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.