Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Carry-on Bag

When we were little kids, every summer we would take a road trip to Salado, Texas. There were two things we looked forward to the most about our annual trip- the car ride and swimming pool. Our road trips were when kids didn't wear seat belts and televisions in the car didn't exist. In order to have a perfectly fun car ride, we would pack our ballet bags full of necessary junk. Barbies, notepads, books, games, crayons, you name it. This was the one bag our mom would allow us to pack on our own, and we didn't hold back. The five of us kids would sprawl out on the pallet of sleeping bags in the back of the Suburban, and with every precious toy nearby, we would dream of jumping in to that big, hotel pool.

Tomorrow, Kyle and I leave for our New York/Boston trip. I have all of the high priority items checked off the list. We have everything booked, our bags mostly packed, and Bailey's food bagged up for my mom's. Yet, twenty years later, I find myself still obsessed with my carry-on bag. I had to make sure all of the essentials made their way in to the carry-on because what would this almost twenty-six year old do without her odd assortment of stuff.

The carry on bag breakdown:

The carry on bag
My purse that goes inside the carry on bag
A scarf in case I get cold on the plane
Another small bag filled with post-its, Life Savers, crackers, head phones, Sudoku, and a pencil
My slippers
Season 3 of Sopranos to watch on the laptop
My book
Most importantly, the folder with confirmations, tickets, etc.
I think I'm all set!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Flood Aftermath

After I left my yearbook training in Dallas, I headed straight for my mom's house. The house flooded on Friday, so I was seeing everything three days after the flood. When I walked in, the first thing I noticed was not the disarray of furniture or missing sheetrock from the walls, but the smell! I really can't describe it. However, imagine the creek/bayou overflowing and sitting in your house for 24 hours. It is just very musty and yuck!

My parents live less than a mile from the creek. It is no surprise to any one that the house would eventually flood again. They live in a flood zone, have flood insurance, and have lived through a flood twice before. The first time the house flooded, I was in the 7th grade. Josh (my older brother) was at college, and my little brother and sister were staying at my dad's for the weekend. It was just me, Meghan (my older sister), mom, and Gene (my stepdad). My parents could see that the creek would be unrelenting, so we started moving all belongings upstairs. We were pretty much trapped there, so we sat around, without power, and waited for the water. I remember watching the water start to come in, and the hard wood floors starting to buckle. If you have ever wondered why they are called floating hard woods, well take it from me, they float in water. After that flood, we decided tile floor was a good idea. The flood was no match for the tile floor, and the floor came out victorious in 2001 ... and 2012.

In our case, as it was now flooded in 1998, 2001, and 2012, we know the house will survive, the treasured belongings will be saved, and everyone will be alright. When standing knee-deep in water in your living room, you almost laugh. How can this be? It is slightly amusing that your dog just paddled across the threshold, right? Truly, the worst part of a flood is the aftermath. It is a mess like no other. My family was able to get the wet sheetrock and base boards out on Monday, but they had to wait to throw away other items until the insurance adjuster came. Sopping wet rugs piled out on the patio brings out a whole other smell- think rotten eggs mixed with elephants. Seriously. But, now that the wet, nasty items are being thrown away or cleaned, the couches and chairs taken to the upholsterer, and the we-can-live-without-this-for-a-while has been packed in boxes, progress can be made. 

Things that were ruined were taken to the patio to dry. However, it keeps raining. I'm telling you, those rugs stink!
My mom's room is the only bedroom on the first floor. A lot of their things had to be thrown on the bed because they were running out of room upstairs.
The living room with missing sheetrock and most of the furniture crammed in to the middle of the room.
Jill's bedroom with all of the the packed up items.
Upstairs bedroom with downstairs furniture.
Dining room with missing sheetrock and yucky floors.
The pool has turned green, and that is one of many minnows that have made their home inside the pool.
Another messy room with missing sheetrock.
With all of the missing sheetrock, you can see from room-to-room.
Back entry
Another view of my mom's room.
Looking down from the stairs.
Looking down from the stairs.
Piles of baseboards and garbage bags of sheetrock.
And, the "sheetrock guys" told us we shouldn't be breathing in the contaminated air. We only put the masks on for the picture. :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Allie and Kyle Firsts: Buying a Home

That is right! We are buying a house! We seriously didn't know when this day would come that we would be ready to leave our apartment, but a series of events have led us to this very special purchase.

Kyle and I are very methodical with our goals, finances, and life in general. We have tried to stick to "the plan."  As we all know, tell God your plan and He'll kindly laugh and show you what's up. Now nothing really dramatic has happened that has caused us to buy a house. However, everything neatly fell in to place- God's perfect timing. Kyle and I had always imagined that the perfect time to buy a house would be dictated by a specific amount of money in the savings account. We also thought buying our first house meant buying a house that we could have several kids in- a house most likely in the burbs. Well, since our savings account wasn't up to the "magic number" and kids are still a few years away (there I go again with telling God the plan), we thought the whole house thing was still out of the picture.

Our apartment lease comes up in September. We obviously knew that we were going to have to make a decision. Should we renew our lease, find another apartment, or look for rental town homes? A house? No way! Well, for the past six months we had been doing exactly that. We would research other apartments and randomly search for affordable town home rentals, but nothing ever felt like the right move. After all, we love our current apartment, but we always knew rent was going to go up. It didn't seem reasonable for us to live at this location with higher rent and both of us commuting to work.

A couple of weeks ago we come home, and our renewal papers were wedged in the crack of our front door. Yep- the rent went up! I immediately started to freak out a little bit. I knew that we were most likely going to move, but I was kind of emotional with the reality of it. We are sentimental people, and this is our first "home" together and the only place in Houston that Kyle, my small town boy, has ever lived. Well, I channel the OCD Googler that I am and start plugging in every "good" zip code in to and I sent Kyle a series of whiny e-mails and text messages with my mediocre results of our future residence. Kyle was feeling just as weary. I'm seriously not exaggerating- we were very upset by this, and I think the root of our concern was no other part of town felt like home.   Until... Kyle called me as I sit in tears at the computer, "Al, we're going to buy a home. Why not? Start looking."

It was strange how instantaneously my worries vanished. I no longer sensed any sadness over moving. It was like I could feel God saying, "Allie, it's okay. I know the plan."

Well, the original "Allie and Kyle" plan involved moving to Katy (near Kyle's work), Cypress (near my work), or somewhere central to both. So, again, I get on and feverishly research areas and homes. I infiltrate Kyle's work e-mail with all of these options. It was amazing how many homes I found that I was excited to show Kyle. However, there was something very constant- we didn't feel drawn to the Katy and Cypress homes... and we thought we would! Even though we had always imagined raising our children in the burbs, we just weren't ready to move out of the city.

We found the perfect house in the neighborhood that we have always loved. It was an adorable, tiny 1940s home, and we fell in love with it immediately. We could picture our life there... and Bailey running around in the backyard! We knew that it would need some paint and t.l.c., but we were ready to move forward. We put an offer down on the house. We were so excited... we drove by the house any chance we got and would plan and scheme all the things we were going to do to it. AND THEN... in the midst of counter offers and almost finalizing a deal, we found THE house on It was essentially the house we had an offer on, but all of the updates were already complete. It was exactly the changes we wanted to do to the other house, but we weren't going to have to do them. Again, God was there. We never would have ever found THE house if He wasn't making provisions for us to see it. THE house was much more than the original house, and it was something that we wouldn't have originally considered. But, when we saw it online, we knew... the Schielacks were moving in if we had anything to do with it! Slight problem... I was going out of town, and we were anxious to move forward. We didn't want anyone else snagging our house. :)

Well, I have a lot of faith in my sweet Kyle. He went with our realtor to see the house, placed an offer on the house, and our offer was accepted all while I was at the lake! He called in the midst of 4th of July fireworks, and said "babe, we're going to be homeowners!" I was overwhelmed with emotions- so excited and at peace. The owners had accepted our first offer. Again, God.

And, when I saw the house for the first time in person, it was exactly as I had hoped! I can see us there. And Bailey.

Stay tuned...

2nd Wedding Anniversary

I can't believe Kyle and I are already celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary- it feels like the wedding was just yesterday! Kyle and I have vowed (no pun intended) to always do something special for our anniversary no matter the circumstances, so I had been planning our anniversary for quite sometime. At one point, I had a weekend booked in Fredericksburg, considered going to Galveston, and ultimately chose something more low key due to the 4th of July lake trip and our New York/Boston trip being so close to our anniversary.

