We've got a new look!

It's been said, it's all in the name.

So as I got more into this blogging thing, I became convinced that I needed to have a semi-clever tagline that would clearly illustrate who I am, as a Christian, a person, a wife, friend, daughter, and sister. I started thinking back to what things are important to me and a couple came to mind: my faith; my cajun heritage; my husband; my family.

How to blend those all together was the tricky part. Through some back and forth name-tossing with my mom, I think we finally hit it, "It's All About the Roux".

Now those of you who aren't from the south or who may not cook, you may be thinking "What?". I know, it's a little obscure. But let me explain.

A Roux is defined as "a mixture of fat and flour used to thicken sauces, soups, etc". HUHHH? Where is she going with this?

It's very often used in cajun cooking - and is probably one of the most challenging aspects of creating those Cajun masterpieces, like gumbos, etoufees, etc. It literally is the basis for so many dishes. Let it go too long, and it will burn (and force you to not only start over, but to open every window & door to clear the air).

Not enough cooking and you will still taste the pasty flour remnants. You must constantly stir and stir (and stir again) until you get that very precise brownish color you are looking for.

Patience is the key with the roux.

Ironic, huh - since I am absolutely the most patient person. Yeah. Right.

As I was thinking about it, to create the roux, you need not only the said butter and fat as the base, but you also need the proper tools. A great dutch oven or heavy cast iron skillet, wooden spoon, and strong muscles :)

The way I look at it (in my terribly dysfunctional way) - my "roux" so to speak, is my faith. It is simply the basis on which I build everything else upon. If my faith burns and gets thrown in the trash, then I have nothing left to build a great dish.

My faith is a journey - much as a roux is. It takes care, constant attention and love over a period of time, using the proper tools - prayer, fellowship, service to others to name a few.

And when I finally get that right, I am free to enjoy the fruits of my labor with my family, friends, co workers, and neighbors.

So simply, my blog is "All About the Roux". In here, you will find mostly sarcastic stories, some sweet ones, and other ones that could probably be forgotten - but they are all based on the important things that make our lives work. And when those all come together, in perfect harmony, on that one perfect day - it is magic.

And my gumbo is heaven-sent. Believe it.post signature


$$$ Saving Tips from the Master

So we're all trying to save money in this rough economy, so I thought I would share just a few things that my wonderful husband does to help save us money. I'll just say at the top of this post that it should be obvious from previous postings that I absolutely adore him and his quirky ways....

1. Have automatic settings on the thermostat during the day. Seems obvious right? Well, I work from home so his automatic settings mean that I get to experience sweat-shop conditions while I work. Yes, I have a fan. That helps blow the hot air around. And yes, I could adjust it. But then I am in danger of experiencing the "look" when the electricty bill arrives.

2. Switch electric companies every few months to get the best rate on kilowatt hours or whatever they are. This I cannot complain about. Except that my bill payer system cannot keep up with all the companies I have added and deleted. Currently we are with TXU - props to the old man's company b/c they saved us about $120 last month.

3. Keep every light turned OFF in the house in the evening, save for one lamp. I basically cook by candlelight. When mom comes in town, she asks for permission to turn on the lights! No wonder Matt still thinks I am somewhat acceptable to look at. At night, I look FANTASTIC in the glow from the candles. Hmmm, maybe he's on to something.

4. Scour internet deals for hotels. That's a great thing right? Well, unless you purchase a non-refundable advanced fare for a Hampton Inn in Savannah. And it saves you $20. And then you find out the people you are renting a condo from in Hilton Head are willing to let you have it for the entire week at no additional charge (when you were only going to have it for 4 nights) - and you can't get your $$$ back for the Hampton no matter how many managers you speak with.

5. Purchase CDs & movies from Best Buy with Best Buy rewards $ or gift cards. Set the CD on the counter for at least a week. Decide if you really want it and feel guilty all week. Make the decision that you don't need it. Then return it with a full case of buyer's remorse.

6. Walk around the mall with your wife. Pick up a lot of things. Talk yourself out of every purchase except for the one polo and sandals your wife forces you to buy. Hey, it was on sale.

7. Eat leftovers. Eat the leftovers of the leftovers. And when those are gone, eat bread and water.

8. Stick to a list at the grocery store. Do not, under any circumstances, deviate from the list. Even when you see toilet paper and recall that the last roll was just put in the bathroom, DO NOT BUY IT. Just wait. And then use newspaper.

