another cleaning moment. . .




So obviously this was a slow weekend be that that I’m blogging about beverage coolers and now my newly cleaned out hallway closet.  I come from a family of pack rats, mostly from Dad’s side of the family.  I’ve inherited this characteristic, but with tough love and determination, I’ve learned to control this habit that lives inside of me. 

I have the “if you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it” rule and it really is a good rule to live by.  Like chocolates and bath soaps, I’m not much for trinkets around the house and generally small things.  Maybe it’s because I have a child that puts everything in to her mouth, but I consider everything smaller than my fist a choking hazzard.  Now that I’m looking at my hand and thinking Ellie’s mouth surely isn’t that big, I’ll scale down my choking hazzard rule by and inch or two.

Spring cleaning came early this year and hopefully by the end of April, every drawer and closet in the house will be looked over and reorganized.  Again, obviously a slow weeken at the Casa de Tow.  Look for tomorrow’s blog of “How long has that potato salad been in the fridge?”


obsessive compulsive. . .



I don’t think of it as obsessive compulsive disorder, but more of an obsessive compulsive. . .ahhh, everything’s in order. The best quote I’ve heard in a long time comes from Bobby Flay (my secret crush because you have to love a man that cooks), “sometimes simplicity is just crazy delicious.” Granted he was talking about food, but I’ve started this in my daily life. I thinks it’s the simplicity part that I like the most. When there’s drama and clutter in your life, there’s stress. When you eliminate the drama and clutter, then you can think.

My life runs well when everything is in it’s place and I’m not spending the 18 hours I’m awake during the day cleaning and picking up after small children. I’ve now decided that my ultimate dream job is to be a Professional Organizer. Areas in my house are a little “Sleeping with the Enemy” I’ve been told, but even though Martin (Patrick Bergin) had some definite issues with Laura (Julia Roberts), his house sure was nice to look at. Okay, I’m not insane like he was, but a clean house makes me happy. Clean laundry that’s folded and put up makes me happy. Dirty dishes in the dishwasher makes me happy. Dustin and I always clean up the night before because who wants to wake up to cleaning in the morning??? I would rather stay up late and clean and sleep in a little in the morning. Plus, sleeping children make for faster clean up!

Going back to my OCD, we went on our bi-monthly trip to Lowe’s and Dustin worked over-time this weekend to buy me a beverage cooler. But not just any beverage cooler! It’s the Whirlpool 128-Can Capacity Beverage Center with tempered glass and stainless steel trim door, lighted interior, 4 shelves, electronic temperature control with blue LED readout not to mention a security lock on the door. I’m grunting like Tim the Tool Man Taylor on Home Improvement right now. I have found the 5th love of my life and it comes in a stainless steel finish. Dustin and the girls are 1st – 3rd (in no particular order) and then my refrigerator comes in at 4th.

We put everything we had in the cooler and then Dustin ran to the store to buy some more cokes because we finally had the room for it.  Right now, my beverage cooler, “Sally”. . .I’m kidding, I didn’t name it. . .is holding 23 V-8s, 21 Cokes, 17 random soft drinks (Coke Zero, Cherry Coke Zero, Sprite Zero, Cherry 7-Up, Creme Soda and Root Beer), 32 Capri Suns, 11 strawberry flavored water bottles and 1 Keystone Beer. I think the irony of my wanting and waiting for this beverage cooler for three years is that besides a Vanilla Rum and Coke Zero which I’ve traded for Whiskey Sours or an upset stomach requiring crackers and Sprite Zero, I only drink water. But isn’t that the life of a mom? Wanting something so bad and it not even be for herself?!? I really just wanted to regain control over my fridge and get all the cokes out that were taking up so much room!

attention Red Robin. . .

All Emma wants is for people to sing “Happy Birthday to You” all day and every day. She doesn’t ask for much, so I think next year will be a pretty cheap gift if we remember this. Emma was so funny because she just stood there as 7 or 8 employees/complete strangers sang a song and put her name in the song. Her facial expression was a cross between, “I can’t believe this is happening” and “Just like with clowns, I’m a little creeped out.” That’s my girl!

it’s my birthday. . .














