More Ancestry Searching – DNA Tests!

Over the past 5 years or so we’ve seen Genealogy become a very easy and eye-opening thing to do. Now you can easily do a DNA test and have it reveal your origins. We decided to do that for each one of us in this household starting with Ivy. Here’s her results:

These are Holly’s results. The same info would be true for her siblings, April, Jill, and Todd. Ireland, Scotland, and Wales ancestry is the most dominate at 33%, but Scandanavia is close behind at 28%.

Mine is similar, with most of my ancestry coming from northeast Ireland and northwest England (Wales).

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Dammit, Penny!

Okay, so in December of 2016, Holly decided she needed to buy a dog. She wanted another min-pin. I knew from our last min-pin, Fifi, that this particular breed was high-strung, kind of bitchy, and has some serious eating issues (as in eats fast and furious and waaaay too much). So I was not at all enthused with getting another min-pin, although by the end of her time with us (about 6 years, I think) she had become a very nice addition to the family. She, in fact, followed and obeyed me better than any of the other dogs. Still, I strongly urged Holly not to get another min-pin. It’s a LOT of work. But Holly being Holly, she lunged ahead in her headstrong ways and order one. She picked her up in Oklahoma on our way back from visiting family in Arkansas.

Immediately, the difficult process of ramming a square peg in a round hole began. She was a mess and crapped anywhere and everywhere. I was literally picking up poop every single day, and sometimes twice per day. She barked wildly at anything…I mean anything…that walked by the house, flew over ahead, or crept into the yard. She would repeatedly escape from the yard as well, forcing me to have to constantly patch up a new hole she had found/created. The destruction also began as she began chewing and destroying any object within reach of her mouth. She also ate like a starving wild hog. Now I had to monitor food, too, in order to keep her from eating the other dog’s food, as well as overeating (like min-pins do) and getting fat.

It didn’t take long for my stress level to tap out. After about 2 months, I finally had it. I told Holly, “I’m sorry, I just don’t like your dog at all. She’s an asshole!” I was mad that Holly and rammed this creature into our lives with all of its stress and unpleasantly. I seriously wanted to get it out of our house and lives. Of course, Holly responded with the typical defiant/dismissive I’m-not-gonna-change attitude and let the dog remain. However, she did begin to try a little harder to clean up after the dog, as well as take her to obedience classes.

Long story short, Penny has slowly…very very slowly…began to chill out and fit into the home. I found a coping mechanism during this time by tossing out some passive-dismissive snobbery of my own and sending Holly a ‘report’ every time Penny did something bad (which was almost every single day). But my evil plan at sneering Penny away into obscurity backfired as the reports began to get funny. We even invented the flag-phrase ‘dammit penny’ to say the dog has done something bad/annoying again.

Unbeknownst to me, Holly was keeping many of those text messages and photos. Seeing them all in a row now is kind of funny to us. You can see and hear my frustrations. I didn’t try to hide.
But you can also see how Penny has slowly improved. Now, 1 year later, Penny is clearly more mature and obedient. She no longer escapes from the yard. She doesn’t (often) chew things up. She still barks and nips at people, but even that is improving as she is obviously figuring out how to play with humans. She played very well with the neighbor kids last week when they were here. So I guess Penny will be okay in time. It will be take awhile. She actually jumped up on the bed and laid down on my lap for the first time ever a few days ago. Progress!

Maybe these aren’t funny to anyone else, but it is to us. Perhaps it is one of those ‘you had to be there’ sort of things? Whatever the case, these are many of the screen-grabs of throughout the year of 2017:

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Hilarious Truncated Song Titles from Satellite Radio

On Satellite radio, the song titles often get truncated with some hilarious or bizarre results. We started collecting some of the ones we seen.

This song is “Giant Sized Butterflies”, but as you can see the title reads something completely different on the satellite radio screen. The DJ was saying she couldn’t figure out why she was suddenly getting lots of requests from kids to play “Giant Sized Butt” after playing this new song by Justin Roberts.


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End of the Year Review 2017

It’s been a heck of year for the city of Houston! We’ve had some big and unusual events including:

  • Hosting a Super Bowl 52
  • An Epic Flood
  • A World Series Baseball Championship
  • And…Snow!

It was an amazing year for the city, and we certainly participated in those events to one degree or another. But even in between, we had some pretty good moment. Here’s a list of things that happened this year of 2017!

