Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Update ~ The iPhone Version...

I have a few things to share with you...let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start...

My weekend went like this....

I got my gold-ish Toms I had been waiting on. :) They are so stinkin' adorable in person. If I wasn't ready for fall before (and believe me, I WAS) then I'm sure ready now!

I've been house/dog sitting for my parents (its own post entirely) and I got home from work on Friday and this was sitting on the front porch. This means 2 things:

1. My brother is coming home very soon!! This is his first batch of "stuff" mailed home

2. My parent's neighborhood is very honest. I mean, what-in-the-what UPS that you leave a huge guitar (hello, obvious!!) on the front porch. Do people not have to sign for these things??

Dave went to New Braunfels this weekend to go to his High School's first football game of the season with his dad. Since he was out of town I invited my boyfriend over for a sleepover. :) I decided to invite his mom too...I had so much fun with Liz, Lauren, Kate and Charlie man. We decided to let him swim (or float and splash in the spa...same thing). The adults on the other hand, did not swim. We sat and watched him with a cold beverage in hand because...

It was THIS hot. I mean, unreal. Do you see why I'm dreaming of fall? PS...that's legit. That's not "hot car sitting still 111 degrees" that's "driving with the AC full blast and 111 is being generous". I live in a constant state of sweat...real nice.

My boyfriend, flirting with Maggie. :) The Loj, get that boy a dog!!! (and yes, I have incredibly high arches...the end.)

UM. Blythe turned 1. We partied on Sunday. SHE partied like a champ and did us all proud. When she went head first into that cake my heart sang....GET.IT.GIRL.

And finally...this is where the weekend came to a screeching halt. And why I've been absent on the ol' blog. It's tough to share the positive when your heart breaks because of the incomprehensible. I got a call from my brother on Sunday. His girlfriend, Rebecca had called to let him know that she was on the way to the hospital to be with her dad. He was with her sister at the Special Olympics when something happened. It seems that he had a brain aneurysm. He was rushed into emergency brain surgery. Unfortunately, there wasn't much that could be done.

Today, he will be take off life support.

Rebecca and Abi have lost their father. Her mother has lost her husband, her helper. And the world has lost a good, good man. That's so evident by the many who have come by the hospital to make sure the family knows that they feel that way. I am so heartbroken for them. This final picture was of the sunrise on Monday morning. I was driving to work praying....her dad had made it through the night and it seemed that was a positive step. I was praying for them and this sunrise was SO beautiful. The picture does it no justice. I was praying for him to be healed because that is our wish on earth, but I was praying for God's will to be done. Monday afternoon is when we found out that he would not make it.

This is tough. Words fail me when I try to tell Rebecca that I'm sorry. That I'm praying for her. That my heart is broken for her. So, instead, I use all of my words to ask God to comfort them and bring them peace. It's crazy how life can change in one.tiny.minute. So spend one tiny minute today letting those you love know it. And if you can spare a prayer...throw one up for the Rawson family.

"The Lord is close to the broken hearted and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed." ~ Psalms 34:19

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Peachy Keen...

Judging by the tweets I caught up on around midnight last night and the alarmingly ridiculous soundbite played on my morning radio show, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I didn't miss much last night on Bachelor Pad. And by "didn't miss much" I actually mean that I missed a slew of drama, a promise for infinity and a sad attempt at a love song.

Ahhh...the unashamed joy of being young and in love...The man has a duty to fulfill. What on earth would Vienna do without someone there to guard and protect her heart? I missed bachelor pad because I was having too much fun visiting with friends over a cheese board and an amazing bean dip. We won't tell weight watchers how many points were consumed last night. That will be between me and the cheese board....

I digress...This past weekend was an eventful yet uneventful weekend. We played catch up, did lots of laundry, cleaned the house, did all of our grocery shopping on Friday night (which was awesome because we were the only losers shopping on a Friday night!) which made Sunday night really awesome because I didn't have to fight all of the soccer mom's for Dave's applesauce and string cheese. It's always crazy this time of year. My regular grocery items fly off the shelf in rapid fashion. They are buying for their 3rd grader heading back to school...I am buying for my husband. Some things never change!

Some fun events from the weekend...This wonderful note my sister handed me when my family came over for dinner on Saturday night. I opened it and this is what I found...

