Sunday, December 7, 2008

New Desks

This is our Christmas present to ourselves. (No more folding tables in the family room!) The desks look larger in our house than they did in the store, but they work great.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

No Honey, I am NOT getting you one for Christmas

Pictured is John with a propane torch at Neal's surprise birthday party last Saturday. Vince brought the BBQ pit and the torch to speed up the cooking process. John had a little too much fun with the torch. The food was good and nothing caught fire in the process. I was relieved... (Photo taken by John's boss, Brent)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jenni is visiting until Sunday, so John and I both took yesterday off work. We're having a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend and will be doing some cooking later today.

Alex was moving around a lot yesterday. (Maybe it was the Thai food I had for dinner...) It was enough movement for John to feel, which was a first.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


John is painting the nursery blue ("Acre Morning"). He already removed the shelves that had been mounted to the wall. I'm attempting to find new places to store things that used to be stored in the bedroom.

The color goes with the Alphabet Soup accessories that I like. We still need to find a crib and dresser, but I have a few options in mind.

Monday, November 17, 2008

November Visitors

Wendy visited November 8-10. We made it to the Alamo, Riverwalk, and La Cantera mall. It was her first trip to Texas. Jenni will be here for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 3, 2008


I'm 22 weeks along and can feel Alex move now. It took me a while to be sure of the feeling since it is something totally new.

Geek Inside

Since I'm starting to show, Maker Faire on October 18, was a good time to bring out my Geek Inside t-shirt. This annual event in Austin includes DIY robots, crafts, electric cars, and more. It was quite a fun day.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yes, he has a name

We don't just have to call the baby Peanut anymore. We picked out the name Alexander James. Alexander is from Alexander Hamilton, one of John's favorite founding fathers. (John thought of naming kids after founding fathers and famous scientists. My Dad is glad that we are not going with Galileo or Copernicus.) James for my Grandpa, who passed away in January.

I was surprised that we picked a name so fast. For some reason, we found a boy's name easier to choose than a girl's name. We have been calling him Alex, but I also like AJ. I have been in baby mode all week, and I picked out some decor that I like for the nursery. I am still looking for a crib that I am happy with though... John survived his first trip to Babies R Us, but there is more baby shopping in his future.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's a...


We had a sonogram today and everything looks good.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Mom's Helper

I posted about working on campus events for around ten years, but I realized that college is not the beginning of the story. The story begins with my mom, who was not only a stay-at-home-mom but also a volunteer-mom. I remember her volunteering with the Girl Scouts and Aullwood Audubon Center. By the time I was around ten, I could be my mom's helper. She worked on the Pancake Breakfast fundraiser at Aullwood Farm for multiple years. I remember running errands with her before the event and going to help the day of the event.

By high school, we were working with the church youth group and my mom put together multiple Spaghetti and Baked Potato dinners to help us raise money for camp. By that time, the youth could take on more responsibility, but I remember my mom being an integral element.

When I look back, it is no surprise that I enjoy working on events.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I spent last Tuesday to Saturday in Chicago for the National Academic Advising Association's (NACADA) national conference. It was a good conference, and I have ideas to bring back to UTSA. I co-presented a poster on Sophomore Day.

I am posting some pictures from the trip. The fountains are from Millennium Park, and I liked the shot of people walking around by the Chicago theatre. The other night pictures are from Navy Pier on Friday night where we saw fireworks. We also made it to the Art Institute of Chicago on Thursday night for a few hours.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Campus Events

Looking back, I realize that I have been involved in campus events for around ten years now. That's almost a third of my life!

It started back in the fall of 1998 with the Residence Hall Association at Case Western Reserve University. I became an officer in the organization at the end of my freshman year, and my first big event to help with was Casino Night the following fall. I also helped with outdoor movies, Halloween parties for local kids, and SpringFest, which was one of my favorites.

I did take a year off between undergrad and grad school, but I was back working on events in no time when I was hired as a graduate assistant in Student Activities at the University of Dayton. You can lose track of all the events working in Student Activities, but I really enjoyed so many of them.

