Dec 26, 2008

It's Getting Close

We went by the new house today so Roger could see it since he hasn't been there in a week. I was there on Monday afternoon to meet another deck guy for an estimate. We didn't think anything had been done since I was there Monday, but we opened the front door and saw hard wood flooring. You can see pictures we took today at the Flickr link to the right. All that's left are the appliances and carpet to be installed and clean up before we walk through and point out things for them to fix. Right now the closing date is set for Friday, January 23rd. We'll probably move the next week. It's getting close.

Dec 25, 2008

Reason For The Season

Isaiah 9:6

For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Rejoice in the peace and love of the Savior Jesus Christ! Merry Christmas!

Dec 19, 2008

Texas Winter

This is why I love living in Austin, Texas! It was 75 degrees today. It was a beautiful day and I was able to go swimming. I was talking with a guy at the pool and he said it best. He felt like he was "getting away with something" being at the pool on a bright, sun shiny day at 1 o'clock in the afternoon on a Friday in December. People were laying out. There were a couple ladies doing reverse crunches on beach towels beside the pool after they already swam laps. It was a gorgeous day. And to think late Sunday night a cold front came in and put our highs in the 30s on Monday and Tuesday. It started to warm up Wednesday. Tomorrow the high is supposed to be 80 degrees. But another cold front is coming in late Saturday night which will put us in the 30s with wind chills in the 10s and 20s on Sunday. I'm sure it will warm up again. The last few years we have spent Christmas day in shorts. I'm sure this year will be no different. As long as that cold front Saturday night holds off until Roger and I get home from my birthday dinner I'll be fine in my little, black dress.

Dec 17, 2008


Well, we did our part to close on our old house this morning. The buyer will do his part this afternoon. It feels good to have that done. Now all we have to do is wait for the new house to finish then close on it and move. Sometime around January 23rd. More and more little things are getting done every day at the new house. The water and electricity were connected this week. So we have lights and water. The plumbing fixtures have all been put in. One set has the wrong handles, but the builder has been notified and will remedy that soon. There is one light fixture and one door frame and door to be installed. The fence in the back yard was put up this week. And the travertine back splash was installed on Saturday. My mom got to see that completed when she came to visit Sunday. We gave her a grand tour of the place.

We have already made a list of items we want to get and install the weekend after we close since we probably won't be able to move over the weekend. That will give us some time to get those things done before we move in. It's a long list, but just a bunch of little stuff like replace the vanity lights in both bathrooms, replace the shower heads in both bathrooms, install cabinet knobs and drawer pulls in the kitchen, seal the tile and grout on the back splash, install cabinet and pantry organizers, add an extension to the family room ceiling fan and install a TV wall mount in the family room. It would be nice to move in and not have to still do those things while we're unpacking. I can't wait!

Dec 10, 2008

Tile And Countertops

It's more exciting at the new house every time I visit. You think nothing has probably been done since the last time you visited, which is about every other day for us. But then you go and you are surprised by something new. I went by Tuesday evening about 5:30 p.m. It was really too late to go because it was already dark. But Roger wanted me to go by and see if anything had been done. We assumed nothing was done since we visited on Saturday. But low and behold, the ceramic tile flooring in both bathrooms and the utility room was installed. I took some pictures with the flash so they would turn out because it was so dark I couldn't see myself. I didn't notice until I got home after uploading them and looking at the pictures with Roger when he got home that the ceramic tile around the second bathroom shower was installed. It was that dark in the house. So we wondered if the ceramic tile around the tub in the master bath was installed also. Since it was so dark inside, I didn't take a picture where we could see that.

So today I went by during the day to take better pictures and check if the tile around the garden tub was installed which it wasn't. This is when I discovered that the granite countertops were installed. I saw a truck with a few guys standing around it waiting out front of our house. I wondered what part they were working on. I said hello to them and they spoke Spanish so I couldn't ask them as I walked in because I don't know how to ask what are you working on in Spanish. So I waited to find out once I got inside. I was so excited. I try hard to contain my giddiness inside so as to not jump around like a school girl. One of these days I'm not going to be able to hold it in any more and I'm just going to blow. I took a bunch of pictures so I could show Roger. It's super dark when he leaves work so I have to take pictures for him and he waits until the weekend or a lunch break every once in a while to go by the house. I thanked the installers as I left. I can basically only greet in Spanish. I can't wait to see what's new when I go by on Friday.

Dec 9, 2008

A Little Snow

We got a little snow tonight. Nothing to write home about but enough to blog about! We started the day very warm and humid and I believe we topped out at 80 degrees. Then throughout the day the winds came and dropped the temps ever so slightly until they got down to the 40s. By that time it was raining and hailing a bit. After I got home from work this evening, I had to go back after dinner to reset our firewalls and on the way home I was driving through some pretty steady hail. Soon after that, it was snowing big wet flakes. It won't stick because it was 80 today, but the weather in Texas sure is interesting... and all in one day.

Holly went by the new house today and they have installed the ceramic tile! It was pretty dark though, so she didn't get good pics. We'll get some more late this week.

One last thing... after years of thinking about it, and the Army ruining my plans for four years, I have decided to get LASIK. I visited three centers in town and I chose not the most or least expensive, but the one where I felt most comfortable. I put in my last pair of disposable contact lenses this morning. I'm truly excited at the prospect of waking up every morning, and being able to see without having to reach for glasses or just see blurryness until I can get my contacts in. It's not cheap, so please join me in prayer that I am making the right decision. My surgery is scheduled for Jan 8. Yay! It can't come soon enough.

Dec 7, 2008


A short update: The new house interior painting was completed Friday. There are still a lot of touch ups, but they will get those soon enough. It looks great and we are more and more excited every time we visit to see what they've done. After all the foot work I did for the inspection repairs that were recommended, it turns out we don't have to do any of them. So all the footwork wasn't a waste since the buyer could see they weren't necessary. For sure, this will be one exciting holiday season for us. What a blessing!

Dec 2, 2008

Progress Continues

Progress on construction of the new house continues. Today Roger and I met there at noon to see the progress since our last visit before Thanksgiving. The foundation for the driveway, walkways and sidewalks are being put up. They'll probably pour the concrete by the end of the week. All the doors, wood trim and cabinetry were being installed while we were there. I can't wait to stop by tomorrow and see how far they got. I'm sure all the kitchen cabinets will be done. It's looking more and more like a home every day. We also received a new closing date of January 23rd. Boy are we glad we did the lease back through January 31st. To give us an idea of when we might move in so we could negotiate the lease back with the buyer of our current home we asked our construction manager for a possible move in date to which he said January 15th. Thank goodness we know the reality of construction and with the holidays coming up, we figured another week or two would give us some leeway just in case. And it looks like we needed it.

As for the progress on the sale of our current home, we're set to close on December 17th as long as nothing new comes up. We had four things to "repair" after the inspection but two items were not really repairs but clarification. The other two items are stumping us. So we have called an electrician for a bid to address one item and are awaiting a response from the city water department regarding the other. Please pray for these things to go smoothly. We're hoping we don't have to spend several thousand dollars repairing what we think are unnecessary items.

Nov 25, 2008

It's Safe To Return To The Water

Finally! I left the house Tuesday morning at 8:45 a.m. to go swim since we had to be out of the house for the 9:00 a.m. inspection. The inspector and his crew showed up an hour early because they were told the house was vacant, but I asked him if he could come back at 9:00 a.m. peaking my head out the front door in my robe. Even though Roger was told the inspection would take two hours, I had a feeling it would be longer. So I took a book with me to the pool and decided to read for 30 minutes or so to pass the time while the temperature outside warmed up. I left the house and it was 42 degrees outside. When I got out of my car at 9:40 a.m. to swim, it was up to 49 degrees. I walked up to the edge of the pool and reached down to check out the temperature of the water and it felt warm. I was so excited. Plus the pool was practically empty. When I arrived only two people were swimming. I guess it's true, the cold weather scares everyone off. So I got undressed all the way to just my track pants so I could be covered until the last minute. It was so cold outside but felt so good when I got in the water. It was great. As more people arrived to swim they asked me how the water felt and I exclaimed, "Great!"

After swimming a mile and a quarter, I realized I had to get out of the pool. I didn't want to get out. It reminded me of the summer of 2003 in Wisconsin for the Mommaerts' family reunion. We went swimming in the lake of a family member's summer house and it was warmer in the water than outside. I didn't want to get out of the water. I'm a total wimp when it comes to the cold. But I managed to get out and shower at the pool so as to waste more time for the inspection. I drove home and they were still there. So I decided to grab a bite of lunch as I was starving already. Then I went to HEB to get my Thanksgiving groceries. Thank goodness I thought ahead and made a list of everything I needed just in case the inspection took longer. And that way I could get my groceries before the big Thanksgiving rush on Wednesday. The grocery store was crowded but I was glad to be done. As I was loading my groceries in my car I thought, "What if they are still not done when I go by the house?" What would I do with my cold stuff? I decided if they were still there, I would just open the garage door, sneak into the kitchen and put my cold stuff in the fridge and freezer, then drive away. But as I was driving up the hill to the house, I saw the inspector's white truck pull out of the driveway. It was 12:30 p.m., an hour and a half longer than we were told. But I wasn't surprised. I mean, if they turned on and checked every appliance, utility, outlet, etc, I didn't know how they'd finish in two hours. Plus they climb on the roof and in the attic. I knew it would take a while. Glad I was prepared. And I'm glad I was able to swim again. A few bicycle rides did not make up for two weeks of not swimming. I love swimming. And I'm so glad the water's warm again. Maybe I can make it at Stacy Pool for a few more weeks before it gets too cold for me. That or I'll have to toughen up. The appraisal on the house is tomorrow morning and then we should be done until the closing.

