Sunday, December 30, 2012

This Christmas

So here I sit, by the warm fire, bowl games on TV, and a dying Christmas tree that I pray makes it until New Years! Jeremie and I returned from Christmas in MS last night and we were some tired puppies.

This Christmas season wasn't how I envisioned it, but as a result, some sweet memories were made. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Mom was determined I would have some Christmas decorations out before she left Dallas. So as I sat in an office chair (that we labeled my "wheelchair") she pulled out a lot of them. It was fun unpacking them out with her, because she loves Christmas decorations as much as I do. So a couple weeks later, after I finally had the energy to decorate the tree, here was the end result:

Christmas shopping was also a little harder this year since I was sick. (Let's just say a lot of people got gift cards.) Sweet hubby did help with the shopping and took me to Ross one day where I shuffled myself around leaning on the buggy. And I have to admit--Ross stepped up to the plate, because we found a  lot of of great gifts there!

And one night, a Christmas tradition came to us: Carolers!!! We had several elementary school kids show up at the door singing Jingle Bell Rock. It was about the cutest thing I've ever seen, so of course, I HAD to take a picture.

We headed to MS last Friday and after dodging the Dallas traffic the first 30 minutes of our trip, my head was already spinning.  Lucky for me, I was prepared, popped a Dramamine, and was asleep in 30 minutes. About 4 hours later, I woke up long enough to use the bathroom, eat some Wendy's and take another Dramamine. (Actually, we stopped at Toys R Us for a few minutes to get something for Judah, but all I remember is J making me sit on a bicycle box and coming to get me after his purchase.) Jeremie's parents was the first stop and Sunday we headed to Fairhope to have Christmas with Lauren & Gray. Judah LOVED his gifts (a xylophone and a Caterpillar tunnel) and he was a hoot to watch. Such a change from the silent sleeping baby last year!  But look at that face.

Christmas Eve was busy wrapping gifts (and eating gumbo) with my sister and my mom, which was a ball. Christmas morning was the traditional breakfast-in-your-pajamas at Jeremie's grandparents and then off to my parent's for lunch and gifts. My family put together the funniest gag gift for J. He is always talking about finding lease land that he can hunt on in Texas, so my parents thought they would help put together everything he would need for a "suburban hunt": a shooting house (shoe box), a corn feeder (coffee can), a toy gun, a target, and an inflatable moose head. It was a hoot!

Here is our 2012 pic! Our FOURTH Christmas married and EIGHTH Christmas as a couple! Hard to believe!

I love love love Christmas, even when it turns out a little different than you expected. And most of all, I am SO thankful that we have loving families to go home to; that kind of tradition is better than any gift you could buy!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fall Fun

Although it's a week before Christmas, it's STILL Fall until December 21st!!! So technically I'm not behind an entire season. Jeremie and I really enjoyed Football Season Fall in our new house. Most weekends we were working on projects, so I would throw some appetizers together, put our MSU tablecloth on the coffee table, and we'd pig out and rest on the couch while watching the games. One weekend, J declared that it was time to put the paint brushes and tools down and have a "date weekend".  All you ladies out there KNOW that this is music to any wife's ear! I quickly got to planning (one of my favorite hobbies) and we spent that Friday evening dining at an Italian restaurant called Maggiano's. The next day we hit up a cool cafe in Uptown for brunch. And here is why I picked this place:

Chicken and Waffles. I have heard about this combination from several friends, but never experienced it. The fact that they served it with white gravy really set it over the top. J's plate in the upper corner was breakfast burritos, which was quite tasty too.  After brunch, we went to the Dallas World Aquarium, which was amazing. It was much more than an aquarium though, they had all kinds of animals! The colors of all the fish and corals were beautiful. But the best part was really just the quality time with my hubby. 

We also had some more visitors this Fall: The Wells! J's parents came for a long weekend and we did what we do best-eat and shop. We took them to Downtown McKinney where we could barely pull Mitch out of the antique stores, and somehow we squeezed two 4 ft. shutters into Cate's hybrid. We also went to the Texas 500 Nascar race where Mama Cate worked her connections and got us into the garage and on pit row! She was like a kid in a candy store! It was a neat experience, but since it was so loud, you have to wear earplugs and essentially can't talk for 4 hours. And unless I'm asleep....ya'll know I have an issue with not being able to talk for 4 hours.  

Mama Cate getting our "backstage passes"....

Jr. League has also been in full swing this season! I'm glad I joined because I've met some really sweet gals. Our October meeting had a "Homecoming" theme which was complete with a food truck, a drum line a chorus, homemade corsages, and they even gave out spirit sticks for awards! Ya'll know I love a party with a theme, and these ladies know how to do it right! Everything's bigger in Texas! We also had a huge Christmas market event.There were even firemen in Santa suits to take pics with, but I stuck with my girls. ; ) 

I also love Fall because it's time to start wearing sweaters, building fires, making s'mores, drinking hot cocoa, and lighting pumpkin scented candles. This year I also tried something new: candied apples.  My dear friend in Tallahassee, Melissa, posted some on her blog and I just HAD to have them! They were a little messy, but for my first time, I think they turned out pretty good. We also had trick-or-treaters at our house this year, which I LOVED! I am such a sucker for old time traditions. 

Hope winter holds more fun memories! Happy Fall Ya'll!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tis the Season to Be.....

I feel like this is the most appropriate phrase for this time of the year and all of us could insert so many interesting things after this phrase. In fact, I'd love to send a survey around and see what everyone would fill in.  If you asked me over the last 3 weeks, my answers would have ranged from Tis the Season to Be sad, joyful, sick, thankful, overwhelmed, discouraged, cheerful, grateful, and the list could go on and on!

I'll go back to Thanksgiving, which now that everything's ALL Christmas, seems like a lifetime ago.  My Thanksgiving break started off tough since our family dog, Max, had been sick for about a week by the time J and I arrived in MS. Long story short, we tried everything we could, but by the following Monday, we all knew Max was too sick and too old to pull through. So we thanked him for his 11 years of loyalty and let him go.  My parents got Max for me when I was a Junior in high school and he was one farm-loving, cow-chasing, deer-tracking Blue Heeler. Thanks Max, for being the best buddy.

Filling my stomach with turkey, dressing, casseroles, and pecan pie(s) was more than welcome food therapy after dealing with Max. I wish I was one of those people who just COULDN'T eat when they are sad, but I'm opposite! Wednesday was Thanksgiving with my wonderful family (including all 4 grandparents-how special is that?) and Thursday we did it all again with J's wonderful family. 

We did have another sad loss during our trip home....J's great uncle, Uncle Powell passed away the day after Thanksgiving. But we were thankful we were able to be there for his services and with the family. Through J's mom's eulogy, I found out much more about the sweet man that always wore the red suspenders to our family dinners. : ) 

Judah time was also much welcomed therapy, especially since he fell asleep on me every time I took him for a walk.  "Uncle J" and I also took him riding on the 4-wheeler AND changed our first poopy diaper. You would've thought it was a football game. We planned our strategy, our positions, and executed. J was to lift the legs, I was the wiper, and J would handle the "hand-off" [of the poopy diaper]. Beforehand, I told J to grab something to put under Judah so we wouldn't get poopy all over his parent's bed. The boy comes back with a trash bag to lay him on.  I died laughing, but hey, it worked. After putting the diaper on backwards and replacing it properly, Judah LITERALLY smiled and clapped for us.  

Our little guy is growing up!
And let's just throw it out there, we all know it happened with the Egg Bowl. (Insert the phrase: Tis the Season to Be.....Disgusted with Your Football Team.)

Jeremie and I returned to Texas and I was ready to get back to our routine. Well, that only last about a day, because the next day I started feeling a little under the weather.  To try to nip it in the bud, I layed around for a couple days, and pushed through a Thirty-One party on Friday night. By the time I got back, I could barely even hear myself talk; my head was swimming! I won't get into all the details, but in the middle of the night when my whole body was tingling and shaking, I knew something was wrong! So the next morning, we headed to the doctor where the verdict was a middle ear and sinus infection. What the doctor DIDN'T tell me was what a long recovery it would be!!! (I know an ear infection sounds so simple, but it literally attacks everything in your head that controls your balance, which is so miserable!)  By Tuesday when I wasn't much better, the house was a total disaster, and J was exhausted from trying to work AND take care of me, it was Carol to the rescue! Moms just have a sense when they are NEEDED, and quicker than two shakes of a lamb's tail, Mom had bought a plane ticket and was at my front door 7 hours later. The feeling of relief was instant. Mom spent the next 4 days tending to my every need, cleaning the house and making ample supply of Taco Soup & Gumbo so we didn't have to worry about cooking. There are no words for how grateful I was to have her.  Tis the Season To Be....thankful for a Mom's unconditional love and need to take care of her children.  She even managed to pull out of few of my Christmas decorations and put a few things up.  

If you know me, you KNOW how much I love Christmas and all the decorations, festivities, and traditions that come with it.  Well, since I can barely even drive at the moment, I have missed all the Christmas events that I had on the calendar. We have a tree in the house (from Lowe's, which is an abomination to me) but there aren't even lights on it yet. I was having myself just a good ole pity party the last few days about this, thinking-this is my FAVORITE time of the year and I've missed all the things that make this time special!!! And then oh my goodness-DING DONG-the Lord hits me on the head with the spiritual frying pan and says: NO! These things are NOT what make this time of the year special! It's about My Son arriving on Earth for you! And it hit me. If my spirit is crushed this season because I have missed Christmas parties and feel behind on shopping, what does that say about my faith and how I value Jesus' entrance into this world? And just like that, the Lord quietly brings me back to Him. : ) 

Now-I'm not saying that I feel guilty or bad for loving Christmas parties, events and traditions. (Nor am I saying that I will never be stressed during the holidays again, because we are all human.) And when I feel better I'm totally gonna put lights and all those pretty ornaments on the tree and make Jeremie ride me around town to look at Christmas lights! But I am saying that I needed to be brought back to reality and the real reason for the season and how grateful I am to be a child of the Child that we are celebrating.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Meet Nduku!

Meet Nduku, our "adopted" child through Compassion International that lives in a village called Kaani in Kenya. Nduku's 11th birthday was on Sunday, so I thought it'd be a great time to introduce her! We adopted Nduku a little over 2 years ago, and it has been a complete joy to be connected with this child!

It's amazing to have a relationship with a child that is over 8,000 miles away and has a completely different lifestyle than we do. Nduku lives in an agricultural type village where homes are typically earthen floors, brick walls, and iron sheet roofs. Nduku is responsible for carrying water and gathering firewood. How different than our daily duties!!! But the really amazing thing is the personal letters we get from her. We've received six so far, and they are full of thanks, prayer request for her, questions about us, and comments about how she prays for us and our family members (she will specifically name them, which is adorable.) She also talks about what she is learning about different characters of the Bible, and thanks us for the specific Bible verse that we've included in our last letter. Compassion also gives the opportunity for you to give a birthday, Christmas gift, and family gift each year. It is unbelievable what Nduku has told us they've been able to do with our rather small gifts! Everything from buying chickens, goats, a "petticoat", food supplies, a BED, and construction materials for their home. It melts my heart to think how God can use [what we think] is a "nominal" amount to extraordinarily affect others' lives. 

When I say "adopted", I mean that we give $38 a month to provide Nduku with an opportunity to be involved programs that reveal the gospel to her and train her in the Bible. It also helps to provide basic needs like clothes, food, etc.  If you have ever given a passing thought to something like this, I strongly urge you to consider it and check out the Compassion website. We spend more than $38 on a tank of gas!!This is an awesome investment in a child's life to help them know Christ and have opportunities that they otherwise would not have. 

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." -John 13:34-45

"This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God." -2 Corinthians 9:12

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Wells Take the Field!

This past weekend Jeremie & I made the looooooooong (a zero for each hour of driving) trip to Starkville. Starkvegas. God's Country. The Dawghouse. Whatever you want to call it, it's heaven to us. It was Homecoming and we had the rare opportunity to go on field for the game! And let me just tell you. IT. WAS. AMAZING. As cliche as it sounds, everything is just seems bigger on field! The players are bigger, the stadium looks bigger, and yes, those cowbells are much louder! I was so hyped up I wanted to chest bump somebody. No wonder the players are always on the sidelines, because the energy is electrifying! But I figured shaking it on the 50 would get me & Jeremie kicked off the field quicker than two shakes of a lamb's tail. (I was tempted to payoff Bully to let me wear the mascot outfit and ride in on top of the Dawghouse, but again, the risk of getting kicked out was too great.) After the players ran in, I shaking with excitement. Jeremie and I agreed that aside from getting married, (just two buildings away) this was the about the coolest thing that has ever happened to us. During halftime, we were able to go up to the Pressbox, which was so neat. We got to see all the reporters and the Middle TN coaches even passed by us on their way to the locker room. And let's just say they were NOT HAPPY. We sat with Mom for a while in our seats and then went back on the field to "Wrap it Up in Maroon and White". And although I didn't make it on ESPN or the Jumbotron, I DID manage to get some great pics. HAIL STATE!

Aside from the game, we got to hit up some of our favorite Starkville restaurants and spent some quality time with Mom and Amy at her darling new house. The weekend was fabulous and it's always fun making more memories in our favorite place. Go Dawgs!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Home Improvement: Part I

Whew! Home ownership has proved to be hard work!!! We have been working on projects ever since we moved in it seems like, and I'm finally able to post some pics of a couple finished (or mostly finished) endeavors.

The upstairs bathroom was something I wanted to tackle right away; it was an "English Pea Green" color, and let's be honest, does ANYBODY actually like English Peas?  

So here's a Before: 

And after: 

The color still doesn't really show up in the picture, but it's a soft grey.  I love it and LOVE all the colors in the shower curtain! One room down......all the others to go! HA!  

While I did the bathroom, J started on a much bigger project that took more than a weekend! He wanted a media unit that would hide hold all of our electronics and also give us some more storage. So after MUCH planning, calculating, drawing, and a few trips to Lowe's, the carpenter went to work. 

We started out with this: (obviously the TV, stand and side table were on the wall to the right, I just forgot to take a "Before" picture)

And our house was full of this: 

And the final product looks like this: 

We are waiting for some cushions to be sewn that will go on top of the benches on each side.....but hey, we've come a long way, baby. There are no words for how PROUD of my hubby I am!!! I knew that he had skills, but honestly, he completely impressed me with this. He worked so hard; the only thing I had to offer were my painting skills. The best thing.....there is not a cord in sight! LOVE it!  

And here are some extra pics of the living room for those of you requesting pics.  There is still a lot of decorating I want to do.......but it's  HOME. : ) 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Our First Visitors

Although our house looked like a construction zone this week, we swept aside the sawdust and welcomed our very first visitors in our new home.....Jeremie's grandparents, AKA "Grandmother" and "Grandad". They were one their way back to Mississippi from their Western Road Trip, which was a celebration of their 60th wedding anniversary. They had already hit up Jackson Hole, Mount Rushmore, The Grand Tetons, and Old Faithful. But they were equally excited for the next attraction to be Dallas : )  J had to work a half day on Thursday, so I actually had them all to myself, and we had a blast! We started off with breakfast and chatting in our pajamas, then I took them for a spin around the neighborhood, and  we went downtown to the JFK Museum. Later we met up with Jeremie (or "Sunshine" as Grandmother refers to him) and visited the Dallas Arboretum, which was absolutely gorgeous. There was every type of plant and flower known to man, plus an amazing glass sculpture exhibit and a pumpkin village which was just about the cutest thing I've ever seen.  Here are a few pics from their visit!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saturday Punchlist

There isn't really one thing that I have to blog about so I'm going old school bullet point list: 
  • For all of you who are requesting pictures of the house: I would LOVE to be able to post pictures, trust me; but we're not completely finished with any one room in the house that I'm confident enough to post a picture of. The bedroom is getting pretty close, but the lack of bedskirt and lampshades still wrapped in plastic made me decide against it.  I was afraid it'd show up on Pinterest as a "What Not to Do."  
  • Projects that have been completed: painted the bedroom, loft, and started the upstairs bathroom today. Changed 80's gold doorknobs to bronze. Changed 80's black electrical covers to Ivory. Changed 80's doorbell to one that is safe to touch.  It's the little things that add up to BIG $$$ and lots of time. All this being said: I LOVE our home, it is so fun finally being a homeowner.
  • J started a new big project today: he is building an entertainment center! He has been very strategic in his planning and it's going to look great. BUT, any big construction project can be nerve wracking, so his prayer at suppertime last night sound like this:  "Dear Lord, thank you so much for this day. Please bless our efforts on our new project and grant me the artistic ability that I don't have to do it right."  I cracked up. I think the Good Lord did too. 
  • Our new house is close to EVERYTHING, including the new Trader Joe's which is a specialty grocery store. Jeremie and I do "App (Appetizer) Night" every Friday, and we thought we had it perfected. Usually it consist of cheese, olives, salami, bread, etc. Trader Joe's has opened up a whole new world to us.  Mac n' Cheese Bites. Mini Tamales. Wantons. Twenty extra pounds. 
  • I have started a new bible study on Genesis. I'm gonna be honest-I automatically thought: "Genesis....I know all the stories in Genesis"......Oh, but I hear God cracking up again......there is more packed in those first two verses than I ever even knew.  Looking forward to what it ahead!  
  • The Bulldogs are undefeated. This bullet point list is now complete. 
Happy Trails from the Wells!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In Loving Memory: Our Papaw

A midst all the joys of life, we all know there are also sorrows. On August 21st, Jeremie's grandfather-more lovingly known as "Papaw" passed away. We are sad to have such an important person missing from our family, but as it was JOYFULLY mentioned so many times at his funeral, the Lord gained another member of his kingdom. Papaw LOVED the "homeplace" (in Beaumont where J grew up), and Jeremie and his Dad have followed in his footsteps; I don't think you could find 3 more people who love to walk around that pond more. Fortunately, Papaw was able to visit with his whole family in July, and even got to meet his great-grandson.  : ) What a blessing, and just another way that the Lord shows that he orchestrates all things. Thank you, Papaw for loving and leading your THREE generations. : ) 

"Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."  Psalm 23:6

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Home. Sweet. Home.

So we are FINALLY moved into our first home!!! I am so excited to finally be able to say that we own a house. Ever since we got married, we have been house hunting, and came so close a couple times; I was devastated when those homes didn't work out.  BUT- now I see that God had a different path laid out before us! (A path that was 876 miles away to be specific.) 

We almost found this house on accident. We started looking in the beginning of July and saw several homes that just didn't work for us. They looked great online, but let's just say the photographers were really talented.  Therefore, we decided I needed to do drive-bys before actually going in. So I pretty much spent an entire week driving all over the DFW area. (I called it, because I really felt like I did.)  The drive-bys weren't successful because of neighborhoods, homes being on powerlines, etc, and there was nothing closer than a 45 minute commute for J.  So that Saturday, J joined the tour and we did more drive-bys. After again seeing nothing we were interested in, we were frustrated, hungry, and honestly, both had to go to the bathroom after being in the car for 4 hours. (I admit, we were not being patient Christian examples.) Before swinging into a Mexican restaurant to drown our cares in cheese dip, a nearby house popped up on J's phone (thanks to the app) and we decided to swing by, thinking it was probably a waste of time. To my happy surprise, the neighborhood was adorable and so was the house.  It was an older, established neighborhood with...wait for it....TREES! Who knew they actually grow trees in Texas? 

We were cautiously excited and knew we need to move fast. So the next day, our sweet realtor, Helen, met us at the house for a tour. (Plug for our realtor: this was a Sunday afternoon and she met us literally on her way back from her Colorado vacation. She. Is. Amazing.) We LOVED the house and put in our offer the next day. Begin the waiting. I was eating chewable Pepto like it was candy. We finally got the counter back (in the middle of the night) and accepted! Inspection went well enough and we signed our lives away on August 16th! I ALMOST cried during the closing, but didn't want to embarrass J. I was that excited. 

That weekend we got to work on fixing enhancing some of the colors. Painting looks so fun and romantic on HGTV, but all it gave me was a back ache. BUT, it looks great and it was fun knowing we were doing home improvements on OUR house! 

We moved everything in on Monday with the help of our little moving angels Dee and Vee. They helped us move into our rental, and they are the jolliest, hardest working movers ever. They are also cousins with Beyonce, so maybe I'll have her at my housewarming party. Couldn't have done it without them. 

 This week has still been a little chaotic with finishing the rental and weeding through boxes, but we are so happy to be here. J loves the commute, I love being settled, and Manny loves the neighborhood because it is over-populated with bunnies. All is Well(s).