Friday, August 31, 2007

Living tour of our rental home

I know these are sorta long, that's why I broke up the tour into 5 parts. Yes, this is where we live right now! We are very blessed to have such a nice place for the duration until our new home is finished.

This is the front part of our rental house.

This is the kitchen/dining room/living room/office.

This is the kids' rooms... viewer discretion advised. :)

This is the garage with laundry area (weird, I know?).

Last but not least... the back yard.

Thank you Jill, Damon, Will, Sam & Max!!

Madison sends a Happy Birthday thank you to Jill, Damon, Will, Sam & Max!
Jared took Madison to WalMart to spend her gift card, here's what she bought;
A Taylor Swift CD (she loves country music),
a package of her very own low-cut socks (she inherited the
'practical' gift thing from me...)
a box of crystal light single serving rasberry iced tea packets
(she drank all of them, otherwise I'd take a pic).
I'm getting the idea that she likes having HER OWN STUFF.
Thanks for the gift card!

Phone Books

Holy Cow! This is what AT&T dropped on our doorstep (I took them out of the plastic bag for your viewing pleasure). The bottom 2" book is only Yellow Pages. The middle 1" book is only White Pages. They are both for Austin & vicinity. The top 1" book is the Yellow & White Pages for our suburb (Round Rock). Dang. This doesn't even account for the many people who only use cell phones, they aren't even in these books!

Cell Phone Central

Each night we plug in everyone's cell phones.
This is done in a central place (my room) for 3 reasons.
#1. If I don't plug them in then they don't get charged. It makes me so
frustrated to try calling the kids for something
important & their phones are dead. What's the use?!
#2. Have you ever been woke up at 2am by some teen girl who wants
to talk to your teen son? And then she hangs up on you? Grrr.....
The phones get turned-off when they're charging too, so
any readers wanting to call at prepared to leave a message.
#3. You obviously haven't seen my kids' rooms. You'd be hard pressed to FIND the
cell phone in that mess, charged or not.

Not much to say...

To my faithful blog readers: I haven't forgotten you! Since the kids have been back to school, there isn't a whole lot of cool stuff to show you. Hmmmm.... I could recap some funny moments though...
Madison & I went to Chili's for supper (really just to see Jared working). The water mugs look EXACTLY like A&W heavy glass mugs, but they're not, they're lightweight plastic. Anyways, I told Madison to feel how 'heavy' the water glass was so she hoisted it up so hard & fast (expecting it to be heavy) that she spilled water on the table. We laughed very hard.

Dillon & Madison have obsessively been torturing & teasing each other this week. Dillon forced his way into Madison's room during one of those episodes and he jumped on her bed. The bed is against the wall on a hardwood floor... the bed rolled away from the wall & Dillon proceeded to fall straight down to the floor & he stayed there trapped. Madison laughed so loud we could hear her outside.

And then not so funny....
I decided to take back movies & get a UPS package to the UPS Store by 5:30, so I left the house at 4:50, thinking I could be back shortly since they're located in the same strip mall. It took me ONE HOUR to get there & back. DUH... It was high traffic time. It would normally take 15-20 minutes to do these 2 tasks. Anytime between 3:30 and 6:00 is considered high traffic. Won't do that again.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

First Day of school

Yesterday was the first day of classes for the kids. This was a much anticipated day; ready for new friends, new lifestyle, new classes.... Here's how the day panned out:
6:45 Madison & I fight for the bathroom
7:15 Dillon eats breakfast
7:36 Dillon, Madison & Shelly leave for Madison's school (school starts @ 8:20)
8:00 We're stuck in traffic
8:20 We're stuck in traffic
8:21 Called Jared to tell him to leave NOW! Traffic is BAD! (his school starts @ 9:05)
8:23 Madison decides to walk the remaining 6 blocks because we're stuck in traffic (she made it to school with MANY other late students--not a good start-- I feel terrible for her!)
8:40 Dropped Dillon off... Didn't see Jared amongst traffic, he must've beat the traffic!

