Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hosting A Holiday Door Decorating Contest

I can't believe it is Christmas time already!!  Lots of people have found my blog via a search for door decorating contests.  I wanted to add a few more to my blog and also add some 'rules' for a door decorating contest that you may want to follow.  Of course, no rules, everything is game is more fun, but some work places like to have rules. :)  You can change these rules up for other door decorating contests throughout the year like Rodeo, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, etc.

We choose volunteer judges to judge each door and gave them a small gift for judging.




This is the scoresheet that I created to tally up the scores. Each judge decides on a scale of 1-10 how many points to allot each entry.  The one with the most points, wins!


If you would like these sheets in word/excel format, please email me at steph53282 at yahoo dot com and I can send them to you.  I haven't quite figured out how to upload things and share them as a document!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Four Survey

I thought I’d round out this post with the “Four Survey” that’s been going around the blog world.  Here are my answers!  Join in!
 Four names that people call me other than my real name:
1.   Steph
2.   Sully
3.   Aunt Steppy
4.   Aunt Stephanie
Four jobs I’ve had:
1.   Childcare Center Worker (high school!)
2.   Event Analyst
3.   Accounting Assistant
4.   Accounting Coordiantor
Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
1.   Iron Jawed Angels
2.   Veronica Mars Movie
3.   Troop Beverly Hills
4.    Clueless (I had trouble coming up with a 4th one-I will have to revise this once I think about another one. LOL)
Four books I’d recommend:
1.   All the Harry Potter books!         
2.   The Crossfire Series
3.   The Lorien Legacies Series
4.   The Graceling Realm Series
Four places I’ve lived
1.   Nacogdoches, TX
2.   Abington, PA
3.   Houston, TX
4.   Dallas, TX
Four places I’ve visited:
Four places I’d rather be right now:
1.   A beach
2.   In bed, asleep
3.   Hanging with my niece and nephews/family
4.   Completing an item on my Bucket List
Four things I prefer not to eat:
1.   Cranberries
2.   Oysters
3.   Licorice
4.   Deer meat (poor Bambi!)
Four of my favorite foods:
1.   Salsa, Queso and Chips
2.   Watermelon
3.   Marshmallows
4.   Steak
Four things I’m looking forward to this year:
1.   A far away vacation
2.   Saving $
3.   Starting over
4.   Losing weight
Four things I’m always saying:
1.   Ummmm
2.   Sure
3.   Well, apparently

4.   I’m fine

Monday, December 8, 2014

Casttoos

On Thanksgiving afternoon we took my nieces and nephews to the park .  We were all taking turns sliding with my niece down the slide.  She was laughing and giggling, it was so cute!

Kali is very squirmy and does not like to sit still, but what 1.5 year old does?  I was sliding with her and she was squrimy and kicked out her leg.  It got caught between mine and the slide. :/  We couldn't stop because of the slide momentum and she broke her leg.  I felt so bad but everyone keeps saying it was not my fault and it was an accident.  I still feel like it was my fault. :(

Anyway, that is the back story as to why she has a cast on her leg at a year and a half.  My sister bought her cute Casttoos (cast tattoos) in the shape of candy!  My nephew broke his leg a few years ago and got Casttoos then.

They are super cute and easy to apply.  You just peel them off and use a blow dryer for 10 seconds to adhere them to the cast.

The only thing is that the images are huge for a little toddlers cast.  My sister ordered them and got the small size, but they are still overly large for a toddler.  There is a sizing chart on their website though.

You can even get them in the shape of whatever bone you broke!
Image taken from the Casttoo website


Kali is doing well with the cast, she can't walk on it but can stand up with one foot pointed like a ballerina.  She crawls around (hence the dirt on the top) with it just like before she learned to walk.  That kid doesn't let anything slow her down! :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Clarissa's Dirty 30!

One of my best friends, Clarissa, lives in Dallas and was turning 30 a few weeks ago.  Dallas is about 4 1/2 hours away from where I live and it is really far!  Clarissa had asked if I wanted to come up there and party for her 30th birthday, but I couldn't go.  I had actually made plans to go to a fish fry (what? who am I?) and didn't really want to make the long drive.  I was sad, but I send her some cookies to make up for it! Don't worry, I bought them, I didn't make them.
Yummy chocolate covered Oreo's!

Hector had called to see if I was going and I told him that I wasn't because I didn't want to drive that far and put that many miles on my car.  He said he would drive if I went with him and we could surprise her.  I thought it would be fun to surprise her, so I said yes!  I had to hurry and get dressed and packed before we left.  I don't know why I bother to be anywhere on time when it comes to Hector though, because he is NEVER on time.  EVER.  He picked me up over an hour late.  SMH.


