Tuesday, December 29, 2009

first married christmas: check!

christmas shopping in the galleria
{moments before being yelled at for taking a picture- worth it.}

present wrapping & christmas movie with my family at our apartment

dad's annual christmas cd
complete with ridiculous cover art {but quality music}

christmas eve dinner @ pappasitos
my family's tradition for about 15 years...
but our first time with ross!

{our first} christmas morning at the lake

emily looking like christmas morning

candy canes!

crazy christmas pug
{not ours...but we had fun playing}

more christmas pug

and more

and finally, christmas ducks.

we drove home from our holiday excursions feeling
overwhelmingly blessed and full of love.
we are all so grateful and blessed.

Friday, December 18, 2009

homemade marshmallows

i've heard about the glories of homemade marshmallows 
for a couple of years now, but was too intimidated to try...
which was totally silly because they were pretty simple!
{albeit sticky!}
the best part: they are made with inexpensive ingredients, 
most of which most people already have at home.

sooo good in hot chocolate.

Monday, December 14, 2009

free wreath!

the other week mrs. frazier 
posted about her amazing DIY wreath.
using just a hot glue gun, an old book, some paint & cardboard scraps
she created an eye catching and free holiday wreath.

so following her step by step guide, i made one of my own.
super easy to make & even cuter to look at.

all our nerdy med school friends especially liked the fact
that the pages were from a lord of the rings book
{don't worry, we had two copies}

so, if anyone out this is reading this, 
you should check out mrs. fraziers how-to and make your own!

first annual christmas party extravagaza

tacky sweaters + white elephant gift exchange + {melanie's} wassail + snacks =
huge success! 
best part: friends from baylor driving from all over
to celebrate the season with us. 

whenever someone asks my boss how he's doing, 
he usually replies by saying "better than i deserve."
that pretty much sums it up for me too. 

dear christmas time, i love you

ross & i had our first married christmas tree decorating party
a few weeks ago, complete with hot chocolate
and christmas movies.  
but i'm happy to report that we still haven't stopped
trimming, lighting & celebrating!

this past week we enjoyed a few momentous occasions:
1. buying our first real christmas tree
2. hosting our first annual christmas party extravaganza
3. cruising through our christmas movie marathon
{love actually, elf, christmas vacation, christmas in connecticut, white christmas, home alone, the santa clause 1,2,3, jouex noel, etc.}
4. loving the community theatres production of "It's a Wonderful Life"
5. making our own christmas cards

anyway, the moral to this post is:
if you're in love with christmas, marry someone who is too. 
seriously, it rocks.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

feliz cumpleanos to me!

dear riverwalk at christmas time,
you are truly breathtaking! can't tell you how much i love all your lights.

dear market street,
i've never wondered "who would buy this stuff" so much on one shopping trip before.  maybe ditch all the airbrushed hat & shirt stations...

dear design*sponge,
thanks for your city guide on san antonio. our weekend was full of new & interesting places thanks to you. {we especially loved mad hatters & the guenther house!}

dear my birthday, 
i'm starting to feel weird about you.  

dear college station friends,
thank you for celebrating!! hope you liked ross' first cake! i'm down for more taboo when ya'll are...

dear ross, 
thank you for being the best husband and friend i could ever imagine.  you made my birthday weekend so special.

dear family & friends from afar,
i freakin miss you, but thank you for all the wonderful calls & happy birthday wishes.  you mean the world to me.

dear birthday cake ross made for me,
are you a good option for breakfast? lets see...

Friday, December 4, 2009

all dogs go to heaven

every year, for more than half of my life, my parents would see two recurring desires listed on my yearly  letter to santa: 1. a puppy and 2. snow.
in fact, even after the kids at school told me santa wasn't real, i still wrote letters wishing for a puppy so that my parents would see it and feel moved to make my one true christmas wish come true. 

but chasing the dream of owning a family dog wasn't limited to christmas time. desperate measures were taken.  once, i cut out a picture of a dog and taped it to a large, framed family portrait in our hallway to show my parents what we were missing. 

mom was always hesitatnt, though she loves and grew up with dogs & horses. dad was different- he was interested but had never had a dog before.  when he was growing up, his mother refused request after request my dad and sisters made for a puppy of their own. her answer was this: "we can't have a dog, because he will know i don't like it, and when you kids are at school, he will kill me." my dad realized there was no arguing with this logic, and was happy enough with a turtle for a pet. 

finally, one weekend during 7th grade, my mom and sister went away on a girl scout camping trip.  dad, john byron and i went up to the town center to check out "dog days in the park." shelter representatives and vendors lined the area, and there were puppies everywhere.  i can still remember seeing a tiny, fuzzy, speckled puppy at one shelter's booth with a bright red balloon tied to his collar. 

we approached the lady holding his leash, and she let us walk him around the park. the next thing we knew, we were driving home with him for a "trial weekend." imagine my little sisters delight and mom's shock when they came home that sunday afternoon.

ten years later, freckles has become an irreplaceable member of our family. he is by no means a perfect dog. i like to say he's more of a free spirit than 'well trained.' he ran out the front door and back gate more times than anyone can remember.  he's petrified of fireworks and hates the chinese delivery guy, trash-men, and UPS trucks.  time after time my parents threatened to send him back to "the slammer" (the shelter) because of his relentless escapes.  

but he loves us, and especially adores my dad. my brother and parents love taking him on long walks in their new neighborhood, and he even has his own stocking on the mantle for christmas. he is happiest when the whole family is together, particularly eating dinner and sending scraps his way. and we love him. 

and now it's time for him to leave us, all of a sudden. we could tell he was sick over thanksgiving, but we never thought cancer, especially not an advanced form. i wish i could be with my family, especially this morning, and say goodbye to him, and hug my mom, sister, and dad while they deal with the hole in their hearts that i'm feeling now. i'm just grateful i got to pet him & hold his paw one last time before we flew back to texas. 

ross mentioned tonight at dinner that he's scared for us to get a dog because of the loss and sadness we will inevitably feel someday. but we both agreed thats just the chance you take with life and love, and that's it's always better than never loving at all.  especially with dogs, because all they do is love you back. 

Monday, November 30, 2009

can it be thanksgiving forever?

still basking in the warmth of our amazing thanksgiving week, and devouring the images we captured.  when i'm in a particularly beautiful place or happy moment, i try and hold onto it tight & store it up... like a squirrel with acorns (did i just compare myself to a squirrel?). whenever work gets monotonous or college station is gray, these mental snapshots & videoclips get me through.  and having actual photographs doesn't hurt either. seriously- how beautiful is northern california? 

my family moved to a gorgeous city named, of all city names, pleasanton.  bless her heart, this cheerful name only fed the cynical fire that was stirring up in my 17 year old sister's soul.  who would want to move for their junior & senior year of high school? understandably, she even briefly changed the title of her blog {gasp} from life in technicolor to life in exile. but honestly, the city really is beautiful.  drastically rolling hills straight out of a dr. seuss book & gorgeous vineyards line every road and neighborhood.  my dad's taken to pointing out all of his 'vistas' and the 'real ducks' in the pond at the entrance to their neighborhood.  {not pretend ducks?}

these past several months, every member of my family jokingly adopted a new motto: no sympathy.  moved to a new city? have to make all new friends? miss your old home? "join the club," we say to one another. "oh, you didn't want to move? guess what: you get zero sympathy from me."  it may sound harsh, but it helps us laugh about the inevitable struggles that come with change & transition. the "zero sympathy" attitude is also a great reminder of how lame self-pity is. 

anyway, i'm happy to report that my family is taking all the challenges in stride. my sister already has a great group of friends. even though she would rather be back in kingwood with her beautiful community, she's in pleasanton for a reason and i think she knows that. hopefully she'll be back in texas as a proud new baylor bear in just a couple of years.  but until then, i hope she knows that i don't feel sorry for her in the least. but i am mega proud of her.


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