After working for two years in Student Activities at the University of Texas at San Antonio, I was ready for a change. The Campus Activities Board put on almost 50 events a year while I was their advisor, and I was tired. I really enjoyed working with the students, but I was ready to switch gears into academic advising.

Within two month of working at the Colleges' Freshman Advising Center, I was back to helping with an event. They needed help with the Sophomore Transition Fair, which has now grown into Sophomore Day.

When the first UTSA Advising Conference was being planned, I volunteered for that committee. I had no idea that I'd be co-chairing the second annual conference. After nine months of hard work, we had a successful conference yesterday with approximately 225 attendees for all over Texas (and a few from out-of-state). We actually had to turn away attendees because we had maxed-out our reserved spaces. The conference attendance grew by 17% in one year and could have grown more. I have been so fortunate to work with an outstanding co-chair and committee. It really is the people that make an event.

I think that yesterday was more than just the culmination of nine months of work but really ten years of experiences. I may not want to plan events for my entire job, but I realize that I still want to be involved in a few.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What have I been up to?

Obviously not blogging, or sleeping normally...

Of course there are reasons for this. I should begin with the big reason: pregnancy. John and I are expecting our "Peanut" due March 8, 2009. That makes me 15 weeks along (16 weeks as of Sunday). John tends to give nicknames, so it did not take much time for the baby to have a nickname.

The pregnancy is going well, but it has zapped my energy. I watched a lot of TV this summer. It is a bad sign when you start to see reruns on HGTV... The Olympics and politics have thrown in some variety.

I have discovered that the term morning sickness is misleading. It can strike at anytime. I finally gave in and asked my doctor for some medicine, which is helping. I have also discovered that elastic waist pants are wonderful, especially ones that are nice enough to wear to work.

I will try to post sonogram pictures, but literally all you can see is a little peanut. My next one is scheduled at 19 weeks, and I am really excited to see how much the baby has developed. Hearing the baby's heartbeat is such a joy. I leave my doctor's office happy because of those few moments.

John has already cleaned his stuff out of the spare bedroom for the baby, but I am behind on that task. The guest room now doubles as John's study space for Calculus.

Work has kept me busy too. In addition to the summer and fall rush of new freshmen to advise, I have been co-chairing our one-day academic advising conference. A lot of work can go into a one day event. It is coming up on the Friday the 26th, and then I am off to a conference in Chicago on the 30th. At some point between now and the 30th, I will be finishing up a poster presentation for the conference about our Sophomore Day event. Somehow, I still do some programming at work even though I no longer work in Student Activities.

So, life is good. Busy, but good.

Update: Yes, the best sonogram pictures were already in a scrapbook. I scanned them and hope that you can view them OK.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Giant Puffy Taco

We really enjoyed going to Dayton Dragons minor league baseball games, so I do not know why it took us four years to go to a San Antonio Missions game. We went last night with Kat, Marty, Sharis, Sam and Mark. The Missions came from behind to beat the Corpus Christi Hooks 9-7.

Of course, I had to compare my minor league baseball game experiences in Ohio and Texas. Let's begin with the mascots. I was very amused by the giant, dancing Puffy Taco! Where else can you find this?! Henry the Puffy Taco is joined by Ballapeno, a giant jalepeno complete with multiple costumes. The third mascot, X-tra the dog, also put on a good show.

For the seventh inning stretch we sang Take me out to the Ball Game followed by Deep in the Heart of Texas. Now I just need to learn the lyrics all the lyrics to be more of a Texan. Sorry, Dayton, there just are not many good Ohio songs.

(Picture above from the internet)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Where is the summer going?

