this is love

this is love
our successful grains

Saturday, May 20, 2017

And another (temporary) move...




Always something new and nutty with us.  I can barely keep up with my own life, at this point.  But, I'm not complaining and very grateful for all of the opportunities.  

Tim, my husband, was summoned to the headquarters of his company this summer in Silicon Valley; same place we lived and worked last year before making our big move to Austin.  Since he will be gone all summer, we said, "what the heck, let's all go!".  Tim actually left a few days ago, and the kids and I will fly out on May 28.  We are leaving our car at home and will rent one when we arrive.  I'll batten down the hatches here, and hopefully our house is still standing when we return mid August.   🙏.  If any of you kind central Texas residents would like to drive by my house occasionally to ensure it's not on fire, I'll cook you big meal when we return. 🍛 <- and="" curry="" knew="" nbsp="" p="" rice.="" s="" that="" who="">

The only thing I'm NOT excited about? 👇


(been stuck on this interstate way too many times)


We will be in a furnished apartment, so I'm packing 3 big suitcases, my sanity (need to find it first), and lots of books on my Kindle.  As far as activities go, I plan to HIKE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.  When you're afforded the opportunity to hang out in NorCal for the summer, hiking is a requirement.  I took the kids a few times last year, but now that Gabriel is 3, I have much higher hopes for our hiking trips.  I've already ordered both kids a pair of hiking boots. (Tim, check the mail at your apartment!) 🌄

LAST YEAR 👇
 Don't let this hiking pic fool you. I had to carry him outta there and back to the car.
He was nearly two, and she nearly 6.



SUMMER ACTIVITIES:
Reading: personal reads (my list is only getting longer), and continue Nancy Drew series w/Sophia
Hiking: to include nature studies by default, :) 
Bitsbox: monthly subscription for Sophia. She'll learn to code and create her own apps
Koala Crate: monthly sub for Gabriel; crafts and games - You can get $10 off with this link- http://www.kiwicrate.com/Refer?i=HaleighR

I'm shooting for a stress-free summer, as we all are, I'm sure.  We'll still be traveling a bit;  CA-TX for THE Stephanie Rice's hometown concert. And driving back and forth to Los Angeles for a few shows Steph is playing there.  

Sleep when you're dead! amiright. 

LET THE SUMMER BEGIN! (she shouts, as she listens to thunder and watches the rain fall in Austin).  Heading for that sunshine state in 8 days, though. 💧-> 🌞  We welcome all visitors (that cook, 😂). 

-Hales

Saturday, January 28, 2017

on the heels of the Women's March...

Since I just got my eye sight back from being blinded by the images of the Women's March (es) around the world last week, I'd like to post a few images of my Women's Rights campaign:            The Right to Life.




I say, "respectfully march for what you believe in".   I'm all for women's rights.  Who isn't for "Equal pay for equal work" and "paid maternity leave", to name a couple?  The biggest women's right issue SHOULD be the freaking right to life.  How do feminists miss this?  They skip to an adult woman when fighting for rights.  At the Women's March I saw little girls holding up signs that read, " The next future president".  And that's awesome...they certainly may be! But,  during that one day of marching for women's rights, 2 babies were aborted in the United States, and one of those could of been the first woman president.  Feminists say they want control over their bodies and the decisions pertaining to it, but what about the little baby girl or baby boy that didn't get a chance "to choose".  WTF, man.  

UNBORN BABIES ARE AN OPPRESSED GROUP THAT THE HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT COMPLETELY IGNORES.  They pick and choose which groups to defend, while ignoring the absolute most defenseless group of all. 




If those same people that marched last week for "women's rights" could also fight for the baby girls (and boys) rights in the womb, then we could be more united.  We could move forward with reproductive healthcare and education, prenatal care, and allocate more resources towards family planning and adoption on a united front.  I would have been more inclined to march with those women last week if they didn't disregard an entire population of people that never got a choice in any matter.  Their futures were decided for them.  Did anyone as a kid want their parents to choose their future for them?  Go to this school, marry this person, choose this job.  No.  But the mothers of these unborn babies did just that. Except they said, "Your life will be cut short.  You won't even get the chance to march in a Women's Rights parade".  Or  gay rights parade. Or a "black lives matter" march. Nobody wants their future chosen for them.  

PALM TO FOREHEAD.  It's not a Christianity thing.  It's shouldn't be a right-wing thing.  It should be a humanity issue; The right to live and then to make your own decisions, thereafter.   






In 2014, Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., addressed abortion and racism. King said, “Right now in America almost half of our babies are being killed in the womb, and in certain parts of America more of our babies are being aborted than being born. While we were marching in the sixties, a place was being prepared for us at Planned Parenthood. We were trying to get off the back of the bus, and they were going to have a space for us in the front of the abortion mill.”




