Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Everyone who has a dog thinks that their dog is the very best...
There is no other dog in the world as loving, as faithful, as intelligent, or as perfect.

Blake and I got Maysee in July of 2004.
She was born on May 19th, 2004, and we doted over her via emails and phone calls until she was finally old enough for us to pick her up and bring her home.

She taught Blake and I how to be responsible.

She was the closest thing we had to a baby for seven years and we treated her like a baby.

She had a plethora of clothes including an adorable pair of pajamas with lambs on them.
She had designer collars and colorful leashes.
She had a bed that's cost came close to surpassing the amount paid our own full size bed from Big Lots.

Blake and I would take her on long walks through the University of Oklahoma's campus. We walked north of the basketball center, through the student apartments, past the field where the band practiced, and turned to sneak onto the grounds of the Natural History Museum. She would run, off of her leash, through the tall grass of the preserved field of wild growth, and happily return to us when we got closer to the busy street.

She was horrible on a leash, so she often tried to prove that she was perfectly capable of walking without one. At our 2nd floor apartment in college, I would open the door for her to go potty. She would walk down the stairs, onto the sidewalk, into the grass, and return as soon as she had finished her business. All the while I would stand in the doorway, most of the time half-asleep, Maysee ignoring the advances of other students who wanted to pet her or fuss over her seeing that she was out and alone.

When we moved to Houston, the overwhelming guilt of making her stay alone while we were at work all day was so much that we convinced ourselves that she needed a friend. Whiskey was brought home soon after. When that didn't help our guilt, we hired a dog-walker to come three times a week. We could barely afford food for ourselves at times, but we couldn't stand that thought of our dogs staying in a kennel all day, almost every day.

Living in the middle of the city, we took Maysee and Whiskey to Bark Parks many weekends, to watch only Whiskey frolic with the other canines. Maysee would have none of it. She sat next to me on the bench, her back straight, her face amused with the ridiculousness that she was having to witness as the other dogs had the time of their lives. She was not a dog, after all.

As Maysee got older, she never lost her tendencies to be independent. She would take it upon herself to wander neighborhoods if she somehow escaped. Once she wandered through my mother-in-law and father-in-law's neighborhood after sneaking out under the garage door, cracked to cure the heat. Several neighbors saw her over the next hour or so, walking along the sidewalk. They called to her and tried to approach her, but like at OU, she ignored their advances. Two hours after her escape, we found her at the front door, scratching lightly to let us know that she wanted back in. We had never even realized that she was missing.

Maysee loved Blake, Samantha, and Easton, but she loved me the most. She listened to no one but me if I was around, and she was a constant source of comfort for me when I needed it the most. She knew when I was upset, sad, or happy, and her presence was always appropriate for each situation, presenting snuggles, nudging, or playful hops.

Maysee passed away this morning after a shocking stroke that came quietly and quickly.
A silent cancer had grown without our knowledge and took away her quality of life overnight.
Blake and I were able to hold her and whisper sweet words of assurance to her while she peacefully went to sleep.

Maysee really was the very best, and I already do miss her so much.
You're a good dog, Maysee. A good dog.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Drum Roll, Please!

Blake and I spent the better part of yesterday combing through the three choices of living that we felt would all be fine, if not great for our family. We weighed the benefits of living at each location and the inconveniences of each place using a highly complex analysis. Blake and I had often made confident decisions using this method, and as we began weighing the importance of certain factors, we grew anxious to see what it would tell us.

Our factors and the weight of each factor included the following:

Safe at Night - 10
Commute to Work - 9
Proximity to Good Church - 8
Things for Kids to Do - 8
Ease of Daily Chores - (Grocery, Vet, Dry Cleaning) - 8
Price - 8
Ease for Pets - 8
Cleanliness - 7
 Parking - 7
Eating Out Options - 7
Layout - 6
Ability to Deal with Management / Landlord - 6
Bathrooms (Tub? / Number)- 5

After deciding on these factors, we then gave each location a score (1-10). Blake did his mathematical financial magic, and the analysis then computed the score for each location minding the individual scores and the weight of each score.

The answer was clear... All three locations would be equally suitable for our family for the next couple of years. 

That did not help us like we were anticipating.

Back-up Plan Activated!

We walked around each location, discussed in great detail how we thought each day would go in each location, looked at the activities for the kids in relation to each location, and routed the commute that Blake would be taking each day to get to work.

We've made our decision, and it is final. 
(In other words, please don't make us doubt ourselves!)

The Bar is our new home starting February 2015!

Here it is in more detail:

That building with the squiggly blue line? That is the building in which the apartment is.
Count down three windows? That is our floor. Our apartment takes up all of the 25th Floor on a 27-Story Building.  

And what really sold it... The view. 
The largest perks of this location...

We are less than a five minute WALK from Blake's office. (We can see it out the window. I am actually convinced that if he presses himself up against his office window, we could easily see him. He hasn't agreed to do that quite yet.) 
There are numerous restaurants throughout the streets below and a movie theater right across the street. There are so many things close by that are kid-friendly and public transportation from this point can get us anywhere quickly. 

The layout of the apartment is long and skinny, but it is open and clean. There are three bedrooms that are tiny, but they are big enough for what we need.  

We are really pumped to have a place that will be waiting for us when we return in a couple of weeks! That's at least one thing we can mark off of our list!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

House Hunters International - The Bastin's Go to Australia Style!

Have you ever seen House Hunters International?
If not, this is how it normally goes:
A couple looks at three properties, and they are to choose one property of the three. 

Three properties have been viewed...
Now you get to look at all three and try to put in a guess as to which property we decided on.


Property #1
The is literally right next to Blake's office. 
Property #2
This one is in a well-loved suburb just outside the city's end. 
Property #3
Though this one is the furthest away, it is down the street from the beautiful beach.

Which one do you think we should choose/chose?
The answer to be revealed when we figure it out!