Monday, December 19, 2011


Well, I'm alive... adjusting to having two little babies slowly but surely! :) I've been so blessed to have two very easygoing babies (although Gabriel is becoming less so as he gets older).  Hallie is already sleeping 7-8 hours at night!  I can't complain!

Gabriel loves his baby sister.  At first, he didn't really know what to think of her, so he basically ignored her.  But now he loves to give her hugs and kisses.  He also loves to steal her blankets and pacifiers. :| He tries to share everything with her, including his food and drink.  I've tried telling him repeatedly that she's too little or that she doesn't like it, but it hasn't sunk in yet.

When I'm not busy with one (or both) of my little munchkins, I've been attempting to get my house ready for Christmas.  I'm going for simple this year, mainly because of Hallie, but also because this is my first Christmas to actually be at home!  Drew and I have been traveling every Christmas.  So yeah, I practically have NO decorations.  I'm compiling ideas for next year, though!

This is our first year to put up a tree.  I'm quite pleased with the finished product, although it definitely needs more lights and ornaments before it's perfect.  Somehow I let Drew talk me into getting only two boxes of lights instead of the four that were in my cart.  And, wouldn't you know, I ordered on Amazon, so it wasn't like I could just go out and buy more. :|

Gabriel "helping" decorate.  I'm so glad I didn't buy glass ornaments!
I actually did almost all of my shopping online this year.  Whoever thought up Amazon is my HERO.  I'd much rather shop in my jammies from the comfort of my home than brave the crowds with two babies.  In addition, everything is delivered to my front door, rather than me having to lug it up three flights of stairs.  Win win!

Most of the gifts were delivered today... which means I get to start wrapping!  Yay!  Christmas wrapping is one of my favorite things to do!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Baby Girl

Little Miss Hallie Ruth is here!  Yay!

When my due date (November 4) passed with no excitement, I convinced myself that my baby girl would be a week late and would make her appearance on 11-11-11!

Thus, I was pretty surprised when I started having contractions at church on Sunday morning!  I didn't say anything to Drew until after the service because I didn't want to freak him out.  He's the type that would get all worried and be all, "Do we need to leave? I think we should leave!" :)

After church, I told him that I was having contractions, but for some reason it didn't register with him that I meant real ones (I'd been having regular Braxton Hicks for weeks).  Guess I shouldn't have worried!  When he finally realized that I thought labor had started, he reacted predictably.

Although my contractions were pretty irregular, we went ahead and called the midwife who recommended we come on in to the birth center.  Apparently with second babies, labor can pick up pretty quickly.  We arrived at the birth center around 3:30pm and Hallie was born that night at 10:48.

A few minutes old.
One day old.
Eleven days old.
So now, I'm a happy, busy, tired mommy of two precious munchkins. <3

Gabriel loves his sister!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Little Lion

We never celebrated Halloween growing up.  Oh, we'd buy the candy and hand it out to our neighborhood friends, but as for trick-or-treating and decorating our own home?  Nope.

I never felt deprived, though, as our church always had a harvest festival where dressing up was encouraged and tons of candy was given out.  Personally, I find that celebrating the harvest is much more to my taste than the creepy, spooky stuff.  But that's just me. ;)

Anyway, Drew and I haven't decided one way or the other if we're going to take our kids trick-or-treating.  He grew up doing it.  I didn't.  There has to be a compromise, right?

It hasn't been an issue yet, as both years Gabriel has been too young, so we've just taken him to our church's fall festival.  Dressed up, of course!

Last year, he was a monkey, and the cutest, cheekiest little monkey you ever did see!

This year, I knew I had to get him a lion suit.  After dogs, lions were the first animal he started recognizing.  One day last April, we were reading Dr. Seuss' ABC book and he happened to have a lion on his pajamas.  When we got to the L page -- "lion with a lollipop" -- he was all excited and pointed to the page, then to his jammies.  I was shocked that he'd made the connection.

Needless to say, when it came time to purchase the pillow pet, we got him a lion.  He LOVED it.

During the last few weeks, we've also been working on animal noises.  Shocker... after dog, lion was the first sound he made.  Out of the blue, he pointed to the lion on his high chair and said "rawr!"  (After at least a week of me making roaring noises whenever we saw pictures of lions.)  He was so obviously pleased with himself.

Now he will do puppy, lion, monkey, horse, and dinosaur.  Everything else just says "rawr."

Knowing that Halloween was coming up, I started looking for a little lion suit.  How ecstatic was I when I found one at Target?!  I had Gabriel with me and when he saw the picture of the little boy in the costume, he happily exclaimed, "rawr!"  Yay!

