Friday, October 31, 2008

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

As we wait for the trick or treaters to show up tonight, we were just talking about how three years ago, we spent Halloween in the Florida Keys with some wonderful friends and family. It was just after Hurricane Wilma, so the weather was a little cool, and we basically had the place to ourselves. (Which is good when you are a group of nearly 30 people!)

Here's how we spent the day:

We hung out at the pool...

...and played on the beach...

We dressed up...

 go out to dinner..."Table for 30, please." (Remember the lights kept going out because of the power after the hurricane?!)...

The "kids" went trick or treating around the hotel...

We played games on our patio...and drank a lot...Again...

Happy memories! Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Voted Yet?

We did our duty over the weekend and got the snazzy "I voted" stickers to prove it!

Texas still has early voting for one more day (through Oct. 31) so go do your part, Texans! We looked up a sample ballot on our county web site -- this helped us make sure we were ready to vote for each office and proposition. :)

Now go do it!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Backpacking: Big Bend, November 1999

I moved to Texas at the end of the summer of 1999. While I was enjoying my first wonderfully mild fall, I definitely found myself missing the amount of time that I was used to spending outdoors backpacking and camping back home. It wasn’t so much that you can’t do those things in Texas, as much as it was that I still hadn’t yet learned of all the opportunities available.

Knowing that I wasn’t going to make the trip up North for the Thanksgiving holiday, I decided to figure out a way to spend it in the great outdoors. A trip to my local REI turned up a copy of Laurence Parent’s “Hiking Big Bend National Park”. My then-roommate at the time, Susan (another transplant from the frozen north), who was always pretty much up for anything, agreed to join me.

Little did I know that this would be the first of many trips to the park and to the region, which has turned out to be a Texas-based surrogate for my beloved Allegheny National Forest, which is where I first truly fell in love with the outdoors.

Photo Album: Backpacking Big Bend, November 1999

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Finding Inspiration

Yesterday, the networking group I'm involved in at work hosted an "Inspirational Women" panel made up of women who have done phenomenal things in their personal lives. I was asked to be the moderator, and humbly (with a tad bit of protest ;) agreed.

Each of the three speakers were such great story tellers, were so open and honest, and each felt a passion to doing. Here's a little taste . . .

The first woman decided as a single person to adopt a child, and navigated the process of adoption in the State of Texas from the foster system to find her child. After months of waiting she became a mom to a beautiful little girl we met at the event. After she adopted a second child, more and more people were seeking out her advice and counsel on how they could become parents. She decided to channel her boundless energy and specific knowledge into a adoption forum that she hosted at our company. One year later, there are six families with pending adoptions. She'll host her second adoption forum next month. Her goal remains: one child adopted into a loving family.

Anyone else inspired?!

The second woman is an elite athlete who had already done a few (FEW?!) marathons, triathlons, IronMans...and decided to [dramatic pause] SWIM THE ENGLISH CHANNEL. (Rachael - don't get any ideas, Girl!) She trained her body and mind to prepare for the grueling swim and surrounded herself with a support network of people for her training and swim who could make decisions for her in case she couldn't. Her swim was successful and she had the fastest time of that year! At the end of her story, she asked the audience, "what is your 'English Channel?'"


The final woman was originally a part of our planning committee and showed real passion for what people's motivation. And you know me, I asked her a few question and learned that her story is just as inspirational as the other women we were featuring! So we asked her to join the panel as our third speaker. Her story is that after losing her mom to "lifestyle-related cancer" (she was severely overweight) when she was 25, and watching her brother also die from the same cancer when she was 40, she 'could see her own fate when she looked in the mirror.' A few years later -- and after trying every diet under the sun -- she finally began the path that would help her lose more than 100 pounds over 16 months. She now she lives a happier, healthier -- and likely longer! -- life.


I am truly inspired by these women, and I was honored to help share their stories.

Tonight I'm thinking about a good friend’s mom. She's just begun her battle with Breast Cancer, and we are all positive that she'll win this fight. She's a really special lady and our friend is back home with her this week. Best wishes! :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2008


One funny thing about pregnancy books is that they always seem to compare the baby's growth progress to food. While I admit that this appeals to me as someone who has threatened to eat up my sweet little nieces and's kind of weird.

This week, Baby Remington is about 5½ ounces. But really, how big – or small! – is that?

After using my food scale to weigh everything in my spice cabinet and fruit bowl, I decided to move to the canned foods. And I think Jeremy really appreciated the play-by-play as I worked through the kitchen: "Argh! An orange is 7½ ounces! Applesauce is 4¼ ounces! . . ." You get the idea – it was getting serious and I was getting frenzied.

And then, I found it. A little can that was a left over ingredient from a pot-luck dinner. A can of chopped olives. Baby Remington weighs about as much as a can of chopped olives. :-)

FOUND! This can of chopped olives is 5 1/2 ounces!

Stay tuned for updates on our pantry and Baby Remington's progress.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Funny New Year’s Resolution

This was the view from our balcony on New Year's Day.  As always, I'm the first one up on my birthday! :) For New Year's this year, we rented a house in Port Aransas with a big group of friends. We had a fun time with our great friends and enjoyed the fantastic weather!

Here are a few of my favorite memories:

  • Playing games around the big island in the kitchen

Fun and games...and beer.

  • Long walks and playing on the beach each day with Sadie and Brandy

Brandy & Sadie are great playmates!

  • Homemade chili (by Sarah & Rodney) and my homemade mac & cheese (YUM!)
  • Cornhole and flying kites on the beach

Sarah & Stephanie playing cornhole

  • Celebrating THREE birthdays: Michele's (Dec. 24), Jenny's (Jan. 1) and Carmen's (Jan. 5)
  • Decorating cupcakes…and then learning that I didn't buy frosting, but gel food coloring (Oops! :-)

At this point, Chris, Paula, G & Mariana are still laughing about the blue teeth.

  • And of course, our New Year's resolutions! While I don't remember swearing off Tracy Chapman in '08 (Carmen and Shannon swear I did!), no one could forget Chris' resolution: "Procreate in '08!" We all laughed, but THREE couples (and counting ;-) are now expecting! Congratulations to Amanda & Lance (baby boy due in December), Paula & Chris (TWINS due in early 2009) and we are expecting in March of 2009.

Somehow, we didn't get our entire group together for a photo. Pictured here (L-R): Shannon, Carmen, Chris, Amanda, Paula, Jer, Jenny, Stephanie & Michele.  Not pictured: Lance, Caden, Sarah, Rodney, G & Mariana.

What a fun memory….what I remember of it. :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Greetings from Austin, Texas!

We would like to welcome you to the brand-spanking new Remington Family blog. Jenny and I figured that this would be a good way to start providing more frequent updates to all of our friends and family, where ever they may be in the good ole’ USA or elsewhere in the world.

We plan to use this blog to share various details about our (growing) family, so we hope you tune in and enjoy.