Friday, September 30, 2011

A City's Tribute...

I'm having a fabulous time in New York with these 2...

Yesterday, we had the pleasure of heading down to the 9/11 Memorial. It was amazing.

A city's tribute...the world remembers.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tailgate celebration...

This past weekend was my future brother-in-law's 30th birthday. As a newly inaugurated member of the dirty 30 club I felt it my civic duty to personally welcome him to the group. He is a huge Texas Ranger's fan so my sister put together a great tailgate surprise party and then we all went to the Ranger's game.

Brad was shocked! I think he had a great time and really appreciated everything my sister did to make his day so special! Happy 30th Brad!!

Waiting on the birthday boy...


Are you kidding me with how cute Brad's neice is? Look at those eyelashes!! She stood her ground near us as we ate and was so precious as she "begged" for food. :) She wanted mom's cookie. I DIE of cuteness!

My family getting ready to head into the game...

Congratulations AL West champion Texas Rangers!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall Bucket List!

This week it's hit the 90s here in Austin (and by 90s I mean 97-99) and it has been SO refreshing! On Monday it was even low 90s. Dave and I went running after work and we didn't die! I was close though...

I digress. September hits, football starts, temps drop below 100 and next thing you know I'm wearing a cardigan to work out of sheer summer rebellion and determination to make it fall. I haven't been able to bring myself to buy pumpkins yet though. When I sweat walking into the grocery store it just doesn't seem right to walk out with an assortment of gourds.

I do love the fall. The smell of spice candles, Saturdays spent with the tv turned to football, switching from shorts and flip flops to jeans and boots (that will happen November-ish around here), and the buzz of the new fried foods at the State Fair of Texas. As gross as fried butter might sound, I can assure you it's a tiny, calorie-packed-punch of heaven right here on earth.

Moving on! In preparation and excitement for fall I decided to take a page out of my friend Katie's book and create my Fall Bucket List.

Get a salted caramel mocha from Starbucks

See the leaves turn and buy a pumpkin at the Nashville Farmer's Market

Go to Contigo Austin for a fall Patio dinner

Eat here, here, here and here while in NYC and go to the 9/11 Memorial

Make at least 3 recipes from my Pinterest arsenal- Maybe crock pot recipes

Get our fire pit and heater set up and have friends over for wine and s'mores!

Do a photo shoot with Rookie in the leaves or with pumpkins

(I don't have kids, y'all. Allow me this. ha!)

Rookie's fall photo shoot of 2009 :)

His very first Halloween...he was the KING of the pumpkin patch

(I do know that I'm a dork)

His fancy costume was given to him by his aunt Kristen

The gorgeous Farmer's Market in Nashville- above

And the gorgeous markets in NYC- below

Happy FALL y'all! What's on your fall bucket list?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Creativity at it's Finest...

I'm not well traveled. I've been around the United States and I've been to Mexico and that about sums up my jet-setting. Honestly, I feel privileged just to have been the places I've been. Sure, I have lofty aspirations of travels abroad. I've pinned my fair share of photos from Greece, Australia, Italy, Norway,'s fun to dream. The common theme among my travels is not only stunning beauty but also the vast differences of our world.

Mountains, rain forests, oceans, deserts, volcanoes, lakes, canyons...can you imagine the creativity of our maker?

Last year, Dave and I went to Lake Tahoe for his big 3-0. I had done my google searches and had seen a few photos of the lake but nothing prepared me for the actual beauty I took in. We drove up one side of the mountain from Reno and as we came down, around the mountain, into Tahoe this was our first glimpse of the Lake...

Blue skies, gorgeous towering pine trees, and the lake that's a color of blue you can't even imagine.

We spent the next few days exploring. We went hiking, Dave played golf, we took in the snow capped mountains and walked along the sandy shore of the lake.

At one point, I asked Dave, "Can you even fathom how beautiful Heaven will be? I look around and see the beauty of this earth and it makes me realize I can't even come close to understanding the beauty and the glory of it. If He gives us this beauty here, but tells us we can't comprehend the majesty of Heaven, what must it be like?"

It blows my mind. How can my God be so creative? Forming snow capped mountains with the same hands that He rolled out the beaches of Turks and Caicos.

I've been thinking about all of this lately as I find peace in our infertility battle. I've always wanted to be a mom. And not just wanted to be a mom, but have truly felt like that's what I've been called to do. I've thought about my life with 3 boys, I've thought about my life with 3 girls, and I've thought about the joy of a mixed family. I've thought about adoption, I've thought about 2 kids...3 kids...4 kids...I've never once thought about zero kids. I never thought the couple struggling to have children would be us.

In the beginning (when we first found out we had a problem) it went from zero to 60. We began to realize that our story was going to be different. I wasn't going to get pregnant, get to surprise my husband with the news, get to surprise my family with the news, etc. For a year and a half I had been waiting month after month...hoping...and dreaming. "Ok, if I get pregnant this month I'll tell David this way, we'll tell our parents around this time in this way...." I did that with Thanksgiving, Christmas, my birthday, my mom's birthday, Dave's birthday, Father's day....Y'all probably think I'm crazy, but I was willing it to happen. It never did.

At first I kind of went through a mourning period. I struggled with the fact that I might not be able to have children with my husband, and then I went through struggles of the "how". How do I feel about the few treatment options available to us? Where do we go from here? How is God going to build our family? IS God going to build our family?

I still don't know all of the answers to all of these questions. But what I've been enjoying lately is the dream of it all. God knows the desires of my heart. He knows my desire to be a mom. My desire to see Dave as the wonderful father I know he'll be. My desire to go to soccer, and ballet, and teach little hands how to fold in prayer and little voices to sing Jesus Loves Me. And the good news is....He's able.

If He created beautiful sunsets to hold different shades and shapes every single day and if He created gorgeous snow capped mountains to tower over an azure blue lake, I am so very excited to see how He chooses to create our family. And one thing that I'm most excited about is that I won't miss it. I'm so certain...beyond certain...that God is the only person who can create my family. And I'm so very grateful that if we have the privilege of adoption or if I have the joy of carrying a baby, that I'll be so grateful to the one who makes all things glorious!

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!" ~ Ephesians 3:20-21

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Southern Living Style House

This weekend I had the pleasure of touring the 2011 Southern Living Idea House in Horeshoe Bay, TX. It was beautiful and full of gorgeous features and ideas! I didn't realize I could take pictures until my heart's content so all I had was my iPhone and my little point and shoot, but I did snap a few photos to remember some of my favorite elements and to share it with those of you who haven't had the pleasure of going. Of course, clicking through the photo gallery on their website gives you MUCH better pictures than these that I took!

A few disclaimers:

  • My first FAIL is that I didn't take a picture of the front of the home. Who forgets that? Anyways, it is a Tuscan style home. Click here to see the floor plan and professional pictures.

  • The lighting in these photos is skewed due to the dark ceilings, my poor photography, me hiding in the corner to take the photo since there were at least 30 other people touring, etc. So, for example, the wall coloring in the first photo of the living room looks very yellow and it was not quite so buttery. The second photo has more natural light and shows a truer depiction of the wall color.

  • Apparently I didn't take pictures of things I didn't like. ha! So, I will explain to you the 2 bedrooms upstairs because I didn't take a single photo...oops!

As you walk in, you look directly to the stairs and you can turn right or left. Left takes you into the formal living area...I am absolutely OBSESSED with the cathedral, wood-exposed ceilings. (I took the first 2 pictures from upstairs so you could see the entire room)

As you turn right from the front door, you walk into the dining room and turn right into the kitchen. FAIL #2...I only took one photo of the kitchen. There were people everywhere and I couldn't get any decent photos without a million people in them. Bottom line: no upper cabinets. All lower level cabinets. The vendor booklet said all of the cabinets were from IKEA. I'll just say it was nicer than anything I've ever seen in IKEA (and I love me some IKEA, don't get me wrong) so I'm not sure exactly which cabinets they used. I do LOVE the light fixtures they used in all of the rooms.
See the woman in the blue walking through a walkway? That leads into the laundry room and down to the garage. The photo below is of the laundry/mud room. I was standing in the garage and taking the photo looking through the laundry room and that doorway leads into the kitchen. I love the sea foam green chosen for the laundry room.

Off of the kitchen is the dining room. I think it's interesting that they put curtains around the entire dining room walls. looking through the dining room is the second living area. What I would call the "den" or the "living room".

Below is the living room. Things I loved: The dimension of the windows. Again, the exposed-wood, cathedral ceilings, the gorgeous distressed wood wide plank floors, the interesting light fixtures, and I adore the lamps, tufted ottoman, throw pillows, etc. I greatly apologize for my poor photography! It doesn't do the colors any semblance of justice. :)

Now for my favorite part of the entire the living room was a tiny library nook. It was SO cozy, SO homey, and exactly what I would love to walk through to get into my bedroom everyday! The small windows on the right added some natural light and looked out onto a private courtyard/patio of the residence. Again, the wood ceilings are Texas Hill Country swoon-worthy and I beyond adore the yellow chair for a great pop of color. I don't know what it is about books but I've met very few home libraries I didn't like! I by very few I really mean not one.

You walk through the library nook into the master bedroom...swoon! And don't miss the exposed rock. Truly gorgeous! As you can see, most of the colors of the home are very earthy and natural. The master bedroom has whites, khakis, light blue, etc.

The master bathroom had it's highs and lows. Remember how I told you in the disclaimer that I forgot to take pictures of things I didn't particularly care for? Well, this is my fail. The master bathroom was very modern/contemporary. It's not that I didn't like it, I didn't like it for THIS home. The home was beautiful wood, earthy colors, rustic, and then the bathroom was all marble, white cabinets, etc. Click here to see (PS...this makes it look better than it did in person! In my opinion).

I was, however, completely obsessed with the indoor/outdoor shower. Having a door in the shower to walk outside and enjoy an outdoor rinse was pretty awesome.

I gasped when I saw the master closet. The convenience of a washer/dryer in the master closet seems almost too good to be true!

Finally, the private Juliet-style patio off the master suite was perfect. I can see many great mornings with coffee and a good book or nice evenings to unwind spent out on this patio.

As you walk upstairs, this darling little nook is a great gathering place. It overlooks the formal living room.

Unfortunately, that's all I took of the upstairs...the bedrooms left me completely underwhelmed! There were 2 bedrooms upstairs off of this nook and they were fairly small and completely contemporary. There were a lot of people coming in and out and I didn't see anything particularly noteworthy, so I didn't shove my camera in all of the other tourist's face. :) I'm sorry in retrospect because I'd like to show you.

Moving on! The outdoor patio was very large and had several sections of sitting areas. The pool was very small, more of a private pool type than a laps pool.

Do you see that small "house" those 2 people are walking into? That's the guest quarters.

Inside the guest room. We were taking a poll with the ladies I went with: Twin beds or Queen/king sized bed in the guest room? Ready....go! This house opted for twin beds.

And finally, from the guest house looking back to the main house....

So, your thoughts on the 2011 Southern Living Style House? I'll tell you that it's being sold for $3.7 Million...that's a lot of zeros out of my price range. While I thought there were many beautiful, unique and cozy things about this house I also thought it was a bit of a choppy layout and some of the items weren't very functional for a Texas home. (ie- the metal table on the back patio that was holding in the 107 degrees of Texas heat the sun was radiating.)

But let's be honest, if Dave came home with the keys tomorrow I wouldn't turn him away! What are your thoughts? See anything you particularly love? Or don't love? Do share!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Meat and Potatoes...

When Dave and I got married, one of the funniest transitions was food. We dated for 3 years before we got married so you would have thought I would have been more prepared, but living with someone is totally different than eating OUT with someone and the occasional homemade meal. You see, as I've told you before, my favorite food group is chips and salsa and/or queso. I can make an entire meal off of that.

Dave thinks that's bizarre.

He doesn't understand how I can be satisfied with a meal that is only made up of 2 items. None of which are meat. I, on the other hand, fully understand. Because those 2 items are cabs and dairy. Amen and amen.

That brings me to my point. I've been meaning to post all week and my post was going to be very chips and queso. I was going to tell you about these darling shoes we tried to talk my Nana into this weekend because they only had them in a teeny-tiny 5 1/2. I was going to tell you about some amazing cookies I made thanks to Pinterest, and I was going to tell you about how my mom, Nana and I all showed up on Friday night wearing a version of the same outfit. It was really special....

But there is something much more significant for me to share with you. Y'all get the meat and potatoes today because you have to know what's going on in our city right now.

This is my city as smoke and fire takes over: Austin, TX

I'm sure you've seen on the news that Texas is being consumed with fire. We're in a serious drought y'all. It's the worst in 100 years. We haven't had rain in months and months. Trees are literally huge matches right now and we're at a critical point. On Sunday, we got a huge wind storm. We didn't get any rain from hurricane Lee but we got some of the winds. Those winds downed a power line and the sparks started a series of wild fires about 30 miles from here. Bastrop is right outside of Austin and at this point, practically the entire city is on fire or has been burned.

Over 1,400....did you catch those zeros...1,400+ homes have burned. Families got out just in time. Many of them with nothing more than the clothes on their back.

photo gallery from KVUE news. *Photo Credit AP (first photo) and viewers

Please pray for our state. We need rain so.very.badly. Like pouring, drenching rain that stays for days. Please pray for the firefighters as they are on their fifth day straight of fighting fires around the clock. Please pray for the families that have lost their homes and everything they own. Many of them have lost livestock. Not only is that heart breaking, but it's their livelihood.

We will take your prayers for sure. If you can help in other ways we could certainly use that too. Please consider a donation to the Red Cross of Central Texas. Anything helps...and I am so grateful! I've been asking y'all for a lot of prayer lately. Sorry about that! But thank you for stepping up to the call.

I took this picture about 2 weeks ago driving home from work. I was sending it to my brother to tell him Austin misses him...

I took this picture yesterday driving down the same road. You can hardly even make out the Capitol. And this picture was from an even closer vantage point than the first one. It's just crazy.

God bless Texas....and please just make it rain a little....