to see all the kids as well as the other booths. I got home around 1, took Hiro to Auditorium Shores so he would sleep the rest of the day. This afternoon I ran some errands which included going to Barnes and Noble to pick up Twilight. I read all 4 books in the series over the summer (more like in 2 weeks). I absolutely love all 4 books, and the movie is coming out next weekend. My plan is to read the book this week and then go see the movie next Saturday!

So as I was writing this Jon came home (he wasn't supposed to fly in until tomorrow morning so it was a nice surprise). We just made a trip to our favorite store Target and picked up some miscellaneous things. We are home now and about to watch a movie...I love cold weather nights at home.

A day to mark in the calendar

I, yes me, cooked dinner tonight. For many of you this may not seem like a big deal at all, but my this house it is a rare thing. Jon does 99% of the cooking here...something that my great aunt Tia finds hilarious. Every time I talk to her she say "Lauren, tell me again who cooks dinner at your house", and I reply "sigh, you know that Jon cooks dinner almost every night", then she laughs. I'm not totally worthless in the kitchen, I make great chocolate chips cookies (from scratch of course), zucchini bread muffins, french toast, and chicken salad, all of which I get lots of complements on. However when it comes to dinner I tend to stick with easy things like spaghetti, Tyson chicken strips, baked potato...any thing else that basically requires no skills to make.

But tonight I made dinner. Jon has been out of town all week and was driving in from Houston this evening. I decided that last thing he would want was more restaurant food, or to have to come home and have to decide what to make for dinner. I came across a recipe for black bean soup with corn bread. Jon loves black beans and a cold front came through tonight so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try it. Wow, it was so delicious and so easy. I figured I would pass the recipe on:

Ingredients
2 cans of black beans; drained and rinsed
2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of mild hot sauce
1 tablespoon of cumin

Directions
In a blender mix 1 can of the beans, chicken broth, hot sauce, and cumin until well blended. Add the remaining can of beans and heat through. Serve hot with a tablespoon of sour cream (I also added some grated cheese).

I made this with a box of Jiffy corn bread and it was perfect. This is one that I will make again for sure. Enjoy!

the promised longer post

I can't believe it is already November! This semester has flown by. I have about a month left of school and then I get a break from December 8th to January 20th! Before that happens I have 3 huge projects to finish up before that. One project is a group project (yuck). I was in charge of part 1 which is done, but the girl that has been in charge of part 2 has really been slacking. She has had about 3 weeks to get her stuff done and she has put it off until the last minute. Now we have a meeting with our professor on Monday and she doesn't have all the information we need...ugh. I have made pretty good progress on my 2 other projects so I am trying not to stress out about them.

Jon had to go to New Mexico last night, but he is on his way back right now, yay! Too bad he has to leave for Houston on Monday (he will be gone all week). He has a job next weekend in Dallas so I am going to go with him and hang out with my sister and parents! Hopefully I will have a chance to get some shopping in...the shopping in Dallas is SO much better than Austin.

I am going to an assessment conference in Houston in 2 weeks...I think it's going to be really interesting. As soon as I get back from that I am going to be helping out at the Autism Walk Now. It should be interesting, the consultant/mentor I work with will have a booth up and I know the company I used to work for will have a booth up as well. You would think that it wouldn't be such a big deal, but this company makes the employees feel like they can't

I am getting excited to be done with school...forever...well unless I feel the need to get a PhD (not likely). Once this semester is over I will only have 4 classes left! I am going to take 2 next semester and then in the Fall I will take the last 2...graduation data: December 2009! Once I get my BCBA I will be ready to take on some cases on my own. I am so thankful that I am in a position where I have a mentor who is great and is totally on board for me to start working with her once I graduate! I really could see myself doing this long term...I am going to be able to control how many hours I work, which will be nice once Jon and I start a family.

