out on the farm

September 28, 2011

Last year we went with some friends to this fun little farm. They have some fun activities for the kids, but the best part is going on a hay rack ride through the farm to pick your own veggies. It is amazing!

We were trying to find a good time to take the kids, but our schedule is super busy. So, we settled on a Tuesday since Matt is off work. Unfortunately, that meant Grace didn’t get to go because she is in school. That’s been my biggest (and really ONLY) struggle with the school schedule. I feel like if we do anything while Grace is in school, then she misses out. However, I remind myself that she’s getting to do super fun things (including a field trip to another farm!) and I can’t deprive Alyssa & Chase of fun activities during school hours.

So, all of that to say, we went to Miller Farms on Tuesday…and had a BLAST!  Another family from the Denver area was on our veggie-picking-tractor and we had such a great time with them.  We even exchanged phone numbers.  🙂  And, she inspired me to re-start this blog.  They too have family far away (in Texas!), so she’s very diligent to update their blog with pictures, videos and updates.  I’m going to do the same.  🙂

Speaking of which…here are some pics from our day on the farm…

To enter the farm, you pay per person and each person gets 5 shopping bags to fill with goodies.  We had 20 bags to fill, which is a ton of food.  Our kitchen is now stocked with a plethora of corn, potatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots, celery, melons, pumpkins (orange & white), tomatoes, many different types of peppers…am I forgetting something?!?  We had so much food that we decided to bag up some groceries for our neighbors and share the wealth.  It was fun to share.  🙂

I’ve been busy making homemade spaghetti sauce, decorating with pumpkins, and searching for other recipes.  In the near future I’m going to make (and freeze) some potato soup and salsa.  🙂  Yummy!!


Sick and Tired

March 30, 2009

Sick and Tired

Sick and Tired

Carrie told you in an earlier post about our crazy weekend of sickness last weekend.  This picture typifies that entire weekend.  Grace had just told Carrie that she was about to get sick.  Carrie took her to the bathroom, and both fell asleep as they waited for Grace to, well, get sick.  She had already thrown up nearly a half a dozen times by this picture.  And my beautiful wife did what she does best, comforted Grace.

I am a journalist at heart.  I love to tell stories with pictures.  After helping with Grace throughout the evening, and realizing Carrie had control of this situation, I felt compelled to get my camera out to capture the intimacy of the moment.  It was a moment I will never forget.  Both girls were so tired from the entire day. You can see the expressions. Yet, you can see the warmth of Carrie’s embrace with her hand as Grace fell back into her.

Carrie made me fall in love with her so much more during this first “big family sickness.” After all, she and Alyssa got sick as well.  She is a true champion of taking care of both of our girls, remaining steadfast in her devotion to God, to them, and to me.

Grace dancing at the Domain

Grace dancing at the Domain

This weekend has been a blast.  Not “fun” as in – crazy, wild, fun.  But “fun” as in – I love being with my family, “fun.”  “Fun” as in – I’m refreshed and ready to start a new week, “fun.”  Here’s what we did.

I had a baby shower to go to Saturday afternoon, so Matt took the girls to get an oil change and car wash.  Fun for Momma because I had some time with friends.  Fun for Daddy and the girls because they had time together.

After nap time, we were antsy to get out of the house.  Matt suggested going to the Domain to walk around.  (For those who don’t live in Austin, the Domain is an upscale, outdoor shopping area).  Matt had a little extra work clothing allowance burning a hole in his pocket, so we went to Macy’s first.  As we walked out of Macy’s and started checking out the other shops, we noticed that they had blocked off the main road running through the Domain.  A stage was set up and signage said there was a fashion show.  In the distance, we could hear live music which sparked our curiosity.  We walked to the opposite end of the Domain and asked a security guard what was going on.  Come to find out, the fashion show had an after party with a live band, free drinks and desserts!  One of our favorite things is to stumble upon something cool.  This fit that criteria.  It was so much fun!  Grace danced the night away.  Alyssa shook her booty in the stroller.  Matt and I enjoyed watching them.

Today we had another great day!  After church we drove to Marble Falls and ate at the Blue Bonnet Cafe.  AMAZING!  Good, comfort food.  They are known for their pies.  DELICIOUS!  We had the peanut butter pie and it was fabulous.  We practically licked the plate clean.  After we had stuffed ourselves silly, we went to Sweet Berry Farms and picked strawberries.  It was perfect weather to be outside and the farm was a great time.  Grace really got into finding good strawberries, picking them, and putting them in her basket.  By the end, she had strawberry juice all over her clothes and face.

I’m so far behind on posting pictures to our flickr sight that it completely overwhelms me.  I’m trying to upload a bit at a time.  HOPEFULLY by the end of the week I’ll be caught up.  At that point, I’ll post pictures from our fun weekend.  Sorry to do so many posts with no pictures!!

The stolen laptop

March 20, 2009

So, my laptop from KXAN was stolen last Friday at Austin’s famed SXSW festival.  Not the best day of my life, for sure.  After checking security footage, calling police, asking around, and telling my boss, my photographer Mark Batchelder suggested I should post a Twitter message about my stolen laptop.  I did, and my “followers” on my twitter page passed it on to their followers, who passed it on to their followers.  Eventually thousands of people in Austin, and all across the country knew that I, a TV reporter in Austin, Tex., had a laptop stolen.  Even the Texas Department of Public Safety (a.k.a. Texas State Troopers) saw my twitter post and retweeted to their network. Below, you can see a copy of all the “re-tweets” of my original post.  I never found that laptop, and I’m still looking.  So if you see a lovely Dell Latitude 6500, please send me a Twitter message @mattflener.

Matt's Twitter Feed After Stolen Laptop

Tonight’s activities

March 20, 2009

Tonight, Carrie’s Uncle Dave and Aunt Mary Ann Routzhan came in from Dallas for Grace’s birthday party tomorrow.  We ate at Sago in the Triangle tonight.  It was perfect weather, and great to see them.  Can you believe Grace turns 3 on Sunday?  We’re expecting about 30 people tomorrow for the big party.  It will be a blast!

Our Celebrity

March 5, 2009

Usually Matt is the one doing interviews, but this morning he is the interviewee.  A country music station, here in Austin, is interviewing him at 8am about his Sweeps story that’s airing tonight at 10pm.  (If you live in Austin – you should watch!  Or you can watch it on-line at kxan.com).

OK – there was my shameless plug for the story and brag for my husband.  🙂

We’re Moving…

March 5, 2009

Did you think I meant to another house?? Gotcha! We’re actually moving blog addresses.

From now on, check us out at https://flener.wordpress.com It’s way cooler and Matt was able to import all our posts from this blog to that one.

See you there!!

St. John’s Drive

September 7, 2008

Tonight, I decided to drive through the St. John’s neighborhood here in Austin. Our church, The Austin Stone, has targeted this neighborhood and will build a permanent church home there in the coming years.

I’ve walked through St. John’s during the day, but it’s a whole different neighborhood at night. At nearly every house, people stood outside, leaning on their cars, smoking, talking, having birthday parties.

I turned my radio down and rolled down my windows, just listening. Here are my raw emotions: scared, intimidated, wrong cultures for me.

Just a bit earlier, I spent some time at the Domain walking through the outdoor mall; staring into windows that showcased David Yurman Jewelry, Louis Vuitton accessories, and Apple 3G I phones. I had just sipped an Iced Coffee from Seattle’s Best.

I wanted, though, to travel to St. John’s directly after my Domain experience to realize the dichotomy that exists between just 5 miles of earth.

I’m praying that God would expand my heart for the people of St. John’s since our church will be there for a LONG time to come. I realized tonight…God has a LOT of work to do on my heart.

That Random Helicopter…

September 4, 2008

As I write, I’m listening to a helicopter circling above our house. From my time at KXAN, I know that it’s the Austin Police Department chopper.

Putting two and two together (I saw about 4 police cars near our pool as I drove back home tonight) I called our Assignments Editor, Hal, at the station.

Hal called APD’s watch command and they told him an armed robber had just ditched his car at the pool parking lot in our subdivision.

So, as a curious journalist, I decided to stick my neck outside. (Sorry Mom and Gail). And the helicopter directed its spotlight on me. Then it shone the light in our backyard, and it circled our house for about five minutes.

I called 911 because I saw two guys two yards away from us. After a few nervous minutes, they said it was the K-9 unit.

Because of all this activity, our neighbors all came out of their homes (I wasn’t the only one). Neighbors I’d never seen before. Neighbors who live right by me, and I haven’t seen or heard from or even knew existed. I saw my neighbor Adam and his roommate I had met about two months ago. They all came outside because they wondered about the commotion. Praise God for this.

For a moment, I thought about my safety. Only for a moment.

And then I thought of this silly book I posted about earlier tonight called the Irresistable Revolution. In fact, in this book, I had just read a chapter about “the danger of safety.”

“Some Christians take so few risks, it’s no wonder folks have a hard time believing in heaven,” said Shane Claiborne, the author. “Most of us live in such fear of death that no one really believes in the resurrection any more.”

As you learn in the book, Claiborne lives among the poor and destitute in the inner city sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in a way that puts aside any idea of personal safety for the sake of the Gospel.

“Sometimes people ask me if I’m scared of the inner city,” Claiborne says. “I usually reply, ‘I’m more scared of the suburbs.’ The scriptures say that we should not fear those things which can destroy the body, but we are to fear that which can destroy the soul (Matt. 10:28). While the ghettos may have their share of violence and crime, the suburbs are the home of the more subtle demonic forces – numbness, complacency, comfort – and it is these that can eat away at our souls.”

Tonight we had a bit of the ‘inner city’ come to the suburbs in the form of a random helicopter and a bit of crime.

I took a risk of sticking my head out the door to figure out what was going on.

As hard as it is to say, I tried to take a practical step out of my personal fort of safety. Had the girls been home, I might have thought differently to stay inside right beside them, but tonight, as I was alone, I decided to step outside my house, even with an APD chopper above shining its light on me. Was it the safest move? Nope. Probably not. But I got to meet a few neighbors and establish an avenue for relationships in the future.

Some of you might get mad at me for making the move I made tonight to step outside. “Why even blog or post about this?” you might ask. I’d submit that I made a few new friends because of the ordeal. I’d also submit that it’s made me question how numb or complacent I’ve become living in my little part of suburbia.

These are questions I wouldn’t have been able to ask myself had I just stayed inside and listened to the helicopter above, watching Jay Leno.

I stepped outside on faith. As I prayed, God protected me. Thank God for that random helicopter