Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So This Was Christmas - Part 1

We went to Sugar Land on the 22nd, but the night before we left we had a little Christmas Eve of our own.

We decorated Christmas cookies. We like pink and sprinkles.

Once Braelyn went to bed, Casey and I were hard at work. I was working on my homemade Christmas gifts (which I will show you soon, but I still have a few to give away) and Casey was working on Braelyn's Christmas present. Quite the ordeal. Can anyone guess what movie we're watching?...One of my favorites! That night I watched almost 3 full movies while I was working. Needless to say, we were up very late. But I finished all my homemade gifts, which was my goal. Phew!

The next morning Braelyn was happy to find her new kitchen.She had to call and tell all her friends about it.
That afternoon, we left for Sugar Land. We finished up some shopping and spent time with family. I do have to say, that out in Brenham, we're a little sheltered from the Christmas hysteria, so I was kind of blindsided by the craziness. But it was fun.

In an attempt to remind myself and my family that we were celebrating the birth of Jesus, I suggested that we find a Christmas Eve service. Our great friends Justin and Kaytie Johnston were leading worship for a new church plant in Katy (The Crossing), so we decided to go there.

Braelyn in her her Christmas dress. I thought she looked so sweet and beautiful. This is such a special picture to me.The church didn't have child care that night, so all the kiddos were in the service, which was fine with me, however, it made for a few humorous moments. While we were singing worship songs and Christmas carols, Braelyn made her way to the aisle. With her puffy dress and such lovely music, she could not resist this perfect dancing opportunity. She wasn't dancing full out, you know, as to not be a disturbance, but I could tell it was all she could do to not go twirling down the aisle. After the worship time, they had all the children come to the front to read the Christmas story. She wasn't sure she wanted to go at first, but once it got started she slowly and bashfully made her way up to the front. I guess once she was there she felt right at home because, then she took her shoes off. Oh goodness.

Well, I guess I'll stop there for now. There's still Christmas day to report on and a fun little get-together we had here in Brenham.

See ya in 2009! Happy New Year's Eve!
Oh and really...can you guess my movie? Maybe I'll give a prize to the first person who can guess it!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Heart A Good Giveaway

My good friend, Mandi informed her blog readers of this FABULOSO giveaway. "Oh, just another giveaway," you say? Oh no, my friends. This ain't no everyday giveaway. The prize is this...a personal portrait drawing AND if you want (um...yeah, I want) a second drawing of your entire family. OH. MY. GOSH. What a treasure that would be! Needless to say, I am adding a link, (see below) at the artist's request and signing up for the giveaway right now!
The blog is mer mag.
The giveaway post is here.
Go sign up. But don't win. I want to win.
(There's some Christmas spirit for ya!)

Thanks Mandi!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Just Finished....

MY CHRISTMAS GIFTS!!!

Just Kidding! I wish.

No, I just finished reading the 70 unread blogs that were on my Reader.
I didn't leave any comments, though. Sorry. There were just so many. You understand.

Now it's late. Really late.
I need to get up and get ready for bed, but I can't. I feel sort of paralyzed, like as long as I sit here at the computer I don't have to acknowledge how late it is or how tired I will feel in the morning. I know as soon as I start washing my face I will feel angry at myself for being on the computer for so long. I know this. But here I sit. Why do I do this? Do you do this?

:::SIGHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh::: Ok. I can avoid the inevitable no longer.
Off to bed.
G'night.

Joy and Peace, Indeed!

Casey, Braelyn and I had a delightful weekend. I think it may have been our best retreat to date. (I am not counting B.B. retreats...B.B. meaning Before Braelyn.) The car ride there was a little stressful. Braelyn and I were both a tad bit grumpy, BUT! when we stopped for gas something marvelous happened. A Christmas miracle, if you will. Casey went inside to get some water and snacks to have in our room, and then I went in to use the restroom. As I was leaving the store, I glanced down and saw a perfectly good Christmas CD sitting on the edge of the trashcan. And not just any ol' Christmas CD...the Yo-Yo Ma, Songs of Joy and Peace CD!!!! Gasp!!!! I immediately picked it up and got in the car. Casey said he saw a lady throw it in the trash, so after hesitating an good 30 seconds or so, and racking my brain as to why one would throw such wonderful music away, I claimed it as my own. Truly, God was protecting me by dropping this little gift into my lap, or CD player rather, because just before we stopped I had listened to just about all the Backyardigans I could handle and was seconds away from ripping my hair out. So...Thank You, Lord, for stopping me from balding myself. I think I would have regretted that decision. And thank You for such beautiful music. It was a welcome blessing to my ears and my soul. Joy and peace, indeed!

Soon, we arrived at the Piney Woods retreat center in Corrigan, TX. Our host put us in a great cabin, perfect for a family. Kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, TV and DVD player downstairs. Two twin beds upstairs. This was so great because it meant that I didn't have to sit in dark silence while I waited for Braelyn to fall asleep. I could put her to bed upstairs, and work on Christmas stuff and read with the lights on!

