Thursday, May 26, 2011

Forgetful Mommy

I hate when I pull a stupid parent moment. This morning I dropped my sad, tearful Livia off at school then headed on my brisk walk to get Mya and Celine to school. While walking I noticed a little girl headed in the other direction with a see through backpack. In her backpack was a lunch. Wait a second... You can't bring a lunch to school (you either eat school lunch or you get picked up and eat at home then get brought back). It immediately hit me. OH MY GOODNESS!!! "Mya, is it Livia's school field trip today???" Ummm... "Yea, Mom, I think it is". This is an all day field trip from 8:30-5:30. You know, the kind of field trip where you pack a backpack with a lunch, sun screen, hat etc... I didn't even bring my bag and phone, so no money and no communication. Just my metro pass. I ran to the metro as fast as I could, ran up the stairs and had to wait 4 minutes for the metro. It felt like 4 hours. The Metro was jammed packed but their was no way I was not getting on that train, so I shoved my way in the crowd packed like sardines and waited so impatiently for my stop and ran home, up 5 flights of stairs and busted in the door and yelled.... "Jeff!!!!! Is it Livia's school field trip today?!?!?! Wiping the sleep from his eyes because he stayed up until 2am working on a school paper, he said "Let's check. Yep, it is." I bursted into tears, ran to the kitchen and started making her a lunch and packing a backpack for her while Jeff called the school. He was told that it was too late and not to worry about it because they were about to leave. Because of my uncontrollable crying he grabbed the bag and ran out the door to see if he could make it on time. In the meantime I cried and prayed on the couch while my 22 month old little Eva told me it would be ok and rubbed my face. Jeff called a few minutes later and told me he barely made it and was able to wave goodbye to her as they rode off on the bus.

We usually have our computer remind us of all of our events, but Jeff turned off the calendar reminders because of a school presentation and forgot to turn it back on so we totally forgot. I seriously felt like the worst Mom ever in that moment. She didn't even want to go to school and was crying this morning and I just sent her to school and didn't tell her about her field trip or send her with anything. I'm happy she got her bag and I'm happy Jeff picked up a few things at the store last night because it made it easy for me to throw a lunch together. I hope she has a good time on her field trip.

Ugh, this parenting thing never seems to get easier!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Just after getting home from a long day at the MBAT with Jeff and the girls (which HEC won!!) our downstairs neighbor came up to invite us to have an "l'aperitif" with them (a "l'aperitif" in France is a small get together with drinks and light finger foods). Although we were a bit tired, we were thankful for the invite and we wanted to get to know them better (and we were very curious to attend our first l'aperitif), so we said yes. It was really cute and fairly formal. When we walked in we noticed that their apartment was spotless even with having two children. The kids were ready for bed, and somehow they were able to play with our 3 oldest girls pretty quietly...amazing. We shared some very brief small chat and then were invited to sit on their sofa. The husband sat in a chair to our left and the wife sat in a chair to our right. It felt as if we were being surrounded! They offered us drinks (and were surprised with the non-alcoholic requests) and also brought out a tray of cute little finger foods. There were 4 items: cherry tomato with feta cheese on a toothpick, cantaloupe, crackers, and a thin meat (I think salami). We were given toothpicks, and about every 3-4 minutes the husband dutifully rose and served us from the tray. We're not sure if he did this out of a kind of protocol or just because we weren't taking the food ourselves. It was formal, but very cute.

Now, it wouldn't be a good story without a little action, right? Well, leave it up to me to provide the action. I'm not exactly sure how this happened, but mid-sentence I made a gesture with my hand that was holding my drink and ended up spilling my Coke all over my leg and all over their sofa! Great move Christa! The kids were in the other room, so I couldn't even blame it on one of my children, which I probably would have done... Ha ha! After that I was too nervous to actually take a drink, so I just gripped the glass with all my strength for the rest of the night to ensure no more spills. Maybe next time I should bring my own sippy cup!!

Fun night overall, despite my clumsiness!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Jeff's Press Release

Angel network hires McCombs student

Austin Business Journal - by Christopher Calnan, Staff Writer

Date: Friday, May 20, 2011, 7:28am CDT

The Central Texas Angel Network has enlisted its first full-time employee to handle the day-to-day duties of managing its growing roster of investors.

Nevada native Jeff Harbach is scheduled to assume his duties at the Austin-based angel investor group in August. He will replace Executive Director Randall Crowder, who plans to focus on local investment firm TEXO Ventures, where he is managing partner, while taking an advisory role at CTAN.

The move to a full-time employee coordinating CTAN’s activities is the latest in a series of indicators that the popularity of angel investing is surging in Central Texas. Such growth is a positive development for local entrepreneurs seeking investment in early-stage companies and investors who want to be involved in Austin’s startup community.

CTAN, which was founded in 2006, reports having about 70 member investors. Crowder managed the angel group while completing his MBA at the University of Texas - bizWatch-infoPopup’ McCombs School of Business.

Harbach, who is also a McCombs School student, is in France completing his MBA at HEC Paris, one of Europe’s highly regarded business schools. He plans to build on what has already been created at CTAN instead of making any major changes.

“We want to strengthen the [executive director] position for entrepreneurs to get advice and investments,” Harbach said.

CTAN invested 60 percent more during 2010 than during 2009, the angel network reported in January. The increase came one year after the group tripled its annual investments.

During 2010, the angel group invested $5.7 million in 15 companies compared with $3.5 million invested in 12 companies the prior year. As a result, the amount of capital CTAN annually invests more than quintupled during a two-year period.

