Monday, June 06, 2011

Integrations and such

I've been in the middle of a huge Websphere Portal integration (IBM) for several months.... Its been "challenging"... So you might have wondered where I've been, dear readers.. I am not far- but I am "busy"... I miss the following... Natchez, Mississippi... Frequent Manicures and Pedicures... Screwing off and my free time... Taking days off that really werent warranted- but I "needed".... HAHA Cooking frequently...... Volunteering for my favorite charities or local civic clubs like @The Houston Heights Womans Club.......... I've taken up some other vices.. We spend most weekends at the Houston Racquet Club... We play lots of tennis ......... We swim............ We sign little ones up to swim........... We have a glass of wine whilst little ones swim....... We try and catch up... My favorite days? A quick brush of hands while were cooking dinner.... A little more code that wasnt planned to be ready- "integrated" and ready for Show and Tell..... Not having to work my programmers like dogs......... My little ones hugging my neck- and saying- I LOVE YOU MOMMY, I BELIEVE in you MOMMY.... Reconnecting with old co-workers and friends.... I am blessed... I love to hear from you! Amydell

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Recent article about the Pumpkin House

I keep wondering why I dont "feel" like pulling EVERY LAST decoration in the attic out this week!?? Maybe its because we spent so much time on the house last year for the home tour? I did get a wonderful email from the head of PR for the Houston Heights Association- @Susan Love-Fitts with a scan of the article. Cathy Gordon, a freelance writer for Houston Lifestyles Magazine did a great job capturing the story- and we couldnt be happier with it! Thanks to everyone that helped us make last years home tour a fun event for the Houston Heights!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The pumpkin house is ready for Halloween!

We're getting ready this week for one of the best holidays we spend in our home, Halloween. I'm warning you- don't get jealous now - Brooke and I spent most of last weekend hot gluing candy corn to anything that didn't move in the house. (I think the dog may even have some on his ear : ) These cute little candy corn wreaths are now melting in the 80 degree Houston heat on our front doors.
We also enjoyed grabbing some tree branches and hot gluing candy corn on them to make them look like a candy corn tree. (She loved that in fact!)
The kids got to visit the annual Greenwood King Pumpkin patch and pick out their favorite pumpkin. Always lots of fun- although they are getting a little too old for it now :(
This Friday, I'm co-hosting a "witches luncheon" for the Houston Heights Woman's Club @ Stella Sola. The event is lots of fun (a membership drive for our ladies group) and a chance to get out of the office early on a Friday and party on down with some other like-minded grown up witches ;) This year- Ill be handing off my title of "bad witch" which was bestowed upon me by a good friend last year. Lets just say- if you get the "honor" of a title (ie: good witch or bad witch) you get the privilege of hosting the upcoming years event. I think someone should have set my "friend" straight! Aggie football, tailgating, trick or treating, Halloween kids party and hosting a ladies luncheon all in the span of three days makes me think I need to take a ride on my broom now and head on outa town!
Houston will be a great place to be this weekend though- lots of fun things going on around the Heights and cool people to do it all with!
Have a spooky time and stop by for some candy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Conduct? It's such a strict word

We've been battling conduct grades the past few days. I'll be honest-I expected this day to come. I wanted nothing more than to raise a high spirited, confident, smart, beautiful little girl- and that's what we got... I wasn't planning on the other things that come along with being all of those things.
Before we got to first grade, she was the thoughtful-shy-and Witty girl. Now she's the beautiful, free-spirited, "I don't feel like reading" girl.. She's much rather paint or draw that read.. She'd much rather run and play than sit and study her site words.
Last week- she was given a citation at school for cutting in line in front of another student, and then later for smacking someone for making fun of her for getting in trouble. It's so hard to teach a kid to see the wrong in cutting in the first place, which led to the teasing and smacking. She's a hard one to raise. She kind of likes to dive into life- and "cut the crust off" as she see's fit.
Alternately- Bryce is pretty happy reading, playing video games and doing what we ask of him, as long as it doesn't require him to compete with his sister. If there is competition- it is usually heated. It's easier just to avoid all forms of comparison-although we did call out that ALL of Bryce's conduct grades have been excellent. (Which wasn't appreciated by the daughter.. AT ALL!) So, after being grounded for a week-she seems to be doing better. Although- a grounding for her is like a grounding for the entire family. It means no TV on at any time, no computer, no sweets, nothing but reading, eating dinner, laying out clothing for the next day and going to bed. It stinks! I hope that she'll remember those consequences the next time her high-spirit seems to get the best of her better judgement!
We've been spending lots of time in College Station, tailgating for home games. We had the pleasure of joining our friends Marylou and Brent for the Aggie Coaches night, before the season started
Had such a fun time spending time with them and with the Aggie Yell Leaders! Whoop! :)