WE SHOULD PROTECT ALL HUMAN LIFE:
the UNBORN
       the IMPRISONED
     the IMMIGRANT
  the REFUGEE
  the DISABLED

It's way too simple. Choose life.

(there are so many more arguments, facts, and statistics that I don't have time to get into on  a blog)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The year of the book

I've resolved to read two books per month in 2017.  I'm very original in my resolutions.
One fun, pleasurable book.  One history book.

January picks:

1.  The first book of the brand new series, "Harry Potter".  

Heard of it?  ;) (have I mentioned I'm ALWAYS late to every game...except the hat game; always early). I read through book 4 several centuries ago.  But I've forgotten most, and my husband bought me all 7 for Christmas....que "I believe I can fly", because that's a TALL order!  But, I'm chipping away and feeling like I can fly since I'm reading two books simultaneously and on track to finish both by January's end.  Chest bump!  




2. The Greatest Generation, by Tom Brokaw

An INCREDIBLE read for history lovers and haters, alike.  Brokaw profiles men and women of World War 2;  He interviewed these people in their hometowns and on the beaches of Normandy, detailing their heroism, bravery, and immeasurable impact they made on their communities and on future generations.  Truly, the greatest generation.  I can't get through one profile without crying.  We owe them so much.  It's beyond inspiring.  A MUST READ.  :). 


February picks on deck....



And the goings-on of last week:

Painting boxes.  Don't tell me you're bored, or you'll paint a dang box! ;)
Actually, it was Sophia's idea. 



Playing charades: Octopus on point


Reading while listening to music..I don't get it.  Distracting! 


And the rad headband my MIL crotched me for Christmas needed to make an appearance.



Thursday, December 22, 2016

ANOTHER MOVE. WHAT'S NEW?

It is well with my soul.  Being in Texas, that is!

WE ARE OFFICIALLY TEXANS, AGAIN; Austinites?  Though my southern accent has never left me, we've not been Texans in nearly 12 years.   We lived in several different states, our longest stint being Maryland (go Ravens) for almost 7 years.  Both of our children were born in Baltimore, so it will always hold a piece of my heart.  However, we most recently lived in the SF Bay Area for about 7 months.  We were able to orchestrate a move to Austin, thanks to Tim's amazing job!  Facebook has a small office in Austin, and although Tim's team isn't primarily at the Austin office, they let him move because he's THAT awesome at his job.  That's what I believe, anyway, :).

As we've gotten a bit older, our priorities have changed.  While living in Baltimore, happily planning to settle there long-term, we started saying in passing, "Well, maybe we'll move back to Texas one day. And if so, let's definitely move to Austin".   This, of course, was well before Tim's current job was even thought of.  To finally be in Austin living out our long-term plan so soon, is VERY surreal.  We never really thought we'd move back.  Hopping a plane or train once or twice a year to see family became the norm, and we were completely fine with that.  However, while living in SF, our desire shifted from "maybe one day, but probably not" to "we'd be so much closer to family...it's so much cheaper there..let's go now!". haha. The kids LOVE their grandparents, and my own grandfather is 85 and my favorite person in the world.  So, without stating the obvious, it became a mission to get us back to Texas ASAP.   I want the kids to grow up near their grandparents.  Those relationships are typically so special.  So, I kept nudging Tim to broach the topic of moving to the Austin office, instead of back to Baltimore and working out of the DC office as was planned all along.

To make a long very emotional story short, we were given the green light to move to Austin, within 30 days bought a house sight-unseen, and flew in at the end of June to sign our papers.  The kids and I moved ahead of Tim for 5 months, but Tim stayed for the first 2 weeks of July to help us get "settled".  We didn't bring ANYTHING with us aside from 8 suitcases, two carseats and a couple of boxes we shipped with valuables. And we actually survived all of this.  haha!  Tim just moved to Austin for good the week of Thanksgiving.  He lived in an apartment in SF with a roommate and visited us here in Austin once a month for a week at each time.  WE DID IT!  And we're still furnishing our house, btw.  Dude, you MAY think that's cool. IT AIN'T!  It takes MONEY. And PATIENCE.  My personality is to get everything done immediately...whatever I'm doing.  I get an idea, and it has to be fully completed that day.  So, imagine me trying to furnish an entire house.  I've had to color my hair twice as often, ;)

The summary of the past 6 months through pictures:

Moving again....

NEVER AGAIN

Our flight from Oakland to Austin...bye SF BAY!

Our first night in our new house. Our second day in Austin. (air mattress strong)

The final playdate with our CA friends. (out of order here)

Our 1st week in our house was also July 4th weekend, so some of Tim's family visited!
The kids LOVE their Aunts. 

