Nov 17, 2010

Our Happy Ending (and Beginning) in Pictures

My aisle of Motorcycles

The Boys

The Girls

Trading heels for Harley Boots

Sitting on our Bike

Everyone Together

Nov 16, 2010

Wedding Day Circa 2002

What you may have missed...

Love at First Dance?
The One That Wasn't Meant to Be - Cara 
Photographic Evidence
The One That Wasn't Meant to Be - Clint
So We Meet Again
Starting Over
1200 Miles From Home

Clint and I approached our wedding the way we do most things in our lives.  This was our special day, and if someone didn't like that we were having a wedding while I was 7 months pregnant, well then they could just suck it and not come.  Our wedding was to be a reflection of us as individuals and as a couple.  We would never have pulled it off however, with out the help of family.  Especially Clint's mom who made both my dress and all my bridesmaids dresses.  And since they were all in a renaissance style, I convinced Clint and the groomsmen to wear puffy shirts.  I stopped short at the tights though and let them wear black jeans.  It would have been really funny though!

Clint and the boys spent the morning cutting up and generally annoying Clint's sister Misty (who helped out so much and did most of the decorating with the help of my bridesmaids) by throwing roll of tape across the pavilion.  They got so out of hand she finally told them to leave!  They ended up coming to the house to pick up the flowers.  When Jeremy (groomsman and Clint's childhood friend) opened the door to the house, the cat Pepe ran out.  So he called to my mother-in-law..."Your pussy's loose!"  He has yet to live that one down.

While all this was going on, I was in the final stages of getting myself ready.  I was starting to worry a bit since my bridesmaids had not made it back yet from setting up (and didn't until 45 minutes until it was time to leave).  I really started freaking out when everyone was getting ready to leave and my dad, my ride hadn't made it there yet.  Of course I started crying and make up had to be re-touched, but it all worked out.  My dad made it there and we were off to make my grand entrance.  I arrived in style in a Z-28 T-top Camero and walked down an aisle of motorcycles to my love waiting for me in his puffy shirt.

The ceremony itself was my least favorite part of our day.  We had decided to keep it short and it was only 15 minutes long, but during that 15 minutes the pastor talked about giving money  to the church no less than 4 times.  We had chosen to use a pastor from Clint's parents church since we weren't established at one at that point.  This was one of those mega-churches and they were in the process of breaking ground on a bigger and better facility.  We were not impressed and my in-laws stopped going to that church shortly there after.

When the ceremony was over it was time to have a party!  We had brisket and turkey legs for everyone to eat.  We danced with each other, our parent and our friends.  And then everyone at once.  I probably didn't sit down for more that five minutes the entire evening and that was to eat.

We left to go to our hotel around 10 happy and exhausted (and starving).  We ordered room service and watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding while Clint spent a good 30 minutes pulling pins out of my hair.

We didn't get to go on a honeymoon, we had to be back to help Clint's sister move the next day and I had to be back at work on Monday.  We have since made up for it with all of our trips and travels.

Clint, I just want to let you know how much I truly love you.  We have hit some bumps along the road in our 8 years of marriage, but nothing like the obstacles we faced in the beginning.  I cannot imagine what my life would be like without you in it.  I would certainly be less fashionable and likely would have buckled under with many of the issues from my family.

You are my provider, lover and best friend.  I cannot wait to see what the next years hold in store for us.

I love you!

Nov 15, 2010

1200 Miles From Home

Not caught up yet?  I'll give you a minute.

Love At First Dance?
The One That Wasn't Meant to Be - Cara
Photographic Evidence
The One That Wasn't Meant to Be - Clint
So We Meet Again
Starting Over

My time there was filled with experiences I never expected to have.  Like being a waitress/beer tub girl in a country bar, getting to know and actually considering an ex-convict a good friend, owning my first motorcycle and the one and only Bike Week.  It seems like there was so much that happened in just over a year.  I have picked just a few moments out of time to share.

Labor Day weekend of 2001 saw me moving to Florida on my own.  Clint wasn't quite done with his job and I was transferring within my company to another apartment property that needed an assistant manager a month ago.  No big deal.  It would be an adventure.  I hopped in the truck with the dogs, my mattress and 19" TV and not much else.

I had been adjusting to my new surroundings for exactly one week when as I was opening up the office, making the Otis Spunkmeyer cookies and coffee, I turned on the TV in the resident lounge area.  The top news was that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings.  Everyone was scrambling to find out what was going on when on live TV I saw the second plane circle around and purposefully fly directly into the other tower.  The news continued to unfold the most devastating news of my lifetime over the remainder of the morning until the owners of our property decided to send us all home for the remainder of the day.
The next several days filled me with anxiety.  I was all alone in a new place with no cell phone service.  I was a nervous wreck until Clint showed up unexpectedly.  He had decided to leave a week early, just one day before the tragedy to surprise me.
In late November of that year our friends in Texas called to let us know they were having a baby.  We were on our way to the airport when we got the call as I was going to Atlanta on a business trip.  I started counting as soon as I got off the phone.  Then, I check my calendar when I got on the plane.  I had the whole flight to worry about the possibility.  When I finally reached the hotel, I checked in and then went in search of a store.  I needed a pregnancy test.  My suspensions were confirmed.  We were having a baby.  I was not sure whether to be excited or scared.  I was definitely worried about telling Clint.  I shouldn't have been.  Somehow he knew the second he got on the phone.
Just a few weeks later I started spotting at my company's Christmas Party and miscarried later that weekend.  The way Clint supported me through the emotional aftermath confirmed what I already knew deep down.  Clint was my future.
My doctor advised after the miscarriage to wait at least 3 months before trying again if that was what we wanted to do.  So we sat down in April and had the conversation.  Yes, we did want children, but our situation at that time wasn't right for it.  We knew we wanted to get married when we got back home to Texas, about a year later and we wanted to be surrounded by our family and friends.  So we would wait.  I got pregnant with Angelique the same night of that conversation.  We decided to wait a little while to tell anyone this time mostly because I was nervous.  That changed Mother's Day weekend.  I received a package in the mail from Clint's mother.  She had started making a blanket as soon as she found out about the first pregnancy.  She had said in her letter that she knew there would be another baby someday for us.  At that point we had to call her up to let her know that should would be a grandma sooner than later.
We also called Clint's grandma to let her in on the news.  Her response was my absolute favorite ever.  She told him, "Well honey, I knew if you kept trying, you'd get it right someday".