Nov 20, 2008


I have never loved drywall so much! I ran by the new house today and expected the brick work to be still in progress but that's it. I did not expect the entire house to already be drywalled. I guess when I drove by yesterday I didn't look inside well enough. I saw the usual stack of drywall in the garage and assumed they had not started yet. Turns out they started drywalling yesterday at noon and finished the entire house last night. Today they are taping and floating and will probably texture tomorrow. It's so exciting! It looks so different now. I took some pictures and posted them on Flickr to the right. Roger and I are going to stop by together here in a little bit before we head to the airport to pick up his cousin Cara and her husband Jared and their two year old Olivia. We hope the weather holds out for them to enjoy a sunny and warm weekend in Austin. They have been in winter for two months now up in Wisconsin and would love a break.

Nov 19, 2008


Yesterday we accepted the counter offer to our counter offer. It feels good to know we have sold our house and we don't have to worry about it anymore. We still have an inspection and appraisal but it's pretty much done. We will stay in the house a little past our closing in anticipation of the new house closing. It will make the move easier and we'll only have to move once. We have been extremely blessed with the offer and have to praise God for taking care of this process and blessing us all these years with a great home.

As for the new house, the exterior will be completely closed in by tomorrow. The brick installation began Tuesday. It looks really nice and is so exciting. The dry wall installation has not begun yet even though the insulation was replaced earlier in the week. We're disappointed about that. But it will all work out according to His will. We needed to know about when the house would be done so we could figure out how long to lease our house back and our construction manager told us we should be able to move in January 15th. Roger and I both feel that may be wishful thinking and with the holidays coming up and construction crews heading home for the holidays that may be pushed back a week. But we'll keep wishing.

Nov 17, 2008

An Offer We Did Refuse

We got an offer on the house today! I got it in my email, which was new. I had a chance to look it over and gave Holly a call so that she could look at it too. I thought it might be a tad low so Holly and I had a conference call with our agent. First I needed her to explain exactly what the bottom line was. The buyer wanted us to pay all the closing costs and that irked me. But we then found out that the buyer was using an FHA loan and there are some closing cost items that they are not allowed to pay for. I asked our agent for her opinion and she suggested we counter offer by increasing their initial offer by the total of the closing cost. That would give us a higher profit that we believe is fair for our house.

Another issue is that they want to close on Dec 17. Our new house will probably not be ready until Mid-January. We asked if they would entertain a lease-back to us or push the closing date out. We also will use our appliances as a bargaining chip. We were going to sell our washer, dryer and refrigerator but will convey them if everything works out okay.

We hope to hear something back tomorrow! It’s very exciting to be getting somewhere on this sale. We just need to see how things progress. I think this is the buyers first home because I looked his name up in our county’s appraisal roll and didn’t see his name there. And I did another search and he’s either 29 or 30 and apparently single.

If he is not able to change the closing date or do a lease-back, some friends from church have offered us the upstairs of their new house. We’d have to move out of the our house, have everything put in storage and then have it all picked up from storage in Jan and moved in to the new place. But the Army is covering the cost of our move, so we really don’t mind which way it goes. But we really would rather move just once.

More tomorrow!

And yeah – this is Roger… I’m back on the blogging bandwagon again baby!

Amazing Weekend

What an amazing weekend! My weekend started Friday morning. I rode my bike to meet a friend for coffee. We had a great hour meeting and wished we had more time but she had to go to work. Then I rode my bike over to the new house and then home. I rode a total of 16 miles. It was a great ride, tough but a lot of fun. There was one hill on my route that was a beast and kicked my butt, both ways. But I feel great for making it, with the help of pleading to the Lord. Seriously. Even though I only have a mountain bicycle, I am enjoying the rides and it's making me look forward to getting a road bike next year after we move. The rest of Friday was spent getting a much needed pedicure, going to a happy hour with Roger and some of his co-workers then spending the evening listening to jazz at home with my husband. It was a nice way to end a great day.

Saturday Roger and I left the house at 10:00 a.m. in order to be out of the house all day for anyone that wanted to come check out our house. We spent the day window shopping and researching future furniture purchases for the new house. It was a lot of fun. We went to around ten stores and finished at 7:15 p.m. before we met his family for dinner. It was a long day and totally worth the time and sore feet to see what else is out there. The bad part is now we have some hard decisions to make because we like so many pieces. The good part of the day was that a potential buyer came to see our house for his second and his real estate agent's third time. His agent said he loved our house so maybe we will get an offer soon. We'll see.

Sunday we spent most of the day getting some things done around the house and cutting Roger's hair before we went to church a little early since Roger was running the lyrics. Then we had friends over for dinner and we had a great time hanging out in the kitchen and eating delicious food grilled by Roger. It made me excited about our new house because it will be a better experience for hosting dinners since the kitchen, family room and dining room are open to each other and has a better layout than our current home.

We're very tired from our weekend, but it was great.

Nov 12, 2008

Adventurous Bike Ride

My normal Wednesday workout would have been a mile and a quarter swim at the pool, but since it's closed for maintenance, I went for a bike ride this morning. And I decided I would ride to the new house in order to have a destination and make my ride more enjoyable and it would allow me to check out any new progress since the pre-dry wall walk through yesterday morning.

I wasn't sure what I was in for, riding on major roads to the house. I have driven there plenty of times and have noticed where there isn't a shoulder in the road and where bike lanes end, but until you are actually on your bike riding it, you don't know what you will encounter. I was a little concerned about the major intersection at Slaughter Lane and Manchaca Road because of traffic. I decided I would decide how I would turn left from Slaughter onto Manchaca when I got to it and saw if traffic would be loose enough for me to venture across three lanes into the left turn pocket. Or if traffic was so dense I would have to take it like a pedestrian and go to the corner, press the cross walk button and use the cross walk to get onto Manchaca. Timing worked out perfectly that I was able to cross the three lanes at a lull in traffic and turn from the turn pocket at the left arrow signal. It went smoothly.

As I got closer to Frate Barker on Manchaca Road, I knew the shoulder would end soon and I wouldn't have much space. I wondered if traffic would be patient with me and safe around me. I didn't have any problems on Manchaca and when I turned onto Frate Barker a few vehicles straddled the line to pass me. It turned out to be an easy ride traffic wise. And it was a good little ride in terms of incline and decline so I got a pretty good workout. It was 3.87 miles to the new house according to the computer on my bike. My GPS watch said it was only 3.82 miles. I still don't understand why there's a difference between the bike computer and the GPS watch. It's very slight but you think they would be almost the same. I'm sure it has something to do with the bike calculates by the turns of the wheel and the GPS uses satellite. Either way it was a fun ride.

The ride back to the house was less adventurous with traffic since I didn't have to cross through the Manchaca Road-Slaughter Lane intersection but just turn right. So it was pretty safe returning to the house. There were some good inclines but I was able to handle them well with all the shifting practice I have had in the last few months of riding again. I'd have to say I have shifting down now. Makes me wish we would have road our bikes more in Northern Virginia where it was really hilly. Oh well, I'll just have to make up for lost time here in the Hill Country. My total ride was only 10.11 miles which is short in my book. But at least I got some exercise in and got out in the sunshine and fresh air. My heart rate got up there and stayed there for a while so I did get a little bit of a workout.

The rafters in the ceiling which were not nailed and some areas not plum, which my dad discovered yesterday at the walk through, were fixed. The electrical stuff wasn't done yet, but as I was riding away from the house the electrician's truck pulled up. So I'm sure they got those done this afternoon. The city inspection was supposed to happen yesterday afternoon along with the construction manager's framing punch list. Which means the dry wall should start being installed tomorrow but for sure by Friday. Yeah!

Nov 11, 2008

Pre-Dry Wall Walk Through Done

We had the pre-dry wall walk through at the new house this morning. I am so glad I asked my dad to come for it. He was super helpful and noticed things Roger and I would have never, ever, ever noticed. He found things that were very important and would affect other things eventually. It's always good to have an expert on your side in these situations. So after the few items that were addressed are fixed, the dry wall should start being installed probably by Friday. Our construction manager said they would most likely work through the weekend and finish on Monday. Then all the specialty trades will begin their work. It's very exciting. I had a great day with my dad. We tried out a restaurant for lunch around the corner from our new house to thank him for all his wisdom and knowledge and examing the house on our behalf. We all feel a lot more comfortable about everything concerning the construction of our new home.

Nov 10, 2008

No Pool For Two Weeks

Last week I decided I wanted to add an additional day of swimming to my workout each week because I want to swim farther and faster. Swimming is so much better for your joints and a better exercise in general than anything else. So this morning I went to the pool instead of race walking which was my usual Monday exercise, but I could not swim. Stacy pool is closed for two weeks for maintenance. Although I am bummed about not being able to swim for two weeks, it means that maybe the heat will be working in the pool when it opens back up. This also makes me realize once the nasty, rainy winter junk comes, I won't be able to swim at all at the pool because it's an outdoor pool and if the lifeguards can't see the bottom of the pool, they make everyone get out. So I guess I may need to start checking out the indoor pool situation again. I'm bummed about that because I'm cheap and I love not having to pay for any pool or gym. But now I know I can't do that year round. I think Roger and I are going to have to go check out the Buda YMCA. It's close, only 15 minutes from our current home and once we move it will be a little closer. And as we all know, YMCA's are cheaper than regular gyms. And the Buda YMCA is new, less than two years old, so it's really nice. I've heard it's got a great indoor pool and it's rarely crowded.

At least I was able to get cheap gas this morning on my drive home from the pool. I stopped at the Super Wal-mart at Southpark Meadows because gas was $1.95 a gallon for regular. I had a quarter of a tank but I had to jump on that. I didn't think I'd ever see gas under $2 again.

Nov 6, 2008

On The Market

Our house is officially on the market. Okay, it won't be listed in MLS until this evening but the sign is out front and the lock box is on the front door. If you know anyone who is in the market for an adorable, little house in excellent condition, send them our way.

We went by the new house today and all the issues have been resolved except the surround sound speaker wiring has yet to be moved to their correct places. But it will get done.

Nov 4, 2008


Our new house front door was installed yesterday and it has already been tagged, probably from neighborhood kids. I'm sure they watch as homes are built and go through all of them while they can still go through them. You know how suburban life is for kids, so boring that they have to find some way to entertain themselves. I don't even want to know what else goes on in those homes. A small area inside was tagged also. I do think it's funny that someone declared their love for someone else in the tagging. We also received our new back door yesterday which I forgot to take a picture of but will next time I'm there. I'm excited about it because it has built in mini-blinds. The back door of our current home has add on mini-blinds and they are a chore to open and close. The surround sound wiring was installed but not in the correct locations. Roger and the electrician spent quite a bit of time and discussion deciding what were the perfect locations for the speakers for the size of his television and obviously the low voltage crew did not get those plans. So I had to put in another call to our new construction manager who I just met Monday to go over the list of items which were incorrect or not installed at all.

And the gas drop was moved away from the back door as we specified at the builder meeting before construction started, but they moved it right next to the master suite window. The construction manager told me yesterday that it could not be within three feet of a window to pass city code so I guess they will be moving it again. The lack of communication between project managers, construction managers, contractors and crew is amazing. The electricians, low voltage crew, plumbers and gas guys are all going to have to come out again to remedy what they didn't do right the first time because they didn't receive our plans. The builder will pay for all those extras, not us. As I said before, glad we can go by the house often to keep an eye on these things. I can only imagine how much more involved it's going to get since the pre-dry wall inspection may be early next week. This may turn into my full time job. And what's even more crazy is the first construction manager told us the house is usually complete 45 days after the dry wall is installed. If that's next week, we're looking at the house being done around the middle of January. And we're putting our house on the market this Thursday. Please pray for the timing of it all.

Nov 3, 2008

Freebies On Election Day

Make sure you vote on election day, not just because it's your right and responsibility but because you get free stuff! Just make sure you get that "I Voted" sticker to prove it.

-Ben & Jerry's - one free scoop of ice cream from 5-8pm
-Starbucks - free tall cup of coffee, all day
-Krispy Kreme - free star shaped doughnut with red, white & blue sprinkles, all day

Click on the links above to find the closest location to you. There are only two Ben & Jerry's and two Krispy Kreme in Austin. Of course we know there's a Starbuck's on every corner.

Nov 2, 2008

House Construction Update

We took Roger's dad by our new house yesterday while he was down here visiting us from North Austin. It was kind of fun to give him a tour of the house. It's getting more and more exciting since pretty much every time we go to the new house, something new has been done. The entire roof is completed, shingles and all. So now we do not have to worry about the weather anymore. The plumbing began on Thursday and the electrical was started Friday. The gas lines are in also. This has also given us a chance to make sure they are getting all our special requests and upgrades done. We noticed a couple things on Thursday and yesterday we noticed a few more. So we've made a list for our construction manager and put a call in to him. They did realize the two items from Thursday and were already planning to correct those. I guess it's a good thing that we go by the house often. It's better to catch those things sooner than later. I'm sure we would have caught them at the pre-dry wall inspection since I believe we would go down our list of upgrades and options with the construction manager. But I believe it's better to fix them now than have to delay the dry wall installation. I don't want to delay anything. Check out the pictures we took Thursday and Saturday at the Flickr link to the right.

Oct 29, 2008

It Finally Happened

Well, it finally happened to us. Our credit card number was some how stolen last week. Thank goodness our credit card company, Citibank, noticed some suspicious activity on our account and froze it yesterday. I tried to make a purchase at a store and my card would not go through. The cashier's monitor told him to call the bank but he suggested trying it again. Three times later it still didn't work and I could tell he was not going to call the bank. Nice. As far as he knew, it could have been a stolen card. So I used my debit card and called Roger as soon as I left the store. He called Citibank since I was driving and sure enough there were several transactions they wanted us to verify. All of the suspicious transactions were made in San Antonio and the ones I remember the most because they were "interesting" were at fast food establishments for super large amounts of money. Who spends over $100 at McDonald's and Church's Chicken?! I couldn't tell you the last time we ate at McDonald's. We haven't been to San Antonio in months. I don't think I have ever eaten at Church's Chicken.

So our credit card account was closed and we shredded those cards when we got home. A new account was opened for us. It kind of sucks and we have to change our credit card number for all the accounts that drafted from it. I hope we remember them all. We are most interested in how a person gets someone else's credit card number. And also, how people can purchase items without having the actual card in hand. Don't stores have policies against just giving a credit card number without the actual card? Or do these people make a fake card somehow? I don't know how that works, but we had dinner with friends last night and prayed for the person who stole our credit card number. That's about all we can do.

And speaking of San Antonio, Roger and I are headed to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio this afternoon to attend a briefing so we can use his retirement move from the Army. It's kind of funny, this will be our one and only military move after 15 years. But it's free so we are going to use it. And it will help lessen the blow if we have to move twice because of the timing of the closings of both houses. They will pack our old house, put it into storage and when we are ready to move into the new house, bring all our stuff to it. Not bad. We hope we won't have to put anything into storage but I seriously doubt it will all work out perfectly as we'd like. But we can still hope.

As for the new house, I went by Monday and not much had been done since Saturday, that I could tell. All the windows were in and they had started putting the plywood on the roof. I'll drive by today and see what's new. Although we are excited about it going fast, we have to think about it being built correctly and the timing of the sale of our current home. We'd prefer building sound over fast and we hope to have our house sold before the new one is done. Most houses are selling fast in our neighborhood so we should be good, but we won't know until then. We will put it on the market next week. Please help us deal with all these concerns peacefully by praying for us. Thanks.

Oct 25, 2008

The Roof, The Roof...

The roof is up on our house! These guys work muy rapido. The entire roof is up. The whole house is framed. They even started putting up the material that goes under the brick and hardie board. And the brick is sitting on pallets beside the house. Check out the pics here. There are only a few things left before this crew moves on to another house and a new crew starts up. We took the framing crew some cold sodas Thursday afternoon. Today we're bringing them some chocolate macadamia nut cookies since they told us Friday they were going to be working today. We're finishing the last project on our house today so it's ready to put on the market. It's getting so exciting now that we can really see the house layout and how fast it's going up. We also realized yesterday that the house across the street and to the left of our new house is also the same floor plan, Anderson, as ours so we walked through it and since it is farther along than ours some of our questions were answered about when certain things will happen next. Three houses from us is another Anderson which is almost complete. You could pick any plan you want as long as it fit on the lot you wanted and there wasn't one already next to you. The floor plan we picked is obviously a popular plan.We know of four in the neighborhood, but we haven't looked extensively. I'm sure there's more. It really is a smart floor plan with no wasted space. So we are super excited!! No telling what they'll get done today. Have a great weekend!

Oct 24, 2008

Cold Front

A cold front came in this week. This is part of our usual fall weather. And one of the nicest parts of the year for us Texans. The temperatures have been down in the 40's at night and getting up between 70 and 80 during the day. So the days have been really nice. Our air conditioner has not turned on all week. We've been opening the windows in the afternoon to let the cool air in and air out the house. We've been grilling dinner a lot lately also. It's just too nice outside to be inside. The weather this weekend was beautiful and it made the events we attended so much better. The World War II battle reenactment we went to Saturday was so much fun and the weather was gorgeous. There's no way in the summer we'd be at an outdoor event from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Then we had dinner on the outside deck at Roadhouse in Bastrop. The food was great. I was glad we finally got to eat there. Roger's company had their 20th anniversary picnic on Sunday afternoon and it was amazing to be sitting in the sun for three hours and not be dying from the heat. The sun still made it warm but because of the temperature and the low humidity it was way more bearable than summer.

The other nice thing about this weather has been the new windows we had installed in June. Before it was cold around all the windows and it made it super cold in the house during the fall nights and all the time in winter. So it has actually been warm in the house when they are all closed and it's not cold near the windows at all. Normally I would be bundled up in flannel or fleece from head to toe in the evenings but I have been fine, except when we have all the windows open until 10:00 p.m. Even when I go to bed I'm still not cold. Before I would be freezing all the way up to the point of jumping in bed and have to be fully clothed and covered. So the windows are doing their job. When we put the earnest money down on the new house we thought, "And we just put all those new windows in the house." We were concerned we made a bad decision by getting the Cadillac of windows and we weren't going to be able to benefit from them at all. But at least we get one fall and winter out of them. It's better than nothing. And it should be great for resale. So we are looking forward to the nice weather this weekend as we finish one last project on the house before we put it on the market in a week or so.

There's only been one down side to this weather and that's been the 50 degree mornings at the pool. The heat is still not working this week and it might not be until after next week that it will be working. A lifeguard told us the plan to finish the electrical project for the pool first changed this week. I think it's starting to take a toll on all the swimmers. Everyone is griping about how cold it is in the pool and it's only getting colder now so it's not going to get better until the heat is working. I'm already a wimp about the cold so jumping into 50 degree water isn't helping me!

Oct 23, 2008

Framing The New House

Framing began on the new house yesterday morning. I drove by after I swam in the morning and wasn't as shocked to see them framing as I was when Roger and I drove by on our way to community group later that evening. The entire house was almost completely framed. Those guys work fast. And they were still working at 6:30 p.m. Roger talked with the guys a lot because his Spanish is great compared to mine. I could understand most of the questions Roger asked but couldn't understand all of their responses. They speak very fast. But they were super nice and I think they enjoyed meeting the family of a house they were building. They were all very young to me. It was so nice to see the walls up because we were having problems understanding the size of the house without the walls. We kept thinking it was too small. A family allowed us to walk through the same house about four streets over when we were deciding on this particular floor plan so we know how it should be and the size of the rooms. But without walls, it looked really small. Now that the walls are up we can see it is the same size as the house we walked through and just what we expected and wanted. It's all very exciting and we're sure everyday it will change. We took some pictures and we'll keep posting them as the house goes up so click on the Flickr link to the right and check back often.

Oct 22, 2008

Slab Poured

Yeah! The concrete slab on our new house was poured yesterday. I'm glad we have driven by each day this week or we might have missed it. Roger drove by on Monday and it didn't look much different. I drove by yesterday after leaving the museum from volunteering just to see if there was any change. We knew they were planning to pour the slab this week but were not sure which day. And as I got closer I could see the concrete slab was poured. So after I went to the grocery store, got home and unloaded, I went back by with my camera to take some pictures. I'm going to keep my camera in my purse from now on. And I'm glad I went back by and didn't wait until today because as I walked around the house I noticed pallets of 2x4's in the back yard. They are going to start framing any day now. I'm not sure how long they have to wait for the concrete to set before they start framing, but I will be driving by every day in my travels so I can keep up with it. It's going very fast right now and we're hoping they are able to close the house in before the rainy season starts so the construction is not slowed down by the weather. Once they are completely inside, the weather will not matter. Check out pictures by clicking on the Flickr link to the right.

Oct 15, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away

I had huge plans for today but the rain that started last night has messed up my whole day and there's a chance for rain until Friday so it might mess up my whole week. I had plans to prime and paint 1" x 4" trim for the exterior of our house today so it would be ready to put up this weekend. It's the last item we have left to get our house ready to put on the market. I was hoping to be done with everything by next week. Looks like that will be pushed back by a week. I wasn't even able to swim this morning. Every time I think it's cleared up and the sun has been out a while so I can try to do something outside, it comes pouring down again. I did everything I could inside early this week so I would have time to be outside the rest of the week to paint the trim. So I'm spending today finishing my niece's Halloween costume so I can get up there to have her try it on so I can hem the sleeves and bottom before putting on all the trim. She's going to be an angel. I don't know what Roger and I will be for Halloween yet. Our community group is having a neighborhood cul-de-sac party so it's outdoors and if it's still warm here, which it most likely will be, I'd prefer a costume that's cooler. We are meeting tonight to go over the details of the Halloween party so we'll have to go check out costumes very soon. Although the rain has altered my plans for today, I am glad we are getting some good rain. We really need it.

Oct 14, 2008

Ground Breaking

We are so excited the builder broke ground on our house last Thursday, October 9th. We received an email from him Friday morning to schedule our first meeting. And you know I drove by the house during the day Friday. The slab forms were up and the dirt was being loaded in. Roger and I drove by together Friday after he got home from work and the trenches were being dug for all the utilities. We were able to confirm that our backyard is going to be a tad smaller than our current backyard. And we're cool with that. We use our patio more than we use our lawn and we'll be able to have a bigger and better patio at the new house so it will be fine.

Our first meeting with the builder was this morning. The construction manager Matt is really nice. It was a great meeting. He went over every option we added and we asked him about six or seven questions for clarification. He told us they are averaging four months to complete a house so that puts us closing around February 9th which is when we originally figured and they might even complete it sooner. We took a few pictures Friday and you can see them by clicking on the Flickr link to the right, but I forgot my camera this morning so I don't have any pictures. There wasn't a drastic difference from Friday except there are now pipes sticking up all over the foundation and they are getting ready to connect to the main utilities. Matt said the concrete will probably be poured mid-week next week. He will email us about once a week with progress and call us if they need anything from us. We will have a walk through before they dry wall so we can make sure every thing we added like Roger's surround sound speakers, additional outlets and switched outlets, boxes for future light fixtures over the island and the like are where we want them. I'm sure we will be driving by regularly so we'll take more pictures and keep the blog updated of the progress. I can't wait to watch it go up.

We spent most of this weekend completing a list of many small things to do around our current house to get it ready to go on the market. We got most of them done on Sunday and we only have one major project left and one or two small ones. We should have them all complete by next week and our house will be ready to put on the market in early November. Please keep the sale of our current house and the construction of our new house in your prayers to go smoothly and according to His will. Thanks and check back often or subscribe at the bottom of this page to receive posts by email.

Oct 10, 2008

Gasoline Prices

As we all know too well, gasoline prices have been a hot topic this summer. We all wondered how high it would get and when or if it would ever go down. Last Friday I was so excited to see gas was $3.17 at my local Super Wal-mart at Southpark Meadows. So I filled up my gas tank. Then this weekend gas was $3.11 at my local HEB on Manchaca Road at Slaughter Lane. Monday it went to $3.05 at my HEB. Roger kept saying he bet it was going to get under $3 again. I had to wonder if it would just get to $3.00 even and stay there but never get below $3 again. Then yesterday I noticed gas was $2.92 at my HEB and today it was $2.80 at the Super Wal-mart at Southpark Meadows. I know gas in my area is the cheapest for Austin, but I was just shocked that it actually went below $3. I really hope it stays this low for a while. I'm sure we all do.

On another high note...the water at the pool I have been swimming at since my neighborhood pool closed this summer has been really, really cold the last month or two. I thought it might have something to do with the 50-60 degree mornings we have been having lately. I met a friend for coffee last Friday morning which made me have to swim later in the morning and I noticed it was a little easier to swim since it was warmer. I got more sun than I usually do because it was above the top of the trees that surround the pool, but it was a tiny bit easier to swim being a little warmer outside. There's a lot less people swimming at this time. And I was able to meet my new friend Nick who I plan to swim in the 12 mile open water swim relay next year. So since then I have been swimming about the same time later in the morning until today. Roger and I were having lunch with an old friend at 11:30 a.m. so I had to go back to my old time to swim, 8:30 a.m. And boy was I glad I was there at that time. The water was super cold when you first jump in, but while I was swimming my main set and transitioning to start my next lap, I heard one of the lifeguards tell some ladies that the water would not be heated until after the construction on the pool house was completed which would be next week. So after next week, the water in the pool will be warm again! I'm so happy to hear that. Although the water is fine after you start swimming and especially when you are done, that first step in is super hard when you know it's going to be freezing cold. Especially since the mornings this week have been around 57 to 62 degrees at my old swimming time. And with winter coming, I wasn't sure if I would be able to handle the water temperature as it got even colder outside. You know I'm a wimp when it comes to the cold. I was thinking I might have to get a gym membership this winter just for the pool. So now I know the water temperatures have not been normal and this will help me save money from a gym membership even longer than I thought. Bring on the heated pool!

Oct 9, 2008


I have begun the process of de-personalizing our home to get it ready to put on the market. All the experts say you should de-personalize your home so potential buyers can imagine themselves in your home. All I can say is I don't like it. I completely understand de-cluttering and cleaning up, but this sucks. I took all the magnets off the refrigerator yesterday and it looks like no one lives here. It's really sad looking. I think I'd rather have the magnets and pictures on the refrigerator than this. It was even suggested that we take down all the crosses I have been given over the eight years we've owned our home so as to not offend anyone. If you really know me, really know how I feel about political correctness, you know how I feel about taking all the crosses down. I'm not even a huge fan of the collection of crosses that have accumulated in my house over the years, but they were gifts and I appreciated them. I refuse to remove my art and most of my pictures. I still have to live in this home while it's on the market and I am not going to live in a boring, bland home. I need life, color, fun, representation of ourselves, etc. It's hard for me to understand people who can't see past wall colors, flooring choices and family pictures out. I know there are people out there who can't see past those things, but I just don't understand them. We're the kind of people who walk into a house and start thinking about the potential a house has and what walls we can knock down. I wonder what the woman who will come to our house to take the pictures and give us tips about putting it on the market will say about what I leave up and out in our home. Her advice will only be suggestion so we don't have to do it, but still it will be interesting.

Oct 8, 2008

New Volunteer Endeavor

I'm so excited! I know, again?! Hey, I excite easily. I receive joy from many, many things. And the latest item to bring me joy is a new volunteer endeavor I will be taking on starting next week. Since I am a history major and my dream job would be to work in a museum and I have not been able to find a position here in Austin as of late, I knew I wanted to volunteer at museums to get some experience and do my part. This summer I began researching volunteer positions at different museums here in Austin and actually submitted the required forms to one particular museum to begin the process of becoming a volunteer to which I have still not heard from at all. Maybe they have enough volunteers. I am more interested in archiving, artifacts, cataloging, preservation, conservation, stabilization and exhibit production and management than being a tour guide, docent or interpreter. Most of the museums in Austin seemed to want tour guides, docents and information desk volunteers rather than historical work until I came across the Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry here in Austin. They need those public positions but need more help with the behind the scenes part of the museum. They are funded solely by donations and only have a small full time staff. They operate mainly through volunteers. So I was eager to get in touch with them about volunteering which I did recently. And boy did I feel like I could help. From the very first phone call, I was warmly welcomed and once they heard what I was interested in and when I could help, they were very eager to get me to come in to complete the required forms and begin working. So next week I will begin volunteering on a particular stabilization project now that they have received adequate storage that will prevent any future damage to the artifacts. I am so excited to get to use my passion for history and museums. Yeah!!

Also, if you are interested, their living history group will perform two battle reenactments soon. The first is Saturday, October 18th at Camp Swift near Bastrop and the next is November 8-9 at Camp Mabry. All events are free and open to the public. The October 18th event will also celebrate Oktoberfest events at the same location. So I don't think I'll have any problem convincing Roger to go. I know we aren't supposed to add anything new to the month of October, but I won't be able to make it to the November reenactment because I'll be out of town at a nephew's birthday party. And Roger really wanted to attend an Oktoberfest celebration. I would have loved to attend the November event since it will be reenacted through the eyes of the unit most Texans were sent to Europe with during World War II, the 36th Infantry Division. My grandfather, William "Buster" Jasper Wise Jr, served in World War II from Texas. I wish he was still around to ask him questions and listen to stories of his experiences there, but he didn't talk about it much when he was alive. I did a report on him and his WWII experience once in junior high or high school. I wish I could find it so I can read what he said about it. This was before computers were common in households so I wrote it the old fashioned way, on paper then used a typewriter to turn it in. So I doubt there's a copy lying around. If it had been done on a computer, there might be a copy still somewhere. Even though he was ornery, I still miss him.

Oct 7, 2008

Things I Forgot

So I forgot a few things yesterday. I had so many things to try to remember. At least it kept my post "short and sweet". :) Roger got a promotion at work two weeks ago. We are very happy about that. It's nice to know you are appreciated and to be compensated for it. His work is also starting a 10,000 steps a day program. They all received their pedometers yesterday. We went for a walk last night after dinner to see how many steps my typical cool down from race walking might be and it was sad. Roger is going to have to walk a lot, all day long to get 10,000 steps. I'll walk with him in the evenings to help. At least he's getting some exercise. He starts physical therapy again soon so that will add a little more exercise. And I made a new friend at the pool last Friday morning. He's a biology teacher and curriculum developer at Texas School for the Deaf. Yes, he's Deaf, but reads lips very well. Which is good because I think I used the wrong, but close, sign for "interesting". But he could read my lips and knew what I was saying instead of signing. And he was super excited to know I knew a lot of sign language plus I swim regularly because he tried talking me into swimming with him and his wife and three other teammates in a 12 mile open water swim relay this Saturday at Lake Travis. I had to decline because of previous engagements but it sounded really interesting. Remember we're not adding anything new to October so we have time to get the house ready for the market. He asked me if I might be interested in doing it next year and I am. So that will be three athletic events next year I already have planned. And this one I'll have to join the American Swimming Association. I had to join USA Triathlon to participate in triathlons. I don't think I'll be adding any more other athletic associations after this.

Oct 6, 2008

Week In Review

Okay, I haven't posted in over a week so I'm going to "try" to make this as short and sweet as possible. If you know me really well, I know you are laughing right now.

So I was finally able to volunteer at a Hurricane Ike shelter. It wasn't what I was expecting but interesting none the less. There were only 78 people at the shelter I volunteered at by the time I got there. And my shift was noon to 6:00 p.m. so most people were gone during the day and only a few people remained at the shelter. They encourage everyone to get out of the shelter and see the city so they aren't confined to the inside of the shelter too much. I spent five and a half hours of my six hour shift hanging out with kids, playing games, watching movies, drawing and doing crafts. We aren't supposed to be babysitters while we volunteer but there really wasn't anything else to do. I spoke with many adults at the beginning of my shift and they didn't need any help with paperwork or filling our forms and they had all the information they needed except I did find out for one man when the buses for Galveston County would be coming to return them. At that point Galveston Island had been opened for people to return but not the rest of the county. So he had to wait another day or two before he could go home. But I was able to use one of the computers at the shelter to see satellite images of Galveston after the hurricane and tell him his home was still standing. So he felt relieved he would have a home to return to. At almost 6:00 p.m. a meeting was announced for all adults so all children were sent back to us in the kid's area which had actually been closed because some parents were not staying with their children and leaving the shelter completely. I ended up staying about 45 minutes longer than my shift because I helped with dinner. Everyone shows back up at the end of the day for dinner. I enjoyed the time I spent there. I wish I could have been more helpful but many of the parents stuck at the shelter with their kids got to get a break and rest so it was helpful to them. I was excited about going back two days later for the same shift. I went home and dug through boxes in the garage and found a few VHS children's movies since they have a TV-VCR combo and gathered a bunch of coloring books and children's reading books we have in a toy box for visiting kids. But then I got really sick with a sore throat, congestion, headache and lovely green drainage the night before. I was hoping I would feel better that morning before my shift but I didn't so I had to cancel. I was very sure the evacuees wouldn't want me there. They have enough going on and I didn't want to add sickness to their troubles. I was disappointed but it took me almost a week before I felt better and getting lots of rest helped.

The next weekend was filled with Mommaerts family events from Friday through Monday. We took Roger's sister Cindy out to dinner for her birthday Friday night to Taverna on 2nd Street. We had a great time and the food was delicious. Saturday we window shopped for furniture ideas for the new house before we spent the night making homemade salsa for Roger's niece Cyrene's first birthday and baby dedication celebration the next day. We spent all Sunday up in Northwest Austin for that. And then on Monday, I took Roger's two aunts, Edita from Panama and Chela from Los Angeles, who have been visiting for several months, sightseeing around Austin. Thank goodness his aunt Chela speaks and understands English because Edita speaks no English at all. We had a lot of fun, took some good pictures, met Roger for lunch and they got to see a lot of the real Austin.

Our community group at church started meeting last month and we are really enjoying it. We meet twice a month on Wednesday nights for bible study and fellowship and the other two weeks we participate in an outreach with our respective neighbors and then the whole group participates in a community-/city-wide mission. This Saturday our whole group mission was to volunteer at our church's monthly homeless grillout in downtown Austin. We helped by bringing water and chips and then working the line in different positions as the burgers were grilled and passed out. I had a great time but I had an easy job. At least it was easy for me. I collected tickets from individuals and controlled the flow as the burgers were done. This kept the grillers from getting overwhelmed and kept the homeless from having to stand around waiting for burgers to be done. So I got to socialize a lot. Everyone was super nice. It really was the perfect position for me. Roger took lots of pictures and socialized while he was doing it. There were people who's sole responsibility was to socialize with people in line so I wasn't the only one talking the whole time. Even the trash collectors got to talk a lot too. I met some really wonderful people. This was my first time to work with homeless people so my fears, expectations and preconceived notions were blown out of the water. It was a really awesome experience and I can't wait to do it again.

We have been really busy, as usual. But we're going to try our hardest to not add any events to the month of October (except for the stuff we already have on our calendar) so we can get more stuff done to our house to make it ready to go on the market. We are excited to say we drove by the new house yesterday after church and the surveyors have been out and have marked the lot boundaries and the house corners. And the house to the right of ours is already up and almost closed in. They are putting the brick on the exterior this week which will close it in completely. That was super fast. It actually took less than a month. And the house to the left of ours is exactly at the same point as our house, only surveyed. We think we met the lady who purchased next to us, but we're not completely sure. You know we'll be meeting her as soon as possible regardless if she was there the same day we started the process. It won't be long before they break ground. We will know when that happens because we have to have a meeting with the builder before they do it. We still don't know if the permits are back from the city, but we'll find out this week. Everything is rolling along smoothly and we're getting more and more excited as time goes by.