2:45 I left to get Madison (school dismisses at 3:30-but I don't want to get stuck in traffic again)
3:10 Parked at Madison's school
3:40 Madison finally emerges... she talks the entire way home... not such a bad day afterall!
4:20 Jared calls from school- he wants to stay after to enroll in Debate Club.
4:45 Jared calls from the car- he's going to McDonald's on his way home from school (oh the joy of cruising in mom's car...)
5:30 Scott picks up Dillon from football

The funny thing about our day is that it only takes 10 minutes to get to the kids' schools! This of course, is during low-traffic times of the day. Oh my. Today Madison left the house at 7:30 and they took a different path... much better. Scott dropped her off at 7:55. Yay!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Red Bull Flugtag

We decided to experience a bit of Austin culture last night. We went to the Red Bull Flugtag located downtown Austin, amongst thousands of other Austinites. Click on the link below to understand exactly what the Red Bull Flugtag is all about. Anyway... Jared loves the Austin City Motto: Keep Austin Weird. Yes, he has fashioned a red 'kilt-looking' blanket around himself. And he looked weird... He fit right in. :) Dillon is completely hiding behind Jared in one of the pics below, he doesn't get the being weird thing (especially when you can see the plaid shorts underneath the blanket).

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Look what Macey found

Macey was digging away at something outside the window yesterday. Quincy started barking & everything. So when I went to see what all the fuss was about, I realized a tiny, baby gecko found it's way in between the screen & the glass of the front window. It certainly kept Macey busy for about an hour... then we lost it. Madison thinks it's in her bedroom, so she won't sleep in there. :)

Freshman Football

It's not raining at the football game... this is the way spectators stay in the shade. I think it was 100 degree heat index at 11:00 this morning. I got a nice tan. :) Scott just complained. :) Madison's glare says it all. It was DANG hot!

Dillon played his first freshman football game (actually a scrimmage against Waco) today. This is the stadium they will play home games on. OMG! It's a beautiful stadium! It feels like we're at a college game! The field is astro-turf, the seats are stadium seats with cup holders & everything. I guess football is pretty serious here. I kinked my neck video taping the stadium, so sorry I didn't get the press box, just a corner of it. Use your imagination...

Do you see anything wrong?

Do you see anything wrong with this neopolitan ice cream? Like a couple of the flavors are MISSING? Obviously some people in this family don't like strawberry ice cream. I don't think I'll buy neopolitan again. How about this? The temperature is 100 degrees & I'm freezing! Scott has the air conditioner set so stinkin' low that I have to wear Madison's new volleyball sweatshirt to stay warm! (sorry this pic is sideways...)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jared got a JOB!

Jared starts his job at Chili's on Saturday!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

new house crazy

Here are MORE pictures of the new house construction. Today they are working on the drywall & bricks. It's really starting to look like a house!! Living room

Bricks almost done! Pretty sunset...

This is me complaining that Scott is taking WAY TOO many pictures... Jared's room & stairwell from upstairs game room.

This is your bedroom upstairs, for when you come to visit. :)

This is the breakfast area & kitchen (see arched doorway to dining room & front door in background) this picture is taken from the living room.

at the risk of sounding weird

When I was doing laundry this morning I noticed the bottom of the liquid softener cup was 'caked' with blue goo. I decided to clean it out in the bathroom sink. I had to scrape it with my fingernails to get it all off. My fingers smell so clean. I love that smell. So now you can imagine how weird that sounds when I say "Smell my fingers!"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

new pics of Max

We learned today that Max cannot go home yet, his bilirubin (did I spell that right?) count isn't right so he is 'tanning' under the hospital lights one more day. Hopefully tomorrow he can go home, I'm pretty sure his mom & dad and 2 big brothers (Will & Sam) are anxious to have him home!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Kids acting goofy

Shelly's waiting

Shelly waiting for our meal at the Italian restaurant.

Pictures from Madison's new camera

Most of Madison's pictures from her new camera were of the clouds, the dogs, herself, Dillon... or things next to the water on the River Walk in San Antonio. I picked out a few of the highlights, but remember these are from MADISON'S camera:

These next 2 pictures are funny... Look how the 2 pictures look alike:

Keeping busy

This week will be busy since it's our last free week before school starts. Our school begins on Monday, Aug. 27th.