In the middle of writing this Jon came home and we went to dinner at our favorite Mexican place, Curras. I am now totally stuffed and we are about to watch a movie...which I will no doubt fall asleep during (its my favorite thing to do and it drives Jon crazy). :)

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! I am about to head to a team meeting...we are ending early to have pizza a beer while my little kiddo gets ready to go trick-or-treating...how awesome is my job!?!? Once that is over I am heading home to take Hiro to our block party (Jon's going out of town tonight so he will miss the festivities, but he gets to come home tomorrow).

*a longer post will come this weekend, it has been too long again!

What's for Supper?

I get a Southern Living magazine every month (I'm not sure why since I never signed up for a subscription) and I found a recipe for grilled cheese and chili...yum! I have been wanted to make it all week and today I finally had the time.

After getting some low-lights put in my hair (I was so ready for a change and I love it) and meeting a good friend for lunch at Central Market (the tortilla soup is amazing) I was able to pick up everything I needed. Jon had to go to Fort Worth for a job so when I got home I cleaned up the house and took Hiro to play at Auditorium Shores since he tends to freak out when Jon goes out of town (last time he destroyed our 4 couch throw pillows). I even washed my car and did a load of landary.

Once everything was done I got to work on dinner (see recipe below). All and all it took me about an hour to make and it is delicious! Since Jon does 99.9% of the cooking around here, I am pretty proud of myself. It will definitely be something I will make again in the future...especially once it gets really cold (well as cold as it gets here in Austin).

I enjoyed a great dinner in a clean house and now I am watching Bring It On All or Nothing. I know...a little embarrassing but a girl's got to get her cheesy movies in when her hubby's gone right? ;)


Here's the recipe

For the chili:
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1lb. ground turkey (I used ground beef because I already had it)
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 (28oz.) can dices tomatoes
  • 1 (16oz.) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • Garnish with sour cream
Saute chopped onion in hot oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 min or until tender; add garlic, and saute for 1 min.
Add turkey, chili powder, and cumin, and cook, stirring for 8 min or until meat is no longer pink. Stir in tomato paste, and cook for 2 min. Add tomatoes and next 5 ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer and stir occasionally for 30 min.

For the grilled cheese
  • butter
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • Italian bread (sliced)
  • provolone cheese
  • mozzarella cheese
Stir together butter and Parmesan cheese and spread over bread slices. Add provolone and mozzarella cheese and cook on a hot skillet/pan until each side is golden brown (about 4 min).

Enjoy!

Goals for the week...month...you name it

This weekend I did some soul searching and came up with some new goals for myself.
  • I am going to commit to working out for at least 20 min 3-4 times during the week and at least 1 hour once on either Saturday or Sunday.
  • I am going to commit to doing 60/60 experiment at Gateway Community. This means that for 60 days every 60 minutes I am going to think about God.
  • I am going to commit to going to church 3 out of 4 Sundays a month. Since Jon's soccer games are on Sundays we tend to get in the habit of skipping church in the mornings and just listening online. I don't think I am getting as much out of the lessons by just listening, I need to get up and go to church!
  • Jon and I decided to give up cable (for me) and the Xbox (for him) and spend more quality time with each other
I am looking forward to making these things reality...I really think they will have a huge impact on how I feel day to day.

In other news...the mini 9 comes tomorrow! I can't wait to take it to class with me Wednesday night. Jon and I also booked a ski trip for December. We haven't taken a vacation since our honeymoon and we are both really looking forward to spending quality time the beautiful area of Lake Tahoe!

a whirl wind of weekend

We have been so busy over the last few weeks.
Last weekend was
ACL and it was great! Amanda came in for the weekend and we had a blast seeing some great bands play. Some of my favorites were Iron and Wine, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, The Swell Season, Beck, Band of Horses, Gnarls Barkley, and the Foo Fighters. This year the festival was two weeks later in September and the weather was so much better. While it was still hot it was definetly more bareable than previous years. They have just released the dates for next year and it going to be the first weekend in October! How amazing is that! The weather should be great.