The summer is flying by! We had our last freshmen orientation program on Friday. Yay! Summer is our busiest time at work, and I am also working on our one-day advising conference for September. I am looking forward to things calming down in October. I am going to the National Academic Advising Association Conference in Chicago in early October, which will be fun and a good learning experience. I have not been to Chicago since 2003, so it will be nice to visit again.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Busy weekend

I am recovering from a busy weekend. All weekend I participated in an online crop at For the online crop, the design team members prepared challenges for the participants to work on. For example, one challenge was to create a scrapbook page using 7 buttons, 6 brads, 5 flowers, 4 pieces of paper, 3 stamped images, 2 photos and 1 journaling block. We were given points for each challenge completed. It was a lot of fun and I came in third place. I will even receive a prize :)

On Friday and Saturday, I worked on a diaper cake for Margaret's baby shower. Margaret is our admin at work and is due to have her third little girl in August. I am posting a picture on the finished product. Sharis helped put the cake together on Saturday. and it helps to have a second pair of hands for this project. I found the instructions on a You Tube video.

On Sunday, I went to the zoo with Sharis, Kat and Toby. This was my first trip to the San Antonio Zo, which is very nice. We just went for the morning due to the heat. We had fun, and I plan to post pictures this week.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pictures from Ohio

I Finally had a chance this morning to go through the pictures I took in May in Ohio.

Friday, July 4, 2008

New Camera

Happy 4th of July! Our neighbor, Jessica, invited us to a BBQ and we had a good time. We had good food and met some cool new people. We plan to have a low-key weekend, which is nice.

Above are some pictures of John, Frida, and me taken with the new digital camera.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm 29!

No gray hairs yet, but I think that I am starting to get wrinkles on my forehead...

I've had a very nice birthday. I went out to lunch with work friends and got the loud, clapping birthday song from the wait staff. John and I had a relaxing dinner at Bravo's. It is always nice to receive cards and gifts from friends and family. John surprised me with a new digital camera. It is a small one that will easily fit into my purse.

I have one more year to be twenty-something. So far, turning 30 does not scare me much. I have friends who are now thirty-something that make it look just fine.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Camping Pictures

Here are some camping pictures taken by Logan, also known as "The Lohan."

Monday, June 16, 2008


We had a blast camping and "toobing." Banana Boat SPF 50 Waterproof spray helped me flight off the sunburn, but not all of our group was so lucky. John had a run in with sunburn and fire ants, but he is hanging in there. Our campsite at Canyon Lake had a nice view. I would be willing to go camping again.

Friday, June 13, 2008

This Weekend

I have two words for you: "primitive camping." I'll post an update when we return on Sunday. I have not been camping in around 12 or 13 years...

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Season two has began for the .COM/PADRES, the softball team that John is on with guys from work. They are looking better this season, and you can find John out in center field on a Friday night. The first game may have been a loss, but the guys were in the game. I got my dollar's worth.

Crazy Week

I had one of those weeks where I just did not stop. Work is busy with orientation and conference planning. The neighborhood association is busy with the pool opening. I have way more responsibility in that organization than I intended to have. I have not even lived in my house for two years and I am one of the youngest members of the organization. What were they thinking electing me treasurer?

I have not been this busy since working in Student Activities two years ago. I could feel the stress building this week and have to remind myself how to constructively deal with stress. I also have to remind myself that the stressful things in my life actually have a purpose. I may not fully understand the purpose at the time, but it is there. My two years in a stressful job has made me better at my current job. Sometimes you have to let go of fully understanding the situation at the time because the answers will not come until later.


This quote was listed over on Scrapwords and I wanted to share it here.

"The more one looks, the more one sees. And the more one sees, the better one knows where to look." - anonymous

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Back in S.A.

We had a wonderful trip to Ohio. I am glad we were able to visit with so many family members and friends. Shawn and Heather had a beautiful wedding and fun reception. I want to post some pictures but have about 80 to go through.

This week I am keeping busy with the opening of our neighborhood pool. It is hot in South Texas!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's a small world...

in Englewood, Ohio. We went to a local restaurant for dinner, and I used to babysit our waitress when I was in high school.

It is so nice to be on vacation. Today I had no plans! There was nothing that I needed to accomplish today, which was great.

Yesterday we saw friends and family at a cookout, which was really nice. My second oldest friend drove a couple hours to visit and brought her girls. It was so great to see them. I've been friends with her for around 20 years and my oldest friend for 25. How cool is that? (OK, it does also make me feel a little old!)