Anyway, we were on the road and talking about stuff.   He was annoying and I wanted to strangle him by the time we made it to Dallas (in just 4 short hours).  I love Hector, he is one of my best friends, but man a 4 hour road trip with him is taxing. LOL.

We made it to Dallas and found a parking spot.  There was some sort of military ball that day and people were dressed up in evening attire. I was so jealous of their outfits!!  I need to find me a military man so I can recreate prom. :)
Leddy, Clarissa, Me and Laura. Could my hair BE any taller?!
We walked into The Library Bar and found them at a table.  Clarissa was so surprised and excited that we were there.  I am so glad that I was able to go.  Clarissa has always been there and will always do anything she can to help you.  We have been best friends since 2007 when she and I were planning Amber's baby shower together.  Man, times have changed! :)

After we got done at The Library, we went to Pete's Dueling Piano Bar and spent the rest of the night.
I think this is one of my all time favorite pictures!

Hector and I drove back the next morning after we had a late lunch with Clarissa and some other Driving Jacks alum friends of ours.  It was a fun weekend and I am very glad I was able to celebrate with Clarissa for her Dirty 30!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Rough Day

Last Monday was a rough day in my little world.  This happened:


It all started at 7 am when I woke up and took a shower.  The lights had started flickering while I was in the shower and even turned off completely at one point.  I got out of the shower thinking not much of the lights flickering because it had happened before and the maintenance said it was just a loose wire and easy to fix.  I figured I would call the maintenance later that day and tell them it was happening again.

So I was starting to heat up my breakfast of leftover chinese food (yes, I eat whatever leftovers I have for breakfast) and the microwave wouldn't turn on.  I checked to make sure it was plugged in (it was) but it wouldn't work.  About this time is when the washing machine started 'popping' with a power surge.  I ran to my neighbors house to see if anyone was home and when I got back the washing machine had started to smoke and you could see flames coming out of the bottom.

I called 911 and was told not to try to put out the fire myself and to get everyone out of the building.  I ran upstairs and was banging on my neighbors doors to get them out and everyone was coming out in the pajamas.   I had tried to call the apartment maintenance, but the line was disconnected when you try to call the emergency maintenance.  Luckily, my neighbor across the way works in the apartment office and was able to get the manager from the office.  The manager asked if everyone had been notified to get out of the apartment and I told her I got everyone out and she asked about the other side of the building.  OOPS!  I didn't even think about them.  Technically they are my neighbors and attached to my apartment, but for some reason they didn't even enter my brain to get them out.  I felt really bad, but luckily no one was hurt.

Firetrucks (about 3) and ambulances (1 or 2) started arriving.  They opened the windows and smoke started pouring out.  Luckily some very cute fireman were able to contain the damage to only the laundry room of my apartment.  There is smoke damage on my stuff, but nothing was damaged beyond repair.  Well, besides my washing machine.

On the bright side, no one was hurt and I got to see some hot fireman at 7:30 am. :)    I am just lucky that I was awake and at home during it or I wouldn't have an apartment.  I was going to stay at my parents house the night before, but decided to go home that day instead.  God kept me safe!  The fireman said that in about 10 minutes everything would have been gone.  Crazy!!!


After they got the washing machine out, they had to cut out sheet rock that was too hot.


My apartment complex is paying for the washing machine, so I didn't have to make a claim on my renters insurance.  I had to wash my clothes many times to get the smoke smell out.  The apartment complex also send someone over to clean my apartment.  I thought they were just going to clean out the soot and stuff from the laundry room and kitchen, but they cleaned the bathroom too!  Score!!!!

The important thing was that God knew what was going to happen and kept everyone safe.  I can replace stuff, but you can't replace people.  One of my biggest fears when I had Jabba was that something like this would happen and I wouldn't be home to save him.  I can't say 'luckily' that he had already passed and I didn't need to worry about him too, because oh how I miss him, but he is safe from flames in Heaven.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

What I've Been Up To. Vol 2

I’ve been slacking on writing blog posts lately, but honestly, when have I ever been great at keeping up with my blog?  Have no fear, here is a list of stuff that I have been doing lately!


Rockets vs. Spurs game
My friend Tracie was given two free tickets to the Rockets vs the Spurs game a few weeks ago. So fun!  It was only the 2nd ever Rockets game I have been to.  It was a pre-season game, but the Rockets still won!  Whoo-hoo!!