This weekend I helped throw a
baby shower for a girl in my small group. It was at our house so it was fun to show off my painted kitchen and living room. I feel like both rooms are officially done decorating wise. We still want to put down wood floors but that will have to wait until next year. The shower was really fun and I think we did a great job. The only annoying thing was that 15 people RSVPed and over 24 showed up! Seriously...don't people RSVP anymore. I mean its not like it takes much time to call and say "yes I am coming or no I can't make it"! Annoying!

This weekend I also finished up my portion of a project. I was stressed out all week trying to get all the observation hours in and paper work done. I feel so much better now that it is done.

My grandparents were finally able to head back to Galveston this week. They drove back on Wednesday with my aunt. The good news is their house did not have any major damage. Unfortunately they had only been there 1 night when my grandfather got really sick and ended up having to go to the ER. Since Galveston is still limited in medical personnel they sent him to Clear Lake. On the drive over they got stuck in a 2-hour traffic jam! Luckily they made it and he is doing much better...they think it was just a stomach virus. No sooner had they made it back home when my grandmother started to get sick...luckily she has not gotten it so bad. My aunt has been amazing through all of this! She opened her home and let them stay with her when they had to leave Galveston. She cooked and cared for them during their 2 week stay in Austin. She has extended her stay in Galveston twice now due to the virus. I am not sure what they would have done without her help!

I am looking forward to an easy week. My classes got canceled 1 day this week, which means only driving down to San Marcos once! I also have slower week for work...hopefully I will be able to be productive!

Things to be thankful for...

I am so thankful my grandparents decided to leave their home in Galveston yesterday morning. They were determined to wait out hurricane Ike, but after lots of persistence from my parents, aunt and myself they finally decided to drive up to the Woodlands and stay with some family friends. While we are so thankful they made it safely off the island without injury, we are worried about the condition of their home. My parents are going to be driving down to Houston sometime next week and either bring my grandparents up to Plano or head to Galveston to assess the damage. Given that my grandparent's house is a mere 2 blocks from the seawall I know they will have received some damage the question will be how much damage. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers over the next few weeks...as they get older it is increasingly difficult for them to bounce back from something like this. On top of that, my grandfather recently had knee replacement surgery and is still recovering. I will post an update as I hear from my parents.

this and that

I am finally getting around to posting some pictures from our kitchen. I love how the walls turned out. Now I just need to get some better frames for the art work...the college frames have seen better days.
While I was taking the pictures of the kitchen this is what Hiro was doing. Yes that would be our couch and the new pillows I recently bought. He totally thinks that is his new bed and unfortunately the pillows have become new frustration toys when we leave him home along at night. We are horrible parents, we think it is cute when he slinks up on the couch and curls up. His favorite is when he gets the spot right between us. Luckily our couches are black and microfiber...otherwise I would never get all the mud off of them.


Jon ordered my Dell Mini 9 this week!! I can't wait to get it...too bad they just released them and it won't even ship until October 14th. I am looking forward to taking it to class...although apparently I will not be able to use it in every class. Last night was my first Monday night class. It is ABA for teachers...a.k.a behavior management for classrooms. About half the class was taking notes on laptops when my professor said "ok class is starting, I would like all of you to close your laptops". Of course people informed her that their laptops were their primary method of taking notes. She told them that she prefers people to use a pen and paper to take notes. Some people in my class got pretty confrontational...it was awkward. In the end she won and we can't use laptops in her class :( Oh well at least I have 2 others that I can use my new mini in.

side note...

notice that i had 3 new post yesterday...clearly i am doing everything i can to distract myself from working on my research project. and what am i doing now...um yes the same thing. i am trying to write a review on an article right now and i have NO motivation :( okay time for me to try to get back to work...

this is moving

some of the blogs i read are from parents with children who have autism...this is one that i found and this post is so moving i wanted to share it. i work with these kids everyday and i love it, but at the end of the day i go home to my quiet house, and on the weekends i go run errands without worrying about people staring. these families go through so much day in and day out...

If I had a pound for every time I heard someone say ‘if he were my son I would give him a good spanking’ or ‘if he were mine I wouldn’t take him out in public’ etc etc - I would be a rich woman. Not one day has gone by when I have taken C out that I do not hear at least one derogatory hurtful remark about my beautiful son. So sadly I think Michael Savages’ recent thoughtless comments on autism represents a proportion of societies views about our children.
When i see C happy my heart sings. But others find this large display of pure joy disturbing embarrassing and even frightening. We have emptied countless cafes, shops, or even been asked to leave.
When C was diagnosed all those years ago many friends disappeared as they didn't know what to say or how to relate to C. Some didn't want their child 'catching' autism. Our world shrank as people kept away. Only recently C and i met up with someone we had known many years ago. We had a coffee - she went to the loo -and never came back.
You get used to living on 4 hours sleep, cleaning poo off the ceiling, trying to find something C may eat. You get over wondering what his voice would sound like if he ever spoke. And there will always be another funding battle to fight.
A new way of life emerges and becomes the norm.
Other things take priority, the superficial, artificial and materialistic things are just that, they are things.
C gives me so much more. A smile, a look, a delighted squeak. A licked clean plate (on those rare occasions). A licked clean train carriage window is more often.
Our odyssey has not been easy. There have even times been times when I thought he was going to die. All the comfort I was given by doctors, was ‘wouldn't he be better off dead’.
Society judge him, make fun of him, they film him on their mobiles. C has had dog biscuits thrown at him in the street, and once was even punched by a passer by. Some of my family are embarrassed by him, some say they are scared of him others pity me and give C no second thought.
They don’t see the beautiful being that he is, or the gifts that he shares. They don’t see that C is happy and does have a quality of life. They cant get their heads round it, or rather they don’t want to or even try.
Living with disability can be tough at times, but you get there. It is also full of much love, joy and laughter. And i wouldn't have it any other way.
It’s the prejudice I find the hardest part. The attitudes of some family and friends and some professionals whom we are supposed to trust. And the strangers in the street.
And that is on going. This is our reality. C by the very nature of his autism and challenging behaviour is isolated and in turn isolates me as his mother.


helpful tips for around the house.

i found this on another blog and thought it was fun. i am going to have to try some of these out. enjoy...

1. Reheat Pizza
Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.

2. Easy Deviled Eggs
Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly; cut the tip of the baggy; squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done; easy clean up.

3. Expanding Frosting
When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

4. Reheating refrigerated bread
To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

5. Newspaper weeds away
Start putting in your plants; work the nutrients in your soil. Wet some newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go. Cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic. They will not get through wet newspapers.

6. Broken Glass
Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.

7. No More Mosquitoes
Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.

8. Squirrel Away!
To keep squirrels from eating your plants sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.

9. Flexible vacuum
To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

10. Reducing Static Cling
Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and -- ta da! static is gone.

11. Measuring Cups
Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.

12. Foggy Windshield?
Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!

13. Reopening envelope
If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.

14. Conditioner
Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's a lot cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair...

15. Goodbye Fruit Flies
To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass fill it 1/2" with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid, mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

16. Get Rid of Ants
Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it "home", and can 't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works & you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!

Quick post

this week has flown by! i can't believe it is already friday...not that i am complaining!

unfortunately jon had to go to kansas today :( dell is sending him all the way there when he could totally do the job remotely from our house. oh well, i am sure it has something to do with keeping the customers happy. jon is so good at his job, he has to go into situations where the customers (big companies not just individuals) are not exactly pleased with dell. sometimes their machines have broken or need updates that require down time. anyway, jon goes in and he always manages to get the job done as well as change the attitude of the customer. he even has customers that request him to come out again the next time they need help. it also doesn't hurt to have my very own personal tech guy around the house :) although occasionally it back fires...he is always playing around with our home system and making changes. i come home and my computer doesn't work or won't print, etc...

today when i came home i had an email from jon telling me to check out a website. the link took me to a website for the dell mini 9 (the new dell netbook). look how small it is! i have been talking about how my lap top is too heavy to carry to school and how someday i want something smaller. this is perfect! it is tiny and light, and is perfect for being on the go. it doesn't have huge storage and it doesn't have a cd or dvd drive, but other than that it is a regular laptop. i think we are going to get one! it will be so easy for me to take to school (since all my professors post their powerpoints online). it would also be great to take on vacations! jon said he was going to look more at it tonight...i'm keeping my fingers crossed that that means he is going to buy it tonight....right perfect husband of mine?!?! :)

okay so here is my productive weekend plan...
friday:
later this afternoon i have to go to a meeting...i am really excited because it is for the little girl i go to school with and her teacher is coming too! i think it is great that she is willing to take a couple hours after a long work day and come meet with us, because she truly wants to make the classroom environment the most productive for this little girl...very cool! after the meeting i think i am going to take hiro out to auditorium shores to get some energy out...he loves to play with the other dogs and swim. once that is done i am planning on coming home to finish my research. i need to read and review 2 more articles and i want to finish it up before jon gets home tomorrow.

saturday: i am going to wake up early and go shopping! i need to buy some new clothes for work and i want to pick up some fun accessories. jon gets home around 1 so i need to be done by then so we can spend the afternoon together. i will have to think of something fun for us to do tomorrow night.

sunday: jon has his first soccer game of the fall season. he joined a new team over the summer and is going to continue to play with them this fall. i really like this new team, the guys are all very nice and so are the wives/girlfriends (which makes it even more fun to go watch). unfortunately i am not going to be able to make the first game :( i have to meet with my class partner to compile our literature review paper that is due on wed...um we just started class last week and we already have papers due...yuck!

well i think that is all i have planned right now...keep your fingers crossed about the netbook...i NEED/want one!!!



Happy Labor Day Weekend

Jon and I had a great 3 day weekend together. It was nice because we did not have anything scheduled or anything that we "had" to get done.

Friday night Jon had to work (and he doesn't have to work again until next Friday!) so I had coffee with a good friend. When I got home I decided to watch a chic flick since I rarely get to do that these days. I watched Made of Honor. I give it a C+, it was a cute movie but slightly boring and slow.

On Saturday we slept in and then enjoyed a big breakfast. After getting ready, we took a day trip to Fredericksburg. We had a great time checking out all the shops, doing some wine tasting and enjoying a great German dinner with some good beer at a local brewery. Here is where we went for wine tasting. The guy was very cool and let us try more wines than we were supposed to. I was able to try some sweet wine. I really liked this grapefruit wine. It was so good that we bought a bottle. Jon liked the heaver reserved red wines. From the winery we went to this brewery for dinner. It was pretty cool. We were able to taste the 4 beers that they brew (you can actually see the huge barrels they use to brew the beer from were you sit in the restaurant. All in all we had a great day together and were exhausted by the time we made it home.

Sunday we did our typical errand running and relaxing. Jon spent most of the day on the computer and I spent most of the day reading. Currently I am reading two books. For school I am reading The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon. It is an interesting book written from the perspective of a man with high functioning autism. I started my second book yesterday, it is The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. I just started it last night so once I get more into it I will give more of a review.


Today we took Hiro down to our favorite spot on at the greenbelt. There hasn't been much rain here so the water was pretty low, but there was enough to swim in and for Jon to go off the rope swing a dozen times. Hiro had a blast swimming with his buddy Woodrow and I had fun laying out and reading.

Well that was our weekend. We had a great 3 days...now it is back to work and school for me.

