Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas - Another One Flies By

The entire month of December has been a blur for me. I hadn't realized how Sid being in school was going to affect our typical Christmas happenings. Between her school pageant, teachers gifts, ballet practice, my work and the regular seasonal stuff there was a lot going on. The good news is that we got most of it done and I'll be better prepared for next year.

Some of the highlights:

Damon and I were invited to a Christmas party at Venezia's in Midland. The food was amazing! It was especially fun to hang out with grownups for an evening.

Sid had a lot of fun with her school Christmas program. This year she sang with the other kids in preK and next year she will get a speaking part. I was very impressed with how all the kids did. The teachers did an amazing job getting them ready.

Damon and I got to sit in on one of Sidney's ballet/tap practices. She is starting to get the hang of it. Her first recital is in May and I think her teacher has her work cut out for her with this group of dancers. Lots of personalities and a few divas!

We got to see my good friend Sara and her family. We met at Rosa's for dinner and then got hot chocolate at Star Bright Village. I miss them tons and I'm so glad that they will be moving closer to us.

We had dinner at Shirrie's a few days before Christmas. She is such a great cook! We hadn't seen Mark and his family in years. It was good to catch up with them and Damon loved having someone to talk tech with. Sid had a blast playing with all the kids after she got over being shy. When we left she kept asking when we could go back to play.

We went to Kermit for Christmas Eve/Day. It was wonderful to spend time with Damon's parents, grandma, aunts and uncles. Santa brought Sid a new doll and 2 horses for the doll to ride. She named the doll "Chocolate Diamond" and the horses "Barbie and a Christmas Carol" and "Barbie Cowgirl." Santa also brought her a new Barbie dollhouse. She loves the Barbie! Her toy box is overflowing with all the new loot.

Life is returning to normal around our house. Of course we're already starting to gear up for our next holiday - Valentines! My favorite!

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Friday, November 19, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

Have you ever had one of those months where you decide to sell your house, get rid of half of your possessions and move into an apartment? I have! It was crazy. But a good crazy - in a "clean out all the junk you've collected in your life and start fresh" kind of way.

Our life consisted of garage sales and maximizing the space in our dumpster for about 5 weeks. We gave a lot away. Deciding which of our things were priceless and irreplaceable was the hard part. It's amazing how much lighter I feel now. Holding onto things just because they belonged to someone else had created a crushing amount of sentiment. I didn't realize how much pressure it was until I got out from under it. So the moral of my story is - the things you possess may come to possess you.

As for the apartment, we're still getting settled. Our living room furniture currently consists of a plastic storage tub and camp chairs. We're working on changing that but after getting rid of so much clutter we're being picky about what we bring into our home. In fact maybe a little overly picky. It took me 4 hours at Target to pick out a rug for our bathroom. Yes, 4 hrs of my life were spent agonizing about the color of a floor mat to put around our toilet. After working so hard to get rid of stuff, bringing more stuff into our lives seems a bit counterproductive. I won't even tell you how much time went into picking out the sofa...

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Mom

Tomorrow will be 9 years since my mom passed away. Really miss her. She was a lovely person and a great mom.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Three Things...

...that made me happy today:
1. Damon made breakfast for the family.
2. I got several hugs from my patients just because.
3. I had a good talk with my boss. I was able to share some things that had been frustrating me and now feel much better about work.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Two Things...

...that made me happy today:
1. Having my little girl run up to me and jump in my arms when I picked her up from school.
2. Finding out that mystery spot on my arm wasn't cancer.
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Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of Pre-K

Sid was so excited to go to school! No tears from her but a little bashful when we dropped her off. She gave Damon such a tight hug around the neck he was afraid she bruised his thyroid. I got a little misty eyed but mostly had butterflies in my stomach for being nervous that she have a good first day. Damon went up to spy on her during chapel and said she was smiling and happy. So far so good! 13 more of these to go. post signature

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Football! Football! Football!

Found these on one of my favorite Texas Tech sites: DoubleTNation.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Guess Who's Back in the House...

MAX!!! He's back in the house but on probation. So far so good!

Sidney and the puppies.
Sidney showing how to put a dog in a headlock. Poor Star! Such a good sport!

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Monday, August 02, 2010

New Heights

This year we spent our summer vacation in the Colorado mountains. Beautiful views, cool temperatures, trees and streams. A recipe for a great time except for the altitude. Damon is not a fan of heights and this trip happened to be full of them. He is such a trooper though and tagged along with Sidney and me on the Pike's Peak Cog and most of the Seven Falls climb. Here is a pic of Damon and Sid on top of Pike's Peak. You can just see New Mexico in the distance. Damon is smiling because his eyes are closed.
I asked Damon to take a picture of Sid and me on the edge. When we got to the spot I looked up and saw Damon on his hands and knees with his arm covering his face and bracing the camera for the picture. An old man next to him was about to call the EMT's for help. As we were coming back down on the cog Damon said, "When the conductor said we could see Kansas...that was one of the worst moments of my life!"

Here is Damon half way up Seven Falls. It is 224 steps to get to the top and gorgeous waterfalls all the way.
This is how much further we had to climb to get to the top.
Damon decided to wait at the bottom.
He was very brave the whole trip but he's insisting that next year our family vacation be to someplace less vertical.
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Monday, July 26, 2010


This past week we found out our puppy Max has a new favorite food - poop. I was informed of this during a department meeting by Damon. Our conversation went like this:

Damon: "Did you know Max eats poop?!"
Rochelle: "No I did not know that."
Damon: "He eats poop!"
Rochelle: "Well did you give him some dog food? Maybe he's hungry."
Damon: "No."
Rochelle: "Did you scoop the yard?"
Damon: "No. He can never some inside the house again!"
Rochelle: "You know I'm in a work..."
Damon: "He eats poop!"

When I got home Sidney showed me how she had captured this conversation in drawing:

This is a sign that says: "No poop eating dogs in our house!" You'll notice the use of brown watercolors to highlight the poop as well as the giant "X" to show poop-eating will not be tolerated. Picasso couldn't have done it better!

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Summer I Impersonated a Blonde

In honor of my 35th birthday I decided to mix things up a little - starting with my hair. The reactions have been mixed. One of my patients asked me, "Who talked you into doing that to your hair?" Several people have not recognised me. This list includes Aunt Shirrie - who also happens to be my hair dresser. My best friend Denise told me I looked younger. One kind soul told me I looked thinner. I've noticed that I catch myself smiling more and just feeling happier in general. It's been a fun change. But I think my blonde days are numbered. My roots are calling me back to my brunette self. And you can't forget your roots - especially when they keep staring you down every time you peek in a mirror.

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Monday, July 05, 2010

After 3 Weeks of E-mealz

We took a little time off from the plan to go on a trip to Austin and honestly because we were too lazy to go to the grocery store for a few days. We're now back on the E-mealz wagon and I'm glad. We eat more veggies when I cook for us at home. I also think the food tastes better than our usual diet of fast food. Our big $ savings are going to pay off a few speeding tickets but such is the journey of life - especially when you like to live 13 miles over the speed limit.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Week 1 of E-Mealz

Dave Ramsey's radio program frequently advertises After 4 years of listening (being brain-washed) to these commercials I decided to try it for our family. In the past I have added up how much our family of 3 spends on food during a month and the amount is often more than our mortgage. We Jackson's like to eat!

We purchased the Walmart Family of 4 Plan because I thought it would have the best savings. There are several plans to choose from but you can only change your plan once every 3 months. Currently they do not have a plan for HEB which is my grocery store of choice. They do offer an "Any Store" option but it does not include a $ estimate for you to track your savings.

E-mealz promotes their program as $5/month but you must purchase it 3 months at a time. I thought this was a little sneaky on their part but not having to think about what to make for dinner for 3 months won me over. Hopefully, now that I've already paid for the plans I will stick with the program and our bank account will thank us.

Damon and I decided to split the work so he buys our weeks worth of groceries and I cook the meals. I think I got the better end of this deal and he thinks he got the better end. It's a win/win!

I didn't think we would like some of the recipes and I was already planning to call in Pizza Hut as backup. However, everything was surprisingly tasty and we were able to stretch all of our meals to cover lunch the following day. When they say the meal will feed 4 I think they mean 4 grown men that have just finished a hard days work in the fields.

One meal involved cooking a lot of pork chops in the crock pot. I like the ease of crock pot cooking and this meal was probably the best tasting of the bunch but the clean up is a pain. Yes, I know I need to buy some crock pot liners but when I only use it once every 6 months it hasn't been something I think about.

To purchase all the ingredients for the Walmart shopping list we spent about $75. This amount did not include staples. Lemon juice, mayo and capers are some of the listed staples. Capers?! I would like to meet someone in West Texas that has a ready supply of capers hanging out in their pantry.

Damon went shopping on a Saturday and said he will never go back to Walmart on a weekend again. Hehe! So I switched us to the Any Store Plan after our 3rd day. Hello again HEB! The Walmart dinners were also heavy on starches and cheese which is probably why they tasted so good. The Any Store Plan had more veggies and fresher ingredients. We'll start it tomorrow night.

After our first week of E-mealz we probably saved $150 but our food budget was admittedly out of control. This program has de-stressed dinner for me since I can now just go on auto-pilot after putting in my hard day in the fields. A person that is organized and disciplined could probably do this all on their own but that person isn't me. So far E-mealz has been great for us.
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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Puppy Love

My life seems to have gone to the dogs the past few weeks. Between groomers, vets, shots, and picking the "right" dog food these 2 pups have kept me on the go.

Sid loves playing with Max and Star. She also enjoys helping me "scoop" the yard. I'm sure our neighbors are tired of her yelling, "MOM THERE'S SOME POOP OVER HERE!" Yesterday she told me, "Mom you're good at this. You're a magical mom!" There's really not much "magical" about carrying a HEB grocery bag full of processed dog food to the dumpster, but I appreciate the encouragement. She's been extra encouraging since she stepped in some that I missed. Imagine crying and gagging at the same time. Poor girl did not inherit my nursing nose.

I've been taking them for lots of walks which has been good for meeting more of our neighbors. I've also been watching re-runs of The Dog Whisperer. There are some crazy pet owners out there that I'm in danger of turning into. I asked Damon to get me a therapist if I start referring to Star as my "doggy soul mate."

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

For Our 77th Anniversary

Damon enjoys teasing me that he measures our marriage in dog years. This year our 11th anniversary went to the dogs. Literally! My friend Sara and her kiddos went to the Odessa Humane Society with us to pick out the perfect pups. We found 2 sweet dogs. Max a 3 month old shepard mix and Star a 1 year old labradoodle. We're hoping that they will be best friends!
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Cleaning Phase 1

The Spring Clean bug has bitten! We've been busy this weekend tackling projects we've been putting off for a while.

Damon was able to get all the dead shrubs dug out of the front flower beds. This involved the help of our neighbor, his bulldog, and a winch. Surprisingly there were no injuries or accessory property damage.

I schredded 4 years worth of credit card applications and financial documents I'd been stockpiling. It equalled out to 2 large garbage bags of confetti. Our poor schredder overheated several times during the process but at least lasted until the job was done.

To celebrate we went on a picnic to the UTPB duck pond Saturday. The weather was perfect and the geese kept their distance. I'm twice their size but those aggressive geese freak me out.

The dishes are washed and the laundry is almost done. The week is off to a clean start.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

My Thoughts on Oscar

I love to watch the Oscars. The gowns, the celebrities, the suspense and even the cheesy acceptance speeches. This years Oscars were good but there are definitely things that I would like to see improved.

1.) No more Kathy Ireland! She was too tall for the people they had her interview. And way too intense for the type of fluff questions that nervous stars flying without a script expect.
2.) More Neil Patrick Harris! I just like him. If they thought he was good enough for the opener why not the whole show? And are those big musical numbers really necessary? The best original songs and scores should be more than enough music for the evening.
3.) The hanging lamp shade backdrop while unusual just didn't seem in keeping with the glitz and glamour of the show. Maybe if the theme of the evening was modern suburban living room...
4.) Cut back on the obvious movie plugs. While I do enjoy the Twilight series, Bella and Jacob didn't deserve to be presenters. Ditto for Hannah Montana. It would be nice to limit presenters to stars that have won Oscars in the past or at least been affiliated with best picture calibur productions. The importance of the award seems diminshed by having teeny-boppers pass them out.
5.) I like that they have the best actor/actress peers talk about the nominees prior to the award. I wish that they had asked Renee Zellweger to talk about Colin Firth. He deserved more than Julianne Moore's "I only knew him for 3 days."
6.) After having done this for decades I'm sure this was not the first year that someone has won back to back awards. Having to wait for Kathryn Bigelow to make the journey from back stage for the best picture Oscar was awkward. My favorite part of the show is seeing the surprise on their faces when they're announced and then the hugs from the people around them. Getting a peak at James Cameron's face when she was announced right in front of him would have been interesting too. He seemed gracious when the camera eventually panned around to him. Having the highest grossing movie of all time isn't a bad consolation prize.

Overall, it was a fun show. The people I was cheering for won. Plus, I got lots of good makeup/hair ideas (thank you HDTV for not hiding flaws) as well as some do's/don'ts for the next formal gown I have to buy. Here's to next years big night!

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Another Car Conversation

In honor of this years extra long winter.....

Sidney: "Mom, where does the sun come from?"
Me: "That's a great question. Where do you think the sun comes from?"
Sidney: "Probably Los Angeles."

Well the sun is a star and obviously LA is full of movie stars.... I see a trip to the planetarium in our future and a little less Access Hollywood.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Just Like Brett Favre...

Damon and I are the Brett Favre of home owners. Our pattern goes something like this:

Me or D: "Hey lets sell our house."
Me or D: "That's a great idea! Call a realtor."
***We meet with said realtor****
Me or D: "Hmmm maybe we should just fix it up and stay."
Me or D: "Yeah let's keep the house."
***We begin a small renovation project like removing wallpaper or changing a light fixture***
Me or D: "Hey let's sell our house."
***And so the cycle continues***

At our current rate we will eventually meet with every realtor in Odessa before Sidney starts kindergarten. I'm not sure why we're such wafflers about the house. Maybe it's because we know that we'll still have to work on the next house we buy. Maybe it's because we don't want to admit defeat but we don't want to live through the construction mess. Maybe it's because we enjoy inviting realtor's over to our home only to tease them with a commission. Ha!

We're currently in the project phase of our sequence. The master bathroom is due to get gutted over next weekend. I think this may be the project where we have to commit or get off the potty - literally!
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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

My Little Obsession

I have to confess I am crazy about Texas Tech football. I read the blogs. I post on the message boards. Any news about the Leach firing, the hiring of Coach Tuberville, national signing day - I gobble it up. I love it all!

Many of the Tech fans got their feathers ruffled over the loss of Pirate Leach. He did keep things entertaining but perhaps not always in an positive way. Honestly, he was never going to lead Tech out of the shadow of UT and OU. It was time for him and the university to part ways, but it could have been handled in a more graceful manner.

The hiring of Coach Tuberville has the potential for greatness. He has brought onboard an amazing OC in Neal Brown and James Willis as DC is going to be incredible. With the addition of todays new defensive recruits the future is looking very bright for Tech as the program moves towards a balance of offensive fireworks and defensive dominance.

The next big hurdle is the selection of starting quarterback. Taylor Potts has the skills but lacks charasmatic leadership. Steven Sheffield has proven he can spark the team and the fans while also making the tough plays. I only question his durability. Is Sticks Sheffield tough enough to make it through the entire season? Both QB's have a chance under the new leadership, and I'm curious to see who Brown selects for the position.

The season starts September 4th with a home opener against SMU. With the Craig James fiasco of last year this game should be a fun one to watch. Get your guns up! Wreck 'em!

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Sneaky Sidney

Sidney had been quietly playing in her room (which should have been my first clue) when I heard the bathroom sink come on. I went to check on her and found her in the hallway between the bathroom and her bedroom holding a drawer from her jewelry box full of water.

Me: "Sidney what are you doing with that?"
Sidney: "Oh... I'm going to water your plants." (She was completely and convincingly straight faced. We are so in trouble when she becomes a teenager!)

At this point I noticed the trail of water leading from the bathroom sink to the play kitchen in her bedroom. She had been slowly filling her play sink with water - one little jewelry box drawer at a time. Unfortunately, the water was also forming a small lake in the carpet around her kitchen.

Me: "Sidney! Why did you do this?!?"
Sidney: "It's just part of my evil plan..."

Yes, we are so in trouble!

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Friday, January 29, 2010


Sidney and I have some of our best conversations in the car on the way home from the babysitters. Here's one from this past week:

Sidney - "Mom what's a fluke?"
Me - "A fluke? I think a fluke is something that shouldn't happen but does. Can you think of something that's a fluke?"
Sidney - "Well at night when I go to sleep my cat comes alive. That's a fluke."
Me - "Uh yeah...."

Seriously, is there an appropriate "parent response" to that?

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Christmas in Re-wind

This year's Christmas holiday was spent with my immediate family. My dad, step-mom "Nana Anna," brother Landon, and step-sister Sarah all traveled to beautiful West Texas. This was our first year to be together for Christmas. I was nervous about us all being in my little house with only one working bathroom but everything went so well I don't know why I was worried.My folks flew in on the Tuesday before Christmas and the siblings arrived on Wednesday. When Landon and Sarah got into town, Damon and my Dad (sporting his workout cardigan) thought it would be fun if we went on a walk around UTPB. Normally this is one of the neater things to do in Odessa but the weather was not cooperating. 17 degree wind chill with drizzling rain does not make for a pleasant stroll. So we cut the walk short and went out for dinner at Ajuua's. Because what goes better with exercise than a platter of Mexican food covered with cheese? This was our first time to eat at Ajuua's new building. The staff was still working through the kinks of being in a different location so the service was not the best. We did have fun checking out all the hostesses bump-its and making every waiter that came to our table take our picture. I'm looking forward to going back to Ajuua's after they've gotten a bit more settled.
Damon and Landon made a quick trip to the store for Rock Band. It was fun to watch Landon sing and dad play the drums. It was more fun for dad after we callibrated the drums so they were actually on beat with the music.Christmas Eve morning we enjoyed a light snow. Just enough to make everything look like it was sprinkled with powdered sugar.The rest of the day was full of cooking and craft projects. Sidney painted ornaments for the Christmas tree and decorated the gingerbread house with some help from Uncle Landon and Aunt Sarah. Nana-Anna and I cooked up a storm of Christmas goodies. We whipped up chocolate chip cookies, graham cracker toffee, and pumpkin muffins. Mmmmmmm! Before Sidney went to bed we put out milk and cookies for Santa. We also placed some paper down on the hearth so we could get Santa's footprints like my Grandpa used to have us do. Damon kept running to window saying, "Maybe we can catch Santa flying by!" To which Sidney replied, "What kind of trap are we going to use to catch him?" Ha!Santa came to our house and enjoyed his milk and cookies. He left Sidney a stocking full of goodies and new dress-up clothes. Damon's mom and dad came over for present opening and Christmas lunch. Phyllis made a turkey and her delicious dressing! I was in charge of the ham which turned out surprisingly well.
Sidney opened presents for almost an hour straight. Yes it's good to be the only child! Her gifts included lots of new books to read, make-up, clothes, Barbie and the 3 Musketeers, and a cool new vanity to give herself and brave volunteers makeovers!Anna, Sarah and I went to the movies and watched Sherlock Holmes. We visited Walgreen's on the way home and almost bought bump-its before we came back to our senses.
Overall the week was a lot of fun and went by too quickly. I'm already looking forward to future family gatherings for this year!

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