Heres hoping for a better week and no bad conduct grades! I'll keep you posted!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Technology Parenting

September, 1972- Richard Nixon was in office, the first episode of The Price is Right was hosted by Bob Barker and the Vietnam war was in full swing. My mother was in the hospital, and had been for some time, recovering from injuries she sustained in a car accident. She's got a baby on the way, no nursery-outfitted to the nines, no "Babies R'us", no big deal. Thats just how she "rolled". Times were much simpler, right? But were they just her version of simple? Flash forward to 2004, when we had our twins. Similar story, but my mandatory "incarceration" in the hospital on bedrest was to "cook" my twins a little longer and was very unexpected. I had the ability to get online wirelessly in my hospital room (Thank you Memorial Herman!) and have delivered a littany of baby products ranging from wireless baby monitors, Baby Einstein videos that were "statistically proven to make them smarter!", vibrating bouncy chairs, bottles, binkies, blankies, all backed up by customer reviews and forums with thousands of comments from parents who had recently purchased the same products.
What a difference 32 years makes! Being a mom in 2010 vs. 1970's (from an information perspective) is the difference between drinking from a water fountain vs. a fire hose! The pressure to navigate the gauntlet of technical parenthood and make the right decisions is just one product review away from failure! Its amazing that my brother and I made it though our childhood without my parents ability to share socially with countless, faceless, consumers who had an opinion about what they were about to buy.
Its not easier to be inundated with information- its just more to wade through and think about. Thoughts?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Really? You hate heavy whites? Wine.. that is....

I've had it up to here with people complaining about Chardonnays and Viognier's, etc... There was a time, when my palette was much less developed- and at that time- I may have fallen for a Sauvignon Blanc or Muscadelle... I'm just so past that! I think you should be too. Houston summers SUCK! (I mean- well...) they are torture! We have to get by any way we know how- in the heat! These are a few whites that will help you get settled into summer and deal with the 90+ degree days. Here are my TOP 5 picks for "entry into summer" wines.. These are picked based on my taste buds- and some on Bills- but we typically agree- a bottle of "everyday" wine should not cost you more than $15-20 dollars, but more closely to $10-15. As my friend Chris Pietre would say, "dont hate, just participate!" I'd love to know what you think too! 1.) 2008, (Oakville California) Simpson Vineyard, "Miner" Viognier Well rounded, plush, vibrant fruit (not tart) Apples, pears 11.00 Specs 2.) 2006. (Sonoma County) Parkers Estate, Chardonnay Reserve Beautiful, some oak, apple and honey. Perfect for "front porch" entertaining- or with a grilled piece of Salmon. 14.00 Krogers & Specs 3.) 2007 (Santa Ynez, California) Bridlewood, Viognier Reserve Moderate acidity, sugar, honey, oak (light) excellent "food" wine. Brie and honey. 19.00 Kroger (Probably cheaper at Specs) 4.) 2008 Bottled in Santa Rosa, Ca., Kendall Jackson, Vinters Reserve, Tropical, oak, pineapple, mango, citrus- but not "bite-y"... Perfect Sunday afternoon in the yard wine. 11.00 Kroger 5.) (no year) Candoni, Prosecco Brut. yummy! 14.00 any close Kroger! Enjoy!