Houston Texans vs. Philadelphia Eagles
My brother in law got us tickets to the game.  We (me, my sister and bro in law) all love the Texans and my nephew loves the Eagles.  Three against one but we still lost.  BOOO!!  That’s ok, Hunter only gloated a little bit.  This picture is of me being sad that we lost and Hunter being happy about it.  That kid! :)

 

Halloween pictures
Halloween was on the same night as the BOTPW cocktail party (see below) so I didn’t get to hang out with my nephews and niece.   However, I have a few pictures!  We had a bee and a ninja turtle.  Hunter doesn’t like to dress up (never has).

(no picture) :(
BOTPW Cocktail Party
I was at a cocktail party for BOTPW on Halloween night (free food!)  Each year SFA and SHSU play a football game at Reliant Stadium.  They are both large rivelry schools, sot it brings out a large crowd of alumni and current students.  The night before the game, there was a cocktail party at the host hotel and you could mingle with other SFA alumni and faculty.  It was super fun! My friend Teri met up with me and afterwards we went shopping. 


“Awesome” 
I was over at my dad’s house and hanging out with my nephew, Cole.  We were playing with all the toys and he added all these cars to this village thing.  He was so proud of himself and said “We should take a picture of how awesome this is.”  So I did!  Totally awesome dude.


Texans Shoes

Did you know I can paint?!  Ha!  Well, I have been wanting some Texans shoes that I saw on Etsy, but they were $100!  I was not about to pay $100 on something that I ‘thought’ I could make.  I made a pair and they didn’t turn out too bad, but they aren’t perfect.  I like them though.


Too Early?
Is it just me or is it too early for Christmas trees to be put up!  My church had all of their decorations up this past weekend and I thought it seemed to early.  Maybe it's just me that thinks that!  I think the tree is beautiful though. Houston's First always does a wonderful job on decorating for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Christmas Donations

Each year I try to donate a gift of some sort to a charity that helps people.  In the past it has been an angel tree, a box to the troops, animals, etc.  This year I am doing two different things (maybe three).  1.  I am giving two boxes filled with boxes to Samaritan’sPurse.  2.  Christmas gifts (several) to HFBC ChristmasStore.  3.  (maybe) A box of goodies for the troops serving in a foreign country such as Afghanistan.  

***I am showing you the boxes so you will know an example of what to put in them.  I am not trying to boast about what I am giving (which I personally think defeats the purpose of doing good).  I am donating other stuff, but I don't want anyone to think I am bragging about I am donating.  I honestly don't have much to give, but I want to share some resources for others to give.


 I used some boxes that I had at home.  Note that you won't get your boxes back.  Some drop off locations have boxes you can have.


Boys box includes:  Suckers (because what kid doesn't like suckers!), coloring book, crayons, socks, toothbrush, match box type cars.  They suggest starting off each box with a toy and adding other goodies-my toy was a set of cars.  There is enough of them that they can share with friends if they wanted to.

Girls box includes:  Suckers, coloring book, crayons, socks, tooth brush, hair bows, and a doll.  A note on the doll:  This is weird, but I didn't know what color of a doll to add. That sounded awful, let me explain.  When I was in Africa, a little girl started to cry because us white Americans came in and she hadn't ever seen a white person.  I know that the children will be appreciative of any doll they get, but I wanted them to have one that looks like them, so I chose a brown doll.  The pictures on the website all had darker skinned children.  I am REALLY hoping that this doesn't make me sound bad. LOL.





Want to donate yourself?  These are the places that I am sending my stuff to, but perhaps you have another place you like instead!  


Just donate something!  Make it a yearly tradition, even if you don’t have much to give.  I know I personally don't have too much to give, but every little bit helps.  Honestly, it’s not your money, it’s God’s money.  You are just doing work for him through it.  Think about this story:





My friend (I'm not sure if she wants me to use her name) tells a story about how when she was little her mom was struggling and could not afford Christmas.  She got a Smurf doll donated and was so appreciative about it.  She still tells that story about how she wouldn't have gotten a Christmas, but one person donated something that gave her mom hope.  So sweet!  