9. My personal new favorite: Decide that if you pass away unexpectedly, your wishes are to be buried in a smaller casket. Exact words: "Fold me up in half so I fit. Don't spend the extra money for a large one"." Ummmmm......... I don't really know what to say about this one - it came from a conversation on Friday night when we were talking about our wishes if something were to happen to us (I know, how's that for light & airy weekend convo?). But I just had to laugh. It was pure Matt. Who else says "fold me up and throw me in"???

In all seriousness, he does a great job in providing for this family. So I do my best to respect his money saving ideas...and most of them are good ones. We'll just say this - I am not known to be the most responsible saver. When my brother and I were young 'ins and received an allowance, I would blow it all in a week (oops I mean 1 day) at Wet Seal & Dominos Pizza. My brother would save and hoard until he had enough for Super Nintendo and about 10 games. But that just wasn't my style. I like instant gratification. And I don't like money burning a hole in my pocket.

When I went to college, I did learn a little something about budgeting & not spending more than you have (Mom - I hear you laughing - stop laughing!!!), but seriously, I worked A LOT to support my lifestyle..ummm bar tab. BUT it only took one bounced check for $20.99 to Tiger Tans (which ultimately cost me $75 with all of the fees) for me to realize that was not a good road. So I NEVER made that mistake again.

And what was my 2nd job out of college? Personal Banker & Investment Representative.

Yes, me.

I envision my parents probably had a great laugh the night they found out that was the position I had accepted.

Me. Meagan. Spender. Guilty.

I was advising people on saving money and investing. But it was probably the best job I could have had at the ripe age of 23. I learned to save, invest and make our money work for us. And that job lasted almost 5 years - and while the economy didn't not always cooperate with my investment decisions for us (like losing 40% in almost all of our retirement dollars - but who didn't??) - we did allright.

And learned how to manage money.

For the most part.

I mean, I take care of all of the bill paying, investment stuff, etc. Everything is paid on time, in full. Yay for me.

But I am prone to the occasional, or often, impulsive buy. Whereas Matt sticks to a strict list for the grocery, I am more inclined to wander every aisle and "see what looks good". Plus - half the time when I do that, I realize I have left a key ingredient off of my list - and I save myself a trip back to the store - saving gas $$$!! Good job, Meg.

So as I have made adjustments and grown up financially, so has Matt. We have balanced each other. He has become more relaxed about $ since we first married and I have become tighter.

So, it's a good thing.

I have convinced him that the pain & bitching of a $5 haircut is not worth the agony of waiting for it to grow out. Spend the $18 at my lovely hair salon and have a great convo with Miss Becky ---and be happy with the service & cut you receive.

And me, well, I live in the dark and don't complain. Sort of.

And I try not to complain when I take my Sunday afternoon nap, set the thermostat on a comfy 75 degrees only to wake up in a pool of sweat an hour later. Check the thermostat and see that it has magically made its way to 78 or 79. In the dead of a Houston summer. I used to think that the AC had a problem during naptime. But no, it was just Matt's wandering finger on the "up" button again.

Wait - no, I totally complain about that. I do have my standards.


Family Vacay Flashbacks

So next Friday Matt and I are leaving on 10 day trip --- are we taking a plane? No. Are we going to some exotic locale? Nope. We are heading on a driving/road (read: Meagan mostly sleeping) trip across the Southeast. Plans are to make it to 'Bama the first day, land in Savannah for 2 nights(totally hitting up Paula Deen's restaurant!!), Hilton Head for 4 nights, and then back around again swinging into H-town the following Sunday.

I am still trying to convince Matt that there just HAS to be a casino between here and there where I can try my hand at a few rounds of blackjack, but so far he isn't buying. Apparently a trip to the beach is a present enough for me. Touche. But I wouldn't mind throwing down a chip or 10. I'm just sayin'.

I think this little trek is prep for the trips we will almost certainly take with our kids. Both of us grew up with these type of "road" trips. Because I always traveled so extensively with soccer, our "fancy" family vacays were few and far between. And Matt's family pretty much traveled in the same style - rolling in the "Good Times Van" - don't ask. I didn't name it.

Or have a part in the name, if you know what I mean.

So after hitting up fancy dancy little resorts all over the Carribean and Mexico in recent years, we decided to travel this year in full-out family style -taking pictures at rest stops, eating at greasy spoon diners (and probably a Waffle House or 5), and then just RELAXING. Can't wait.