As if all this wasn't enough, God continued to bless our family. I decided, despite the late hour, to take Braelyn into worship. John Sherrill was the worship leader and I hate to miss an opportunity to worship with this dear friend, so I gave it a shot. For the fist 20 minutes or so, Braelyn had her hands over her ears...the music is always so loud at things like this, but soon enough, she got used to it and we enjoyed singing to Jesus together. Then, she sat quietly in my lap for the next 30 minutes while her daddy boldly taught the beautiful Word of God. My heart was so full. The next morning we went to worship again, and again, she sat through it all. Although, when Casey would get kind of serious and stern, she would say, "He's so mad!" It made me laugh.

I still can't believe it. We've been to retreats where I didn't get to hear Casey preach a single word. Here, I was able to enjoy 3 whole sermons!

It was such a great retreat, for the students, as well as for our family. It was good for the 3 of us to get away, be outside, be offline (hence, no book review), worship together and enjoy each other. And bonus...I got a lot done on my Christmas gifts. I am glad we went. I feel like we are entering a season where traveling with Casey will be a much more pleasant experience.

PS~ I listened to the Backyardigans all the way home...with joy and peace. ;)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Our December...So Far

Well, Braelyn's down for her nap, I am eating my lunch and before I get back to cleaning and laundry and such, I thought I'd post a little something.

We welcomed Christmas into our home December 1st with the arrival of our nativity Advent calendar (phew, just in the nick of time!). This has been a lot of fun, although I'm concerned that Jospeh is missing. One of the shepherds will have to stand in for Joseph.
On December 3rd we decorated the house in order to be ready for the party we were having on the 4th. That afternoon Braelyn, Casey and I went to one of the gifty shops downtown and bought our little Charlie Brown Christmas tree. What's even more sad is that it's artificial. :( I love having a real Christmas tree, but frankly we just don't have room for a big tree and this little guy was only $20 bucks and I don't have to clean up pine needles for the rest of the winter. Anyways, the 3 of us had fun decorating while we listened to the Charlie Brown Christmas CD...my favorite.

Here he is. (and I know I have 4 stockings and only 3 family members. I bought the extra one on Ebay last year so that I would have a matching one for whenever there is a 4th Cease. I just hung it up cause I thought it looked better. :)
Moving on. December 4th we had our college small group Christmas party. It was a great night! Over the course of the night we had 22 kids stop by! I cannot tell you how excited I am about what God is doing with these students. I didn't get very many pictures, but here's a few.

The table setting. Sorry...just had to share. I loved my little rosemary trees!
(Cat, those are the candles you gave me last year! I LOVE THEM!!!)
The girl in the red and white sweater is Erica. She lives in our garage apartment. And standing next to her is her boyfriend, John. They have become such a huge part of our lives. We loves those guys!
Braelyn hugging Lyssa, who gave her a fancy new princess dress.
Braelyn in the princess dress...and crown..and high heels...and choker...with Tressa.
It was such a great night. I don't know what we are going to do with ourselves while they are all away! Oh wait, I know...work like a crazy woman on homemade gifts!

What has happened since then? Casey finished his 2nd to last semester of school. Hallelujah! I've been working on gifts. Braelyn and I got colds. The Texans have been winning! Woo Hoo! And we went to the Brenham Christmas parade for the 2nd year in a row...unfortunately, I don't have much to say about that except that I'm glad we were there with friends.

**A side note to the Brenham Christmas Parade Coordinators: Next year, you might consider spacing the floats a little closer together. Pa-leeez! I'm pretty sure the baby who played Jesus grew into a toddler by the end of the parade. I can't be sure though, because WE LEFT before it was over!

Oh, and it snowed! That was fun. If you look closely you can see a snowflake in my daughters hair. WOW!Today, the 3 of us are packing up to go to a retreat with Casey. It's been a while since we traveled with him and I am hoping I'll have lots of time to work on gifts and write my Crazy Love book review. Once you finish reading this post, and after you leave a comment, of course, ;) ...just kidding...kind of...you should go get this book!

Alright, well, I've blogged way past my lunch break and the laundry and packing and dirty dishes are calling my name, not to mention the shower. Yea, it's 2:00 and I haven't showered yet, SO WHAT! :)

That's it. I'm done.

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Yearly Christmas Wish...

...I wish I would have started working on Christmas gifts sooner! Every year I think this!!! UGH!

I am jumping on the Homemade Gift Bandwagon this year. I would say about 50% of my gifts will be homemade. I got my supplies several weeks ago, but I just really started working on it this weekend. Can I just say...I vehemently regret not starting sooner. Um...July would have probably been more appropriate.

If I blog again between now and Christmas, it'll be a miracle. :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Crazy Love Teaser

I am dying to do a book review on the book I am currently reading, Crazy Love. Oh my goodness, it is so amazing and encouraging. I am going through it with a couple of great girls, Erica and Chelsea, and we have two more chapters left, so I'll wait to do my book review until we're all done. BUT...

In the last two chapters that we read, there were some quotes that really stuck with me and I thought them quite pertinent to the season, so I thought I'd share.

1. From the chapter: Your Best Life...Later
The concept of downsizing so that others might upgrade is biblical, beautiful...and nearly unheard of.

2. From the chapter: Profile of the Obsessed (as in obsessed with Jesus)
I realized that everyone I knew had enough, that I didn't know many people who were truly in need, and that I needed to change that. I needed to go and intentionally meet people who don't live like I do or think like I do, people who could never repay me. For there sake, but for my own as well.

There is so much more in this chapter, but he goes on to quote 1 Timothy 6:6.
Godliness with contentment is great gain.

Oh man...there is so much on my heart about this. I can't wait to talk more about it with you. Until then, be blessed and a get your Crazy Love on! ;)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy 80th Grandma!!!!!

My sweet grandma, 'bout to make her 80th wish!

For such a special occasion, Braelyn thought she'd look her best.
Although, when one looks as beautiful as this, it's hard to concentrate on anything else.
But the Birthday Girl did get a hug from the Princess.
My brother Tyler, Grandma, and me.My Grandma has lived with our family since I was in the 6th grade and my brother was in Kindergarten. We've shared our whole lives with her. What a privilege!

I love you Grandma! Happy Birthday, you gorgeous girl!

Well, Braelyn and I are off to the store. Can you guess what Braelyn is wearing?
Oh man, what have I done? :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Steph Cease - Neighborhood Watchdog

I can't believe this, but about 30 minutes ago I called the cops! Um...I CALLED THE COPS! Like a crazy woman...with 50 cats, who's suspicious of her neighbors and has a macelet. (A bracelet that sprays mace.) Ok, well, here's what happened.

Braelyn and I got home from Sugar Land at about 8:30pm. (Casey is not with us. He's speaking at at retreat.) As I was pulling into the driveway, I noticed that a car pulled into the driveway across the street at the same time. It caught my attention because no one has lived there for several months. While I was quickly getting baby and bags and food and whatnot out of the car, it started to bother me that no one was getting out of this mysterious car. We got inside, and I tried to lock the door, but couldn't. I decided to put my concerns on hold for a brief moment so I could get my exhausted, princess dressed baby in bed. (Oh yes, we have the princess dress! She is not sleeping in it.) Once that was done, I fiddled with the door again and still could not get it to lock. Immediately, I went to the window and tried to get the status on the mysterious white car. Sure enough it was still there, and there were no lights on in the house. I could only assume that the criminals were still sitting in the car.

By this time I needed to call my parents to tell them I got home safely. (Yes, they still make me do this. ;) While the phone was ringing, a great debate went on in my mind about whether or not to tell them of the mysterious criminals sitting across the street. I did not want to worry them. I knew everything would probably be fine. BUT, it did seem a little dishonest to tell them I was home safe and sound while I was at that very moment peeking out my window watching the criminals. So, I told my dad...my dad, the cop.

Within a half a second of hearing the situation, he told me to call the Brenham Police Department. I resisted. I didn't want to be the paranoid cat lady. However, my daddy is rather persuasive, and the fact that there is no limit to the humiliation I am willing to endure to ensure the safety of my little girl, I grabbed my cat (figuratively speaking) and made the call. For the first time in my life, I called the police department. I told the dispatch lady the situation and she said officers would be sent to check it out. In less than 10 minutes, the cops arrived. I was peeking out the window, as inconspicuously as possible, and 2 thoughts ran through my mind. 1. I sort of hope someone is actually in the car. And 2. I hope they don't know it's me who called the cops!

I'm not going to lie. It was a little exciting to see those flashing red and blue lights and know that they were they because of me. And then, what was even more exciting was when I saw a boy step out of the car and get questioned by the police! Gasp! I thought, "Oh, my goodness! There was somebody in the car! What were they doing there?!" I also thought, "Oh, thank goodness. I'm not completely insane!" After about 3 minutes, the boy got back in his car and left, as did the cops.

Relieved that situation was over, I called my dad back and told him that the cops sent the criminal away, but I didn't talk to the policemen so I didn't actually know what the criminal was doing over there. Well, this was not sufficient information. I was feeling perfectly safe, but to my dad the cop, safe is not as good as safe and informed. Again, I resisted, and again, my dad (who claims to be an authority on such issues) was not hearing it. And so I called...again.

Shortly, the police officer called me back and was delighted to assure me that Braelyn and I were quite safe. Being a gentleman, the cop wanted to protect my delicate, feminine ears, but was able to inform me that my criminal was with his friend's girlfriend, and they needed a place to...um..."snuggle." So what crime is my criminal guilty of?...Forbidden love, my friends. Forbidden love and hormones.
Nice. :|

So to all you neighborhood kids out there, to you I say, "Look out! Premarital sex will not be tolerated in this neighborhood! I will call the cops and I am just waiting for an excuse to use my macelet! So just keep on drivin', Loverboy. Keep on drivin."

So there you have it.
We are safe and sound. I even figured out how to lock the door.
Sweet dreams.

Oh and Daddy...thanks for keeping me safe. Love you.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blogging: D-

I am quickly approaching blogging failure. I'm so ashamed. I've been wanting to blog, but, I don't know...the words just aren't coming these days. Also, my whole family has been sick. Braelyn was throwing up last week, and then Casey and I got some crazy nazi version of it that just won't quit. I have had this nagging nausea since Sunday night. Tomorrow, if I still feel nauseous, I will simply refuse to acknowledge it. Or I'll start telling people I am pregnant because that is the only legitimate reason a person should be nauseous for this long. (No...I am not pregnant. Yes, I'm sure!) ;)

Anyways, tomorrow I leave for Sugar Land. We have 2 objectives. 1. To buy my daughter a princess dress. We were at a friend's house tonight, who's daughter has a fabulous dress-up collection, and it took Braelyn no time at all to develop a deep attachment to the pink, ruffled, sparkled, laced princess dress. She was quite a big girl when she finally had to take it off, however, when we got home she went straight to her room and started looking for her princess dress. (Um...she doesn't have a princess dress.) Surprisingly, we she couldn't find her princess dress (um...because she doesn't have one)...ballistic! Oh, the tears. The drama...on the floor. Pure, unashamed heartache. Over the fact that the dress was missing or the fact that her parents are so negligent as to not have provided her with a princess dress, I'm not sure. Either way, she was quite unhappy. So tomorrow...princess dress shopping...because she looked so cute twirling around, and because every girl really should have a princess dress. ;)

As for objective 2 and the REAL reason we are making are way to "town," it's my grandma's 80th birthday! Lots of family and food. Unfortunately, Casey will not be with us, but my brother will be there, so I am looking forward to some QT with him. (I wonder if he like princess dress shopping?)

All this to say, I know I haven't blogged, and I probably won't be able to blog for the next couple of days, but I'll try to get back to some good C+ blogging when we get back. No promises though.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

There's a Yearbook Fun Bandwagon...And I'm On it, Baby!!!

I thought I was going to spend some time blogging this evening, (since it's been almost 2 weeks since I've posted, which is completely unacceptable), but I'm pretty tired and I don't feel that great, so I think blogging will have to wait one more day.

But, before I call it a night, I'll leave you with some yearbook fun! I thought my husband looked pretty awesome, so I had to take a gander.

Steph Cease, 1952 (Nominated most likely to be a preacher's wife)
Steph Cease, 1966
Steph Cease, 1992
Man, how I've changed! ;)
Have a good night, y'all.

The website is yearbookyourself.com...just in case any of you were interested in trying this nonsense out for yourself.
Do it! It's fun.

(And yes. I have been changing my blog layout like everyday. I'm done. I am definitely done until December.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Adopting a New Tradition

At the end of an after-storytime-lunch at Must Be Heaven, my friend Cheryl (who has since had a baby...congratulations to her!) was telling us about a fun Thanksgiving craft/activity for the kids. She cut out a big turkey and for each day until Thanksgiving, she and her two boys (well, now 3) will give him a feather with something that they're thankful for written on it. Super easy! And a great way to be daily reminding our kids (and ourselves!) that we have much to be grateful for.

Well, November already had a few days under its belt and I didn't really have any big paper from which to cut my turkey...so, I improvised. I had picked up a couple of small pumpkins before Halloween to do a little toddler-free pumpkin painting, but I never got around to it. Instead, I decided to translate Cheryl's turkey feathers into Give Thanks pumpkins.

I just wrote Give Thanks on them, (you could do this super cute with a great stencil or something), and then each day we've been writing on the pumpkins something we are thankful for. The concept is still a little fuzzy for Braelyn, but I think it's good to be having these conversations. Finally, for our dinnertime prayer, we give thanks to the Lord for that particular blessing.

There ya go. A kid-friendly, cheap, easy, and most importantly, a Christ-centered holiday tradition.

(Today we are thankful for my Grandma. Love you, Grandma! (Mom, tell Grandma we love her and we're thankful for her. ;)

Monday, November 3, 2008

A New Fall Look

I noticed that my dear friend Cynthia got a new fall look for her blog. It is so cute. At first I thought her husband did it, cause he's very handy that way, but when I took a second look I noticed that she had a little label at the top of her blog, the one you now see at the top of my blog. Lots of fun template to be had there.

I like this template okay, but not as much as Cynthia's. I would have picked that one, but I didn't want to copy. :) Oh well, in December I'll get a new one!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween...One Last Time

Sorry. I couldn't resist. I just loved this pic of me and my girl.

Alright. Officially done with Halloween.
See ya next year.
Go Texans!!!

Happy Halloween!!!!!!



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Fine Day

Casey is out of town. He's in Sweetwater, Texas speaking at an honest-to-goodness revival. Due to his absence, I did not go to Pilates, nor did we have our small group. So today, Tuesday, which is normally our craziest day, turned out to be a very slow, quiet, long, luxurious day. It was fabulous. It seems like everyday we have something. But today, nothing.

We took our time with breakfast.
We spent most of the morning in our pajamas, just playing and coloring and reading.
She took a long nap. And it is possible that I might have rested my eyes for a brief period, as well. I can't really say, for sure. ;)
When she finally woke up, we decided to venture out into the beautiful day.
We went to the park.
We met a new friend.
We had a quiet dinner.
We finished our day snuggling on the couch, watching It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! (Always a classic!)

Now, if that was all that had happened, it would have been a wonderful day, but a little bonus landed on my doorstep this afternoon. (A little back story before I proceed - A while ago, I was talking to a close friend about the cuteness and surprising versatility of a mustard yellow ballet flat. After this conversation, I began to be convinced that my wardrobe could indeed benefit from a pair of mustard yellow ballet flats. Well, after some reading, a convicting sermon on simplicity last Sunday, and a little personal reflection, I decided that I did not, in fact, need these shoes or anything else for that matter. The subject was closed.)

So onto the story. Today, on my doorstep was this.
And inside the box, were THESE!!!!!
Gasp!!!!! Casey picked these out (with a little help from a friend ;), bought them and sent them to me! A shoe surprise! I have never received a shoe surprise before! Shoe surprises are delightful! These are by far the coolest shoes I own. Well done, Casey! ...and friend!

Casey and I were talking a few weeks ago about being more intentional with each other, being more thoughtful, going out of our way for one another. Well, with the Bible and now these, Casey is two points up. I'd better get my wifey act together here! ;) (Not that he's keeping tabs.)

To Casey...thank you AGAIN for thinking of me and making me feel so special.
I miss you.
I love you.

Oh, Braelyn!

It seems like everyday, Braelyn does something that is completely hilarious to me. Here a few of her most recent classic moments.

1. Last Tuesday, while I was at Pilates, Casey and Braelyn spent some quality time with a box of 96 crayons and a collection of coloring books that have seen better days. During the course of their artistic bonding, a certain orange crayon happen to break. As their time went on, Casey noticed that the broken tip of the crayon was missing, AND that Braelyn was rubbing her nose a lot. Hmmm? Suspicious. When I returned, Casey told me that he suspected that Braelyn had inserted the orange crayon bit into her nose. "No!" I thought, "Braelyn doesn't stick things up her nose!" Later that night, while our house was full of college students, there was still some uncertainty about whether there was actually crayon in our daughter's nose. So, I grabbed our trusty flashlight and took a peek up her little nostril. There it was. Orange crayon bit. It was like a miniature orange street cone up her nose. Oh Lord! We called our favorite Mommy M.D. and she assured us it would work its way out, but bedtime was upon us and I couldn't have orange crayon bit flying up and down my daughter's nose all night long. I grabbed some tweezers and chased her around for a bit. (Don't forget, a serious, life-changing Bible study was going on in the other room.) At first it made her giggle when I began to dig around in her nose, but then she decided that it was no longer funny and started crying, which was fine by me, cause the crayon bit started to slide down. At this point she was refusing to come near me, but I managed to persuade her to look in the mirror. There, with her own eyes she saw the tip of the orange crayon bit peeking out of her nostril. This was hilarious to both her and me, and since she was able to watch the procedure take place, I was able to extract the dangling orange crayon bit.

2. For several weeks now, Braelyn has started referring to me as "Honey," especially when I am foolishly interfering with her agenda. Some examples:
- (I told her to leave the swiffer alone.) "But, I am cleaning, Honey."
- (Time for bed.) "But, Honey, I don't want to go to bed."
- (I told her she couldn't have dessert until after dinner.) "I want a cookie, Honey."
How am I supposed to address disobedience under these freakishly cute conditions!! Huh?! HUH?!

3. This morning, Braelyn got up while it was still dark, about 6:30, and like I do every morning, I went to go get her and brought her in bed with me for a few minutes to give myself a chance to fully wake up. This morning, before returning to my bed, I made a detour to the bathroom. I warned her that the light would be bright. So, I set her down and was, um...you know... going potty and Braelyn promptly turned around, went to her room and came back with her sunglasses on. At first I thought she just felt like some early morning accessorizing, but then I realized that she was being quite practical...the light was just too bright that early in the morning. Funny girl!

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Husband...A Man of the Word

I'm not sure what day the ESV Bible people announced that they were publishing a new study Bible, but I'm pretty sure that my husband pre-ordered his on that very day with a song in his heart. For months and months, my husband waited for this Bible...a ten pound, leather-bound, mappy-happy, illustrated, commentated version of the glorious Word of God.

Early this month, it came.

And do you want to know what that man did?

He opened the box, unwrapped this phone-book of a Bible, walked over to me and handed it to me. He didn't even look inside. He gave it to me! He just GAVE it to me!

It was such a thoughtful thing to do. What a husband I have!

I've been using it now for a couple of weeks and I. LOVE. IT!!!!! If you are wanting/needing a new Bible, this one is a worthy investment.

Thanks, Casey. I love you so much.
Thank you for the way you are serving and leading our family.

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's a MRE, Folks!

Ok, so, I have a video for you. It's a little longer that I thought it would be..'bout 10 minutes. Sorry. It probably could have been cut even more, but I think the editor (my husband) thinks I am more entertaining than I actually am. :) He was super sweet do put it together for me, so I won't complain.

Anyways,I got my hands on one of those Meals Ready to Eat (MRE's). Thought I'd share it with you. So here ya go...my first Vlog.

video

Monday, October 13, 2008

Join Us in Prayer

I don't know this family personally, but a friend of mine asked me to add this link to my blog, and of course, I was more than happy to. Please go to the blog link below to read about little Benjamin and join me in praying for him and his family.

Benjamin, Child of God

Pumpkin Painting Craft: Round 1

We finally got started on painting our pumpkins! Over the weekend, I got 4 pumpkins, two large and two small. This afternoon, we got to work on the small pumpkins. It was so fun.

Here, I prepped our pumpkins. I sprayed mine black and I was really happy with how it came out. Braelyn chose sparkly gold, of course, but it didn't show up as much as I would have liked. I didn't want to see any orange...just gold and sparkles! I may pick up another brand of spray paint before we do our big pumpkins.

Braelyn, gettin' crafty.

And here's the finished product. I just have to add this picture because Braelyn's face is so funny. I was trying to get her to look at me and smile...but she wasn't having it. It's so funny how her eyes look everywhere except at the camera.
I might see if I can find some Halloween, or even fall-shaped sponges or stickers for Braelyn to use on her big pumpkin. The stickers we can put on before we spray paint, and then they'll leave a fun shape when we take them off. Oh, and for anyone interested doing this craft, I did spray the pumpkins with a gloss coating. Hopefully, they'll stay painted through the rest of the month!

We had so much fun. I'm excited to do some more. Those little pumpkins are so cheap, I just might have to pick up a few more! :)

More to come...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Round Top Post...(which happens to be slightly innappropriate)

Sorry for the delay.
Here we go.

I spent the morning with my friend, Mandi. She and I stopped at a pleasant, little spot called Blue Hills, but then spent the rest of the morning and much of the afternoon at Marburger.

Here we are. I look hideous, I know. I must remember to never take my own picture.

As we were wrapping up our time at Marburger, Mandi found THE perfect wire basket. A perfect combination of fashion and function. Well done, Mandi.At around 2-ish, Brandi joined us, making our party all the merrier. I was, however quite jealous of her sundress and cowboy boots. So quintessentially Round Top!
Regarding my purchases...I was looking for one of those giant wine jugs, preferably with a label or in its wire basket. I did find several that I loved, however, they were pretty pricey. I will have you know, that I negotiated the price for all legitimate prospects. I was very proud of myself about that. Anyways, when Casey gave me my budget for the day, he said if I see an item and feel like I am going to DIE if I don't have it, then I can buy it, otherwise, let's save it and use the money for um...more necessary things. I assured him that if Round Top is anything, it is necessary. Nonetheless, I wanted to honor my husband's request, and although I negotiated just about all the jugs into the acceptable (not preferable) price range, I did not feel like I was going to DIE without them. (BTW, we were making lots of "jugs" jokes, so feel free to laugh if I use the word jugs...it's just funny.) So, on to Warrenton.

By the time we hit Warrenton, it was getting pretty late, our feet were tired, and it's just so darn big and there's so much stuff, you're almost worn out before you begin. But, we made our way through a good section of it. As our feet were telling us that the day was done, to my delight I saw a booth with one lonesome wine jug. It was not the most beautiful one I had seen that day, but the price definitely was! Super cheap, compared to what I saw at Marburger. Sold!

Back at home with my jug...and a lavender bundle.
Maybe this is why girls started wearing boots to Round Top. I am thinking of making a shirt for the Spring show...Round Top: If your feet ain't dirty, you ain't shoppin' hard enough!
So this is where my jug is now. See it back there? (Oh, Erin... I painted that blue basket red. What do ya think?)
But I also, considered this. Thoughts?
I went back the next day with my parents and Braelyn (what was I thinking?! DO NOT TAKE TODDLERS OR CHILDREN OF ANY AGE TO ROUND TOP!!!!) and I saw a booth that had a great collection of jugs at really reasonable prices. I think I will find that dealer in the Spring and pick up one or two more in different shapes and sizes. Maybe once I get a nice little collection going, I'll splurge on a beautiful, dark green, labeled, wire basketed wine jug. I'll just have a table of jugs! (I feel like Michael Scott.) But I think I made a good choice for now. It's my training jug! HA! (ok...no more jugs jokes.)

Ladies...Mandi, Brandi...it was a pleasure.
Mom, Dad...we'll have to do it again.
Braelyn...I love you...a lot. I don't think Round Top is for you.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

:::GASP:::

I know what Braelyn and I are doing for an art project this week!...

SO CUTE!!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Feeling Ambitious This Week

I have some goals this week in addition to my regular homemaking tasks. They are:

* REGISTER TO VOTE!!!!!!! The deadline is tomorrow, I do believe. Gotta do my part.

* Blogging. I have a few posts...just trapped in the ol' noggin.

* I want to go back and watch the convention speeches. I watched Palin's last night. She's a little firecracker. I think I like this broad. (If she becomes our VP then I will stop referring to her as a broad, but until then...;). I also need to watch the VP debate. Lots of politics this week.

* I want to finalize my Christmas gift ideas. I'm quite conflicted on this issue. I would love to do all homemade gifts, but 1. I'm not exactly sure what I want to do yet, and 2. I don't want my gifts to look like a home-ec project. If I make something, I want it to be perfect and I just don't know that I can do that at this point...not with only 2 and a half months to go.  Or, if I decide against homemade gift ideas, I need to start thinking about other options. Ugh...gift giving. It's exhausting to me. I mean...I like to give gifts, but I agonize. You understand.

* I have a craft project idea. I think it'll be pretty simple and won't cost a lot of money. I usually talk myself out of things like this, but I want to give it a shot. I'll let you know how it goes. (If it turns out cute, maybe that'll help me out with the previous goal. That would be fabulous!)

* Finish Northanger Abby. I'm almost done...I just haven't been picking it up as often as I should. Honestly, it may be my least favorite Austen novel. I like it. I just don't love it.

* To watch the Texans game next Sunday and not feel like punching someone in the face. Did anyone see that trainwreck today?!!! Oh my goodness...put me in a bad mood for the entire afternoon. Grrr!!!

I think that's it. It's gonna be a busy week.
Hope you guys have a great week.

If you're not registered to vote...GO DO IT.  TOMORROW! 

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Ridiculous Amount of Rambling

Hello Readers,
How are you? Just thought I'd check in. I feel like doing a little rambling.

Let me begin by telling you that I have 45 unread blogs on my Reader. Man...I'm behind. I'll get to them, though. Anyways, let me tell you about me weekend. It was a good weekend...but...there were some bumps.

Thursday evening we left for Meme and Papa's in Sugar Land.  When we got there, Casey and I considered going on a date, but we were too anxious to watch The Office (WE LOVE THE OFFICE!!!) so we stayed in. Good decision. :) 

Friday morning, my mom and I both went to get a hair cut from Vielka...who was nominated Woman of the Year for 2008. (Go here to see what she fixed!) I didn't really want to cut any length, cause I want to start growing it out, so I just got a transitional haircut. I'm not sure it was the best choice. One side of my head is doing something totally different than the other side of my head. I'm not sure I can take it. I can't decide if I want to have her cut it to my chin again or just tough it out...what do you think? The good news is that my mom's haircut looks great. 

Later that day, Braelyn, mom, my grandma, and I stopped at a few stores to find Braelyn's Halloween costume. Now, I know that it wasn't even October yet, but...last year...I waited till, like a week before Halloween. Colossal mistake! Every Halloween costume in the entire country was out of stock. I was not going to make the same mistake twice! So...Friday we began the search. Braelyn originally said that she wanted to be a cheerleader, which was no problem to find at Party City. However...the problem with Party City is that they have pictures of hundreds of costumes up on the wall and after a little perusing, Braelyn decided that she wanted to be a princess. Well...OF COURSE...THEY'RE OUT OF ALL PRINCESS COSTUMES!!! Of course they are! It's not even October yet! I told Richard (guy who was helping us) that it was all those crazy, psycho moms out there. He agreed, but I'm certain he was discerning enough to know that I am not one those moms. We headed home with no costume.

Saturday morning, Casey and I had a board meeting. All went very well. A lot was accomplished. The plan was to return to my parents house, gather our things and our daughter and head home. Well, Casey was looking awfully tired and Braelyn didn't nap, so we let Casey take a little rest while Braelyn, mom and I went out one last time to find THE costume. Sure enough, my daughter doses off 5 minutes into the 10 minute car ride. I pull into the parking lot where (we mistakenly thought) the costume store was and I hear Braelyn cough...and it sounded like something came up with it. I look back and she starts throwing up...multiple times...all in her car seat. Oh my goodness. Disgusting! I told her when she was a baby that she was forbidden from throwing up in the car. I knew to give her this rule because it happened to a friend and she told me not to let it happen. But there she was...throwing up, all over her car seat. Bless her heart. Needless to say, we turn around and went back to my parents'. We ended up staying the night that night too. I wasn't about to risk letting her throw up in another car seat! (We're borrowing Meme's.) 

Thankfully, she didn't get sick again, and she seemed fine the rest of the night. 
Sunday, we made it home. :::SIGH:::

So that was our weekend.
Oh well, Sunday afternoon I watched the Texan game...sad :(. Darn coin toss. But! After the game, I was quite inspired and I ordered Braelyn's costume online. Can't show ya yet, though. :)

Also, I acquired something over the weekend that I am very excited to show you, but it'll have to wait. I need Casey's help and he's studying. Hopefully tomorrow.

What else?...

Oh..Round Top (Antique Show Heaven)! It's happening! I am going on Friday, but seriously...it's painful to wait! I can't wait to see what everybody finds! Normally, I have a list of what I am looking for, but this year I don't. I kinda want to find one of those giant glass wine jugs...but I have a feeling that if I find one, I won't be able to afford it. We'll see. I'm not dying to buy anything...there's a project that I want to work on in the living room, so I may just save my money for that. It's still going to be fun to look around though.

And one last thing. Casey and I just finished Lost...again...all 4 seaons. Oh my gosh! I love that show. I have some thoughts...well, questions, really...to share as we get ready for the final season. I'll try to share those with you later on this week. 

Ok, well that is all the rambling that I have and I'm sure, all that you can stand. So...I'll say good night.

Good Night.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

With Time Alone...

This evening, with only a few minutes of day light left, Braelyn and I decided to go for a walk. While I was making my way around the trail, I started thinking about a blog I read recently. The author discussed how we, especially parents, don't ever really get time alone. We might get a few minutes here, or an hour there, but rarely do we have a significant chunk of time to just be alone to think or pray or read or whatever.

So I started wondering...What would I do with serious time alone? What if I had 5 whole days, completely to myself? What would I do? What would I try to accomplish?

Well, besides sleeping in, and reading, and blogging, and all those things we dream of doing "if only we had more time," ...I think I would actually try to get ideas together for a children's book. I think of doing this often, but as soon as I let my mind start thinking creatively...there's laundry to do or games to play or dinner to make. I'm not complaining. I love doing those things and I wouldn't trade it for anything, even if it means I never write a book in my life. But, I just find it hard to think fully and completely about other things, whether it be writing a book, or a craft project or planning a surprise for my husband or decorating my home. It just gets a little frustrating sometimes. Anybody with me? (I don't think this feeling is reserved for just moms...I felt the same way when I was working...perhaps even more.)

But that's what I would do, I think. And maybe during my 5 days I would find out that I am not a children's book author...and that's fine, but...I don't know. I need time to figure that out.

So now, I'm curious. What would you do with 5 days (or maybe just 3, or even 1) alone, with no distractions?

Blogger's Whine-arrhea

I...Can't...Blog!!!! (whine, sniff, sniff)

Everyone else is blogging. Oh, yes. I just looked at my Reader...18 Unread blogs! 18!

Is Pleasant Places highlighted on the Reader?
No sir. No it isn't. (Well...I guess, if you're reading this it was technically highlighted, but before it wasn't and it doesn't really count anyways because this is a whine-arrhea post.)

:::Sigh:::

I'm bored with my blog.
I have not a single interesting thought right now.
I miss you people. I miss your comments. But currently...I have nothing commentable.

Tonight, Casey is out speaking, which means after Braelyn goes to bed, I'll have the evening to myself. I will blog. I will force a post, dadgumit!

In my own defense, I have been blogging less, in part, because I realized that I was spending too much time on my blog (and yours), and therefore, neglecting many of my motherly and household duties. As a result, I repented and have been trying to be more intentional with my daughter and home. This is a good change, I think.

BUT! I have also been blogging less because... I have been attending to my motherly and household duties. These are the exciting things that are occupying my brain. And as much as I like to report on diaper changing and finger painting and vacuuming, and cleaning the toilet, I feel like my readers would appreciate it if I kept that to a minimum.

But I will not give up. I will persevere. Even tonight...I will make myself blog about something other than the fact that I am not blogging.

There. Blogging Whine-arrhea complete. (That's whine - a- rrhea. Rhymes with diarrhea...just in case you weren't familiar with that term ;)

Ok, I really have to go...Braelyn has been playing with scissors for the last 5 minutes. She has the scissors to Tucker's ear right now! Oh my goodness! Pardon me, just a moment.

Ahhh...Dog ear amputation averted.

You see...How's a mother suppose to blog, huh?