Monday, January 25, 2010


It's hard to believe my last post was in September! There have been many things in the works over the past few months- and taking the time to search and explore has opened several new avenues in my life. For one- the house seems to always be clean ;) a meal is mostly always on the table, if not, plans to get one are in the works mostly as a family. I'm exploring my inner foodie, and inner organizer.. (don't ask me where that's going, I still haven't figured it out!) The last of the home tour decorations will come down this week. We were featured in a few write up's as well as in local newspapers and magazines that are specific to the Heights. Last week we visited a local place Thai Spice, on 19th street- and there were a few Heights magazines laying on a bench by the door. Bryce casually said as we walked by them "hey mama, there's our house!" He enjoyed it as much as we did I think! We're busy making plans for the twins summer camps and activities and our yearly visit to Gulfshores Alabama- to stay in Beck Flacks fun and ultra cool condo at the Beach Club. I cant wait- and find that I'm getting spring fever already.. its only FEBRUARY!! ;) I'm also trying out some new technologies like building a website for the Heights Woman's Club ( )and Google WAVE. It seems like a very useful technology. Esp. for project managers.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Checking back in!

I havent posted much lately. There have been lots of things going on. Life has proven again to only be as fun as the moment you are in! ;) For starters, my children started kindergarten two weeks ago. They were so precious with their little back packs and thermos's and uniforms... Brooke exclaimed as she left each morning for school "kindergarten is COOL"-- I love that she is so challenged and so receptive to this huge change in her life. Bryce on the other hand isnt as thrilled. He likes the new school- but cant seem to keep his yap shut long enough to keep his "green car" on the performace chart- in GREEN.. It is often "yellow" and apparently "yellow isnt perfect"... So-- thats whats up with the kids. On another front- I've closed the door on another chapter of my life. There were 40+ workers laid off this past week- and I was one of them. They let several project managers go- leaving the bare bones to run the projects. Im wondering if this is just the beginning of some significant cost savings mesures? In some ways this result makes me feel lucky. I was early enough to get a package and a gentle nudge out the door. I hope all behind me are so lucky. So, I'm taking a little time to re-set and figure out what it is that I "want" to do next. I'm thrilled that the economy seems to be in a up cycle and I am in the heart of energy country. There probably wont be much idle time spent.. so I'll enjoy it while I have the gift of that. Otherwise, things are well with us. We spent our first weekend up at Aggieland this weekend, watching A&M beat the hell-outa New Mexico State. Was a fun weekend- filled with friends, a few drinks and kids getting back into the football season. They always love being there- and I love that my beautiful, smart hubby enjoys our time spent at Aggie football! Take the time to write when you can.. I enjoy hearing from you! :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

A little advice (to myself...)

I am a moderator for a group of ladies in the Heights who are all participants on an online forum called Heights Kids. This morning- someone posted that they thought they "couldn't do anymore without losing their minds..." With kids, partners, pets, jobs, etc.. You'd think that we as moms and partners couldn't be pulled in any other direction.... Honestly- I got home last night from a day trip to see my mom for mothers day- and all day long was about everyone else... I am happy to share my love, family and time with my parents- they wont be around forever. I want my kiddos to know them. But, after getting home and having spent the entire day on Saturday "decluttering" my living rooms built in shelves, I found that most of the cleaning on the second floor didn't get done.. and lunches weren't made, and dinner wasn't made, and there were at least 5 loads of laundry that needed to be done, not to mention the laundry still needing to be folded and put away. Dishes that needed to be unloaded, and re-loaded... Well, you get the picture... Just one evening in the life of a busy mom. When the anonymous poster posted their "gripe" this morning- it really resonated with me... I started to type a response and as I formulated it- I was given a gift- that I needed to listen to my own advice... Remembering the things that make me "loose my mind" and the things that help me "destress" really helped me get past the fact that I was literally bawling last night when I realized how much I had to get done before I left for work this morning. Here is the list I sent her: - ) any additions are welcome! ;)

"1.) Stop thinking that no one can do things better than you. Let it go. This will relieve a lot of stress.. (I have to work on this EVERY DAY!) Let your partner help you accomplish things, and don't go back and re-do them. Be at peace that its done!