  • We kicked of the year with the Super Bowl! – Tickets were way too high to attend this event (like around $2,000 each), so we didn’t go to NRG stadium, but we did go downtown and participate in many of the events sponsored by the City of Houston. We also had the SuperBowl events come to our neighborhood!! Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars did shows just a few blocks away from us. Also ESPN and lots of celebrities were trolling through our neighborhood to various events. Here’s the whole run down of that weekend…
  • Monster Truck Show – Girl Scouts went to a Monster Truck show! I went too. Also took the neighbor boy Romeo. It was good, loud fun!
  • Mardi Gras – spent a pleasant afternoon on the beach and at the Children’s parade at Mardi Gras Galveston. 🙂
  • Daddy daughter Dance – Lots of Daddy’s and Daughters showed up for this event. A night of dancing and food. It was kind of nice.
  • Ivy Goes Camping – Off she goes with the Girl Scouts for a weekend of camping fun.
  • Waco – Let’s go to Waco for fun! What??? Yes, it turns out Waco is quite an interesting place to visit.
  • Rodeo Houston – Everyone around me is LAME! Nobody wanted to go to the Rodeo. But at the last minute, a neighbor said, “Hey, you want some free tickets?” I said, heck yeah! So I grabbed Jose and said, “Vamos, amigo!” We ended up going again with my Mom and Larry a week or so later when they unexectedly came to Houston for a visit. I always enjoy the rodeo. Big fun!
  • Easter at Jane’s church – We did Easter service at the Methodist Church Jane attends. Lots of people! Afterward, we had food at a Texas BBQ restaurant.
  • A New Car! – Holly got one.
  • Museum Day – Schools out! What to do? Let’s go visit the museums…especially the art museum. Naked boobies everywhere! Ivy was shocked.
  • New Skyscraper – Despite layoffs, Holly just keeps moving up in her job at BHPbilliton, even moving up to the 13th floor in their brand new skyscraper.
  • 1903 Circus Show – It’s Holly’s birthday! Let’s go to the circus. Good show! We saw them appear on America’s Got Talent later on in this truncated version of the show – >
  • Father’s Day Man Crate – These things are actually pretty nifty.
  • Rusty Died – My 4-legged friend of more than 14 years passed away. 🙁
  • Impact VBS – What an awesome church. This 6 week vacation bible school is more like a Summer Camp. The kids got to go places and do lots of things, and even got a bag of school supplies and some Sketcher shoes that light up!
  • St John’s VBS – Another round of this awesome and exciting VBS with Jenna Kuykendahl
  • Girl Scout Sleepover – Spent the night with a bunch of giggly girls at “The Cottage” (Girl Scout headquarter house in the Heights).
  • Vault! – Ivy did a week long camp of high-flying acrobatics. Cool Stuff! Looked like fun.
  • Eclipse day at Splash Town – Well, we didn’t get to fly a private jet to see the total eclipse of the sun, so we settled for the next best thing which was a partial eclipse and a day at Splashtown!
  • Flood! – Hurricane Harvey parked over Houston and dumped a trillion gallons of water! We woke up one morning to epic floodwaters, and highways turned into rivers.
  • Got on the TNT Team at Discovery Gymnastics! – TNT means “Tumbling and Trampoline”. Olympics here we come!
  • Hall & Oats – I can go for that!
  • Art Fest – Twice each year, the art studios up the street from us put on a big Open House and festival. I really like it! This year I rustled up the neighborhood kids and went for a visit.
  • Halloween Book Parade – Instead of a Halloween party, our school does a Halloween Book Parade. Kids must dress up like a character that is in a book which they’ve read.
  • Thanksgiving with Grandma Jane in Texas – We were going to Arkansas for Thanksgiving, so Jane made a little Thanksgiving dinner for us the weekend before! Awesome! Beautiful food…and tasty too!
  • Thanksgiving in Arkansas – A 10 hour drive to Arkansas and we finally arrive at Mom’s house. Lots of food! We hang out and eat more food. Then go to Branson, Missouri for some Showboat Branson Belle fun and riding rollercoasters at Silver Dollar City.
  • Snow day – I wake up early one morning to a brightly lit room…what is this? It’s SNOW!! It snowed in Houston! Woohoo!
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Birthday and a Snow Day!

Happy birthday, Jane! On the 3rd of December, Holly treated her momma to a birthday meal at the Melting Pot – a fondue place where they bring out each course of the meal and you get to dip it in the cheese pot, or later cook your own meat in a simmering hot oil. It is sort of group-fun for dinner. I recommend it! But, be warned, it is pricey (about $50 per person).