Monday, October 27, 2014

God Cheered Me Up With Diamonds

Last Saturday, 10/18, God cheered me up with diamonds!  Let me explain…



I am planning on moving out of my apartment towards the end of November and I also needed to donate Jabba’s stuff.  One, because I cannot  bear to look at all his stuff anymore and two, because another animal needs stuff, three, my heart isn’t healed enough to get another animal any time soon.  I have been gathering his stuff in a big pile so I could donate it to the local shelter, Citizens for Animal Protection.  I didn’t get Jabba at this shelter, I got him at the Pearland shelter, but this one is local and a nonprofit (Pearland is a government ran pound).  I am not sure if they are going to use his food for the animals, or if they are going to sell it at their pet shop, but it all goes to the animals!

My kid had collected quite a bit of stuff in the 3.5 years of his life with me.  I didn’t realize that he had so much stuff!  We had to bring all of it on a big cart since it was so much.   Some of it was:  ½ box unused litter, a case of wet food (metabolism food from Jabba’s diet), dry food, unused litter box, toys, grooming brush, catnip Treats, litter scooper and hand held litter broom, plus more that I can’t remember right this second. 

Anyway, as I was putting it all in the pile I was crying because I miss him so much!  I had to make two trips to my car because it was too much for me to carry.  On the way back to my apartment I looked down at the ground and saw a diamond ring on the ground.  Yes, a diamond ring!!!!  I need to get it appraised, but everyone I have shown it to says it’s real.  I would post a picture, but I need the owner to describe it if they call and I don’t want a phony call!

I called my apartment complex and let them know that I had found a ring.  They told me that I could drop it off and I said no way!  I was not about to drop off a diamond ring somewhere and hope that it finds the right owner, so I told them to have the person call me if they ask about it.  Of course they will have to describe it, but I will give it back if it is theirs.  I don’t want to keep it if the owner calls me.


So, God was trying to cheer me up with diamonds that day!  What a good God he is! :)


p.s.  Citizens for Animal Protects (C.A.P.S.) is having a raffle for a new Suburu.  Go here to enter the raffle!

Monday, October 13, 2014

One Month Gone

On Saturday, September 13th, 2014 my heart was broken in two when I came home to find my Jabba the Hutt had died while I was not home.  It’s been a month and I still can’t believe that he is gone.  I am not sure what happened or what time he passed, but all I know is that God needed him in Heaven more than I needed him on Earth.  (God must have needed him a whole bunch, because I am not sure what I am going to do without him).  
 
Hiding from the papparazzi :)
It took me awhile to write this post because I really didn't know what to say. Do I just write funny stories about him?  Post funny pictures?  Tell you what has been going through my mind for the past few weeks?  I'm still not sure, and I might end up updating this post or writing another one soon.  I just don't want to forget him, but I want to forget this awful feeling in my heart.  Is it OK to want to get rid of all his stuff because I can't bear to look at it?  Is it OK that I want to move out of my apartment because I keep staring at the spot that I found him?  Part of me wants to move, but part of me doesn't want to let go of the things that were his.  How can I leave the last place that he was?  Will it be harder to leave this place knowing that he died here, or will it be harder staying here with these memories?
 
Checking out this blog.  Jabba was a high tech cat.
I woke up that morning planning (to Jabba as normal) on going to a funeral that morning (my sister's sister in law passed away the Monday before-we were fiends too, we went to high school together).  I had taken a shower and brought Jabba outside so he could inspect his 'kingdom' like he normally does.  I always sit on the porch or steps and make sure he doesn't go outside his boundaries, but otherwise let him roam.  That morning it was raining outside, so we both just stayed on the porch. We stayed out somewhere between 15-30 minutes that morning, sometimes we have stayed out longer than that. I cannot remember exactly what happened that morning, but I either got up to go inside for a second to put something up, or I made him come inside so I could keep getting dressed.  I can't remember what happened and it hurts my heart to think that I might have made him come inside on his last day.  It already makes me sad that he couldn't roam his territory that morning because of the rain, but if I made him come in, that would make it worse.


I finished getting dressed and gave him treats.  I told him bye and walked out the door, never to see him alive again.  I went to the funeral and to my grandparents afterward.  I stayed at my grandparents for a while and left around 7:30 or 8.  On the way home, it was weird. Something in my mind kept telling me over and over that I needed to be prepared if something were to happen to him and what I would do.  I kept telling myself (or the voice in my head) that nothing was wrong with him and he would be with me for a long time. 


