Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thoughts at 10:41pm

"By Our Love" is one of my fave Christy Nockles songs of all time.

I'm wearing some very comfy pajamas and laying in a very comfy bed. Hallelujah.

Tonight I ate some food of the Mexican persuasion with my dearest Joanna from Montana. We get face time about twice a year. It was good for my soul to have some time with my precious friend. She makes my heart so happy.

We put down about two baskets of chips. Homegirls were hungry.

I spent some time today watching "Keeping Up With the Kardashians". Just like "Real Housewives of New Jersey", this is a show that I've heard alot about but never really watched. With both shows, I am amazed and appalled at how people make such poor decisions when they know they are being filmed. They are not the smartest people.

I went to the gym last night and worked out. I am sore today. Whenever I work out and get sore, I feel SO proud of myself and strongly believe that because I am sore, I need not work out again for a good month or so.

Lately I have been realizing that I have some very strong brand loyalties when it comes to grocery shopping. I will only buy Peter Pan Peanut Butter, Viva paper towels, Horizon milk, Mrs. Baird's Bread, Kraft Singles, Oreos and Ritz Crackers. NO GENERIC BRANDS. Those are the biggies. Cause you can tell the difference!!

Based on the above list of items, you would think that I'm grocery shopping for a kindergarten classroom.

While Joanna and I were at dinner tonight, Grant texted me and asked me to bring him home a beef burrito. I asked the waiter if they had a beef burrito. He said "we have something so much better than a beef burrito. It's called a poblano steak burrito" and I said "oh okay, I'll have that".

Did you know that poblano is a spicy pepper and that it doesn't help husband's heartburn? I didn't know that. I am not all up with the pepper names.

I don't know why I even bother using my Chi iron anymore. I walk outside and it looks like I just took a shower and let my hair air dry. If you don't live in Houston, please pray for us and our humidity. As Joanna told me today "My eyebrows are sweating".

Can someone please introduce me to the inventor of Tylenol PM? I would like to give him or her a hug.

The Facebook keeps recommending that I become a fan of "Running". I really need Mr. Facebook to shut it.

We saw "Despicable Me" and it was super cute. I liked it more than I thought I would.

I hate cilantro with the passion and fire of a thousand suns. I need people to stop putting cilantro in EVERYTHING. It tastes like soap. Or metal. Soapy pennies. It tastes like soapy pennies.

Today I ate a whole wheat bagel with non-fat cream cheese for breakfast, a lean cuisine for lunch, and, for dinner, 1lb of cheese, 2lbs of meat, 11 tortillas and 67 baskets of chips. Pretty balanced diet today, I'd say.

This season of The Bachelorette is boring me. If I have to pick one of the guys, I pick Cape Cod Chris. Kasey makes me want to hide behind a pillow and cry and I am so embarassed for the Weather Man.

Ali's hair always looks bad.

My hair always looks bad.

I feel like this could go on forever and I need to shut down the delirious blog writing as it gets close 11:00. I'm gonna say something stupid..... like how I believe cilantro tastes like soapy pennies.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Um.... Seriously?

I've just had my first experience with the Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Are these crazy ladies for real?

Are we seriously pulling other people's hair out?

Again, this is my very first episode ever to watch but some of these people seem, um, INSANE.

Okay, I'm done.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

You're So Vague

I feel like nobody ever really reads Saturday posts, and most of the time when I have something to say on a Saturday, I will wait and post it on Monday so someone will actually read it. Today, I'm not caring about that as much as I really feel the need to write and this is my most perfect avenue to write it.

I'm sorry that I have to be so vague here on the old blog, but it is all public and I don't know who is reading and I need to be careful.

Bottom line: The week started bad, progressively got worse, couldn't come up for air, then something totally unrelated happened that made me cry and then it got even worse after that.

I felt trapped. Confused. Misguided. Without direction. Angry. Bitter. Disappointed. Sad.

I honestly just did not know what to do or how to go about doing it.

I wrote a blog post called "Happiness Methods" where I reminded myself to pour it into prayer. And I did. It was one of those prayers that go something like this:

"Hey there. Hi. Um, I know You are well aware of everything going on down here with me and I know You love me and You know I love You and I'm all about Your plan but HEY I AM A BIT CONFUSED and so maybe You could somehow let me know what You're doing? Or just give me peace as it's happening? Cause I'm melting down and no one can fix it but You and I trust You and all that but please just tell me what You want me to do. Okay? Thanks."