2.) Pick one night a week or one day on the weekends to get things done for yourself. Even if you are grocery shopping or doing something like dropping off dry cleaning- which is about you and your partner, do it ALONE!, drive with the windows down, music cranked up- and sing at the top of your lungs... This also relieves stress, and gives you some fresh air! ;)

3.) At least once a week- work out an alternating "responsibility" morning.. That means your partner gets to dress them, feed them, make lunches, drop them at school, and you get to pad to the shower 45 mins earlier.. or take a walk before you have to greet your "other life" at the office.

4.) At a very early age, make your kids pick up after themselves- make them drop their plates in the sink, make them place milk they haven't drunk in the fridge. Make them pick up their pajamas and drop them in the hamper or on the floor of the laundry room. Make them place shoes and socks in a SUPER EASY place to find (mine is the drawer in our downstairs TV Armoire) All of these things will help you in the future.

5.) Make lunches the night before- not the morning of- its too stressful to get them, you and your husband out the door and to be remembering at that point your out of bread!

6.) MAKE A GROCERY list and HANG IT ON your fridge door! As you run out of things, get the kids to remind you to write it on the list- my twins love this little game, and they feel like they are contributing to the grocery buying process. If we're out of something- its because they "forgot" to put it on the list. If we have something- its because the "magic mommy grocery shopping fairy" took "Their" list and bought what they asked for. This avoids a lot of hassle in the mornings... Also helps our partners take responsibility for things they need, and avoids unnecessary trips to the store.

7.) Lock the door to your bathroom at least once a week. Soak your toes, paint them... A fresh coat of paint always makes people wonder how you found the time... and it takes all of 30 mins... and its FREE!

8.) Drink wine... lots of it... ;)

9.) Keep your girlfriends on speed dial. I have a GF in college station that texts me once a week and asks for a "phone date"... Its usually after we've put the tike's down for the night, and usually WITH a glass of wine and usually on my patio. or front porch. Take the bug spray and the bottle of wine. The stress this relieves is immeasurable.. ;) The "brutality" of bitching about life, kids, partners etc. is not as bad when your talking to someone else that is going through it!

10.) Keep date nights- religiously... Remember, you and your partner really liked each other before you brought the tike's into the world.. Even if you don't "go out" make sure the kids are in bed and you are able to spend some time together each day... (BTW- This is our greatest challenge... )

11.) Don't be too hard on yourself. EACH of us goes through this... Its just so damn hard to be perfect.. Not only are you trying to do it for you, your job, your partner, but now your trying to do it for a kiddo/s too. I fall short all of the time... I have 2 HUGE baskets full of laundry that have been sitting on the floor of my study for 2 weeks now- WAITING to be folded! (Maybe that's where all of my underwear is?? ;) -- I walk past them each morning and say to myself, "this wouldn't have been sitting here, 6 years ago.." But realistically, I had nothing else to do before the twins came... Now, I have PLENTY to do!

12.) Its okay to be greedy and spend time alone or doing things you love.

13.) If you cook, and do the dishes, your partner should be bathing and getting kiddos ready for bed. If you cook, and he/she wants to do the dishes, then you get the kiddos ready for bed. You shouldn't have to do both...

14.) If All else fails, listen to this: Lastly, you will have breakdowns, you will have difficulties, you have to learn to laugh at yourself, your situation, and the impossibilities that life throws at you. I promise you one thing.. Your kiddos wont remember if the clothes were folded or the dishes were done the morning after dinner was made... They will remember things like you reading to them, bathing them, tucking them in, etc.. They will also remember whether you were sane or not... So take care of yourself! ;)" Happy Mothers Day to all of you moms that I missed talking to yesterday! ;)

Thursday, April 23, 2009


IMG_6379, originally uploaded by amydell.

When you were born, you were so tiny and red.. Look at you now, almost 5 years old, beautiful and smart. (I can say that, I'm your mother!)

I wanted to name you something that meant something to me.. I know that this is a poem about death- but more than that- its about love... The kind of love that lasts forever...


Author: Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love -
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me
Yes! that was the reason
(as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In the sepulcher there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.