Our anniversary fell on a Tuesday, so Kyle was at work most of the day. While he was off at work, Jill, my mom, and I went out for lunch and shopping for my nephew's 1st birthday. It was such a fun, relaxing day, and a wonderful way to spend part of my anniversary. My mom played a HUGE role in our wedding day, so it was special to celebrate with her too!

After shopping, I went home to spruce up for the evening. Kyle and I had early dinner reservations downtown because we were going to see The Lion King at Hobby Center! I knew Kyle would love it, and it was something memorable for us to do on our 2nd anniversary!

How was the 2nd year of marriage different from the 1st? The 2nd was better! We are the epitome of a cliche, but I love him more and more each day. I love that we sit for hours and talk, we can make each other laugh, we are growing in our faith together, we listen to each other (even if that does mean having to raise our voice a little), we support each others goals, and the list goes on. Now, don't worry... he has several qualities and habits that drive me nuts, so please don't roll your eyes as you read this or delete me from Facebook. :)
Astros game the Sunday before our Anniversary

Funny story... We wrote those cards to each other because we were forced to. :) We wrote them in pre-marital counseling a few months before we got married. We thought we were supposed to open them on our first anniversary, but we forgot about them last year. I found them a few months ago, and we decided to wait until this anniversary to open them. Well, the first sentence I read, " blah blah blah 5th anniversary..." Oops!! We immediately shut them, and now the letters are tucked away until our FIFTH anniversary. My bad.

At dinner
At the Lion King


2nd Anniversary is the cotton anniversary... Kyle bought me a monogrammed apron.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Yearbook and a Flood

Next year I am going to be the yearbook teacher (as well as teaching World Cultures) at my school. I really am excited to take on this new challenge, but I have been kind of anxious about it since I don't really know what I am doing. Well, until today. I just spent my first day of yearbook training in Dallas, and I have 3 more to go. This might not seem like such a big deal, but driving to Dallas by myself and staying in a hotel room by myself has been nothing short of character building. I usually brag about the fact that I am a loner and enjoy my solitude, but there is something certainly awkward about being alone in unfamiliar territory. AND, my family's house flooded while I am stuck in a Texas-themed conference center surrounded by women that fit the very nature of every cliche you've ever imagined about teachers. Not to mention, you would think that a room of yearbook teachers would know the basic functions of a computer!

Anyways, like I said, my family's house flooded as I am here in Dallas. This will be the third time the neighborhood has flooded since my parents have lived there, but it doesn't make it any more tolerable. We, the family, have mastered the art of rushing valuables, pictures, clothes, furniture, etc. upstairs and elevating couches on to paint cans, but it is certainly surreal when water inches it's way in to your home. Thankfully, nothing of great importance has ever been lost and everyone has always remained safe, yet the aftermath is quite annoying.

In order to get out of the neighborhood, my brother and his wife rented a canoe from REI and paddled it up to the house. They took 2 trips to collect everyone and the dogs from the house. As I sit typing here in the business center of the hotel, Kyle is away at a bachelor party. It just so happened that Bailey was at my parent's house, and she apparently braved the flood just fine. She hates swimming, so I was surprised when the family sent pictures and videos of her running around in the water. Since Kyle and I are both away, my parents and the dogs are at our apartment while the rest of the family is staying at my brother's house.

Friday the 13th played it's games at my parent's house, but tomorrow looks to be a very special day. My sweet, precious nephew turns 1! Luckily, all of his aunts and uncles (minus me and Kyle) are having an unforeseen slumber party tonight.... and maybe the next.

Bailey running around in the water.

Josh, Anna, and Miles pulling up the driveway in the canoe.

Out of the 6 cars at their house, 4 flooded.
When the pool was starting to over flow
Bailey using the restroom. She could have gone in the house because it wouldn't of mattered, but she still used her manners and went outside. :) Love her!!
My mom and sister standing on the front porch.
Front of the house... the water still wasn't at it's highest when this was taken.

Miles with his Aunt Jill-The birthday boy came with his mommy and daddy to rescue everyone!
The first "rescue mission"
The second "rescue mission"
Bailey once she is safe at home! What a day!