And then, yesterday, something happened. Maybe not necessarily a solution to my problem.... but indeed a GIANT step in the right direction and what to me felt like a strong "I'm working on it" from above.

My point is, my prayer was answered... maybe not in its entirety.... but I was HEARD. I was heard in heaven and I was heard by the powers that be here on earth.

I have been an emotional wreck this week... just an absolute joy. I know my poor Grant is exhausted but he has been great as I have spent this week trying to sort all this stuff out. It wasn't until I stopped trying to sort it out that God had the chance to put some things into motion.

He couldn't put it into motion until I let go of it.

Are y'all confused yet? I typically get really annoyed when people write these vague blog posts where they are speaking in code and I'm all "Um, hi, this does nothing for me".

So I'm sorry if this is not your favorite but sometimes I just need to type stuff out..... so months or years from now I can come back and read this post and remember His faithfulness.

Also, this happened today.

And that just makes it all better.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happiness Methods

Oh, y'all... I am just not in the mood today.

I had a very late night last night and a very early morning this morning.... I knew I was in a foul mood when I was at a stop sign in my neighborhood on my way to work and the woman in the SUV in front of me let like 5 cars go when it was very much our turn. I caught myself doing the thing when you lean forward and put your arms in the air and yell "GO!!!!".

I'm never a real happy pants in the morning but today I am what you call, uh, crabby pants.

And I hate it when I'm in these moods. It's just so not me. I'm not a mean person. I'm a cheery, happy, smiley person. I'm sunshine and good cheer, but today I'm clouds and grunts. And a REALLY big cup of coffee.

So, I need to get some happy in me. There are several methods I use to get happy. Let's walk down that path, shall we?

Happiness Method 1 - Macaroni and Cheese

Happiness Method 2- Popcorn & M&M's

Happiness Method 3- Reruns of "Friends"

Happiness Method 4- Watching the YouTube video of Idina Menzel & Kristin Chenoweth rehearsing "For Good"

Happiness Method 5- Prayer

Happiness Method 6- Finding some very very helpful scripture verses

Happiness Method 7- Looking at pictures of the nieces and the nephews

Happiness Method 8- Putting on my softest pajamas and getting in bed

Happiness Method 9- Singing "Circle of Life" as loud as I can

Happiness Method 10- Mexican food

Those are just a few of my methods. However, being that I'm at work right now and it is 8:30 in the morning, the only feasible choices I have out of the list above are 5, 6 and 7.

I already have the pictures up. I've been praying since I yelled at the lady this morning. And now I just need to find some verses.

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" - Philippians 4:6-7

"May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" - Romans 15:13

"Give thanks to God, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. Glory in His Holy Name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and His strength, seek His face always"- 1 Chronicles 16:8-11

"I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me" - Psalm 57:2

"Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You" - Jeremiah 32:17

That's a start for now.....

Now if only I could get some macaroni and cheese up in here.....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Show & Tell: Photo Edition

I'm going to have some show and tell via photography.

These are going to be in a very random order as I am not really in the mood to put them in chonological order. You people are just going to have to concentrate and follow along.

Let's begin.

Scarlett & Juliet had a tap recital. My 4 year old nieces are OUT OF CONTROL with their cuteness..... oh, I love them.... This is the first "official" Girls Weeked. It happened in 2006. The weekend Joanna got engaged. We call it girls Weeked because Lindsee was making the customary funfetti cake and misspelled the word Weekend. It stuck. It is now Girls Weeked and ALWAYS has Girls Weeked cake.

I am desparately missing girl time. We look like total freaks in the above picture. And by "we" I mean "me".

This is my wedding day. I'm holding up the diamond necklace Grant sent to me. If you read this post here, you will learn that I was violently ill on my wedding day with a 24 hour stomach bug. I sat down most of the day.

Like I said, these aren't in order. This is after hair and make-up were done, but I still felt like crap on a stick.

Ah, the gang. Jonathan, Mark, Lindsee, me and Brien. We've been buddies since we were babies. This was the night before Jonathan's wedding and one of the first times we 've all been together in years. I love these people. They are family to me...

Prom. Me, Linds and Jo. Clearly, poofy was in that year. We had a ball and danced the night away.

This is the day Jo got engaged... actually just moments after. This is all of us girls with Jo and her John. I love this picture because Jo's eyes are fresh with tears.

This picture was taken the first time I went to New Orleans to meet Grant's family. This was also the night that he first called me his girlfriend. I was so excited... mainly because our first date was July 24 and this was late October. He was so super slow and super cautious about moving too fast....oh my husband. Slow decision maker. Probably one of the best things he brings to our marriage..... seriously.

This was an engagement picture.

Did you know I'm a musical theater girl? I spent the summer of 2005 playing Anne in "Anne of Green Gables" at the AD Players here in Houston. It was one of the highlights of my life. It was so flippin fun and also, on my birthday performance, Grant proposed :)

This has been show and tell via photographs. Hope you enjoyed :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ctrl + Alt + Delete

I'm very high tech and computer saavy, as you can see by my title of this here blog post.

Or, I know that everytime I start to have a panic attack at work, I hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete and then my computation machine turns off and everything gets very quiet and I take a deep breath and when I turn it back on everything is better and I can breathe again.

This weekend was a ctrl+alt+delete kind of weekend for me. And boy, was it necessary.

Houston Project is over. It was alot of work, alot of exhaustion, and very, very much worth it. Our last night I had 28 kids in my class and 12 of them prayed the prayer with me to accept Jesus. It was wonderful and I bawled my eyes out when those sweet ones left. I am continuing to pray for them as they are going back into their environments and living arrangements that are less than ideal... but asking that God would be a shield around them and protect them.

With Grant being in Pittsburgh for part of the week, me working full time everyday and then going to Houston Project and not getting home till after 10:00 every night, I was exhausted and desparately needed a break. Thank the Lord I got one...

Friday night, Grant and I had a nice nice dinner at the Monarch restaurant in Hotel Zaza. It was very fancy and fun... and then we went to the MICHAEL BUBLE concert!! I love Michael Buble. He is one of my very most favorites.... and the concert was amazing. He did not disappoint and frankly exceeded my expectations. Plus, he is surprisingly hilarious.

Then on Saturday, ladies and gentlemen, we slept in. Oh yes we did. We slept in. It was glorious. Then I spent the rest of day doing the obscene amount of laundry spilling out of my closet and getting some grocery shopping done. We had no butter, no bread, no milk, no meat, no cheese, no cereal, no waffles, no water bottles, no dog food. Clearly...I needed to get myself together......

I made lasagna for dinner and it has enough for us to eat leftovers all week!

Then today we woke up, went to church, went to lunch with our great friends at YardHouse, and then came home and napped while listening to the rain. When I woke up, I stayed in bed and read the newspaper and magazines. Carrie Underwood and her husband's first dance was to a Brandon Heath song. I learned that in People magazine. Adorable.

Now, I'm laying on the couch, blogging and watching Cold Case.

We SO DESPARATELY needed this weekend. Reboot. Relax. Rejuvenate.

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Roast Beef Love

On my way home from Houston Project tonight, I stopped at Arby's to pick up dinner for me and the husband.

I do love me a regular Roast Beef (add cheddar) with curly fries.

As I began to drive away from the window, the drive-thru boy hollered out "Goodnight, baby, I love you!!".

And then, I told him that I loved him too.

I did. I said it.

I said, "Goodnight, I love you too."

And I do love him.

I love him because he gave me a roast beef with cheddar and curly fries.

And most of all, I love him because he still hit on me with no make-up, tired eyes, an unflattering t-shirt and hair that looks like I've been sweating for 6 hours. I don't know if it was the fact that I yawned about 4 times while waiting at the window or the fact that I said "you're so awesome" when he handed me the food.... but I'm pretty sure we made a love connection.

His name was Reginald.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Come On, Get Happy

Something is wrong with me today. I am really irritated and agitated and I have to stop myself from biting everyone's head off. Maybe I'm tired. Maybe I'm hungry. I'm not sure, but I need to get myself out of this funk. I don't like it.

I love how you people love Mexican food so much. It makes me feel like I'm not alone.

I did realize I forgot two major ones on my list.

Goode Company Taqueria- The QUESO. Oh, the queso. I feel like all I talk about is queso but you know, I do have a very close relationship with cheese.

Also, Jennifer reminded me that I failed to mention the fajitas at EL TIEMPO. My bad. And when I say "my bad" I mean "WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?"

Please hold, I need to go get a Diet Coke. It is just one of those days.

Okay, I'm back.

I think I'm just super tired. We started Houston Project last night.

What is Houston Project, you ask?

Our church is probably what you would refer to as a "Mega-Church", meaning we are one of the bigguns. Every summer we do something called Houston Project. It is a week-long local mission trip throughout the city. We have 13 sites all over Houston that include small churches, apartment complexes, and community centers that are in underpriveleged areas. For an entire week, we provide free meals, host a full blown VBS for the kids and have adult Bible studies as well.

I am working at a site that is a small, Spanish-speaking church in a Hispanic area of the city. This is a great church with a not-so-large congregation surrounded by a community of people that need a place to go. Our mission is not to get people to come to OUR church, but to go to their local community church.

Now, the usual way the week breaks down is that you have small numbers on Monday night with more and more people throughout the week. For example, at last year's Houston Project we only had about 20 kids on Monday night but got to around 50 on the last night.

However, our FIRST night this year, we watched as over 60 kids flooded our little church. I was amazed and, I'm not gonna lie, OVERWHELMED.

I am leading opening assembly (dancing like a fool) and then I am teaching the 9, 10 and 11 year old VBS class. We had alot of fun. However, I was amazed to hear some of the kids' answers to my questions. When I asked if they could give me an example of something that makes God unhappy (we were learning the concept of sin) I was expecting answers such as "lying", "disobeying your mom and dad", etc. Instead, I heard "Guns", "Gangs" and "Drugs".

That was hard to hear.

Please pray that all my kiddos come back tonight to learn more. They promised me they would come. I told them that we are having chicken nuggets for dinner and they seemed to be excited about that! Pray especially for Victor who said he had never seen a Bible. Also pray for Uzziel and Efrain who were listening with such big eyes as I told the story of creation. I felt like they were listening to me, I just hope they HEARD it.

Well, I feel better after typing all this out. I am just sleepy and stressed. There is alot going on this week between work and Houston Project. Plus, Grant gets back from a business trip in Pittsburgh tonight and it is always harder when he is not here.

I'll keep you updated with how the week goes.

Go eat some queso today. If you live in a town with not alot of Mexican food, melt some velveeta and mix it with some chili. You'll be good to go.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Houstonian Mexican Food: A Review

First of all, a heartfelt thank-you to all of you who reminded me that I left a very key song off of my Chillax List.... "To Make You Feel My Love" by Garth Brooks. Honestly, I don't know how I could have forgotten such an important piece of my Chillax list. I used to listen to the "Hope Floats" soundtrack and dream of Harry Connick Jr. while chillaxing. It so belongs on the list. Thank you for reminding me!

Now to the meat of this post, blog reader Katie asked me a very important question about Mexican restaurants in Houston. She is coming to H-town and wants to know the best place to get Mexican food.

Well, Katie, that is a very excellent and complex question. It depends on what part of town you are in as there are wonderful places in every pocket of Houston. But if you are asking in broad, general terms, I will give you broad, general answers.

1. Chuy's. You can't go wrong with Chuy's. They have several locations throughout the Houston area. Margarita's are good. Chips are good. Queso is good. Fajitas are good.

2. Lupe Tortilla. Also with several Houston area locations, Lupe Tortilla is just good, classic Mexican food. Grant finds the fajita beef a bit too salty for his liking, but everyone else loves Lupe Tortilla. Lindsee had her first margarita at Lupe Tortilla for her 21st birthday and it was HI-LARIOUS. Lindsee combined with even the tiniest bit of alcohol can make a funny memory. "When I turn my head, my eyes don't come with me".

3. Molina's on Westheimer. QUESO. Get the queso. With the meat in it. Get it. Love it.

4. Los Cucos is good but I am personally boycotting the one on Westheimer as they once delivered fajitas to our office but FORGOT THE TORTILLAS.

5. Don't got to Ninfa's. It's fine but it's not great.

6. If you're out in my parents' neck of the woods, then you must go to Del Pueblo. Del Pueblo is practically a landmark in the Cypress area and we L-O-V-E love it. When I was in school in Denton I would go to Del Pueblo everytime I came home for the weekend. Get a margarita with sangria. It is de-lightful.

7. El Gallo, which I mentioned in my last post, is not as well known but they have been there for forever and they get to know their frequent customers. The wait staff have been known to call people on their birthday to say happy birthday even when the person is not eating at El Gallo. Yes, people give the wait staff their cell phone numbers.

8. PAPPASITO'S. Pappasito's is a chain restaurant but UM YES YOU NEED TO GO THERE.

Y'all, I feel like I am forgetting some major ones.

Keep in mind, Katie, that there are 900 "hole-in-the-wall" Mexican restaurants that are a-mazing.

Rule of thumb: The less english they speak, the better.

This post is brought to you by beef, tequila, and the letter M.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Chillax List

I've always been the kind of person that needs soothing, calming music to chill me out.

When I need calm, I need music.

GOOD music.

Music that has lovely melodies and no crazy drum solos.

I've begun to make my ultimate "Chillax" playlist..... the music that I relax to... this is what I have so far:

1. The Nearness of You- Norah Jones

2. You & I- Michael Buble

3. By Our Love- Christy Nockels

4. Captivate Us- Christy Nockles

5. Gratitude- Nichole Nordeman

6. Try- Bebo Norman

7. Slumber My Darling- Alison Krauss

8. Air on a G String- Bach

9. Angel Eyes- Jim Brickman

10. Come Away With Me- Norah Jones

11. That's All- Michael Buble (this is also the song we danced to at our wedding!)

12. Arise & Be Comforted- Christy Nockels

13. I Am- Nichole Nordeman

14. Small Enough- Nichole Nordeman

15. Let That Be Enough- Switchfoot

16. Lullaby- Billy Joel

17. Something in the Way she Moves- James Taylor

18. Oceans Apart- Jim Brickman

19. In Your Atmosphere- John Mayer

20. Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus) - Chris Rice

Do you have any other suggestions for me? What do you listen to to relax? I'd love to add more to this list... and feel free to steal mine :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Babies & The 4th of July

Has it really been a whole week since I last blogged? My oh my. I really have been busy.
Last week was one of the craziest work weeks I have ever had. I was working till 8:00 and then coming home as tired as can be.

Friday night we were supposed to drive to Louisiana but that was cancelled due to the fact that on Friday it rained in Houston for eleventy-hundred hours and the roads were flooded and blocked. We wouldn't have been able to get out of town till the waters receeded. Instead, we decided to drive up early Saturday morning. On Friday night we went to see Toy Story 3 and y'all it was SO cute. I got all emotional at the end and had to fight the tears.

Anyhoo, early Saturday morning we drove to Baton Rouge so that we could hold this little pumpkin.
This is Olivia Claire. She is too beautiful to describe.

She loves to sleep. LOVES. TO. SLEEP. And she isn't really all that interested in food. She'd rather sleep.

This is Olivia's big brother and big sister, Evan & Emily, with their Uncle Grant.

Be still my heart.

We had a great 4th of July with the family. Hotdogs, steaks, corn, baked potatoes, chips, banana pudding.... I was in heaven. Plus I held a sleeping baby for hours. It was good, quality time with Grant's mom and dad, brother, sister-in-law and the THREE kids. Our Louisiana trip was short but sweet!

We drove back late Sunday night. Grant and I had agreed as we started on our road trip back that we were not going to stop the whole way. About three and a half hours into it, however, my bladder began to disagree with that plan. I cracked up as I entered Burger King bathroom at 10:30pm in Winnie, Texas and I realized that there were 5 stalls and STILL a line of women waiting. We are funny creatures. On our way back into town, we stopped and caught the tail end of Jim & Liz's 4th of July party. It was fun to visit with them. We didn't end up leaving their house till after midnight. I was TIRED.

Yesterday, I headed over to my mom and dad's. My sister and her husband are in Mexico celebrating their 10th anniversary so my parents are keeping the kids. Yesterday it was SO CUTE when Jaclyn called and got to talk to Grace on the phone.

Grace had alot to say to her mommy.

She was telling her everything she has been doing.

She is doing just fine! :)

Later, we spent the day in the pool and Lindsee came over and spent the day with us too. LThat afternoon, my dad set up a tent in the living room for Grace. Lindsee and I had a grand-old time in the tent.


Anyhoo, now I am at work and getting the feeling that this week is going to be as crazy as last week. C'est la vie.

I missed y'all!!