Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Eve Day - A New Tradition

I decided, while on our expedition today, that since we are starting a new life in a different city, that we would need different traditions. Our holidays this year have consisted of outdoor adventures, and since we have enjoyed them so, we will keep doing them every year.

When I am outside of the cubicle that we are living in for the moment, it seems as though I have died and gone to heaven. Being the outdoorsy kind of family that we are, this is the perfect city for us.

This morning we got out our list of "things to do while in Austin" list and decided on Mt. Bonnell. Mind you, this beautiful place is right in the middle of the city. Living in Austin is like being in the country and the city at the same time....a little of both worlds.

Here are some pics of our New Years was also 70 degrees and sunny today which made it all the more enjoyable.

On top of Mt. Bonnell....the highest point in Austin.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's going to be a long week!

This studio room seems to be getting smaller and smaller by the day. It will still be a couple of weeks before we close on a house. That doesn't seem like a long time unless your stuck in a very small room with 2 dogs and a 6 year old.

Now that Christmas is over, Toby has started his job full time. That leaves Summer and I at the hotel Thurs-Sun. carless. Yes, we could take Toby to work and drop him off but what good would that do for me to keep the car to only drive around in circles getting lost. The roads here are TOTALLY different than the way Mobile's are set up and it confuses my sense of direction.....which is not good anyway.

Luckily, Summer has been on a video/computer game kick so she has been pretty occupied with various computer games that I have pulled up for her on the computer. Actually, I'm not too terribly bored with cable T.V. but I still think I will have "cabin fever" before it's all over.

I'm really kicking myself in the butt too. I really should have found a home for my big dog too. She has always been an outside dog so she spends most of her time pacing around and staring at the door. It doesn't matter how much you take her outside, it still doesn't satisfy her. While we are gone, she is even began to scratch the carpet up at the door of the room and gnawed on a chair. This sounds mean, but we are very close to taking her to the pound here. No telling how much money she will end up costing me in damages.

I would recommend that anyone that is going to move does not do so around major holidays.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Different Kind of Christmas

We celebrated Christmas in a most unusual way today.

First we did a treasure hunt for Summer to find her gifts. Since we didn't have a traditional Christmas we wanted to put a little twist on gift giving.

Afterward we set out to find our morning breakfast....waffle house. It took a long time to get our food and it felt 30 degrees in there.

Next, we checked out our potential new house area again. Just to make sure we didn't see any hoodlums hanging around. There wasn't many people out on Christmas day, which was a good sign to us. In our old neighborhood, Christmas day brought out every hoodlum from out of the cracks.

Then we drove to the park about a mile from the potential house. It has a pool, splash pad, walking trails, a fishing lake, etc. It's huge and peaceful. We did the mileage and the house is about 10 miles from Austin. We like the area because it's so quite and peaceful with cow pastures and farms everywhere, but yet it's close and convenient to the city too.

We spent a couple of hours at the park and we were actually finding alot of flint and arrowhead parts. Toby said if the state new all that stuff was there they would shut down the park for a dig. So, we don't tell. :-)

We took a break and came back to the room for our microwaved Christmas dinner. Then off we went again to check out a place called Barton Springs. It's a natural spring pool. It's about as big as a football field and there were people actually swimming in it! It's in the middle of Zilker Park where they hold the Austin City Limits show.

I couldn't even begin to describe how awesome this place was. It has a huge kids park, a train that runs around the whole huge park, fishing, a trail that leads to Town Lake, etc. The list goes on and on. It will take us months and months to actually see everything thats just in the parks around here.

It's been nice to be able to finally get out and see what all Austin has to offer.

On the way home it had gotten dark. The city is beautiful and so big all lit up at night. I think we are going to love it here.

Monday, December 24, 2007

It's Been A Week Now

I just realized today that today we have been in Austin exactly one week. It seems like we have been here a lot longer. Hmmm....I wonder how much longer we will all (Toby, Summer, me and 2 dogs) have to be in this dinky room together before one of us dies. Just kidding, except for Onyx, our big outside dog, we are all adjusting pretty well to such small quarters. It really makes you appreciate space.

Here is Brandi trying to sneak a garbage snack

Toby went to work yesterday to set up all his stuff and get acquainted with the ways of his new shop leaving Summer and I to fend for ourselves in our quarters. We spent our day watching cable T.V. doing a little schoolwork, eating, and walking the dogs.

The shop Toby works for actually has it's own website. He has never worked for a shop before that actually has it's own website. If anyone wants to check out the shop and the artists work, here is the website......

Christmas eve day we took to sightseeing. We checked out Town Lake. A really long trail runs along the lake that goes on for about 5 miles or more. We walked for about a mile stopping here and there along the trail to enjoy the scenery and the beautiful day.

Here are a few pics

Afterwards we grabbed a bite to eat at a place called "Jack in the Box" It was good, but it's fast food.

Our last and final stop was to Wal-Mart. Of course, it was a nightmare, but we wanted to pick us up a Christmas meal for 3 for tommorrow. Thank God, there won't be much cooking except on stove top or a microwave!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Moving Update

The past week has been non-stop. After unloading the Uhaul, I realized that even though I had done some major spring cleaning before we moved....I hadn't done nearly enough as I should have. I took us 1 1/2 days to unload the Uhaul, all the while I'm looking at most the stuff saying "Why in the world did I bring that and that etc."

Our realtor has been really good to us. I don't think we could have managed without her help. After a few days of being here we finally found a stable place to stay. We didn't want to rent a house or apartment because we are wanting to buy a home and we don't want utilities tapping our credit report and lowering our FICO we didn't want to have to unload all our stuff again just to have to move it again.

Toby has a job but hasn't started yet because of the Christmas....matter of fact it's been really hard trying to buy a home during the holidays!

After searching a couple of days, we finally found a home we like. It's on the outskirts of Austin in a city called Manor. We have found that you can get alot more house for your money when you buy outside the city of Austin. Manor is akin to Saraland from Mobile.

As small as our little temporary home is, we have not killed each other yet. I guess because we keep on the road most of the time. If I ever am able to drive in the city, it will be a miracle. Toby is already driving just like the Austinites. He said if he didn't, we would get ran over.

I have decided to wait and do Christmas for Summer after Christmas. There is no way I can go shopping on my own yet. I would get lost or get in a wreck. We have been driving around to so many places that I can't even get my bearing straight yet....but I will eventually.

It's been so long since we have done "school" that Summer was asking for it last night. We went to the storage facility today and grabbed her school books. Summer and I both are missing our schedule and our routine. Once we find a home we will be able to settle in better.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Here we go!

I thought I would give one last blog post before we embarked on our new adventure. It's been a really gruelling past couple of days, but I think we are ready to start loading up.

I am real excited about leaving, and of course a little sad.....but mostly excited. I will keep my posts updated as much as possible. The only thing I will have to blog on for a little while is our laptop, and the keyboard is too small for me to type comfortably so I'm sure that they will be short and sweet for awhile.

Until next time..................

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Signed Sealed and Delivered!

Well the dirty deed is done. Our home is officially somebody's elses new home. It felt kinda of weird when I thought about it tonight. I was leading my life as I usually do, puttering around, taking a bath, watching T.V, etc.........but I was doing it in someone elses home as though it was still mine.

I was given a wonderful going away party from my homeschool friends today. I really wanted to maintain my emotions and I was doing very well until one of our "weaker" friends lost control. I had to get out of there pretty quick....but not quick enough not to have a breakdown of my own. Oh, and we missed you Jennifer!

After the party I had to meet with our CPA to get a letter typed up for me for house buying purposes in Austin. The CPA we use just happens to be the man I worked for for 12 years. Of course, like my day wasn't emotional enough, he had to tell me how much he had appreciated me all the years I worked for him and yada yada yada....I'm sure I will wake up with swollen eyes tommorrow morning.

I will be a pretty busy bee for the next couple of days. Even though I am sad for leaving the friendships and my home behind, I am excited about what lies ahead for Toby, Summer, and I.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Treat for Mama and Summer

For my birhday this past July, my sis-in-law gave me a gift certificate for a pedicure/manicure. I have never in my whole 40 years ever felt the need to have myself pampered. I just don't do those sort of "girly things".

Anyway, I have carried the certificate around in my purse with me for months. Toby would ask me every so often if I was ever going to use my gift certificate.....I had really intended on giving it away to someone before I moved.

Today while we were out and about, we drove past the place where the certificate was for. It didn't look crowded in there and I knew if I didn't go ahead and use it, it was now or never.

Long story made short, it was the most relaxing thing I have ever done. You got to sit in a vibrating chair while they put all this weird lotion/exfoiliating stuff on you and massaged your feet and legs. I am totally addicted now. Toby's going to wish he never encouraged me to go.

The cool thing about it was that Summer got to have her nails done too. I don't do manicure's (I like to have my fingernails to chew on) so she got to use what was left over on the certificate for her. She thought it was cool too.

With all the whirlwind lately, it was nice to have something to relax me. I even went in there with a slight headache and came out without one.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Litttle Tid Bits

With us making such a dramatic move in our lives we have been trying to collect as much income as we can. Toby had gone back to his old job and worked a couple of weeks and I had felt a little guilty not having any way to contribute. I tried to think of ways to earn a little extra income without a whole lot of trouble or taking myself away from the house.

Well my chance came last week when I got a call from a survey company. They claimed I would get paid $100 to give them my opinion on certain radio stations and the music they played. Though at first I was skeptical, with further questioning it seemed to be legit.

It was the easiest $100 I ever made. I spent a total of 3 hours giving my opinion on music. Unfortunately this was a randon thing and I just got "lucky".

On a more sad note, because of our move, I had to find a home for one of my dogs. You never really know just how something like that will affect you until it's done. We adopted Andre as an adult dog from a couple that could not keep him, so the attachment to him was not that intense.....or so we thought.

In the Christian High School that I went to we were taught that animals did not have souls or emotions and therefore do not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I remember this sparking a really big debate amongst my animal loving classmates. I'm not so sure about the soul but after what happened the other day I can definitely tell you that animals have feelings/emotions.

Andre immediately knew something was up. When the nice family that came to adopt him came into the house he immediately greeted he does with everybody that walks in the door. We sat there a while and chit-chated about Andre's bathroom, eating, tricks, and other habits.

When the time came for him to leave I swear he knew everything that was going on. He came up and jumped up in my lap and practically clung to me with his paws. It was like prying a kid off of you when it's time to walk in the kindergarten door. Finally, the little boy took him from my arms and he turned and looked back at me with the most sad eyes I have ever seen. It took every ounce of my being not to emotionally break down in front of this very nice homeschool family that I have never met.

After that experience I can say for sure that animals are living beings just as we are with the same emotions and feelings. Even so, I feel he is in a good home and will live out the rest of his days with alot of activity and love.

In the end I couldn't help think what message this gave to my 6 year old. Does she think now that she is expendable? Does she think that we will get rid of her if we see it necessary? What about animal responsibility?

When you have decisions like that to make I guess you always will just make your choice and hope that it's the right one.....and pray it doesn't come back and bite you on your ass one day.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Last Tribute to My Neighbors

I would not usually post something like this on a blog site, but since I really would like a personal record of my "old neighborhood" and I don't want to take up too much time looking for somewhere else to post it is.

I vote my neighborhood as being the most unique place I have ever lived and I believe it needs a personal tribute.

Neighbor #1-next door: Self proclaimed christian man with a wife and two teenage daughters that has lost some of his christianity due to noisy, obnoxious, drug selling neighbors. He also makes a mean batch of homemade boiled peanuts and has always shared the finished products with us...yummy.

Neighbor #2- across the street: The first time I ever met this man I was pregnant with Summer and he came knocking at my door offering an apple....drunk. Ever since then he has made periodic stops at our house to borrow money, ask for us to take him to the liquor store because he is too drunk to drive, or just stop by conveniently when Toby's not home to make conversation with me...always making sure to ask me if Toby get's jealous of "us" . Yeah, right!

Neighbor #3- directly across the street: This was the first neighbor I met when I moved in. I thought she was coming across the street to introduce herself, but she was actually coming threatening to call the police on me. Seems my dogs had found a way out of their new home and obviously this woman was not an animal or people lover. She has not spoke a word to me since that day for this small infraction.

Last but not least...Neighbor #4 - way to close next door: These would have to be my favorite ones of all. They are very loud, trashy, live off the system, AND deal drugs on the corner and on the street in front of my house...not to mention the cops are at their house every weekend.

Here is a pic of them selling some of their "specialties" in front of my house.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Latest and the Greatest

I'm sure there has been a ton going on for us around here since my last post, but for the life of me I can't remember any details.

I got a call from our realtor that FHA has approved the loan for the buyer to purchase our home. There are only two very minor repairs that need to be made, and as of right now, one of them has already been made. Looks like we will be closing on our home mid next week.

I knew that it would be soon, but not that soon. After hearing the news it left with me with a panic in my stride and a severe adrenaline rush. In all my years I can only think of one other time in my life that I felt a sense of panic and extreme happiness at the same time.....when I found out I was pregnant with my kids.

As a plus, we found out that we don't have to make this month's house note. Now how's all that for a great Christmas present!

In the meantime there are ALOT of loose ends to tie of the main ones to be finding a place to live. I will definintley have to make use of what little time we have left. We have to be out of the house 5 days after the closing date, which at this point put us being homeless around Dec. 16.

We may not be religious people, but we are very faithful and we know that everything always works out for the best. We are looking forward to our "new season".

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Movin on......

Well I guess I have finally made it to the stage in a mothers life when her baby bird flys out of the nest. Lucas has moved out of the house to be on his own today.

It reminds me of the way you hear it is when a person dies how their whole life flashes before their eyes.....except that it's memories of your baby from birth to present flashing before your eyes. Every wonderful minute has been replayed in my mind over and over again. It's at this point in a parents life that hind sight is 20/20. You either or proud of yourself for the way you have raised them, or you sit back and think about all the things you could have done different....or maybe just a little of both.

Either way the hard part is over and I can honestly say that my son turned out wonderfully. Whether it was the way he was raised or just genetics I am very proud of him. I know he will make a positive impact on the world and the people around him in all of his endeavors. I am so very grateful that God gave me such wonderful children to take care of!

Thursday, November 29, 2007


We got the news from our realtor yesterday that our potential home buyer was approved by the underwriters. The last step in selling our home involves gettting FHA to approve our home. I don't forsee any obstacles with this, but as they say "It's never over until the fat lady sings".

It's really strange, but I seem to be more excited for the "little guy", as our realtor calls him, than I am for ourselves. I can't really explain it, but from the first day I met this guy I was rooting for him. Maybe it was because I know what it's like to be a first time home buyer and how exciting the prospect of owning your own home is, or maybe it was just that I knew he would not be getting a house but a home too.

It looks like we will be closing in the middle of Dec. Not exactly a convenient time of the year, but I am definitely grateful that our home even sold as soon as it did with the market like it is. New beginning, here we come!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Back to Work

As with any service business you have your slow times of the year, and with tattooing Nov. and Dec. are the worst. Everyone has Christmas gifts to buy with their extra cash. Normally we have money set aside for these "slack" times of the year, but with our move coming up we have decided that we need to stash away as much as we can for future home purchases.

So, Toby has taken on a second job for some extra cash in addtion to his tattooing job. He has gone back to part time welding and we are all taking a blow from it. It has totally messed up our family routine and Toby, not used to "hard work" anymore, is sore and decrepid. You don't get much excercise sitting on your butt chatting and drawing. :-)

We are very family oriented so this temporary situation has been hard on Summer and I too. We don't get to see him as much as we did before because his hours are different, and when we do see him is either moaning or sleeping. Looking back, I don't know how we ever got through the 6 - 6 kind of job.

Summer misses her daddy, so right when he walks in the door she's like flies on you know what. It's also harder on me because I don't have a helper never really know how much someone helps you until you loose the help.

The only plus to this whole thing is that we will have some extra cash AND that I manage to get school in without any "daddy" interuptions.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

Again this year, I was making Thanksgiving dinner. Not that I mind that much, it's just that Thanksgiving is much better when someone else is doing the cooking and cleaning and all I have to do is bring a dish. :-)

I was a smart girl though, and did most of my cooking the day before. The only thing I had to prepare in the morning was the Turkey and dressing. I'm not one of those kind of people who like to socialize by cooking together with other family members in the kitchen. I don't really like to cook anyway, so I like to get in and out of the kitchen A.S.A.P

Since my dad and his wife were out of town, I ended up having to drive to Saraland and pick my grandmother up from the nursing home, then take her back home after the festivities. Of course, my grandmother is 90 years old and senile so she had no earthly idea who any of us were the whole time she was here.....but I think she still didn't mind getting out for a little while anyway.

Toby's grandmother and Charlie, his brother, were also here. Lucas ended up going to his dad's for Thanksgiving. I was pretty much glad when everything was over so I could sit on my butt and take a rest.

After Charlie took their grandmother home, he came back to the house and we all ended up going to shoot disc golf at the park. Gotta work all that food off somehow!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

International Festival

I really thought I was beginning to learn my lesson about attending activities that were held on the weekends, but I guess I'll keep subjecting myself until it finally sinks in. Homeschooling has literally spoiled me to being able to enjoy weekly activities without crowds, plus Toby's "weekends" are Monday and Tuesday. Anything that we do is generally on the weekdays while everyone else is at work or school, leaving us to crowd-free entertainment.

We have been attending the Mobile International Festival for the past 3 years and it seems to me that either (a) the crowd gets worse every year or (b) I just never noticed that it was so crowded before. We really enjoy the whole concept behind this event and it is very educational for Summer, but it was SO crowded today that we couldn't even enjoy any of the exhibits. Between finding our way through the maze of people and trying to keep up with each other it made an otherwise pleasant experience very tiring. Whew! I was glad to get out of there.

Friday, November 16, 2007


This is the second time in the past year that we have been involved in a scam. Thank God we have had enough experience with "people of lesser values" to know when someone is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

The first time was back in May or June when we received a check in the mail for the amount of $2000.00 and some odd dollars. The letter that accompanied the check told us that we had won a lottery of some sort for a large amount of money ( I can't remember how much now) and that all we had to do was to cash the $2000.00 and send them the money so they could do whatever it was they had to do to get our millions rolling in.

Although the check was a real check, we took our suspicions to the bank. They bank said it was real also, but upon further investigation by the bank it was determined that this check was not a legitimate check. Too bad, we could have used a million dollars. :-)

Well, the scam attempt happened this week. Since we are moving hundreds of miles away, I have decided to purge our home of alot of unwanted/unneeded items. After all, we truly don't need many things to exist....the rest is just baggage in our eyes.

I had inherited a china cabinet that included china from my mom when she died. Although it is very nice and holds alot of memories for me, I had decided to sell it. Since we don't really know where we will be living when we move, or how often we might move before we find our "nesting spot" I really didn't want to risk it getting broken as we toted it across the continent. It is really heavy and it's old and I would love to see someone who could truly enjoy it's beauty as my mother did, buy it.

Anyway, I had posted it on a local list a few weeks ago. Immediately I got a response from a man who wanted to purchase the cabinet for the price I had posted it for. I will make a long story short and tell you by the time I recieved a check from this man, I had high suspisions of him. We did receive his check and it also was a real check...just a forged check. He wasted 3 weeks of my selling time, not to mention he was trying to steal from me. This kind of stuff just really pisses me off because I always think about the poor little old lady on a fixed income that may get this new-aged way of stealing and lose what little she does have to some greedy individual with no conscience.

I had a good bit of contact with this man via internet before I realized he was a scammer. I know he has my address and obviously my phone number, because he had called and left a message on my machine to ask if I had received his check. Hopefully, this man is just a thief and not a psycho too.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Needle in a Haystack

I have never been on a road trip as long as the trip to Austin. Although not as horrible as I had imagined, it was still tiring for us all. Strange how sitting down all day can be tiring....but it was. Summer did alot better than what I thought she would. I guess after being tortured for a few hours you get used to the pain, right?

Here we are at a rest stop at the Texas line (Thanks Jennifer, this was a cool place with alot of info).

We left around 7:00 a.m Sunday morning and didn't roll into Austin until 8:00p.m or so. It was dark when we got there. Toby was tired from driving and it was too dark to try and manuever our way around a new city so we grabbed the first hotel we saw......which ended up being, by Austinite standards, the worst part of the city. It's really strange to me what some people's idea of a "bad area" is. Austin's worst part of town is comparable to the area we live in now, in Mobile. Where as, Mobile's worst part of town would be considered Prichard, a much, much bad part of town. I guess it's all a matter of perspective.

Anyway, we ended up staying in the same hotel the whole time we were there because we didn't see anything "scary" in the area and plus we had our grounding point where we could find our way around. "A needle in a haystack" is what I felt like while we were there. The city is 5x Mobile's size and it was a bit overwhelming at first.

Most of our days were spent visiting tattoo shops and checking out the very large downtown area. Toby found a few shops that he liked, and that liked him, so we now know for a fact that there is a job waiting for him when we finally arrive there.

With the city being so big, we only saw a small portion of it, but what we saw we really liked. There were no dissappointments.

We did manage to visit the Capitol, which was really cool because it wasn't like a real secured area like I thought it would be. You could come and go as you please and even hang out on the grounds if you wished. Here is a few pics of the grounds and the capitol.

We also managed to visit Zilker Park and accidentally found the Nature and Science Center while we were there.

There are concrete biking/walking trails EVERYWHERE in the city, even special places marked out on the sides of all the streets for pedestrians.....and there were alot of people taking advantage of this comodity. Here is a pic of the view from one of the trails.

Here is a pic of Summer on a archeological dig in the Nature Center. We like to never have got her out of the Nature Center there was so much to do.

This one is of a tunnel/path downtown. Summer and I walked a little bit of it and from what I could tell it ran all through the downtown area.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Open House

For a few years now we have been attending the Environmental Centers open house. They have it twice a year, and we always mark it on our calendar so we don't forget. Even though it's not really a big attraction, we always end of having a great time. Maybe it's because it's an outside/naturistic event with plenty of animals and kid's activities. It was a perfect day for it too......the temps were in the mid 70's and the sky was crystal clear.

I saw on CNN news this afternoon where Austin was voted one of America's top favorite cities. Well, I guess I'll be finding out for myself if this is true. We will be leaving for Austin early tommorrow morning and I can't wait! I am so excited to be finally seeing the city that we have chosen to be our new home.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Today just happened to be one of the best Halloweens we have ever had! Even though we did nothing all that exciting, we had a perfect day.

Around 11:00 a.m we took off to downtown Mobile and ate at 'our church" as we call it. They have a lunch that they sell every Wed for $5 a plate. We have been doing our Wed. church lunch thing for a couple of years now. The lunches are made by little old church ladies so the food is real "old fashioned". We always go inside in the fellowship hall and eat our meal and the little old ladies just love us to death. I really don't know why, because they know wer'e not religious and that Toby is a tattooist, but they always welcome us like we are family anyway.

After our meal we checked out the downtown library. We decided since it was such a beautiful day we would walk to Bienville Square. We figured we could catch the MODA bus back to the car if we got tired walking back to the car.

Our original plan was to check out the new RSA Battle House Hotel, but somehow after visiting the Square and some art galleries it got a little late, and it slipped our mind. Oh well, maybe next time.

Since time was creeping up on us and we wanted to get home and eat before we went trick or treating, we decided to catch the MODA back to the car, only to discover that the MODA had obviously took Halloween off! So we trekked all the way back to the car. Great excercise for the day

Although we had planned to just go around our neighborhood and trick or treat plans changed and we ended up being invited to go trick or treating with some homeschool friends. I was glad we did because Summer had so much more fun with her friends than she would have by herself......and plus I got in some adult chat time.

Summer really racked up on the candy this year. She had so much candy this year, she didn't even mind sharing with Lucas.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Trick or Treat!

We had our annual homeschool trunk or treat today and as usual we came home with alot more candy than what we needed. There are so many new members in the group so we didn't know most of the people there. We just ended up being party snobs and stuck with what's left of our "original group". There were games, pumpkin painting, and face painting this year. It turned out to be a beautiful day and I took only a few pics.

I also was doing a little bit of baby sitting this weekend.........Charlie's dog. Charlie had to go out of town for a couple of days and work so he asked if we could keep Trip at our house while he was gone. I wasn't really a fan of the idea because Trip is an inside dog and he is VERY attached to Charlie so he whines the whole time he is gone, plus the fact that he is big and hairy, which I hate even more. But since Charlie is family and he helps us out anytime we need it, I obliged.

Since we have decided to move I have had this big dilema with what to leave behind and what to take. I have never been a collector of stuff and if it wasn't for some of the "stuff" that I inherited from my mom, I wouldn't even be concerned.

When mom died my dad gave me a dining room suite with china cabinet and china that they had bought together when they were first married. He told me I could sell it if I wanted to and I did end up selling the dining table because of the lack of room we have in our house. I ended up keeping the china cabinet because it didn't take up much space and it also has drawers that I keep stuff stored in.

Anyway, after months of thought, I decided to try and sell it. I have never used the china out of it, and I'm not really a china kind of person. I kept imagining a disaster when we tried to move it 500 miles away. It is very heavy and has alot of glass and I don't want to drag anything but bare necessities.

I decided that I wanted somebody who could really enjoy it's beauty to have it so I advertised on craigslist. I had NO IDEA what kind of a price tag to put on it so I went with my gut instinct.....hopefully I'm not underpricing it. On the first day it was posted I got a response, so obviously I set it at a fair price...we'll see what happens next.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I guess it takes moving before some people get the energy to do minor home repairs. Toby nor I like home repair of any kind. That includes decorating and gardening too. Thank goodness Charlie came over to help out, or he would have been slinging orders at me and treating me like the gopher. It makes you wonder why we even want to live in a home. Apartment living sounds like the answer to me, but I don't think the rest of my family would agree to such compartment living. Toby, being the artist he is, is not used to "hard work" anymore and seeing him doing "mans work" was rather appealing to me so I snapped a couple of shots of this rare form.

Lucas has been on vacation this week too, so he has done some minor maintenance on my car for our 500 mile trip to Austin next week. He also got himself an apartment set up to move into in Dec. He seems to be excited about living on his own. He's a good boy with a good head on his shoulders. He's also got a substantial savings account too, so that leaves me with little too worry about as far as he goes. Everything so far seems to be falling into place.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Good news....I think

Summer and I had another play date at the park today. 2 in one week, we're on a roll! Well, it seems the guy that made an offer on our house must really want our house. He agreed to pay what we were asking for it so now all is left is the dirty work. Looks like if everything goes o.k on his end, we will be moving at the beginning of December. I am so excited, but another part of me is scared to death!
I've been doing alot of "getting rid" of uneeded/wanted stuff and have been doing some packing......matter of fact, I have already packed up things we don't use every day. Summer's room is going to be left for last because she uses EVERYTHING in her room.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tuesday Play Day

Today we met some homeschool friends at the Exploreum. It was Human Grossology and it was GROSS. After the Exploreum we jumped the MODA, got some lunch, and spent some time in Bienville Square feeding the critters. The weather was perfect and so was the day. It's been a couple of weeks since I had female adult conversation and I was definitely overdue.

When I got home Toby informed me that we have somebody that wants to make an offer on the house. We'll see how that goes tommorrow after meeting with the realtor. The clock is ticking...tick tock tick tock

Monday, October 15, 2007


Well, things are starting to get a little more interesting around here. We had somebody look at the house this past weekend. It was a man, by himself. The realtor showed him around and they had a few questions...the usual questions prospective buyers ask. As they were about to leave, I asked the realtor if she had showed him the "man cave". When we first bought our house, there was a partially enclosed garage that we enclosed and made into an extra room. It's on the side of the house, and although it is attached to the house the only way to get to it is on the outside. Anyway, because it's a little out of sight, I believe the realtors always "forget" to show this little extra addition. When I am here when the house is being shown, I always point out the "man cave" and the men's eyes light up. To me, that's what's going to sell my house. It's a perfect extra room for anyone to do anything they want with. Anyway, back to the story.

The next day after the house was shown to this one man, he showed up at my door with his "girlfriend" to show her the house.....mainly, the man cave. Although they both seemed very interested in the house, it's funny to me, neither one of them even wanted to look at the backyard. The "girlfriend" did seem very pleased that there was a over-the-range microwave oven. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

I also have joined an "inclusive" homeschool group in Austin. I have been mainly lurking for right now. There are four or five support groups in Austin and the homeschool community there is very large and of our main reasons for choosing the city. I get very excited when I see all the posts about the activities that are going on....I can't wait to get back in the swing of things. Although our group here is pretty active, I don't get to really know about much that's going on anymore because I didn't pay the membership. I debated about this and figured that I would be to busy before our relocation to do much anyway. The group has changed so much since I first joined a couple of years ago that I sometimes feel a little out of place now.....being the "pagan" that I am and all. :-) I have a couple of good friends that I get together with occasionally anyway, so Summer and I do get some social time in.

Until next time!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Busy as a Bee

Mostly the past two weeks have been filled with relocation research, a little packing, and our usual errands. It's funny to me how I seemed to have so much more time on my hands when I "worked a paying job" than when I am being a stay at home/teaching mom.

Our washing machine decided to spring a leak on us last week too. We decided since it was a minor thing that we could just buy the part for, and have my mechanically inclined son to replace the part. Well, it seems that I don't live in a household with any appliance mechanics...between Lucas and Toby the job was just more trouble than what it was worth, hence washing machine shopping. Lesson learned. Anyway, what really sucked about the whole thing is that we couldn't get our money back for the part because it was special ordered. Another lesson learned. When my dishwasher went out a couple of months ago, I decided that that was a luxury I could live without....considering we need all the savings that we can get for the move.

Luckily, a friend of a friend of Toby's knew a guy who repairs and resales used appliances. So we ended up saving alot of money on a used washer. Hopefully, it will stay together atleast until we move. :-)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fall Fun at the Beach

The weather has been so beautiful this week that we were in the mood for some outdoor fun. Our two options were camping and the beach. We decided on the beach because we know it won't be that much longer before you won't enjoy the beach anymore...and since we will be moving to a place that doesn't have nearby beach access, it may be our last beach trip for awhile. I could have kicked myself in the butt because I forgot my camera. My intention was to take some farewell photos of family time at the beach.

The water was absolutely beautiful and surprisingly warm. The jelly fish were scarce this time so swimming was great.....other than the rough current. It's a great thing to be able to live in a place where you can still go to the beach and swim in October!

Nights have started to cool down slightly so I guess we will make our camping trip next week.

Friday, September 28, 2007


We had Planet Gymnastics today. We have not been in a while so it was a nice change for both Summer and I. I got good conversation and Summer got to play and excercise. Lately, every time I get together with my homeschool friends it leaves me with a feeling of loss. I am not really a social butterfly so when I aquire friends they have been usually long and thought out.....I guess it usually does take people awhile to make meaningful relationships, but for some of us it's a little harder. I treasure friendships when I have them. I am really looking forward to moving to a new and different place with new experiences, but I really dread the making new friends thing. Hopefully, it will come easier than I imagine.....I think I will have to consult my friend Jennifer on the ins and outs of moving out of state while it's still fresh in her mind.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Weekly Update

Not much been going on this week but the usual. We have been doing ALOT of "spring cleaning". Since we are only going to be carrying one load "cross country" we don't want any extra stuff...only bare essentials.

Since we have taken the pool down and it's somewhat cooler, I have resumed walking again. It gives Summer a chance to ride her bike and gives me some excercise.....we call it P.E.

We haven't had many people looking at our house lately, but we have noticed that the houses around here have been starting to sell again. We are really not to stressed on it yet anyway. We will be having some inheritance come in Jan. plus our taxes so we would rather it sell closer to the beginning of 2008. We know that it will all work out either way.

We have decided that soon, we will be taking a trip to Austin to check out the territory and make sure that we get the "feel". We also want to look at the neighborhoods and Toby wants to check out some of the shops. I'm sure the 7 or so hour drive will be a stressful thing with a active 6 year old in tow. Summer can't even hardly take 3 hour drives!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Park Day

Since I missed the first park day of the month I decided that I would make the trek to Semmes for the last park day of the month. Even though we had a great time after we got there, the park was a lot further than what I thought it was. It took 1 whole hour to get home. The traffic was really conjested (as usual since Katrina) and we left about the time school was letting out. Needless to say, the trip home was miserable and was only made worse by the fact that about 3/4 of the way home we had realized Summer and I both had forgotten all about Summer's scooter that was left behind at the park. She was freaking out and once I got her calmed down I had to figure out if it was worth fighting traffic and consuming my time for another hour trip back to the park and grab a $20 scooter that may or may not still be there. In the end I decided it was worth my sanity not to go back and get it. And yes, since it was my suggestion to pull the scooter out of the trunk in the first place..and that she really likes her scooter, I went and replaced the one that was left behind. Luckily, they were on sale at Toys R Us.

I think I will stick to the park days that are near my homestead from now on.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Snake

In the 7 years we have been living in this house I have never seen a snake.....until today. My son is the one who found him hanging by a spider web on the bottom of a chair that sits on the front porch. Seems the little bugger was trying to get to some spider eggs and he just wasn't big enough to untangle himself from the web that surrounded the eggs. I'm glad Lucas found him before I did. I am usually the one who sits in that chair. He was very small, but the way I see it, his mama probably wasn't that far off! I couldn't tell what kind he was but on my trip to the library this week I will pick up a snake book for a little research.

Seems that while we were gone last week we had a few hits on our house. Now we are just waiting on the bites.

Here's a pic of the snake

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The "Big" City of Troy

Ya know how sometimes when your expecting to have a really bad time, and you end up having a really good time? Well, that's how it was for me this past week. Toby had been asked to do a guest spot at an old friend of his' tattoo shop in Troy, AL. I had really debated on whether I would go with him or not. He would be working most of the time so I had mostly decided in the end that I wouldn't go. I would be trapped in a motel room with a 6 year old in a strange town and that didn't really sound all that appealing to me. Toby really acted like he wanted Summer and I to go and I decided that there wouldn't be much entertainment if we stayed here in Mobile we went.

We left on Thurs. and got to Troy in the afternoon. After we checked into our motel and grabbed a bite to eat Toby took off for the shop leaving Summer and I to fend for ourselves. We mostly watched cable T.V (because we don't have it at home) and I lounged around reading magazines. Not bad so far.

Here's a pic of Toby and Tim in front of Tim's shop.

On Friday after Toby left, Summer and I ventured around the city checking out some thrift stores and other stores that we don't have in Mobile. Later on after we got back to the room I took Summer out to the pool and she swam while I read some more magazines. Ahhhh, so far, the life.

Here's a pic of a rainbow Summer spotted outside of the motel after a a rain shower. It was a really beautiful double rainbow, but of course this pic does it no justice because I could only get half it.

After being in Troy for 2 days I quickly realized that Troy State University is a really big deal to people around here and that "the game" they kept talking about was an even bigger deal. Toby and I, not being college or sports fans, felt a little out of place when we were asked if we were there for "the game". We were usually met with raised eyebrows when we informed them we were not in town for the game. Of course in the end, for my own curiosity, I found out who won the game. (Troy won!)

While in the motel lobby, Toby found some brochures on some attractions in Troy. There wasn't but a couple but I hit the jackpot with one called the "Pioneer Museum". It was one of the best museums I have ever visited and I recommend it to anyone who is ever travelling to, or going through Troy. Summer and I spent 3 1/2 hours there. There was so much to see that you could go back 2 more times and still not have seen everything. Here are just a few pics but they don't even come close to showing it all.

Here is a pic of Summer sitting in an old school room at the museum....hopefully the only pic I'll ever have of her in a schoolroom!

Here's a couple more pics of the museum.

We left Sunday morning and Toby decided he wanted to talk a walk through memory lane. We passed through his hometown of Enterprise Alabama so he could "show Summer the Bowevil Monument". We also took a look at what the Tornado did to his old high school.

Toby seemed to have a good time working with his old friend and made some pretty decent money doing it too. All in all, I would have to say for this not to be a turned out to be one of my favorite vacations!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


After conversing on the internet for 2 years, I finally got together with my best friend from high school. We both are sort of introverted and it took us a while after "finding" each other for us to plan a get together. Pathetic, isn't it? Anyway, I really could have kicked myself in the butt for not taking any pics....I guess we were just so caught up in conversation after not seeing each other in 20 years, that the camera slipped my mind. Oh well, we have another get together planned where we will take pictures and read old notes that were written back and forth between us. I'm sure that they will be the embarressment for the year!

We had one person look at the house so far. This whole house selling thing is really a pain in the butt. I'm a pretty tidy person, but having to keep the house in constant cleanliness is driving me and my family crazy. I have my fingers crossed that someone will see the beauty in the ghetto and snap my house up soon. :-)

Friday, September 7, 2007


Not much out of the ordinary happened this week, but we did manage to put our house up for sale. Now we just sit back and wait for the bites. It's kind of a bittersweet thing. Although we don't live in the best of neighborhoods, we have had a lot of good times as a family here.

Toby also got a hit from one his tattoo forums. It's a tattoo shop in Austin that will be looking for a tattooist at the beginning of the year. Toby checked out the shop online and the work coming out of the shop looks very proffessional. We'll just have to wait and see. I know everything will work out the way it's suppose to so I'm just sittin' back and lettin' it flow.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day

Today was the first time I had been out of the house in 3 days. Summer has had some kind of a bug so the past few days have been spent playing nursemaid. It really wasn't too bad, because I got to read a whole book and got to watch a little bit of T.V. Today she was feeling alot better so we went to Target and Books a Million. I have been doing alot of research on where to relocate to and I keep jumping back and forth between Austin, Tx and Houston. I am leaning more towards Austin, but sometimes I still jump back to Houston and sometimes just somewhere in between Austin, San Antonio, then back to Austin. My head is beginning to spin. I wish sometimes God would just send little notes down with the answers written on them and it would make things alot easier. I guess I just live in such undesireable place now that I want to make sure I make it up with our next location. Anyway, I know it will all work out for the best....I just hate the inbetween stage.

Friday, August 31, 2007


Today was one of the few days that we did not leave the house. It was like one of those dreams where everything was just moving in slow motion. For one thing, I cooked breakfast this morning, which I don't usually do. Toby loves bacon and since it was his birthday I had bought a pack of bacon to cook for him for his birthday. Since we were out of town for his birthday the bacon didn't get cooked until this morning. I think I hate to cook bacon more than any food out there. It greases, smokes, and stinks the kitchen up for days and it takes forever to cook....not to mention what it probably does for our arteries. After breakfast we took a cold dip in the pool. You can tell the temps have cooled down a little because the pool was FREEZING! After our swim I made us all lunch and by that time it was time for Lucas and Toby to be at work. Later on in the afternoon a friend showed up with her son and we socialized for a little while. Although Summer seemed fine all day I noticed that as the evening wore on she seemed a little lethargic.....rare for her. I felt her forhead and it was the dreaded fever. On the upside of this, I had just checked out a couple of books that I rented from the library the other day that I will be able to read uninterrupted while she sleeps off the fever. :-)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wer'e Back!

We made it back safely from our vacation in New Orleans. We had a good time, but I can say that a cruise like the one we had last year can not be outdone. Unfortunately funds were not there for a "fancy" vacation this year.....but anytime spent together will do.

We left on Sunday and checked into the hotel around 4:00. I booked the hotel in advance and was really pleased with the rate....but after arriving there I can see why it was "affordable". Don't get me wrong, it was clean and the staff was friendly but....let's just say, thank goodness were not used to a high standard of living! We didn't have any real plans other than just to be somewhere out of Mobile and to visit the Aquarium, so after we checked in, Toby and I lounged around the pool and relaxed while Summer swam a little while.

Since the Aquariam is closed on Mondays we decided to take a trip to City Park and visit the Story Land Amusement Park there. I didn't remember that Storyland is only open on Sat. and Sun. so we just let Summer play in the park and do some park sightseeing.

After we left the park we let Summer take a look at Lake Ponchatrain.

We went back to the hotel and Toby and Summer took a dip in the pool. Later on we took a walk downtown and found Toby a celebration drink for his Birthday....he is 33 years old today. Happy Birthday Toby! We walked and walked and before you know it it was getting dark. Summer was really enjoying the walk and taking in all the sights but mine and Toby's feet were about to kill us, so at her resistence we headed back to the hotel for the night.

On Tuesday we visited the Aquariam and I have to say this was my favorite part of the whole trip. The Aquarium was great. Summer got to pet and feed a nurse shark and some sting rays. We also got to watch them feed the animals through the glass tunnel. We made the Aquariam a whole day thing so when we got back to the hotel we hung around there for the rest of the night. Toby and Summer took an evening dip in the pool and it was cold. It had lightly rained all day so the air and water were pretty cool.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Playdate

We joined a good homeschool friend for our weekly adventure. Today it was Pump it Up day. The kids always get their excercise in, while us moms can catch up on some friendly gossip. After Pump it Up we went to Chick Fa La for lunch. I guess I really need to get out and socialize a little more. I get so excited with adult conversation that sometimes I forget to mind my manners.....but my friends little boy promptly reminded me that I should not talk with my mouth full. If you ever need an honest opinion just ask a child! :-) After we got home it was so muggy and hot that Summer and I took a quick dip in the pool. Afterwards we did our usual evening routine of watching T.V., playing games, eating, and reading books.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Family Field Trip

I woke up early this morning and it was such a beautiful day! I did my usual morning routine before Summer got up....check my e-mail, read a little, eat breakfast. By the the time Summer got up around 9:00, she ate a little breakfast and we headed outside to the pool. I decided that it was a much nicer day to swim in the pool (physical education) than to be stuck inside doing schoolwork. While Toby and I were lounging in the pool and Summer was "excercising" we were trying to plan our day. I remembered about the 5 Rivers Delta that Summer and I had visited for Earth Day back in April. They had a really cool small informative museum that Summer and I had really enjoyed. Toby was not able to attend with us at the time so we took him to visit. I figured it was educational enough to be considered school and interesting enough to be fun. Here are a couple of photos.