Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sorry for the quietude this month, but I've been pretty busy. I went to Houston for almost a whole week to let the grandparents see Z for her bday, and also to go to my SIL's beach house for a day so Zoey could play with her cousin Myles. They had a blast, and for a brief moment, the weather even cooperated. The sun peaked out and the water, while coolish, was still full of those "scary waves," that chased the kids back and forth on the beach. It's a lot of fun watching those two play together. In their own, preschooler way, they seem to know they are family. Course, it helps that we tell them they're cousins, and that cousins are family. It's nothing too deep.

We also spent a day at the Houston Zoo, our old stomping grounds. I miss that Zoo. I especially miss walking in free through the member's gate and not paying $8 to get myself inside. Oh well. Z had a blast, and really seemed to get more out of seeing the animals at the wise age of 4. I think maybe she'd just gotten a little jaded from going to the zoo so much when we lived there. Still, when she got hungry, she got distracted from the zoo and started pretending she was looking for Dora. And when we tried to get her to go look at the spectacled bears, she balked, whined, and walked away from us, yelling the precocious phrase, "Leave me alone! I'm not happy!"

I swear, a 4-year-old girl is like a window into the future world of a middle-schooler. I hear it gets better. Supposedly.

Anyway, we (me and my sis) decided she was hungry and bought some of the deep fried food at the snack bar, after which she did feel a bit better. Well, after the food and the cup of Dippin' Dots ice cream, which I had to promise her as a bribe to get her to eat some of her lunch. Sigh. I did such a good job of keeping her away from sugar for the first three years of her life, but now she knows what it is, and that it's tasty, and that she wants it.

So, anyway, we came back from Houston, then T and I decided to buy a house. So that's what I'm doing now, with much hand-wringing and agonizing over such a huge decision, and much glazed-over eyeness at looking at pictures of houses (which always seem to look better than the actual house). Yesterday I went to look at 7 houses, and only the last one was decent. Oh, and everything is so freaking expensive here, even far out in the burbs (where, yes, we are going to have to live: far out, tho not far, far out. Well, maybe far, far out, but not far, far, far out.) It's exciting and scary and depressing all at the same time. I will, of course, keep you updated.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

New Zoey pictures posted

It's been awhile, but I finally posted some recent Zoey pics to my smugmug site. Lately I've been so focused on Trey's work site, I haven't had time to mess with my pictures. There's still much to do with the dentworks site (mostly link building), but man, I've learned a lot about web sites and SEO optimization this past month.

Go ahead, visit the site and learn a little about paintless dent repair in Austin. You'll think that the site itself doesn't look all that different (if you've seen it before). That's because most of the changes are in the code. I mean, there's more--and hopefully more informative--text on the site (b/c google loves it some context), and the navigation bar has been simplified because the old one was a java-scripted nightmare of fireworks code that took up way too much code real estate. Also, I lost the original PNG file when our old computer went kaput, so recreating would have been a PITA. I added a sitemap, too. That was easy enough.

The real changes were behind the scenes. I took out all the CSS style codes that were on each page, and put them all on an external CSS file. That cleared up a lot of space at the top of the code. This way, when the robots go a-searchin', they don't get bored halfway down the page and give up. They can find those dang keywords right near the top. I also took advantage of Header tags, which I hadn't been doing. And I validated most of the pages as valid XHTML files. We are still waiting to overtake the #1 spot on some of our keywords, but overall we are doing pretty well with the search engines. I do expect our rankings to keep improving.

This Search Engine Optimization stuff takes a lot of time and effort--and apparently there's still no guarantee you'll get results. Fortunately, there's isn't a lot of internet-related competition for us yet, as we're so specialized regarding service and location. But I have some bigger plans in the works, that mostly involve Trey and I writing articles and blog entries on related subjects. Because it's just a matter of time before all PDR companies everywhere have a web site.

So, back to the Zoey photos, you'll notice a princess theme. I'd been wanting some pics of her in one of her princess costumes for awhile now, because I think it'll be one of those memories down the road we'll be happy to see in a photo. You know, "Remember when you were all into princess stuff? And you used to wear your costumes every day and make me wear a costume too so we could play princess?" She'll be all like, "God, mom, why do you have to bring that up, I was just a little kid. Geesh! Leave me alone!" And I'll say, "No, come here and look at this picture of you nakad in the bathtub!" Then she'll run screaming from the room. And I'll laugh.

p.s. The other photos are from one of the little hikes Zoey and I take in the woods behind our house, and from the Zilker Kite festival. I will also add some birthday party pics in the very near future.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


The quality is crap, yes, because I took it with my digital camera in very poor light and was not able to adjust the contrast in Windows Movie Maker. But still. I mean, sure, I'm one of the parents, and it's extremely self-indulgent, but damn, it's cute.

BTW, this was taken the night of Zoey's birthday party. Her friend Olivia spent the night (along with her mom and sis), so Z got her first friend sleepover. They had the best time playing princess, shooting hoops (seriously), candyland, more princess, band, and watching the Little Mermaid. The next day Olivia didn't want to leave.

The party itself was also a success. The kids ran around for an hour at the Little Gym, then went into the party room for cake. All the parents made happy comments about how tired their child would be later. I've got some rudimentary pics, but I'll post them later on edit because the GUY IS FINALLY COMING TO LOOK AT MY BROKEN OVEN!!!