Inside were very sweet words about me standing by her side as she and Brad start their lives together. It is my extreme pleasure and honor to serve as her MOH. The next few months will be very exciting as we plan her special day. She also gave me a delicious wedding cake cupcake from Gigi's bakery! The sad part is...I ate it before I could take a picture because I'm cool like that. #MOHFAIL

We had a great time with our family grilling burgers, listening to Taylor's game (he got another W!) and Teenie made her world famous homemade vanilla ice cream! I decided to try a recipe for homemade Peach Cobbler I found on The Reluctant Entertainer. It.Was.Awesome! This recipe is so easy, very few ingredients and absolutely delicious! I'm sure you could make it with apples, cherries, blackberries...whatever tickles your fancy. I know I will make this in the fall with apples!

I'm thankful that with 7 of us there, we ate just about the entire cobbler. There was just enough left over that Dave and I had a little bite yesterday but not enough that I can eat it everyday this week. Because let's be honest, I have no will power, so I would have!

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Grateful Heart...

It's Friday! Can I get an AMEN??

I'm so ready for this weekend! I have housecleaning in my Friday night future because we are so cool and hip like that. Really, it's because we played all last weekend and I have had fun after work doing things like sitting on my rear watching the Bachelor Pad and going to see the Help with sweet friends. So tonight's the night...bathrooms, dusting, laundry...if anyone wants to come help I'll order the pizza. :)

I was praying this morning and just thanking God for His blessings and provision. I think I spend so much time praying about my wants...I want a baby, I want to be patient, I want to not have my blood pressure spike and my heart race while I yell at the driver in front of me who just cut me off. I want, I want, I want.

While it's true that those things are important to me and are desires of my heart, I also desire to have a grateful heart. I have many prayers that have been answered and blessings I didn't even know to ask for that have come my way. So today, in an effort to live in gratitude and praise God from whom all blessings flow, I'd like to share with you a few things I'm excited and thankful for.

AND, I would LOVE to hear about your current blessings...big or small. Did you get a new job? Did your baby start walking? Did your baby start kindergarten? Did your husband bring you flowers just to show he cares? Did you get a kind word from your boss because of the wonderful job you've been doing? Did you do a back dive into the pool that would have scored you a perfect 10 in the Olympics? I would love to share in your joy!

Without further ado...

I am so thankful for my family. They make me laugh when I need to, they let me cry when I need to, they send me hysterical (and occasionally inappropriate) someecards, and they are always honest with me.

I'm thankful for Rookie, who hasn't been very cuddly lately, but last night cuddled with me for about 3 hours. I ended up not going out to walk/run because I was just loving having him want to sit with me. I'm sorry, let me be honest with you, I think you deserve it. I didn't go run because it was hot and I was sucked into David Feherty's new show and it was icing on the cake that Rookie wanted to cuddle. Phew...honesty is always the best policy!

I'm thankful that my brother gets home in about a month! And in an effort of being thankful and also bragging slightly...I'm thankful that his hard work and dedication has paid off with him having an outstanding season. Last week he threw a complete game shutout and was awarded pitcher of the week for the South Atlantic league!! *Big Sister Brag over*

(Photo Credit: Joseph Pun)

I'm thankful that I can live in the same city as dear college friends and watch them raise their babies. I love that I get to see them on a regular basis and know Avery, Blythe and Charlie as they grow. I love them all more than they know...

(Pictured: A, B & C)

I'm thankful for my husband, who wakes up before me every morning, showers, let's me sleep the extra 15 minutes, and then wakes me up so I don't have to wake up to an alarm clock. This past week he has been waking me up with really sweet words and it's a great start to the day.

I am so thankful...beyond thankful...for the emails and comments I have received regarding our infertility battle. Your words of encouragement and hope mean more to me than you'll ever know. Old college friends who've reached out and said hello, dear friends who've heard our story many times and sat with me while I cry, and those of you who I have never met yet you took the time to pray for us and support us during this time...I thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

I'm thankful for last weekend with Dave. Weekends are so hectic. We work during the week so the weekends are filled with yard work and house cleaning. Grocery shopping and laundry. Errand running and business. It was nice to spend an entire 48 hours together. Talking, laughing, connecting and enjoying each other. He is a good, good man and I am lucky.

I'm thankful for laughter...yesterday, as I was walking Rookie, he was just yipee-skippy. So happy to be outside. And as he was walking prancing, he was TOOTING with every.single.step! It was so hysterical...and audible! He had no idea, he was just loving life and obviously feeling better with every step. Ha! I was literally laughing out loud at my crazy, goofy, tooting dog. One thing's for sure, he's got a knack for taking it all in and loving life!

Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. ~ 1 Chronicles 16:8

They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. ~ Psalms 145:7

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Orange! Orange Who? Orange-you Going to Share the Recipe?

Ok, I admit that was a horrible blog title, but I'm not feeling very creative today. The good news is, I'm feeling generous which is where you benefit. :) I have a delicious recipe to share!

A couple of months ago we were out at a lake party and there were several ice cream freezers of homemade ice cream. Someone brought vanilla, someone brought strawberry (which Dave raved over) and someone brought this Orange-Crush-sorbet-goodness. I was hesitant because I'm not a big sorbet fan but it was approximately 147 degrees, and like the Wicked Witch of the West, I was melting.

It had me at hello.

It was delicious, refreshing, light, and kinda fun! I say fun because the orange crush gave it a bit of a zip! I asked for the recipe and was surprised to learn that it has THREE ingredients! It doesn't get much easier than without further ado...

Orange Crush Sorbet

1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk

1 can crushed pineapple (you can use crushed or chunks depending on how big you want your pieces to be)

Approximately 3 cans of Orange Crush

*Notes: I made this in my Cuisinart 2-quart Ice Cream maker. If you use a large 1-gallon ice cream maker, double the recipe. Also, just fill your maker with Orange Crush until it's full. Could be 3 cans, could be 4.

Eagle Brand and crushed pineapple...

Adding the Orange Crush goodness...

And off we go! Unfortunately, I was so excited to EAT it when it was done that I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. It's Orange. :) Enjoy this perfect summer treat!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Great (Groupon) Escape!

I'm not ashamed to admit that we live on a budget. I've mentioned before that we are Dave Ramsey followers and I live with my very own Dave "Ramsey" Mendenhall. We have a yearly travel budget and the majority of the time, that budget is spent on family outings. We have a lot of family that lives out of town, so travel for weddings, Thanksgiving, visiting grandparents, visiting adds up.

The crazy thing is, we've only been on ONE vacation that's just the two of us since our honeymoon! Last year, for Dave's 30th birthday, I took him on a surprise trip to Lake Tahoe. It was amazing, and beyond gorgeous, and it won't happen again for a while!

Don't get me wrong, we had a BLAST in Savannah, and I'm looking forward to a great (and very low budget) trip to NYC in the fall, but there really wasn't a lot left over for the two of us. I had a 2 night hotel stay, for the Hyatt here in downtown Austin, that I won at an event last year, so we decided to enjoy a weekend "staycation" in our city! With our free 2 night stay we decided it would be our challenge to plan our entire weekend using Groupons (or Living Social, coupons, etc). The last 2 months we have been scouting out great restaurants, attractions, etc on these coupon sites. It's been a bit of a game and we were excited for our weekend "getaway" to finally be here.

We both got off early on Friday, we didn't go home, and we started our "staycation" in style! We met at the hotel, changed into our swimsuits and hit the pool for a couple of hours. We had dinner reservations at 7:30pm at Shoreline Grill on Lady Bird Lake. We had a wonderful, over-indulgent meal and then headed over to Esther's Follies. Esther's is a satire, vaudeville-type comedy show that is hilarious!

Saturday, we woke up and rented a kayak to hang out on Lady Bird Lake. Our hotel was downtown on LBL, so we walked the entire weekend and loved seeing our city in a different way. Back to the kayaks...we got SO lucky that it was a bit overcast or we would have been so hot! It was a great workout and really fun to enjoy this part of our city. I can't believe we hadn't done it before this weekend.

Side note: The kayak/canoe rental was packed. I love that Austin is such an active city!

After kayaking, we had a great lunch at Austin Java (seriously, I had a black and blue burger that was to.die.for. Peppercorn and Gorgonzola goodness) and then we cleaned up and went on a Riverboat cruise on the lake. Not gonna lie, it was hot. It was 3:00 in the afternoon. We had fun. I would definitely do it again, but I would do the sunset cruise or go in the fall. Or do the sunset cruise in the fall. :) But, It was awesome to hear things about Austin that I didn't know.

This might be my favorite picture of the weekend. After our boat cruise, we went for dinner and drinks at Ten Oak. I decided on the pulled pork nachos and Dave decided on the rosemary grilled chicken. Can you see Dave's tiiiiiny chicken behind my ENORMOUS plate of nachos? HA! It was literally a breast of chicken on a plate. No sides, nothing. If you only knew...Dave eats SO much and I never finish my plate. We laughed really hard. He ended up pounding my nachos after he ate his chicken in about 2.5 seconds.

We went for a "night cap" at Cedar Door on our way back to our hotel. They have amazing mexican martinis and the night was still young. We snapped this picture as we were headed back to our hotel. The quality of our photos for the weekend isn't amazing considering we took all of them ourselves. Ha!

Sunday, we got up, had a wonderful breakfast at Jo's to use the last of our Groupons and it was beyond wonderful! I had a blueberry pancake that was out of this world and Dave had a 3 egg omelet with enough meat and cheese in it to feed Cox's army!