I got home and turned on the light right inside the door.  Jabba normally is either on the couch or somewhere in my room and he comes running around the corner to greet me.  I put my purse down and called him, thinking it was weird that I hadn’t heard him. I looked up and saw him on the floor by the couch and I called his name, but he didn’t move.  I ran over to him and shook him, but I knew that he was gone.  I started crying and called my mom hysterically.  She kept trying to calm me down and told me to get out of the house, but I knew I couldn’t drive like that.  I was hyperventilating and sobbing uncontrollably.  My mom suggested I find a neighbor to help, so I did.  I have a few neighbors that knew Jabba and they came over to help move him.  My family kept calling, but I did not want to talk to anyone.  My sister called and said they were going to pick me up and I could stay at their house for a while if I wanted to and I could bury him at their house.


Jabba was my world.  I loved him so much and in an instant he was gone.  Jesus either needed him in Heaven more than I needed him on Earth, or he has something in mind for me that I couldn’t have Jabba for.   I never knew who Jabba’s old owner was (he was a rescue from the pound and was an owner turnover), but I believe he was an older man.  Hopefully Jabba saw him when he got up to Heaven (not like I would want someone dead, but I think the old owner had died/went into a senior citizens home and they gave him up).


We buried him in my sisters (big) back yard by a tree.  I had wrapped him in a flamingo beach towel and added his favorite toy (mousey).  I also wrote him a letter and added it to his (cardboard) coffin that my brother-in-law made.  I ordered a headstone on Etsy to put where he is buried.  Hunter and Cole both wanted to put flowers on Jabba’s grave, so we went back there and added them to it.  Cole didn’t quite understand why we were doing that and Cole kept saying “Why you’s crying?” and “Where’s Jabba?”  He’s only 3 and the concept of death isn’t something he quite grasps.


My friend Krista gave me a sweet necklace to remember him by.   It says ‘Jabba’ on one circle and ‘My angel with paws’ on the outer circle. I love it and try to wear it every day. I take it off when I take a shower and when I work out so it won’t get broken.  I am also planning on making a photo book of all his pictures that I have taken of him for the last 3.5 years.  My sister is better at making photo books, so I am sure I will recruit her to help me.


So, now it’s all about creating ‘new normals’.   I can sleep in past 5:11 am everyday and no one will be stepping on me and purring by my head to make sure he gets to eat.  I don’t have to worry about kicking him at the foot of the bed and I can eat a can of tuna without having him beg at my feet.  I can stay at friends and families houses without worrying about how he is doing or if I need to call a pet sitter to come and feed him.  Or when I had to go outside with him when it was hot outside or cold outside and he wanted to inspect his kingdom.


But honestly, I would gladly live through all of those ‘quirks’ about him that I used to find annoyingly cute.  I miss him so much and I want him back.  God has him now and I need to accept that.  It makes it easier knowing that he is up in Heaven,  but not so easy when I need a cuddle buddy or someone to talk to.  Jabba was always there no matter what happened in my life.


I know that I will never find another pet like Jabba (chill with a hint of brattyness).  I am going to take a loooooong time to let my heart open back up to an animal.  I know I should adopt another one to save the rescue population, but my heart just isn’t up for it yet.  I don’t want another animal until I can share the pain with someone, but doing this on my own is really hard.  I have fallen in a deeper depression this month than I think I have been in a long time.  I am trying to claw my way out of it by keeping busy and exercising, but depression is no joke. 
 
This was the last photo I took of him, a few days before he died.  My camera click had woken him up.  He was cuddling mousey in his sleep.

It has been a long 1.5 years and I am ready for things to calm down and for me to stopped being so stressed and heart broken.  Every day is a challenge and I am trying to get back on my feet.  I normally don’t post stuff about what I am going through on the blog, but I am just trying to keep it real. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Aerosmith Concert

A few months ago there was a groupon for the Houston Aerosmith tour and of course I snatched a ticket up.  My sister is a big fan so we both got them along with my friend Teri and Laura's friend Desiree.  We just had to wait until August came to check out the concert!  A few years ago we (me and Laura) went to the Aerosmith concert at the same place when they were touring with Kiss.


I had gotten off work that day and met Teri at the Wal-Mart in the Heights so we could ride together.  Laura and Desiree both live near the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion where the concert was held, so they just met there and had dinner.  I drove to the Woodlands and we found free parking!!!!  I am not sure if it is all free parking or not, but we found some at least! 

We found my sister and sat on the blanket with them to enjoy the concert. We sat on the lawn and had a blast!  The songs brought me back to my childhood where my parents would be listening to rock and roll music.  Now all they listen to is country!  What the heck happened to my rock and roll parents?! :)


At the end of the concert they came out to do an encore and also do the ALS bucket challenge.  Pretty cool. We had a blast and I highly recommend anyone go to the Aerosmith/Slash tour if it is coming to your area soon.