Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Birthday Boy...

They always say everything is bigger in Texas but I'm assuming Papa's 80th birthday in Heaven would put our shin-digs to shame! I'm sure he's talking Texas football with Darrell Royal, preparing for Jesus' big birthday bash, and getting the birthday song sung by the Angel choir instead of our raggedy- out of tune- version he heard yearly. 

It's been 8 months since my Papa passed away and we still miss him dearly. But today, we still celebrate you, Pa. The life you lived, how much you loved, how you were always present and how you always made us laugh! Happy 80th birthday, John Boy!

Always up for a celebration! ;)

In Papa's honor, and so we can remember him always this time of year, our family gifted the children's department at our church with this child-sized Nativity. I think it's just beautiful! I can't wait for my kids to see it, understand it, know who Jesus is, why He came and what He did for us. And I can't wait to tell them all about my Papa and the wonderful legacy he left for our family. 

 In other Papa news...he and my Nana were married on December 23rd, 1952!! Sunday is their anniversary and they would have been married 60 beautiful years! What a wonderful example they were. David and I are blessed with wonderful examples of Christian marriage in both of our families. 

We have a lot of wonderful "Papa memories" and "isms" to reflect on in these days of celebration. Gone but not forgotten...Happy birthday!

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Ornaments that Adorn....

I love putting up my Christmas tree. My friends and neighbors think I'm crazy (and maybe my husband too...) because it goes up just before Thanksgiving and stays until New Year's Day. I know there are strong opinions regarding putting up a tree before Thanksgiving but I like my home to be decorated for as long as possible. 

I put up several trees (I come by it honestly...maybe next week I'll do a tree tour of my mom's house!) but my absolute- hands down- favorite tree is the one that sits in our living room. That is our family tree. Our personal tree. Our "special" tree. The other trees are pretty and have ornaments matching the decor but this tree is a mish-mash of memories and sentiment. I turn it on the moment I wake up and don't turn it off until I'm turning in for the night. As I decorate it I get to relive wonderful moments with each ornament and it truly brings me joy. 

I thought I'd share a few favorites and their meaning with you :)

1. Baby's First Christmas- 2 years ago my mother in law gave me this ornament for Christmas. This was David's 1st Christmas ornament! I think it is absolutely precious and priceless and I'm so honored that she gave it to me.
2. The Dog House- This is one of Rookie's ornaments. I love the glass ornaments and when I saw this dog house decorated with lights, a bow, and snow I fell in love. Although Rookie knows NOTHING of sleeping in a dog house he is very well loved in our house!
3.  O Ornament- I got this ornament when my mom, my sister, my nana and I went to Chicago to See Oprah! When my sister worked for "O" the Oprah Magazine, she got us tickets to a live taping and we had a blast!
4. DOF Ornament- This ornament makes me laugh and cry every year when I unwrap it. This is an ornament I bought in Mexico when I went on my "Decade of Friendship" trip with my college besties. We had the best time. There were room issues, bowel issues, plumbing issues (not great when you couple it with the former), but there were more laughs than I could ever articulate, there was a crepe place on site, and there was a moment when Bradley asked the bartender (who told us he could play the drums and we could sing since they didn't have karaoke) asked him if he knew Fancy by Reba. 
5. Just Married Car- David and I got married on January 6th, 2007. With our wedding being so close to Christmas we had several ornaments given to us at showers or with our wedding gifts. This is one of them! I just LOVE this ornament! The bells behind the car and the back window that says, "Just Married".
6. "Our First Christmas" Ornament
7. Ornament from Dave's grandparent's tree- This is one of the most special ornaments on our tree. For our first Christmas (which, obviously from what I've said above was almost our 1 yr wedding anniversary) Dave's aunt Leigh Ann sent us a sweet note with this ornament. This ornament hung on his grandparent's tree for years and years. Leigh Ann had it, and she passed it on to us. We are so, so incredibly lucky to come from close families. Not only are our families close, but we are lucky to boast 40, 50, and 60, and 70 year marriages! His grandparents have been married for 70 years!! We pray that we can continue this beautiful legacy of Godly marriage, family, love and fun in our home. 
8. Cross Ornament- This was a wedding gift given to us and it is a reminder of Christ. The center of our marriage, the center of our home, the center of our hearts. And, as a side note- I also love the way the glass looks with the lights glowing around it.
9. Frame ornament- This was given to us by my SIL the year we got married. It's one of our engagement photos and we look like babies!
10. Rockefeller Center- I actually got this ornament on my NYC trip with David in 2010. I have several other NYC ornaments on the tree because I want to remember each fabulous trip there...like my favorite sister trip!
11. Drum Set- David and I got this drum set in Nashville. We have drums and boots that commemorate our last 2 trips to visit his granddad.

  1. Wedding Cake- David proposed on December 17th, 2005. For Christmas that year my sister gave me this gorgeous wedding cake ornament as a congratulations and celebration of what was to come. I love it!
  2. Church- I just love the colors. This was my first church and now I have a few, but this one is still near and dear. 
  3. Boots- David and I went on a quick weekend trip to Fort Worth for our 5 year anniversary last January. We had a wonderful time!
  4. Pebble Beach- This is my hand painted ornament I got this past July at Pebble Beach. What an AMAZING trip and true "once in a lifetime" experience. 
  5. Vegas.
  6. Aggie Santa- My freshman year of college my mom sent me back to school for Thanksgiving with a tiiiiiny Christmas tree and a gift. I opened it when I got back to my dorm room and it was this Aggie Santa ornament for my tree and stocking for me and my roommate. This always reminds me of that first Christmas away from home and the good times I had in college!
  7. My Magnolia Leaf- This carries FUN memories of our family trip to Savannah
  8. Serendipity glass ball- My family went to NYC to ring in the new year in style. NYE in Time Square, dinner- special treat from Big Daddy- at Tavern on the Green, a carriage ride through Central Park, Louis Vuittons in back alleys, and frozen hot chocolate and decadent desserts at Serendipity...that trip was full of wonderful events and memories!
  9. Key ornament- last, but certainly not least...we got this ornament for our tree in 2008 when we were celebrating our first Christmas in our first home
These are a few of the precious memories hanging on our tree! I love being reminded of everything I have to be thankful for. Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Spilling the Beans...

One of the many things infertility takes away from you is the element of surprise. Us getting pregnant, while a miracle, was no surprise. Meaning, we've been working towards this for years. Everything has been charted, cycles are exact, and we knew the moment we would get a yes or a no. All of my plans years ago to tell David over a dinner of baby spinach salad, baby back ribs and baby carrots went out the window. (Yeah, I know...that's really cheesy. But it's also pretty cute! So someone please use it and tell me how it works out for ya!)

As I mentioned in my previous post about the babies, our families and friends had been involved in our previous treatments so they knew when to expect the results just like we did. They were waiting for the call. There was no waiting it out and telling in our own way when we were ready.  Each time, the negative results proved hard on everyone. For our last round of treatment we decided to fly under the radar and not tell anyone. The result was not only the overarching blessing of the babies, but the shred of normalcy in a process that has been anything but by allowing us to tell our families in fun ways. While this was absolutely my deal and not as important to David, he humored me and allowed me the joy of thinking of fun ways to tell our families. 

Here is what we came up with!
*Disclosure: In the videos I have NO idea why I am talking so high pitched and giggling so much. I guess it was nervousness and elation :) But I'm warning you, I'm annoying.

Background: Our parents live about an hour and 10 minutes away from each other. Dave had just passed a round of his CPA exam so our parents had been talking about meeting in the middle and taking him out to a celebratory dinner. It worked out so perfectly that we had our 7 week ultrasound on a Friday, so we planned it for that evening. We went that day, heard a heartbeat...then heard a second heartbeat!! And we walked away with photos to share. I had found 2 frames (I speculated twins based on the numbers in my blood work and the unbelievable morning 24 hour sickness I was experiencing) that perfectly described these babies and used 2 of our ultrasound photos. The video below is so dark, and I can't figure out how to get it to rotate correctly, but it accurately captures my mom sobbing and the fun of sharing it with our parents. 

Claudia and my mom posing with their grand babies :) *Side note: I told my mom she could tell NO ONE for a couple more weeks, so she proceeded to tell the waiter. She just couldn't help herself. Ha!

David and me with our families after they learned the good news. 

Next, I got to tell my Nana. This was bitter sweet as we did our last round of treatment right before my Papa passed away. I found out on April 9th that we were not pregnant and he passed away on April 17th. It would have been such a joy to get to tell him this news...although I know he knows now. 

For my entire life we have eaten special meals on my Nana and Papa's wedding china. Desert Rose :) Thanksgiving, Christmas, family gatherings...for 31 years of my life these dishes have been a constant. I thought it would be fun to give her two new plates since she will need them to serve her great grand children. I didn't get her on video but there were a lot of happy tears!

For my sister and Brad I decided to play up Kristen's years in NYC. She fell in love with the city as a teenager and plotted her move right after graduating college. She had several wonderful years there and we have made MANY fabulous memories there! I found this cute board book showing sites of NYC and wrote a few notes in there. Kristen lived on the Upper West Side near Central Park and close to Columbus Circle. So next to Columbus circle I wrote, "Aunt Kristen's apartment was close!" She got it pretty quickly. :) The card I wrote her explained that her nieces and/or nephews would enjoy hearing about all of her adventures in the big city.

Telling Taylor and Rebecca- My brother plays minor league baseball for the San Francisco Giants. I decided to ask him to sign 2 of his baseball cards. I handed him a piece of paper telling him what I wanted him to write: 

"I'll teach you everything I know. Love, Uncle Taylor" 

My best friends' kids all call me Aunt T-Rog. So at first he just thought he was signing them for Charlie and Blythe or Avery. Of course never assuming he might really be an uncle! These videos had to be cut short but we got some big tears out of the big guy. 

Dave's sister, Kate lives in NYCcurrently. So I went the
 New York route with her as well getting her an adorable pop-up book. Y'all, it is the cutest! It shows all of the major sites from the Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty to Yankee Stadium. I wrote her a card also telling her what fun her niece and nephews will have getting a tour of the city from a "local" and getting to visit all of the places their Aunt Kate has been. 

We made her Face Time with us while she opened her gift, and my mother-in-law happened to be there that same weekend so it worked out perfectly!!

If you actually made it to the end....wow! You are terribly kind!! I can't imagine I will ever forget these details, the joy of sharing this with our family, but just in case I wanted it all documented. ~ XOXO

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Little Something For Your Holiday Guests...

I hosted my annual Christmas brunch on Saturday and it was so much fun! I just love getting together with my girl friends during this busy time of year to sit, eat, drink mimosas and hot chocolate, relax a little, and catch up. A lot of breakfast food is consumed and Santa (Rookie- dressed in his Santa suit) always makes a special appearance. It's a good time.

One of the things I really enjoy about the brunch is the preparation. It is a lot of work but I really enjoy it. I love knowing that my friends can all come over and just enjoy. For most of our parties everyone pitches in and brings something and that is great. It's fun and it's wonderful and it allows you to host more often because the entire burden isn't on your shoulders. But for this event I really enjoy doing the work. I want people to come, relax, be served and enjoy.

I like to give everyone a little parting gift and this is my 4th year doing this. I have anywhere from 15-20 people so I have to get really creative to do something fun, useful and cute without breaking the bank. I have made Annalee's fabulous homemade hot chocolate, I made homemade candles- peppermint and fresh balsam scent, and for the life of me I can't remember what I gave the first year! So clearly it made a huge impression on me....I hope it made more of an impression on my guests! ha!

This year, I decided to go with mulling spices that give your entire home the fabulous smell of Christmas! I thought it packaged really well with the bright colors and then it gives everyone a gift that will last the entire month as you just simmer it on the stove and add water each time you use it.

There are a ton of recipes floating around, so you can really add whatever you'd like to achieve your desired smell. Here is what I did~ adapted from Make It Do:
  • 1 whole orange (You can dehydrate your fruit as well but to me it's just as great and easier to use a fresh orange)
  • 1.5 tablespoon of cloves (To me, the more the merrier on the cloves. These really kick it up a notch.)
  • Cinnamon sticks- I put 3 in each bag 
  • Cranberries- 1/2 cup
  • Nutmeg- 1/4 teaspoon
You can continue using this same pot of goodies as long as they are giving off scent. It usually lasts at least a couple of weeks. Just add water as needed. Perfect for teacher gifts, gifts for co-workers, Christmas parties or to have on hand as people come over to visit throughout the holidays, or a wonderful idea for neighbors.

Happy giving!