We ain't go no couch to sit on, brah. (first few weeks)

Our first visit to our hometown from Austin.  We DROVE (6 hrs)!  Miracles do happen.

I met up with Tim in Los Angeles (note the palm) for a week in October to visit his brother and family.  Tim flew down from San Francisco, I flew over from Austin. We can do things like this now.  Grammy is so much closer!! Thank you GRAMMY!

At his brother and sis-in-laws house, acting a fool per the usual. 

Paw (my grandfather) and Gramps, the kids grandfather. 

My mom came down for Halloween!  We're taking advantage of every free weekend by seeing family one way or another.  

Babes

Sophia's homeschool group get-together; roasting smores. 

Crazies

Kid-free drive from Austin to Texarkana.  It's the little things that are the big things, for me. 

Thanksgiving

Weekend in Dallas

The kids and Grammy rode the train from Dallas to Texarkana while Tim and I visited his parents in Sherman.  We're a train family, if you haven't gathered from our previous travels, :)

Before we went to Sherman that weekend, we caught his sisters show in Dallas. EPIC!  Check our her band, Colonial Blue.  TRUE TALENT AND INCREDIBLE MUSIC. She writes it ALL.  

Unprofessional family Christmas photo

The temperatures dropped, and so did our sanity.  

 Our first time decorating our yard for Christmas

And this picture is one of the top reasons we moved back to Texas. 

We absolutely adore our new life here.  And we are beyond thankful for the many blessings God has given us.  None of it will ever be lost on me.  I also have to thank my wonderful husband for my amazing life.  Thank you Tim for all of your hard work!



(In case anyone goes back to look at previous posts on here, I did write an entry about our move, but I did not share it with anyone.  So some of the info is redundant. :). )

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The great migration continued....



Remember when we moved to California 6 months ago?  Well, we just made another unexpected big move.  But, not back to my beloved Baltimore as originally planned.  I've stopped making plans at this point, because our big plan to go back to Maryland was flipped on it's head. And might I add that I was 2 days away from making an offer on a new home in Maryland, when the powers at be informed us that Austin, TX would be Tim's new jobsite.  (Facebook has an Austin office, so it's just a location transfer).  I'll spare you all of the details of how I had my amazing friend Keri go view a house for me in Maryland to purchase.  It was THAT close.  Thank you, Keri! I love and miss you!

After many debates, conversations, tears, wine, questioning, and many more tears (from me), we are back in our home state of TEXAS.  And it feels goooooood....on the inside. It feels TERRIBLE outside.  From 50 degree nights in San Francisco to 100 degree highs in Austin.  I'm dying. 

THE PLANNING, TRAVEL, AND TRANSITION (as if anyone actually cares... hey mom, I know you do at least)

PLANNING:
When we packed up our Baltimore city life and traipsed across the county via train as if we had the mental stability to do so (what were we thinking), we downsized significantly to fit into a 2 bedroom apartment.  Now we're upsizing in order to stay true to "everything is bigger in Texas". Here's the problem with that: We didn't bring ANYTHING with us, excluding 8 checked bags and 2 carseats that we flew with.  YES WE DID. We gave all of our furniture and kitchenware to our babysitters family.  I now have/get to furnish an entire house and need to win the lottery. It's so fun and so daunting.  Non-shady Craigslist ads here I come!  (I already had to drive right past a house that I was suppose to pick up a desk from...SKETCH). #needmase #oracarrylicense TEXAS!

Did I mention I put in an offer on a house from California, scheduled a 30 day closing, and signed our settlement papers the day after we flew in.  People actually buy houses site-unseen!  We aren't in our right minds.  But, we LOVE the house..thankfully.  Glad I didn't have to turn right back around and sell this joker. I'm getting out of order here. It's kind of a talent....

TRAVEL:
This one is short and simple.  I wrangled the honey badger on our 3.5 flight as he cried and cried until he fell out for the last hour.  Sophia went to sleep beside us.  And tim was nowhere to be seen until we deplaned.  I give myself the MVP of this flight... and a bottle of wine every night thereafter.  Not going into more details to relive that horrible 2.5 hours of my life.  Just know that I greyed a little more....




TRANSITION:
As I mentioned, we flew in on a Monday evening, stayed in a hotel, and signed our house papers on Tuesday.  So that we could stay in our house the first night and not have to hold up in a hotel while tracking down furniture, I bought and shipped all of our beds which met us on our front porch in adorable "assembly required you idiots" boxes. YAAAAY.  But, we had them!
It took Sophia 12 seconds to pick out her own bedroom and settle in with her gigantic stuffed dog that we flew with. (which parent approved that!?).  I was pre-occupied, ok.  Gabriel went right to sleep in his new bed that Tim uncomplainingly suffered through "building".  These kids ADJUST.  They're awesome... and just use to their parents crazy ideas, I suppose.  "here we go again, bro".  "yeah sis, they're nuts..but we have to follow them".  I can hear them now...  I always overly prepare Sophia for the change, so I feel like we just slide right into our new lives.  I've kinda mastered that I think.  It helps that I enjoy change... thank you Army life (and Tim). 

