Monday, March 30, 2009

The Bluebonnets Are Here!

I think I ate my way through all of Houston this weekend! Grant's parents graced us with their presence for the weekend. We had such a wonderful visit with them and cumulatively consumed about 25,000 calories per day. Ya'll we just ate and ate and ate. I had a BALL! :)

We had a Friday night dinner at Cyclone Anaya's, a great Mexican food place. Saturday morning brunch was at The Egg & I and I had more of that belgian waffle than I ever should have. Saturday evening we ate at Vincent's which had amazing dinner and desserts, and Sunday after church we ate at Buffalo Grille which is seriously about to become my new favorite place. Those french fries were ridiculous. RIDICULOUS.

I love food.

We had such a great weekend and sincerely hope they come back again soon!

Also, I have to say that the worship in church yesterday morning is definitely worth blogging about. It is always on fire and wonderful but yesterday was on a new level for me. We sang a song that is new to our church called "The Stand". It builds and it builds and it builds. I was on stage singing with the Gathering Singers (such a fun choir!) and being on that end of the congregation, seeing people with their arms high and heart abandoned, singing "All I am is Yours", practically SHOUTING it, my eyes just filled up with tears as I sang. God has given me such a gift that I can experience worship from two sides. I can experience worship as a soul praising the Lord and singing to Him, but I can also experience it from the other end, watching His church, His people declare loudly and passionately that their lives belong to our Maker. I had goosebumps all over and couldn't help but smile. Such a great morning. We absolutely love our church.
By the way, I have to tell you that Grant finally discovered the "Chip Mates" (referenced in my previous post) and he was not too happy about that. He is mostly upset because the cookies are slightly larger and won't fit in a glass of milk! Well, it was worth a shot....

Spring has officially arrived. I was so excited yesterday morning when I saw the Bluebonnets sprouting up along the highway. I do love my Texas Bluebonnets. And the orange ones are Indian Paintbrushes and there is just nothing prettier than driving on a Texas road and seeing a field of those.

Thank You Lord for giving us so many wonderful things to look at and enjoy!

I hope and pray that you have a wonderful, blessed week and that you find joy in everything!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Generic Brand it When You Can Stand It

I feel like I've accomplished a great feat. Like winning a gold medal. Or climbing a mountain. Or performing a successful brain surgery and removing a cancerous tumor from a sweet young
doctor. (You know you watched it!).

I went to the grocery store today. AND I ROCKED IT.

As we all know, the economy is not doing very well. And if you didn't know that, then welcome back to Earth. You have alot to catch up on. Izzie on Grey's Anatomy has brain cancer, Michael Scott QUIT Dunder Mifflin (and Pam followed him. What in Sam Hill is going on?!?) the Justin Timberlake lookin' kid on American Idol was somehow in the bottom three and Melissa from the Bachelor is rocking my world on Dancing with the Stars. You are now up to speed.

Back to the grocery store business. We're always trying to save money here and there, and sometimes things can get a bit out of control when you grocery shop. And today I conquered it in a way I have never conquered before.

The first tip I can give you for saving money at the grocery store is to not bring your husband with you under any circumstances. Our receipt is atleast $25-$30 higher when he joins me. Apparently fruit roll-ups, Little Debbie snacks and an enormous unnecessary packet of rib-eyes "that we can freeze and use later!" is high on the priority list. No bringing of the men.

Today on my lunch break I sat at my desk and created a list. I used my recipe website to pick 5 or 6 meals that I wanted to make within the next week. I listed out each item it required and tried as best as I could to remember what we already had at home so I wouldn't double up. After I had all the ingredients listed, I added other household items and necessities that aren't required for a meal. Sidenote: does anyone else love the Viva brand papertowels as much as I do? My goodness. It is the best papertowel EVER. After I completed my list, I re-wrote it in order of our grocery store, aisle by aisle. That way I could be quick and efficient in my shopping.

Now comes the part that took me the longest to adjust to: generic brands. It really does save so much. Now, there is some stuff I still won't budge on. Like the Viva paper towels. And I will buy Peter Pan peanut butter until the day that I die. However, Grant asked me to buy some Chips Ahoy and I bought him something called "Chip Mates" instead and he hasn't noticed so far. Ahoy Matey. (Did anyone else ever realize that sailors really enjoy their chocolate chip cookies? I had no idea.)

Also, I have found that digging and digging for the cheapest meat makes such a difference. It takes awhile (and I am all about getting out of the store as soon as possible) but today I picked up some chicken breasts and after some digging found some that were just as good and lasted just as long, same brand and everything and they were over $3.00 cheaper.

All in all, from the time I walked into the store till the time I finally walked up to the checker, it took me all of 45 minutes. But, I was so proud of myself because I purchased enough groceries to make SIX meals (all six meals include meat of some kind which is the priciest part), as well as cleaning supplies and some spring flowers from the florist department which were on a manager's special for $4.00 and I purchased it all for a grand total of $72.63!! I didn't even use any coupons.