We also got engaged in May.  We had gone to the mall to look at rings and try to figure out what to get.  I was looking at a 1/4 carat princess cut while he was pointing out a 1 carat marquis.  I told him I could never wear anything that large.  I would be happy with something smaller.

When we got back home I was laying down, contemplating a nap when Clint told me he had a surprise for me.  It was hidden somewhere in our apartment and my clue was moo.  I spent the next half hour looking under bells, checking the milk, cheese and yogurt in the fridge, looking in jacket pockets and shaking shoes.  I gave up and he told me I had a one point been close.  So, I started my search again only to come up empty handed, again.  I was frustrated and crying on the bed when Clint took me into the closet, picked up one of his dress shoes and pulled out a box.

Clint proposed to me in our bathroom while I was bawling and getting on to him for being so mean to me.  He had bought the ring in March and was waiting for us to go home Memorial Weekend to have all our friends around us, but with my emotional state figured it was better to do it with just the two of us.  Oh yeah, it was a 1-1/4 carat marquis that I had told him was too big.  I got over that though.
I moved back to Texas and in with Clint's mom and step dad 6 months into my pregnancy in order to keep my job (gotta keep the insurance when you're having a baby) and plan our wedding.  Clint stayed in Florida to finish his last month of school.  We were getting married one week after graduation!

Nov 12, 2010

Starting Over

Not up to date on the story?  Missed one?  Go check it, I'll make it easy for you:

Love At First Dance?
The One That Wasn't Meant to Be - Cara
Photographic Evidence
The One That Wasn't Meant to Be - Clint
So We Meet Again

After all of the events that transpired over New Years, I was bound and determined to start anew.  No more staying in a relationship because it was familiar.  I went out on a first date for the first time in nearly 3 years and it felt good.  I hadn't not been in a relationship since my senior year of high school and I was less than 2 months from my 21st birthday.  I was embarking on finally taking my mother's advise and "sowing my wild oats".

Clint did finally talk LJ into giving him my phone number.  When he called he brought up the fact that I failed to give him my number himself.  I had to remind him that he failed to tell me he had a live in girlfriend.  He then filled me in on parts of their story (which is far more extensive than he shared here) and that the fact they were still living together was just a matter of her finding somewhere else to live.  If they had still been together they would have been at the same New Year's party.  He had a point, but I was still sceptical.  So, I would talk to him when he called, but there was no way I was jumping into the middle of that kind of mess.

That January, I spent a lot of time hanging out with LJ at her house and going out with large groups of friends.  Safety in numbers type of thing.  Then, Clint started showing up for these group outings.  I had a feeling LJ was helping Clint along behind the scenes, but I was having nothing of it (well, almost nothing).  One night - in January (yes, even in Texas it gets cold in January), he rode his motorcycle across Houston in 32 degree weather.  Everyone at the house went out to check out his bike and ohh and ahhh over how nuts he was.  I kept my happy ass right there inside where it was warm.  His attempt to impress had failed (I know I was being bitchy, but he kinda deserved it after New Years).

It was probably about the 3rd week in January when he finally broke down and officially asked me out on a date.  I've told that story in detail before and if you want to read it go here.  It was a great evening, if not a bit odd, but I felt truly embraced (literally) for who I was, not only Clint but also his friends.  I lost all mine in the was one of Bryan's provisions.

I think it was one weekend after that when Clint stayed the night with me at my apartment.  We were woken early in the morning by something hitting my window.  I lived on the 3rd floor!  Clint looked out the window and informed me some goofy asshole was throwing rocks at it.  Well shit!  The goofy asshole was Bryan and he definitely knew I had an overnight guest.  I went down stairs to see what he wanted.  He was livid and made some threats along the line of a video he had made of us together, that I was unaware of while it was being taped, would find its way to the Internet.  He didn't really have to worry about his part in the video since he made sure his face was never on the screen.  He left me to "think over" what he had said.

Clint was ready for a beat down, but allowed me to handle the situation.  Bryan called later and apologized and the video was destroyed as was anything that I had felt for him.  Kristi of course created her own type of havoc.  She had moved out at some point in January, so that was one issue out of the way.  Then an old friend of theirs died in a motorcycle accident and the funeral was on Valentine's Day.  She used their shared grief to get him to leave me at his apartment to go talk to her about their friend.  Once there, she professed her love and begged for him to take her back, blah, blah, blah.

I knew that night that our relationship was different when he came home, apologized and told me all about what had happened.  This was something new for me.  Honesty and complete disclosure.  Things were not going according to my single lady plan, but I didn't care anymore.

Then, in March, we came to a cross roads.  Clint was leaving in September to go to Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Orlando.  I had 3 choices:  we break up and if we weren't seeing anyone when he got back, we could try again; we could try a long distance relationship and I would got out to see him when I could; or I could go with him.

I didn't hesitate.  I was going.

Nov 11, 2010

So We Meet Again

If you missed them, go back and get caught up:
Love at First Dance?
The One That Wasn't Meant to Be - Cara
Photographic Evidence
The One That Wasn't Meant to Be - Clint

After an extremely emotional start to my New Year's celebrating, I wanted nothing more than to wash away the year 2000 (and the past 3 years) with as much alcohol I could possible manage.  I did wait to start on my mission until I got to my cousin, LJ's party (yep, the same one Clint and I are related to) and had every intention of staying the night. Not long after I arrived so did another ex boyfriend of mine. Joe was the boyfriend I ran back to during my relationship with Bryan.  He happened to be dating another cousin of LJ (and Clint's - 3rd cousin, I think)  They have since married so, I'm technically now related to an ex-boyfriend.  All the more reason to get plastered as soon as possible.
I was well on my way with my bottle of Parrot Bay when Clint walked in the front door.  Teasing commenced on the 2-step debacle.  A challenge was issued and room was made to clear up the who was the better dancer.  The consensus:  He's a better 2-stepper, but I have skills.
A few drinks later Joe caught me in the kitchen and a "discussion" ensued about how since I cheated on Bryan with him, I must have also cheated on him.  That and the fact I had opportunity and didn't answer the phone every time he called me at night was enough proof.  He worked on an offshore oil rig and worked 2 weeks on, two weeks off.  I tried to explain his flawed logic since the at the time we were dating I was in high school, participated in debate and worked 32 hours a week.  I didn't have the time or energy to try to cheat on him.  It was Clint who came to my rescue and told him to back off.
The night wound down as New Year's typically does.  With a kiss at midnight.  Both Clint and I were on our own and it made sense that we would kiss, and make out, and wow!
Due to lots of people staying the night and lack of sleeping surfaces, Clint and I shared a queen size air mattress.  It was flat in the morning and you can make what ever inference from that you will.
The most amazing thing happened in the morning.  We had so many interest in common and tons to talk about.  He stayed at the house helping to clean while LJ and I ran to the store for stuff to make everyone breakfast.  While on the way there she filled me in on the fact that Clint had a girl friend that he lived with.
Ummmm, hello!  That would be something to disclose!  But I didn't say anything when we got back.  If anything I had a solid reason to not fall back into the same old pattern with Bryan.  I had burned the bridge.  FINALLY!  That night as we were all leaving to go home, Clint asked if he could call me.  I told him he could, then intentionally didn't give him my number.