Jared has been applying for jobs, a few each weekday; even though he had a good recommendation for The UPS Store they were not as receptive as we hoped. He's had a few job offers from restaurants but he's looking for one where he might get good tips (in other words, no fast food). Jared will go to the high school 'new student' orientation on Thursday at Stony Point High School.

Dillon has football practice each day from 4-6pm. Thursday he will go to orientation at Stony Point - 9th grade campus. All the students in that school will go to orientaion since everyone will be new! HA! Get it? Only 9th graders go there... ?! Anyway, the High School is right next door to the 9th-grade campus, so the Jared & Dillon will ride together to school each day.

Madison ALSO has orientation on Thursday! She will go to Hopewell Middle School. I'll have to give Madison a ride to school each day because this rental house is not in the right district (when we get into the new house she'll be able to ride the bus). Madison also has volleyball sign-up & try-outs on Friday. She's a little nervous because they play a very competitve rotation here... I have to admit that I have a little anxiety about it all too.

Scott has had very promising meetings with 3 different banks about our Houston business venture. He'll follow-up with each of those banks this week, plus we have a meeting with a financial advisor who deals with venture capitalists in Texas. This is very exciting!

I have been on this never-ending pursuit of getting my Texas drivers license. Who knew that there are FOURTEEN offices I have to go through to simply change my license from Iowa to Texas (okay I'm exaggerating, but at least 5 different places; inspections, registrations, 3 forms of ID... whatever). Oh, I forgot to mention the $200 per vehicle registration. WHAT?! As if the move to Texas wasn't financially draining enough. I am also contemplating doing some research work similar to the work I did in Iowa. Simply finding all the county offices has been a challenge! As I just stated... Nothing seems to be easy!!


We have a new nephew (& cousin)! His name is Maxwell Thomas Brown. He was born today at 4:50pm in Iowa City. We love him already!! (pics coming soon...)

Madison's birthday

Madison's 13th birthday was yesterday!!
We opened presents over breakfast... a new backpack, a kickball & stationery (from her brothers) and a digital camera (from Scott & I).

Madison wanted to spend some time on the River Walk in San Antonio; we rode the boat & then ate italian. Here are a few goofy pics from my camera from our day. Beware that Madison took well over 100 pics on her camera, so I'll post a few from her camera later.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Guests already?

These prints were found in the master bathroom shower... who do you think came to visit? Here's a hint: dark circles around eyes, a bushy tail, rhymes with coccoon....??
Because our house is close to a 'green-belt' (many trees) the builder says we can expect some visitors once in a while. I think I'll like these better than the creepy-crawlies that sting.

New house progress

We did a 'walk-through' of the new house yesterday. The builder wanted our approval on the progress before the drywall gets put up. Everything looked great! After the drywall gets started we have about 6 weeks left before we can move in. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY!! The bricks will be put onto the front & sides of the house soon.
Look at all the drywall that was left in the living room! Each room had a pile of drywall in it, but this pile was huge!

Me in the new house

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday to Grandpa Larry & Jeffrey!!!!!!

Gas vs. Electric stove

We're all trying to get used to cooking with a gas stove, these are the bottoms of cookies Jared made today. The biscuits I made the other day ended up in the garbage before I got a picture. We have had quite crunchy pizza lately.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Stony Point Football

Are we supportive parents, or what?!
Go Stony Point Tigers!!!
This is the team Dillon will play for, first game is Sat. Aug 25.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Cole-Simpson family

Okay, Jill, you've officially made Madison addicted to Simpsonizing everyone she knows. She even took pictures of the neighbors we just met & Simpsonized them.
I noticed my whole family (except me, of course) has morphed their Simpson character to 'enhance' some trait, like, the boys & their cowboy hats, or Madison's long flowing hair... whatever.
Shelly 'Simpson'
Dillon 'Simpson'
Scott 'Simpson'

Jared 'Simpson'
Madison 'Simpson'

Wanted dead or alive... I mean dead

We went to a 'friend of a friend's' today & she showed us all the scorpions they caught... IN THEIR HOUSE!! FREAKY! The bottom one was dead, but the other 2 were alive! She gave us advice on scorpions but said we won't have a problem in our area of Texas. Don't let this deter you from coming to visit. It's okay, really. I promise.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Last night our Iowa realtor called to say we have an offer on the house! YAY! It's very close to what our latest list price is, so we accepted it.
Here's the catch though... the buyers have 2 houses to sell (they have invited their parents to live with them, thus 2 families, 2 homes). Good news is that they have accepted an offer on 1 of the houses (contingent upon those buyers selling their house.... this could go on forever). Now they need to sell the 2nd home.
They have asked for possession on Oct. 1, which would be fine because we learned on Friday that we have to close on our new Texas home BY Oct. 14.
We have some definite prayer requests that we'll be able to afford the new house since we ended up substantially reducing our list price in Iowa. yikes.

