Friday, December 18, 2009


A while back when we were packing up to move from TX, I posted a blog about hoarding and purging.  Most of you know that I am a purger and will gladly get rid of almost anything that goes unused for a while.  This also means that I don't really collect anything because most collectibles go unused and just have to be dusted (which is one of my least favorite chores.)  I do however have 1 item that I do collect and most of you probably don't know about it.  I collect spreaders!  This is kind of a new thing for me- I've only been collecting them for somewhere around 7 years.  They don't have to be meaningful, I just have to like them.  For all these years, they've just been stored in their boxes not being used or seen.  Then one day last year, Mom and I went to Harry and David on one of our shopping days.  I found these adorable spreader blocks and knew that I would soon be able to display my spreaders.  My kitchen window in our new house is the perfect spot for my display.  Earlier this fall, I had fruit, baseball, and lighthouse spreaders out.  Since Thanksgiving, I have had my Christmas spreaders out.  As I unpacked more and more Christmas boxes, I soon realized that I had way more Christmas spreaders than I thought- I now have 20!!  I guess I've just been buying and storing them without having the whole collection together.  So here's a picture of my window right now.  Aren't the spreader blocks just the cutest things ever!?!  I may have to get more as my collection grows!

And my collection IS growing.  My friend Shelly just bought me some red chile pepper spreaders for Christmas.  The snowman plate and snowman/snowglobe spreader are also from her.  Kristi, do you see my Christmas moose spreaders in the middle block?  Oh my goodness!  I just realized that I have at least one other snowglobe spreader that isn't out.  I must find it!
OK- this blog is way too long to just be about spreaders.  Sorry- I like them and wanted to share this little collection with you.  So what do you collect?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Titus loves Christmas

Titus is a very VERY curious dog.  He must completely sniff out anything new that he hasn't seen before.  Our Christmas boxes are no exception.  We haven't really decorated for several years, so when we started unpacking Christmas stuff, Titus was in heaven.  I think he sniffed every single ornament and I caught him sniffing ornaments on the tree last night.  Here are some pictures from our tree decorating night last week.
He MUST be right in the middle of the action!


Friday, December 11, 2009

One year ago...

It's so hard to believe that I lost my sweet Daddy one year ago today.  It's been a rough day already and this whole year has been really emotional.  Even the happy memories bring tears, but I thought I would share some of my favorite pictures today...

Daddy's little girl

Such a patient teacher

He let us walk all over him



My all-time favorite.  We look so innocent!

Friday nights were campouts in the living room

He LOVED trains (and any toy for that matter)

One of the only wedding pictures I have where he is smiling.  He was very emotional that day!

He loved Titus too!

We all miss him terribly

Monday, December 7, 2009

Decking the halls

We had such a busy weekend.  There was baking, crafting, cleaning, decorating, ball playing, tree trimming (not the Christmas tree), shopping, partying, and very little sleeping.

Chocolate covered marshmallows

Banana pudding

Cheese balls- aka "cheesy balls of joy"

A little tree trimming

Resting from playing ball too much

Decorating dilemma- we have a big ugly safe in our fireplace that can be covered by a picture but not by my pretty new wreath

Decorating solution- buy a $6 tablecloth from Big Lots and hope nobody asks why it's hanging from the fireplace (it really does look better in person!)

A few of you have been asking for some house pictures, so here are a few.  I'll take more when other rooms are more complete.  Please ignore the fact that there are no curtains in any rooms and no pictures on the walls- we'll get there eventually!
Guest room

Living room- still lacks coffee table and end tables (and curtains, and pictures...)

Fireplace room- we don't know what else to call it

Have I mentioned the views from the back side of the house?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's December!

I just can't believe it's already December.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving in NM full of yummy food, lots of shopping, football, family and friends.  Somehow I didn't manage to take any pictures :(  Now we're in our last week of classes and finals are next week.  Our first semester at ACU has been crazy and stressful but great at the same time. 
Now it feels like the holidays are in full swing.  We have holiday events planned for the next 4 days while I'm still trying to find time to decorate our home.  We are hosting Christmas at our house for the first time this year (since we finally have a house big enough!)  I'm so excited!  We have space for a decent size tree and a real mantle and fireplace to hang stockings from!  I promise I'll post some pictures next week- don't give up on me!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Busy, busy

Well, I think we're feeling a little more settled these days. I have been pretty productive around the house this last month. We had the electrician come and ground some outlets, add some outlets, and make some safety upgrades. Then we had the insulation guys come and add a foot of insulation to our attics. I unpacked and rearranged enough stuff to get both cars in the garage! We've had multiple refrigerator repairs and FINALLY got a new fridge yesterday- I'm so excited I'll be able to buy milk on our next grocery trip! We also had our stove repaired since one of the burners decided to stop working. We bought 2 sofas and a recliner for our living room. We also have all of our TVs hooked up with converter boxes and antennas now. We still don't watch hardly any TV, but the option is there if we ever have time. My latest project is getting blinds on all the windows. I am 1/3 done! I put together a 5 drawer dresser, nightstand and matching headboard for the guestroom too. Little by little it all seems to be coming together. I still lack curtains and wall decorations, but those things take time to find. Maybe some after-Thanksgiving shopping will help! I'll try to post some pictures before too long.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Titus' vet visit- take 2

Titus and I met vet #2 on Saturday. She was soooooo much better than the guy we saw last month. She introduced herself to me and Titus, (Titus first as he had his nose in the door as she opened it) gave my baby a full exam, loved all over him, gave him treats and gave great information as we went along. She and her assistant did not attempt to lift my now 98 lb dog onto the table either. Titus' tail did not stop wagging the entire time except for when she was "messing with" his back end. Altogether it was a great visit. I feel so much better now and Titus seemed very happy. I think we've found a new vet!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Precious friend

When I look at the last 10 years, I sometimes feel like it has been a huge roller coaster. College, marriage, moving to OK, moving to WA, moving back to TX, deaths, births, numerous job changes, etc. Two of the wonderful blessings that have come out of this ride are new family and new friends. I have many new relationships in my life that I know will last forever. I love all of you who are relatively new to my life, but in this post I want to focus on a friend that I have had since the beginning of my memory.
Becca (Shoemaker or Fitzpatrick- however you know her) has been my dearest girlfriend my whole life. She is the sister I never had and the friend I hope to be to others. My dad always called her his adopted daughter because that's exactly what she has meant to our family. We have been through so much together over the years. It sounds like a marriage vow, but we have truly experienced good times and bad, sickness and health, riches and poverty; and our friendship is a lifetime commitment. We have lived in different states and time zones for the last 10+ years, but our friendship is one that always picks up right where we left off. I love that. I'm sure you all have friends like this too. Some of you even share this lifetime friendship with Becca that I do.
So why is Becca so much on my mind today? Well, I have wanted to write this for over a week now, but I've been really busy. I saw Becca in NM over my fall break, and the visit was just too short. I was at her home in Malibu when I received the news about my Dad's brain tumors last year. The last time I saw Becca was at my Dad's funeral and she was about 7 months pregnant. Dad never got to meet his adopted granddaugther, and I just met her last weekend. My precious friend now has the most precious baby girl. Bailey is truly the happiest baby I have ever seen. She laughs at everything and just thinks the whole world is hilarious. She cracks me up. I got such joy out of meeting her, but it brought a bit of sadness at the same time. I wish Dad could have held her, seen her smile, and heard her laugh. I feel so blessed by Becca's friendship and I pray that Bailey will experience a lifelong friendship like ours. Sometimes I wish all my friendships were like this one, but then I realize that this one would not be as special if they were all the same. I love you, Becca, and thank you for being the wonderful friend that you are!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bubble wrap and Titus

Titus has always been a big fan of tearing up any kind of packaging material we give him. Bubble wrap is a special treat. If it is the kind with big bubbles, Titus will try to pop every bubble. If it is the small bubble type, he just shreds it. Last night he was "helping" me put together some furniture for the guest room:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Vet update

Thanks for all your comments on our vet visit. I 100% predicted who would comment and in what order so far. You guys are so predictable! I love pet-lovers!
I have changed Titus' vet visit to a new clinic for next month. I'll let you know how it goes!

Not our ordinary vet visit

*Warning- much complaining ahead*
Well, it's that time of year. Time for Titus' annual exam and vaccinations. Finding a new vet is not fun or easy. A few weeks ago I started asking friends for vet recommendations. I was given many names to choose from, but in the end I chose the one that had a convenient location with Saturday appointments and offered the rattlesnake vaccine (we've already seen 2 rattlers, so it's only a matter of time before Titus tries to befriend one!) Mom was in town and went with me and is my witness to all that follows in this entry! Remember that Titus usually LOVES the vet- new smells, new animals, attention from lots of people, and lots of treats- what could be better!?!
We show up and there is a separate cat and dog entrance. Well, that's no fun. How is Titus supposed to get the felines all riled up? Oh well, no cats anyway, just other dogs. The front desk people were very friendly. They took Titus' vaccination records, gave me paperwork to fill out, and took Titus' weight (96 pounds this year- yikes!) So far, so good. Then we were called to the back.
First of all, the vet was in jeans and a scrub top. Yes, it was Saturday, but we're not dealing with cows and horses on a farm here, we're in the city at a small animal clinic. A little professionalism would have been nice. Second, no vet tech but instead a HUGE man as an assistant. I mean this guy was HUGE in every dimension- I don't know how else to describe him. And he was in jeans and a t-shirt. Third, no introductions. The vet did not introduce himself to me, Mom, or Titus. He just came in and started a speech about the latest studies concerning 3 year vaccines vs. 1 year vaccines. Granted this was one of my questions, but who are you and why haven't you greeted us yet?
Next, the big guy asks the vet, "Do you want him on the table?" I begin to get worried and mention that Titus does not like to be picked up. Who puts a 96 lb dog on a table anyway!?! Nobody listens to my warning, and the big guy proceeds to pick Titus up. Titus starts growling (did I mention he DOES NOT like being picked up!?!) and the big guy bonks Titus' head on the table as he lifts him. After getting him on the table, he forces Titus to lay down and kind of leans across him to make sure he doesn't get up. He could have just asked Titus to lay down and he probably would have. No force needed, thank you. Titus is looking worried at this point and I'm already stressed. They took a blood sample for a heartworm test then began the vaccinations. They started with the Bordetella vaccine, which by the way, I did not ask for nor did they ask if I wanted it or tell me what they were giving Titus. Well, it consists of a spray in each nostril. Titus has never had this vaccine and DID NOT like it! He was squirming quite a bit, but big guy had him pinned down. Next came the worming meds, aka banana juice in a syringe. No warning or discussion involved, they just yanked open Titus' mouth and squirted the stuff in. Well, Titus was done at this point. He spit ALL the juice right back out onto me, the vet, and big guy. They tried again and held Titus' head up until he was forced to swallow. I kindly mentioned that if I knew that was coming, we could have just put the meds in a bowl and Titus would have quickly licked it right up without all this trouble. They didn't seem to care. They quickly finished with a shot in the leg (rattlesnake vaccine) which Titus never notices. They decided to wait on other vaccinations since we have to go back in a month for a rattlesnake booster and his shots are not really due for a few more weeks anyway. So at this point we were just waiting for the heartworm test results so we could get our preventative medicine and leave.
Does anyone see anything missing from this visit? Maybe an examination!?! The vet NEVER looked at Titus' eyes, ears, mouth, etc. No temperature taken, no listening to the heart, nothing! Keep in mind that this vet has never seen Titus before and also never asked for his medical history other than vaccinations. This guy just pumps all this stuff into my pup without even checking to see if he is healthy and well that day. I couldn't believe it! I just kept thinking about all this while the heartworm test was being done. Meanwhile, Titus is so stressed out that he is just drooling all over the place like he's never drooled before. Of course I'm on the floor with him apologizing for putting him through this torture. I think I took it worse than Titus, but he was definitely not himself. And did I mention NO TREATS!?! What vet doesn't have treats for their wonderful clients? I looked for them, but they were nowhere to be found. And he never loved on Titus at all. At one point Mom said, "This guy really doesn't seem like an animal person at all." Agreed. (Big guy did give Titus a little love at one point, but I can't remember when exactly.)
Finally, the test was done, Titus was negative for heartworm, we could get our meds and leave. The front desk people were again very nice, gave us a 10% ACU discount, made our appointment for next month, and we were done. My poor Mom had to hear me complain the whole way home and then Josh got an earfull too (and now you're getting an eyefull of my complaints!) I immediately gave Titus a treat and told him how sorry I was again. I dread going back in a month and I'm considering looking for a new vet before then. If I stick with this vet next month, it will be the last time he ever sees us. Maybe I'm crazy and this is how it's done in TX, but I think my baby deserves better. I hope this horrible vet trip has not taken away Titus' love of vets (or mine!) Thanks for letting me rant and rave!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I think it's time for a funny dog post. A couple of weeks ago my Aunt Sharron came to town and brought us a really fun house warming basket. She filled it with all kinds of goodies from around TX. Of course she included 2 toys for Titus too. One is a little stuffed cowboy complete with hat, belt buckle and lasso. The other is one of those long floppy squeaky dogs that you always see on Petsmart commercials. Anyway, Titus is usually fascinated by squeaky toys, but the non-squeaky cowboy is his favorite right now. Here's a short video of him playing last night. I call this buckaroo- I think you'll see why.

With all this rough play, you can imagine that the cowboy has lost some of his "accessories." I should have taken a "before" picture, but instead I only have this "after" picture. Titus LOVES his cowboy!

(By the way, this blue room is still a multipurpose room. It's where we lived for the first few weeks until our upstairs carpet was installed. Last weekend it was a dining room for 20 people. Eventually we'll put some furniture in it and it will be a 2nd living area. It's also Titus' playroom!)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Updated office

Here are a couple pictures from my office update (at school). I'm not sure if I'm done yet, but it's gettin' there.





Monday, September 21, 2009

My exciting night

Josh and I had to make a very quick trip to NM to get our car from Mom's house this weekend. Since it ate up a lot of time, Josh decided to go straight to school and get work done as soon as we got back in town. I headed home, unpacked, did laundry and other housework. Around 9pm, I decided to call it quits, take a shower and go to bed. Well, when I got out of the shower, I found a snake in the bathroom (and of course Josh is not around)! First check the tail. Whew- no rattle. It's only about 18 inches long, so I'm not too worried. It acted scared and tried to hide from me, so I figured I had time to get dressed and call Josh. Josh said he wouldn't be home for several hours- great. Then he added, "You could probably just leave it and it wouldn't hurt anything." Thanks, hon, but I DON'T THINK SO!!!! There was no way I was going to bed with a snake running loose in the house.
I quickly realized that we do not have any good snake catching tools in the house. So here's what I came up with.
Tools for the job: 3 foot long BBQ skewer used for roasting hotdogs while camping, a yard stick, a 5 gallon bucket
Goal: Catch the snake alive (yes, I'm a biologist, we try not to kill unnecessarily)
Strategy: Use the skewer and/or stick to pick up the snake and get it in the bucket without harming it (some of you may already be laughing!)
I should start by saying that I'm not generally scared of snakes. I will pet them and hold them, but I've never had to catch one. I thought it would be easier, but this little guy was a fighter! I locked myself in the bathroom to keep the dog out which gave me about 3 feet to work with. Every time I tried to touch him with a tool, he would get pretty aggressive and skittish. Then he would hide, then he would get mad, and I was getting nowhere.
New strategy: Pin his head down, grab him and put him in the bucket.
He didn't like that idea either. As soon as I got his head pinned down, he would wrap his body around my stick then pop his head out. Sneaky little guy. I wasn't fast enough either. I could have pressed down harder on him, but I was still trying to avoid harming him.
3rd strategy: Get rid of the snake so I can go to bed!
The snake was pretty mad at this point, so I couldn't leave to get a better tool and risk losing him in another room. I just had to bop him with the yard stick. He immediately flopped over on his back. I poked him to make sure he was dead. He was dead, but I decided to give him an extra bop for good measure. Yep, still dead. Getting him in the bucket was much easier when he wasn't fighting! I left the bucket on the front porch so Josh could see him. My heart was still racing, so I called Josh to tell him of my battle. He didn't seem to care, he was too busy working. So I called Mom- she was very proud of me. That's what Moms are good at! She encouraged me further by saying, "There are other poisonous snakes in TX that don't have rattles, so it's probably good that you got rid of it." I still didn't know what kind of snake it was, but I could go to bed and not worry about it anymore.
I brought the snake to school this morning and a professor in the Biology dept confirmed it was just a rat snake. Aggressive, yes- harmful, no- oh well. Since it was dead, the professor took it to use as a specimen, but he would have preferred to release it alive. I would have too. Maybe Josh will be home next time and be able to handle it better than I did. At least our dog never saw it. Titus would have thought it was a toy and would have probably ended up with a few superficial bites.
So that was my exciting night. What did you do last night?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Brokaw family pics

We took some family pictures about a month ago and just got them back today so I thought I'd share my favorites with you.

The only one I really like of me and Josh

The Brokaw clan

The sisters

Sisters with Mom

The brothers with Dad

Our nephews

Monday, August 31, 2009

Breaking in our house

We had our first family get-together in our house this weekend. It was Josh's Mom's birthday, so we decided to host the event after only being in our house for 2 weeks! I think it went pretty well and I really enjoyed having a house big enough to fit everyone. I think we ended up with 16 adults, 2 babies, and 2 kids. That's 20 people! We hope to have many more events like this in the future.
We still don't have our new carpet installed upstairs yet (should happen Wed and Thurs), so we're just living downstairs for now. Once our 2nd living room is no longer our bedroom and office, we'll have even more space for guests! My Mom is coming to visit this weekend, so we've got a guest room to get ready too. I wish we were able to spend more time at home, but we have just been so busy. Maybe we'll be able to catch up in a few weeks- HA! For now we're enjoying beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and short walks along country roads.
Here are a couple of pics from our last few weeks.

Titus' spot in the truck on the trip from WA- we're already in TX at this point. Look at how hot and tired he is!

Josh's Mom with her 2 grandsons (our 2 nehpews) Benjamin and Jackson

Our first scorpion

Titus helping with the refrigerator packaging

Family birthday night