Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Oh Wednesday

This week has been alarmingly quiet at work. I love to have a "slow" day every now and then, but this is getting scary. When people aren't reporting violations and there aren't issues being raised, it normally isn't because things are perfect. Normally, the silence is indicative of a problem. So, for now, we wait for the other shoe to drop. Yikes!

I imagine that today will be pretty quiet for me, therefore, I am ready to go home now and I've just been working an hour! I must say, I am ready to go "home" for Thanksgiving. Joe and Brinkley are going to swing through downtown to pick me up and go to my parents' house around 2:30. My parents pull off a fabulous Thanksgiving feast, and they make it look easy!
But, before I can even think about Turkey Day, I have to make it through today...I have a hair appointment tonight. I'm dying to do something totally different and new with my hair, but everytime I think about it, I remember how much I love a pony tail. I'm stuck between wanting to be daring and sticking with the familiar. I go through this every time I get my hair cut, one of these days I'll be daring, but I don't think today is the day...

In other news, today starts the one week countdown to Cleveland. Transparency moment: On the inside I want to pitch a fit, throw a tantrum, and loudly proclaim that I am not going. On the outside, I'm holding it together for my sweet husband's sake.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Several weeks ago, Joe and I made plans to celebrate the anniversary of our first date. We were both off work that day and planned to cram as much as we possibly could into one day! Since this weekend is Thanksgiving and we will be with my family, and then next week we are flying to Cleveland, we knew it would be much needed time together.
Friday morning I had an early doctor's appointment that ended up taking a lot longer than I thought. Long story short, I've been ordered to do an ultrasound and blood work because the Dr. thinks my liver is enlarged. Unfortunately, she didn't talk to me about it and when I asked questions they were cast aside and I was told to wait until the results were in. Um, up, new doctor. So, like any tech savvy gal, I came home and Web Md'd "enlarged liver." I got a list of causes like, hepatitis A, B, or C, Leukemia, Mono, and Fatty Liver. None of those things sound great (I know there is no way that I have hep of ANY kind, so that is a no brainer), but if I had to pick one, I'd pick Fatty Liver. That seems the least of the evils. But, to diagnose that, they have to do a biopsy of the liver. Bottom line, if this lady is right, this is not going to be a fun adventure. I got my blood work done yesterday, but can't get the ultrasound until Dec. 7th. Lucky for me I have a LOT of time to worry and stress! Ha!

Needless to say, this put a damper on the whole stress free date day. But, we tried to have a good day anyway. Last year, we painted a Christmas plate and decided to make it a tradition. We went over to Painted Potter and painted our 2nd annual Christmas plate. I THINK this one will turn out much better than last year's plate. After the Painted Potter, we headed out and did some window shopping followed by dinner at Perry's Italian Grille. Dinner was amazingly good! I had the chopped salad, veal marsala, and we split a dessert. We ate dinner pretty early so we could get home and decorate the tree and watch Elf. I was passed out no later than 9:00! It was a good day, but we certainly didn't get everything done that we aspired to do~ funny how that happens!

This week Joe is working nights. We're pulling our things together to spend a couple of days with my parents. We'll get home Saturday morning to clean, do laundry, and start packing again for our trip to Cleveland next Wed. Originally snow was forecast for Wed and Thursday, now that has changed. There went my one shred of hope for this trip!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Coming to a Close

When I was in school, I remember adults making comments about how quickly time passed. Every time I heard that I thought, "yeah, right..whatever...I wish time would pass quickly for me." It seemed like time crawled at a snail's pace. I was always so anxious to get to that next holiday or school break, the next grade, out of high school, out of get the picture. And, here I sit as a 20 something (closer to 30 than I would ever admit), in an office building in downtown Houston, looking at my calendar and wondering where 2009 went. Now, I know we still have several weeks left in the year, but I just keep having to remind myself that it is mid November and Thanksgiving is next week. Here is where all of this is coming from...
For the past two years, I have saved as much vacation time as I can for the Christmas season. Having a husband who has to work on holidays means that if I want to see him at all, I need to be able to take off work. So, I have 6 days left. 6 days isn't a huge amount, but nothing to frown at either. Take into consideration that I already get every other Friday off, so plugging in 6 additional days was tricky (if you have more than 2 days off in a week, you lose your flex day or have to take a vacation day, so I had to play with the calendar quite a bit so as not to lose those Fridays off)! It has been a GREAT problem to have! Last week was my last 5 day work week of the year. YAY! This week is my last 4 day work week of the year. From here on out, thanks to holidays, flex days, and vacation days, I have 3 day work weeks from now until January. Tomorrow morning we have a meeting across town from 9-11 (there goes half of my day) and Thursday I will be out on a ride along in one of our Roll-Off trucks (there goes another day out of the office). It is amazing to me as I look toward December that this year is coming to a close! I know I am going to LOVE LOVE LOVE my time out of the office, but I also know that the work doesn't stop just because I'm out. Things have been fairly quiet for me and I sure hope they stay that way!

Also, I've so enjoyed reading Facebook statuses about those things everyone is thankful for. I need to start doing that today. I had a sweet moment this morning when I thought of something (maybe silly to some) that I am thankful for. Each morning when I get up at O God, O'Clock, I stumble in the darkness toward the bathroom and start the morning routine while Joe and Brinkley sleep away. When I emerge from the bathroom, showered and ready to dry my hair (which I do in the recliner in the living room! ha) I am greeted by a thumping sound...every morning like clock work. Thump, Thump, thump (slow) and as I walk toward the sound it gets faster. That thumping is one of my favorite parts to the day. It is the sound of the tail of my "happy to see me first thing in the morning" lazy hound dog. This starts our morning routine. In a span of 3 minutes he drinks 80 gallons of water, eats breakfast, takes a bio break and is curled up in his living room bed listening to the morning news. As I was drying my hair, checking emails, and watching the news this morning, I caught a glimpse of the beag snoozing away (a sight I see ALL THE TIME) and I was so thankful for him. I know it seems silly to feel that way about a dog (and to blog about it no less)! But, this little guy brings so much fun to our lives. And, talk about! He LOVES us. He WAITS for us, he CRIES for us and is so happy to see us when we get home you think his heart will explode. And then, after a sweet reunion he acts like he doesn't need us...aloof and independent. I have this morning routine with the dog that stole my heart and made me "that girl that blogs about her dog" and I am so thankful to have such a faithful friend greet me each morning when no one else wants to be up!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Off the Wagon

Well, I completely fell off of the NaBloPoMo wagon last week. I'm a bit disappointed, but I'll get over it. Last Monday I left work and called Joe with a "to-do" list a mile long- all the things I wanted to do when I got home that night. I got on the bus and was totally wired about decorating for Christmas and ended up completely wiped out by the time I got off the bus. Somewhere, in the midst of all the sickness going around, I contracted a virus. I had blisters in my throat and everything. I worked a full week last week, so I was EXHAUSTED each evening when I came home.
Friday night we had a Sunday School class party. Joe worked until 7:00, so I went to the party for a couple of hours and then picked up Wendy's on the way home. We sat and watched Grey's on TiVo and had dinner together. It was nice and quiet and totally needed!
A couple of months ago, I made plans to go to the Nutcracker Market. Every year something pops up and I can't go. Stuff popped up this year, but I made a commitment to other people to go, so I kept my plans. I had a blast. I will definitely go back next year! Hopefully Joe will be off work to go with me!
Sunday was pretty busy. I went to church, took lunch to Joe and his co-worker, went to HEB (with about a billion other people), and got ready to teach the Youth Bible Study last night. I really struggle with curriculum for teens. Everything I see seems sooo cheesy. The topics are good, but do I really think junior and seniors in high school are going to find it interesting to do a word search on neon paper with splatter paint on it? My first thought was that the curriculum must be from the 90s. Nope! 2007! CRAZY! I feel like someone (or several someones) are missing the point. High School (and Jr. High) is not what it used to be, and yet we can't seem to keep up with the things they are faced with.
In other news, Joe spoke with his parents last night. Two weeks ago, there was a huge blow up. Short version: Joe's mom lied to her oldest son Ben. To make her point, she threw me under the bus in the process. Then, we talked with Ben, tried to straighten out what did and did not happen then Joe talked to his mom. In order to cover herself she lied to Joe too. And, let me just be clear that these were not "small" lies--these are life impacting, pit son against son, family against family lies and manipulation. Of course, as luck would have it, we were scheduled to go see them the week after Thanksgiving. Initially, we decided we would not go. But, I decided to go. I hate seeing my husband torn over her horrible behavior toward me, him, and the rest of the family. So, I'm sucking it up and going. We spent almost 2 weeks seeking advice and counsel, and pretty much no one thought we should go on this trip. I'm pretty sure it will not be pleasant, but in the name of moving forward (regardless of what that looks like) we need to go. Please pray that I can exhude patience and have peace. I am walking into the lion's den, that much I know. I also know that her behavior won't change and that we can only take so much of her...its a good thing she lives far away! Also, I'm hoping for snow while we are there. If it snows, then I will be outside playing like a kid and won't have time to worry with her!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Feliz Navidad y el Biggest Loser

Tonight we are starting one of several nights of decorating for Christmas. I love this time of year, I just wish that it was the weekend and we had the entire day instead of spending a few hours several nights in a row on this. Normally I would be all over playing Christmas music for the festivities, but I have this small addiction to the Biggest we will watch people work out and get skinny while we play with the twinkle lights. Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 9, 2009


I had tons of energy when I left work today! I was totally pumped to get home and start decorating for Christmas with Joe. I've been looking forward to it all day. While I was on the bus, my throat starting hurting and my energy level just bottomed out. So, we have a change of plans...quiet night watching all our shows on TiVo. I have a hunch I'll be asleep no later than 8:00. I'm excited about that!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Christmas Wreath 101

I saw this super cute idea for this wreath. I liked that it is so different from a traditional Christmas wreath. Overall, this was really easy, but I did figure out some things I will do differently on the next one. I think this same idea would be cute for an Easter decoration, or to put on the door to a baby/child's room.

With the white ribbon and white dots, the camera was having a hard time focusing. But, these give a general idea.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Eating, Shopping, Football and More Food...

That pretty much sums up my day! I woke up early this morning, got dressed and made the trek across town to spend some time with my Dad. Mom is out of town this weekend, and Joe is working nights (sleeping during the day). I figured Dad and I would both be pretty bored today, so we might as well get together and be less bored. We started the morning off with breakfast then hit the Woodlands for some Christmas shopping. About 2:30, we had done all the damage we needed to do, so we went home to watch some football. I have to admit that I "watched" football while horizontal on the couch with a pillow and a blanket and I'm pretty sure my eyes were closed most of the time. It is my favorite way to watch the games that I don't care an awful lot about. After some games, we went to get some dinner and ended the day with a trip to Target. It was a great day. I love those rare chances when I get to spend time with just my Dad.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Rant from an Army Brat

There are many things that go on in the news that really bother and concern me, but because of all the hype, I refrain from comment. This week, I don't think I can do that. In the last month, I have been crticized for being an "army brat" and for growing up in a home that ran strictly on military precision. Now, Army Brat is a term I will proudly use to describe myself because to me, that means one thing. However, when a woman who repeatedly belittles and criticizes me calls me an Army Brat, it doesn't set too well. So, the concept of being an "Army Brat" is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. Yesterday, while on the bus home from work, I was checking out the news on my Blackberry and saw the news about the happenings at Ft. Hood. I was shocked and have not been able to stop watching the news about the shootings. You see, this "Army Brat" has a tremendous pride in growing up in a military household and the life I lived while my Dad served this country. I have nothing but respect for our troops and their families, and am deeply saddened by this whole episode. To me, part of being an "Army Brat" is standing by and supporting your military family. I can not even begin to fathom how these families are coping and dealing with this knowing that it was an inside job. My thoughts and prayers are with these families and the leaders of the Armed Forces. While I will not say that growing up in a military household is harder than growing up in a non-military household (I think there are aspects that are more difficult, but there are some things that I believe are easier in a military home as well) I firmly believe there is a difference. I will always be grateful for the childhood I had and for the positive impact the military had on my family. My heartfelt thanks to all of those who have sacrificed time with their parents or spouses, the chance to stay in one place, and live a life of constant change so that I may feel safe and secure in my home.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

8 Years and Counting

Happy Birthday Brinkley!

I know I've said it before, but I NEVER imagined I would be a sucker for a dog. Then, I met Brinkley and I was toast. We love this (not so) little guy! I can't believe that time has passed so quickly and he is just shy of a decade. Brinkley, we adore you! You bring us great joy! Can you really already be 8?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday-Trick or Treat Edition

Dazed and Confused

The past 36 hours have been incredibly emotionally difficult in our house (and in my office). And, apparently, in the midst of the frustration of the behavior of my MIL I believed Monday was Tuesday. So, when I logged in to blog last night, I thought that I had blogged yesterday since the title of Monday's post was Tuesday Twosday. So, four days in, I've missed my goal for NaBloPoMo! Oh well.
In other news...we launch a huge project at work today that will keep us insanely busy for several months. And, we don't tend to need help being busy so it will be an interesting end of the year.
Last night after I got home, Joe and I decided that we just needed to get out of the house and be away from emails, phone calls, etc...We went out to dinner last night, ran some errands, and walked around the mall. I love when school is in session, it makes running errands and shopping so much easier when there aren't people everywhere.
Tonight we are starting a several week Bible Study that we are sure will cause very helpful discussions in our house. We're looking forward to that. Stay tuned for Wordless Wednesday...then I'll be back on track!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tuesday Twosday

Day two...I'm struggling. Today has been the day from you know where. My mother in law has hit an all time low. We're dealing with that on the phone as we speak. I had a great blog post planned that got interrupted by some "Your Mama Drama." Oye, the family I married in to.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Second Post In A Day!

Not that I forgot, but I didn't think to blog about this earlier. This was us two years ago today...
We were at Niagra Falls (on the Canadian side). Joe had just proposed right before we left the NY side of the falls. Nothing has been the same since!


Over the past several days, I decided that I would participate in NaBloPoMo this year. My hope was that this would get me motivated to keep up with my blog. Sadly, I almost didn't enter anything tonight, if I hadn't "facebooked" about it, I wouldn't have done it. Hopefully it will be something I can keep up with.

I love Sundays (except that they are promptly followed by Mondays). After church today we had lunch with some friends and then went to the park. The weather was amazing, I could have stayed out all day! We headed back to the church for Bible Study and are home watching Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters. I like lazy and laid back Sundays, they are such a welcome start to a new week.

We had a great Halloween. I like Halloween more and more each year. I'll post pictures later this week...maybe for Wordless Wednesday?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Random Thoughts

Hello, fall! Pumpkin Spice Lattes have arrived at Starbucks and the temps have dropped below 80 in the morning...fall is upon us. I fully anticipate another heat wave or two, but I am thrilled to be into September and am excited that the holiday season is right around the corner! I adore the last quarter of the year, there is just something lovely about fall and winter. I have begun the hunt for fabulous Thanksgiving foods and Christmas cookies to make on Cookie Day and am so looking forward to this season.

I am contemplating starting a food/recipe blog. Maybe I will be better at keeping up with that one...

MIL Update-
Things have calmed down greatly in this area of my life. God has been faithful to help me gain insight and perspective into this piece of my new married life. While I enjoyed spending time with my sweet niece, my visit to Raleigh allowed me the opportunity to experience some of my MIL's frustrations, concerns, and hang ups. Right, wrong, or in different (its not for me to decide), I certianly have a greater understanding and for that I am thankful!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Disappearing Act

I can't believe it is already August 1! For all of my teacher friends, I'm sorry you have to go back to work soon. But, personally, I am so ready for all of the "kids" to go back. Living near two "tourist attractions" in the Houston area, makes summer time a traffic nightmare and everything is packed! Personally, I don't consider Galveston an attraction, but hey, to each their own.

We've had a pretty busy summer (mainly with work) and have braved the freakish heat rather well. Here are some highlights from the summer so far:
-Saw RENT with the 'rents
-Celebrated Joe's 30th

-Celebrated our first anniversary. I had a great blogpost in mind to document that, but two months late doesn't seem very effective. anyway, we went on our first 5 dates all over again then to dinner at Perry's. After dinner we came home, watched our wedding DVD for the first time, and ate our cake. The cake was still really good!
-Spent a few days in San Antonio at Schlitterbahn and Sea World. Complete with dinner on the Riverwalk and dinner at Alamo Cafe (I had grilled veggie fajitas to die for! I would drive all that way just for those fajitas)


-Celebrated the 4th with good friends (new and old)

-Saw Phantom with the 'rents

-Mom and I took a road trip to Kingsland to see Grannie. Grannie had a heart attack earlier in the summer and is transitioning into a new diet, and getting used to being at home alone again
-Business trip to Atlanta that gave me the chance to fly into Raleigh (for only $100) to spend a couple of days with Ben, Adrienne, Gwynn, and new nephew Rowan

I have some more business trips around the corner and have a lot of projects I want to complete around the house. Time just goes by so quickly I feel like I can't keep up.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vacation Brain

I am suffering from a MAJOR case of vacation brain! It doesn't help when most of my social network are teachers who are now off and having a blast until August. Or, that any time I have taken time off since I started working it has been to fulfill an "obligation" and has not been a care free and fun time like vacation SHOULD be. OR, that we had a cruise to Alaska planned but J's company decided to take away vacation time. That is the big one. I should just be returning from a refreshingly perfect vacation...oh well, such is life. We are looking into going some place fabulous next spring, but who knows what will come up between now and then, or if Joe's company will even give vacation time in 2010. Time will tell.

Since we can't go anywhere too far because of J's work schedule, we planned a trip to Schlitterbahn and Sea World next weekend (we both get a 3-day weekend)! Its no where near as exciting as other people's plans, but hey, its something! Now for my dilemma...I've been on a major swim suit hunt. MAJOR. I have a coronary at the thought of spending $100 on a bathing suit, because I know that I only wear them a hand full of times before they get replaced. My biggest issue this year is fit. For the first time in MANY years I am not limited to the plus sizes anymore (cue inspirational music). BUT, since we'll be on water slides, I wanted a one piece so as not to have any tankini top mishaps at the bottom of all the rides. I've tried every store I can think of looking for a Non-Grannie one piece. Hard to find. I finally found some that are practically backless and do not provide near the coverage that would be needed to keep me IN the suit....I would have never thought I would have this much trouble. Its too late now to order something from Lands End, so I think I'll have to go for a tankini and hope for the best. If all else fails, I will be in Dillards shelling out $120 for a suit while someone does CPR on me....
I was telling my Grannie (whom I totally adore) that I was swim suit shopping the other day. She offered to send me her "never been worn, really cute bathing suit with a skirt"--I graciously told her thanks but that I was SURE I would find something. Somehow, I think her Grannie Panty bathing suit will show up at my house.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Another Decade...

Happy 30th Birthday Joe! I hope this is your best year yet!
Love you!

Monday, May 25, 2009

14 Layer Cake

If you look closely, some of the cakes have a fluted edge and some have a straight edge...this is why mine leaned more than I had hoped.

I found this great tool at Hobby Lobby that creates a pattern in the frosting as you drag it. It was $1.50 and worth EVERY penny and then some!

I had a hard time cutting the cake in small enough pieces for everyone. But, this is how the inside looked.

This morning at 7:00, I started working on this cake. It was done and the kitchen was cleaned up completely by 1:00 (and I cooked and baked other things at the same time). This cake was much more do-able than I would have figured. And, I'm sure next time I make it, the process will go more smoothly as I will know what to expect. My cake leaned a little bit because the store had two types of disposable pans that had different sides (it made a difference for sure).

So here is my yellow cake with choclate glaze filling/frosting topped off with a nice Chocolate Creme Buttercream frosting on the outside....Thank you Smith Family and Bakerella!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My MIL And My Revelation....

Several weeks ago, I mentioned that I would blog about my MIL in effort to encourage those whose relationships with in laws are not all they'd hoped for. I've chewed on this for awhile and really struggled with how to approach this while being tactful and respectful and yet candid and honest all at once. I think I've come up with a way to accomplish this and hope that through this post you understand my heart and the struggle that this has been on all involved...

I had always hoped to have an awesome relationship with my husband's family (at the time, I did not know Joe or have any idea what my future husband's family would "look" like, but you get the idea). As a person that was thrown into a life as an only child, it was my desire to marry someone with siblings so that I could have nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, and a great relationship with my in laws. And, so far, only part of that has happened for me. Even though it isn't ALL that I wanted, I am so blessed and grateful for my brother in law, sister in law, niece, and nephew.

To summarize my MIL is quite difficult. Think "Everybody Loves Raymond"....that is how our lives would be if we were geographically near my MIL. Without airing too much "dirty laundry" and listing out all of the things that have frustrated me about my MIL, I will leave it at the comparison to Marie Barone. As much as she makes me crazy, and as much as I believe that she needs to take responsibility for her actions and try to help herself by seeking help (whether in the form of wise friends, a counselor, a new hobby, etc...) one thing is for certain, my MIL is hurting. She is a woman who lives in fear with much anxiety over things that are not hers to be anxious over. And, to be frank, if she spent the time trying to help herself that she spends meddling in others' business, she would be in better shape emotionally and psychologically. I believe that there are emotional and psychological barriers that we can experience, but I also believe that we need to work through those and move on and not "swipe the card" for the rest of our lives by saying "that is just how I am" or "just ignore me."

While my in laws were here visiting, my goal was to be as busy as possible. This was my way of ensuring that I did not have time to idly chat with my MIL and end up saying something I would regret after keeping it bottled up for months. This plan did not work out completely, and we did have a "Come to Jesus Meeting" as I like to call it. One thing I asked my MIL in the course of that discussion was whether she had any friends that lived near her. She told me she did not. At that moment, despite how I feel about her in general, I began to feel a bit sorry for her, even though I had known that truth for quite some time. She told me that if someone from the neighborhood or from her church wanted something from her, then they had no problem asking for her help. But, they did not often seek her out to do social things, they'd only reach out to her with a need or a want (my words, not hers). I told her I would pray that she would make friends and hope that people would see her for more than just what they could get from her.

There's some is my revelation:
In Sunday School this morning, we were talking about the scripture that calls us to carry others' burdens. Of course, it started out with the generic Sunday School answer of "pray for them"---then we began to discuss (metaphorically) physically carrying burdens with and for people. We talked mainly about people carrying bricks. If a friend was walking down the street with 10 bricks, would we say "Hey, great job with those bricks! I'm prayin' for ya!" or would we pick up a couple of the bricks to lighten the load, go halvsies, or pick up more than that??? Then we discussed why people become wary of carrying burdens for others...This got me thinking about my MIL on a couple of levels.

1. As annoying as it is, she tries to carry others' burdens. Her way of doing so crosses boundaries, and does not cease even when she is assured no help is needed, warranted, or asked for. But, she is still burdened by our burdens (and even sometimes by her perception or made up version of our "burdens" which is when we all want to pull our hair out). She often misconstrues things too, but that is part of her burden process I suppose....

2. I shared with the SS class the conversation about my MIL's "friends." The story got a few laughs in the beginning, but overall I was sharing how she has become wary of carrying the burdens of her neighbors and those in her congregation because she feels used and not fulfilled. I think we all know how that feels to some degree, and I truly do feel sorry for her that she feels that way. We have all talked about and hoped and prayed for her to have positive relationships with women in her area. But, I am beginning to wonder what other ways I can help carry those bricks. Prayer is a powerful thing, but when appropriate and able, it is far more powerful to pray and carry bricks. This for me is a slippery slope as I know that I can't carry bricks without her feeling like she is carrying my bricks as well. In normal circumstances, that wouldn't be too bad. In these circumstances, I believe it could contribute to the problem of her not respecting boundaries. I'm really torn, but believe God is turning the wheels in my mind for a reason....

Do I reach out to her and tell her that I'd like to carry her bricks by being a friend to her? Can I genuinely be a friend to her if I constantly have to be guarded so as not to fuel the fire? If I don't live near her, can I really carry the bricks when she REALLY needs someone to go have coffee at chat with that lives in her community??? What does carrying the bricks look like in this case???
All of these are things I hope to figure may take me awhile though!

Any thoughts out there in Blog Land?

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Here are a couple of "recent" photos of us.

My birthday dinner (in Jan) at Maggiano's

We went to see Les Mis for Mom's birthday (March) then had a fabulous dinner at Vincent's

RENT was in town for the weekend. Dad got us tickets for yesterday's matinee. The performance was amazing. Here are a couple of photos we took before the show.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I'm in love...

With this sweet little face and baby feet!!!

Debut Day

I get up early, about 4:00 to be exact. And, I leave the house by 5:30 every morning to catch the bus into downtown. Pretty much like clock work. This morning, however, I have an unplanned Drs. appointment at 8:00, so I was looking forward to sleeping "late" this morning. Then at about 5:38 (actually, precisely at that time), I received the most wonderful call ever. My brother in law, Ben, called to let me know that my precious nephew made his debut this morning around 2:00. Rowan Reese Edwards has already captured my heart. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be an aunt. Always. There was a time when I wasn't sure that would ever happen for me. I had come to terms with the thought that I might not ever get to casually say, "oh, my niece/nephew...." So, when I married Joe and gained my sweet niece, I was more than thrilled. Then, when Ben and Adrienne informed us that they were pregnant I was ecstatic. It is such a privilege to be an aunt and to get to spoil and love these little ones as they grow. This is a charge I do not take lightly. So many people take their role as an aunt for granted, not me! With our niece, Gwynn, I was not around until she was 3. I missed a lot of good stuff (but got there just in time)!
This time, I have had the amazing opportunity to pray for Rowan's safe arrival, for good health, and that we would all be ready (in every way) to welcome him to this crazy, beautiful life! I am richly blessed with a niece AND a nephew and I am just over the top excited (or as I would REALLY say to you in person...I'm pee my pants excited!)

Welcome to our world Reese! You have already captured my heart and I love you to the moon!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again...

Welcome to my new (old) blog! I had to change my blog address and had to re-do some things. My MIL found out I had a blog, which in normal cicrumstances, wouldn't be a big deal. But, with my MIL...HUGE deal. She definitely could not handle knowing what was going on in our lives, and I wasn't able to post things I wanted to, so I moved the blog over. Sometime soon I will go in to more detail about the MIL situation. Its a big deal and a huge part of our lives these days, and I think I've learned more about myself in dealing with her than I would have thought possible. Maybe someone out there will benefit from my story. But for now, I'll hold off on the D-RAMA!

Here are the happenings from the past 6 weeks:
1. Visit with my in laws (stay tuned for more on that)

2. Moved offices at work and on to a new floor. It amazes me how the atmosphere on your floor impacts your satisfaction.

3. My new nephew will be here in May! We are super excited and can't wait for him to make his arrival!!!

4. Celebrated Mom's B-Day with a family outing to Les Mis. It was Joe's second musical...

5. I have officially lost over 50 pounds since the end of October.

I'm sure there is more, but at the moment it escapes me!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ahhhhh Sic 'Em Bears!!!

In case you haven't heard yet...I heart all things Baylor. I'm proud to be a Bear at all times, but today I'm REALLY proud. The Bears played an awesome game against Texas last night and have landed themselves in the Big XII Championship game tonight!!! Tip off should be any minute now. I'm pumped! Best of luck to my Baylor Bears!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Rants, Raves, and Updates

It feels like forever since I've posted something. So much has happened the past couple of weeks that it is almost hard to think straight!
For those of you who are praying for Lisa, please keep praying. I had an update from her last Friday letting me know that they should have the results of the biopsy today. Ultimately, she will probably be coming to MD Anderson. Please keep her and her family in your prayers. They are nervous to be here at Anderson and away from their family, friends, and church family. As soon as I know more, I will post. It seems like it takes forever to get biopsy results. In the world of fast paced technology, you would think they would be able to expedite that process.

On another note...something I've been wanting to share but was not able to for quite some time. I've been working at Waste Management since June of 2007. I landed there while looking for a teaching job. Things worked out for me to stay, but I wasn't a full time employee. By title, I was an intern. By scope of work, I definitely wasn't. Last January I was given a raise and was told that it shouldn't be too long before the department had approval to add head count...then I waited, and waited, and waited. My boss waited and waited and waited too. As the economy got worse, it became clear that they would not be granting any requestion there I was, a 25 year old intern....In November, one of the ladies on my team was fired for performance. We were all sad for her, but knew the integrity of our work required her to be gone. It was approved to fill the position, after the first of the year. I had applied for the job and was qualified and had the experience needed to do the job. In January, the company announced lay offs. Everyone was sweating it big time, especially the intern! I thought "this is it...they are going to see my title and get me out." Our team hadn't heard anything, so we thought we were good to go. As soon as we had let our guard down, they terminated our VP (a member of the Senior Leadership Team). That was a HUGE deal. Some were sad to see him go, others were not. Our department, Ethics and Diversity was split up into three other groups. Three of my co-workers and I are now in the Legal Department. The ball started rolling to bring me on full time and my OFFICIAL first day at Waste was Monday. Almost 21 months as an intern. It has been a crazy ride, but I'm really excited and insanely relieved. Not that my new status protects me from anything, but at least now I can work toward things like bonuses, raises, more vacation time, and a severance package should I need it! It was a busy week at work, and I totally enjoyed every minute of it. The only down side is going to be that I will be working more than 40 hours each week. I won't get to leave early on Fridays anymore-but I'll take that any day!

Joe and I were going to go out for a celebratory dinner last night. I'd been looking forward to it all day. What is better than dinner and dessert out with the hub??? Instead, I spent my whole commute home on the bus PRAYING I wouldn't toss my cookies on the lady next to me. Luckily, I was able to control things. I think I got food poisioning at lunch at the Four Seasons yesterday and ended up getting sick last night and running a fever. I've been teasing all week that I was going to find a way out of yard work this weekend...this was NOT what I had in mind! Ick!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Please Pray for Lisa

One of my oldest friends and her family need your prayers! I don't feel like I have all that many details, but I think I know as much as there is to know right just doesn't feel like much. I spoke with Lisa's brother Phillip and found out:

Last Monday Lisa went to the hospital with tingling in her face, numbness in both arms, speech problems, and a horrible headache. At that time, they believed she had a stroke. After running some tests, they concluded that she didn't have a stroke, rather had a HORRIBLE migraine. They ran additional tests and found a brain tumor. According to Phillip, they have not mentioned how large or small the tumor is. Its on the left side of her brain near the temple. Tuesday they did a biopsy, the results of which should be in today. Depending on the outcome of the biopsy, they want to do surgery as soon as possible. Lisa was in the hospital from Monday through Saturday.

Lisa's dad passed away about 15 years ago with cancer, so this is all too familiar for the family. Please pray for God's favor on this family. Even if the tumor is benign, there is much to walk through in the coming weeks and months. Lisa's mom Nena is back and forth from San Antonio to Oklahoma City and her brother lives here in Houston. Also, please pray for Lisa's new husband Justin (they've been married since June).

As I know more, I'll update. In the mean time, please pray!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Wedding Flashback

We finally got our wedding album and a copy of our proofs!
Here are a few I'll share for now....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2009....Year of the Baby

Not mine....

It seems like this year everyone is having a baby! So many of our friends are having littles this year, I can hardly believe it! In addition to several couples at church, my dear friend Ashley is expecting her second (I'm pulling for another girl) and my brother in law and sister in law are having a little boy in May. We didn't think they would find out the gender, but were pleasantly surprised when we found out about our new nephew before Christmas!
With all of these precious lives getting ready to make their arrival, I have babies on the brain! I love buying baby stuff more than anything. I went in to Gymboree the other day----MISTAKE! I found SO many adorable things to buy! I bought the cutest little baby bathing suit, hat, glasses, and matching blanket for baby Katelyn. We were supposed to have Katelyn's baby shower tonight, but it got postponed by her mom (Cindy's) trip to the hospital. I spent last night cooking for the shower and getting everything prepped. I hate to waste delicious treats, so Joe's co-workers will get to polish them off tomorrow. We're gearing up for baby season here in Houston and can't wait to meet all these itty bitties. I see many baby sitting opportunities in our future!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I Love You More Than Blank....

Several weeks ago I ran across the I Love You More Than Blank website and thought it was pretty fun. The wheels in my head started turning and I decided what to do for Joe for Valentine's Day. I went to the teacher's supply store and scored a few packages of patterned hearts (the kind that would be desk/locker tags or on bulletin boards). I came up with 75 " I Love You More Than ______" statements. I got some from the actual website, and used others to get some ideas. Some were funny and edgy while others were a little more serious. One of my favorites (that I don't know if Joe will get) is, "I love you more than Elizabeth loves Mr. Darcy." I don't know if he will know who Mr. Darcy is, sometimes he is missing that cultural side to things. So, I also made one that says, " I love you more than I love Dr. McDreamy" ---that one he'll get. I got him sucked into my Grey's watching web.

Originally, I was going to attach the hearts to ribbon and hang them from the ceiling in the entry way. I've felt so awful this week, that I got behind and did not feel up to hauling the ladder in the house and climbing up and down it all evening. I was feeling a little better today and made cupcakes for Joe and his team. After he left for work, I decided my alternative to ceiling art was wall art----I put paper hearts all over our walls. Its cute, I'm hoping they stay up until he gets home. The hearts have super cute and bright patterns on them and they remind me of this comforter I had as a kid (but, I digress).

On our first Valentine's Day, I made Joe this little garland thing with 10 things I appreciated about him (he still has it). Last year, we bought a house and I told him I would get back to making his Valentines. How do you top a V-Day house??? You decorate it with V-Day hearts of course! Oh, and you make super yummy cupcakes with buttercream frosting from scratch ; )

Hope you all enjoyed your day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tissues, Meds, TV, and Heart Day

I'm now on my second round of antibiotics. This time they pulled out the big guns---the kind that make you want to throw up and die. You trade one set of symptoms for another. It seems like I'm getting more symptoms and not getting rid of any. Needless to say, its been a long week. The one thing I'm loving is having a nice tv in our bedroom. We found a great deal on one last weekend and bought it for our V-day gift for each other. Joe put it up on the wall this week and its fabulous. If Joe has to work on Valentine's Day and I'm home sick, I might as well enjoy curling up and watching my gift!

Of course, I'll be making cupcakes and cookies for Joe and his team. Other than that, I'll be resting up and watching cheesy movies on Lifetime or something lame like that.

Oh my goodness....the funniest thing happened on Wed night....

Joe and I were at church for youth Bible study. Our fabulous youth pastor, Josh, started a round of "Honey If You Love Me You'll Smile." Since Joe was sheltered as a teen, he'd never played before. It was hilarious to watch him get into the game. First, Josh sat in his lap and tried to get him to smile---nothing. That was pretty entertaining in itself. THEN, another adult sponsor, Jonathan, sat in his lap. He whispered in Joe's ear, played with his cheeks, attempt to get Joe to laugh or smile. Joe had NO response. We were all in hysterics. I was laughing pretty hard and it hurt so bad to laugh. Then, I started crying and laughing (crying because of the pain) and still laughing one of those silent deep laughs that made my face get all distorted. Luckily everyone thought I was laughing so hard I was crying instead of the other. Joe was a rock, it was great.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Looonnng Day

Today was insanely long. I was working away and thought surely it was time for lunch....nope, 8:15. I hate days like that. Even now, it feels so late....can I rationalize going to bed before 6:30? I think I will....I can get away with it. I REALLY hate being sick, and so far, the antibiotics don't seem to be working---so much for swearing by a Z-Pack!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ok, so this has been going around Facebook for the past few weeks. I think everyone I know has tagged me to do it and I've FINALLY given in. Our weekend was pretty uneventful since we're both under the weather, I figured I'd use this as my Sunday night blog post.
Without further ado----

25 Random Things About Me

1. I love my dog more than a lot of people love their children
2. I can hold my hair brush in my toes and brush my hair
3. If I could have ANY job in the world, I would be Madame Thenardier in Les Mis so I could sing her part in Master of the House
4. Until I met the Cook kids, I didn't like children
5. We had a pet monkey once. He ate grapes, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. Really cool pet if you ask me.
6. When I have a family, I want it to look like NATO met and everyone left a kid on my lawn (I wanted to do that before Angelina did it)
7. I love cold weather and all the fun clothes that go with it!
8. When I move from Houston, I'd love to live in New England
9. I want a house with a red front door
10. I've lived in two foreign countries in my life and would LOVE to add to that list by moving over seas sometime
11. In the summer of 2004, my parents and I went on a trip to Germany. It was amazing. My mom was taking her time while trying to take a picture of my dad and I. In those minutes he said something to me that made me laugh so hard I almost wet myself. Neither one of us ever told anyone what he was the same thing I said to him during our dance at my wedding. I think we'll take that secret to our graves.
12. My dad and I are freakishly similar---God bless our spouses!
13. I love giving to others (almost to a fault)
14. My goal before I die is to have one passport full of stamps
15. I took Chinese in college and LOVED LOVED LOVED it
16. I love languages and cultures
17. When I was 5, I was attacked by an ostrich....then again in the 8th grade. I'm terrified of the things. Then, just as I was getting over the trauma, I was attacked by a goose at fall retreat my Sr. year in high school. Now, I don't trust birds of any sort and fear them all. (this is something my husband finds hysterical)
18. I tried to smoke a cigarette before my stats final. I couldn't even inhale and my friend smoked my cigarette and his at the same time. This was the first and last time I tried to light up.
19. I tried to teach myself how to make fried tomatoes one summer in jr. high. I had a couple of small fires in the kitchen (cleaned it all up before my parents got home though---sorry mom!)20. My first college major was Church Music
21. While on a mission trip to New York City, a few of us accidentally threw a flaming tampon bomb out the window of the hotel. Yes, this could have been a major disaster, and yes I could have been tried as an adult. (It really was an accident!)
22. My husband does all the laundry in our house so that we have clean clothes to wear--otherwise I wouldn't be able to keep up
23. One time my brother and I were home alone and we ordered pizza for dinner. While we were waiting, I dressed him up like a girl and the pizza guy hit on him (should I mention this is when we were living OUT of the country?)
24. My husband thinks its weird that I get out of the shower before I dry off and he makes sure I know it!
25. I broke my leg in several pieces in the 7th grade. I was more upset at the thought that they were going to have to cut my new jeans off of me than I was about them having to pop my leg back in place.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


My lazy day turned out not to be so lazy! I had really been wanting to try to make cinnamon rolls from scratch. At first, it was just time consuming---waiting for the mixture to cool so I could add the yeast, waiting for the dough to rise, etc...After today's adventure, I've decided I need more counter space! I couldn't get my dough into a long enough rectangle because my counter top isn't long or wide enough. I had piles of flour everywhere and the kitchen was a mess! But, at the end of the day, I have 7 pans (yep, 7 PANS) of cinnamon rolls. The cinnamon roll itself is good, but the maple frosting on top is indescribeable! I'll be making 1/2 a batch next weekend for a Sunday School breakfast. Hopefully next weekend won't be so messy!

Lazy Days

After a full day at work on Friday, Joe and I went to dinner and did some shopping at the mall (I think we spent a whopping $5!). Yesterday morning, we went over to the Space Center to meet my parents and four super precious kiddos from the International Children's Choir. The kids were so sweet and well behaved. We hung out there the majority of the day, but had planned to go see a movie. We grabbed a late lunch/early dinner at Cheddars and went to see Revolutionary Road (with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet). The movie was really interesting and had some interesting messages that we felt like we could identify with--but all in all, it was not what I was expecting in the least.
Last night after we got home I started feeling icky. I keep feeling like I'm coming down with something and then it will pass. Lately though its getting more frequent. So, today we are taking it easy. Joe ran up to the church to deliver sodas, chips, and dips for the teen Super Bowl Party tonight. We'll grill burgers and make home made fries. My only goal today is to make cinnamon rolls with a maple frosting to send with Joe to work tomorrow morning and to take to the engineers on my floor at work. Hopefully they'll turn out great--its a lot of work!

Monday, January 26, 2009

15 Things......

That thrill me....

1. Brinkley
2. Dishes
3. Shopping trips with my mom
4. Snow
5. Grey's Anatomy
6. DVD Box sets
7. Christmas Carols
8. Puppies
9. Babies--especially foreign ones
10. All things Baylor (except for class)
11. Pay day!
12. Doing Random Acts of Kindness
13. Languages
14. Baking
15. Spending time with my boys

Things That Make Me Go "Boo!!!"

1. Monday mornings
2. The bus driver that blasts the heat and causes it to be hot and stuffy on the bus
3. Breaking in new shoes
4. People that can't get their own life straight and try to rule yours
5. Fat Free Hot Dogs
6. Wal Mart (ok, this is really my number one!)
7. Houston Traffic
8. Manipulative old women
9. Working in the yard
10. Snakes
11. Meddlers
12. Fanny packs
13. Salesmen
14. Unsolicited opinions and advice
15. Warm climate

Sunday, January 25, 2009

No Room In the Inn

I'm a sucker. There is no denying it, so I'll just fess up and admit it. I'm a sucker. I'm REALLY a sucker for certain things---mainly four legged furry ones and ones without a home. Yesterday after grocery shopping, I came home, grabbed the Beag and took him to Petsmart. He was so excited to go he could have killed me with his tail. We got him brushed and he got a little mani pedi while we were there. As I was waiting for him to get all glammed up, I looked around the store. Lo and behold, it was pet adoption day. I can normally play with and pet the little ones without too much of a problem, but yesterday was different. There he was---a BEAUTIFUL blue-eyed Australian Shepherd named Percy ( I wasn't overly thrilled with the name, but the dog was fantastic). He was so sweet, gentle, and playful---just perfect. I asked the volunteer about his history, this is when I turned to jello. Percy was not a stray that was living a better life in the shelter than on the streets. His family lost their home in Hurricane Ike and they had to surrender him because they had no place to keep him. This is a dog that had people---he had a treat jar and a couch, probably had a leash and his favorite toys all at his disposal.
This dog had a life, and by the way he acted, it was probably a good life. I couldn't take it. I was melting fast, faster, and before I knew it I was taking Brink over to see how they responded to each other. I called Joe, he reminded me of all of the reasons I couldn't get this dog. Its not that I WANTED another dog, I could go either way...its that I think my heart broke into a million little pieces at the thought of this little guy that had a life and was now slummin' it in the shelter.
At the end of the trip to Petsmart I came home with just my lil chunk, the Beag. It was so bad after I got home that I had to take a nap to keep from going back for Percy (who would have to be renamed something a little more modern and fun). I thought about going by the shelter today just to see if Percy was still there (if he was, it would be a sign). Apparently the fact that the Today show did a segment on dog adoptions today was not sign enough--- I decided that I didn't really want a divorce in 2009, so I stayed out of the shelter. My dad was encouraging this potential puppy adoption and my mom was on Joe's side (just something to note). My parents ended up coming to play this afternoon and as we were walking around the mall they made things worse----
Next weekend my parents' church is having an International Children's Choir. They are hosting two kids for two nights. One of the boys is from Nepal and one is from Uganda. We were making plans for something fun to do with them on Saturday, when my mom casually mentioned that these kiddos are orphans. ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? There are two things I'm uber passionate about---pregnancies/babies and orphans (in no particular order). Not only am I in love with the thought of adopting, but I so desperately want to adopt kids from impoverished countries that it hurts. So now, I have a dog that has broken my heart, and two kids I will spend time with next weekend that I will want to bring home too. I'm strong enough to leave the dog, but I don't know that I'm strong enough to leave the orphans. It would be great to get kids that are already potty trained....But, as Joe keeps reminding me....there is no room in the inn (there really is, I could make plenty of space!). For now we remain a family of three...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Give me two pina coladas.....

You know when a President goes into office they look MUCH younger than they do when they leave---or even after the first year??? I absolutely feel that way this week. I feel like if you took a look at me today you would think I'd aged about 10 years in a week. This has been such a stressful week! We underwent MAJOR lay offs this week and there will be more next week. Our team hadn't heard anything and was hoping that no news was good news. And, in large part, we had let some of our guard down yesterday. All of the other departments knew what they were going to have to do lay off wise for a week or more. Our team is very small and we had cut our budget by over 20%, so we thought we might get spared this time. We took our first hit this morning and it was a big one that will cause a major re-org of several departments. It amazes me how much these things can impact people---physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically we are all a mess. Our company is large and stable, I can't even begin to imagine what other companies are going through!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Oh how I love 3 day weekends

I love three day weekends. I think they are the greatest thing ever. Friday morning I drove in to work so that I could go to my parents' house. After a quick dinner with my parents, I went to see Linda. Linda is my super fabulous, amazingly wonderful friend and hair dresser. Linda and I had a great time catching up and she covered up my gray, trimmed up my weave and cut bangs. I have been toying with the idea of bangs for about the past year, but never wanted to bite the bullet. I haven't had bangs since about 5th grade. Bangs these days aren't quite what they were in the 90s though (thank goodness)!!!

Saturday mom and I talked my dad into going shopping with us. We went shoe shopping, had lunch at Chuy's (to die for), and then went to the mall and the Container Store. After a fun day with my 'rents, I came home to make some desserts for a fundraiser at church. When I got home, I had one sick puppy that resulted in 3 hours at the Emergency Vet Clinic. B always seems to get sick after hours or on the weekends---which of course costs 3 times as much as the regular vet. Brinkley and I were up all night Saturday. I got my desserts made and went to church yesterday morning. The teen fundraiser was great and thanks to Lindsay, my desserts were a hit. After church I had a quiet afternoon and a great chat with my sister in law and super cute niece.

Today I hit the grocery store and am making some baked ziti. Joe is working tonight and I have a board meeting at the pregnancy center. All in all, its been a good weekend. Tomorrow will start another very stressful week at work (more lay offs to come). Good thing I'm not the One in charge!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

And the winner is....

I LOVE this time of year---okay, not really. I think this is a depressing time of year. BUT, I do love the award shows. People's Choice, Golden Globe, SAG, and of course the Academy Awards. I adore all of the pre-show and post-show dish on who wore what and how horrible or wonderful the choices were. I never really care about who wins, I just love the fashion (and lack there of!). E! Live from the Red Carpet here I come!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What a week...

This week feels eternally long! Everyone is back at work and things are crazy busy. On top of all that, my company is beginning to talk about "restructuring." Funny how they will never say "lay off"--they always come up with an alternate term. The last major round of lay offs they called a "RIF" (Reduction In Force). This time its going to be restructure and consolidate. Apparently there is a big announcement tomorrow morning about our Market Areas merging....and now it starts.....

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Blues

Another weekend has passed and I have another bout of "Sunday Blues." Joe and I are both working days this week, so there is much to do this afternoon to prepare for the week ahead. Truthfully, this will be the first 5 day week I've worked in almost a month. I've definitely worked 40+ hour weeks, but I was doing it in 3 or 4 day increments before the holidays so that I could take Joe to and from appointments and procedures.

We found a new shopping place yesterday, it is another one of the outdoor centers that are becoming wildly popular around here. It has a nice stand alone Macy's on one end and a stand alone Dillards on the other, lots of eateries and a variety of little shops. While we were there scoping it out yesterday (before going to a movie), Joe got called into work. He ended up having to work all night, which was a bummer. I found plenty to do, but its always a bummer to have an unexpected interruption to the weekend.
This week starts some long anticipated (okay, dreaded) changes at work. If I could just fast forward through tomorrow that would be fabulous! Oh Sunday Blues!!!