24 November 2009

An Upward Turn for the Economy

Our Christmas shopping, including shipping, will be complete by Thursday. And while I don't condone spoiling Christmas surprises, I thought I would share one gift that other practical (read: responsible and perhaps a bit boring to other people) folks like myself might be interested in.

This is what Jonas will receive:

Jonas currently receives an allowance of 3 cents per day (tithe, save, spend) which I've just been keeping in envelopes in his dresser. When I saw this featured on The Simple Dollar, the container-lover in me had to have it. This is the only one I've seen that has an invest portion. So for Christmas, Jonas will not only get a money savvy piggy bank, but a 33% raise to boot. And in a recession, no less.

For parents' eyes only:
As a side note, Santa did a really neat thing for Jonas last year and I sure hope he continues it. He brought 1 item to our little man to play with and a second for him to donate.

19 November 2009

18 November 2009

Two Modern Fairy Tales

Fairy Tale 1: The Girl and the Dentist
Once upon a time, there was a girl who went to a dentist. She didn't know it was an evil dentist with an evil hygienist. She just needed clean teeth in hopes of winning the man of her dreams. The evil hygienist treated the poor girl's gums the same way Cinderella was treated by her evil stepsisters. The evil dentist swooped in and told her she needed three crowns and they would cost her $1,160 from her shabby, threadbare pockets. And she needed to do them before midnight or she would turn into a rotten pumpkin.

The girl risked the pumpkin threat and decided to go to another dentist who did her X-rays for free (because the evil dentist refused to send them until the girl quoted the policies as outlined by the American Dental Association). The new, fairy godmother dentist told her she had three old fillings that needed replacing and that it would cost her $116.

And they lived happily ever after.

Fairy Tale 2: The Tale of the Washing Machine Repair Man
Once upon a time, there was a housewife who happily went about her duties. All of a sudden, on a day just like any other, she heard a thump-thump-thump. After searching the house with the aid of her one-year-old sidekick, the source of the scariness was discovered: the washing machine!

Oh no! What's a housewife to do with a broken washing machine?

Then the magic washing machine man came to repair the broken device. He asked to see how she loaded her clothing and then said, "No, no, no, you're doing it all wrong!" He told her that if she just layered her clothes one by one and made the weight exactly even on all sides of the washer, the noises would subside. Then he demonstrated how to do it, which was very helpful (the noises did not subside).

Silly housewife. All of a sudden, she forgot how to load a washing machine! Now she loads her clothes one-by-one and then berates herself for her incompetence at completing such a simple housewifey task when the washing machine still thump-thump-thumps.

Then the man charged her $50 and he lived happily ever after.

Moral of the Stories:
Sometimes I think I am a strong-willed, educated, handle-myself kind of woman. And other times, I think maybe I just like getting ripped off.

15 November 2009

Day Trip to San Antonio (and a special visitor)

Shortly after our Arkansas trip, one of our favorite people called and said he would be in San Antonio for work. So we packed up our bags again and drove out to meet him for the day.

While he was working, we stopped in New Braunfels again to enjoy our favorite bakery and train ride before making our way down to San Antonio. We stopped at The San Jose Mission. This was much easier than when we visited the Alamo--not nearly as crowded and perfect for our little animal who only had eyes for pushing the stroller around.

Then finally we met up with Greggy who came all the way from Utah to hold Jonas on his shoulders all around the River Walk. We ate some delicious barbecue and were lucky enough to hear Andean We miss him so much and wish Karen could have come too (you know, THE Karen who does 365 Days of Slow Cooking)

Side not: I've never known a driver's license to be a requirement for using the restroom.

Oh! And how could I forget? We were lucky enough to hear Andean Fusion rock out in front of the mall. They even played an instrumental version of Fastball's The Way, transporting me directly back to junior year of high school.

13 November 2009

Summer's Last Fling

Jonas' last summer fling before the weather started cooling down to the low 80s. I love Houston.

PS Happy birthday Grandpa and Carson!

09 November 2009

First Apartment

I just found photos of our first apartment. This was after we did a lot of remodeling--I wish I hadn't lost the photos when we first moved in. The floors and walls were horrific. Painting the kitchen was my favorite--wallpaper under wallpaper under wallpaper under tile can really humble a person.

Do I seriously complain about counter space?

There wasn't enough space for a table. In fact, we had to move the chair to open the fridge and goodness knows we didn't have a microwave for the first 2 years of our married life together.

$325 per month. Can't beat it. Of course, I have the black lung now, but when you're only making $6.95/hour for 12 hours a week, you're sort of willing to do anything for cheap rent. And in true Provo fashion, all the furniture was given to us and we have since paid it forward. What furniture happens in Provo, stays in Provo (except for the full-size bed. We brought that along)

07 November 2009

Arkansas: Pit Stops

It seems as if nearly every road trip for us starts here:

We were in the car at 3:30 am, hoping we could get Jonas halfway there before he was ready to wake up for the day when we heard a tap-tap-tapping. After about 2 miles, we pulled over and discovered this:

A giant screw. So at 4:30 am, we went back to sleep and prayed that our little anti-traveler could handle daytime driving as well as a pit stop at our favorite tire store.

During our lovely road trip, we were munching on Chick-o-Sticks when I began to inquire where these underrated candies were manufactured. Why, in Lufkin, Texas! And wouldn't you know, Lufkin was right on our way to Arkansas and at the exact location we needed to stop to get our child some lunch.

There wasn't a tour like we were hoping. It was actually just a small section of the warehouse where you could purchase fresh candy. They rotated images from four black and white surveillance cameras to see how the candy was made. I imagine it would have been very interesting if I could have seen more.

Lufkin ended with a delicious lunch at Mom's Diner. The decorations even reminded me of my Mom's house when I was growing up. If you are ever in Lufkin, I'd recommend both stops.

On our way home, we chose to drive through Dallas and stopped at the temple, which is quite unique.

We got a great Priceline deal at the Hyatt (though we were quite dissatisfied with the cleanliness of our room).

All I could think of during our drive to Dallas was going swimming. As we pulled up to our hotel, we saw a massive hulk of a man. And then another. And another. And another. And you get the point. When we walked in, the muscular women were out in their cocktail dresses and heels. We walked right in to a Figure Athlete and Bodybuilding Competition. The bodybuilders were a bit much, but the figure athletes has rockin' bodies that dispelled any hopes of going swimming in a public pool.

To console myself, I decided to eat. We were lucky with our Dallas choices:

Manny's Tex-Mex
and their to-die-for brisket tacos

And The Original Pancake House (which seemed like it was in a bad neighborhood--but it wasn't)

with their pecan waffles and Swedish lignonberry pancakes