Life sciences continued to be the largest sector for investment, attracting 19 percent of the capital that CTAN invested in 2010, according to CTAN officials.

Most of the group’s investors are busy with their own ventures, CTAN Chairman Jamie Rhodes said. As a result, a full-time employee is important to coordinate the funding process when investors consider the viability of startup companies.

“We’ve got to keep them organized and focused on the due diligence,” he said. “It’s difficult to carve out enough time to study plans and then sign checks.”

Austin attorney Pete Winstead, who helped established CTAN five years ago, didn’t anticipate the organization’s rapid growth. The group was formed to create jobs by filling the capital gap that existed for new companies not large enough to collect venture capital.

“There was this huge vacuum for what had been one of Austin’s strengths — entrepreneurship,” said Winstead, a founding shareholder at Winstead PC. “It has turned out to be really, really good.”

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jeff and I have used many different tactics to try and keep our girls on task, clean, tidy, etc. Often times we settle on a series of Job Chart spreadsheets that Jeff has compiled over the years. They work really well and do a great job motivating the girls. The problem is that it takes so much time each day to check off their charts and assign verify their points (our way of rewarding them). I'm sure many of you have gone through similar struggles, right??

Well, we just recently found an online version of what we've been doing for years that makes this whole process much easier. It is It is great! You can create a family profile and give each child their own login (with their own picture), their own assignments, and their own point system. When they finish their tasks they get points, and they can save these points or spend them based on what they want as their reward. It is a great tool for teaching work, savings, tithing, etc. And the best thing is that each kid can login to their account, verify their own tasks, and even send us messages that get emailed to us. So it is very exciting for them and saves the family time. I love when I find things to make (my life) a Mom's life run a bid smoother. The girls are liking it too. They feel so responsible and they love to leave us notes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


The baguette has it's own food group here in France, and fittingly it has become a staple for us at mealtime (or snack time, or anytime really). We have eaten so many baguettes that we have now become picky with where to buy them, which is the Parisian way. Everyone has their favorite baguette shop. Sure you can pick up a baguette just about anywhere, but not all baguettes are created equally. Jeff and I prefer it to be a little bit crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, while the girls prefere the softer buttered baguette. Some are definitely more fresh than others, so we set out to find our favorite baguette shop.

This has been one of the nice things about actually living here. We have started to recognize the same people in the neighborhood when we're walking along the streets. We've made friends with shop owners, and we've received tips on places to try for just about everything. We've found that it's definitely worth the walk when you find the right bakeries, cafes, cheese shops, etc. My friend Emily also gave us the good advice to pay attention in the mornings, at lunch time, and especially when people are on their way home from work and see which places are crowded and have lines. That will tell you who has the best goods. Sounds simple to me, and sure enough I think she's right. We've narrowed in on a couple of shops we like, but we're constantly searching and trying new bakeries...and LOVING it!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Music Solo

While putting the dishes away tonight Celine came to me and told me she had a tummy ache. This was nothing new, as she has been telling me that she had a tummy ache all week. I gave her hugs and kisses and told her it would be ok and to head back to bed. She then turns to me and says:

"Mom, I have music tomorrow at school and I just don't want to go! I'm going to get all sweaty again and my face will turn red!"

Music? Thats sounds like fun to me.

"Well, last week the music teacher was asking me a bunch of stuff in French. I couldn't understand what she was saying, so I just kept saying yes. When I went back to class my teacher told me that I agreed to sing a Snow White solo in english to the class!!!"
It took every ounce of self restraint I could muster to keep myself composed. But I quickly learned that I don't have much self restraint. I couldn't help it! Tears were starting to stream down my face from trying to hold in my laughter. I don't know if it was the way she told me (so cute and innocent) or just knowing Celine's personality (of all our children for this to happen to, it happens to the my most shy child), but it was hilarious!! No wonder why she has had a tummy ache all week. She's thinking they are going to make her sing a solo in music class!! My tummy would hurt too!!!!

I love you my sweet sweet Celine!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Perfect Father's Day Gift

Looking for the perfect Father's Day present? Well...

My mom retired three years ago from a successful career, but instead of sitting in the rocking chair, she decided to follow her dreams of becoming an author. Her first book, My Dad is Forever, was published in 2010. She just completed her second book (not released yet) with Disney artist, Jared Beckstand, and is presently working on a suspense novel. In the fall of 2010 she started a writer's blog: that's filled with short stories of humorous antics about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Her fun personality and quick wit shines through her work and she has captivated quite a following.

She recently flew to Idaho for a radio show where she was invited to promote the release of her new book, My Dad Is Forever, by Linda Sumner Urza. One week after the show aired, the radio announcer called and invited her back for an encore. He said that he'd never had so many responses from the radio audience and the phone calls were still coming in! You would think that she spent the entire hour talking about the success of her book, but not my Mom ~ she encouraged people to follow their dreams! "There is a dream in everyone! No matter where you are in life, follow that dream today and it will become the reality of a bright tomorrow."

Mom, I am inspired by your constant desires to improve the world around you and your tenacious zest for excellence. You make life look so easy, peasy, lemon squeezy (as Livia would say)!

These next couple months my Mom and her publishing company are getting ready for a big push for Father's Day. If you haven't read My Dad is Forever, you won't be disappointed... It's a must read! Very tender book and I am so proud of my Mom and want to support her and her dream. You can find links to the books here: