Apr 29, 2009

DC - delta crazy

Originally uploaded by cheryl_lynn425.
I'm taking a day to recoup from my vacation but I wanted to throw it out there - pics from the DC trip are up! I saw SEVEN friends from college, visited the Library of Congress, toured the Newseum, went to a wine festival, had a birthday party at Anna's, met Val's puppy and attended the national YNPN conference.

It was so good to see the college friends (mostly deltas or deltas by association) and just catch up. The two I saw the most, Val and Anna, are also two of the gals I've kept up with most. Thus conversation is not stuck in that "remember when" phase. It's nice. People who know that part of your history ridiculously well since its their history too but who also have a pretty good idea of where your life is at now. We know each other's habits, styles, general perspectives and favorite drinks.

And as for work stuff, I feel like I got so much out of this trip. From the session on fundraising through social media to comparing war stories with Anna (PR for Greenworks, which coincidentally is the cleaning product brand I am slowly switching to).

Now I'm home though, which is nice no matter how much fun vacation is. And my puppy is trying to jump through the door to find the pup outside. She's also developed two new-ish habits while I was gone. She now hides under the bed whenever she thinks she is getting a bath or might be in trouble and her obsession with dogs on TV has extended to all animals...ever cartoon. She can't figure out why she can't chase them through the TV. Silly puppy.

Apr 21, 2009

She made an itinerary

That's why I love Val. She may not be quite as calendar OCD as I am but she's not far.

She created an itinerary for my travels to DC this weekend. Holy guacamole, it is beautiful. A fancy dinner out together (Val is my date, I love it), BBQ birthday dinner, all night birthday shenanigans, brunch, wine festival, rooftop margaritas, tour of the Newseum and all kinds of mischief in the capital of our great country. It is a thing of beauty.

I cannot wait to see Val, Justin, Anna, Ben, Miranda, Ankur, VB and whoever else makes it out while I'm in DC. Woohoo!

Btw, on another note, I could not be happier. My personal life is just downright perfect (knock on wood). It is fantastic.

Apr 19, 2009

Babies with wet noses

Originally uploaded by cheryl_lynn425.
Ross is always talking about Lexi's "wet noses." She only has one. I don't know why he says noses as if our pup has two or three. It's just one nose.

And though this baby didn't have a wet nose but I met baby Claire today. She's perfect! Precious and warm and cuddly. I also met Jay, Becca's fiance and Claire's papa. I'm pleased to report that Becca and Jay have a good plan for taking care of their little bundle of joy. Claire's going to have a super life with her loving mama and papa.

Before I met baby Claire though, Mom and I ordered the wedding invitations. I'm so glad to check that item off the wedding to-do list. It had become a drain. The invitations I liked best were so expensive I might as well hand over my first born child as payment. I like the ones we ordered though. They are the right color and have a nice contemporary feel. I also got the return address preprinted on the envelopes which may seem small but we have the longest address known to man. The thought of writing it 80+ times frightened me. God bless preprinting.

And I must brag on my honey. When that man is productive, he is PRODUCTIVE. He reminds me of me in that when things get sluggish, everything gets sluggish. But when we're busy, things get done because we know we can't procrastinate. I'm big on getting things done so seeing his checked off lists just makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

On that same note, I think we've worked out some pre-marital, or in some people's cases, early marital, ways. In the past year we've learned how the other functions at home and how we can best function together. In many ways, I'm the household manager. I juggle the balls but Ross is great at getting things done. My impulsive organizing and calendar keeping is needed/wanted and for an impulsive organizer, that's a beautiful thing.

And I know I mentioned it a blog or so ago, but I get so giddy over the idea of us being homeowners in the foreseeable future, that I just cannot help it. I shrank our hypothetical house buying budget, searched and still came up with cute houses in the right parts of town. Every discovery like that gives me increased confidence in our ability to reach our goal.

Which leads me to one final point (see how far from wet noses we've traveled). WE have goals. They are OUR plans. WE are working together. WE have a puppy. In the past year of living together I also feel like we've made huge strides in becoming Team Black. It's no longer my goals and his goals, my chores and his chores (well for the most part, though groceries are still mine and oil changes his). It's us, we, ours, together, the team. It may be my career but it is our goal. It may be his job hunt but its our project. It is swell to be a team.

And this team loves their puppy and her wet nose(s).

Apr 18, 2009

Popular Towns

Originally uploaded by cheryl_lynn425.
Why this pic you say? Because he's cute and I like this pic for some reason.

I'm up super early because Ross is up in Waco testing for their fire department. I tried to fall back asleep but no dice. And because I am up super early, I'm watching Good Morning America Weekend Edition before starting on editing Possibilities. (Part of why I couldn't sleep again was the to-do list: editing, bank, puppy school, grocery store, gym, laundry...) The first three stories I saw in GMA were in Boston, Brenham and Austin. Now I realize I haven't actually lived in Brenham but I drive through it every time I go to Houston and its part of our Girl Scout council so I think I can claim it. Either way, my little hometowns got a lot of air time today.

In other news, we did birthdays at his parents' house yesterday. I must say, we've both made out like bandits this birthday. My parents got us a very very nice LLBean luggage set which I will promptly be using for my trip to DC on Friday (FRIDAY! AS IN 6 DAYS!). I got Ross a mini ticket package for baseball games this summer. Three Round Rock Express games and one Astros-Cubs game in Houston. He of course got me the beloved iPhone. His mom and Jack got him a beverage carbonator which may sound strange but if you saw how much carbonated water I purchase, you would get it. Gramma is paying to renew his passport so we can go to the Bahamas for our honeymoon and Megan chipped in for the fishing boat repairs he wants to make this summer. Jack, Nancy and Gramma pooled their resources to give me four months of ShoeDazzle-a shoe of the month club started by Kim Kardashian. Let me tell you, I'm excited. As Ross described it, this is something I would get myself if funds were unlimited but nothing I would dream of paying for now. That said, four months of fancy shoes delivered directly to my door is a little slice of heaven. And Megan came through on the iPhone with an iTunes gift card for app downloads.

Like I've told Mom and Ross this week, its been really fun to get spoiled like this together. We're finally in those double income no kids years and can have birthdays where we don't need to ask for HEB giftcards or rental deposits. What a nice change!

I know the best things in life are free (the love of my honey, puppy kisses, time with Grandma, best friends) but I have to say, the second best things in life look to have come for our birthdays this year.

Apr 15, 2009


On Monday Ross and I celebrated a relationship milestone (and no I do not mean my iPhone). We combined finances. The old "what's mine is yours" has a whole new real meaning now.

Joel once told me that when you sit down and have a family budget meeting, get everyone's eyes on the same target, that magic happens. I can't say that magic has happened in the past 48 hours, but I have to say, I do feel more like a team already. We had been sharing snippets of financial information with each other. For instance, he knew I had college loans and I knew he charged his day to day stuff on a credit card that he paid off each month. That was kinda it though.

In just 48 hours I feel like I know so much more. We haven't had just one talk but several small ones. Today's was the most detailed. What comes in and when? Exactly what goes out and on what days? At the end of the month do we break even or have a little for savings? Can we put enough into savings (really) to buy a house next year?

Ross wants to carefully track everything for the next month while we work out the timing of all our many bills now from just one account. I'm really pleased with how proactive he's being on it. I like the feeling of joint control and leadership as opposed to one saying "here's the scoop" and the other following. The shared effort is what makes us a team.

The target our eyes are on is a house. We've set a goal for next summer but I can't help but look now. I get really excited when I see houses that we could afford now. It makes me want to buy one now. Forget resigning the lease, let's buy a house! However, despite the tempting nature, I have Ross to remind me that now is not the greatest time. We're just on our feet. No need to stretch ourselves thin. Ironic since I just said the same thing to him earlier tonight when I made the case for saving for a starter home, not a forever home (he agreed). Just hours later the same words came right back to me.

I guess that's an example of being a team. We alternate between dreaming HUGE and saying "dear, let's be more realistic." I'm glad we do that because it would be rotten for one person to always be the realistic one or for one person to always be shot down. We have a lucky balance going on.

And my new phone, still super fun. Amazingly fun actually. (Ross is so wonderful for getting it for me.) It is GPSing me all over town, sending me texts from friends, being my messenger and a acting as a Lexi/Ross picture frame.

Apr 14, 2009

There's an app for that

Yesterday, on Ross' birthday, we went down to AT&T to open a family plan for our cell phones. This meant that 1) I got a new phone number and 2) we both got new phones. As you will recall from the blog all about my blackberry, I was getting a blackberry.

That is I would have gotten a blackberry if I had a good honey.

BUT I HAVE A WONDERFUL AMAZING LOVING ROCKSTAR OF A HONEY and I got an iPhone instead. Let me tell you, it's love. (With Ross of course but honestly, with the phone too.)

And there it is, the beautiful screen that greets me each morning and tells me what is going on in my life. Need to schedule a meeting? No worries, just go to the calendar. Need to check the old work email? Go for it. In addition to saying how amazing Ross is for getting me the coolest phone known to man, I must also give a shout out to Hanson, my office IT guy. He totally hooked me up on the syncing this morning. That man is worth his weight in gold.

And btw, that screen shot, my iPhone took it. Yes, it takes self portraits. I swear it does everything. I bet there's even an app for walking Lexi.

Apr 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Today was a nice, normal Easter. I mean normal in a very good way. Having grown up in a somewhat big family, I love holidays with lots of people, kiddos included. We only had a few kiddos but we did have us, Megan and her boyfriend (Ryan), Nancy and Jack, Sam, Jen and the kids and Jen's parents. And of course the puppies. It was a nice full house with plenty going on and a slew of potluck plates, just like a good holiday should be.

This is one of the places where Ross and I differ. He prefers small holidays. It's all he really knows which I am sure is why I prefer big family holidays. But since his family has grown in the past five years and since he became a part of my family (even if not officially yet) he's been getting his share of big family holidays. I love them; he's warming to them.

When I first discovered that he was not all about the huge family holiday I thought he was a wierdo. Well I have since learned that there's a whole world of people out there who prefer small family holidays. I guess my honey isn't quite the freak I thought he was. :)

Anyway, a long rambling blog later, we had a great family Easter and I'm so glad. It felt so homey and I love that.

In other news, tomorrow is Ross' 28th birthday! To celebrate he is throwing back a few beers and playing video games with Rick at the moment. When you have a Monday birthday that follows Easter Sunday, a few beers and video games is about all you get. Especially when you have to volunteer firefight the night of your birthday and go to firefighter testing the Saturday after your birthday.

And in still other news, Lexi had her first puppy school class yesterday. She did pretty well and we are already working on our homework.

And one last piece, tomorrow I am getting a new phone number and new phone. I've had my same Houston phone number for more than eight years. Getting rid of it is a pretty significant milestone. Some people say "well it makes sense for you to have an Austin number" and others say "Why? Everyone calls from cell phones anyway." Maybe I'm getting slightly ahead of myself but I want a local number for when we have kids. If I'm getting a new plan and a new phone now, might as well do the number too. And for work I think having a local number will make my life easier. So if you need to call me after tomorrow, feel free to call the Houston number but just know all you are getting is a voicemail that directs you to a new Austin number. Here's to 512!

Apr 8, 2009

Calling all nonprofit lovers

I know you are out there. You are do-gooders. You give your time and your money to the finer things in life and I don't mean escargot. You are the person who will walk around a track for 12 hours just because you said you would even though the ACS already has your money anyways. You cheer on Jerry Lewis during his telethon. You run the Boston Marathon for charity even though you can barely chug through 2.6 miles let alone 26. You work more time for free each month than you do for pay (or at least it feels that way).

Well do-gooder, I'm calling on you, especially if you live in Austin. And this blog is a shameless ploy for that call.

On May 20 the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Austin (YNPN Austin) is hosting the Do Gooder Games, a fun trivia night that doubles as a fundraiser for YNPN Austin. Thirteen teams of five will compete in wicked fun trivia/physical contests and the winner will receive $500 for the charity of their choice. The remainder of the funds raised will go to support YNPN Austin programming that helps local nonprofiteers be the best they can be and therefore makes Austin a stronger more rockin' place to live. What's not to like about that?

Now that you know the scoop, I'm tellin ya, it's high time you got involved. Whether cancer, education, health, leadership, homelessness, hunger or any other cause is your cause, this event is for you. Think about it - you are making the do gooders do better-ers.

Start a team (5 people per team) or become a sponsor. Either way, you are part of a wicked good thing and are making a difference while drinking a beer and playing trivia.

Team registration is going on now at www.ynpn.org/austin and sponsorships range from $50-$500 and include a slew of benefits. I can tell you all about the cool benefits. Just give me a buzz or leave a comment here.

Apr 5, 2009

I heart the beach

C&R @ Port A
Originally uploaded by cheryl_lynn425.
I've always known I like the beach. But until this weekend I had not been in...well over a year. Probably summer 2007 when Melissa and I went to Port A for a day.

But this beach trip was amazing. At first, Ross had to sell me on it. Not because I don't love the beach but because of finances. We're just getting them where we want them and I wasn't quite ready to spend money going out of town. Kandi did a great job of finding a sweet yet affordable beachfront location. The condo we stayed at was awesome; hardwood floors, washer, dryer, kitchen gadgets, 2 bathrooms, plenty of sleeping space.

And the beach. God, I love the beach. It's been a stressful year at GSCTX thus far - really no break at all between cookie season and our big fundraisers. But on the beach this weekend I completely turned my brain off. The most important thing I thought about was "Should I have water or a Cape Cod next and either way, where am I going to find ice for it?" No press releases, no scripts, no Web sites, no nothing. (Keep in mind, I like my job but there's a threshold even to Girl Scouts sometimes.)

It was me, 10 good friends, salt water and sunshine. Just the taste and smell of the salt made me happy. I even enjoyed the increased humidity. It just felt RIGHT. It was like I could suddenly breathe easier, relax and not worry about how the island grocery store was gouging us on every purchase. (Which they were but I am 100% OK with it. That's just how much I needed to be on the beach.)

And I've even got a little memory to take home - some red hot (literally) tan lines.

Finally, after this weekend, that I am so glad Ross talked me into, I vow to never go a summer without visiting the beach ever again. It was the most foolish thing I've ever done. I will always visit the beach at least once a year for the rest of my life. Scouts honor.

Apr 1, 2009

Introducing Becca's Baby

My cousin Becca had a baby girl today. I do not yet know baby girl's name but I bet she's sweet as can be. Welcome to the world bitty baby!

April 2 Update: Baby has a name! Grandma just told me. Her name is Claire Inara. The middle name was chosen, and you'll see they really thought about this, to balance the syllables. Way to think guys!