Tuesday, December 30, 2014

That One Time I Got Married While Also Having a Stomach Bug

December 30, 2006 is the day I married my Grant. It is also the day that I woke up with a horrendous, 24 hour stomach virus. 


My family and I were sick as dogs on the wedding day. I think, by the end of it all, we counted about thirty-something people amongst our family and wedding party that were hit by the Great Wedding Virus of 2006. 

All I know is, there was a moment that I was laying on the couch in my parents' house, making some last minute adjustments to the reception seating arrangements with my sister, while wearing pajamas and holding a bucket. And all I could think is "I'm getting married at 6 o'clock. I AM GETTING MARRIED AT SIX O'CLOCK. TODAY. AND IT IS 10AM AND I AM IN MY PAJAMAS AND I AM LAYING ON A COUCH AND HOLDING A BUCKET AND I AM GETTING MARRIED KIND OF IMMEDIATELY AND I LOOK LIKE DEATH AND I DON'T WANT TO GET OFF THIS COUCH HELP ME JESUS."

My parents were sick. My sister was sick. Groomsmen were sick. You know who wasn't sick? 


Isn't that just how life goes?

As I'm sure you can imagine, we just powered through and made it happen because I had no intentions of delaying my marriage any longer. I wanted it. I wanted Grant. And I wanted us.

And let me tell you, my friends.... it has mostly been good, but it has also been hard. We've been married for 8 years today, and we have had some doozies, if you know what I mean. We went to marriage counseling in the first year, folks, because HEY, YOU DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY THAN ME.

I'm gonna go ahead and admit right now that I'm not the easiest person to live with. I'm a whole lot of fun but I'm also quite exasperating and I'm not all there, if you know what I mean. And that man of mine also has a tendency to make things a whole lot more complicated than they need to be and that is seventeen kinds of frustrating. 

However, at the end of the day, and at the end of 8 years, I can also say that Grant is God's gift to me. Our marriage, as young as we were (22, hello!) was and is a work in progress that continues to surprise me and delight me. He is fun and he is funny and he is sacrificial and he is calming and he is quirky and he is godly and He is intentional and he is particular and he is strong and he is so smart I can't even handle it sometimes. Don't even get me started on watching him be a daddy to our daughter. I will just boo hoo into a puddle. He's just steadfast and steady as a rock. I'm so glad she has that in him.

One of the negatives about getting married immediately after the holidays is that by the time your anniversary rolls around, you've spent the last few weeks going to parties and dressing up and seeing family and traveling all over and spending sooooo much money that your anniversary celebration kinda falls to the back burner. And that's okay, because we can celebrate later. But, today, on our 8th anniversary, I just want to say how thankful I am for that man of mine. I'm so blessed by him and I absolutely did not deserve him, and I still don't. I don't know why God is so generous with me. It blows me away.

I'd also like to thank our sweet, precious, wedding coordinator at the church for wrapping a bucket in tulle and placing it at the altar, just in case I needed to, oh you know, VOMIT WHILE I WAS GETTING MARRIED. I'd like to thank God for keeping that particular scenario away from our nuptials. I stopped throwing up earlier in the day, and that is one of my favorite wedding gifts. 

See, look, here I am waiting for the ceremony to begin. Please note the ginger ale and hand sanitizer on the counter top.

Here's a few more favorites from one of my all time favorite days, because the end result was much better than the beginning!

Happy Anniversary to you, Grantley. You make everything better. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

And Boy, Are My Arms Tired!

We just flew in from New Orleans! We are HOME and now begins the daunting task of:

a) unpacking all the suitcases (we checked FOUR bags, y'all)
b) beginning the laundry monster
c) going to the grocery store because our home is food-less
d) finding a home for all of Ellie's new toys

And I'm going to get right to all of those things and be on the bal. I will be getting things accomplished because I'm not going into 2015 with any lingering chores hanging over my head! If I procrastinate anything in the next few days, than the chance of 2015 being a productive year goes right down the toilet. So I'm gonna get all that done. For reals.

However, I just wanted to pop in real quick and say "hi" since it's been awhile.

So, hi.

A few thoughts on traveling:

1. We flew on Christmas Day and it actually was quite pleasant.
2. I don't think that there is any greater joy as a weary traveler than when you land and go down to baggage claim and your bags (ALL FOUR OF THEM) are already circling and waiting for you. It is a gift from Heaven, I'm telling you.
3. Two-and-a-half year olds want to be big kids and want to walk in airports and not be carried. Also, two-and-a-half year olds get really easily excited by things at the airport. Oh, look, an airplane. Out the window. Oh, look. Another airplane out another window. Oh, look, escalators. Oh look, let me stick my fingers in this outlet. Oh, look, let's drop some food on the floor and pick it up and eat it. Oh, look, let's stick our hands in someone else's purse. Oh, look, a massive swarm of people are walking briskly behind us, trying to catch their flights, but we're just going to mosey around and meander and point at the ceiling and show random strangers our boots.
4. I am tired.