Nov 10, 2010

The One That Wasn’t Meant To Be (Thank God) – Clint

The next part of our story takes us to Clint's version of the one that wasn't meant to be.

If you missed them, go back and check:

Wow, I hate this story.  At least it has a happy ending.  I ended up with the most wonderful woman in the world who has helped me become a man I never thought I could be. 

OK…  Junior year high school.  My friend Wild Bill introduced me to a girl he new from his neighborhood at lunch one day.  She was one year younger than me 5’4”, blonde, blue eyes about 100 lbs.  Met her again at a city dance that weekend and started dating from then.  It was puppy love at first sight.  I should have known she was going to be trouble.  On our first date her father came to a party she drug me to and caught her with a bottle of rum thrown up.  I fortunately was not drinking because I wanted to make a good impression on the folks.  Dad grounded her and I hung in for the next few weeks.  We were pretty much inseparable. 

For the next few years of High School it was a typical relationship with only a few arguments here and there.  One of which is when she scared the crap out me saying that she missed her period and she might be the P word.  Of course this was just a test from a silly little confused girl.  After I graduated she still had one year left.  I worked and went to school while she did the same.  In the winter of 1998 I sold my beloved motorcycle and bought a ring.  (I wish I could go back and beat my own ass for that dumb move).  I remember asking her father if I could marry her.  He said “You know she is going to end up just like her mother”.  Kristi’s mother was a notorious head case who purposely argued with her father constantly to annoy him.  His escape was making slot cars in the garage. 

After we were engaged I got cold feet.  I suck at math and in college it was not getting any better.  So I got a tutor.  Welllll long story short, I screwed the tutor and failed math.  A few of my friends saw me with this girl and told Kristi.  This began our demise.  Shortly after she graduated I joined the Army.  College sucked and I needed to get the hell out of that town.  While in basic training I received a letter from my mother explaining that Kristi was dating one of my old friends.  Who is still one of my close friends.  I forgave him because I understood.  (Her Va JJ was a man eater and he fell in love).  When I took my first leave from the Army I came home 6’3” 220 lbs of solid rock.  I went to a party that night to see my friends Alex,  Wild Bill and Shawn Watkins (God rest your soul brother).  I was showing a young lady I had just met a demonstration of how beer taste better when it is drank off of a boob.  She walked in.  My old friend was scared and she was jealous so she left him.  Wow it sucks when it comes around to bite you in the ass. 

At that moment I had ceased to care in my life.  I gave up on God, my parents, responsibilities and pretty much anything else.  I sank into drugs, alcohol and gambling.  A few weeks later I was injured in a training exercise in the Army.  One year later I came home medically retired.  We were constantly on the rocks.  It seems like all we did was argue and make up and my habits got worse and she got crazier.  I was dating two or three girls at once and living with her. 

On New Years Eve we were just about done.  My best friend came home on leave from Maryland and it was time to party.  He wanted to go to my cousin’s house and so I told the crazy B adios.  I walked in to the party and saw this hot little number with liter of Parrot Bay Rum to her lips.  This was no casual drink; this girl was on a mission to get shit faced.  I looked at my BF and said that one is mine. 

I love you baby.  I have been clean now for over eight years.  Funny thing is at those moments in my life I never thought I was going to live this long and now with Cara my babies and God I can’t wait for the rest of my life.

Nov 9, 2010

Photographic Evidence and A Special Day

If you are just joining this saga, go back and read Love at First Dance? and The One That Wasn't Meant to Be - Cara.  Clint's wasn't meant to be story should be up any day now (as soon as he gets a chance to write it, he's pretty busy working and taking care of kids while I'm working all the time).

The other day, Clint read my version of events from our first meeting on the post Love at First Dance?

His comment..."You didn't look awkward and shaggy.  I wouldn't have asked you to dance if I didn't think you were cute."

And, just because I am stubborn and have to prove a point.  I searched out and found a photo of my self at the right age.  He has since changed his mind.

My photographic evidence (I got one of Clint too):

And, this day wouldn't be complete without saying a great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY! To my big 5 year old man.

Christian you surprise me everyday.  I love watching you grow and learn and experience new things.  I never would have imagined your interest would span so far.  From karate to dirt bikes, fishing to friends.  I enjoy the time we spend just you and me...even when some weeks its just when we are getting our shots together.

I think my favorite thing you have said recently, is that when you are a grown up, you are going to get dressed up and go to a wedding and invite Abigail (a very cute little girl in your preschool) and you are going to marry her and have 16 kids.  I will remind you of this someday.  And son, if you have 16 kids...mommy is not babysitting for you.

Nov 8, 2010

The One That Wasn't Meant To Be - Cara

For those of you just joining in, I am telling the story of how my husband and I came to be.  If you missed the beginning, go back and read Love at First Dance?

Now, our story wouldn't be complete without the stories of the ones that came before.  You see, Clint and I were both supposed to marry other people at one point in history and both played a role in our relationship.  Today, I will tell you about Bryan and I have persuaded Clint to share his story as well.

I had this terrible habit when I was a teen.  You see, I continuously broke one of the biggest dating rules.  DON'T DATE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH.  Then again, I was in high school, participated in extra curricular activities and worked about 32 hours a week at HEB (major chain grocery store in Texas).  The window for meeting guys outside of school and work was barely a crack.