Our long conversation: part 3

Our first date...

I had come back to Austin with my family the weekend after the kite festival. I was busy with them on Friday and Saturday, which left Sunday for our date.

Around 3pm I met Jon at Mozart's (a wonderful coffee shop on the river). We enjoyed some tea and talked by the water. From there we headed over to St Edward's campus. They have an amazing view of downtown and it was a great place for us to walk and talk. Since neither of us was hungry for dinner yet, we decided to go walking down South Congress Ave. There are a bunch of cute shops along the way and the whole time you can see a picture perfect view of the capitol. After lots of walking we decided to get dinner at Frank and Angie's, were I showed off my amazing pizza eating skills (can you hear the sarcasm?). The slices were HUGE and I of course made a mess of mine...so embarrassing! Once dinner was over we took a quick drive to the capitol and enjoyed more walking and talking. To end the night we had ice cream at Amy's Ice Cream. The guys that work there will toss ice cream across the street and if you catch it in the bowl you get it for free...very fun to watch.

By the time we said good night it was 10pm. We had been together for 7 hours and it didnt seem like enough time. The next morning I heading back to Plano and when I got home I had a sweet email from Jon waiting for me. It said that he had fun as well and looked forward to our next date :)

Stay tuned for Our long conversation: part 4 (the first kiss)

Update...

Kitchen update:
Susan came and helped me with the mudding! It looks great already. I just have to paint the walls and then add the stain. I think it is going to look wonderful. Pictures will come later once everything is done.

For now I am in Galveston helping out my grandparents. My grandfather just had knee surgery about a week ago and my mom and I are here helping with dr appointments and meals. On Tuesday we will head back up to Plano where I am going to get to spend the rest of the week.

More updates later....hmm maybe the next post will pick up on Our Long Conversation: The First Date.

Tackling the white walled Kitchen...

Tomorrow begins the first step of transforming the white walls of kitchen to something beautiful. I have made 2 trips to Home Depot, 1 trip to Lowes and 2 trips to Walmart and I think I finally have all the materials I need to complete this project.

Susan (my mom's best friend) who happens to be the mastermind behind the wall mudding, painting and staining technique is coming in for the weekend and has graciously agreed to help me out. I used to help her when I was in college in Dallas. It has been a couple of years since I have done the technique, I am so glad she is willing to come help me out. She gets paid big bucks to create this look; I am lucky she is willing to make the trip and help me for free. :)

Here is a picture of our kitchen now...it looks super boring since i have already cleared everything off the walls and tops of the cabinets.

How well do you know your spouse?

My mom is throwing a bridal shower in a couple of weeks and we were talking about games to play. This got me thinking about my bridal showers and the games we played. One in particular involved questions answered by Jon and lots of bubble gum. My mom asked me to find the questions so that we can play the same game at the bridal shower she is throwing. So after much searching...ladders...attic...boxes...I finally found the bag of questions. I was reading through them and thought this would make an entertaining post.

The rules...Jon was given the list of questions and had to come up with answers. Then at the shower everyone took turns asking me the questions, if I didn't know the answer or got it wrong I had to put a piece of bubble gum in my mouth. I think I did pretty good, but I ended up with a huge amount of gum in my mouth.

The questions...

What was the name of your best friend in elementary school?
Jon: Keith Powell
Me: I don't know :(

What is your favorite color?
Got this right...blue, black, and gray. When I got shopping for clothes for Jon I can only get shirts that are blue, black, gray, or white.

What is the last movie you saw?
Jon gave two movies (at home the Departed, and in the theater Breach). I said the Departed.

What did you do on your first date with Lauren?
Jon: We went to Mozart's for tea, then Frank and Angie's for pizza. We wen for dessert at Amy's Ice Cream, checked out the views from St. Edward's, and then I am not sure if we also walked down South Congress and around the capitol or id that was a subsequent date.

Me: (the correct order of things) "we meet at Mozart's, then went to check out the view of downtown from St Edward's. From there we walked down South Congress and had dinner at Frank and Angie's and dessert at Amy's Ice Cream. We ended the night walking around the capitol.

What is Lauren's favorite flower?
Jon: she doesn't have one, but I normally buy her something in the tulip or lily family.
Me: I don't have one, but Jon always picks out good ones.

What is the name of the last book you read?
Jon: The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
Me: something by Bernard Cornwell...the Winter King?

What color do you like Lauren to wear?
Jon: She looks stunning in any color.
Me: Um...I don't know if he cares what color I wear.

What is your favorite vacation spot?
Jon: I don't have a favorite...I would like to go to England, and I really like DC and San Francisco
Me: DC or San Francisco

What is your favorite meal?
Jon: Tacos al Pastor or Chuys' Vegetable Enchiladas
Me: Spinach/Veggie enchiladas at Chuys

What is your favorite childhood memory?
Jon: No idea
Me: I don't know

Which friend have you stayed in touch with the longest?
Jon: Josh Towers
Me: Josh...I think that's right.

What is Lauren's favorite meal?
Jon: chicken crispers from Chili's or anything with creamy jalapeno from Chuys
Me: anything that Jon cooks or chicken crispers at Chilis

Where were you when you first kissed Lauren?
Jon: You mean when she first kissed me? At my house.
Me: at his house. (this is when I had to explain that I kissed him first with a bunch of gum in my mouth...thanks Jon!!)

Where in the world do you most wish to go?
Jon: England, and then maybe Australia/New Zealand
Me: England

Who is your favorite actor?
Jon: I don't really have one...but I think Mel Gibson is talented.
Me: Not sure.

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?
Jon: I will probably be working for the man.
Me: working for the man.

What name would you give your first son?
Jon: Jon Michael Dechiro the Second!! (he is totally being sarcastic)
Me: Um...William.

What is your favorite Bible verse?
Jon: I don't have one.
Me: I don't think he has one.

What is your favorite sport to watch?
Jon: Football, but not the American variety
Me: Soccer

If you could choose any city to live in, which would it be?
Jon: DC or San Francisco
Me: San Francisco

What is your favorite sport to play?
Jon: football...again not the kind with helmets or pads
Me: soccer

What is the most romantic thing you have ever done for Lauren?
Jon: picnic at Mount Bonnell where she got a shiny ring to wear?
Me: picnic at Mount Bonnell where he proposed

What is your pet peeve?
Jon: Related to Lauren...she interrupts me when I am talking. Unrelated to Lauren...drivers who refuse to wait in line and try to cut in front of everyone else in traffic.
Me: probably that I interrupt him all the time or bad drivers.

What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
Jon: probably still working for the man.
Me: working for the man with a couple of kiddos?

If you could have any type of vehicle, what would you choose?
Jon: Subaru Outback XT 2.5
Me: he likes Subarus a lot.

Who is your favorite musical artist?
Jon: of all time...Pink Floyd, at the moment...Muse.
Me: of all time...Pink Floyd, and right now...Muse.

What is the most embarrassing thing that's happened to you in Lauren's presence?
Jon: It would probably be the time I knocked over and shattered a wine bottle in an Albertsons while visiting her in Dallas early in our relationship.
Me: Once he knocked over a wine bottle in the grocery store.

What is Lauren's pet peeve?
Jon: I'm pretty sure she has more than one. Hearing people eat...or maybe that is just with me.
Me: hearing other people eat!

What 3 people would you choose to be stuck in an elevator with?
Jon: I would rather not be stuck in an elevator.
Me: he wouldn't want to be stuck in an elevator at all.

What is your favorite girls name?
Jon: Lauren! :) I have always liked the name Olivia.
Me: Olivia

How did I do? 24 out of 30...not to0 bad. :) How would you do with your spouse?