All in all, I'm thankful and happy and we had such a great time with family. I'll post more pics later, but for now... here I am with my girl on the plane :)

Happy Monday, friends! I've missed you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve has always been one of my favorite days. Today is no different. All week we've been spending quality time with my side of the family. Today we have a bit of a breather before starting the festivities tomorrow with Grant's side of the family. Ellie has had a ball with her cousins so far (she woke up at 10AM this morning, y'all!) and I know the fun will continue with her other cousins tomorrow. The weather is chilly and everything has been calm and I'm really, really grateful.

Today we have some packing to do and some logistics to take care of, but all in all I'm just enjoying the day with my people and drinking coffee and wearing slippers and helping Ellie play with her new toys.

As I've gotten older and the focus of Christmas has morphed over the years, I continue to love spending time with family, giving gifts, receiving gifts, and taking part in the many festivities and songs. However, I think somewhere along the line I started realizing the best part.

Matthew 1:23 says "And the virgin will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means "God with us."

God with us. That's all this is. A baby was born in Bethlehem and the significance could not have been greater. God was with us now. He was on the Earth. OUR GOD IS WITH US.

I posted this on my Facebook page, the other day, because I sometimes get punched in the gut by song lyrics, and the words to "O Holy Night" never cease to amaze me. Especially the second verse!

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth

The thrill of hope
The weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angel voices!
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine! Oh night divine!

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love, and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease

Sweet hymns of joy,
in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His Holy Name!

Christ is the Lord! Oh praise His Name forever!
His power and glory evermore proclaim
His power and glory evermore proclaim!

God is with us. The weary world can indeed rejoice.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

And also, Ellie is really excited that tomorrow is Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2014

I've Got a Blank Space, Baby

That's all I could think to write for the title of this post. I've got a blank space. Cause the screen is blank and the cursor is blinking at me, telling me to write, and I feel as of right now that I don't have much to write. So thank you, Taylor Swift, for the lyrical inspiration.

I've got a blank space baby... and I'll write your name.

Your Name.

Can I just end the blog there? No? Okay. Here are some thoughts.

1. Melanie over at Big Mama shared with her readers a few days ago about an app called Riffsy Gif that allows you to put gifs directly into text messages. I read that and about flipped. I CAN PUT GIFS INTO A TEXT MESSAGE?

Well. It's pretty much the only way I will be communicating with anyone from this point forward.  I apologize ahead of time but my text friends are just going to have to deal with it. I'M SO EXCITED!

Again.... I apologize.

2. It's December 22nd and I ran out to the drug store this morning to buy some mascara and a few more gift bags and I'd like to go ahead and tell all of you that it's no longer safe to enter into any retail store of any kind. It was madness in there and a poor Walgreen's employee was getting chewed out by someone and I kinda snapped at her and said "Hey! She's doing the best she can!" The employee apologized for the delay and I told her I'm sorry that this is what her week looks like. BE NICE TO STORE EMPLOYEES, PEOPLE. THIS IS NOT FUN FOR THEM.

3. I'm so thankful for Grant. December 31st marks his end of the fiscal year at work, as well as his end of quarter. As a salesman, he has to have all his deals closed by December 31st while also dealing with everyone's travel and holiday schedules. He is kicking butt and taking names and closing deals while also participating in all of the Christmas festivities. He is such a hard worker and I'm so thankful that I get to keep him.

4. This is probably the last year that I can do this, but I went ahead and put all of Ellie's stocking stuffers in her stocking already. I was organizing all the gifts and thought "where can I hide these stocking stuffers?" Oh. I can hide it in her stocking. She'll never look there! She doesn't even know something is supposed to be there Christmas morning. Works out perfectly!

In case you're curious, the stocking includes:
Chapstick (or "my lih-stick!" as she calls it)
Minnie Mouse Socks
A princess flashlight

5. When I bought stocking stuffers for Ellie and Grant, I decided to go ahead and get myself a stocking stuffer too, since mine is always empty. It's earrings. I'm wearing them now.

Alrighty folks, that's all for today! I hope you're having a blessed season and are able to enjoy time with family and friends! Safe travels to wherever you're headed!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ear Infections Bum Me Out

The past few days have been somewhat eventful. Ellie started being especially cranky and irritable and uncooperative and then she got a fever. We just went through this at Thanksgiving and this mama was not in the mood to deal with a sick girl over the holidays again so I got her right into the doctor who confirmed that she has an ear infection. Antibiotics to the rescue!

Unfortunately, Ellie was unable to attend her Christmas program at school where she was to be dressed as a sheep. I am so sad that we couldn't make this happen because I was looking forward to witnessing what happened last time except with the added bonus of her being in a costume.

We have 3 days of antibiotics in her but she still wasn't acting like herself enough for me to think it was a good idea to send her to school today. Unfortunately, it was the last day of the semester and today is her class Christmas party. I had gifts ready for her amazing teachers and I really was sad for her to miss this big celebration. We decided to skip the school day but allow her to go up for just the party.

I'm so glad I did!

We walked in and the table was set with a sweet little Christmas tree that the kids have decorated and every seat had a place card. This was Ellie's place card:

My favorite part is that her baby apparently had to be part of the picture too. Silly girl.

I also love 2 of the crafts she brought home with her, the first being something I've been anxiously anticipating:

Her first handmade ornament! It's already on the tree! A few things that make this ornament especially special to me:

1. It's decorated with pasta, which is my love language.
2. It's turquoise, which also happens to be Ellie's signature color.

I will treasure this pasta star for decades to come.

She also brought home this absolute treasure:

Y'all. You know I'm obsessed with her feet.

It is just all kinds of preciousness. I'm totally going to buy a frame and from this point forward this will be part of our Christmas decor. I'm obsessed.

I'm so glad we went and we got to give presents to her teachers and see her friends one more time before the holiday.

We came home and she really seemed to perk up after her nap and isn't acting sick at all. In fact, she took a stamp and stamped all over our walls in the entryway this evening. There's a video of this incident on the So.Many.Words. Blog Facebook page. Go over and take a look. And yes, the video ends with her saying, "Don't touch me!"

As you can tell in the video, my message totally got through to her and she is very remorseful for her actions.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

This Christmas is Already Amazing

Some friends just get you.

Some friends make you feel understood.

Some friends show their love and loyalty and devotion by giving the perfect gift.

Yesterday, a FedEx man walked up to my house, holding a very important envelope. Grant carried the envelope to me. "Are we expecting a FedEx package?"


"It's addressed to you."

"I am not expecting anything, I wonder who this is from?"

Inside was the perfect Christmas card from my dear friend, Tiffany. 

And then, inside the envelope, I was given great joy.


Macaroni and Cheese.



God Bless Us, Everyone!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

It's Like Living With MacGyver

My husband is very handy and resourceful. He's quick on his feet and always knows what to do in a crisis. And by "crisis" I mean an actual crisis, and also the kind of crisis that I find to be a crisis that no one else thinks is a crisis. He's calm and collected and always finds a way.

He's also very quirky.

A few months back, I shared with y'all about his little Hershey bar habit. When we are going on a road trip, he buys a Hershey bar and sticks it in the A/C vents to keep it cold.

This weekend, I learned another new little life hack from him. I walked into the kitchen to find him spinning a jar of peanut butter on our kitchen floor. He was spinning it, on its edges, kind of like a spinning top.

Me: Hi.

Grant: Hi.

Me: What are you doing?

Grant: Spinning the peanut butter.

Me. I see that. (I stood there and stared for a few seconds longer.) Can I ask why you're spinning the peanut butter jar? Is this just for fun? Or....

Grant: It's cause whenever you use it, you hack at it and it's all clumped on the sides and I want it all to be on the bottom. See? Look.

(Grant sticks this in my face:)

Grant: See? Now it's all on the bottom.

Me. Wow.

Grant: Look! Tell me that didn't work!

Me: No, I can see that it worked. Is that something people do?

Grant: What do you mean?

Me: Is this a common thing? Who taught you to do that?

Grant: It's centrifugal force!

Me: But did someone tell you about this?

Grant: I think it's a pretty common sense thing, babe.

READERS: IS THIS NORMAL? DO OTHER PEOPLE DO THIS? Do you spin your peanut butter on your kitchen floor?!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Tour 2014

Today I'm joining Kelly's Korner with the rest of the internet to give you a little Christmas tour of my home! Before we begin, I should tell you that while I love Christmas, I am not yet to a point where I go "all out" or anything like that. We are still in the beginning stages of collecting Christmas decor and I'm sure it will increase over the years. This is real life and I have a toddler so we keep it pretty basic around these parts. Ellie is loving it though and every morning she asks to go see the Christmas tree. I have more little decor items up than what I am showing you... but these are some of the highlights. Let's begin!

This year is our first year to put lights outside! I'm loving it and Ellie is too. Grant did a great job. Next year I'll be adding a little more to the porch. 

I love this sign! 

Thank you, Target, for this wreath, and for all the other wonderful things you give us.  

Alright, y'all. I got my craft on a little bit this year. I kinda laughed because I realize it's kind of thrown together but it's better than a bare table! The runner and reindeer are from Hobby Lobby, as well as the sprigs or whatever you want to call them. I had the vases and the ornaments. 

That Santa in the cabinet is one of the things Grant's mom gave me from their house. I love having parts of his childhood home in our home!

Okay, so, this looks bare. I get it. There was a runner there and some other festive items, however, Ellie is now tall enough to touch all the things. They were constantly being destroyed.

 Grant already had to perform a minor surgery on one of the Shepherds who was dropped on a tile floor. Super glue saves the day! I had to push everything back and strip it down. This is just what it is. Loving my new chalk markers though!

Why is this wall looking so yellow? It's definitely tan. 

Santa flies over me while I cook. 

In the next few weeks, this door will be completely covered and I have to start putting cards on cabinets. It's one of my very most favorite things. 
 By the way, I'm a little sad. I sent my cards out earlier this week and some people have not received them. Then, a friend of mine texted me a photo. She received my card but it was ripped and torn and tattered and missing pieces. Apparently there was a processing error, according to the post office?! I'm afraid other people are getting damaged cards. It makes me sad, and irritated because HEY, THOSE WEREN'T CHEAP. And neither was postage. If you got a card from me and it was damaged, I'm so sorry. They looked really pretty when I dropped them in the mail box. Two thumbs down. 

I keep this tray on my breakfast table. That Mickey and Minnie snow globe was a gift from my dad to his grandkids. Ellie likes to carry it around with her as if it were a stuffed animal. It sits on the couch with her. I'm so scared she's going to drop it. She is a little obsessed with it. 

 The tree!!

These Mickey & Minnie ornaments are new this year. 

Same with the Bubble Guppies. These were a gift from Grammy. Ellie goes up to them every morning and says "Hi Molly! Hi Gil!"

I try to get ornaments as souvenirs from trips we take. This was from our trip to the Paradise Point resort in San Diego. Ellie thinks it's a clock.

Mox has to have an ornament, too. 

I tried something new this year instead of garland. 

We were given this statue as a wedding gift and I've always absolutely loved it. 

This "mistletoe" is a new addition this year. I make Grant and Ellie kiss me every time we walk under and they are both totally over it. 

One thing I remember about Christmas as a little girl was that when we went to my Mamaw's house on Christmas Eve, she always had a candy dish with Christmas M&M's. I've decided to make that a tradition in my home. My waistline hates this. And that ornament was another wedding gift!

When you get married close to Christmastime, you get lots of Christmas decor. 

This advent calendar is another new addition to our Christmas traditions! Each night we read Ellie a Bible story from the Jesus Storybook Bible and the she picks one of these pieces and puts it in a pocket. She keeps wanting to put Baby Jesus in but we have to keep telling her He is for the last night. She's really loving this and it's been fun to do at bedtime. 

And lastly, Ellie has a little tree in her room. She keeps trying to grab it from her bed, so I keep having to push it farther away!

Thanks for stopping by! And for those of you who linked here from Kelly's Korner, be sure to stop by the Facebook page! We have a lot of fun over there!

Merry Christmas, one and all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions about the Blog

I've been blogging for almost 8 years now. That is absolute crazy town, but I've enjoyed it every step of the way. I've met a lot of great people and found my voice as a writer and I don't plan on stopping any time soon!

Sometimes, people will ask me some questions about the process or about some of the specifics of the blog. So, today, I thought I'd address some of those FAQ's! If there's anything I don't answer, feel free to ask in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter.

Q. When do you write the blogs?
A. I mostly write mid-morning. For whatever reason, that's when my creative juices are flowing the most. I also write at night while Ellie is asleep.

Q. Do you write your posts ahead of time and schedule them? Or do you write it and immediately post it?
A. Nine times out of ten, I write and immediately post. Unless it's some crazy time of the day that I know no one will be reading it, I post when I write it. I do try to post things at times that people will read them, otherwise it gets lost in your newsfeed and no one ever reads it. Also, sometimes I will decide "On Friday I'll post Christmas pics of the house" or something like that. But that's about as much as I calendar at this point. I like the freedom of getting an idea and writing about it immediately. Oh, and I do calendar the award shows! The Emmy Awards, Oscars, and Golden Globes are already in my calendar so I remember not to schedule anything for that night.

Q. Do you know what you're going to write when you sit down to write? Or do you just sit there and start typing?
A. Honestly, both. Sometimes I will be driving and will think of something I want to write about, and I basically "write" the whole thing in my head and then go home and crack open the Macbook and just hammer it out. Other times, I know I need to blog, so I'll sit down and look at the flashing cursor and type "hello" about 700 times until I think of something I want to say!