New things in Texas

I'm dealing with some 'different' things at this house, not necessarily wrong... just different.

First of all: The toilets have the handle on the WRONG side of the tank. I don't know if the rest of my family is having an issue with this, but I am constantly reaching to flush the toilet & the handle is not there. I hope the new house is normal.

The washer & dryer is in the garage. Which we are learning is pretty normal for this neighborhood because most people don't use their garages for cars, they're mostly an extra really large storage room. Right now it's hotter than crap in the garage so I don't do much laundry during the day, I do a load in the morning & finish it in the evening. So it takes me ALL DAY to do one load. :(

The mail box is located at the end of our street. I should have remembered that because it was this way when we lived in Texas before. Anyways, you have to find the key before walking down the street because it sucks getting all the way down the street in 100 degree sun only to realize you forgot the key.... Madison...
All the floors (except for my bedroom) are ceramic tile. I typically like carpet but it's so hot here that the tile actually feels good. We laid down our 9'x9' oriental rug in the middle of the living room so it feels a little bit like home. It completely clashes with the decor of this rental house, but who cares, it's only for a couple of months. Check out the beautiful texas star the landlord laid into the tile, isn't it cool? It matches the door.... Texans are very proud of the star.
Our rental house has a 'great room' for the kitchen/dining room/living room. This is neat, however, I am not too thrilled with having people watching TV CONSTANTLY. I feel like I can't get away from it. I know none of the men reading this will understand, but women: Don't you hate it when you're talking & everyone in the room is looking over your shoulder at what's on the TV? And it not even important! It's like... MTV or SciFi channel or ESPN or something! This is driving me crazy! I didn't take a picture of it because I'm too mad that they're all ignoring me. :)

Friday, August 10, 2007

The BIG move

I bet you're wondering how the BIG move went... We are very blessed to have had a good trip!

Scott, Dillon & Randy left on Friday from Iowa City. They drove the grey truck with the trailer (full of furniture) and Scott's TV work truck with the compressor on the hitch. No rain for their trip! They drove late in the night until they reached Fort Worth, TX. Then they pulled into Round Rock on Saturday morning at 11:00-ish. The landlord at the rental house was here to meet him with a fantastic house!

Jared, Madison, Ellen & myself left on Saturday morning. I drove the Suburban (full to the hilt) with the 2 dogs and Ellen drove the Sonta (so full we had to open windows to put in last items). Madison & Jared traded cars every so often. We stayed in southern Oklahoma for the night. Quincy was sedated for the trip so he wasn't much problem and wonderfully enough, Macey was bored & slept too! (see earlier posts).

The rental house is very nice! We had imagined a tiny apartment-size home, but this is a nice-sized 3-BR home with 2 bathrooms. The boys are sharing the master bedroom becasue they have 2 queen beds... this means they get the master bath & walk-in closet... Scott is dealing with it...

It has been REALLY hot here, but I see there's a heat wave everywhere so you're probably experiencing the same thing. Dillon has been in football practice each morning until noon. He's one of 100 boys on the team! Jared has applied for jobs at a few places & had one interview already. Madison has tried to 'lay out' to tan herself but that only lasted 15 mintues because of the heat. Whew! Scott went to Houston yesterday to talk to the owner of the company we are trying to buy. Today we're going to switch the car license plates & get Texas drivers licenses. I anticipate waiting in line a long time... you wouldn't believe the population explosion since we lived here 7 years ago!

The new house

Things are really coming along! We go check on progress almost everyday. The plumbing & electrical wiring is done now.

Silly pics while we drove

Driving for 18 hours... the kids are bound to get bored. Thank you for driving with us, Ellen & Randy!! We love you!!