P.S. Everything here is so green! I should not be so surprised by this since I spent 25 years of my life in Ohio.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

CPK Layout

I have discovered various photos of me clutching my first Cabbage Patch Kid, so it was time for a scrapbook page.

I have hit a new level of scrapbook addition. I packed scrapbook supplies for a trip.

I watched the Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy season finales on the DVR. Good stuff. I love fast forwarding through commercials.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Visiting Dayton

later this month for Shawn and Heather's wedding. I am looking forward to the trip! I'll be emailing people with dates and details. Happy May!


I read this on a blog today:
"Q: What was ONCE important to you but is not now?
A: Long term plans.
I used to have the next twenty years on my life mapped out in my mind. I guess that as life has changed I've learned that these plans really aren't as helpful as I once thought. Now I am just enjoying one thing at a time. I still have goals, but not as many plans... :) "

I can relate to her answer about long term plans. My life is different from what I had planned about ten years ago. The best things in my life are the things that I did not really plan. I am learning how we just cannot control certain things in our lives and working on "enjoying one thing at a time."

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I have joined the 21st century and started a MySpace page. My page is It is set to private, so send me a request. I am trying to keep in touch with more of you peeps in Ohio!

Weekend Updates

It took 4.5 hours and five of us, but the neighborhood pool is clean! We had to scrub out chemical residue and algae from the entire pool after it was drained. We saw Forgetting Sara Marshall on Saturday night, which is a cute and funny movie. I am ready for the big summer movies to come out. Sharis and Kat came over for our monthly scrapbooking afternoon. I just organized photos but still feel that I got a lot done. It was a good weekend :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

I want to say that the environmentally-friendly practices in my daily life are solely for mother earth, but they also make my life easier. Carpooling to work with John began as a necessity, but I enjoy his company on the days we ride together. We switched to the compact florescent light bulbs a while ago, and they last so much longer than regular light bulbs. It is nice to change light bulbs less often. I switched to reusable grocery bags, and now the plastic bags are no longer taking over my kitchen. San Antonio makes it really easy to recycle, so we do.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Today I finished reading Photo Freedom by Stacy Julian. I would recommend this book to scrapbookers and anyone who has a lot of photos. It is easy to be bogged down by photos. Stacy writes that it is okay to throw away and delete photos. You can adapt her system to making photo albums and scrapbooks. I am excited to start working on the system she presents in this book.

Friday, April 18, 2008


No, I did not forget that I have a blog. I just have not had much to post lately. Really, I lead a pretty dull life.

It is Fiesta time in San Antonio, so that is worth posting. San Antonio has a giant 10 day party every April, Fiesta San Antonio.

I went to Fiesta UTSA today over lunch and saw some students I used to work with and former co-workers. It was great to catch up with so many people. I used to be up around 5:30 am on Fiesta UTSA day to pick up breakfast tacos for CAB and get to work early to set up for the festival. Now I just get to enjoy the event. We may go to a couple more Fiesta events this year, but it gets expensive. One of my favorite events is the King William Fair. I love looking at the historic homes.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lesson 3

I have completed Lesson 3 from my Up and Running with Photoshop online class. This was the first layout that we created from scratch. With step-by-step instructions, this is getting easier. I had a good time making this layout and no frustrations.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Digital Layout

I just finished a second digital layout for the Up and Running with Photoshop class that I am taking. I had a few frustrating moments, but John was able to help. Yes, I was the one who put bows on Patty while she slept through us opening our presents on Christmas morning.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Random Tidbits

Definitely, Maybe is a cute movie, and you should see Once for the great soundtrack.

If you go downtown in San Antonio on the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day, expect to sit in traffic and have trouble finding parking. When they dye the river green it looks dirty.

The staff at UTSA are not off for Spring Break, but for me it is a change of pace to have it soooo quiet on campus.

San Antonio has two seasons: hot and not hot. We are moving into the hot season. San Antonio does not freeze after March 15 either.

I somehow got myself elected treasurer of my neighborhood association. Am I old enough for this?!

I'm a little behind in my online scrapbooking class. I hope to work on two lessons this week.

My wonderful husband did dishes, yard work and laundry while I was off scrapbooking on Sunday. He's a keeper.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Digital Scrapbooking Class

I am taking Up and Running with Photoshop Elements, an online digital scrapbooking class at Week one of four has concluded, and I made another layout today with the kit and video tutorial. It is all about John, and I had him answer 29 questions for me. Of course, some of his answers made me laugh!

Journaling reads:
Birth date: March 2
Birthplace: West Lafayette, Indiana
Oldest of 4
First video game system: Atari 2600
Favorite cartoon as a kid: Transformers
First computer: Osbourne I
Favorite movie: Dr. Strangelove
(or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb)
Favorite food: Ice Cream
Favorite flavor of Ice Cream: Blue Bell Pistachio Almond
Favorite book: Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy
First car: 1979 Chevy Impala
Number of vehicles you’ve owned: 10
Favorite song: Why Does the Sun Shine, They Might Be Giants
Favorite album: OK Computer, Radiohead
Favorite holiday: Christmas!
How many times you’ve had stitches: 4(or 5, can’t remember)
Alter ego: Hank Jawalski
First (real) job: Computer Tech @ Wright State University
Current Job: Computer Tech @ University of Texas at San Antonio
Favorite pet: Frida, the dog
First date: According to new data, the Universe began 13.73 billion years ago.
Countries you’ve visited: Canada, Germany, England
Place you want to travel: Australia
Favorite place to visit: My house
Food you won’t eat: Brussel Sprouts
Random fact: Robots are orbiting Saturn.
Random fact: Robots are on Mars.
Random fact: Robots are orbiting the Sun.
Random fact: Robots are on my desk.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

San Antonio Saturday

Brendan picked a great weekend to visit. He flew out of Ohio just in time on Friday. Dayton now has around a foot of snow on the ground and Columbus has twenty inches. Brendan is really enjoying the warmer weather here.

Friday night we had dinner at Rudy's. We began our Saturday with breakfast tacos and headed downtown. Now that the construction on I-10 between Loop 410 and Downtown is finished, it is an easier drive down there. We have five lanes each way! There was a lot of activity downtown with a cheerleading competition going on and and high school Spanish Club conference going on too. We had lunch at Schilo's Deli and enjoyed some good German food. We headed over to Hemisfair Park in hopes of going to the observation deck in the Tower of the Americas. They raised the ticket price and bundled it with a ride and movie now offered in the Tower. We passed due to the high ticket prices but walked around and saw the cool fountains. Don't worry, no Graftons were actually thrown into the fountain! We took a riverboat tour at the Riverwalk, which is a good time. We purchased the tickets for "two locals and a tourist/Yankee." We enjoyed a margarita at Casa Rio, the first restaurant on the Riveralk. We headed north for dinner at a Mexican restaurant, Perico's. After all the walking, food, and fun, we were not able to stay up too late last night.

Monday, March 3, 2008

"My" Scrapbooking Line

Oh my gosh! Scenic Route named a line of scrapbooking products after me! "Take a walk on the wild side with the bold color schemes and energetic designs of Grafton!" Ok, so they did not really name it after me, but it is a fun coincidence. I may just have to buy some of this paper (but not the fish or camouflage paper).

Take a look for yourself:
Grafton - Part 2

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Happy Birthday John

Happy Birthday John!

We're having a low-key day around here. I gave John a new soldering iron for his birthday, so he will not burn down the house while building robots. Our plan so far for the day is to have lunch at Which Wich?, since they give you a free sandwich on your birthday. John and I are big fans of this place, especially John. We'll save some of the celebrating for when Brendan comes to visit next weekend.

Have a good week everyone!

Saturday, March 1, 2008


I took some pictures of the house a couple of weeks ago before people came over for book club because the house was clean. I thought I'd share them here.