Bryan and I had our first date towards the end of my senior year of high school.  I was 18 and he was 20.  He had asked me out a year before, but my parents were not about to allow me to date anyone older than me, so I had turned him down.  That rule changed (or was overlooked) when my parents started having trouble in their marriage and I started dating who ever I wanted while their attention was otherwise occupied.

Two weeks after our first date, my prom date called me on the Monday before prom (I was going with a friend since I didn't have a boyfriend) and informed me he did not feel comfortable taking me.  You see, the plan had been for a group of us to all go together and he had a "thing" for one of my friends and her boyfriend was coming home from the Navy to take her.  I did the only thing I could think of.  I called Bryan and asked if he wanted to take me.  For some reason he said yes with only 5 days notice to get a tux, but hey...I had a prom date and the day was saved.  We were pretty much a couple from that point forward.

There were several break-ups along the road which he attributed to my stubbornness and making up my mind on things before talking it over.  For me it was more about his desire to keep his life separate from me while exercising control over me.  I am not about to say I was perfect and failures we faced were completely his fault, I had a lot of issues.  Many stemming from examples of my parents' relationships which were anything but stable. 

It was not uncommon for him to ask out of the blue if I had cheated on him.  Eventually, it can be said that I did.  Weather it was kissing a guy after a party, having too much to drink and making out with my roommates friend, or running back to an ex, it all occurred during break ups (or breaks if he would not get out of my damn car until I agreed to it).  My biggest fault would be failure to disclose my activities during our time apart when we would get back together.  For some reason in my mind, dysfunctional was better than alone.

The relationship started to wear on me and I spent a lot of time looking like this:

(If you are done lecturing me now, please get out of my truck!)

In fact I think he took that picture of me when I was already pissed off at him.  We spent a lot of time fighting/breaking up just like this.

The final straw for me came Christmas / New Years Eve 2000.  Bryan and I had been unofficially engaged (committed to be married with a promise ring - that was to later be replaced by a nicer one) for nearly 2 years. I went home sick from work with a wicked migraine, vomited from light sickness and pulled the covers over my head for the next 6 hours. That evening I was feeling a little better (still nauseated and physically drained) so he came to see me at my apartment to exchange our Christmas gifts since he would be leaving the following morning to go hunting for a week with his dad. He was pretty insistent on getting it on because he would be gone for a whole week, which I gave into, but the big kicker was that he wouldn't kiss me or even face me since I had thrown up because it may have been the start of the flu or "something".  He just couldn't risk being sick in the deer stand.  Ass!

I was left spending Christmas Eve evaluating what I was doing with a guy who would use me like that, especially when he thought I was sick. He should have been taking care of me, instead of taking advantage of me. I had the whole week to stay nice and angry.  When he got home on New Year's Eve we were supposed to go to a friends party together, but I had found out my cousin was having a party as well and wanted to put in an appearance.  One of my ex boyfriends was also going to be at my cousins party.  It all ended with an ultimatum.  "Is the other party so important to you you are willing to throw this away?"  It didn't take me long to answer.

After he got done throwing a tantrum (flushing my ring down the toilet, raiding my closet and taking everything he had bought me that he could find) I left him standing in the living room of my apartment (my roommate was home) and went to my cousins party.  That was the night I met Clint (again).

Nov 3, 2010

Love at First Dance?

When I was a kid, we went camping every summer at a place called Chain O' Lakes.  My mom (step mom) wasn't (and still isn't) much into the roughin' it in the great outdoors, so we would spend the week out there with her sister's family and my parents would come up on the weekend.  It was heaven for us kids.  We could go horseback riding (guided trail ride), swim in the swimming lake (there was only one designated for swimming...the rest were home to many alligators, and a pool with a sand bottom and a huge slide you rode a boogie board down.  We were free to roam through the wooded trails on our own just as long as we checked in every hour or so.  Looking back as an adult, the appeal seems a bit less.  There was the occasional problem with a gator making its way to the pool, and you better not leave you little doggie tied up outdoors at night, or he might become a snack, and we had to make sure to pack the clear nail polish since our romps through the woods guaranteed chiggers.  But we all loved it none the less.

My favorite thing about this kids paradise for me was the Saturday night dance at the pavilion.  At 12 (with a 13 year old cousin) I was old enough to go unsupervised (the pavilion was in sight of our campsite) and to watch over my 10 year old cousin and sister.

Of course at 12, I was in a very awkward phase.  Just starting to notice boys.  I had grown really tall, but hadn't filled out with any curves yet, and I was growing out my hair so it was pretty shaggy looking.

Even then, I had the hots for a boy in a cowboy hat and sat giggling with my cousin over all the cute boys and avoiding eye contact with all of them on the off chance they might have looked my way.  Then, these two boys that were there together came and asked my cousin and I to dance.


It was a country song, so a 2 step was in order.  However, this boy was not doing the steps right.  Little did I know there are several variations of the 2-step.  And of course being the tallest among a group of girl cousins who danced together because there was no other options, I was used to leading - I still sometimes have an issue with this.  I spent the rest of the night disappointed that my dance (I believe my first with a boy) did not turn out as well as I would have hoped.

The rest of the trip of course was awesome and filled with all the outdoor fun that I thrived on.  When I got home, I called my one of my other cousins, LJ (dad's side of the family) and filled her in on my trip and my ill fated dance.

LJ:  Holy Crap...Was they guy you danced with named Clint?

ME: Ummm...yeah, how did you know that?

LJ:  I just talked to him.  He's my 2nd cousin.  He said you couldn't dance.

Now, before you start freaking out, because cousins...gross!  We are not a part of the same family trees, just 2 tress that met more than once.  You dad's brother married Clint's grandmother's sister, making their children cousins to both of us.  Complicated I know, and I get grief about it all the time.

The you don't know how to 2-step thing continued for the next nine years over the phone and was solved once and for all the next time we met face to face.

But I'll save that story for another day!

This photo was taken a few years before that camping trip, but it is the only one I have of the four of us girls that went to the dance.  Can you tell which one is me?

And just for fun...the family 20 years later...there were 3 more additions and one who didn't make it for the photo.

Nov 2, 2010

My, It's Been A While

Peeking around the corner...

Is anyone still here?

I know, I've been gone for a bit.  Life kinda got hectic with work, family and other issues.  So much was going on, I just didn't know where to start.

I have an idea now.  I may or may not go back and cover my stresses from the last month (or more) when I come to terms with it a bit more, but for now, I'm going to tread on more stable ground.

You see, my anniversary is coming up.  Just 2 weeks from today.  So, between now and then, I will share our story with you.  I will try to include some old school pictures spanning our relationship from the beginning.  Check back soon.  This should be entertaining!

Sep 13, 2010

Ignoring Something Won't Make It Go Away!

 Am I referring to problems that arise in life?  Most definitely!

Am I referring to my blog?  Only a little.

Within the week of my last post, life took a turn I wasn't expecting.  Something that had me feeling a wave of different emotions that I couldn't sort out.  I was feeling stressed, angry, depressed, anxious, overwhelmed.  It was like holding you breath for years waiting for the other shoe to drop and, despite knowing it's coming, it catches you off guard.

I didn't want to talk about it here.  I couldn't not talk about it here.  So, I avoided my blog (and most of yours in the process) so I could avoid my thoughts.

It's time to get them out.

August 19th, I was busy at work, likely ordering parts for an upcoming job, when I get a call from my cousin.  My dad was staying with my Nana for a few days and had fallen and had a seizure.  She was waiting to hear back from the doctor to see if he needed to go to the hospital. 

After that phone call, there were several back and forth to determine if he was going to the hospital; that he had another seizure and was being transported by ambulance; that he was in the emergency room but not yet being admitted.

Clint and I made arrangements for his mom to watch the kids and headed out for the hour drive across Houston.  I cannot even explain to you the shock I encountered when I walked into the ER.  His head was bloodied as well as his arms and parts of his legs.  His graying hair looked pink where the blood had been hastily rinsed.  He was so very thin that he appeared to have not eaten much in months.

I got the overview of what was going on from my Nana.  They were going to check him in, but were waiting on a room to be ready.  She had picked him up 2 days earlier to come stay with her because he sounded lonely.  He hadn't had an alcoholic beverage in those 2 days and started having alcohol withdrawal seizures while out on the concrete porch smoking.

I stayed several hours that night, waiting on his room.  The transport.  Getting him checked into the hospital.  Biting my tongue when he answered the question of "Are you addicted to anything?" with a negative.  They knew better.  I didn't have to say it.

I spent the next several days going back and forth to the hospital every other day and to my Nana's home to try to figure out how to pay my father's bills that were coming due from his online accounts.  None of my visits left me with a positive feeling.  One of my visits, my younger brother (19) met me at the hospital.  My dad spent the hour we were there trying to convince him to go buy him cigarettes, to take him to buy his own cigarettes, to take him home, and calling his son Tim (his name is Stuart).  The next time I saw him (2 days later) he had been moved into ICU where they could monitor him more closely since he was continually pulling out his IV (his potassium was dangerously low and he was given up to 3 bags a day) and they found him once at the elevator - no where near his room.  Apparently the ICU nurses had trouble keeping him under control as well and he ended up restrained to his bed.  I saw him in that condition and completely out of it.

I found out this past Saturday that he had been released from the hospital on Wednesday.  The only reason I found out was my husband went to help other members of my family move my dads things out of his house and he showed up.  Which very obviously meant that he was also not in rehab and the doctors had been very clear is where his first stop should be. 

He left me a message on Sunday about not having let me know he had been released.  It really lacked any sincerity and basically laid the blame on someone else my Nana had told and figured the information would have gotten to me.  I was absolutely defeated.  How can this person, who I love very much, not think it necessary to call me himself.

It took me until Wednesday to call him back.  Let me tell you the power of prayer is very evident in my life at the moment.  I have spent quite a bit of time asking God to work in my father's heart to open his eyes to the fact that he has a problem and let him want to improve and get better for himself.  During the conversation on Wednesday, I asked him what his plans were.  His response was that he was doing some research into and trying to find a rehab facility.  Slight weight lifted off my shoulders, but not completely.  We have been here before.  He entered rehab 6 years ago because the family finally wore him down enough.  "That's good", I tell him, "but only if you are doing it for your self".  He told me he is only doing this for himself and not for Nana or me or even his estranged wife Cassie.  He know knows that if this happens again, it will kill him.  And the majority of the bolder on my shoulder is gone.

I have a bad habit of looking at the "but" side of things.  As in, that sounds good, but...  I am really striving to focus on the positive and have faith in my dad on this.  I know he can kick the booze, but it will be a long, hard road to haul.  He is really going to need all of the family to stay encouraging for him.  I will be continuing to pray that this is it.  The last time I will hear my dad say he is quitting.

Aug 12, 2010

Hand to Forehead Moment

I see no problem with coming home and having a beer - or glass of wine - to unwind after a long day at work or while hanging out with friends.  I recently gave up any kind of drinking more than one night a week in exchange for (hopefully) a smaller number on the scale.

There is a big difference between that and what I grew up with.  My dad would have 2 "tall boys" (16 oz) on the way home and then a 6 pack at home every night.  Most nights ended with him passing out rather than going to bed.

Of the 3 children who grew up in my household, we all came away with different views because of it.  I drink, but am careful to be respectful of alcohol, my sister drinks too much, and my little brother (who is 19) has no desire to drink...ever.

We spent much of our childhood hiding the embarrassment from our peers and teachers.  Friends didn't come over to play.  We went to their houses or stayed outside.

I never want to expose my kids to that kind of life.

I imagine at the moment, some of the teachers and other parents of my sons school may be looking at me or my husband the way I saw those in the know look at my parents.

Christian lost a stripe on his belt yesterday (he attends a karate pre-school).  The reason...during class, while repeatedly trying to get his attention, he kept yelling "I like beer!"  and "Beer Pong is cool!"  Over and over again.

Regretfully, yes, he knows what beer pong is.  We were at a family barbecue/baby shower.  The kids were in the pool and the men were bored.  The second they gathered around the table, the kids got out of the pool to witness the excitement.

Just to clarify - my children have never had an alcoholic beverage in their lives.

I am so embarrassed.

Jul 29, 2010

Future Fire Fighters

Sorry if I've been a little picture heavy lately...I have a lot to share!  I'm sure to be back to my usual "I don't have pictures because I forgot my camera" self before long.

We took our vacation in the Texas Hill Country this year.  We had an amazing time, but the kids got to start their vacation a few days early with my in-laws while Clint and I were still working.

One of their adventures, I really wish I could have gone with them on.

Clint's step dad works with someone who is also a volunteer firefighter.

My kids got to go on their own private tour of a fire station, ride on the truck and even spray the hoses.

I am so jealous!  At least they got some great pictures!

Jul 27, 2010

Mama and Daddy Bring Home the Bacon

But now, maybe we don't have to.

I had a big surprise while we were on vacation.

My prissy little girl, who only wants to wear clothing from Justice, and is a diva in her own right...

Is an excellent fisher-girl.  While wearing Justice!

Now, she won't worm her own hook (we will have to work on that), but she put everyone else's catch to shame.  Including her Papa.

Our last night at the lake house we had a fish fry.  There was enough to feed all 6 of us.  Twice.  And the majority of it, was Angelique's catch.

Papa caught a few, Christian caught a few.  I caught 1 that was too small to keep.

She can't wait to go fishing again (as long as she doesn't have to eat more than a bite or two of her catch).

Angelique with her very 1st catch!

The biggest catch of the week - a blue cat
(that she was afraid to touch)

Christian's first catch

We actually required her to have a bite of fish for every fish she caught.

Jul 26, 2010

Monday Minute

Kmama is hosting this week.  Head over, link up.

Monday Minute

1. Who is your "what-if" person?

My what if would be my ex.  I look at how good I have it now and have to say "what if" I had actually stayed in the relationship and married him.  I can't imagine it would have worked out as well as my life is now.

2. What is your nickname?

Jelly Fish Girl.  You can find the story here.

3. If you could choose how you died, how would you like to die?

In my sleep

4. If you could have named yourself, which name would you have picked?

That is too hard.  It's actually one I never considered when I was growing up.  My kids have though.  My son wants to be Cody and my daughter wants to be Ashley.  At least we started their names with the right letters.

5. Who were you named after or for what reason did your parents choose your name?

My aunt baby sat for a little girl named Tara.  My parents thought she was adorable and wanted to name me something similar, but not the exact same thing.  So, they changed the first letter and named me Cara.
(What-if person being what if I married this person or am now in a relationship with "this" person)

Jul 22, 2010

How Many Times Did You Hear This Growing Up?

If you friends jumped off a cliff, would you?

Well, I've officially screwed myself out of the use of this one.

We visited Inks Lake State Park Last week while on vacation.  There is an inlet on the lake called Devils Waterhole that have cliffs and when the water is really up, some waterfalls.

What surprised me most, is my diva little girl wanted to climb up on the rock with everyone else there that day and jump.  Christian did also, but had to work his way up from low rocks.  My camera is waterproof and has a mode to take several frames in a shot.  Here are my kids jumping off cliffs.



Moms, my kids are the ones you need to warn your kids about.

PS:  My husband, MIL, FIL and myself all did it at least once also.

Jul 20, 2010

New Rule in The House

I must be insane.  I think I created a new rule in my home to punish myself.  I guess now I just need to cross my fingers and hope that it all works out for the best.

I have previously covered the fact that my daughter is particular about her clothing here.

Not only does she want to wear specific brands, she has specific requirements.  Such as:  no buttons, no zippers, no ties, she has to be able to put it on entirely on her own.  This has been the case since before her 2nd birthday.  Only in the last year did she start wearing jeans and tennis shoes.

Despite all of her limitations, the child has an overstuffed closet.  Somethings that still have the tag on them even since she decided it didn't meet her criteria after we got it home and for various reasons (like I hold my breath hoping she will change her mind, or lost the receipt, or its too big of a pain in the ass to take it back to the store) they didn't get returned.

About a week before we went on vacation, Christian was playing in Angelique's room and left it in a overwhelming state of disaster.  Being the wonderful, sweet, loving (is anyone else laughing hysterically) mother that I am, I decided to clean it up while she was staying over at a friends house.  It wasn't her fault (entirely) that her room was trashed. 

That's what I was thinking when I started.

After 3 hours of finding clothing behind the bed, under the dresser, hiding on the shelves under her clothes, in boxes on her shelves, and thrown up at the top of her closet, I was seething.  It was probably a good thing the child was not around at that time.  It gave me some time to cool down.  And to devise a plan.

Here are the main points of Angelique's new rule:
  1. No one will be buying her clothes but herself.  (Her Nana will have a bit of leeway, but not much)
  2. She will earn money to buy her new clothes by doing chores.  Specifically, she will unload the dishwasher when the dishes are clean, she will keep her room clean, put her clothes up (correctly) as soon as they come out of the laundry, and she will be responsible for washing 1 load of clothes per week - mainly the bright colors since her wardrobe dominates that load of laundry.  Dependant on her workload that week she can earn $10 to $15 a week.  I think it is a little high, but she needs to earn enough for back to school clothes.
  3. For every one thing she buys, she must remove 2 from her closet to donate, sell at the resale shop, or hand down to friends or family.  Whatever money she makes at the resale shop is hers to spend on new clothes.
That is essentially it.  The hope behind it is to teach her responsibility and the value of her clothing.  I am thinking maybe when it comes time to go shopping before school starts again, she may just realize how much more she can buy when shopping at Target vs. shopping at Justice.

What do you think?  Is 7 too young to start teaching these lessons?  Is my sanity worth it if I don't try?

Jul 19, 2010

Monday Minute with Mommy Loves Stilettos

This week's co-host is Michelle from

Monday Minute

What's your real name?

Cara - Nothing to hide here (BTW it's pronounced Care-uh even though I know none of you lovelies would ever mispronounce it)
Have you ever fabricated a story or anything on your blog?

No...I'm not that creative.  Although there may be a few things that I wished I had made up.

When in the car do you listen to the radio/CDs/iPod/etc?

Radio mostly, CD's rarely anymore, and iPod when my husband doesn't have it in his car.
Describe the 'sexiest' item of clothing that you own

Sexy as is sexy time, or sexy wear in public???  No answer until that is clarified.
Would you be willing to breastfeed your friend's three year old child?

Hell NO!  I wouldn't be willing to breastfeed my own child at 3 years old.  My children took over my boobs for about 9 months each and I was beyond ready for them to give it up by the time they did.
Now...quit being a slacker like I have been and go link up...

Jun 30, 2010

I'm Not Here Today

Nope...not here.  But where you may ask...


Well my Journey from Muffin Top to Skinny Jeans is up.  It's over at Family of Shorts!  Shortmama is the one who put this whole thing into action and I am honored to be able to guest post for her today while she is away from blogland.

