Monday, April 30, 2012

Bachelorette Fun!

First of all, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your comments and emails of prayer, concern and encouragement for my family. We were blessed with a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather in my Papa and his absence is very hard, but we are so thankful for your friendship, love and support. I wasn't able to email all of you who commented back because some weren't tied to an email, but just know it means a lot to me. So thank you!

Among the sadness of losing my Papa we are in the midst of a very joyous time as well. My sister is getting married in a few short weeks and the days and weeks are filled with much excitement and many to-do's. It is a precious time and a time I hope Kristen can enjoy, cherish, and feel celebrated.

This weekend we celebrated bachelorette style! She's gotten cookie sheets, Kitchen Aid Mixers (yes, mixers plural! How in the world?? Lucky Duck!) dishes and serving platters. It was time for lingerie. So we headed out to the Anderson's most fabulous lake house for a weekend of friends, relaxation, wine, food, laughs, and more food. It was just what the doctor ordered!

I had a blast with her sweet friends and I think we accomplished what we set out to the bride a good time!

The beautiful bride and her entourage.

Sister pic! Isn't it amazing how much we look alike? (HA!)

Sweet friends who traveled from all over to celebrate with her!

We had to document some of the good stuff! Gifts and red velvet cake balls. Yes please!

Girlfriend loves her friends and she loves a good brunch. So we decided to treat her to a surprise breakfast with all of her NYC favorites! When she lived in New York she had her brunch favorites, so her former NYC roomie and I concocted a few goodies and it all turned out delicious! The menu consisted of Magnolia Bakery- banana pudding (her apartment was on the upper west side about 2 blocks from one of their locations and many a morning consisted of a banana pudding power breakfast), Penelope- nutella french toast, and Peels- build-a-biscuit. We got her a coffee mug from Penelope for her to sip her coffee. It was a  virtually calorie free morning....

 This is what girls do. We eat, we layout, we read gossip mags, and talk about the upcoming season of the Bachelorette and So You Think You Can Dance, and the benefits of laser hair removal.

 After everyone else was nice and tanned, and I had a minor glow of pink and smelled of sunscreen, we gussied up and headed to a local vineyard for a fun (at times funhouse) dinner. 

 Me, my sister- Kristen, and my future sister in law- Rebecca. Rebecca is the October bride!

 What a fun weekend! It was the perfect blend of fun and relaxation! With just a little crazy mixed in. :) Hope you all had a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Good Night, John Boy...

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far" ~ Philippians 1:21-23

On Tuesday of last week, my precious Papa went to be with Jesus. I have had the privilege of 31 wonderful years with him and God gave me the last 7 weeks with him to say goodbye, knowing our time was short. What a blessing I had of knowing him, being raised by him, being loved by him, being taught by him, being reprimanded by him, being entertained by him, and being his pride and joy.  

 I had the privilege of speaking at his funeral. I wanted to honor him. I wanted to tell everyone that came to celebrate his life just how much he meant to me, but that is an impossible task. There is no way to express that love in a few short minutes and mere words. I tried to think of stories I could tell but I could hardly think of stories that don't involve my Nana and Papa. They have always been there. Loving, supporting, encouraging us.

From fried burritos and churros in the 1st grade cafeteria...while wearing a star badge with "Tiffany's Papa" on it, to cheerleading competitions, to birthday parties and my wedding day...they never missed a thing. It was important to them to be there...WE were important to them.

One of the joys of Growing up within 15 miles of my Nana and Papa was the frequent sleepovers. I'm not sure if they really wanted us or if my parents were just really good at pawning us off, but I think we spent the night at least once a month. We played go-fish, we swam, we drank Dr.Peppers like they were going out of style out of tiiiiny styrofoam cups, and without fail...every single night, They would tuck us in and once Papa was in his bed he would call out to us, "Good Night John Boy!" we would giggle and shout our goodnights back.
It took me a while to realize all children weren't as lucky as we were. That all children didn't have such wonderful role models of love, loyalty, support, encouragement and fun. As much as he loves us I don't think it could compare to the love he had for my sweet Nana. His high school sweet heart and bride of 58 years, we never wondered how deep his love was for her. I'm so grateful for their example of how to love, how to forgive, how to laugh together, how to take care of each other, and how to enjoy life together. For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health...til death do us part. What a privilege it is to have had that behavior modeled for us.
The reality is that I could never find the right words to tell you what my Papa meant to me and how he shaped my life. But I can tell you he was a good man. He loved God, he loved my Nana fiercely, he loved our family deeply and we are blessed because of him.

These days are so hard. I miss him greatly. My mom and my uncle Mike miss their Nana misses her high school sweetheart and the person she went to bed holding hands with every night...Taylor, Kristen and I miss our Papa....but we have assurance that we will see him again. And what fun he is having reuniting with his mom and dad!

My Papa is completely healthy now. He is talking with Jesus, probably heading up a round of golf or a baseball game...he's been up there a week so I have to feel like his new mansion is just about all labeled. He's getting things just how he wants it!
After all, he does things his way! The doctor told us 7 weeks ago we would have 2-4 weeks with him. He had 7 good weeks. 7 good weeks for us to laugh together, cry together, tell each other just how much we love each other...and I am so very grateful. Oh how I cherish his words and those moments together. Every one of them. And we were with him to the end. Holding his hands as he went from our hands into the hands of His savior who called him home.

 Papa, I love you, I miss you, and I promise you we will take good care of your bride!

"Good Night, John Boy!"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Rookie and the Gyllenhaals made the news!

Well, well, well! Look who made the news! Do y'all notice any special friends on the front page of KVUE's webpage?

It's Rookie, Maggie, and Jake! They were asking for photos of animals in the bluebonnets and of course, after days of accepting photos, ours was front page. I'm sure it's because we have the cutest dogs EVER, right?? This is Rookie with my mom's dogs, Maggie and Jake and they had quite the bluebonnet photo shoot a year or so ago. We were cracking up that they were front page news!

In other news, it's officially sno-cone season! Kristen, Dave and I got one this weekend and it did not disappoint! I see more tropical trios in my future!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! We enjoyed watching the kids place flowers on the cross. It was precious to see them all in their dresses and the little boys all spiffied up carrying their flowers to honor the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us. The end result was a beautiful display. I hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, April 6, 2012

It's Friday....But Sunday's Comin'

I love holidays! Decorating the house with hearts, American flags, pumpkins, Christmas Trees, Easter eggs and bunnies...gathering with family, traditions, the inevitable family photo wearing white and denim...Every holiday brings it's own set of standards and traditions and we stick to it. I have favorite holidays for different reasons. I love the 4th of July because it is so wholesome to me. Families gathering, grilling out, spending time together, swimming, sno cones...patriotic music, fireworks, singing "I'm Proud to Be an American" at the top of our lungs in fits of laughter. Christmas...the smells, the lights, my parent's home filled with trees in every room, my Nana's "green stuff" after Christmas Eve service and dinner, the Birth of Christ. Each holiday has it's high points. But to me, as a Christian, Easter is the most important.

It's not the eggs, the bunnies, the adorable kids in their Easter outfits sitting in Texas bluebonnets (though I do LOVE that!!)'s the fact that because of 3 days in our history...because a man, a blameless, sinless man, was born, healed people, loved people, taught people, died for people and ultimately saved us all.

I'm a child of God. Christ died for me, for my sin, for your sin and I live my life with hope and assurance because of His sacrifice. Easter is about the celebration not just that Jesus died for my sin, but that he rose from the dead and is alive! I'm saved from my sin because he died. But I am filled with hope because he is alive!

This video is amazing (and short). Take the time to watch it. It's a short clip from a pastor in Philadelphia and they've set in clips from the Passion.

It's Friday....But Sunday's Comin'!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ode to Pinterest...

How do you do it, Pinterest? How do you manage, in 5 measly minutes, to turn my perfectly imperfect morning into dreamland.

I'm just sitting here, eating my uber bland oatmeal, and the very first pin in my feed is this. Almond sheet cake.

Let's not even pretend that I couldn't hammer some almond sheet cake right now. Moving on...1 row down I see this...magic. Sheer perfection. Now, not only am craving cake but I want to move.

And who wants to be sitting in their office when they could be on the lake? Not.One.Person.

Really Jamie Oliver? Standing there with your fancy pitchers full of delicious, flavorful water.

This has gone from bad to worse....( can even see my nasty oatmeal in the corner of the pic!)

Oh Pinterest, I do love you but you sure have a way with photos. I manage to pin great workouts (which I have never done), adorable outfits (which I do not own), dream houses and lake houses (which I will never own) and great DIY projects (which I will never do).

But I'll stay true. I'll keep logging in, pinning, day dreaming about what would happen if all of these things really did happen. If my house really was organized, perfectly decorated and perfectly landscaped by a woman with great legs, 8 minute abs, great turquoise earrings, dinner in the crock pot, and my burlap wreath on the door.

For now I'll just finish my oatmeal and choke down my unflavored, unoriginal, unpinterest-worthy H2O!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Confessions, Obsessions, and a Public Service Announcement...

I have a really cute little girl that I mentor once a week. We have been buds for 5 years now and I have watched her go from a teeny-tiny first grader to a tall and beautiful 5th grader. We talk about school work, weekend plans, boys who have cooties, girls who give you a friendship bracelet and then take it back...ahhh life lessons. Ps...girls, why you gotta be so mean?? If you give somebody the "Be-Frie" portion of your heart don't take it back because you want Alysia to invite you to her birthday party! Stand true, be strong, "Be-Frie" forever. Not until recess! 5th grade hearts are delicate. *PSA/rant over :)

Last week, M & I decided to eat lunch outside because it is so stinkin' gorgeous here right now. M also wanted to show me the "garden" that their librarian has inspired. They had a lifeless, pretty much dirt and gravel courtyard that their librarian decided to take ownership of. She bought flowers, herbs, vegetables, etc and let students in different grade levels join her in planting and caring for different items. I LOVE IT!!!!! I literally almost cried walking through the garden as I saw budding rose bushes, marigold, tomatoes planted by the little boy Dave mentors, lettuce, okra, name it, they were growing it! M was so excited to show me and we decided to come look every week and check the progress.

I'm so grateful for teachers, librarians, counselors, principles....anyone giving their time and energy to young people. They are so impressionable and I love this librarian's passion for creating something beautiful on their campus, inspiring them to make their school a better place to learn and play, and giving them ownership and pride in something that is "theirs".

In more trivial news...I must confess... I am completely, 100% hooked on Duck Dynasty. Bueller? Bueller? Is anyone else crazy enough to watch it? I have to say that I would have NEVER turned it on were it not for Dave, but I haven't laughed that hard in a LONG time! Tears were rolling down my cheeks. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it. :)

Also, I got my first sno-cone of the season last Sunday and it was divine. I've thought about it everyday since and I've dreaming of my next trip.

Obsessions...I busted a U-turn in the middle of my street when I was driving by my neighbor's garage sale and saw this globe sitting in the corner of the driveway. I think she was shocked that I about broke my neck and then asked about the was $3. Done and done. She asked me if I had kids because "all children need a globe!" No ma'am I don't, but when I do, they've now got themselves a globe!

My sister's final bridal shower was yesterday and she got some loot!! I'm gonna have to borrow from her! My MIL makes a mean chocolate chip cookie and my family loves them. So I passed the recipe on to my sister and made her a little "cookie basket". She got some dish towels, a cookie scoop, a Silpat baking mat, a cooling rack and the key ingredient...Ghirardelli chocolate chips. :) She had a great time and was a beautiful and gracious bride to be!

Happy Monday! Hope y'all have a great week!