Long Weekend

John took Monday and Tuesday off work and I took Monday off work. Long weekend, woohoo!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Digital Scrapbooking

I have my patterned paper, card-stock, stickers, embellishments, and tools to create scrapbook pages on my dedicated scrap table. These tangible supplies are fun, but technology has made its way into scrapbooking just like almost every other aspect of our lives.

Last fall I bought a CD-Rom Scrapbooking Kit to help me start digital scrapbooking. Digital scrapbooking is all done on a computer with a photo editing program such as Photoshop Elements. All the paper and embellishments I use on my traditional pages seem to have a digital version. I made one page last fall with the step-by-step instructions, but since then I have been mostly frustrated with Photoshop Elements. With John's help, I have been able to get over that hurdle. I finished two more digital layouts today.

One of the great things about digital scrapbooking is all the free kits and tutorials on the web. Here are three good links I have been using:
Scrap Girls
Free Digital Scrapbooking
Jessica Sprague

The next test will be to have the layouts printed in a 12x12 size to go in my scrapbooks. Scrapbook Pictures seems to have the best deal so far, and I am curious to see how these look in print. My plan is to do a mix of traditional, hybrid (both paper and digital elements), and digital scrapping.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Happy retreat day! Twice a year we have a retreat for my office, which is a great opportunity for team building and a lot of fun.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I listened to an entire audiobook today while cleaning out our filing cabinet. (It was 3.7 hours.) The book was Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. My overall response is WOW! I have listened to podcasts of his radio show for a few weeks now but did not get all of people yelling "I'm debt free." I borrowed the audiobook from my library and really got into it today. It has concrete steps and straightforward advice. I highly recommend it but know that it will not be easy to follow his "baby steps." He calls them baby steps, but they really do require a big change. I've gotten excited about other books, such as You on a Diet. The books help me make some changes in my life, but once the excitement wears off, it is hard to keep up with the changes. Will this book be different?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

ipod update

Patience is a virtue.

Eager to begin my high school career, I took World History I in summer school before my ninth grade year. I do not remember the name of the teacher, but he was a young guy right out of college. One of his friends gave a speech where he said "Patience is a virtue", and then just stood in front of the class. For some reason I remember this story, but I do not remember how it related to my class.

Anyway, I found my ipod. I looked in my carry on bag one more time. It paid off to be patient instead of going shopping for a new one.

Added Note: Thanks to Beth's good memory, I now know that the summer school teacher was Mr. Grafflin.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Oh ipod, where are you? I am sorry that I wanted a new colorful ipod nano displayed at the Apple store. I did not mean to lose you. Please turn up soon!

(I need to stop wishing for new things. I wanted a new dryer and then my old one died. This could get expensive!)

Sunday, February 10, 2008


The Dash

by Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak

At the funeral of a friend.

He referred to the dates on her tombstone

From the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth

And spoke of the following date with tears,

But he said what mattered most of all

Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time

That she spent alive on earth

And now only those who loved her

Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,

The cars, the house, the cash,

What matters is how we live and love

And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard;

Are there things you'd like to change?

For you never know how much time is left

That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough

To consider what's true and real

And always try to understand

The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger

And show appreciation more

And love the people in our lives

Like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect

And more often wear a smile,

Remembering that this special dash

Might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read

With your life's actions to rehash

Would you be proud of the things they say

About how you spent your dash?
© 1996 Linda Ellis

I have this poem up on my bulletin board at work, but I had forgotten about it until recently. (A presenter handed out laminated copies at a conference I attended years ago.) There was discussion about reading this poem at my grandpa's funeral, but we already had plenty of great stories to share during the service. On Friday, I paused for a moment in my workday to read the poem. Usually I am so wrapped in the things that I am not doing, that I forget about the things I am doing. I worry that I am not exercising enough or cleaning my house enough, but nobody else is going to remember these parts of my life. People don't base eulogies on how clean your house was or how organized your files are or if you exercised thirty minutes everyday. It is about how you treat the people in your life; that is what is important.


I am not 100% sure who I will vote for in the Texas primary on March 4, but this election is turning out to be more interesting than I expected. A friend forwarded me the link to this video, which I love. It is so refreshing to see a positive message out there during an election. Here is the full speech.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Maybe Frida was thinking, "Next time you go on a trip, take me with you"!