Completely brings back memories of trips from when I was little - when my parents would just wake us up one morning and tell us to pack our bags and throw us in the car. We didn't have a plan or reservations, EVER! But just a dream to drive till we hit -- well, actually I don't think we ever had an ultimate destination in mind.


There are rumors of that skid marks still remain across a lonely little highway in Alabama where my dad had just HAD IT UP TO HERE with us kids. For about a second. And then my version goes like this: he took one look into my innocent big eyes and just couldn't be mad anymore :)

I think the next trip included more entertainment for us - including the ever-revered Gameboys with Tetris and Dr. Mario. But then we quickly figured out that we could link those bad boys up and still get in fights. Poor parents. They never had a chance. sigh.

But I do have the fondest memories from those trips - like the time we piled out of the car to go into the finest Waffle House in Dalhart, TX only to sprint back to the car to grab our full fleece blankets to BRING INTO THE RESTAURANT. Classy.

Or when we fished every pond/stream/lake/spring/river/outhouse in CO and didn't catch one darn thing - until we landed upon a stock fishing pond on our way out of town. Cost my dad a pretty penny that day - but man, we had some beautiful rainbow trout.

Or the time we watched this most amazing wall cloud form in Kansas after visiting my dad's grandparent's graves. On one hand, I was convinced we were going to be taken out by a tornado at any second, but on the other I was just enraptured by the beauty of it. And so was my dad. He was meant to be a storm chaser in another life.

It was a great way to show the kids the country - and get them out of the Plano bubble we grew up in. So, Matt and I decided appropriately it might be a good way to kick off our family venture. Expect lots of pictures! I have been blog & facebook picture happy lately - but it's been so fun to capture those memories again.

To be honest, after the hurricane and losing soooo many pictures and special memories, many of them taken during the first 2 years of our marriage, I just got disillusioned with the whole picture thing. But I am back on the bandwagon full force. So, if you run across me anytime soon - I will most likely take your picture. And then post it. Be prepared.


Rambling, Random Thoughts

I have been a bad blogger as of late. Just a whole lotta nothin' going on here in quiet little Richmond. Except for the heat. And I refuse to complain about the oppressive, sticky, sauna-like, hell-on-earth, that is our Houston summer this year. Well. That's the last time I'll complain about it. Even Max goes outside for about 30 seconds to lay on the ground, soak up his Vitamin D's, and then he is done - sprints inside like he's been in the desert for 40 days without food or water.

Max & his halo - what an angel!

The most excitement we've had around here was Max's surgery to remove a large hematoma from his ear. Poor baby. He was NOT a happy camper for a couple of days but yesterday they finally took off his horrendous bandages and is MUCH better today. Back to my sweet and cuddly puppy. With about 10 purple sutures. Yes, purple. I don't know if our wonderful vet did it on purpose, but I liked it :) I asked her if she could possibly put in a little gold next time, especially if it is during football season...but then I thought about the $400+ I just spent on said surgery, and I think we can make Max festive for LSU football in a cheaper way. Just sayin'...

Matt reading Maxie a bedtime story :) ha

The weirdest thing about Max having his little surgery is how Matt & I reacted it to it. We normally have a very, very low maintentance dog who truly just requires love, food, & a bed/couch. And he's happy. So for him to be so needy the past couple of days, whew - I seriously am exhausted! And exhausted from worrying about him. I think it was a small, teeny-tiny taste of how we might feel when we have a child and he/she is sick and we can't do anything to fix it. It's the most helpless feeling. You just want your baby to feel better more than anything. And it made it darn near impossible to work from home this week in a productive fashion --- I always had one eye on Max to make sure he wasn't scratching and I was constantly listening to make sure he wasn't moaning or whining or vomiting. Lovely. Doesn't make for a very condusive work-place environment.

Matt wanted to know what Max was going through.

I tried to tell Matt that working from home after we have a kid might be darn near-impossible and I think he just ignored it. So I almost launched into a "mom-like" speech: "Do you know what I have been doing all day? Taking care of YOUR child. Making sure he wasn't bleeding all over the couch. That he was comfortable. That he had a special lunch. If you think it's so easy, you stay home." I stopped short. Not a good plan - he had a rough day at work. About 11 months too early for that little lecture. But I think I will place it in my backpocket. Just in case.