Since Dustin had school on Tuesday (Emma’s actual birthday), we took her out for a family birthday dinner last night.  She of course wanted Red Robin because when Daddy went there, he got ice cream because it was his birthday.  To a 4-year-old, the food could be horrible, but if there’s ice cream, it’s a winner in their books.  But, it doesn’t hurt that the burgers are pretty good either.  Emma rates a restaurant on whether you get ice cream, a balloon or a teenager dresses up like a cartoon character and comes to your table or is somewhere within viewing distance from your table. . .needless to say, it was either Red Robin or Chuck E. Cheese. 

The first three pictures is our stop at Pet Smart before dinner to get a dog carrier.  Nana and EMMA bought ELLIE a little stuffed animal and EMMA named the dog “Connie” after the gas station Conoco because EMMA wanted to name the puppy and Nana drove down the street saying names and EMMA kept saying no and Nana resorted to reading bill board signs and business signs.  EMMA “gave” Connie to ELLIE, but has somehow received sole custody of Connie.  Connie has joined Pooh and Petey in EMMA’S bed for naps and night time and EMMA thought Connie needed a cage to sleep in at night.  ELLIE is allowed to look at Connie through the cage door, but is not allowed to touch her puppy.  I don’t think EMMA understands the gift “giving” part just yet.  Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for the birthday money!!  You made a little girl and her sister’s stuffed puppy very happy.

The girls were so good and it wouldn’t be a trip to town if we didn’t go to Lowe’s and Starbucks.  I know, I know, I made fun of you people that drive down the street drinking your $5 coffee, but if you do it once a week, there’s no shame in that.  Now if you go to Starbucks everyday, you might as well buy all the equipment and have your own Starbucks right in the comfort of your own home.  Anyway, I sound like the biggest hick when I order my grande Chai Tea Latte no water, with whipped cream.  It comes out  CH-HIII TEEEE LAAAA-TAAAYYY.  I really do hold the words for that amount of time because it’s like when someone doesn’t speak English, you enunceate slower and usually louder.  They didn’t say they couldn’t hear you, they don’t understand you.  After another eventful trip to Lowe’s and another $400 put on the Lowe’s card, we were headed home to the town where everything shuts down at 8:00 p.m. and there’s no traffic. . .ahhhh home sweet home.

Emma’s Birthday Day O’ Fun. . .


Breakfast in bed for the birthday girl, if you want to call a cereal bar and strawberry milk breakfast in Mama’s bed. . .


Emi and Emma on their way to gymnastics.  I’ve seen another have a similar form of “creative” fashion. . .was it this child’s mother???


I hate the lighting in this building, it makes the pictures horrible.  This is Emma’s, “Did you see me Mama??  Did you see my kick up??” followed with a thumbs up.  I was so proud of her!  It really was her best kick up.


The hiney in the air belongs to me.  I think that was Emma’s 11th or 12th roll over.  When I got dizzy from watching, I quit counting. . .


Another pass of roll overs. . .


Emma’s really come a long way since her first semester.  She couldn’t even walk on the balance beam without holding Miss Brandi’s hands and now she’s the one that goes first to demonstrate.  Again, proud Mama.


Nana and Papa took us out to lunch and Emma got a vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and a cherry.  She was so excited because it was just like when Daddy had his birthday at Red Robin.


A rare picture of me.  It’s only right that the other person in the family never to have a picture taken of him is taking this picture.  Thank you Papa-razzi.


I swear it took her 20 minutes to eat this ice cream.  It’s a shot glass, don’t you know how to take a shot. . .wait, she’s only 4-years-old. . .


Yep, I’m 4-years-old today.


This is just a cute picture of my 4-year-old. . .


More of Emma enjoying her ice cream.  What you don’t see is Ellie rubbing her belly for “please,” poor girl. . .


Done!  Can we go to the mall and get a cookie???


Cleaning the macaroni and cheese of Ellie’s face or better yet cleaning Ellie’s face of the macaroni and cheese was tickling her. . .


Play time at the mall.  Bare feet, snotty kids and sticky hands. . .the girls had a blast at this breeding ground for planter’s warts and the flu!


If I could put this in my house, I would.  This was the girls’ favorite slide.


A nice profile of Ellie and her Pebbles like hair. . .and she didn’t pull it out all day, again proud Mama. . .


Her facial expression doesn’t look like she’s happy, but Emma was pretending to fly the helicopter.  When I got the camera ready, she sort of became a bump on a log. . .time for a cookie!


Go potty, check.  Buy pretzel sticks instead of cookie, check.  Buy the biggest sonic strawberry lemonade to wash down pretzel sticks, check.


Ellie’s passed out and Emma’s showing me her “wide awake” face.


Yep, six hours later and she’s still 4-years-old. . .in true Emma fashion, we’re having our celebratory Schlotzsky’s cheese soup and sour cream & onion chips.  I love my child!


Okay, so Emma will get her cake at her birthday party, but I couldn’t let her go all day without singing her Happy Birthday and blowing out some kind of dessert with candles. . .


Pooh celebrated with us and even joined us for dinner on this special occasion.  Explaining to Emma why Pooh can’t join us tomorrow night for dinner should be fun.  I wonder if arguing still happens with 4-year-olds???


Mmmmmm. . .good birthday chocolate chip cookie. . .


Even Ellie got a birthday sugar cookie. . .


Daddy called to say Happy Birthday again just in case he wouldn’t get out of class before Emma went to bed. . .

You really should live in my house when it’s your birthday.  Okay, let me rephrase that, you should really have me for a Mama that gave birth to you when it’s your birthday because for the most part, anything goes.  It’s really the one time a year that routine, rules (somewhat) and naps are thrown out the window and the birthday girl gets to plan every detail of the day.  Today was hands down one of the best days I have ever had.

Apparently Emma somehow read my previous post about getting a good night of sleep because she slept in til after 9:00 a.m.  We went all day long and didn’t even get home until almost 6:00 p.m.  I think we were at the mall for 3 1/2 hours doing exactly what Emma wanted to do, mall walking.  We went potty, shopped, played on the play ground, shopped, ate pretzel sticks, went potty, shopped, etc.  The girls were so good.  No throwing fits when we left the play area, no cranky, sleep deprived children, this really was a great day!

What does it cost to make a 4-year-old have the best birthday:

~lunch (Nana and Papa’s treat)

~pretzel sticks ($2.99)

~strawberry lemonade (free – still using Christmas giftcard, thanks Mom)

~overpriced pink hiking boots for Petey from the overpriced Bear Mill ($11.98)

~Schlotzsky’s celebratory birthday dinner ($11.82)

TOTAL:  $26.79

For leaving the house at 10:00 a.m. and not getting home until 6:00 p.m., I spent $26.79 in eight hours, roughly $3.35 ever hour I was gone.  Not too bad having one of the memorable days I will ever have and not having to break the bank.  Funny how seeing Emma and Ellie have such a great day and you don’t have to spend alot of money makes those memories priceless.

what a big girl she is. . .


All he could think about was I’m too young for this.
Got my whole life ahead.
Hell I’m just a kid myself.
How’m I gonna raise one.

All he could see were his dreams goin’ up in smoke.
So much for ditchin’ this town and hangin’ out on the coast.
Oh well, those plans are long gone.

I would never think that Emma was a mistake, she just came a little earlier than we expected.  My little girl turns 4-years-old in 1 hour and 9 minutes.  Four years ago, I was in the hospital almost in a dream like state. . .dream as in the worst pain ever as the epidural wears off in 1 hour and 6 minutes as they cut me open and get my 5 lb 15 oz baby girl out of me.  The dream like state was not knowing what was about to come.  The thousands of diapers, up all night holding a screaming baby and not knowing how to comfort her, etc.  But then every month got better, not necessarily easier, but definitely better.  By the time a new challenge was put in front of us, Emma would hit a milestone and we were so excited that we put the positive in front of the negative.

Emma went from being the baby to being the big sister this year.  She has taken on a new role and has been more than just my daughter, but my blessing.  We are so lucky to have such a good, little girl who has moments of “what were you thinking?” but then we realize she’s just 3-years-old.  But those moments are few and far between.

I never would have imagined my Princess Biker Chick to be the little drama queen she’s growing up to be.  But then again, she’s only three.  I think that’s my statement of the year. . .she’s only three.  Now that my statement has to change in 54 minutes, I wonder what this year holds for us.  Everyday Emma finds a new thing to accomplish, today’s was learning she could jump off the computer chair.  A little scary as I see Ellie watching her big sister and calculating every moment and then trying to crawl on the chair herself.  I’m thinking this year is going to be a challenging year for Ellie. . .

In 52 minutes, we will start Emma’s birthday celebration with a good night of sleep.  I’ll go in her room, turn the Angel’s music off and move it to the desk.  Check to see if she’s peed in the bed (almost four months with no accidents, another accomplishment), kiss her about 5 times on the forehead and cheek, “I love you baby.  Sleep so good and have such good dreams.  Have such a good day tomorrow, I love you so much.”  Then I’ll kiss my hand and touch Piggy, Pooh, Petey and Emma and tell them to watch over my Emma.  Two more kisses for Emma and then quietly whisper to her to let me know if she needs anything.  If this was any louder than a whisper, there’s an excellent chance I would be in there all night.  Amazing how I’ve done this routine for over two years, ever since she moved in to her big girl bed.  I have a feeling I’ll be doing this routine for many years to come only the stuffed animals will be replaced and the older she gets, it will be more likely that I’m making sure she’s home by curfew.  I would like to think that I did good being home by curfew. . .wait, wait, no, nevermind, but I would call and say we were watching a movie and ask if I could come home when it was over.  Little did my parents know that we were only 10 minutes into the movie. . .suckers. . .wait, do you think my sweet little innocent Emma will try this one on me?!?  If she’s smart, she’ll ask for Daddy or Mr. Tow as Jess and I tried many times to ask for Mr. Gibson. . .damn that caller ID.

This year will be filled with excitement, drama, adventure, drama, bumps and bruises, drama. . .do you see a trend?  It’s so exciting to watch Emma live each day to the fullest and discover new things.  If I could give my daughter something, it would be adventure.  Not the wild rivers infested with 10-foot long alligators, but to realize that she can make everything an adventure.  And she already does that.  Walking next door to her best friend’s house to go play.  The thrill of thinking how “big girl” she is, but I’m standing at the door and Emma waves at me and runs in Emi’s house and Emi’s Mama steps out the door and waves at me to let me know she’s made it.  What a big girl she is.  I think I’ve found my statement to start out in 34 minutes. . .what a big girl she is.

I love the Kenny Chesney song “There Goes my Life,” because to an extent it describes me with Emma.  No not the pregnant in high school before I was married and the “mistake” part, but I wanted to get out of here, I didn’t want to live in Texas.  I didn’t think about anybody else in my equation of life. . .and then I met the father of my children and everything changed.  I met the father, married the father, got pregnant (obviously still talking about the father) and had my little Emma in a very short time.  I can’t imagine my life any other way and wouldn’t change it.  In the words of my soon-to-be 4-year-old in 26 minutes, “This is the life.”  Happy Birthday Emma!  You don’t know how you’ve changed my life and I will always love you more than you could ever imagine. 

She had that Honda loaded down.
With Abercrombie clothes and 15 pairs of shoes and his American Express.
He checked the oil and slammed the hood, said you’re good to go.
She hugged them both and headed off to the West Coast.
And he cried,

There goes my life.
There goes my future, my everything.
I love you.
Baby good-bye.

Emma & Ellie’s Cafe. . .







Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought the girls’ kitchen would have granite countertops before my own kitchen.  With Ellie getting more brave each day and testing out the laws of gravity, I knew it wouldn’t be too far in the future before I’d see Ellie standing on top of their old kitchen or the old kitchen laying on top of Ellie.  And when you look online at all the cool kitchens they have for kids, I just couldn’t resist getting rid of my $4 garage sale kitchen and upgrading.

Needless to say, this was an excellent purchase!  Eventhough I’m still waiting on ONE small piece of the countertop to finish putting the rest of the kitchen together, the girls love it.  They have been playing with it everyday and Emma makes Ellie breakfast on Saturdays.  They take turns sitting on the bar stool (I don’t think I should call it a “bar” stool since it is for toddlers?!?) and the other one cooks the meal.  So far, I’ve been brought two eggs with cheese and asparagus accompanied with an avocado slice and a strawberry ice cream cone. . .uhh yum?!?  Emma usually throws in a tomato slice because that’s her favorite.  Here’s a few pictures of “Emma & Ellie’s Cafe.”  Like most Panhandle restaurants, their hours are little weird and they definitely close at 8:00 p.m.

~Check out the hole that the box had when it was delivered.  I tore it slightly, but I just can’t put my finger on why we didn’t receive one of the pieces???  And as soon as I turn on the camera and the little song notes play, Ellie immediately says, “CHEESE!”  I am so turning into the “Papa”razzi.~