 
 
 
Our very first purchase.  Bought on amazon, shipped to our door and assembled by a very nice man that I was willing to pay to do it.  #priorities

They love their new life!
 

THE BIGGEST CHANGES:
My sweat glands have enlarged, and my hair has gotten bigger #southernhair #teasethatsh*t


More to come on settling in and finishing first grade (Sophia not me, although I NEEDED that refresher year).  For now, I'm off to watch Friday Night Lights (the show) on Netflix.  Makes sense.

-Hales

P.s. it's soooooooooooooooooo hot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





Saturday, June 11, 2016

11 on 11

We typically don't do the public mushy, romantic crap..but, it's time. :)



Happy ELEVEN year wedding anniversary, Tim!  June 11, 2005 we committed our lives to each other at the ripe old age of 19.  It seems like another lifetime.  We've come oh so far, and I'm pretty proud of those 2 kids.  I love you.

First of all, thank you for loving me when I don't deserve it (which is rare, let's be honest, ;) )

I'd like to take us back to the beginning.  In the beginning things were idealistic.  I pictured our love story playing out like one I saw on TV. And then you're hit with real life (that's annoying);  The Army, an Iraq deployment, a baby in the NICU for a month, navigating uncharted waters of life after the military, law school, infants, death by insane schedules, the stress and crazy that goes along with real estate investments, a move across the country for your dream job, and I could go on....

Love gets hazy at times.  But, we made it and are making it. And, I constantly remind myself of the following:

OUR LIFE HAS BEEN A ROLLERCOASTER. (yes, I just yelled that)  However, it has never been boring.  It has been full of adventure, challenges that have made me a better mom and wife ( I like to think), and accomplishments that I never imagined.  I've lived in paradise and the opposite.  I've had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people and gaining friends from all walks of life. I fully appreciate it all.  I am LUCKY to have the life I live, and I have you to thank for that.  My life is chaotic, trying, adventurous and fun.  As testing as our journey has been at times, I truly believe that I have the coolest life!  I'm beyond thankful every day that you swept that 19 yo clueless small-town girl off her feet and whisked her away to Monterey, California. Thank you, Tim, for all of the wonderful memories we've made so far.

The first 10 years were nuts! This past year we've found our way to a clearer path, and I'm ready for the next years we are given together.

My commitment will always remain the same.  I love you. 

-Hales




We were able to slip away for a few days to the very first place we ever lived as a married couple: Monterey, CA.  I can't describe the overwhelming emotions I felt going back to where we began navigating the world together away from the comfort of our small Texas town.  It gave me "all the feels"!   Not a second was unappreciated nor wasted.  We were able to stay at the Monterey Plaza Hotel, right on the water at Cannery Row; a place we only dreamt of stepping foot in years ago.  It was so special. 

We hiked, rode bikes along the coast and through downtown, ate awesome food, visited our old neighborhood and apartment, used the bathroom at my old College, and soaked in the perfection of Monterey.  I spent my first two years of college at Monterey Peninsula College, and I cried when I rode my bike up to it.  No clue why...my emotions were in overdrive!
OH, and I knocked on apartment #3 at our old complex to see if the woman and her son still lived there from 10 years ago. It was worth a try!  I thought Tim was going to have a heart attack (from embarrassment).
#nostalgia

Tim carving our initials on the tree
 

hiking at Point Lobos., Carmel, CA. and we all know pictures never do beauty the proper justice



 
Do we look cold? Freaking freezing


 
 
Our beloved.  Apartment #6
 
 
 Riding/ bawling through downtown Monterey, wishing we still lived there
 
Side note: Why Monterey?  Tim went into the Army as an Arabic Linguist, and the Defense Language Institute is in Monterey. This is where all military linguists study the specific language they were given. Therefore he was sent there for 2 years to not just learn, but master, Arabic (top of his class and linguist of the year...duh.  haha).  And since we were married, I was able to join him...We totally scored with Monterey! 


11 YEARS ON JUNE 11, 2016

"Nobody said it was easy......Take me back to the start".
-Coldplay

P.S.  Although our love story hasn't exactly played out as I saw on TV those many years ago ( I can't reference a specific romantic comedy that I'm sure gave me the idealistic view of marriage, ha), but I feel like my life is often times a sitcom without the cameras and with the occasional romance and tons of comedy.  So, there's that!  :)   #winning