Here’s :10 seconds of the dinner…


Wow! We wake up Saturday morning to SNOW! Early Saturday morning before the sun came up, I rolled over in bed and glanced out the window. It looked different. Why was it bright?

I get up and look out the window and…. SNOW! Amazing. No more going to sleep. I took a few pics and woke everyone else up. By then the whole neighborhood was waking up. My neighbor even sent me a text about 6 a.m. saying ‘look out the window!!’.

I actually miss this stuff. LOL.

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Thanksgiving Grandma Shirley.

This year we got to do Thanksgiving TWICE! Once at Grandma Jane’s house on November 18th (yes, a bit early on purpose), and then again on Thanksgiving Day in Arkansas at Grandma Shirley’s house. Both dinners were awesome! Leftovers were awesome too!

On Wednesday, Nov 22nd, we headed north toward Arkansas, but made a stop in Dallas to have lunch with my pal Charles Deitrick. We chowed down at the Spaghetti Warehouse in downtown Dallas.

Then headed north to a Hotel in Durant, OK for the night.

Then off we go to Harrison, Arkansas…and arriving just in time to eat!! What a deal.

The next day we head north to Branson, Missouri for a great day at Silver Dollar City. Thanks, Tiffany, for the comp tickets!! Saved us a fortune. I took Ivy and Broc and we spent about 7 hours in the park. It was their Christmas season, so there were millions of lights on trees and buildings. It was stunning! All of the rides were open as well (except for the river and log water rides), so we rode lots of stuff including the Thunderation. Ivy and Broc both rode it, but that is as daring as they’d get. I had to ride the big rollercoasters by myself.

The weather was perfect all day, and the kids were both very well-behaved and content with just about anything I said to. The only drawback to the day was waiting in long lines. It was near record attendance at the park with about 22,000 people (the record is 24,000).

Holly and mom went to Branson as well, but they went to the Showboat Branson Belle. They claim to have had a really good time.

After a good night’s sleep and some great leftovers for breakfast, we hit the road to return to Texas. But first stop along the way was Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The town itself is very quaint and interesting, but the Crescent Hotel is interesting all to itself. Supposedly, it is haunted, so we decided to go do a little amateur ghost hunting.

A brief stop in Fayetteville, Arkansas to see Jennifer and Riley, and we even went to see the new movie “Coco” together. We went to a theater with reclining seats! That’s the first time I’ve seen that. I have to say it was quite comfortable. I like it!! I hear there is a theater like that somewhere in Houston. I’ll have to find that.


Then back we go to Houston with an overnight stay in Dennison, OK. The last few hours of driving were torture, but aren’t they always? We made it home safe and sound.


Here’s a video of the trip!

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Thanksgiving Grandma Jane

Jane surprised us by saying, “Y’all come up this Saturday and have Thanksgiving dinner at my house!”

Well, she didn’t really say “y’all” But she did cook up an outstanding Thanksgiving meal that was not only photogenic but delicious. It was awesome! Thanks Jane!

November 18th

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Videos all in one Place

These are some videos I made over a period of 2 or 3 years…and then forgot about them! As I was cleaning out my iPhone (which was complaining about being stuffed to the max) I found these videos and realized they’re actually pretty good. I used software called Magistro which, to tell the truth, does most of the editing for you. But you don’t have to tell people that. 😀

Anyway, check them out. Each one is only about 1:00 minute long.

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Book Parade! Halloween Stuff

It’s Halloween! On October 31st, our school held a Book parade in which kids could dress up and parade around the school in the costume of the character of their favorite book. Ivy chose a Zombie Cheerleader from the book “My Little Sister is a Zombie Cheerleader”. She can be seen at 3:25 and 5:35 in this video…

After school, we went to Trinity Lutheran Church downtown for their annual fall “Trunk or Treat Festival” and scored lots of candy and food.

Then settled in for a night of Baseball watching as the Astros tried to beat the LA Dodgers in the 6th game of the World Series.

It’s kind of amazing how halloween has changed. I remember just being dropped off in a neighborhood and walking from house to house and gathering BAGS full of candy. No more of that! It is too dangerous these days to go door to door. So these Trunk or Treat festivals are pretty cool. A lot less walking, too. I like it. 🙂

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Visited the Art Studios on Winter Street

Every spring and fall the Art Studios up the street from us do an open house. It’s pretty cool, I think. All the studios are open and you can browse room after room of art. They always have free munchies and wine scattered about as well.

This time I took 4 kids and they seemed to treat it a bit like Halloween – loading up on candy and treats at every studio. Of course, I sipped a bit a of wine at each stop, too.

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