Sep 23, 2008

Finally Getting To Volunteer

So last Friday, an email mysteriously appeared from the local chapter of the humanitarian organization I have been trying to volunteer with stating there was a training on Friday at 6:00 p.m. and Saturday at 9:00 a.m. Friday evening was out since we were hosting friends plus I didn't want to start my evening in traffic, so I decided I better go to the Saturday morning class so I can get it over with and be able to volunteer without any more hold-ups. Friday afternoon I thought and prayed about the frustrations earlier in the week and decided I would forget about the past and start anew as if none of it ever happened. I reflected on how overwhelmed they are right now and what good they are trying to do. It helped me feel better towards the organization and refreshed my passion to help others through them. It also helped my attitude when I had to get up at what I consider is early on a Saturday morning to drive north of downtown for this training. But I was able to give my friend a ride to her music lesson so being with a friend made it more enjoyable. The church trip to Houston for relief work today was canceled so I decided to volunteer today at the shelter instead plus Thursday. I'm kind of excited about it. I have no idea what it's going to be like other than what I learned at the training on Saturday.

But I will continue to pray for my heart, my hands, my ears and my smile to be guided by the Lord. I know there's a possibility I might just listen my whole shift to evacuees expressing their frustrations and fears. And I want the Lord to give me His ears to be there for them. One thing that's really interesting about this whole process of getting frustrated, forgiving, putting the past behind and starting fresh, and seeing things in a different light, it's been a good example for me for how I need to do the same things with certain people in my life. I can do that with most everyone, but the people I really need to do this for I haven't been. I've been struggling with these particular people for a long time and God's been working on my heart intently since I moved back to Texas last year. I just love how God works. Not only has He been leading me to the scriptures I need during this time, but He's giving me an example of how to do it and letting me learn first hand. I've listed some of the scriptures below in case they can help anyone else. It's best to read the whole chapter surrounding these scriptures. And if you can use a Life Application or Study Bible, I recommend reading the notes to these scriptures. They rock!

  • Book of Obadiah (shortest book in the Old Testament)
  • James 3: 1-2
  • 1 Peter 3: 1-12
  • Philippians 2: 3-4
  • Isaiah 58
  • James 1: 22-27
  • Matthew 25: 31-45
  • Romans 15: 7

I'll let you know how my first day of volunteering goes very soon. Thanks for praying for me.

Sep 18, 2008

I Have To Vent

Okay, I probably shouldn't do this, but I might pull my hair out if I don't get this off my chest. I started last Friday going through the process to become a volunteer at Hurrican Ike shelters for the local chapter of a larger humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States. I completed their application and background check and submitted everything to them. On Sunday I received an email stating they received my background clearance. Then I sent an email with the shifts I could work this week. Here it is Thursday afternoon and all I've received from them is a lot of run around, major disorganization and frustration. Every day is something else that is preventing me from volunteering this week. I think I've called them at least three to four times every day leaving voicemail and messages with my name and phone number for someone to call me back with the information I need or the next step because when you call no one knows anything if you actually get a human being and don't get transferred to voice mail of someone who's not even in the office that day. The final instruction I received this afternoon was to keep checking the website periodically tonight (so I guess I don't have a life!) for the time and location for the orientation trainings tomorrow and instructions for how to sign up because they don't know when they are yet and don't know how I'll have to sign up for them yet. Auugghh! I wanted to volunteer with them this week so I could maybe volunteer with my church in Hurricane Ike affected areas next week. Of course, my plans are not always God's plans and it will all work out for His glory in the end and I need help remembering that. So please pray for me.

Sep 15, 2008

Totally Disappointed

I received an email this weekend stating I was receiving a refund for my triathlon registration. I went to the website and could not figure out why so I sent an email inquiring. Then this morning I saw the refund hit our credit card. So I again went to the website for the race and there it was, "After careful consideration, we have decided to reschedule the USWTS - New Braunfels race from September 28 to the spring of 2009." I am completely disappointed. I was so excited about my first Sprint distance triathlon and was so looking forward to the whole experience. Man! That sucks. I'll have to do some research today and see if there is another Sprint distance triathlon near Austin coming up that I can register for. The shorter triathlons are earlier in the year with the longer ones, Olympic and Ironman distances, in the later part of the year. I bet I could find one. It would really suck to have done all this training for nothing. Not that I'm not benefiting from all this cardiovascular exercise (I've lost 6% body fat!), but I was really looking forward to this triathlon. I need to go race walk to get this disappointment out of my system. It is a beautiful 70 degrees right now in Austin so it will be a pleasant walk. I'm sure that will help me feel better also.

Ike Update

Well, all my family is doing well after Ike's havoc on Saturday. Everyone is still cleaning up but no major damage and no injuries. I can't say that for the rest of Houston, Galveston and the other coastal areas. Evacuees are still in shelters and homes all over Texas and can not return yet. Our church service was packed yesterday with several families in our church hosting about 50 people in their homes. Please pray for these families, the host families and the evacuees this week. Thanks.

Sep 13, 2008

Ike's Havoc

Hurricane Ike is moving through East Texas and causing havoc everywhere. I've been up since 6:00 a.m. I don't know why I woke up so early but I couldn't go back to sleep. I wanted to call my family at that time but didn't know if it would be too early or if they might be up yet because of Ike. My sister texted me when their power went out about 8:25 a.m. We texted for a short bit then talked by cell phone before they lost their cell towers and then talked by land line until they lost that. I have not talked to my parents yet. I can't get a hold of them by cell phone or land line. My sister talked to my mom earlier but I haven't been able to get a hold of them yet. I do know my parents are getting hit with a lot of rain and wind right now. They are right next to the eye of the hurricane right now (9:15 a.m.) and a thick band is going over them. When I talked to my sister earlier they were in between bands so they weren't getting hit hard at that moment. But they already had their generator up and running. Their back yard is full of limbs and their shop has been hit by limbs but so far their home is okay. Their neighbors house behind them had a tree fall on it this morning around 5:00 a.m. They are not home so she called 9-1-1 and the sheriff came out. I was just able to talk to my sister again by cell phone and a tree in a neighbor's yard fell on the power lines and that caused them to lose land lines. She said everyone was outside right now getting generators running and dealing with debris and everything else. Roger found a website where you can watch the four major Houston and Galveston television channels at the same time and listen to one or all of them. And all the areas they cover are getting hit hard by Ike and I'm amazed at the really not smart things people are doing right now during this storm. They knew it was going to be bad and they were forced to evacuate but they didn't and now they are begging for help but help can't get to them. It's crazy over there. All we are getting right now is some wind maybe 30 miles an hour but no rain yet. My mom just called me on her cell phone (9:40 a.m.). Their power has only gone out off and on but so far they have all power and phones. My dad might have been on the internet this morning when I was trying to call earlier. They are getting a lot of rain and wind but not much damage. Her uncle's funeral was scheduled for today but she's not driving in this weather so I'm sure not many other people are either. I'm sure they rescheduled it. My sister's about to get it hard. The eye wall is about to pass them by about 30 miles. So they are in for a doozy. Speaking of doozy, I looked up online how to spell doozy to make sure I spelled it correctly and the first result in my Google search was hilarious.

Sep 12, 2008

Austin Missed By Ike

Well, it looks now like Ike is heading straight to Houston. And it's going to be bad. All the reports online and on television are making Ike to be worse than Katrina. But what's crazy is so many people are going to ride it out. And it's because they are being told to by officials. Last I heard Houston wasn't going to open the contra lanes until in dire straights. Didn't we learn anything from Katrina or Rita? Better safe than sorry if you ask me. But I'm way over here in Austin where Ike will skim by so what do I know about hurricanes. We may get some rain now and the winds might hit 70 miles an hour. So I'll bring the patio furniture cushions in today. My sister and her family on the other hand are right in the current line of Ike in Angelina County, north of Houston. They have stored everything outside in their huge shop in their backyard. They have stocked up on all their "hurricane party" supplies. I'm pretty sure they have a generator also. Roger heard this morning the Houston electric company is expecting one million people to be out of power for up to a week. All schools and non-essential businesses have closed in Brazos County, west of Houston, where my parents live. Most schools in the path of Ike are closed today. Even Austin schools are closing early today to prepare for the traffic of evacuations and many schools will be used for sheltering evacuees. Only the low lying areas have been forced to evacuate. Of course, there are those people who refuse to leave. I'll be praying for them and everyone else in Ike's path.

Sep 10, 2008

Yikes Ike!

The current projected path for Hurricane Ike will hit around Corpus Christi, Texas early Saturday morning as a category 3 hurricane and then move as a tropical storm west to San Antonio then straight north to Austin and beyond. The weather folks are predicting 70 mile an hour winds once it reaches Austin. 88 counties have already been declared disaster areas and mandatory evacuation is being considered. Around 500 special needs patients are being flown to Reed Arena at Texas A&M University today. Most of the coastal areas of Texas are getting ready for the worst. So we're in store for an eventful weekend. I know this is selfish, but I hope my Friday swim won't be affected by the storm. It started to get very cloudy as I was swimming this morning and I had to wonder if I would be able to swim Friday. My triathlon is only two and a half weeks away. Of course, all these predictions of the path of Ike could change several times a day until it actually hits, so we'll wait to see where it really goes.

Sep 9, 2008

One More Step And A Praise Report

Today we completed another step towards the construction of our new house. We met with our design counselor for five hours and made about 40-50 upgrades and options to our house. It was a lot of fun in the end but kind of scary since you're making decisions from very small samples and you won't get to see the real result for six months. But it also added a little bit of excitement to the process. We were quite shocked that we came in under our budget with everything we needed, wanted and desired so we added two luxury items and we were still just over our budget by a tiny bit. So we are completely ecstatic about it and can't wait to see the finished project. You can see a few of our selections in a set called New House on Flickr. We will be posting pictures as the construction takes place.

Our next step is to finalize our loan approval and then another meeting to make sure the builder has all our selections correct before they break ground. We met with a real estate agent last Thursday and were very pleased with him and what he had to say about our current home and putting it on the market. We are going to wait a bit before we do that so we have a chance to stay in our home as long as possible. Stay tuned for more news on the house.

On an even greater note... Our friend Yoli, who had the double mastectomy a couple weeks ago, received her pathology reports today and all except one showed no sign of cancer!! The doctors got it all out and the chemotherapy did it's job. The only pathology report that showed cancer cells were from the inner breast which was removed in the surgery and there's nothing to worry about there. Praise the Lord it's all gone! She is still recovering but doing well. She will begin radiation therapy in about a month. Thank you for praying for her, her family and her doctors.

Aug 31, 2008

New House?

Roger and I have been talking for years about moving up to a bigger home and when it came up again we decided to act instead of talk. We started praying for the Lord to guide us on the decision. We were thinking we would be ready to move in 4-6 months. And recently we started looking at homes just to see what's out there, the costs, the square footage, how much work they would need and the areas we are interested in. We looked this week at existing homes for sale and found a few we were interested in and had lots of potential. Most would need at least $20K to make them livable to our standards and all of them had something we didn't like or were major contentions against them.

We never completely ruled out new homes but this week we decided to check out some of the new subdivisions popping up around here in our price range. And yesterday we went and looked at two subdivisions, one practically in our existing neighborhood and another one almost four miles south of our current house. The first one gave us an idea of what we were in store for, but we weren't completely satisfied. Their standards were below our minimums and would cost us way more to get it at least to our current homes' standards. So we ventured over to the second subdivision and I'd have to say we were blown away. Their standards are our minimums. We wouldn't have to upgrade almost anything to get everything we wanted and more. We loved a particular floor plan and found a lot we liked. The prices, incentives and discounts were great. We ended up staying hours longer than we expected. We drove around the neighborhood several times and before we left and it seemed way more friendly than our current neighborhood. People were out everywhere walking around, socializing with other neighbors and lots of people waved at us when we passed by. We rolled our windows down because it was quite pleasant out and drove around slowly to hear how loud or busy it was on a Saturday night. It was so quiet! It's practically out in the country for Austin (for now, at least).

We talked a lot about it last night when we got home and over dinner. We weighed the pros and cons and there aren't many cons. We did a bunch of research and compared the house to the potential existing homes we found and we just can't beat what we'd get with this new house. This would be a home for us that we could live in for a long, long time. We prayed many more times about it and we're still praying for the Lord to close the door if it's not His will. So we're going today to put down the earnest money to lock in the lot, the prices, etc. And after a design consultation, meeting with a realtor about our house and lender, we won't have to worry about it for six more months which is exactly when we felt like we would be ready to move. We are excited about the process and watching it be built. We are excited about what this bigger home will mean for what God has in store for us next in terms of family, friends, neighbors and how He wants to use us. Please pray for the Lord's will to be done. We'll update you later on what we finally decide to do... Thank you.

Aug 29, 2008

Praise God Yoli's Surgery Went Well

From her husband Matt:


This is Matt writing from the dark hospital room where my bride currently sleeps. Yes, she had the surgery!!! All I can say is, God IS faithful! We arrived this morning at 1030a to check in. Yoli was a bit emotional as was I, but we prayed a lot, and I read to her Isaiah 54 which is the chapter in the Bible that has given her strength through this trial. Just before 1230p, we met with the surgeon, and then a few nurses, and before we knew it she was given a relaxed medication through her I V. They asked her to lay down, and said "here we go, are you ready?" It all happened so fast. Yoli got into the bed, and was rolling down the hall before we knew it. I walked her to the point where I could go no further, and was assured by the doctors that she would be taken care of. I gave her a kiss, told her that I loved her, and off she went through the double doors which led to her long awaited surgery.

I have to say, no one wants to see their spouse wheeled into surgery. But as the doors closed behind her, I prayed and knew that she was in God's hands, and not the hands of Kaiser. I have to say, I took about 10 minutes to cry and pray before I went to the waiting room where some close friends and family gathered. I communicated a lot through text, letting everyone know that she needs prayer, and paced around a bit. We were advised that the surgery would take 2.5 hours, and that the doctor would come and find me when he was finished. Well 230p came and went. 3pm came and went, and around 330p I went to check and see what was happening. I was advised that they were still in surgery. I walked away, and down a hall I've never been before. The surgeon was supposed to come out a door the opposite direction, but I felt led to walk down this hall, and began to pray. I stopped half way down and opened my Bible and again, began to read Isaiah. When I was finished I continued walking down the hall, away from the waiting room, and asking the Lord, please finish this surgery quickly so I can see her. Guess who I nearly ran into? Her surgeon! Walking out a door, opposite of the door he was supposed to walk out of, and in front of me he stood. He advised me that Yoli was still in the OR (If you watch Greys Anatomy you'd know that means operating room) and that she was stable through the entire surgery. They said it went well, and they took a sample of her tissue around the "infected" area and it was CANCER FREE!!! Praise God! They also took out her left limp nodes and will have results of those in about a week. But we already know and believe that those too will be cancer free. He said that she's be going to recovery and I should be able to see her in a few hours. As soon as he walked away, I lost it. I began to cry with relief that all had been done. The surgery we had waited for, prayed for, and prepared for was over and even more important than anything else, she was okay and we had great news. After this I lost it a few more times. and so did everyone else around me. You'd think we heard bad news, but in fact it was the opposite. Relief. Prayers answered. It was a feeling I think we had all waited for, for the past 9 months.

Well, a few hours went by and nothing. Again I began to wonder what was happening? So I followed my nose. I began to walk in another area. An area that the doctor would normally come to, and here he is again. Standing in front of me. He asked if I had seen my wife yet? No I responded. And he asked me to follow him. After a few turns, there she was. Sleeping as peaceful as could be. Color was good in her face and she looked content. Yoli didn't wake up right away, but did a little while later and there I was along side her mom and dad. At that point we waited for her open room. We had prayed that she would get a private room, but they couldn't assure us anything. However we knew that either way, it would be in God's plan and we'd be content. Low and behold, a private room was available.

After getting settled her family and I were in the room. She was hungry so she ate some killer hospital food. Hmmm....maybe killer and hospital shouldn't be in the same sentence huh? Anyways, I was being sarcastic. It was okay, but more than anything she liked the ice chips, jello, pudding, and a peach her sister had brought.

A few moments ago the nurse drained her tubes of the blood and water, and said she'd doing well. In a few hours they're going to wake her up and have her sit up on her own. 4 hours later they will have her walk to the restroom, and ensure she can do that every 4 hours. If all is good, she may be able to leave tomorrow night. But we're not ready to push anything.

So, today was a long but successful day for Yoli, and more importantly for our Lord and Savior. I have to say, it's not luck. It's not chance. And it's not good thoughts that brought her to this place today. It's by the continued grace and mercy of our father in heaven. And by the healing power for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that she is where she is tonight. We serve a mighty God. Bigger than any circumstance. Greater than any medicine. He is a Great God!

If you'd like to visit Yoli tomorrow you are more than welcome. Again, I don't know how long she will be here. But if they do release her it will be later in the evening I think. So please, feel free to stop by at anytime. Yoli would love to see you.

Thanks for your prayers everyone. Praying works! I will update this tomorrow on her progress of healing.

Many Blessings,


Aug 28, 2008

Prayer Request For Yoli

Please lift up our dear friend Yoli, her surgeon Dr. Ahn, all the surgical team and nurses and Yoli's family today in prayer. Yoli is having her double mastectomy today at Bellflower Kaiser in Bellflower, California. After a month of recovery, she will begin radiation. She went through chemotherapy this past spring and summer. Thank you.

Aug 26, 2008

I'm Officialy Jobless.

Well, last Friday was my last day with Archstone. The project I was hired for in August of 2005 is slowly coming to completion. So much so that last year I went to part time from home which enabled me to go back to school and graduate this past May from college. But the work load has gotten so low it wasn't able to keep me employed but only less than part time. And I was hoping to have a new full time position by now. So I am officially jobless. I have been searching, but I'm holding out for what I hope is the job the Lord wants me to have. I would love to find a position in my field of study, but where ever the Lord wants me, I'll go. In the meantime, I'll continue to be a stay at home wife. I've always wanted to be a stay at home wife, but it doesn't help us get ahead and save if I don't work full time. So I ask you to keep me and my job search in your prayers. I've been here before and the Lord sent me to the best place for me at the time because He knew what I was about to go through and what I would need. I have complete confidence and trust He will do it again.

Aug 25, 2008

Thank Goodness The Olympics Are Over

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the 2008 Summer Olympics. This will be an Olympics that I don't think too many people will forget for a long, long time. The pageantry of the Olympics in China was unbelievable and at many times also sad. I, as many other people probably, have a new found respect for the resiliency and fortitude of the Chinese people. I liked what President Bush said during his interview by Bob Costas in Beijing that even if our governments, meaning the USA and China, have many differences and disagreements, he has enormous respect for the Chinese people. I loved being able to watch so many sports and events. Thank goodness for DVR/Tivo. It was all very exciting. Still I am so glad they are over because I am exhausted from staying up late every night watching it all. Finally we can get back to a normal schedule and get to bed early.

Aug 22, 2008

I Found My New Pool

Okay, the gym membership idea is out. I found my new pool. I'm not happy about having to drive there, but it's free, open year round and it's longer so I don't have to swim as many laps to go the same distance. I'm talking about Big Stacy Pool. I swam there once or twice about nine years ago when we lived in East Austin off Oltorf, but once we moved I stopped swimming all together. I swam this morning during the reserved adult lap swimming time, 6am-8am. It wasn't too busy at 7am. I was able to swim no problem, but not in a lane. Still workable. I met some really nice people. Interesting, but very nice. Too much talking though. I rested longer than I would have liked to during the break in my main set, but I didn't want to be rude. And I enjoyed talking with them. I even talked a lady into trying triathlon and doing the Ranger triathlon with me next year.

The pool is fed partially by an artesian well so it's 80 degrees year round. It comes out at 100 degrees but they mix it with city water to cool it down. Now in the dead of winter here, I'll let you know how warm it is. I do not like the cold. I remember when I swam there before that it was after the fall semester ended and my swimming PE class pool was closed so it was probably December when I swam and I remember steam coming off the water and it being cold when I got out of the pool.

And since the pool is 33 yards long instead of the usual 25 yards, I don't have to swim as many laps to go the same distance. Which means it's easier for me to keep up with counting my laps and I just feel like the time goes by faster. Plus this will be better for my training as I will be swimming more and pushing off the wall less. And my 750 meter time was faster than in my neighborhood pool. That's good. So today I swam 1980 yards (30-66 yard laps) which is 1810.5 meters or 1.125 of a mile. Not bad. I am really excited about swimming again. Yeah! What a great way to start the weekend. Thank you God for helping me get motivated again. And I'm home before 9:00 a.m. ready to finish the day. It sucked waking up at 6am (I know, wah!) but I feel great getting over a mile swim in early in the morning and moving on.

Aug 19, 2008


Out of six, only one U.S. athlete, Laura Bennett, came close to a medal in triathlon and she was a little over 30 seconds from bronze. The next closest American was Hunter Kemper who placed seventh in the men's triathlon. You can watch both the women's and men's online and rewind and fast forward through out the entire event. The starts, transitions and ends are more exciting than in between although the women had a crash during the cycling leg.

I didn't get to do my cardio workout yesterday because of all the rain we are getting. I'm not complaining about the rain. Believe me, we need it. We have been getting some good rain since Sunday. Our rain gauge in the back yard shows two inches and it's currently pouring down. But since I don't have a gym membership, I have no options for my cardio workouts and I hope this doesn't mess with my swims this week.

And speaking of my swims, my neighborhood pool shortened it's hours again this weekend and has no lap swimming times at all. So now I have to drive to another pool from 6am to 8am so I can swim until August 31st then I have to switch over to another pool from 5am to 8am until October 31st if I can handle the frigid waters of an all year round 68 degree spring fed pool. Then I'll have to join a gym in order to swim during the winter to be ready for the spring triathlons. I really need my own pool. It's the only thing I need from a gym. Although it is hard to run/ride in inclement weather so maybe a gym isn't such a bad idea. I just hate having to drive to workout. I guess I'll have to change my way of thinking on that one. Or buy a bigger house and have my own home gym. Hah! Yeah right. I've got a lot of research to do to find all the swimming options here in Austin.

The rain didn't spoil a free back to school concert we went to last night at The Grove at Southpark Meadows. I got to see one of my favorite Christian performers, Brandon Heath, and get his new album which is being released today. It was a little chilly because of the rain and I actually wore blue jeans. I even got a little chilly sitting outside for the concert so I was glad to have on jeans. We took a picnic dinner of homemade pesto-prosciutto-mozzarella sandwiches, chips and homemade chocolate cookies. It was delicious and the concert was nice. The rain might spoil a Round Rock Express game we're supposed to go to tonight. We'll see. We're taking our rain jackets and umbrella.

Boy, do I need the sun to come out and brighten my day. This rain is bringing me down.

Aug 18, 2008

Mexico Was Awesome!

We got back from Casa Hogar Friday afternoon exhausted, but elated. We had an amazing time on the mission trip. The work we were able to complete for the orphanage was a blessing to them and the time we spent there working and fellowshipping with the children and the couple that runs the orphanage was a blessing to us. We pray that we are truly transformed by God's love we experienced and felt there and continue to express and show it in our daily lives. We have begun to post some of the 522 pictures Roger took over the four days. We will continue to post more. I really hope we can go back to serve and support the wonderful things Isai and Maria are doing for these children.

Aug 12, 2008

Prayer Requests For Mexico

We're leaving this morning for our mission trip to the orphanage in Mexico. There are about 15 of us going from our church. I've briefly listed some prayer requests below. We'd really appreciate you praying for us. Thanks and see you in a few days.

Please pray for:
  • our safety driving there and back and across the border, in the heat, working on the repairs and with the food and water down there
  • us to be able to bless this orphanage as best we can, for us to have joy while we work and fellowship and to have peace with the repairs we can't get to this time
  • the children of the orphanage and the couple who run the orphanage to be blessed by us and for them to see God's love in us
  • us to be blessed by this service and for our fears and weaknesses to be drown out by the Lord's provision
  • (this is Roger chiming in) the Lord to take away my inhibitions when it comes to speaking Spanish so that I can be an effective communicator with the ninos
We might have a chance to blog while we're down there so check back. Adios!

Aug 8, 2008

I'm So Excited! (Again)

You know, it’s really hard to stay excited after you type a long blog post only to lose it all and have to retype it. This is why Roger always tells me to type it in Word first then paste it into Blogger. Ugh! Lesson learned babe. So here’s a recount of what I already typed. Sorry, it won’t be as exciting as the first time.

Okay, there are many things to be excited about today.

First, I did it! I swam 16.5 laps straight this morning. And in 20:08. Whew-hoo! I swam a total of 36 laps or 1820 yards which is 1.03 miles. I was so stoked, I celebrated by riding my bike 2.5 miles around the neighborhood. Guess I was still on an adrenaline high. I’m tired now, but happy. I wasn't able to do it Wednesday like I wanted because I tired myself out by racewalking six miles the day before instead of on Monday like usual. I really have to have a day in between to rest and stretch my muscles. But it's better late than never. I'll take it.

Second, many sports have already begun to compete, but today marks the opening ceremonies for the 2008 Summer Olympics. I can’t wait. We have our DVR set up to record the ceremonies (in HD!) and then we’ll set it up to record all the events we want to see. I know Roger wants to see the men’s road race tomorrow morning. It’s set for something like 1:30 or 3:30 a.m. online, so I know he won’t be up watching it then. I want to see as much of swimming as I can. I already have both the men’s and women’s triathlon events set up in my calendar with reminders. My favorite sports are swimming & triathlon, gymnastics and track and field. But I love all the stories from the Olympics. The hardships, the struggles, the successes. Like the story of the flagbearer the U.S. team selected for the opening ceremonies. That's what makes the Olympics, the Olympics. I just love the Summer Olympics!

Third, our dear friends Anthony, aka The Milkman, and his lovely wife Dawn are flying in this afternoon from Los Angeles. We get to spend this evening with them before they head out early tomorrow morning to Dallas for a wedding. I know Roger is excited about seeing Anthony. He was one of the groomsmen in our wedding. They’ve been friends seriously forever, like since kindergarten or something.

Last but not least, today I am finishing the last dress for the orphanage in Mexico for our church mission trip next week. Roger and I are both excited about it. We will be doing as many repairs to their buildings as possible. Roger has been tasked with getting as many of their computers working as possible. We will also be fellowshipping with the children as much as we can with cook-outs, crafts, singing and maybe swimming one day. I can’t wait. This is my first mission trip outside of the U.S. and my first orphanage. This is also my first opportunity to learn how to do that long term sewing project I mentioned a few days ago. I don’t want to go into too many details now (since I lost them all once already) but it’s part of a larger project I’m working on. I promise, I’ll give more details soon. I have made seven dresses total for some of the little girls in the orphanage. You can see pictures of them here or on the Flickr link to the right.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!