Or maybe Frida just likes to sit in and on our stuff.


Did you notice the new banner at the top of the page? I designed it in Photoshop Elements! It is pretty basic, but I have to start somewhere. I want to design some new banners for the website at work, so I am playing here first.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Family Stories

I heard so many family stories over the last few days. Many I had heard before, but I learned so new things about my family:

It was 1929 and my great-grandmother, Christina, was a 25 year-old widow with three young children. She was advised to give up her children for adoption but refused. My grandpa was only five years old when his father, Wilson, died. My great-grandmother raised her children through the Great Depression. She did not have an extension education, but she used her skills, such as sewing, to survive those lean years.

My grandpa worked for Standard Register for 41 years before his retirement as a machinist and manager in their engineering department. As a kid, I just knew that he had a lot of machines in his basement. On my last few visits with Grandpa, I could still hear in his voice how much he loved his work. Early in his career, he learned from another machinist from Dayton, Charlie Taylor, who built the first aircraft engine for the Wright Brothers. (How cool is that?!)

My grandparents divorced in the mid-sixties, when is certainly was not the norm for parents to divorce and the father to have custody of five children. (My oldest uncle was over 18 and in the Navy.) My grandfather dated Joan for seven years before they got married. I never knew why they dated so long. They both had children at home and realized that it was not best to blend the families. My grandpa waited until my aunt (the youngest) was out of high school before they got married. To me, Grandpa and Ma Joan were my grandparents. I knew that they were happy together, but I never realized that she was the love of his life. Now they are back together, 17 years after she passed away.


A while ago I read a "challenge” to blog about what I want my (future) children to learn. (Scrapbookers seem to like “challenges” to help us to create or write something new or to get us out of a rut.) I thought it was a neat challenge, but I did not sit down to write an entry.

Listening to family stories over the last few days has made me realize how much I have learned from my family. It will be so hard not to have my grandpa with us anymore, but I also realized that my family has given me what I will need to know as a parent. Here are the lessons I hope to pass along to my children someday:

Unconditional Love: No one is perfect, and we will all make mistakes. Love your family unconditionally.

Make Your Own Way: I know that my children will be their own unique individuals. I want them to be able to develop their own talents and be their own people.

Find The Love of your Life: I am not necessarily a big believer in soul mates, but who you choose as a partner is so important. That person should be the love of your life.

Keep Going Through the Rough Times: Life will present you with challenges. The important thing is to do your best and keep going.

Love to Learn: To truly be a life long learner, you have to fall in love with learning.

Work Hard: Hard work will pay off in the long run. Find work that you can be engaged in.

Find Hobbies You Enjoy: While working hard is important; it is also important to enjoy your time outside of work.

It is really about the Journey, not just the Destination: Sometimes we are in too much of a rush to get to a destination. The real value is often in the journey.

200 Glue Dots

I arrived in Ohio on Wednesday afternoon to prepare for my grandpa's visitation on Thursday and funeral on Friday. In the late afternoon on Wednesday my mom and I went to my aunt's house to help her with the pictures. My grandpa was an avid photographer, so there are boxes and boxes of pictures and slides. There are pictures from Europe during World War II, my grandpa and grandma before they were married, my mom and her siblings as children, my grandpa and step-grandma on their many travels, hunting trips, fishing trips, and my cousins, brother, and me.

My 17-year-old cousin has really developed his talents as a photographer and film maker. He made a picture slide show set to music to be shown at the visitation. I helped select meaningful photos to attach to foam boards for display. This was where my scrapbooking knowledge came in handy. We needed a safe, removable adhesive to use on vintage photos. After using over 200 glue dots, the foam boards were complete.

This was a cathartic process for us. Looking through the old pictures brought out some stories that I never heard about my family. We were able to cry together and keep working through the grieving process.

Monday, January 28, 2008

This Morning

Early this morning, my grandpa passed away.

To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal ...
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance ...
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Highs and Lows this week

We have already hit some bumps in the road with our conference planning at work. Hopefully next week will be better.