At first he wasn't too sure about actually wearing the costume, but after I put him in it a few times, he loved it.  Now whenever he sees it, he points and says "rawr!"  (Then he tries to cuddle it like his blankie, hehe!)

So here's a picture of my ferocious but lovable lion. ♥

 Wish I could say I took this picture, but I'd be lying.
This picture is currently the background of my phone and my desktop.  Every time Gabriel catches sight of it, guess what he does?

You got it:


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Crafty Girl

Happy November, everyone!  It's hard to believe it's finally here -- the month I've been looking forward to since March!  Hallie Ruth is due in just THREE days.

Last week, I promised to share more crafts with you, so here they are!  My sister liked her birthday gift so much that I decided to make some for two more of my sisters who just celebrated their birthdays last week.  I've been itching to post about them, but once again had to wait until they were received!  Only downside to having your sisters read your blog. ;)

First up is for my baby sister, who turned 13 on October 24 (eek; still can't believe she's that old).

Kenzie is probably my most "Anne-ish" sister -- definitely a kindred spirit!  I couldn't resist using this quote.  Anyway, Kenzie has a cool zebra-themed room with purple and green accents, which inspired the color scheme.  I couldn't choose between the purple or green, so I went with both and I LOVE how it turned out!  I also picked a fun font that suited my sister's personality.  Yay for customizations!

Next up is for my oldest younger sister, who turned 22 on the 29th.

I have to admit that this is my favorite one I've made.  I didn't have a specific color scheme to follow, so I just went with what fit Destiny.  Her favorite color is purple, so I spent some time browsing in Michael's to find the perfect paper.  Everything just came together really nicely with this one. :)

I like these so much that I'm probably going to make myself some!  Gabriel and Hallie are probably going to be getting something with their names/meanings... as soon as I find the time to design them!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Favorite Cool Weather Dish

I stepped outside today to head to my prenatal appointment and actually shivered!  Little Man and I were both wearing shorts and t-shirts.  A glance at my weather app confirmed that it was 55 degrees!  Woohoo!  I quickly went back inside to get Gabriel a jacket and change into some jeans.

In honor of this special day--the coldest we've had yet here--I've decided to share one of my family's favorite slow cooker recipes:  Beef Stroganoff.  Besides roast beef, this is probably the meal that Drew requests the most.  It's just perfect for a cold (or cool) day, although I shamelessly make this even in the hot summer months because it's just that good. ;)

Start with some basic beef stroganoff ingredients:  beef, mushrooms, onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup, flour, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, and sour cream.

My recipe calls for actual steak, but I've found that stewing meat works just as well.  It's cheap and you don't have to spend time cutting it up.  Just dump it in the slow cooker and there you go!

Mix the flour, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper in a small bowl then dump it over the meat in the crock pot.

Now here's the fun part:  coating the meat in the flour mixture!  I'm probably the only one who actually enjoys handling raw beef or chicken (but don't get me started on pork--that's enough to make me want to turn vegetarian).  I just use my fingers to toss everything, but feel free to use some sort of utensil. ;)

All done!  Now wash your hands, regardless of whether you used them or a utensil. :)

Next, combine the onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup, and some water in a bowl.  I usually just use the same one; I'm all about cutting down on dishes!

Pour it over the beef and add the mushrooms, stirring to combine.  I don't use my hands here!

Set your crockpot timer (or kitchen timer) for 3.5 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low.  Then sit back, relax, and wait!  I always cook it on high, because I usually make it while Gabriel's sleeping.

About 15 minutes before the stroganoff is done, add the sour cream.  It'll turn into this creamy beefy color.  Yum!  (I always like to sample it a little here, too... just to make sure it turned out!)

Serve it over rice with a side of asparagus and you can't go wrong!  Just look at it!  (You're welcome to serve it over the egg noodles, which I did the very first time I made it.  My recipe calls for rice, however, so I tried it that way the second time and have never gone back.  So yummy!)

Hope you all enjoy!  And here's to hoping I can put my shorts away for good!

Beef Stroganoff Recipe
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 3/4 pounds boneless beef steak (or stew meat)
10 3/4 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup water
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 package of mushrooms, washed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (optional)

1.  Combine flour, garlic powder, pepper, and paprika in a small bowl.

2.  Cut meat into strips (or use stew meat).  Place in slow cooker and toss in flour mixture.

3.  Combine mushroom soup, water, and onion soup mix in a small bowl.  Stir until well blended.  Pour over meat.

4.  Add mushrooms and toss until mixed.

5.  Cover and cook on High 3-3.5 hours or Low 6-7 hours.

6.  Stir in sour cream and parsley.  Cook on high 10-15 minutes.

7.  Serve over rice.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fingers Crossed

I'm BEYOND excited for the Silhouette Cameo.  Like I mentioned here, it's number one on my Christmas list this year.  Just looking at all the different stuff one can do with this amazing piece of machinery makes me go crazy!

