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!