Heath Ledger died. He was my age, and most of us believe that our age is too young to die. Twenty-eight is too young to die. There were so many more movie roles out there for him, and he had a young daughter.

My grandfather has an aggressive tumor in his pancreas. It is more aggressive than the doctors originally thought. In his weakened state at age 84, there are not things that the doctors can do to stop it. They are making him comfortable and Hospice has been called in. My comfort is that I got to spend some quality time with him during my Christmas trip to Ohio. We had good conversations. Sometimes it is hard being 1200 some miles away from my family, but my parents, brother, aunts, uncles, and cousins are all there for him (and each other).

Highs (onto to the happier things):
I had a good annual review at work. I have found a job that is a really good fit for me.

We had a good annual review with our financial advisor. I love how technology connects people across long distances. My father-in-law has a good financial advisor in Indiana. Through email, faxes, phone calls, and occasional in-person meetings, we are also able to use her services while living in Texas.

My wonderful husband cleaned and organized the garage today.

I got to catch up with my good friend Wendy.

I exercised six straight days this week. I think that exercising over my lunch hour will work for me. By working on a college campus, I am fortunate to have a nice gym within walking distance from my office. I went to a cycling class on Friday, which was surprisingly fun. I ate well (overall) this week. I have made soda an "occasional indulgence" instead of a daily thing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This Week...

I am making time to walk thirty minutes a day. The You Docs are really big on this. I can do walking. (The everyday part is the challenge.) I am going to the gym on my lunch hour to walk thirty minutes. Today was my first day and I have told myself that I have to go this entire week to decide if it works for me. So far, so good.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Since purchasing my first issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine, I have read Ali Edwards's blog. I like her scrapbooking style and she posts a variety of interesting things on her blog. For the last couple of years, she has encouraged people to choose a word for the year. It is a good alternative to resolutions, since resolutions can be so quickly forgotten. My words for 2008 is CHALLENGE. I see some positive challenges coming my way this year and I want to challenge myself to make positive changes in my life.

I am co-chairing a one-day conference for academic advisors in September. I do not foresee any free time at work between now and September, but this is an awesome opportunity.

I am challenging myself to be healthy. As I have posted in the past, I have tried a variety of diets and ways to lose weight. I will be all excited about the plan for a while, but then I lose steam. I am striving for consistency instead of the all-or-nothing approach. I am working to follow what I learned from reading You on a Diet, but I am not following a super-strict diet. I am still challenged to fit exercise in my life. I have discovered that my favorite activity at this time is walking around my neighborhood.

The change I have made this year is giving up soda. (That's pop for all of you in Ohio:) I drank too much diet soda. I have not had any soda in over a week now. I drink more water and green tea. (and an occasional ice tea) I did not think I could completely cut out caffeine, so I switched to green tea, which has about one-third the caffeine of soda.

To drink more water, I bought a Brita pitcher. I found a coupon here. I am little behind on the Brita bandwagon and I now see what the hype was about when they came out. I don't like the hard water here and now it tastes much better.

I hope that everyone is having a good start to 2008!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Trip to Ohio

We had a good trip to Ohio for Christmas and New Years. We were able to see lots of family and friends. Jenni, Nate, and Matt all made it back for the holidays. (Matt came farther than us; he lives in Oakland, CA.) We visited some of our favorite local restaurants: Skyline Chili (for John) and Marion's Pizza (for Sara). We visited Brendan's apartment, which is quite nice for a "first apartment." Our friends Karee and Sara had a heathy baby girl on December 31, and we were able to visit them that day. It started snowing on January 1, and it was time to go back to San Antonio. (It is currently 75 degrees here in case you were wondering.) After spending time with Paddy, my parents' Beagle, Frida looks so small!

We are settling back into our routine here. We went Downtown today to Shilo's for lunch and to see the river drained at the Riverwalk. Now that we've been back a couple of days, I guess I should go finish unpacking... Then tonight I am going to scrapbook with some friends.

Here are some pictures that I took: