What’s in a Name?

I know I haven’t blogged in forever, but I’m coming out of retirement to link up with Andrea for today’s post.

So, name stories… I feel like I’ve got some good ones. See, I was born back in the 70’s. Before sonograms allowed parents to know the baby’s gender. When my parents were expecting me, I was a crapshoot. My mom had two sisters and my dad was one of five brothers. So they planned for either outcome. If I was a boy I was going to be Matthew Robert (the Robert was after my grandfather). If I was a girl, I was going to be Heidi Denise.

I know. Awful. NOT the boy part.

Thankfully, I was born five weeks premature. And as such, only weighed four pounds, eight ounces. Very tiny. So tiny, in fact, that my mom decided that ‘Heidi’ was too big of a name for such a small person. So she decided on Amy. Not my favorite, but better than Heidi and not the ‘Jennifer’ that every other female of my generation was named.

Fast forward thirty years, and The Spouse and I were expecting our first. I was SURE it was a girl, since I’d had my girl name ready since I was eighteen. Yeah, wasn’t gonna happen.

We found out we were having a boy and I was flabbergasted. We went back to the Baby Name Dictionary and ran into several snags. We wanted something unique but not too weird (my years as a teacher determined that we didn’t want to name our kid something he would always have to spell for others). Tanner? Loved it, but the kid in Bad News Bears had such a horrible mouth on him that we didn’t want to predestine our kid with profanity. Conner? That was the front runner until we saw Road to Perdition while I was pregnant and I didn’t want to name our son after a bad guy.

So we went back to family. My grandpa, who I loved dearly, was Robert Warren. BUT, The Spouse and his family were from West Texas. That meant one thing – that any variant of Robert would eventually become Bubba. I wasn’t having a Bubba in my family. Period. So we thought about keeping the initials: RW. Tried to find a unique (but not weird) name that started with R for a boy.

Over drinks one night (virgin for me) we watched a marathon of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Confession: I’m a Trekkie/Trekker. The Spouse is a Trekker. Yes, there is a difference. Big. Google it.) The Spouse jokingly threw out ‘What about William Riker? I latched onto the ‘R’ in Riker and said, ‘How about Riker?’ and there we were. I suggested Riker Warren (keeping my grandpa’s middle name) and The Spouse chimed in that Warren was a family name on his dad’s side of the family. Done.

Fast forward 11 years and our Riker Warren got to meet Jonathan Frakes (the actor who played William Riker on Star Trek: TNG). It was an epic moment. We have pictures and autographs. Amazing. And yes, our Riker’s first Halloween costume was a Star Trek commander’s uniform. Really.

Two years later we found out we were expecting our second son. Too bad in a way, because my girl’s name also starts with R and would have been a perfect fit with Riker as a big brother. Not in the cards. So we were back to square one. Me being the reading teacher, I wanted something literary like Harry. The Spouse wasn’t having it. So we (again) looked to movies and TV. Our favorite TV show at the time was Alias, and one of the main characters was Jack. I’ve always loved the name Jack. But The Spouse thought it was too ‘ordinary’ for our son. Sigh. Right around that time, I went into premature labor (at 17 weeks) with our son and the next few months were a scary time of praying, hoping, endless doctor visits, medication, sonograms and daily meds for me. That little guy fought to stay inside and grow. And grow he did.

When it was finally time to be induced (since Little Guy finally realized that he was warm and snug inside and didn’t want to come out any time soon), we were still without a name. On the same TV show as Jack, there was another character named Michael Vaughn, but everyone called him Vaughn. I mentioned the name to The Spouse but he was resistant, so we looked up the meaning. Little did we know that Vaughn means ‘small’. I suggested my parents’ original boy middle name for me (Matthew) which happens to be The Spouse’s brother’s name. We looked it up and found that Matthew means ‘gift of God’. If that wasn’t divine intervention, I don’t know what is. After all of the scares, our ‘small gift of God’ has turned out to be just that – even if he is ten years old and five feet tall now!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


Hey y’all! It’s been a LOOOONG time since I posted last. I’m sure none of my four readers even noticed, but I’m feeling guilty because this blog is something I started – and according to my Midwestern roots ‘Dangit, you finish what you start!’

I’ve gotten a lot of advice regarding this blog. And to be honest, I take ALL of it seriously. The most pertinent: ‘You need to be less despondent in your blogging.’ And, to the person who told me that – THANK YOU!! I was trying to be ‘authentic’ with my thoughts and musings, but I fully admit that you caught me on a bad day with that. Sometimes, being a full-time Mom, Wife and Professional gets to be more than overwhelming – and my reality on those days probably seems despondent. So, here we go. With my True Daily Reality.

Towards the beginning of last summer, the fam and I made a Serious Change. It was the culmination of a Five Year Plan. See, back when our Oldest Minion was starting public school, we decided that we would move before he entered middle school. And the need for that was made more apparent when, during Oldest Minion’s preschool days, our neighborhood started to disintegrate due to the developers’ decisions. At that time, he was able to come to school with me (since I taught in the same district.) But over time, our neighborhood didn’t quite develop in the way we originally thought. HOWEVER, I will say that, when I quit teaching 2+ years ago and we moved the minions to our neighborhood school – it was AWESOME!!  Our little neighborhood elementary school was PERFECT for our minions. Small, community-focused, amazing teachers… The pluses went on and on. Our kids made wonderful friends in the neighborhood! If we could have kept our minions as permanent elementary-school kiddoes it would have been ideal. But….

The middle school we were zoned to was less. Than. Ideal. Sad to say, because the friends we (and The Minions) made over the last couple of years are wonderful people. So it was a hard choice. But, with a Teacher-Spouse and Former-Teacher-Turned-Corporate-Wife – we couldn’t afford the Amazing Private School that would have been my first choice for Oldest Minion’s middle school. So we started talking and ultimately returned to our Five-Year-Marriage Plan. Which was – wait for it… that our Someday Children would attend school in and/or near our hometowns. Which are Carrollton and Richardson, Texas, respectively. So we revisted the Five Year Plan – and spent a year planning The Move To Dallas,.

We knew upfront that Oldest Minion would probably hate the idea at first, since he had finally made good neighborhood friends. And he did. I heard more than once that we were ‘Ruining. His. Life.’ BUT, we had to pull it out as parents and remember how important the closeness of Family was to both of us as kids. Which, admittedly, our Minions had no clue about since they’d basically grown up on an island, except for major holidays. So we pushed on. And pushed. Renovations over Labor Day? Necessary. Floors torn up? Fact of Life. Painting the whole house? Non-negotiable. Packing important stuff? Had. To. Happen. See where I’m going with this? My Minions had to deal with a torn-up house and most of their Special Belongings going into boxes last January.  Reality? It sucked. For them, mostly. But for me too. And The Spouse. Special things like our wedding pics had to go into storage – in the interest of Staging the House.

So we did it. Eventually put the house On the Market. Open House over Spring Break for the Minions. But you know what? We got TWO full-price offers on the house within seven days. And one of those offers had (as a contingency) letting us leaseback our house for three months until school was over. YES!!! Done!!

Pluses: MONTHS of work and packing resulted in only DAYS of staging the house. And, for those of you with kids, only having to fully stage your house for a few DAYS is golden. We also solicited recommendations for realtors from people we knew well. Luckily, one of those reccs was for a realtor who was in the TOP 15 in Houston at the time. SO, we sold the house that we built, that my Minions had come home to as newborns – in the blink of an eye.

Am I sentimental? YES. I remember where the CHAIR was sitting the first time my Spouse fed Oldest Minion from a bottle. I remember where the Pack-n-Play was set up in the family room when I had to corral Oldest Minion during the Spouse’s school trip. I remember where Youngest Minion’s crib was the day that we got up to find TWO boys in the crib. I couldn’t leave this house easily. It was Our First Home. And terribly hard to leave.

But… the help that my Father-in-Law provided during our search for a house was beyond amazing. His advice on practical things like home layout and proximity to schools was invaluable. He tactfully reminded us that our ‘dream house’ might have been a bit too far north from our jobs – and as a result we ended up in the PERFECT HOUSE for us… Honestly, now that I know the area better, I shudder to think that The Spouse and I could potentially have BOTH spend 20 more minutes (each!!) commuting… that would have sucked. Our New Home has become just that – a New Home. Yes, our furniture is in totally different places now. Decorating? I’m sure I have no idea. But… seeing The Minions with family? Joking on 4th of July? Giving their Pawpaw crap on Labor Day? Riding rides at the State Fair? Carefully cuddling their Brand New Cousin Tucker on Thanksgiving? PRICELESS!! That’s the MEANING OF FAMILY that we’ve wanted to instill in our Minions since Day 1.

Both Minions have friends ringing the bell DAILY to come out and play. Or have sleepovers. THIS IS/HAS BEEN my dream for my family. For that, and ESPECIALLY FOR MY IN-LAWS – I am forever grateful!!

Case in point – the last three days. WEDNESDAY: Christmas Eve snacks/presents at my In-Laws’ (20 minutes from our home). THURSDAY:  Christmas Day at my sis-in-law’s home (30 minutes from our home). FRIDAY: The Spouse’s birthday (15 minutes from our home – 10 family members came for dinner!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

It’s All About the Jeans, People!

So a couple of weeks ago something amazing happened.

I found The Perfect Pair of Jeans.

I know, monumental, right? Any woman out there knows what I mean. It’s virtually impossible. But I found them. For me, that’s no small feat. My measurements just don’t conform to whatever freakishly-proportioned mannequins that most brands use to size jeans. They just don’t. I’ve dealt with this for YEARS. I’m sure that the stylishly cute J Brand jeans that Duchess Kate always wears would fit perfectly on me.

Trouble is, I’ve got a budget. I just can’t afford jeans that rival the price of monthly rent. So I’ve made do. For years Old Navy was my standby. $19 for a pair of jeans? Yes please. But after several pairs I noticed that you get what you pay for. They shrink. And not just the around-the-butt shrinkage. They actually get SHORTER. That’s a problem. So I nixed Old Navy as an option.

For a while I had a love affair with Lucky Brand. And if you catch the sales just right, you can end up with a great pair of jeans for 50% off of 50% off. Which basically amounts to an average-priced pair of jeans. Not bad. But then – of course – Lucky discontinued my go-to fit and didn’t replace it with anything decent. Bye bye Lucky Brand.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I keep up with two blogs religiously. One of them is the Big Mama Blog. No, she’s not really Big Mama. There’s a story behind the name. Big Mama, aka Melanie Shankel, is hi-larious. Seriously. She’s just the perfect start to my day.

The other blog is written by a ‘self-employed businesswoman-wife-stay-at-home-mom’ who shall remain nameless. While I enjoy her blog, it’s sometimes hard to read about how busy her days are, what with going to the gym, meeting friends for lunch at the mall and shopping at Nordstrom. Multiple times a week.

BUT – after reading for the umpteenth time about how she ‘loves loves loves’ her Always Skinny jeans from The Gap – I had to check them out.

They fit. Perfectly. Soft fabric with just enough stretch that the rear doesn’t start to sag like a diaper after a few hours.


I know, call me shallow. But I challenge you to find ANY woman who doesn’t know what I’m talking about.

Normally, jeans from The Gap are out of my budget. But on this particular day, the stars aligned and they were 40% off. 40%!! That’s huge! I snapped them up immediately. (The anonymous superwoman blogger would have ‘love love loved them and bought three pair.’ I can’t do that. I’m on a budget.

I wore my Perfect Jeans three or four times. It was wonderful.

And then The Spouse decided to help me finish the laundry. Cause he’s thoughtful that way.

Yep. You guessed it.

He put them in the dryer. THE DRYER.

Guess what? Now the only way I can wear my Perfect Jeans is to go retro-80s by laying down and using a coat hanger to zip them up. Talk about an ego boost. And they look like capris. Yep. That short.

Now, The Spouse has agreed that he owes me a pair of my Perfect Jeans.

Guess what? They’re out of stock.


Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

It’s a Nordstrom Giveaway, Folks!!

So I’m doing something new today. I have NEVER tried this with the blog, since I normally hate it when people ram advertising/suggestive selling down my throat. But this time I can’t resist! Shay over at Mix and Match Family is hosting an awesome giveaway. And, get this:


Are you ready? You should be. Just click on the pic below to check out Shay’s blog and enter for $500 of Nordstrom goodness.

Shay and Sheaffer 12 Days of Christmas Gift Card Graphic

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Thank You, Jenn!

I can’t say it much better than Jenn does today:


Thanks, sista!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Working Mom Needs Problem-Solving Skills!!

Newsflash – I’ve got issues. Don’t we all?

And here’s the deal: a friend gave me some advice a while back in regards to blogging. I need to be less despondent. Good point. So today I’m not despondent.

I’m frustrated. Really frustrated. About a few things.

See, a couple of weeks ago I wrote about my conversations with certain people and their comments towards my ‘lifestyle.’ I’m still mad about that. Mad because one of those people a) obviously hasn’t read what I wrote or b) didn’t recognize themselves in the writing. If they had they would have told me, right? Too bad other people don’t think and act the way I want them to!

Well, I’m caught between a rock and a hard place at the moment. I’m tired. Really tired. I need a mental health day. But there’s no time for that. And for once, I’m also motivated to get some stuff done around the house and for the fam. But there’s no time for that while I’m sitting at an office computer for nine hours a day. By the time I finish the hour-plus commute home I have about two hours to get anything done before I just drop.

And there’s actually stuff I want to get done!!

Wait, here’s where that person needs to insert his comment about ‘the lifestyle I chose’ when I was 20. How I knew this is how it would be and should just suck it up. Seriously. I wouldn’t put it past him.

And no, I’m NOT trying to pull the ‘poor me’ card. Sorry if it seems that way, but I’m not. I’m really frustrated. Because after I take care of any errands during my commute (since some of them just can’t get done at lunch), get home, put on my pj’s (yes, that comes first), eat dinner, spend some time with the minions and get them into bed – it’s after 9:00 and I can’t stay awake any more.

When am I supposed to do anything creative? Bake my mom’s pumpkin bread? Zumba? Yoga? Read a book? Journal? Heck, just watch a movie? The problem is I’m most energetic and motivated to do this stuff during the day. And my lifestyle trumps that. Which reminds me…

About a year ago, I mentioned a particular person and their smug-lifestyle-I’ve-got-it-better-than-you blog. I’m sure they didn’t read what I wrote either – or if they did, they didn’t recognize themselves. See, this person wrote a detailed blow-by-blow description of their day. It went something like this (keep in mind she’s talking about a weekday):

Today was the first really cold day of fall! I loved it! My day was spent:

Cooking and eating yummy pancakes for breakfast

Reading by a warm fire

Putting dinner in the crock pot

Cuddling in warm blankets

Eating yummy snacks

Unpacking Christmas decorations

Listening to Christmas music on my iPod


Eating more yummy snacks and drinking hot cocoa

Taking a nap by the warm fire

That wasn’t even the end of the list, y’all! Really! And she was smugly humble-bragging about it! AND supposedly homeschooling her kids. Guess it was a homeschool holiday or something, since kids and teaching weren’t mentioned once. I really wanted to smack her upside the head.

Why does this make me mad? Because it was such an in-your-face ‘I’ve got it better than everyone else’ attitude. Dang. I wish I could have ONE day like that. I sure wouldn’t spend all of it eating.

What would I do if I got a day like that? Let’s see… Zumba or a long walk/run outside. Dinner in crockpot. Quiet time to read/study. Paint. Clean out the fridge, pantry and the minions’ closets (since trying to do that when anyone is home is a nightmare – they hoard). Errands. Lunch with minions at school. Chick flick or LMN and maybe a nap. Journal. Scour the bathrooms the way I can’t when anyone else is home (because as soon as I start, someone’s gotta go). Bake cookies so the boys can come home to that fresh-baked-cookie smell. Help them with homework. Family dinner time.

And THAT’s why I’m frustrated, folks. How can I find the time to do any of it?? Like I said, this is NOT a despondent post. I’m seriously looking for help here!! I know plenty of working moms who are able to actually function at home. How do you do it?? Advice please!


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Whole 30 – Day 1

So, I gave in. Most of my office is totally into the paleo-Whole 30 thing. Since I’ve known for quite a while that my diet includes WAYY too many carbs ( and by that I mean that’s unfortunately most of what I eat), I decided to give it a go. Disclaimer – I’m doing a MODIFIED version of the Whole 30, because there’s no way I could go 30 days without coffee. Just. No. Way. It’s an essential nutrient. And, let’s face it, technically coffee comes from a seed, right? Which makes it a plant. So it should be ok.

How am I doing so far? Not great.

Let’s see… Breakfast was scrambled eggs. Without butter, which – to me – is part of the point of scrambled eggs. They’re supposed to taste buttery, dangit! But at least I got some protein.

7:30 AM – Got to work for early training just as the headache set in. One of those nasty headaches that burns and feels like you’ve been punched in the face. Hoping it’s just a mental reaction to skipping my usual gluten-filled toast breakfast.

8:15 AM – Nope. No luck. Headache is still growing and I’ve finished my one cup of coffee that I’m allowing myself. Switching to green tea. Oh, and early training was cancelled.

9:00 AM – Now I’m getting grouchy. Not just irritable. Downright hostile. And wouldn’t ya know – someone put out fresh pumpkin bagels in the kitchen. And leftover Halloween candy. Really? Seriously? They had to do it today? Unfortunately, yes.

10:00 AM – The bagels are calling my name. Loudly. Begging me to put them into the toaster oven and top them with butter. Yes, in case you were wondering, bagels really can beg. They’re good at it.

11:25 AM – Caving. Have to eat something. Grudgingly heat up the oh-so-tempting bag o’ brussels sprouts that I brought for lunch. Honestly they weren’t bad salted and peppered – until one of the office guys came in and told me exactly what he thinks brussels sprouts smell like. Lunch in garbage.

So right now I’m lightheaded and hungry but still kind of determined to stick it out. Any of you peeps out there who have done this Whole 30 thing – does it get any better? Is it really worth it?? Cause right now I just want to go and put all of those pumpkin bagels out of their misery!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized