Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 & Away We GO!

It's New Year's Eve morning of 2010. What am I doing? Sitting in my jammies and yesterday's hair with Bogart (who I guess is also in his jammies too as he is sleeping). Drinking a big cup of Chic'fil A coffee. I finished the chicken mini's about 1.5 hours ago. Yeah, that's right. I had to get up at 6:10 on my day off to take Joey to work because we've got to get to Kristin's wedding on time and he's working! I've got to pick him up at work on our way out. So me and Bogart are just chilling on the couch. And reflecting.

I absolutely LOVE LOVE this time of year. There is something about starting a new year that is refreshing and invigorating! Don't you agree? I get in a crazy organizing and cleaning out mood. But I also get really reflective. 2010 has been a doozy (sp.?)! Lots of love, laughter, some loss, top of the world moments, in the valley moments, its had it all. Here are a few of the things I'm reflecting on from 2010.

1. Year as Married #3. What a blessing! I love my husband more than I ever knew it was possible to love anyone! I am thankful for his leadership in our family and patience toward me when my strong-willed nature comes out. Not that this happens often, but you know, for those rare moments when I am stubborn and selfish. Ha! I kid. This is pretty much all the time. I'm working on it. God definitely refines within marriage. It's lovely.

2. My changing family. Brothers with girlfriends. Sister with boyfriend. Weddings. Births. I get kind of sentimental. To think of how it must feel for grandparents to see the family that they started grow and compound in love with each addition. I love big families, do you?

3. Changes at work. We lost some wonderful co-worker friends for various reasons. I love them so much and it's been hard to see them go. It's like losing a part of your family. I miss them.

4. Life changes. They're coming. I'll tell you about them next week. And no, we are not expecting, but good try! :P

5. Finding a new church home and family. Making new friends. We love it!

6. My wonderfully free 2010 work calender that contained these beautiful photos below:

Truly, could they have picked a more uninspiring turkey?

And nothing says Christmas like a ravenous bobcat staring down at you while you work.

That's an overview. I can't wait to see what God has in store for us in 2011! Come what may!

Joey and I are setting our 2011 goals personally and for our family. The biggest change I want to make is for 2011 to not be all about me. My goals all too often fall in the self-focused category. Get a hot body, go the gym, eat healthy, travel, save money, etc. All great goals, no question (maybe the get a "hot" body is a little overboard). But again, they're all about me.

My challenge to both you and me is to get out of our "me" resolution boxes. Maybe you are already way of ahead of me on this one! In addition to the self-improvement goals, add this question: how can I make impact in the lives of others?

It's about time that Bo and I get out of our jammies and pack for our trip so I wish you a blessed and impact-filled 2011! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas time is still here

Would you believe that we are still Christmasing? Yup! This will make week numero tres. We have my cousin Kristin's wedding on New Year's Eve and then we will be traveling to Crockett, Texas on Saturday to participate in Christmas festivities with my Paw Paw Hanks and family.

This may be a long post because it has been a crazy busy three weeks and I didn't tell you one thing about it. Well, except that we have been doing a lot of traveling. With my moth ball smelling wrapped presents. I don't know what the deal was with my wrapping paper, but it stunk! Literally. You would think I wrapped up an old attic coat and stuck it in a box. Lovely Christmas scent.

The week before last we celebrated Christmas with my Mom's family: the Butler clan. As usual, I forgot my camera. I have actually done this for all Christmas' this year to date. I know, I'm a photographic loser. I did take a few on my phone.

But see how grainy some of it turned out?

Kristin's grandmother Patsy, Kristin and Maw Maw

Kristin's wedding shower was Saturday morning and I was in charge of the cake. That is, completely in charge of making it AND decorating it. Did I tell you I took a cake decorating class in the fall? It was interesting. I'll tell you about it sometime. In hind sight, volunteering to do my first shower cake ever and entering in complexities like transportation and doing much of the work in someone else's kitchen was probably not the most wise idea. I baked the cakes at my house the day before with some issues (another note, one should not try to bake shower cakes that require attention while baking for neighborhood Christmas goodie bags. There are no winners in this arrangement.) Then, I found out the next morning that I left half of my essential ingredients and items in Katy.

So, several trips to Wal-Mart, one gigantic powdered sugar explosion and a few meltdowns later, I did have an iced cake. But no time. There were a few times where I was about to give up and go buy a cake, but I pushed through. I scrapped everything I learned in cake class and just camouflaged all my mistakes with rose petals and sparkly sprinkles. I got there right as the shower began. Everyone said it was a nice cake and the bride wasn't worried about it so that's what mattered. It's one of those things where you know you can do better, but no one else seems to mind but you. :)

Here's a snapshot of my camouflaging:

Ok, ok, I don't mind you seeing it up close:

Let's just say that it's most likely that I will not be the next Ace of Cakes.

We then spent the evening Christmasing with the my Mom's family. The biggest gift hit of the night was when my Aunt Gail (My Grandmother's sister) gave my Mom, two aunts, uncle and grandmother each a big copy paper box to open. As each person took off the top, we saw that the boxes contained linens, photographs and family heirlooms from my Nanny and PoPo, my great grandparents. Needless to say, there were few dry eyes as they pulled out needlework from many generations old. Here are my Aunt Lisa and Uncle David playing a game that they played at Nanny's house when they were little. Nanny's toy room was the stuff of childhood memories.

Aunt Lisa & Uncle David facing off

Next comes Ruston, Jonesboro and Natchitoches, Louisiana. The Perot family Christmases. We had sweet time with Joey's family. Mr. Petey made a huge pot of gumbo which was amazing as usual. Mrs. Kate and I spent time with Grandmama on Christmas Eve while Joey and his dad ran errands. We had a fun time setting the table and getting her house ready for Christmas lunch. Christmas lunch with Grandmama and Uncle Butch in Jonesboro, then off to Christmas dinner in Natchitoches with Mr. Petey's family. Did you know that Natchitoches is where they filmed Steel Magnolias? I got the fifty cent Steel Magnolias' tour from Mr. Petey on this visit. Yes, Mrs. Kate actually took Joey and his brother to audition. Apparently, Joey was too big and his hair was too dark, or something like that. Hmm...what could have been...

I'll have to post the Perot pics when I get them from Mrs. Kate. So more to come.

On our way back to Katy on Sunday, we stopped in Livingston for Christmas with my immediately family.

You want to know something my Dad loves? Bath and Body Works' Warm Vanilla Sugar Moisturizing Hand Lotion. He orders it online. Isn't that funny? So I figured I would save him the shipping and handling.

Mom and Dad

Jo, angel posing

Joey in his characteristic pose with Mom

And of course, we all participated in Dad's Annual Christmas Scavenger Hunt. Dad has been doing this since we were kids. Growing up, we had to work for our gifts. Dad had us jumping through hoops and running all over the place to find our presents. It could be in the backyard. It could be at the church. It could be at the cemetery. There seem to be no real limits. The first year Joey and I were married, one of the clues for Joey's gift was frozen in a block of ice. He had to wait for it to unthaw before he could read the next clue. This is typical of Dad's scavenger hunts. I think he has the most fun out of all of us!

Our first clues

An example of one of Dad's clues

Loading up

I just thought this one was funny of Tyler and Stephen

Clue hiding place

Dad watching the wheels turn

Another clue found at the old anchor

Loading up again

There was one clue in the middle of these that I did not get a picture of because it was in the Grecian statues outside of our local library and involved hopping a fence. Leave it to Dad. We all felt like we might get pegged as vandals so my picture didn't come out because I was on the lam.

I think this is the final clue

My final prize was an Anthropologie gift card!!

We look forward to Dad's hunts every year!

One of my most favorite gifts this year were three little cardinals that Mrs. Kate passed on to us from Joey's great grandmother. She made each one of the boys hand stitched cardinals every year. I love them!

We have one wedding and one Christmas left before we truly start the New Year and we can't wait!

I hope you and your family had a very merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Getting Our Christmas On...and On...And On...!

Christmas season absorbed me. That's where I've been. Completely absorbed. Sucked into the Christmas Vortex.

Joey and I began our Christmas travels this past weekend. Here's our itinerary:

Livingston for a wedding shower and our first Christmas.

Then back to Houston for the work week and now it's time to get serious...

Ruston, LA
Jonesboro, LA
Natchitoches, LA

Short work week and we're off again...

Livingston for a wedding New Year's Eve.
Crockett for Christmas with Paw Paw Hanks.


I'm sitting on the couch with Bogart, drinking coffee and watching Regis and Kelly just to gear up.

By the way, when did Enrique Iglesias make a come back? I must have been in the Christmas Vortex while this was happening. I don't listen to the radio anymore, I guess. And I believe there is something missing from his face, no?

Another by the way, I think Bogart looks like Max.

He's running around like a crazy dog, so excited to be off for Christmas! Just so you know that's not my leg, it's Joey's. Poor Gus, he has to stay here for the holiday because Joey's truck is in the shop and we can't bring him with us. Thank goodness for neighbors!

Now, I have procrastinated long enough and must start packing! Merry Christmas, friends!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

At what point does a healthy snack become unhealthy?

When you eat an entire container, that's when.

Meet my new favorite snack:

Not to be confused with these:

Tricky, huh? I saw the Emerald Cocoa Roast nuts a while back and got super excited only to read the label and find out they contained sucralose, an artificial sugar. I avoid artificial sugars like poison. Which isn't far from the truth. Anyway, if I'm trying to choose a healthy snack, chemical-covered almonds just doesn't do it for me.

And then I saw Blue Diamond's natural brand Monday night. Flipped the bottle over ready to see a ton of junk despite the natural label and guess what?! It's clean! Well, almost. A little bit of corn maltodextrin, but tiny and it contains the natural sweetner, stevia (rebiana), instead of sucralose!

Talk about negating the benefits, I have eaten almost the entire thing. It's Wednesday. The expiration date says "April 2012". Yeah right. If I'm good, it may last through tomorrow.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sneak Attack

You know, Facebook is just downright amazing sometimes. The things you find out.

Take for instance the shoes above.

I lost these shoes about a month ago. They are my go-to pair of sneakers. And no, I don't normally use the term "sneakers". I must confess that it's more so I can use the title "Sneak Attack". I am more of a "tennis shoe" kind of girl. Sneakers is a little Beaver Cleaver. But all is fair in a blog and its title.

At first, I thought I just left them in another room. Joey and I had been going back and forth between the guest bedroom and our bedroom because we were redoing our master bath. I thought the misplaced shoes were just product of the chaos. But I didn't come across them in the guest room. Or our bedroom.

Instead, I put on another pair of shoes.

A few days pass. In need of said sneakers, I thought about the fact that I had been in my car a lot. Maybe I took them off there or in Joey's truck for some reason. No such luck.

I put on another pair of shoes.

Another several days go by. They must be under something. As a general rule of the thumb, items that are missing are usually under something, i.e. my keys were under my coat this morning. I checked under the couches, the beds, the tables and Joey's shoes. Apparently, the rule of thumb, or should I say big toe, has many exceptions, especially in the case of missing shoes.

I again, put on another pair of shoes and began to turn with a suspicious eyes to my cohabitants: Joey and the dogs. Being that Joey wears a size 14, I had my doubts. If a second pair of shoes had been missing, I might have checked my canine friends' closets. Although, I didn't take them off of the list completely, I moved them to the positions of possible accomplices to the crime. After all, spouses, children and dogs are often the vehicle through which things are placed on top of other things. Like keys. Ahem.

I thought to myself, surely I will come across them soon. One day we will be reunited. And I put on another pair of shoes.

When getting ready for Thanksgiving travels, I picked up my sneaker search once again with no luck. I posted my laments on that magical social networking tool they call Facebook.

Status and forthcoming comment from my sister's best friend:

Jenny Hanks Perot washing clothes and packing for Thanksgiving travels! Has anyone seen my white sneakers? I'm going to check Joey's feet when he gets home...

Cyndie Are you talking about the white sneakers with the stretchy elastic across the top instead of laces?

Wait, what? "The white sneakers...with the stretchy elastic across the top...instead of the laces."?! The image is coming to mind...

How the heck does she know what my sneakers look like?!

Ah ha!!! Considering that I have not seen Cyndie since I bought these shoes AND considering she is my sister's best friend AND considering I visited my parents house a month ago...


It's all coming together now.

Sneaker Snucked on left and the sneaker Sneaker Sneak on the right.

Thus ends the harrowing tale of the Sisterly Sneaker Heist. Thank you to Facebook for bringing my shoes to justice. Who knew. And Cyndie, my sister's best friend for ratting her out. And lastly, to Jo, for fessing up.

Monday, November 22, 2010

He's Got The Whole World in His Hands

God blessed me with a beautiful picture of childlike faith yesterday.

It was at the end of the church service while the music was being played that I looked over at the most precious young girl. Her mother had her in sitting in her lap and the little girl was looking into the eyes of her mom with such love and trust that it blew me away. Though her lips didn't speak it, that's what she said with her eyes.

What moved me so much was that this little girl has an illness that has given her a limited capacity of understanding and a complete and total reliance on her caregiver. Her parents' lives are built around caring for this little girl and making sure that the days that she has on this earth are filled with as much love, comfort and joy as they can give her.

In watching her look at her mom, I saw a glimpse of what it means to trust fully and the love that comes from it. Her every need must be met through the hands of another. She may not understand the complexities of life, but she understands its simplicity. Is not simplicity the most difficult of all to grasp sometimes?

At least it is for me. I want to understand why things happen. I want God to fill me in. But sometimes my mind just can't handle it. In fact, most of the time. So He asks that I just trust. Have a childlike faith. He says, "Hey, remember? I've got this!"

In a world that esteems the self-made man, how do I shake off the calloused layers of self-reliance and independence that have formed over the years? I don't know and I guess that's the point. It requires undressing the mind and humbling myself completely before Him. Thank you, Lord for the reminder!

"Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 18:5

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hello Guv'nor!

Have you had a most dapper day? I've had a jolly good day, thank you!

I've been speaking in a British accent since this happened:

That would be about a day and a half.

Joey just looks at me funny. By jove, I can't help it, I tell you! My accent tends to be Jane Austen proper meets Harry Potter expressions meets Texas Twang on repeat. Mixed in with a bit'o Irish brogue from time to time just to keep him guessing. Blimey!

I'm feeling a bit peckish. That's hungry for the layperson. Cheerio, old chap!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

No Shave November, Remember?







A few words about No Shave November and my husband.

No Shave November seems to last through June. And the prep work usually begins mid-October.

I have been duped. Ironic considering my profession, it's due to good marketing.

He's been quite wise to continue calling it No Shave November. The entire time we've been married I have been under the guise that my husband has a goatee. That's what I think of as part of his physical identity. But now that I have thoroughly assessed the situation and after looking through several pictures spanning multiple seasons, I have come to realize that I am married to a man with a beard; not a goatee. He shaves it off for only a few short months of the year and then hails in No Shave November as if it wasn't the norm. Clever.

Well played, bearded man.

But I'm on to you.

I have considered instituting my own No Shave November as payback, but cannot bring myself to suffer shame in shorts and a tank top at the gym. I may wear Uggs year round. Joey is not a fan of Uggs.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hanging Out with the March Girls

Guess what we're reading for November and December? Little Women! An absolute favorite of mine from childhood. Isn't it perfect for the holiday season? It's one of those books/movies that oddly seems to be a favorite during holidays for no other reason than that it makes you feel all cozy inside. Like the first Harry Potter. Or maybe it's just me, but I like to watch these movies around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I can't tell how comforting it is to get reacquainted with Jo, Meg, Amy, Beth and Marmee. I think I was probably around ten when I first met this cast of characters. Dad took me to the library once a week to pick out a new book and it was always on my favorites list.

Here are a few others that I loved-loved growing up:

Anne of Green Gables ( I also loved the TV series and had a crush on Gilbert. I was slightly jealous of Ann with an 'e')

Nancy Drew (this was only after I read all the Hardy Boys books my Dad passed to me and although I was thoroughly positive that Nancy, being a girl, could not hold a candle to the Hardy Boys' adventures, I read every single Nancy Drew book.)

Little House on the Prairie (and who wouldn't love Half-Pint?)

And others such as Sarah, Plain and Tall, Harriet the Spy, A Wrinkle in Time and the Phantom Tollbooth.

We are planning to watch the movie when we get together to discuss "where we will bear our souls and tell the most appalling of secrets". Ha!

Hands down, the Winona Ryder version is my favorite, but I guess it depends on what you grew up watching. When this movie came out I went to see it at the theater with my Mom, sister, aunts and grandmother which is only fitting for Little Women.

Do you have any childhood favorites that you would read again?

Monday, November 8, 2010


...caneck caneck!

How was your weekend? Hope it treated you well and was full of relaxation and fun!

Our weekend was full of chili and football! That about sums it up.


We had a tailgait party at our church on Friday night for the Katy football games complete with a chili cook off. I made a ginormous pot of chili. I have not really attempted chili since The Great Cinnamon Chili Debacle of Early 2010. So why I was entering the a pot of chili can only be rounded up to pure obligation. No, I didn't win, but let me say for the record that I was safe in the middle. Not that awesome, but not just plain terrible either. Whew!


Saturday, Joey and I headed to College Station with friends for the Aggie/ou game. (Did you see that? I just did a very Aggie thing in leaving "ou" in lowercase. It's what we do. It's the ultimate Aggie diss.) This was by far the best post graduation game I've been to. WE WON!!! A&M 33; ou 19!!!! We yelled the entire game. Joey lost his voice. I hugged a lady I didn't know. We were given the stank eye by ou fans for overzealous comments. In short, we had a blast.

Look, sometimes it's tough to be an Aggie. It's been nothing but a roller coaster of inconsistency over the past few years so we've gotta celebrate when we can!!

I'm not wanting to get my hopes up, but guess what's around the Thanksgiving corner? t.u.

P.S. I had a strawberry tart from Cafe Eccell. I'm still thinking about it. It was bliss.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Random Fact #5: Here Comes the Sun...Again

There was an entire year of my life where I listened to Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles every morning on the way to work.

I think it might be my favorite song. I hear that first little guitar riff and that's it for me. It turns things around.

No matter what kind of day I'm having, it always puts a smile on my face. If you're having a great day, it balloons that feeling. If you're having a bad day, it says just hold on, the sun is coming.

Joey and I planned to walk back up the aisle as a married couple to this favorite from the beginning, but it was even more fitting after the hurricane blew our first wedding to smitherines to finally walk out successfully married to Here Comes the Sun.

So to you from me, a smile in song...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let The Octobering Begin!

Or at least the me telling you about it. This month has flown by. Whew!

It's been a crazy busy past couple of weeks! What have the Perot's been up to? See for yourself!

First, was our Butler/Priesmeyer family girl trip to Fredricksburg:

Where we stayed at this little bed and breakfast:

I have never seen more knickknacks in my life! And birdhouses. And decorative pin cushions. And most of them were on the walls.

This was the Seven Dwarves Room and had the most beds. Despite having plenty of room in the rest of the house, we pulled a blow up mattress in the middle of the room so we could fit the most people in slumber party fashion. There were beds lined up on the other side of the room as well. You can see the role reversal: I think the knickknacks were supporting the wall.

And here's me, Mom and Jo.

Cousin Kristin and Jo. (we never called her Cousin Kristin, this is just for descriptive purposes)

It was also Mom's birthday so the band that we listened to on Saturday night made her come up on stage, put on a feather boa and have everyone sing Happy Birthday. She loved it. I'm being sarcastic. No, secretly, I think she probably did love it.

This is Judy, Danielle and Aunt Lisa. Judy and Danielle are my step cousin and aunt, I guess if you want technicalities. Funny story: me, Danielle and my Grandmother were all newlyweds at the same time. My Grandmother married Danielle's Grandfather!

Mom, Gale, Lisa & Amy

More of the gang...


Then there was the Great Pumpkin Carving of 2010. Joey and I, along with our back fence neighbors, hosted a pumpkin carving this past weekend for our neighborhood to get all our neighbors and their kiddos together. It was a huge success! Not only did we get to hang out with the neighbors we already knew, we got to meet neighbors from all over "the hood" as well.

Some neighbors were triple threats: skilled in scooping, carving and painting!

As we didn't have kids, Joey was deemed the neutral judge.

Here are the lucky winners! The Pumpkitty took first place.


This past weekend was also my ten year high school reunion! And it seems that no one took any pictures until after we left. I left my camera at home and planned on using my phone to take pictures, but then nobody took pics! Haven't seen each other in 5+ years, you would think someone would have started it! Oh well, it was great seeing everyone!

Other than events, there's been a little of this....

And a lot of that...

And guess what?

My mum is still with us!!