So click the link, click the button, whatever!  Just get over there and check it out.  And if you are not already a follower of Shortmama you better take care of that while you are over there!

Jun 24, 2010

Cartwheeling May Not Be In Your Best Intrest

I have a ton of ideas for different post floating around in my head making me crazy.  The problem is that pictures are required to tell the stories properly and I moved all of my photos to my external hard drive.  Which is not presently in my location.

So, you get this story instead...

Leaky is a cartwheeling fool.  She has spent more time on her hands lately than on her feet.  It is really a pain in the ass when you are trying to have a conversation with a child that is constantly rotating.  I made the mistake recently of informing her that I used to be able to do cartwheels too.  She scoffed at the idea.  I took it as a challenge.

The good news is that I proved my daughter wrong and performed my cartwheel with perfect form.  The bad news, I may have over stretched a muscle in my groin that I forgot was there.  Let's just say I was walking a little funny for a few days. 

All this action reminded me of my worst experience ever with the cartwheels.  I participated in debate during my junior/senior year.  We would travel to other schools to compete in tournaments once or twice a month.  This particular event was being held at the school my cousins attended.  I spent most of my free time hanging out with them and their friends.  This meant running into someone I knew wasn't out of the question.  I was done with my rounds by early evening as was on of my best friends Chrissy.  We were screwing around and running from place to place in the cafeteria to catch up with everyone and see how they did.  I was full of energy and a complete goof and chose the middle of the floor to perform a quick cartwheel.  As I was turning through the air, I heard the loudest rip that I can ever remember hearing.  I am fairly certain the sound caught the attention of the hundred or so teens BSing and playing hacky sack (who remembers that??) around my vicinity.  I landed with my legs together afraid to move. 

I hadn't just ripped my jeans a little along the seam.

I had torn the entire crotch out of my jeans.  At the same time in life I had started experimenting with wearing thong underwear.  I was completely frozen with mortification.  Chris thought quickly and threw me her sweater to tie around my waist.  If I walked really carefully that would help maintain the shred that was left of my modesty and my pants.

If any of you are aware, you are required to dress professional while competing in debate.  The would have saved me with having a spare set of clothes.  Except, I had forgotten my stuff at home that morning and had borrowed another friends during my debates and she had left already with her parents, while I would be taking the bus back to our school.

I spent the next few hours standing very still and awkwardly as to not expose myself (again) until it was time to go.  I was never so excited to make it home in my life.

Jun 22, 2010

Contradictory???? Nah!

My husband took this photo last week while driving through Houston last week.

I'm not so sure the themes of the window stickers really go together.

On another note...I am going on vacation in a few weeks.  July 12th to be exact.  I don't want my little piece of the Internet to go stagnant while I'm away, so if any of you would be interested in doing a guest post, I would love you forever!

Not that I don't already!

Jun 21, 2010

Monday Minute

Monday Minute

1 - Have you ever had any feelings towards one of your teachers back in the day?

No...I had not hot teachers!

2 - What's the most embarrassing thing that happened while at work? (If you never worked then make something up)

I really try to avoid doing things that will lead to embarrassment at work, but if I had to say would relate to dating someone you work with.  It was my first job and most of our friends were co-workers...most fights were carried over into work.
3 - When was the last time you crapped yourself?

I'll just say it wasn't long ago enough not to be mortified by it.  At least it happened at home!

4 - What is one thing you have always kept a secret and why have you kept this a secret for so long?

I try not to keep secrets...they eat at you an make you insane.

and finally...

5 - What's your best advice for us habitual coffee drinkers as to not have to poop right after drinking it?

Ummm...Go before

Jun 15, 2010

Cara Has Crabs!

This is what I heard all weekend long.  From the kids, my dear hubby, friends, and even at church!

Why, oh why, would the people I care about go around in public making this declaration?

Because I had a crab...but it was funnier to say it in the plural.

We went out on the water this weekend.  A little wakeboarding and playing on FIL's new supercharged jet ski (that thing boogies!)

To get back in the boat from the jet ski, I just dove into the water.  While sitting back in the boat, talking and just hanging out, I start to feel this little stinging on my side.  Almost like a little bee sting. 

The fist time I thought I was imagining something.  The second time was, "What the hell is that?!"  I pulled out the side of my tankini top and out drops this little fellow.

The kids decided to keep him and put him in an empty Dr. Pepper bottle with some of the lake water.  He survived the weekend.  Even after the kids switched out his brackish water (combination of fresh and salt water) for water from the sink. 

Sunday afternoon he was released back into the creek.

So, I guess I really can say now that I have had crab(s).

Jun 14, 2010

Monday Minute

1 - What's the specs of the first computer you owned?

I have no clue.  I don't even know the specs on the computer I am using now.

2 - Are you on Twitter/Facebook/etc, if so link it/them up

I'm on facebook - at least I think I still might be.

3 - Who's more to blame for the oil mess in the gulf - BP or the Gov't and why?

BP hold the majority of the responsibility.  There are maintenance and safety protocols in place as well as inspection requirements that were ignored.  The government holds a partial responsibility for turning a blind eye on what is going on in these drilling platforms and failing to do governmental inspections.
4 - What's your favorite Dr. Suess book?

I spent so much time holed up reading when I was a kid and during my elementary years, I must have read One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish over 1,000 times.

And finally...

5 - What did you want to be when you grew up?

A genetic researcher focused on childhood diseases.

Jun 10, 2010


This was the best that I could come up with.  Should I have seen this coming.  What the "F" are you thinking.

This does not even begin to touch the things that were going through my head when a co-worker came into my office on Tuesday afternoon.  "Can I have your number" in the whispery *wink-wink type thing is something I might expect to hear from a stranger in a club.  But at work?  From someone I see daily, but rarely speak with?  Who knows I am married (and I believe to be married as well)?  Seriously?

I was in the middle of responding to a blog comment on my blackberry and was completely thrown off guard.  One of you may have received a completely non-sensical reply on my game.

Here is the back story (and there is very little to be told).  I have been working in this chemical plant as a contractor for 8 months planning maintenance shut downs.  He is employed by the plant and works in the same building.  His group meets in the dining area every morning at 6 to discuss that days work and any issues that may need to be addressed.  I go in and get my coffee at 6.  Smile politely, say good morning, grab my coffee and off I go.  He would occasionally pop in my office to say hello or put his hand on my shoulder while I was working at the copy machine.  I am not a touchy feely person, so this bugged me, but at the same time there are  a lot of people who do that kind of thing so I just shrug it off.  A few months ago, he came into my office and asked how the planning was going and gave me his number in case I needed something.  Little yellow flag went up, but I would be planning work that fell into his discipline, so just for work stuff.  Never had to use it.

Is this more common than I thought and I am just naive?  I mean I work in an industry that is (at least) 95% male dominated.  I have had my job for 3-1/2 years.  And while there have been some off color jokes - mostly from people I trust and I know for certain they are jokes - I have never had anything like this happen before.

Of course, I called Clint and told him.  Very quietly since our walls are paper thin.  He laughed and said it was because I am hawt!  Then asked if it was one of the "higher ups".

I had to be a smart-ass and reply..."Should I have said yes if it was?" 

His actually thought process behind the question was if I need to put into action something to protect myself/job if they had that kind of power.  Nope...nothing like that.  My job is safe.  I just have to suck it up and act normal when I go to get my coffee in the morning and pass in the hall.  I am certainly not going to hide in my office because some ass over stepped a line.  Hopefully, he will realize my uhhhh...noooo! was a firm NO!

What would you do?

Jun 9, 2010

Muffin Top - Recipe Share


This weeks assignment was to share our favorite healthy recipe.  I may be in trouble here.  My husband cooks the majority of our meals and while I do cook, mostly it's a lot of experimenting to make normal meals more exciting.  I do have my specialties, but those are definitely not on the healthy side of life.  Just ask anyone who has eaten Tex Mex Sheppard's Pie (recipe from Ed's grandma).  I usually have to make 3 casserole dishes of the stuff to satisfy everone's over indulgence in it.

Today I will share my chicken and rice recipe.

You will need:

3-4 chicken breast (dependent on size)
spices (this is where the experimentation comes in)
2 bags of boil in bag brown rice
steamed broccoli
Healthy Selection Cream of Mushroom Soup
2% Shredded Cheese

The first thing to do is season up you chicken.  My go to spices and herbs are garlic, Tony's (old bay will work too), Italian seasoning, rosemary, pepper, and usually a light Italian dressing.  If I run across something that strikes my fancy in the fridge or spice rack - I add that too.  Broil the chicken until it is cooked through.  Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken and they oven you use (I like to use my convection toaster over - less energy and cooks faster).  There are also times I cheat this part and just buy a preprepared rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.

While you chicken is cooking away, throw your rice bags into boiling water for 10 minutes and steam your broccoli.  I also cheat on the broccoli steaming.  I will either use the green giant frozen steamables or fresh and use Ziploc steam bags.  I don't know how those things work, but they are amazing and I wash them out and use them multiple times when I'm just steaming veggies.

When all of your cooking is completed, cut up your chicken and mix it with the rice, broccoli and mushroom soup.  Pour it all into a greased casserole dish and bake it in the oven at 400 for 15-20 minutes.  Sprinkle on the cheese (if you want it) about a minute before pulling it out of the oven.

It took me a few times of making this before coaxing my picky eaters to try it, but once they did they loved it!

On another note.  I haven't weighed in this week, but when I did last Friday, I found I was down 8 lbs from starting.  I set a new goal to loose 10 lbs every 2 months so I don't have to beat myself up on the times I don't resist temptation.  This will also put me at my ultimate goal weight by early December!

Jun 8, 2010

Playing Catchup

We have so much going on lately, that I have missed sharing some of our great experiences with all of you.  All the way back to May 27th.  I know, I am bad.  So today I am going to catch you all up on random little tidbits that have been exciting my world.

May 27th

Both the kiddos had a belt test (karate) scheduled for that week.  Christian's was Thursday at 5:15 and Angelique's Friday at 6:00.  Problem, we were going out of town for Memorial Day Weekend and leaving Friday morning.  Angelique's school (they go to different locations since the one closer to our house doesn't have a preschool) graciously agreed to test her on Thursday at 4:30.  It was a struggle to get to the other school in 15 minutes, but we made it.  We couldn't be prouder of our Green Belt and Tiny Tiger Yellow Belt.  I think it was all Christian talked about for a week.  And that kid talks...a lot!

June 1st / 2nd

As soon as we got back from our fun River Trip it was time for the end of the year festivities for miss Leaky.  Tuesday was the end of the year Pizza / Class Party and Wednesday was the Poetry Celebration / 1st Grade Assembly (note to administrators - make it easier on us working parents and do these things on the same day).  Since there was no way for me to possible take off 2 days of work, I went in super early on Wednesday to go to the Poetry Celebration.  It was a ton of fun to see all the kids read their original poetry.  I tried to video Angelique's reading, but she started reading before she got in front of the class and was walking before she was done again.  My pictures didn't turn out very well either.  But super duper congrats to my baby big now 2nd grade girl.

June 5th

We got off for the evening when Clint's mom decided to watch the kids overnight.  So I managed to drag Clint away from his laptop and we joined Crew over at Johnnie's new house.  We were early, so we helped paint the first coat of primer in the living room.  With the work out of the way we grabbed a few drinks, barbecued chicken and played in the pool.  Apparently, the only reason I should do energy drinks in not just that they keep me up for ever, they also make me channel my chatterbox son.  And to anyone who knows me, that is way out of my norm.

June 8th

Yep, that's today.  JennyMac at Lets Have a Cocktail is hosting this amazing giveaway for Bubble Beach Bags.  These things are super cute and deflatable.  I wonder if this means they will float too - you never know when the tide will come in - unless you pay attention to that stuff.

Jun 7, 2010

Monday Minute - The Kid Edition

Here was our assignment:  This week you need to take these five questions and ask your kid to answer em. Or ask all your kids and provide multiple answers. Don't have a kid? Make one up.

I have 2 kiddos and I was planning on doing this for both of them, but our weekend was so busy that I only managed to corner one of them.  Below are Christian's answers.

1 - What's your favorite book/story?
Big Green Tractor / Cars

2 - What do you want to do when you grow up?
Be a cowboy and have guns and knives
3 - What is your favorite game?
Dance Dance Revolution on Wii
4 - What's your favorite food?

5 - Insert your own question to ask your kid - What is your favorite song?

Chicken Fried