Love Thursday-New Year and New Decade

Love is remembering that a decade ago you and your spouse were just dating, partying with all your (mostly single) friends in Steamboat. You were all a carefree, child-free group of friends enjoying a week of partying and skiing. Remembering that this night ten years ago was spent with him battling the worst case of food poisoning (we thought it might be malaria!). Together then, and together now. We might have spent tonight very differently from a decade ago; we had pizza and champagne (milk for the kids with friends, and lots of princess dress-up). But, we are together, this decade and many more to come. Love binds you together. Love helps you through the tough years, the good times, the bad times, and all the times in between. Love is the celebration tonight, tomorrow, next year.

May your new year be full of much joy, happiness, and love...and no bad cases of chili or food poisoning!

Year in Review

Linda posted her year in review again this year, and I thought I'd join in, stop by her blog to see everyone's responses.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Run, for real.
Take a helicopter ride.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Yes, I actually did really well. I set the bar pretty low: make a new recipe each month and learn to sew-check and check! In 2010 I resolve to finish my painting projects and finish at least one craft/decor project a month.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, our friends Tara and Tobin and Heidi and J.M.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully no.

5. What countries did you visit?

None outside the US, but we finally made it to Hawaii!

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? Patience.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Maybe when my youngest was potty trained, but there was no specific day, just a week?

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Meeting personal goals, like learning to sew and running a distance.

9. What was your biggest failure? Losing my patience with my kids and feeling like I failed them. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing too serious, some sinus infections, allergies, and knee issues.

11. What was the best thing you bought? I'm guessing it will be my ticket to the National Championship Game. But, until then, the tickets to Hawaii, helicopter ride in Hawaii, Britney Spears concert ticket, and my cheetah print shoes.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My kids, overall, they are good kids.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Fellow co-worker who is supremely lazy and terrible at her job. Yet, she continues to get praise and even a bonus! Galling.

14. Where did most of your money go?

The mortgage, preschool, high pockets.

15. What did you get really excited about? Britney Spears concert. National Championship Game and football season! Trip to Hawaii. My friend Amanda's surprise visit and new baby!

16. What song will always remind you of 2009? Single Ladies

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Happier
– thinner or fatter? Slightly Thinner.
– richer or poorer? Same, I think

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Take time for myself and spend more time with the kids. I know, no way I could do both.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Losing my temper with the kids.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At our home, with the kids and my parents.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?

I fall in love with my husband and kids in a new way every day, awww.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Project Runway and Glee-tie!

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Hate is a pretty strong word. I try not to hate, there are people I dislike though.

24. What was the best book you read?
We've had fun reading the Madeline books this year at bedtime.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I finally bought an ipod!

26. What did you want and get?

Britney concert ticket, National Championship Game tickets, and my copper coffee table.

27. What did you want and not get?
A bonus at work.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince and Confessions of a Shopaholic. What can I say? my tastes run the gamut!

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I think I worked that day and then there was take-out of some sort, 34.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less tax payment, more take home pay?

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Retro with a classic twist.

32. What kept you sane? Working out. Friends, especially those with kids for my kids to play with.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Hugh Jackman, Eric Bana, Julian McMahon.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Healthcare.

35. Who did you miss?

My kids when we were in Hawaii. My friends Amanda, Brooke, my sister and my brother.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Tricia; she's one of those people that is too nice to hate even though they are so accomplished, pretty, and pulled together.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
You can only control your actions.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
My girls love dancing to "Party in the USA," so "throw my hands up, they're playing my song, butterflies fly away. Yeaa--aah, Party in the USA." that's what I will remember.

MTV Has Me Hooked

I stopped watching MTV several years ago when I realized I was old, a mom, tragically unhip, and MTV never played music anymore. The other day I was flipping through while doing something super exciting like ironing and found a show called "Teen Mom." The show profiles several teen mothers who recently had children. One couple are a train wreck in the making, one has overbearing parents, all have very different lives than they expected. The story that really grabbed me was Catelynn. She and her boyfriend decided to give their baby up for adoption. Both teens act far more mature and responsibly than her parents (amazingly enough, his dad is married to her mom-wow). Clearly they made the hardest decision they may ever have to make, but her parents scream and berate her on what seems like a daily basis for choosing to try to give her child a better life than she has. It tore my heart. Here are two kids trying their best in a no-win situation and they are being beat down because of it. The silver lining in her story thus far is that the adoption is an open adoption so she and her boyfriend have some contact with their child. Hopefully they will be able to find a relationship that works with the adoptive family and learn from their failed family relationships. Of course, I'm watching the show now. I am hoping that things start looking up for these families.

Have you seen the show? Thoughts?

Love Thursday-Christmas Gifts

As you may recall, I am a huge Texas Longhorn fan and my husband is an equally huge supporter of the Oklahoma Sooners. Our two girls are evenly split down the middle, one roots for the Horns and one roots for the Sooners. This year, each girl has asked Santa to bring them a doll. So, mommy and daddy are supplying the doll clothes. I saw this cute Texas Cheer outfit for the dolls and had to get it. That meant I also had to swallow my pride, suck it up, and get one made in an OU outfit. I think both turned out really cute.

Love looks past the differences to see what is within, whether those differences are trivial (team loyalty), or larger. Love prevails. Happy Love Thursday everyone & Merry Christmas Eve.

Notes to Folks

Note to Opposing Counsel
A “compromise” document is not the original document you sent me minus all my changes. A “simple” Agreement is likewise not a 53 page document.

Note to Rude Mother in my Daughter’s Class
This is not your first time driving to school, you know that the lane ends early. Cutting me off was not cool. That is 5 minute parking for a reason. If you pull in before me and are still in the classroom when I am done dropping off my 2 kids (less than 5 minutes), you are taking too long. If I then proceed to wait in my car for 3 minutes b/c I am blocked in at this point and have to get out to ask the people behind me to back up so that we all can get out since you have not yet made it to your car. You still haven’t gotten to your car when I leave, you are officially rude. No playdates for your kid.

Note to Christmas,
What the hell? How did you get here so quick?

Note to My Awesome Friend,

Thank you. Thank God your brother had tickets for us. Face Value!! Can’t believe it!! So lucky!!! Time to get new Texas Longhorns apparel for the game.

Note to Alabama,
Prepare to be stomped. Texas is coming. We’re Bigger, we’re badder, we’re underdogs. Just how we like it.

Note to Colt McCoy and Texas Offense,
Please show up on January 7th. Shock and Awe baby.

Note to Texas Defense,
You rock, keep it up.

Note to T,
Thanks for the card. Em was so excited to receive it. We’re so glad you are our friends. Thanks for always encouraging me. Merry Christmas!

Note to my Hair,
Decide what you are going to do and stick with it already. Who ever heard of schizophrenic hair?! You officially suck.

Note to new friends we've made this year,
We don't send Christmas cards, nothing personal. It started off as an early greeting, then morphed into procrastination, now it is our tradition. Expect a card on Texas Independence Day, or Arbor Day, or Tax Day, or Easter. Just not Christmas. We love you, pinky swear. you'll see.

Wow -What a room

My friend has spent the last two years renovating a house in town. She and her husband hosted an Open House yesterday so we could see their handiwork. My goodness, the house is a show stopper. Every detail is exquisite. It made me feel like we are just playing house. We have a very comfortable home, which is really just a nice way of saying that our decorating is evolving. We have to find a piece we like before we add to our decor. This house was done- 100% and 100% perfect. It looked straight out of House Beautiful or Architectural Digest. I would not be surprised to see it profiled in a major magazine soon.

The entire house is destined for my inspiration file. We took a tour upstairs and my daughter literally gasped when she saw this bathroom. My husband and I did as well. I almost saved this post for my Friday faavorite, but it is just too good not to share! The bathroom is huge-maybe 12x12? Gorgeous tile. You can see some details in the picture, but in person it was more fabulous. The light fixture is so beautiful, blue and gold. That is a morning coffee bar you see directly behind the tub. Oh, and that tub? Fabulous. Yes, (I believe) marble in the shower surround. Gorgeous, exquisite.

MckGiveaway for Photographers!

I love MckMama from My Charming Kids. Her photography is beautiful, she has such a generous spirit, and her honest writing is profound. I found her blog about a year ago and prayed with the world as her little Stellan battled for life and rejoiced when he was healed. The power of prayer is awesome! Her family seems so lovely and warm and her eye for color and beauty is wonderful. I am blogging about her today not because she needs any additional praise, but because she is graciously hosting a huge giveaway for Lightroom and I want that program! I need that program. I probably can't handle that pogram, this is my additional entry. Thanks MckMama for your Christmas spirit. Blessings on you and your family always.

Here's the giveaway link if you'd like to try to win:

Friday Favorites-Strawberry Cupcakes from Crave

I consider myself something of a dessert connoisseur, and cupcakes are high on my list of loves. If you don't already know about the strawberry cupcakes at Crave Cupcakes (in Uptown Park), then your dessert life is incomplete. The strawberry cupcakes from Crave just may be the best cupcake ever. A very close second is Sugarbaby's Red Velvet. Normally I am a chocolate girl through and through, but the strawberry cupcakes are special and just perfect in every way. Perfectly mouthwatering...mmmm I think cupcakes are in order today. Yes, the chocolate ones are delicious as well.

Love Thursday-Flying with Love

The picture isn't the greatest quality, but its not what matters. What matters this Love Thursday is the Love that's within. I am a HUGE Texas Longhorn fan, especially football. I started planning on attending the National Championship game many weeks ago. Ok, actually as soon as our schedule was posted! What you don't know is that my husband is a HUGE Oklahoma Sooner fan. So, this football season has not been kind to him. Even though it pained him, he arranged my flights to and from LAX and transferred all the credits, etc so that I could fly out there for free! Whee. That's love.

Manic Monday

Today was one of those days I should have stayed in bed.

We had a long travel weekend, so we were pretty tired this morning. Unfortunately, I have also been feeling sick, so that didn't help. The day was overcast, foggy, very spooky, very gloomy. The real trouble started when my husband tried taking the girls to preschool. His car wouldn't start. After we jumped the battery, he took off. Just as I was heading out the door for work, he called to tell me the car died again at the school. I needed to stay home until he got there so we could make sure the car didn't die again. Clearly, the story doesn't end there. We decide to take his car to the dealer. Well, we didn't really have a choice since the car is still under (extended) warranty (woo!) and my husband had a flight to catch for a business trip. After driving to the dealer, I then got to deliver my husband to the airport. I finally get to work and proceed to have one project after another tank. This means that the past few weeks of work I have been doing now has to be undone, redone, and finished by the end of the week-end of today would have been better. Swell. To top it off, one of the girls spiked a fever at school. Blammo- I need to take her the the doctor tomorrow (no school for kids with fevers). She's been complaining of a sore throat, as I have, and I am hoping its not strep. But frankly with my luck today, it will be strep.

Thank God tomorrow is a new day-and its not Monday!!

Deals and Steals

I love printing gift labels rather than buying. Unfortunately, I am not a great illustrator. Ok, I can't draw at all. However, I managed to find super cute labels at Fresh Picked Whimsy. I also found a hilarious blogger and talented woman. Finding her illustrated Christmas tags was definitely a steal. I probably spent way too long at her site and her etsy shop. I am definitely adding one of her family portrait canvases to my Christmas list! Check her out if you haven't already.

The deal I found through Kimba. Amazon has been running mega magazine discounts for about the last month. I didn't really take note, since I just added some subscriptions a few months prior. However, Kimba alerted me to the fact that Amazon is offering "O" the Oprah magazine for $5. What a deal! They were also offering (I believe) Real Simple, Coastal Living, House Beautiful for $5 or $10. If you or anyone on your Christmas list likes these magazines, it might be time to stock up.

Friday Favorite- Joan & David Boots

My fabulous co-worker showed up with these this week and they are to die for. I am in love. I might have passed these up in the store, but in person, they are gorgeous. These are going on my watch list for after-Christmas sales! So cute.

Love Thursday-Presents 'Neath the Tree

The other day I was wrapping presents and I must have inspired my daughter. Em, my 5 year old, took some extra paper and started wrapping various items around the house and placed them under the tree for each member of the family. She wrapped advent chocolate for her dad, a catalog for me, and some highlighters for her sister. Other then the chocolate, all the gifts are still under the tree, waiting for Christmas Day reminding us that Love comes in all packages and sizes.

Merry Love Thursday everyone.

Social Darling Frock GROSGRAIN GIVEAWAY!!!!

Social Darling Frock GROSGRAIN GIVEAWAY!!!!

Have you been by Grosgrain Fabulous? I love her blog, she makes the most amazing frocks. A super talented mom, designer, and seamstress. I had to enter the competition for the Social Darling Frock, go see, I'll wait. So cute, right? You should enter too!

Parade of Ornaments

I'm joining one of my favorite bloggers "Parade of Ornaments" Tuesday and I just found my feature ornaments tonight. I have a number of wonderful and eclectic ornaments; from my childhood, our trips, etc. that I will showcase on Wednesday. But, yesterday I found these ornaments that my girls (3 and 5) made for us on Sunday. Sunday afternoon I gave them a bunch of wrapping paper, ribbons, paper punches, etc. and let them have art time while I finished a project that I will blog about soon. They started making presents and then made "ornaments" for the tree. I found them this morning and just adore them. I love seeing my children's creativity come out. So sweet. I love them!

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

The movie "White Christmas" is one of my favorite movies and all time favorite Christmas movies. One of my traditions is wrapping gifts while watching "White Christmas." This weekend the girls and I wacthed the movie while we wrapped gifts. During the "Sisters" number, I looked over and my older daughter, Em was singing every word. I was so proud! That movie scene means a lot to me and my sister, so it was neat to see her enjoying it as well, with her sister. Then, a few minutes later, Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby come out as the Haynes Sisters, and the announcer says "Now introducing, the Haynes Sisters." Em said, "Now introducing, the Haynes brothers.” Perfectly timed and perfectly hilarious.

Hook 'em Horns! I love Hunter Lawrence!

Holy Frijoles! The last second. The last second. I guess Texas is defined by last second plays lately (infamous Texas Tech pass last season that lost us the Big 12 and our rightful National Championship). An amazing comeback. Thank God for instant replay. However, most of the game was pretty terrible. Once again, thank God for Texas' Defense. It was a struggle. I was shocked by how close the game was and the low scores. It seemed like Colt and the Offense just couldn't find any holes. I am worried about the Championship game, but we found a way to win. Hopefully we can find a way to win at the Rose Bowl.

Did anyone see Colt kick twice? I hope the Heisman voters did. Of course, I think Colt deserves the Heisman. While I think he should have gotten it last year (I've never seen Bradford or Tebow kick a ball in a college game), I don't think it will happen this year. I doubt the voters want to award another QB, that would be 3 years on a row and the voters don't like people to start thinking the Heisman is reserved for any one position.

I don't think I'll be able to sleep for awhile...Pasadena here I come!

The Pioneer Woman & Me

Technically I saw Ree. However, I did not make it to get her signature. Y'all, there were a ton of people. They handed out tickets to wait in line, I was in group vanilla. There were about 25-45 people in each group. I was 10 groups down. If it had been a normal weekend, I would have just stuck it out. But, I had babysitters to get back to. I got to hear Ree answer a few questions and was surprised at how soft spoken she seemed to be. She answered the questions just as you would imagine her to, except the additional information we got to know about Marlboro Man's choice of underwear! That was a surprise! She did mention that she would be publishing Black Heels to Tractor Wheels in the next year or so. She mentioned that she was adding a new second section to the story so there would be more juicy bits to read. I love reading those blog posts, so I think the book will be a fun read. I hope that she comes back to Houston for that book signing so I can get my cookbook signed.

I didn't chicken out, but I didn't get the signature I wanted. Really I just wanted a chance to tell her how much I appreciate her photography and cooking tips, and that her stories keep me laughing on a daily basis. Ah well, I'll make some cinnamon rolls and get over the mammoth mess that dirving out to the signing and leaving without a signature was!

Things My Kids Say

Discussion with my 5 year old this evening

E: "How does God make us?"
Me:"Well, I don't know exactly, but I know He makes us with love."
E: Slight pause, "Oh, I know! First he makes bones to make a skeleton, then he puts all the insides, then he puts in love. Then, we are done."
Me: "Sounds good to me."

Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

Snow in Houston! Actual snow. We enjoyed a snow day in Houston yesterday. We had about 6-7 hours of regular snowfall and flurries. However, the ground was still pretty warm, so there wasn't enough for snow angels or snowmen. We managed to have a small snowball fight in our front yard. The girls had a blast! These are a couple pictures I took yesterday-sorry for the graininess, I took them with my phone.

Christmas Curse?

My 5 year old daughter is normally a great kid. She is loving, kind, artistic, loves to learn, and generally follows rules and tries her best. However, this past week she has been a total pill. I think she's spent more time in time out than not. Today we received the worst behavior report ever from her school. I seem to recall the same thing happening last year-it was like a completely different kid comes out once the Christmas decorations go up. I'm hoping this is a growth spurt and not a Christmas curse!

Does anyone know if there is a full moon?

Friday Favorites

I just discovered a great lip gloss, Clinique Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss in Black Honey. I think it was on recommendation from Blogher Beautyhacks, or whoorl, or metalia. Whoever recommended it was absolutely right. The color blends in with a little oomph. It is sheer, but still very moisturizing, and not at all goopy. I hate it when you wear lip gloss and every time you turn your head, your hair gets stuck. Yuck. Does not happen with this lip gloss. Get thee to Sephora and check this out.

Love Thursday-My Mother's Machine

For my inaugural Love Thursday post it seems fitting that Karen posted today about the love of a parent. My post is about my mother’s sewing machine and her legacy. When my parents came by for Thanksgiving last week, my mother brought me her sewing machine. This was a momentous event that I’m not sure she or I appreciated it fully. You see, my mother is a master seamstress. That woman could make a gorgeous dress, costume, plaything out of the measliest scrap of fabric. She used her seamstress skills when she and my father were starting out in their marriage. They were poor by today’s standards and her sewing supplemented the small stipend my father received. She created wedding dresses, party dresses and brought a little cushion to their newlywed lives.

Sewing was perhaps my mother’s favorite hobby and I remember many an hour spent at her side. I remember her taking us to the sewing stores and getting out the pattern books for us to look through. We would select our Halloween costumes, Christmas dresses, communion dresses, later our prom, and even my debutante dress. Some of my favorite outfits growing up were made by my mother. The quality stood the test of time and my daughters have worn those very same outfits. My mother sewed decorations, including all our Christmas stockings. She even hand-embroidered my sister’s stocking. When I started my own family, she sewed stockings for, first, my husband and then our two children. I wouldn’t think of ever buying a store bought stocking. It broke my heart to realize that my sister and brother never took their stockings with them when they started their own families. Nothing could be more beautiful than those stockings, made from scraps of fabric used to make our dresses, school clothes; the fabric of our lives.

I remember pinning fabric and helping her lay out each type of fabric. I know most types of fabric by sight thanks to my mother. Her hands sewed countless dresses over the years. That sewing machine certainly got a work out during high school when my mother lovingly sewed each party dress for me. She “volunteered” to make performance outfits for my entire dance team. Man, were they cute. I also remember selecting the pattern and fabric for my debutante dress. It would not be a stretch to say that she spent days hunched over that dress. I didn’t appreciate how complicated that pattern was, it was a true princess dress. The material was a very fine ivory with little dots all over and a hem detail that was gorgeous. Like most 18 year olds, I wanted a princess dress, and this one had ruffles and details galore. I fear that I will never be able to recreate those sleeves, how she made the ruffles stand up and meet in a ‘V” in the back? Talent. True, raw, unadulterated talent.

My sister and brother were never as interested in her sewing as I was. Looking back, it was a bonding time for my mother and me. We needed that bonding when I was in my teens. I was a stubborn, strong-willed child. Maybe the hours of sewing prep helped calm me and calm our relationship? Our last project was making “mermaid” skirts for my daughter's 4th birthday party. We made beautiful felt crowns and tulle skirts. In reality, she did most of the making. I did what I’ve always done, I cut, I pinned, I pressed, I snipped. But she did the heavy lifting. She did the creating. Hours of work poured out in hours of love for her child’s request to make this birthday gift for my child. And, those party favors were amazing.

I was always amazed at how easily my mother created gorgeous items where before there was only fabric, buttons, and ribbons. For years I have wanted to learn to create just like my mother. I wanted to continue her legacy and share her gift with my daughters. I noticed a few years ago that the sewing machine wasn’t coming out as often. I noticed that she was choosing to buy my daughters dresses, rather than making them. I noticed that I was the only adult child treasuring the things she made for her grandchildren. It rocked me to the core. This huge piece of our childhood was fading and no one seemed to give it the respect it was due. My mother’s talent was going softly into the night and I wept at that passing. My mother is getting older and, at first, had trouble with her shoulder and the machine, and now, her eyesight is hindering her. Since my mother is a master seamstress and anything sort of perfection is unacceptable. I asked her for a sewing machine for my birthday, intending to learn at her side. Time, aches, and pains got in the way. So, when I completed my sewing lessons at a craft school, my mother discussed giving me her sewing machine.

That was it, just a passing comment. But, I felt the gravity. My mother would no longer create. There would be no more shared projects. How would I learn to make a proper buttonhole? Who could teach me how to pleat? How would I learn to make those ruffles? Less than a week later, the machine came to me. No ceremony, just my dad putting it on my table. The baton passed. Quietly. I haven’t gotten the courage up to take the machine out yet. I am daunted by the legacy of my mother. I want to create just like she did. I want to sew with my daughters. I want this machine to transform me into more than a seamstress. I want to sew love into every piece I make.

One day soon, I will open the machine. I will create, and I will pass on the legacy before it is too late.

Mom, this is my promise to you- I will treat your sewing machine with the love and respect it deserves. Thank you for trusting me with your machine. It is far more than a machine to me. I love you. Happy Love Thursday everyone.

What Have I Done?

A little history. I am not a runner. Prior to about a month ago (October 5), my experience with running consisted of the Presidential Physical Fitness tests we had to do in school, or running after one of my kids. Running was not my idea of a good time. I kept active mainly by swimming competitively growing up, and lately cardio and weights. A couple months ago I decided to shake things up and try to set a goal of running a half marathon. I figured I’d start with a 5K, then a 10K, then finish with a half marathon. It was sort a fuzzy goal. I knew I definitely did not want to go for a full marathon, but a half seemed completely doable. My sister and brother in law both started running while they were deployed and are total runners now and compete in triathlons, the whole deal. So, my sister was really encouraging. We decided to look for fun destinations to run the half- San Diego, Orlando, and I thought Napa would be fun. You run, then you drink wine, what could be better? Now I’m thinking Not running could be better, MUCH better!

I started with a 5K on Halloween. I ran the whole way and finished with a good time. Then, I did another 5K. And yesterday I signed up for my first half marathon in July. ACK. That’s only 7 months to add another 9 miles to my running. Ack! Sure, that sounds like enough time. But I am freaking out.
I’ve been inspired by Kristen Emily, Linda, and Kristin. So, I’m hoping I can follow their lead. I’m hoping the end goal of accomplishment followed by a glass of wine will be enough to spur me on.

I'm hoping that posting this will keep me inspired enough to get moving...and keep moving!


My husband and I have been a couple for over 10 years now. My husband started our courtship trying to impress me with romantic gestures, bringing me flowers on our first date and constantly surprising me. For the past several years, his romance quotient (flowers, surprises, etc.) has been relatively low. Not to say that he isn't loving, kind, wonderful, and sexy. We are a very laid-back couple and tend to not make a big deal out of things like flowers and Valentine's Day. I recall one year being asked to buy my own Anniversary card! Well, I guess he must have been saving up because he outdid himself this month. Exhibit 1) He bought me flowers! This is a rare event indeed, and the flowers are actually the Hydrangeas I posted about last week. So I can plant them in our yard for years to come (hopefully), 2) He surprised me with romantic trip to our honeymoon destination. We went to a charity auction and he bid on the vacatation package without me knowing. It was a complete and utter surprise and I can not wait to go back! (only this time to a much nicer resort), and 3) just now, he was putting new lights in the bathroom-swoon. I never mentioned that the lights needed replacing. I loved it. Do men know how much we appreciate those little things? I try not to take it for granted because those little tasks really do pile up. Thank you sweetie, love you. Ah, romance. Or, it could be that it is hunting season so I've been left for the call of the wild countless times already, culminating in a deer trip this week?!

Kirtsy it up!

I met blogging celebrities.

I went to the Houston Kirtsy Takes a Bow Book signing. The Kirtsy book features a number of my favorite bloggers as authors and contributors. These ladies have given me so many laughs, stories, ideas, and beautiful images over the past several years, I figured it was the least I could do to support them. The ever lovely Laura Mayes was there. If you ever have a chance to meet her in person, take it. She is lovely, really and so stylish and sweet. Also, her little boy is a hoot (and is one of my M’s favorite people). Karen, the blogger responsible for bringing me into the blog world those many years ago was there with Marcus and she remembered me! (The last time I saw her was probably 3 years ago). Karen is just great, really. Gracious, warm, genuine. I also met one of my very favorite bloggers, Jenny from the Blogess. She was so quiet I almost didn’t believe it was her. I felt like such a fan girl. And, she was wearing one of her trademark wigs. I met new bloggers like Lauren from the Mc, she was almost as awe-struck as I was. Again, just a lovely, lovely person and a pleasure to meet her.

The energy was so warm. Kirtsy is such an empowering story of women and connections and pure creativity. It was a pleasure to be there. The event also pushed me to finally start a blog. I hope I have enough to say and maybe one day one of my posts will even show up on Kirtsy?

It was a good warm-up for Saturday when I am taking my Pioneer Woman Cookbook to get signed by Ree! I can hardly wait. I hope to be able to tell her how great her site is and then I love her stories and pictures. Or, I might chicken out…maybe I will bring cupcakes, that way if I make a fool out of myself, I will have chocolate to back me up!!

I am Thankful

Today is a day of thanks for all Americans. I have a lot to be thankful for, I was able to spend a relaxing day with my immediate family. We were thankful because my brother just arrived from his tour of duty in Iraq on Monday, so he was able to be home safe and sound with his wife and young son (cutest nephew). This year also brought my sister back safe from her tour of duty in Afghanistan. We hope this marks the last combat tour for our family for awhile (my dad, brother in law, sister, and brother have all gone to the Middle East or Afghanistan in the past few years!). I'm thankful that I am able to enjoy a wonderful meal with my family, good cooking, great conversation, and enjoy a little football along the way. I am blessed and very thankful. Every day. The little things that we take for granted-kisses from my children, having enough food on the table, health, living free, mean so much more today.

I am thankful for this day and all it brings. The following is a short prayer I said at a recent Thanksgiving celebration: Dear Lord, we offer our thanks today: For our children, each a blessing from you and the hope they represent; for the families gathered here and for our families who can't be with us today. May we all be ever thankful for our blessings. May this food nourish and strengthen us to be better representations of what is good and to always strive to be better.

I'm also thankful that Colt McCoy read my last post and has sent up some bigger passes today. Ok, I'm sure he did not read my last post. But, still, he is super focused tonight-as are the receivers and RBs. Wish we could have a stronger showing, but...May today also bring a Texas victory. Amen

Hook 'em Horns!

Football talk commencing in 3,2,1...
I'm amazed I haven't posted a football post yet. I love talking Texas Football when we are having a good season. I guess the definition of this year's season is confusing me. Technically, the team has had a good season, maybe even great-no losses and currently 3rd in BCS rankings. If we win the final two games of the season, the Texas Longhorns will once again be where they belong, in the National Championship game at the Rose Bowl. That said, I don't think this team is as great as they could be. or, as great as they should be. I think about last year's games and those were more exciting, more spectacular, more gelled. I want that dynamic spirit back. (I still want the wins though!!). I think about the 2005 Championship team and they were just fantastic-all season. Amazing.

I love Colt McCoy, partly because his name is 100% Texas Quarterback. Also, he is crazy accurate and seems like such a great leader and motivator. He's made some great plays, but this year it seems like his receivers are doing most of the work. I want more long passes for scores. I'd like to see more games like Colorado. I think my biggest problem is with the offensive play-calling. Of course, I've had problems with offensive calls in past seasons. Believe me. However, the Texas Defense and Will Muschamp have been fan-freaking-tastic. Love, swoon. Texas D, you are the reason the team has done as well as it has. Those guys rock.

I hope we continue to win out. Statistically we should. But, you never know. If we go to the Big 12, I think Nebraska is going to play hard. There's nothing a team likes more than to upset. (If you think about tit though, teams should root for their conference to be represented int he National Championship game, it can only reflect well on the strength of the Conference. But, I digress. And, yes, I was pissed that Oklahoma was there last year but only because that was OUR SPOT and we was robbed, robbed!!)

I hope to go the the Rose Bowl to watch Texas defeat an Sec team. The 2005 National Championship team won at the Rose Bowl, and they won against the odds. Also, the Texas team beat an USC team with a Heisman quarterback...hmm, similarities. I would be more than happy to see a replay of that game, as long as Colt pulls a Vince Young move at the end of the game to win!!

Those are my thoughts just before the last regular season game. Hopefully we can chalk up another W tomorrow. As one of my friends says, a W is a W, one point or 70 points. God, I love Texas Longhorn Football.

Discount for Folks who Hate to Iron!

Today and Tomorrow Only!

Brooks Brothers is having a great sale on their non-iron, no wrinkle shirts 2/$99 That may not sound like a great deal, but it is worth every penny. I never pay full price for anything, especially clothes. However, these shirts are truly an investment piece. They absolutely live up to their name and have great quality and craftsmanship. A co-worker turned me on to these shirts when I initially thought that there is no way that I would ever, ever, ever pay that much for a shirt. She was 100% correct. Someone at Brooks Brothers has a deal with the devil because the shirts are too good to be true! I have tried other shirts advertised similar to these from major retailers like... cough... BR and JCrew, and even Ann Taylor. But, none even came close to these. Since I have the readership of zero right now, I feel confident that no one will hear about this great deal. But, I plan on posting deals like this in the future, so here it is.

In case anyone ever reads this and you work for Brooks Brothers design, can you expand the color to include brown and red? K thanx bai-kisses.

Favorite Photo 1

I want to start getting a few of my favorite photos out there and this one seemed best today since it is starting to get chillier and chillier every day. I took this photo earlier this year when my husband and I enjoyed a fabulous trip to Hawaii. Hope this takes you to a warmer place, even if it's just in your mind!

Fall Flowers

I saw these gorgeous Hydrangeas in the store today and had to snap a quick picture. The picture does them no justice-deep purple, ruby, perfect for a Thanksgiving table. I may have to go back and pick a few bunches up for Thursday. I love fresh flowers when we are entertaining. Hydrangeas are one of my very favorite flowers and I have not seen hydrangeas so rustic before. You really need to see these in person to fully appreciate, but I hope they brighten your day a bit. Happy Fall everyone.

Add This to Your Gift List!

I intended to post this Friday in case anyone went shopping Black Friday, but failed. Anyhow, this is a wonderful addition to any gift list and a MUST for every woman's closet. A universally flattering and versatile dress. I LOVE, love, la-la-love, pink puffy heart LOVE this dress from Banana Republic. I normally don't spend this much on clothes because I am...ahem, frugal. Even though I got discounts on the dresses (I bought 2!), I would pay full price. They are that awesome. Great for work, then dress up with accessories for going out. I've even worn the dress to a child's birthday party.

*Of course Banana Republic, gap, etc did not pay me for this post. Really, I've been blogging less than a week. Why would they pay me?!

The Poor Didn't Want This One

We have a Thanksgiving Donation basket in our office. I went in last week to make my donation and was very unfortunately reminded about "The Sound of Music." Not because I don't love "The Sound of Music," because I do. Who doesn't? Who can argue with traipsing around Austria singing songs in curtains while teaching history along the way. Well, maybe the Nazis but they don't really count. Anyway... There is a scene in "The Sound of Music" just after Maria arrives at the Von Trapp house where the Captain comments on her dress. Maria states that when she joined the abbey, all her worldly possessions/clothes were donated to the poor. Captain Von Trapp then asks: "What about this one?", Maria: "The poor didn't want this one." I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist.

So, as I was putting in my box and cans I noticed a few interesting donations that I feel certain belong in the "Poor didn't want this one" category.
1) several jars of spaghetti sauce, that expired two years ago!
2) numerous cans of sardines and anchovies. I am thinking these were donated by the same individual because how many people use sardines and anchovies on a regular basis? A distinct few, I imagine.
3) multiple jars of Dried Beef Product. Ew ew blech, vomit, ew. Yuk. Clear Glass jars containing "Dried Beef Product (DPB)." Exactly what constitutes DPB? Definitely more 'dried' than 'beef' by my observation. It appeared to be something akin to a dried cow's tongue. All gross. I feel nauseous remembering it. So nasty.

If you hear any news reports of widespread illness from "donations" to the Food Bank, you will know which office to blame.

*I donated boxed mac n cheese and soups. All were recently purchased.*

Being an Adult is Hard -#1

When you come into a "bonus" amount of money, from work, from whatever, and you decide to buy the awesome vacuum you've been coveting for months. Which is sadder: that you can't argue it was money well spent, that you coveted a vacuum for months, or that you could have bought an awesome pair of shoes instead?? I have to say, it's been almost a year and you will have to pry my Dyson out of my cold, dead hands.

Yes, I bought it with a coupon, so what??

Who, What, Where, Why, and How?

My first blog post-available to the public. I'm such a perfectionist that I deleted my first several attempts, they were truly heinous. I am a proud Texan, living in a big city, who has no free time between work, family, and various activities. Basically, I am like most people you know. I was introduced to blogging years ago by Karen,, who showed me her Christmas post on Santa at Mass. I was hooked. Now, I would say I am somewhere between addicted and a webfan. So, not pretty! Actually, I find that blogging has been a great idea community for me. I have learned a ton of great photography tips from Karen, MckMama, and Ree to name a few. I have gotten great decorating ideas from Layla, Kimba, and the great minds at ohdeedoh. Mir shows me every day how to save money. And Gabrielle, Kristen, and others provide daily inspiration and ideas.

After enough people encouraged me to start my own blog, I am finally throwing my hat in. We'll see how this goes. While I won't say never, I am not expecting huge traffic, book deals, or cool trips. Although, I will always take chocolate if anyone wants to throw some at me!! I am doing this because, as much as I love my friends, they do not share my obsessions: Longhorn football, decorating, crafting, and pop culture. So, I'm hoping I can find and connect with "my people" online.

What you will likely find is that I am trying to find my voice. I expect that my blog will be a little like Melanie (her husband P and my husband could be separated at birth-except for the whole Aggie thing), a little like T, maybe, on a good day as funny as Jenny (No, I will never be that funny!). It's a learning process and I hope you enjoy the process with me.