Speaking of preparation for having a child, I have been having lots of thoughts lately. By now, most of you know we are going to start invitro in the fall. We really wanted to take one last vacation before we started all of that mess, so our plans were put on hold for the summer. It has been both a blessing and a curse. I am very much an impulsive person. Once I decide to do something, I am pretty much ready to go and would rather worry about it later.

This waiting period, however, has given me wayyyyy too much time to think and ponder the what'ifs. So now, I'm not sleeping well. I am researching way too much. I am reading all these infertility blogs, simultaneously getting my hopes up only to have them dashed after I read about people on the 3rd, 4th or 5th rounds with no success.

And then I started thinking something that was completely out of my character: maybe I don't want to start this. Once we start, there is the potential that there will be a lot of hurt to follow if it doesn't work. I don't want to hurt. I've hurt too much this past year. Maybe I just need to be happy with my little quiet life and my little quiet dog and my wonderful husband.

But I don't think that is the plan God has for us. I think He has laid the groundwork for us to walk through this, and so, with a lot of prayer, I still feel comfortable launching into it - headfirst - whether the results be elation or devestation.

So I made a decision the other night. No more surfing the net reading infertility blogs. No more research on 3 day transfers, 5 day transfers, blastocysts, ICSI, or any other fertility acronoym.


I just can't do it anymore. I care about those & pray for those who I have read about who are in the midst of their infertility battles. And I will continue to pray for those people whole-heartedly. And I admire those who can use this as an outlet and support system for their infertility. I just don't think that's me right now. Maybe I'll feel differently when I am actually "in the game" and not waiting on the sidelines.

But for now, for the good of my mental health, I just need to focus on getting myself ready, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Daily, I must remind myself to turn this over to God. He is the only one who knows the path we will walk down in August and September. He knows what will happen and what the results will be. It won't be based on other people's experiences, both good and bad, not based on how much I know about blasts, 3dts, BCPs or anything else, but based solely upon His plans for us and our family.

And He just has to be enough for me right now.


Nothin' like Celebrating in the TX 'burbs

Well, the weekend all started off quite innocently enough. Mom drove down from Dallas Thursday night to spend some q.t. with her princess (ie: me!).

And boy, did we ever have fun... we started off by hitting Sonic for a sundae right before midnight to close out the evening on Thursday - and then we were right back at 'em Friday morning for our large drinks (mine diet, hers regular. I haven't brought her over to the dark side yet!)

Friday was our "ladies of leisure" day - mani/pedis, shopping, fancy lunch and then more shopping. Great fun. I usually don't last shopping an entire day like that but it had been so long since Mom and I had been able to hang out out, so I was eating up every minute! (Thanks, mommy for all my goodies and great finds!)

Finally, we got back home and of course had the obligatory fashion show for Matt, "Oh, let us show you all the good deals we got!". I'm sure he was very impressed. Well, not so much.

The 3 of us went out to dinner Friday night. We were all set to take Mom to Pappas Steakhouse thinking that would be a nice treat, but no, the woman was dead set on going somewhere with crab, lots and lots of crab. She is convinced that Houston is a mecca for all things seafood, seeing as how we are pretty close to the coast. However, while we do have great seafood & some decent places to get it -- it's not like Louisiana where there is "the best" dive seafood restaurant on every corner. A lot of our seafood is in larger restaurants or even (gasp!) chains. I know. And I sure as hell wasn't taking her to Pappadeaux, where she can go any ole time in the Big-D.

Anyway, we after mucho "googling", we found a restaurant called "Jimmy Wilson's" down by the Galleria area. Oh yummy! It was amazing! Mom got her much-craved crab in the form of a massive pile of lump crabmeat swimming in butter, not to mention oysters topped with crabmeat for apps. I'm pretty sure if they had offered to put crab skewer in her scotch & water she probably would have taken them up on it.

Friday ended up being a late night - we still had to hit the grocery store to buy the makings for my American flag cake & a couple of other things for Saturday's party. Somehow Eugenie convinced us that we needed a gigantic USA balloon for decoration - I will say it has been $10 bucks well spent - that thing is still flying high this morning. This was my attempt at the flag cake. I was not impressed. Neither was Martha Stewart. Or Ina Gartner. But I heard it tasted ok, so I guess looks are secondary. Lucky for me.

Saturday we got up early to get ready for our slammin' suburbia party. I must say I was a little nervous about it. It had been a long time since I had entertained more than say, 6 people for dinner. Plus, we had friends coming from Houston all the way out to Richmond (Basically they left the "hip" part of town to party down in our incredibly cool planned subdivisions with 4 trees, 2.3 kids and 1 dog.)

I need not have worried. It worked out really well. Good food, great people, my bro & sis-in-law made it, --and then we broke out Rock Band. I know, we know how to do it up right in the 'burbs.

The coolest part of the afternoon?

I went to go just "rest my eyes" for a second and ended up falling asleep for over an hour - at my own flippin' party!!! Nice move. What can I say? Friday was a late night.

Everyone had pretty much left by 7:30ish - we were all exhausted after 4 straight hours of Rock Band - and not wanting to dig into the the leftover ham & brisket just yet - we ended up eating a late night dinner at Chili's watching the Houston firework show on live television. Don't be jealous.

So, here's my question. Relatively tame party, no clothing changes, nobody incredibly inebriated from one too many 4th of July margaritas that I could tell, everyone engrossed in Rock Band - then where the heck did these come from and how did they end up in my laundry?

Hope everyone had a fabulous 4th of July!


Dear Kids Across the Street

Dear Kids that live across the street (or next door to us):

For months (ok, 3 years now), I have driven past your bicycles, tricyles, skateboards, etc that you have left "parked" in our cul-de-sac. So conveniently in front of our driveway. Thank you!!!

Each time I see them, I am overcome with the urge to run them over. You ride recklessly without abandon (usually bobbing & weaving in front of our vehicles) and then leave them haphazardly turned over wherever they may fall.

My anger and frustration got the best of me today. Pick up your toys, darn it. Didn't your parents teach you better?

I vividly remember cruising around our cul-de-sac when I was little BUT I always remember putting up my playthings. It was a mandate from the parents. So I expect nothing less. Gosh, remember when parents would say something and kids would actually do it???

I am tired of the bobbing and weaving that has to occur for me to pull in my own driveway. Each time this happens I am tempted to run them over in pure frustration but I always resist. Until today.

Today, not so much. Too bad boys... you caught me on a rough day. So, I apologize for your mangled mess that used to be called a bicycle.

The Pilot, I am happy to report, took the bikes like a champ and not a dent to be found. One point to the Clanahan's.And I do recall last year on the 4th, bottle rockets & other skimming over my roof and barely avoiding the patio to smolder out in the grass. This cannot happen this year.

Remember the bike.

I can only imagine what may happen if I see one firework land in my yard.

And now I am officially the grumpy neighbor.

Yay. I might as well be 80, rocking on my front porch, muttering under my breath at "the kids these days". SWEET.

NOTE: I am not this cold-hearted. I would never run over a child's bike.

I would only retrieve it from my driveway and hide it in my garage, never to be seen again.


"We love because He loved us first"

God first, family second...
"We love because He loved us first" (1 John 4:19)
A couple of weekends ago we were privileged to go visit our families in Austin - first stopping by my brother and Christina's for a late night home-cooked dinner, complete with 3 crazy dogs.

Denver is "hookin' em" after Texas wins (sadly they would be defeated by LSU just a short week later but we will keep this post a nice one :)

Matt and his parents - we went to Gruene Hall outside Austin to hang out for the day. So much fun. So much sun. Too hot. I'm too old for this. But Matt's brother Christian & wife Stacey (it was her birthday), my favorite niece Riley, and Stacey's parents joined us so it was a mini-reunion. In 120 degree heat. ha.

My sweet little niece. She has yet to meet a camera she doesn't like. Or that doesn't LOVE her!

Riley girl and I again - watching the "tubers" in the river below - the water was wayyyy low. They were basically walking, not floating. Entertaining for us, probably not so much for them.

Later that night, meeting out Matt's sister Emily & husband Zeb. The Roadhouse. The end.

Matt & Zeb

Em & Zeb

Finally the 4 of us - ignore the background.

Matt, Em & Zeb

Meg & Matt

We're in this together - 3 legged and all :)


The family at Gruene. We are so blessed.

My sis-in-law Em. Love.

My other (very tan) sis-in-law, plus Max. I am so lucky to have great in-laws. Seriously

And the girl above (Christina) married a guy who wears a drink holster. For his coca-colas of course. I admire her. But I bought it for him, so what does that say about me?

And when you are a part of this family, dogs follow. This is the monster dog, Denver. Sweet guy. Large head. Way too big. Taller than me. Evidence above.

Amazingly blessed with a great family & extended family. We are so lucky to live closer now to see everyone more often. Love you all!!