So... I entered two giveaways for it today!  I know I'll probably be getting it for Christmas if I don't win, but I'd absolutely love to have it before Christmas.  I have so many gift ideas to make with it that will have to wait for next year's birthdays.  I'd love to make some for this year!

I've never won anything before, so I'm trying not to get too excited.  Both giveaways I entered already had over 2,000 entries. -sigh- Still... there's always the chance, right? :)

Anyway... I have more crafts to share, so expect another blog soon! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

18 Days

Almost ready for little Hallie Ruth to make her appearance.

Been doing baby laundry for the last couple of days.  Love the smell of Dreft. ♥

Eeek... so much pink!!

Eighteen days until her due date!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I think Texans get gypped when it comes to autumn.

Seriously... middle of October and we're still getting 90-degree days!  I've worn my boots a total of one time.  And only because it was raining and I didn't want to slide around in my flip flops.

Basically, I wanted to write a Fall Bucket List, but to be honest, I'm having a really hard time getting into the fall season.  It doesn't help that every time I go outside, or even look out my windows, I see palm trees.  Beautiful in summer... discouraging in Indian summer.  I won't even know what to think this winter!

Anyway, I keep thinking, "Maybe next week it'll be cool and I can finally make some hot chocolate." Or, "Maybe tomorrow I can wear a long-sleeved shirt without feeling like I'm suffocating." (Okay, maybe this won't happen until after Hallie is born.)

Maybe, maybe, maybe!

All of you bloggers who are lucky enough to be in full-swing autumn, count your blessings... and have some hot chocolate for me! :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nesting Projects

I have a little over three weeks to go until my due date.

I'm freaking out a little.  Okay, a lot.

I still have so much to do to get ready for Hallie's arrival!  I'm also a little worried because I never really started "nesting" with Gabriel.  I mean, I did get a lot of projects accomplished in the last couple weeks before he was born, but it was more me forcing myself to get off my backside and do them than an urge and the inexplicable energy to get them done.

Now, with an active sixteen-month-old, I'm even less motivated.  Scary.

When we moved, we stuck all of our miscellaneous junk in the spare room closet... the closet that is supposed to be Hallie's.  This week, my number one project goal is to get it cleaned out and organized.  Lovely.

Gabriel's room looks like a hurricane blew through.  He's in the middle of outgrowing his 18-month clothes, so all his 2T stuff that just arrived from my mom is everywhere.  He's been getting dressed every day from the floor.  I need to run out and get some plastic bins to store his old clothes, but haven't found the time/energy yet.  On top of that, his closet is also disorganized. -sigh-

I need to wash all of Hallie's clothes and get them put away.  Easier said than done, as I don't have any drawer space for her yet.  Only so much baby stuff can be hung on hangers!  I also need to get her more clothes and blankets.  Gabriel had tons and tons of itty baby clothes and he went through all of them in those first couple of weeks.  Hallie has very few things, and most of them are sized 3 months!

Well, I should probably get to work.  I need to get groceries and get a load of laundry going.  I've entitled this post "Nesting Projects" in hopes that maybe I'll actually start nesting for real.  Ha.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Homemade Bread

My husband's favorite food is bread.  No, seriously.  A few years ago, he told me that his favorite part about Thanksgiving dinner is the rolls.  Rolls!  At Thanksgiving!  I promptly told him he was crazy.  I mean, I like bread and all, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's my favorite part of any meal, much less Thanksgiving.

Anyway.  Like I said a few posts ago, I've been starting to try more new things in the kitchen and I started with desserts.  Well.  Drew and I do not have the same tastes in desserts.  My first few attempts at surprising him when he got home from work were less than satisfactory.  Knowing that his favorite Christmas candy is his mom's toffee, I tried my hand at this recipe (which turned out amazing, by the way).

After eating a piece, he said:  "You know, I don't think I actually really like toffee.  I think it's more the idea that I only get it at Christmas that appeals to me."

Well, excuse me.  (Not that I minded so much.  I have proceeded to eat almost the whole batch myself.  He has only had one piece and that is fine with me.)

So desserts are pretty much out.  If I can't make something that both of us like, I might as well not make a lot.  I certainly don't need the extra sugar and I am not going to labor in the kitchen for sweets that I don't like!  If I wasn't almost nine months pregnant, I might consider it; right now, being on my feet long enough to make and clean up dinner is rough enough.