Q. Do people ever say negative things about what you write?
A. Rarely, but it has happened. This is mostly when people don't understand my humor. I will write something, trying to be funny, and someone just won't realize that I'm kidding. They don't get the sarcasm. For example, one time I posted a video of an amazingly talented child opera singer and said "It's a shame she can't sing!" and someone chastised me for being critical of a child.  Or, in another case, I've been told that they don't care for my style of writing or all my sentence fragments. And that's okay. I write in the manner in which I talk and that's just how it is. It's my blog and I can write how I want to!

Q. Have you ever regretted something you posted?
A. Yes, one time, and I deleted the post.

Q. What does Grant think of your blog?
A. He likes it! He doesn't read every single post, but most of them. I have to be careful to not embarrass him. It's one thing to tell all of you what a mess I am, but he didn't ask for that. All in all, he knows it's a creative outlet for me.

Q. How many people read your blog?
A. It depends. Some posts are more "shareable" - several thousand read the blog about the frog. (Look under the Greatest Hits tab for "Panic at the Front Door.") Other times it's only 800 or so. It just depends. I don't really care about the numbers as much.

Q. Do you ever worry about creepers?
A. Yes, I used to. I don't as much anymore, I've done this a long time and I've never had any weirdos. Occasionally I will be somewhere and someone will ask me if I'm "Jen the Newlywed" (what this blog used to be called) but that hasn't happened in awhile. I also try not to post about vacations until we are already home from vacations, so people don't get to have free reign to come rob us. But, also, I don't live in fear of that kind of stuff.

Q. Do you make money off of the blog?
A. Minimal. I have a few ads in the sidebar that generate some revenue, but we ain't living off of that income or anything like that!

Q. What has surprised you most about blogging?
A. That people still read it!

Q. What is your plans for the future of the blog?
A. I have no idea. I just want to keep writing and telling my stories. As long as you'll read them, I'll write them.

If you have any other questions, send them my way! Thanks for reading, folks.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Hardest I've Ever Cried in My Entire Life

You know the saying "the straw that broke the camel's back?" Well, I'm about to tell you about the straw that was placed on the camel's back and then that camel exploded.

It was 2006, about a week and some change before our wedding. We got married on December 30th, so we were smack dab in the Christmas season. Grant was in New Orleans with his family, I was in Houston with mine. We were having one last holiday without each other. I was in Cypress celebrating the holiday but also getting tons of wedding stuff done. The clock was ticking, and we still had a lot of little details to take care of.

The Houston Children's Chorus is an organization that is very close to my heart. I sang in the chorus for 5 years as a child, volunteered as a high school student, and then worked for them all through college as a choreographer and assistant. I've chaperoned many trips and attended many events to help with crowd control and logistics. On this particular day, the kids were singing in the middle of the day at an office building in downtown Houston. The director asked if I would be available to help with this event. Although I was smack dab in the middle of one of the busiest seasons of my life, I said yes because I wanted to do one last thing with the kids before I got married and moved to Louisiana.

It was the middle of a work day. I was driving in downtown Houston, which at the time I wasn't super familiar with. I didn't go down there all that often and there are lots of one way streets. I missed my turn, and when I had the opportunity, I did a u-turn to get back to where I needed to be. As I u-turned I heard a pop. A big pop. I had hit a pothole and with every second I drove, that loud, flat tire noise got louder and louder. I was trying to find a place to pull over, but that is not easy in that part of Houston. People were honking at me. I was panicking. I pulled into a parking garage just to get out of the road and into the first available spot I saw. Unfortunately, after I parked there, I realized that I was in some executive's reserved spot. I thought of backing out, but I knew there was no way I could get my flat tired vehicle safely up that steep incline in that parking garage.

So, I parked, took a deep breath, and called my dad. He was working but he was the only one I knew to call. I told him I had a flat tire but I wasn't entirely sure what office building I was parked at. I gave him all the information I could, and he said he'd be there as soon as he could, but it would probably be 35-45 minutes at a minimum with traffic.

I hung up the phone. And that's when it happened.