After our big-boy-breakfast we walked it off on the trail of the lake. We had high hopes of going for a run but my pancake and Dave's omelet kept us to a decent 4 MPH pace. One fun thing about Austin right now...last year, local artist hand painted giant guitars and they were placed throughout the city. They were awesome! After a couple of months, they auctioned the guitars off and people/businesses bought them. All of the money went to charity. This year, they are doing cows. Again, the cows have been hand painted and are featured throughout downtown, along the trail of the lake, etc. These are a few we ran across this weekend. They are awesome! And they have hysterical names like "Cow-Pital" (with the capital building painted on it) or "Moo-lah" for the cash-cow that was outside a downtown bank. This is my favorite below...all of the Austin sites.

We had a ton of fun! We stayed 2 nights on Lady Bird Lake, ate out 4 meals (and dessert), had a few drinks, rented kayaks, went to Esther's Follies, and did a riverboat cruise....and the total damage...$160! We are pretty big fans of Groupon right now!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

What Does "Normal" Really Mean?

I was telling someone the other day that my family was "normal" and no sooner had the words come out of my mouth, I started laughing hysterically. I mean, what does "normal" even mean? Whatever it is, I'm sure we're not it!

We are our own version of normal...the high strung, high energy, never-met-a-stranger, type-A, "everyone's a comedian" (or at least we think we are) kind of normal. And.I.Love.It.

I was deleting things off my memory card last night, (because today begins our staycation!!) and I ran across some pictures from this past Christmas that made me laugh out loud! We were setting up the tripod for our annual Griswold Family Photo my mom makes us take, and we were messing with the lighting, self-timer, etc. The following were the photos that ensued...and yes, my brother looks like Joe Dirt with his ridiculous hair. (*note my favorites...when we started adding people 1-by-1. Me, Taylor, then Kristen, then Dave.) This is the exact sequence they came out of my camera...

The pictures below began the self-timer fun. We turned around backwards until it was taking and then we'd spin around and strike our pose.

We know we're not as funny as we think we are...

And finally...

Merry Christmas 2010 ~ Love, the Griswolds

Monday, August 8, 2011

48 Hours...

I'm so glad that I have a renewed interest in blogging. For a while there I just lost the desire. I didn't really have anything to say and wasn't overly enthused about anything. My entire blog is about nothing but yet, I thought I needed something to say. I really felt like I needed to entertain you guys and be funny and it took the fun out of why I started blogging anyway. All that to say, I'm glad to get back to blogging about my little life. I still don't have a lot of things to say that I feel are exciting to people other than me, but I want to appreciate the little things in life and celebrate the day to day. You're invited along with me for as long as you'd like!

Here's a little bit of lately...

We're all booked! Saturday morning my sister and I officially booked our tickets to the Big City. I've been there a million times so I'm not sure why the overabundant excitement but I'm just SO giddy about this trip. I guess that means it's much needed! I'm ready to hop on a plane with this girl...

And head out to see this girl in this city!

Last week, I got my first letter from this little muffin cup and my heart about leapt out of my chest. It is such a joy to me that Dave and I are able to be a part of Cesar's life through Compassion. His birthday is coming up and I'm working on a special little birthday surprise for him. :)

I finally got to pick up the last of my chairs that I had recovered and they look awesome! After all of the drama (which was MY fault) I was so glad to see that everything turned out better than I expected. I'll try to take some pictures tonight. I had my very first "recliner nap" yesterday afternoon and I must admit...I loved it.

I had the privilege, once again, of attending the Texas Longhorn Grid Iron Luncheon last week. It got me completely hyped for football season and made me excited for all things fall. The low 90's - mid 80's can't come soon enough! You can imagine my excitement when amidst talk of Longhorn football, personnel changes, "new blood" and "young talent" we were introduced to Texas high school football's coach of the year...Coach Taylor. It was a joke, obvi, but He gave a nice speech about the passion Texas feels for football at all levels, and spoke of the challenging yet fulfilling life of a HS coach. Might I add, he looked mighty fine while doing it.

I'm excited because there is a group of Austin Pi Phi's getting together tonight! I can't wait to catch up with some of my pledge sisters that I haven't seen in YEARS. We need to do this more often!

Last night I got to video chat with my brother and his hair. I started cracking up the minute I answered because he looked like Ace Ventura. :) Our catch-up-sessions are few and far between because of his schedule but I really enjoy it when we can talk. His season ends in about 4 weeks and then he'll be home for about 5 months...hip-hip-hooray!

It was a fairly uneventful weekend at the Mendenhall household, but it was definitely a good weekend. I hope yours was too!