But enough of the backstory.  Last week, I got a craving for fresh homemade bread after seeing seeing this recipe on Pinterest.  I knew I had to make it.  It looked so easy and my poor KitchenAid mixer has been somewhat neglected in the last three years.  Yesterday, while my teething tyke was sleeping, I threw everything together in the mixer and happily watched it go.

The recipe says to mix for 7 minutes, but that was way too long.
Mine was done after only 4 and I think I over mixed it.

After letting it rise for an hour, I separated it and let it rise again.

Then, I brushed it with an egg mixture and sprinkled it with oats before baking it.  At this point, Gabriel woke up.  He was not amused that the bread was baking and not ready to eat.  He stood at the oven for about five minutes saying "Mmmm?  Mmmm!"

Meanwhile, the smell of fresh bread permeated my house and possibly the building.

It.  Was.  Heavenly.

After baking for about thirty minutes, I pulled the bread out of the oven and turned the loaves onto a wire rack for cooling.

Totally scrumptious-looking (and -smelling)!

I promptly texted my husband:  "You are in for a treat tonight!!!"

When he came home, he was ecstatic that I'd made him homemade bread.  He couldn't say enough about it.  Between the three of us, we polished off over half a loaf.  Drew and I both ruined our dinner... but we couldn't help ourselves!  The bread was so yummy that it was worth it!

And you know what?  The bread was my favorite part of the meal. :)

Gabriel and I had some for breakfast this morning.  I toasted it in the toaster and then spread butter and strawberry jelly on it.  It was insane.

I use paper plates for breakfast.  Don't judge.
This bread is probably going to become a weekly staple for me.  I'm definitely going to have to bake a few loaves to freeze so that I can enjoy it after Baby Girl gets here!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Melon Adventure

I love Wal-Mart.  A lot.

Growing up as one of nine kids, Wal-Mart was almost exclusively where my parents shopped.  I hate going into Tom Thumb and HEB to buy things that I know are cheaper elsewhere.  And let's face it, Wal-Mart is cheaper.

But one thing I have learned about shopping at Wal-Mart on my own the last three years:  they do not have great produce, especially fruit.  Produce is one of the few things that I sometimes purchase at smaller stores.

However, a few weeks ago, I was shopping and got a sudden craving for cantaloupe.  Little-known fact about me:  I could probably eat a whole cantaloupe in one sitting.  Just cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and I'll eat it with a spoon, using the rind as a bowl.  LOVE.  (Another little-known fact about me:  I'm actually allergic to melons.  My throat gets all itchy when I eat them, but I love them so much that I don't care.  Ha.)

Anyway, Wal-Mart happened to have cantaloupes on special, so I went ahead and bought one.

Best.  Decision.  Ever.

It was seriously the ripest, sweetest cantaloupe that I have ever tasted.  So, last week when doing my weekly shopping, I decided to try again.  Who knew?  Maybe I'd get lucky twice!

When I cut into it, I was ecstatic.

Look how ripe that is!

It's practically begging me to gobble it up!  Unfortunately (fortunately?), I have a little guy who loves melon as much as I do, so I had to share.

And really, who could resist that face?  (Don't let the shirt fool you... he's a fruit monster.)

Needless to say... I'll be buying cantaloupes at Wal-Mart more often!  Next time, however, I'll be taking Gabriel's shirt off before he eats.  Melon apparently stains.  Any suggestions for getting it out??

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Well, as everyone can see, I have changed my blog look... again.  Sometimes I think I have too much fun with the template designer.  Ha.  This look, however, will be staying for a while... because it's symbolic of a shift in focus for my blog from mainly family/life posts to more artsy-craftsy stuff (although the family/life will probably not go away entirely).

Anyway, I'm super stoked to share with you the first official craft of Tailor-Made. :D I've been waiting since Monday, when I made it, to post about it.  It finally arrived at my sister's yesterday afternoon!  Yay!

Here it is:

Me and my four sisters are pretty much obsessed with Anne of Green Gables.  We watched it and Anne of Avonlea countless times on VHS growing up.  This past spring, I flew home for a week and we watched Green Gables and Avonlea again for the first time in years.  (Actually a funny story--the only VHS player available was in my brothers' room, so we all camped out on the floor... even my bros!)

In any case... we've all been kind of on an Anne kick since March, so my sister Destiny suggested getting Brianna something Anne-related for her birthday.  She sent me links to lots of Anne stuff on Etsy and told me B's favorite quote.  I actually found something that I liked and had it in my cart ready to buy when a thought hit me:  "I could totally make this.  I have Photoshop."  That idea basically took over my brain.

It's not nearly the quality that the one on Etsy, but there are definite bonuses to me making it myself.  1) I picked out the colors to match her room (white and brown with coral, which looks pink in the picture but it's not).  2) I was able to frame it myself for less than the cost of the print (score!). 3) I got to pick out my own font, which is a huge deal because I'm kind of obsessed with fonts.  And 4) I got the satisfaction of having made something myself!

Now, I know it's not perfect.  I wasn't sure exactly what kind of adhesive to use to stick the layers together and I think I made a poor choice as you can see the paper wrinkling.  It's also crooked.  But I choose to ignore those facets.  Or embrace them because it shows its handmadeness.  Or something. ;)  The next time I make one of these, I'll spend a little more time figuring out the logistics like adhesive and straight sticking before I start, haha.

For now, I'll just sit here and stare at the picture and feel proud of myself. :D

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lemon Chicken

Last night, I adventured in the kitchen.  This isn't really something I have done often in the past.  I am definitely the kind of person who gets stuck in a rut, preparing the same things over and over again... probably because I like eating the same stuff over and over again.

Seriously, I could eat a turkey sandwich every day for lunch.  Once, I even ate it for lunch and dinner.  Sad.

Anyway, my poor husband has suffered patiently the past three-and-a-half years.  (Although don't let him fool you that it's all my fault.  Our first year of marriage, he was hesitant to try anything new, which I think is part of the problem!)

No longer!  I've been collecting new recipes and trying them out (starting with desserts), thanks to my newfound love, Pinterest. :)

Last night, I tried this recipe for lemon chicken.  I knew it would be good, as Jeanene claimed it's one of her "most requested recipes," but I was completely unprepared for just how scrumptious it was!

Look at this insane goodness... just waiting for me to get my fork in there and shred it!  After tasting the first bite, I said aloud:  "Oh. My. Goodness."  Pretty sure that Gabriel looked at me funny, talking to myself.

But seriously... SO GOOD!  The chicken was so buttery, but not too heavy, thanks to the light lemony flavor.  Plus, it literally melted in your mouth!  Ahhhh...

I paired it with brown rice and green beans.  I think it would have gone better with some toasty French bread, but alas, I didn't have any.

Best part?  Both of my boys loved it.  Gabriel practically inhaled half a chicken breast... without ketchup! And I have leftovers! (Although I had to keep Drew's fingers out of the tupperware I put it in... ha!)

And after dinner, Drew said:  "I think that's one of the best meals you've ever made."

Yeah.  I was happy. :) Needless to say, there will be plenty more kitchen adventures coming up on this blog!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Craft Beginnings

Yesterday, I made the first "tailor made" craft. :) Considering I'm hoping to turn this space into more of a crafting blog in the near future, I'd say its about time, eh?

However, since it's a birthday gift, I can't really post it here yet.  No worries, though... I'll be sharing it with you guys as soon as my sweet sister receives it.  I'm going to put it in the mail today.

In the mean time, happy 20th birthday, B!  I love you!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Hello, September!

But not necessarily goodbye summer!

I know that summer for most people has already ended, but not so much for me. There are quite a few reasons why I can say that summer lives on in my house right now.

- It's still ridiculously hot, although we've had a "cool front" since last week -- highs in the 90s.

- I'm still wearing my white capris. I'm pregnant and it's still in the 90s. Give me a break.

- This is the first year since starting kindergarten that I haven't had a first day of school. It's a great (albeit strange) feeling.

- I'm still in unpacking/decorating mode, which for some reason makes me feel like it's still summer.

- Fall means Halloween and Halloween means Hallie will be making her appearance. I'm not ready (see above).

- I'm in the middle of two books right now and I already have a few in mind for when they're finished. Nothing says summer like time to read!

So, to all my friends who have made the leap into fall... I envy you your cool weather and your change of season, but I'll be staying in summer for a few more weeks.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Life is precious

This morning, I read the heartbreaking story of James Camden Sikes.  I followed a link on Facebook, posted by the photographer who took Gabriel's newborn pictures (I love her work, especially of babies).  I had no idea what my heart was getting into.

I fought tears as I read Katie's version of the story, but could fight them no longer when I watched the video that they put together.

I'm in tears again as I write this, having just read some of Kara Sikes' posts about dealing with her loss.  It's so hard to read because I keep imagining myself in her shoes.  What if it had been my sweet Gabriel?  How would I have dealt with the loss of my precious baby boy?

I think the thing I hate most in the world is babies and children dying.  To me, there is no greater evidence of the Fall.  Death is hard to deal with no matter who is dying, but there is just something wrong with life being snuffed out before it's even had a chance.

I've been sitting here, weeping, for the past half-hour trying to decide how to end this post.  I hear Gabriel stirring from his nap in the other room and I want nothing more than to just cuddle him, if he'll let me.

I vow to cherish every single moment with my baby boy (and my baby girl, too, when she comes).

I'm so grateful to God for the gift(s) he's given me.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Clean Canvas

Yesterday, we moved into our new apartment.  It's adorable!

Upsides:  two stories, three bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and an amazing view of our resort-style pool.  Downsides:  teeny kitchen, small master bedroom, no laundry room (washer and dryer are in the kitchen).

I'll post pictures once I get everything put away.  The unpackers took everything out of boxes, so there is literally stuff everywhere.

I'm super excited to start organizing and decorating.  I've been compiling decor ideas for a few weeks now.  It's sad -- Drew and I have been married for over three years now, and the most decorating I've ever done is buy a bedspread, hang pictures, and try to find knick-knacks for our entertainment center.

Well, I'm definitely going to make up for it now!  I like to think of it as a fresh start on a clean canvas. :)

I'm finally gave in and joined Pinterest to keep my ideas organized.  So far I've loved it!  It hasn't hurt that the people I follow like to pin pictures of scrumptious desserts, complete with recipes.  Unfortunately, I doubt my midwife will agree.  Whatever.  I'm pregnant, I crave sugar.  Let's conveniently ignore the fact that I tend to crave it even when not pregnant. :p

Anyway.  Pinterest.  It's been really helpful having all my ideas in one place.  I've also subscribed to some home decor catalogues, just for the ideas.  I can't wait to get started!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Hello, Houston

Well, folks, today is my first full day in Houston.  I'm sitting here in our cutely-furnished temporary apartment trying to take it all in.  Everything feels so surreal because I just got back from a 6-week vacation.  I arrived back in Dallas on Saturday night and drove down to Houston Sunday morning.

It's so weird to realize that I'm not living in Dallas anymore.  I almost can't even comprehend it!  Part of me thinks that I'm still on vacation--just spending a week or so in another new place.  But at the same time, another part knows that this is permanent.

Maybe when we move into our new apartment on Sunday, things will start making sense again.

In other news... Gabriel finally said "Ma-Ma" today.  He's said it two or three times before, just baby babbling, but today he repeated it when I asked him to and he seemed to finally make the connection between me and the word.  I'm very happy.  I've been waiting my whole life to hear the name.

Funny that he picked our first day in Houston to say it.  I guess I needed some cheering up today.  Thanks, God.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happy 25

On this day, twenty-five years ago, my parents were married.  Their marriage has impacted me more than any other relationship I know.  As their daughter, I have observed their marriage from a very close vantage point.

They have faced many things together:
- welcoming nine little mischief-makers into your home as gifts from God (I was an angel, of course!)
- facing unemployment with five little mouths to feed
- moving from Texas to Canada and then back again
- starting over in Virginia with no family around
- following God’s call to plant a church
- building a house together
- successfully pastoring a quickly-growing church while maintaining time for each other and their children
- embracing my husband as a sixth son
- becoming grandparents
- and many more that I am probably not aware of

I have watched how God multiplied their love for each other with each new addition; how He strengthened their commitment to each other through every trial they faced; how He knit their hearts closer together with every blessing He bestowed.

Although I’m sure that both of them would say that the last twenty-five years have been far from easy, they have made it look so (even to their children, who are typically witnesses to any flaws and shortcomings).  I know their marriage is far from perfect, but it is certainly one I want to emulate.

Mom and Dad, I thank you for demonstrating such a life of commitment and love, leaving a legacy for your children.  I hope and pray that my marriage will be as strong as yours.  Your marriage truly is the reflection of God.  I love you.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monthly update... ha

Well, so much has been going on... I don't even know where to start!

I guess I'll start with the most exciting news... we found out a few weeks ago that we're having a baby girl!  I'm beyond excited.  We decided on the name Hallie Ruth.  It's hard to believe that I only have less than fifteen weeks to go.  I can't wait to meet my daughter!

To update from my last post (which was entirely too long ago), Drew ended up getting the job in Houston.  Praise the Lord!  He started on Monday, July 11th, so he just started his third week of work today.  So far, he loves it. :)

It's bittersweet, of course.  With the job comes the move.  Drew found a cute 3-bedroom apartment; we move in August 14th.  I dread leaving Dallas, but I have to admit that I'm excited for the blank canvas that a new house will provide.  I'm already dreaming about how I'm going to decorate my babies' rooms.  Hehe.

Currently, I'm in Calgary, Alberta, on vacation with most of my family.  I've been here since July 6th, enjoying the cool weather, Big Turk bars, Swiss Chalet, and extended family.

It's been amusing to watch my three-year-old brother and my one-year-old son interact.  They crack me up.  Anderson calls Gabriel "my wil nephew."  Anderson doesn't share his toys and kind of bullies him, but that's okay.  Gabriel gets him back in the bathtub by splashing up a storm and getting water in Anderson's eyes.  LOL.

Of course, I've been missing my beloved hubby something fierce!  I have another two weeks to go before I see him again, making it four weeks total.  I definitely don't want to do it again!  Anyway, I get back to Texas on August 7th... and then move on the 14th!  Busy, busy!

Well, I've been without internet for almost three weeks now... so I'm going to finish this up and go play. ;) Hopefully I'll get another update in before August.  Ha.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Trust. Faith.

I am currently sitting in a Super 8 Motel in Houston, TX.  Drew has a job interview at one o'clock tomorrow afternoon at an oil and gas company and we came up the night before as a family to take advantage of the fact that they paid for his gas to come.

Gabriel is sleeping in the bathtub.  In his pack'n'play.  We had to put him in the tiny bathroom in order for Drew to watch the Mavericks game (which they won!!).  Poor kid.  We're about to move him out, now that the game is over.

I have mixed feelings about this job interview.  Drew needs a job.  He's been without one since the beginning of November.  But if he gets this job, it will require us to move--for the third time in eight months--to Houston.

I don't want to move to Houston.  I don't want to move at all, but especially not to somewhere outside of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex.

The metroplex is home.  It's where family is, where our church is, where our friends are.

But at the same time, I know I have to be willing to let it all go if God is providing a job.

I just hate the thought of moving, of finding a new church and new friends.  And of being four hours away from family.

Trust.  Faith.  I will need both no matter what happens at Drew's interview tomorrow.

Prayers are welcome, both for Drew's job and my peace at the outcome.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Cordon Bleu

I don't often post what we're having for dinner on Facebook.  Who really cares what Drew and I eat?  The only time I do is when I'm extra proud of something I've made.

Monday was one of those days.

I recently made the happy discovery that one of the blogs I admire has a recipe sub-blog (cue the Hallelujah Chorus).  I'm always looking for new recipes to try and I have trouble with the ones in books that don't include pictures.  Not sure why.

Anyway, I am a huge fan of chicken cordon bleu.  I made it so much the first year of my marriage that Drew had to ask me to stop.  Later he admitted that it wasn't one of his favorites... so I literally haven't made it in over a year.  I started craving it a few weeks ago and made up my mind to make it, no matter what Drew said.

Fortunately, I came across a downright scrumptious-looking recipe for it at Kevin & Amanda.  I was so excited to try it... and I'm ecstatic to say that it turned out very well.  I mean, just look at this picture!  (Mine was a little more browned, but still tasted yummy!)
I paired it with mashed potatoes--another amazing recipe I found via Amanda, although it's from The Pioneer Woman (I halved it and still have half the recipe in the fridge).  They, also, turned out perfectly.  I had been planning on baking some asparagus with it, but when I pulled them out of the fridge, they had a little mold on them.  -tears-  Oh, well.  It was filling enough.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that this dinner was one of my bests.  Drew loved it.  It was the first time he spoke so highly of chicken cordon bleu, haha.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Month of March

March has always been an important month for me.... actually, for my whole family.  First and most importantly (haha), my birthday falls on the 11th -- 23 this year, baby!  But, I share this month with so many special people.

My great-aunt -- March 4
My great-grandfather -- March 5 (although I never knew him)
My grandmother -- March 7
My uncle -- March 7
My dad -- March 9
My little sister -- March 12
My baby brother -- March 19

And, there's also the most important date of all, for real:  my wedding anniversary on March 15.  I can't believe it will be three years!

So, these are all the dates my family looks forward to in the wonderful month of March. :) And this year, there's one more reason to be excited:  I'm going home!  It's my birthday present from my parents, my sisters, and my husband.

I am beyond excited.  I am ecstatic.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


For some reason, my son loves pearls.  Really, he loves any kind of jewelry--necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.  He will go to any woman with a necklace or interesting earrings and he always wants to chew on Drew's rubber Bound4Life bracelet.

But pearls are his favorite.  He lights up when he sees them.  I don't even have to be wearing them!

Last weekend, my mother-in-law was wearing pearls.  After Gabriel almost broke the clasp trying to eat them, she took them off and let him play with them along with her phone.

Needless to say, Gabriel was in heaven:

Please can I play?

Look at my pearly whites, Mom!

Crazy eyes!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Last night, I asked Drew about our first Valentine's Day.  Turns out, he has a better memory than I do!  Who'd have thought?!

He reminded me that he sent me roses.  And not boring old red ones, either!  He sent me a dozen mini Israeli roses.  They were the most beautiful color--pink/peach.  I loved them!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Five Years

In some ways, it's hard for me to comprehend that this is my fifth Valentine's Day with Drew.  Yet in other ways, it feels like it's been forever.  In a good way, of course! ;)

Our first Valentine's Day was spent apart.  We'd been dating for almost a year and Drew sent me a package in the mail.  It's sad; I don't remember what it was!  I do remember the most important part, though:  the beautiful card that was included. <3

Our second Valentine's Day was a month before we got married.  I was living with my aunt and uncle in Southlake, Texas.  We had made reservations to go out, but at the last minute, we decided to give the reservations to my aunt and uncle.  Drew grilled some steaks while I made some mashed potatoes and we had a nice romantic dinner while we babysat my five cousins!

Our third Valentine's Day was our first as a married couple.  Drew went all out on the presents!  Then, I made a special dinner for just the two of us.  It was amazing, and I don't mind saying so!

Our fourth Valentine's Day is when Drew surprised me with tickets to go see Phantom of the Opera.  I wrote a blog about it here.

This year, Drew and I celebrated yesterday, as it was more convenient for our wonderful babysitter, Abbey.  We dropped him off at 2 and went put-putting, which is one of our favorite "couple" activities. :) Afterwards, we went to Texas de Brazil.  It's Drew's favorite restaurant, and it's pretty spanky!  We were planning on going to the Melting Pot, which is my favorite restaurant, but when we called to make reservations, we discovered that they didn't have their traditional menu this weekend.  Lame.  Needless to say, we're planning on going there for our anniversary.  The evening was finished off with a movie.

All in all, it was a great way to celebrate our fifth Valentine's Day together.  Sorry, no pictures because I failed hardcore at taking them. :p

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When Inspiration Hits...

I've started writing again.

Drew left his job at the beginning of November and has yet to find a new one.  As we are without an income, Drew broached the subject of me getting a job.  It wasn't too intense of a conversation, although the thought did make me want to cry.

See, before we got married, we agreed that I would be a stay-at-home mom for as long as we had kids in the house.  It's all I've ever wanted to do.  It is my personal belief that the greatest job a woman can ever have is to shape tomorrow by raising her children to the best of her ability.  Other women can go out and get careers.  Me?  I just want to be a mommy.

However, if Drew isn't able to find a job, there is no reason why I should refuse to.  My husband is more than capable of staying home with Gabriel.

Drew suggested, facetiously (as it's a conversation that we have rehashed dozens of times), that I get a job that will utilize my degree.  Well, my degree is in English... and I still lack one class.  I got a little frustrated.

And then Drew said the most amazing thing:  "Why don't you write a book and make money?  Treat your writing like a job."

"I can do that."  I said, as if realizing it for the first time.  I did not have any inspiration, but I promised to pull out my files and see what ideas I had been working on before college decided to kick my bum.

Nothing jumped out at me, leaving me more than a little disappointed.

Then last night, I was laying in bed, unable to sleep, when inspiration just hit.  God started downloading an idea into my head that I know I could have never come up with on my own.

So I wrote it down.  I have to say that I'm more excited about this idea than I have ever been about any other idea.

God is awesome.

The End.

Monday, January 03, 2011

New Year

I am not usually one for New Year's resolutions, the reason being that my resolutions are always things that are completely out of reach:  spend an hour with God every day; erase soda from my diet; spend less time online; et cetera.  But this year, Drew and I decided to make our resolution together.

Now, before I say what it is, I would like to clarify something.  Drew and I rarely fight.  If we do fight, it's usually about our different understandings of the word "clean" in relation to our house. ;) However, we do argue somewhat frequently; both of us are argumentative people.  It's unfortunate, but true.

(Drew seems to think that I like to argue because my favorite book is Pride and Prejudice and because Darcy and Elizabeth argue a lot.  I argue that this reason is silly.  Haha.)

In any case, Drew and I have decided that our New Year's resolution is not to argue with each other anymore.  It's going to be difficult, but totally worth it.  With both of us having the same resolution, I'm hoping we'll be able to make it last the whole year.

We will probably fail at least a few times.  But the point of this resolution is not to attain a perfect marriage.  We simply want to create a lifestyle of harmony and an atmosphere of peace in our home.  We have made this resolution with the understanding that both of us are going to come up short.

It's the awareness of how much we argue and how detrimental it could potentially be to our relationship that we want to address.  It's the recognition that arguing is unnecessary to our marriage that we want to acknowledge.

In addition to having a "couple's resolution," I also have a personal one.  It's actually more of a reading list.  But I don't think I'll have a problem with that one. ;)


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