Look, I'm not sure exactly what the trigger was. I don't know if it was the fact that I was in an unfamiliar area. I don't know if it was the fact that we were already spending so much money on the wedding and now I felt like I was asking my dad to spend more money. Maybe it was because I was running late to the event that I said I would be at. Maybe it was the anxiety of knowing that if I went ahead to the event and left my car there, it could get towed for being illegally parked. Maybe it was because I was calling my dad with car troubles, as I had done so many times in my life, and perhaps this was going to be the last time since I would now call my husband with that kind of thing. Maybe I was tired. Maybe I missed Grant. Maybe I knew I had a lot of wedding stuff to do. Maybe I knew I needed to write a letter to my bridesmaids and my parents and the emotions of those letters brought up a lot of emotion. Maybe I was overwhelmed with how soon the wedding was happening. Maybe I was finally releasing some of the nervousness I felt about marriage and moving to Louisiana. I am not sure exactly what the trigger was, but THIS IS THE TIME THAT I EXPLODED. I've experienced heartbreak and deaths in the family and dark nights and trials... but I can honestly say that this is the hardest I have ever cried, ever.

I hung up the phone with my dad and I just wailed. WAILED. Sobbed. Screamed. Tears everywhere. Snot. I put my head on the steering wheel of that Honda Accord and basically hyperventilated. I was doing that gasping cry where you can't get a breath. A parking garage attendant walked up to my vehicle, tapped on my window, and then promptly walked away when he saw my face. It probably appeared that everyone I ever knew had just abruptly died.

Y'all, it went on FOREVER. I couldn't stop. It just kept coming. I kept wondering "Is this what a nervous breakdown feels like? Maybe I should find a paper bag to breathe into?" I would start to calm down, and then I would think of something else that I had no control over and I would just explode again. I just pretty much sat there and thought to myself "pull yourself together, girl!" but it was filled a sob in between each syllable.  "Pull-your-self-to-ge-ther-girl." Something along those lines.

My dad arrived and I hugged him and he was like "THIS IS A FLAT TIRE. THIS IS A SOLVABLE PROBLEM. CALM. DOWN." and he told me to go into the event and check in while he worked on the tire situation.

I walked into the event (I had actually stopped crying by this point) and of course the kids were already done singing. My friend Amy was there (she's now Chairman of the Board! When did we get so old?!) and I went up to her and said "I'm so sorry I'm so late, I had some car trouble down the street."

Then, Amy, in that way that only a true, dear friend can do, looked at me and started laughing and said "LOOK AT YOUR FACE!"

I was so swollen and puffy and just all together a hot mess. And she laughed at me and then I started laughing. And that's why you need girlfriends like that. Sometimes you need a friend to console you and then other times you need a friend to laugh at you.

Because that whole 2 hour period of my life was just entirely ridiculous and unnecessary. I still laugh at it. When I see my daughter  throw a giant tantrum and scream and sob for no good reason and gasp for air, I think of myself and my own version of that. Except she is 2 and I was 22. So there's a little bit of a difference there. Like I said, I don't really know what that was. Has that ever happened to you? Just total meltdown for no specific reason? Please tell me it has.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime

A very merry Monday to you!

Let's get right to the weekend recap, shall we?

Friday night started our weekend off with a bang as we got together with our sweet friends from Bible study for our annual Christmas party. We had a sweet sitter for Ellie (shout out to Katie for being awesome!) and had a great, kid-free night with our people. 

I love that man. 

I love evenings with these girls:

Me, Kari, Kyndall, Liz and Charlotte.

Charlotte is our hostess with the mostest. Seriously. I would like for her to teach classes on hosting parties. Girl has GOT IT GOING ON. And all I brought to the party was this:

That's some Christmas bark I made from a recipe I found on Pinterest. It was the easiest dessert I've ever made! Basically it's just Oreos, Christmas M&M's, pretzels, sprinkles and almond bark. It was deliciousness! I posted this picture on Instagram and a lot of you wanted the recipe, so click HERE for that. 

It really was a fabulous party with fabulous people. It just got me all up in the Christmas spirit!

Saturday all 3 of us slept in (GLORY!) and when we woke up I went for a run while Grant and Ellie went for donuts. Can we pause a moment and talk about how sad that made me? My handsome husband and my precious baby girl got to go eat DONUTS AND KOLACHES while I RAN FIVE EVER LOVING MILES. 

The horror of it all. 

But, I accomplished 5 miles and I guess that's saying something. I came home and I pretty much died. Dead. Dead on the couch. 

I had no more legs and no more feet. Just blisters.

Anyhoo, Saturday afternoon we went to the Katy Christmas Festival or whatever it is called and walked around and people watched and let Ellie run in the grass, much to her delight. We finished the evening with a super awesome and unhealthy meal at Freddy's and then drove around looking at Christmas lights. ELLIE LOVES CHRISTMAS LIGHTS OH MY WORD. She was having a ball and was upset when we headed home. I'm certain that won't be our last night doing that particular activity this season! 

Sunday we headed out to Cypress to hang out with family. My mom asked me if I wanted to do some arts and crafts. She handed me this kit to make a banner that said "Merry Christmas" to hang over the mantle. Grant quickly decided that he wanted to participate and eventually took over the entire project. When my mom next entered her living room, she found this loveliness hung by the chimney with care:

Grant was so very proud of himself. The thing is, "Hairy Mess" is actually a pretty accurate description of my family's holiday season thus far so Mom decided she's going to keep it up for awhile! I like it. 

Last night we ate jambalaya with chicken sausage for dinner and I watched Princess Diaries 2 while addressing Christmas cards, so all in all it was a fantastic weekend. I hope yours was fantastic too! 

Later this week I'll be posting some pics of the Christmas decor in my home, so be sure to stop by again soon!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Another Chapter in the Food Saga

A few weeks ago,  I stood in my kitchen and stared in the refrigerator, realizing how badly I needed to go to the grocery store. Ellie will eat about 3 things for breakfast and I had none of those things. I had no fruit, no yogurt, no pancakes. It was time to get creative.

So, I popped an Eggo waffle into the toaster, and when it popped back out I covered it with peanut butter and gave it to Ellie. She stared at it, hesitantly, then said "Mommy, whass-sat?"

"It's a waffle with peanut butter on it."

"Blueberries, Mommy?"

"We don't have any, baby. I need to go to the store today."

"Yogurt, Mommy?"

"Sweet girl, I don't have any yogurt. Just try the waffle. I think you'll like it."

She actually took a bite.

And now, weeks later, I would like to share that a frozen waffle with peanut butter on it is the only acceptable breakfast for Ellie. Every morning she requests a waffle with peanut butter. Don't you dare try to put butter and syrup on it. Don't you dare try to serve her yogurt and fruit. Bananas are out of the question.

"What do you want for lunch, Ellie?"

"Waffle, mommy. Peena buttuh."

"What do you want for dinner, Ellie?"

"Peena buttuh. Waffle."

I mean, I gotta admit, it's pretty good.

However, if you would've told me that Ellie would be adding another food item to her incredibly limited repertoire, I would've hoped it would've been something like green beans or corn or carrots or deli meat or CHEESE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY.




The child confuses me to no end.

But at least peanut butter has protein, right?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


"Mommy? Grapes?"

"Sure baby, I'll get you some grapes."

"Mommy? Grapes?"

"Yes, Ellie, I'm getting them for you right now."

"Mommy? Grapes?"


"Mommy? Grapes? Mommy? Grapes? Mommy? Grapes? Mommy? Grapes?"

"Here they are, Ellie."

"Mommy. Grapes! Look, Mommy, grapes! LOOK! Grapes, Mommy. Mommy, grapes."

"Yes, I see. I see the grapes."

"Grapes, Mommy. Look, Mommy. Grapes."



"Shhhhhhh..... shh...."

"Grapes, Mommy."


(whispers) "Grapes."

Monday, December 1, 2014

Our First Christmas Tree: Learn From Our Mistakes

The year was 2007.

Grant and I were approaching our first anniversary and it was time to buy our first Christmas tree. Grant has a hard rule about us having real trees in our house, no matter the sneezing and the needles, it has to be real. We were living in Louisiana at the time and didn't know where to find a Christmas tree farm.

So, we headed to Lowe's.

It was a dreary winter day. It was cold and we were standing outside in the garden center of Lowe's and I was having one of those conversations with my husband that was new to me at the time but now, seven years later, I am all too familiar with them.

Basically, as it goes with most purchasing decisions in our life, Grant is incredibly picky and over thinks everything. I am really just wanting the entire process to be over and move on to the next step. He pulls out a tree, I say "that one looks great!" He stares at it for 2 or 20 minutes, then puts it back. He pulls out another tree, spins it around, talks a lot about all the holes and the angles and the color. He sniffs every tree to see which one has the best Christmas tree smell. With every tree he pulls out, I say "That one looks great!" and he puts every single one of them back.

You should know that the reason I always say they look great is that I know full well that my opinion in this is really of no consequence. The man is particular and I don't care even a quarter as much as he cares about this. This will be in a corner of our home for one month. It's not a life changing decision. One of us is going to have opinions about this for the next 30 days and it isn't going to be me. I let him pick what he wants.

Then, we will circle around and come back to the first tree we looked at. I will remark "See? The first one was fine all along."

"You can't pick the first tree you see, Jen."

"I picked the first wedding dress I tried on."

"That's not that important."


So, we purchase the tree. We head out to our car.

Right now, in 2014, Grant drives a Ford F-150 pick up truck. We bought our tree this year and just tossed it into the bed of the truck and drove on home. Easy. Breezy. Beautiful. (Cover Girl.)

But, in 2007? Different story. Grant drove a 2001 Silver Honda Civic.

I don't have a pic of his car handy, so I did a little Google search and found what looks like the exact same car, including the sunroof:

Isn't it cute? He picked me up for our first date in that car.... sigh...

Anyways, that was the vehicle. And our task was to strap a Christmas tree to the top of that little go-kart, and then fly down I-10 in Baton Rouge to our little apartment in Gonzales.

Correction: It wasn't our task. It was his task.

It makes me want to bang my ahead against a desk just typing this. The memory.... oh heavens. We stood in that Lowe's parking lot for what seemed like 3 months. AND IT STARTED RAINING, Y'ALL.

We were equipped with all kinds of ropes and ties and such. He rolled down car windows and spent approximately 9 hours pulling and tying and checking and tugging and securing and I kept saying "I THINK YOU GOT IT. I THINK YOU HAVE IT NOW. I THINK IT'S DONE. YOU DID A GOOD JOB. CAN WE GO HOME? I THINK IT'S GOOD."

So, after Captain Safety Patrol felt confident in his tree-securing abilities, he declared that we could get out of the rain and get into the car.

Praise the Lord. I was freezing and wet and cold.

Well. I went to open the door and it wouldn't open. He had rolled down the windows to tie the tree to the roof and apparently he had accidentally tied the doors shut along with it. The doors were tied to the tree. My friends, I was not about to have him unravel the whole ding dong dang thing and start over. NO. MA'AM.

We looked at each other and just dove head first into the windows. My forehead hit the floorboard of the car and then I pushed myself up and sat up and buckled myself in.

I'd like to take this time to encourage all of you to make sure you aren't tying the doors shut as you tie your tree to your car. That's just a little nugget of wisdom I'd like to pass onto you.

I wish I could tell you this story ends there, with us diving into the cars through the windows. It does not.

As we headed towards the freeway, my thorough, always-thinking-ahead husband started to worry. We're going to be driving down a freeway at 70 miles an hour. What if the ropes aren't tight enough? What if the tree flies off? WHAT EXTRA MEASURE OF SECURITY CAN WE USE TO MAKE SURE WE GET HOME SAFELY WITH THE CHRISTMAS TREE INTACT?


We flew down the freeway as planned. As it rained. And it was cold. And we opened the sunroof and held onto the tree. And the needles flew into the car. It was a very special time.

And then we got home. And our neighbors watched as I dove headfirst out of the car window onto the concrete of the apartment complex parking lot.

The truth is, I love him and all his thoroughness. He always makes sure the job is done right. I've always got quite the "that's good enough" attitude and I'm certain his attention to detail has saved us from many a disaster. We balance each other out that way. Also, I'm so glad he bought a truck.

Friday, November 28, 2014

My Plate Was Fifty Percent Mashed Potatoes

Happy Day After Thanksgiving, y'all!

Today is the day of leftovers and shopping and leftovers. How was your food? Was it amazing? Mine was amazing. My favorite part of Thanksgiving is the sides. My meat to sides ratio was a little backwards but I was thrilled with my decisions. Our Thanksgiving Day was a little unconventional because or our poor little sick baby. We woke up and watched the parade while I made Sweet Potato Souffle (That part is pretty typical) but then I left my husband and my baby girl at home while I went to be with my family. We knew she didn't have a whole days worth of energy in her to play with her cousins so I headed out to Cypress while Grant and Ellie stayed home. It felt weird not to have them there but I was so thankful for my husband and his willingness to take one for the team.

Thankfully, after Ellie's nap, we spoke on the phone and decided the 2 of them should venture out and have dinner with the rest of us. Ellie was beyond ecstatic to see her cousins and it really perked her up. And I was glad to have my man and my girl with the rest of my family.

This morning, Ellie woke up at 9:30am (PRAISE THE GOOD LORD) and did not have a fever! I'm crossing my fingers and wishing upon a star and also PRAYING THAT THIS STICKS. Cause ya know what? MOMMY IS DONE WITH THE FEVER TIMES. DONE.

I didn't take many pictures yesterday at my parent's house, but I did document the following to have for posterity's sake:

I'd like to start off by saying that my mom is organized, but my favorite kind of organized. She's organized but also laid back. That being said, I simply had to take a photo of this markerboard on the back side of her pantry door. The woman has it together, folks. The oven schedule is serious business.

I got a lot of questions about the upstairs/downstairs notes. My parents house has a very small little kitchenette on the 2nd floor and there is a small oven. It comes in very handy on big holidays!

Sometimes Mom likes to get her craft on. Cute little place cards.

Everything was beautiful!

So now it's the day after Thanksgiving, which thrills my heart because CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE!!!!

Let the decorating begin!