Now I realize that some of you may think this is not all that cheap but that is a cheap grocery bill for us, especially with that many meals included! :) I am so proud. Grant is pleased too.

In summary: plan ahead. Generic brand it when you can stand it. (I love that phrase and I just made it up and it is going to be my shopping motto for the rest of my life) Don't bring your husbands, and DIG girls!

This has been shopping tips from Jen the Newlywed.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rest in Peace, Camera

Y'all.... I really really can't find my camera. I re-traced my steps. I called every place I went to this weekend. Nobody has my little camera. I can't find it which makes me truly sad cause it has lots of precious pictures on it of my nieces and nephews. Not to mention that I'm eventually going to have to buy a new one. Boo!
We had a fabulous weekend. Tiring, but fabulous. I got to see Juliet & Scarlett, my twin nieces. I got to see my Grace Parker and hold my new baby nephew, Dean. I saw my parents and both of my sisters. We had breakfast with some out of town friends, dinner with some great people, and lunch after church with some new friends and some old! I went shopping on Sunday and got the greatest black pants at The Limited for $29.99! They are great work pants, but also great date night pants. I love them! All in all, it was a successful weekend! Here's some precious pictures of Dean and his big sister. (I stole it from Jaclyn since my camera is GONE!)

Y'all, seriously. Look at those lips! Isn't he just so squishy?!

This picture makes me melt into goo.

I am so excited because this coming weekend Grant's parents are coming down to visit us! We are so excited for them to get here and spend some quality time with them.
I'll leave you with this little nugget of wisdom from Curtis Jones who preached the sermon Sunday morning: "The amount of time you spend in prayer is directly related to how much you believe that you need God". Read it over a few times. How amazing is that!? I KNOW I need the Lord, but the lack of time I spend praying to Him shows just how much I seem to think that I can do it all on my own. I CAN'T.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Know I Need to Update

.... but I can't find my camera!

I have many many pictures to post.

Oh where, oh where art thou, camera?

Rest assured I will find it. A mega post full of pictures is on its way! Until then, you can enjoy the preciousness going on over at my sister's blog. SERIOUSLY.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

He's Here!

Mr. Dean Jackson Underwood was born tonight. I'm not sure of the exact time, but it was right around 8:00. He is 6lbs., 11oz. Apparently he is very sleepy! After Grace goes to sleep, I am gonna head up to the hospital to love on that precious boy and on my sister too. Mama and baby are doing well. Thank you for your prayers!!

Baby Dean is on the Way!

Hey everybody! My sister Jaclyn is having a baby tonight! Please pray for a healthy delivery... I will update you as I know more. I am at my mom's house watching Grace and will go to the hospital later this evening.

Love ya'll, please pray!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ireland, etc.

It is indeed, St. Patrick's Day. I got up and got dressed this morning having forgotten that it is the day that I am supposed to wear green. I painstakingly selected an outfit for work: grey pinstripe pants and a black top. Grant then reminded me that it is the 17th, and I realized that I would get repeatedly harassed and annoyed by my co-workers all day. So, I grabbed my green scarf (that is made in and purchased in IRELAND so I get extra points) and ran out the door. I don't really plan on wearing the scarf, but holding it in the air everytime someone walks by my office. It will be effective, I promise.

Also, I would like to add that on this day in 1991, I had my tonsils removed. They gave me a green hospital gown, cause, you know, it would've been weird if I was in the pale blue and my surgeon continously pinched me. Not cool.

Last night we went to the gym. I was on the elliptical machine with my headphones on watching "Dancing with the Stars", and I had just completed my second mile when I started to have thoughts such as "Who really wants to be toned?" and "I think my asthma is flaring up" and "Maybe pale, squishy thighs will make a comeback". I was about to get off the machine when a girl, probably about my age, climbed onto the machine next to me. After giving her a once over, I resolved myself to the fact that I do indeed want toned legs.

Homegirl got on that machine and worked that poor elliptical to the bone. She wasn't just running. She would do this crouching movement to work other muscle groups. But the craziest thing was when she turned herself sideways, did the elliptical machine from the side, criss-crossing her legs, WHILE HAVING A CONVERSATION ON HER CELL PHONE. Grant said I gave her a dirty look. I didn't mean to but I was just appalled. How can you have a light chatty phone conversation while doing that? Needless to say, I huffed and I puffed and I got myself off of that thing.

For those of you keeping up with all the babies in my life, please be praying for my sister Jaclyn and my soon-to-be-nephew, Dean Jackson. You can read a new update on Jaclyn's blog here. Perhaps the little boy may be coming this week! Hooray! I am excited to add another photo to my ever-growing list of nieces and nephews there on the right!

Have a wonderful day everyone. Keep a positive attitude. Be patient. Don't show off on the elliptical machine. And above all else, Erin Go Braugh. Whatever that means in Irish.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Coming to You Live from Jaclyn's Couch.....

Happy rainy Saturday to you all!

There's been some developments regarding my new nephew Dean who is scheduled to arrive on March 24. Apparently the little mister is doing just fine and is already well over 6 pounds, however, his mama is not behaving herself. Her blood pressure is way way up and so the doctor ordered her to bed and she cannot get up unless she needs to tinkle. So, Aunt Jen came over today to help out and make sure that Jaclyn stays put on the couch!

It's been a nice day. We are watching a "What Not to Wear" marathon while Grace Parker takes a nap. I put in a few loads of laundry and unloaded the dishwasher. My mom brought over some stuff for dinner and some magazines for Jaclyn to read. They need her to stay put cause she is showing signs of hypertension. There is a chance that Mr. Man may be gracing us with his presence within the next few days..... thankfully he is already a big boy and can come out if need be! Please pray that Jaclyn's blood pressure stays in the normal range!

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. Jaclyn had scheduled reservations for us at a new Italian restaurant but she couldn't come with us. :( So instead, we brought some dessert over to her house after dinner (a cake my dad made, I might add!) and we just brought the birthday party over here! It was a wonderful time and I'm glad we all got to celebrate my mom!

Also, I would like to give an official shout-out to my friend Jessica, a new blogger! Jess is a fellow redhead who is just adorable and hilarious and we have alot in common! :) We have known each other since childhood but our friendship has formed over the last couple years. Grant and I enjoy her and her darling husband Brian so much. I have been bugging her to blog for awhile now and I'm so glad she is joining blog world. Go visit her blog here and say hi!

I hope you're enjoying this rainy day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How to Pick an American Idol

Alrighty ladies and gents.... we are in full Idol swing here. And I have made my decision. I have already decided who I am rooting for and I have many reasons to back up my choice.

You see, picking your choice for American Idol is a multi-faceted process. It is full of complexities, and by complexities, I mean 4 steps. Allow me to lay this procedure out for you here:

1. The voice. Clearly, this is the most important of all the factors. Is their voice pleasant to listen to? Do they seem to have a general knowledge of their instrument and know the right (and wrong) ways to use it? Is their voice edgy? Do they have alot of vocal range? Good breath support? Tone? There are so many different things that make or break a voice for me and I go through all the determining factors before I say "Hey, he/she has a good voice".

2. Musicality. Yes, this is a word. I have a pet peeve sometimes with people who come on this show and have no idea what they are doing. They couldn't tell you if their voice is in a soprano or alto range. They couldn't hit Middle C on the piano if you begged them, and they have no earthly idea about any kind of music theory. My ULTIMATE annoyance is when people put their hand up to their ear when they are singing ACAPELLA. Umm... people.... the reason some singers cover their ear with their hand when they are singing is because they can't hear themselves amongst all the noise. When you are singing acapella, you should be able to hear yourself just fine. Being able to play an instrument is a definite plus for me because it shows you truly are a musician.

3. The personality and character. Of course, this matters too. Is this person fun? Are they funNY? Are they likeable? Does he/she seem like a nice person? Do they have strong family values and seem to be drug free? Do they have a good back story?

4. Would I buy their CD? This one is perhaps equally as important to me as their voice. Why root for someone that you would not buy a CD of? When you make your idol selection, pick someone who's style and music are the most pleasing to you.

With that being said.... my choice for season 8 is..........


Let's discuss.

1. The KID CAN SING. Love his voice. His tone is beautiful and he has excellent breath support. He is not too shouty and is very pleasant to listen to.

2. Homeboy plays the guitar. And he plays it well. Next.

3. UMMMM HELLO. LOVE HIS STORY. Precious cute wife. He mentioned in an interview that he has been married for just a few months but has been with the same woman for 7 years. (That would mean they started dating when they were 16. Adorable!) And could their wedding pictures have been any cuter?!? Also... in my extensive research I have learned that he is a worship pastor at his church in Arkansas. There was a video of him on Youtube singing "God of this City". He's my boy.

4. I would absolutely by his CD. He is very John Mayer/Jason Mraz-ish and that is so my style. I would absolutely buy his CD tomorrow if he had one, especially since I think it will have a praise & worship vibe to it.

Honorable Mentions: Adam Lambert- THE KID HAS RANGE. My WORD the boy can SANG, and the fact that he was a member of the broadway cast of "Wicked" definitely gives him points in my book. Also, I enjoy Matt Giraud and Scott McIntyre for their piano playing abilities.

Your thoughts? Opinions? Who did you select?

Monday, March 9, 2009

My Weekend With Evan & Emily

Bliss. Absolute and total bliss! I spent 2 glorious days with Mr. Evan Charles and Miss Emily Grace, our brand spankin' new nephew and niece. Ya'll, be still my heart! I held those babies for hours and hours and hours. Evan and I had several great naps together and I could not be happier. They could not be more precious and God is SO faithful!

Here is Uncle Grant with his niece Emily!

And here is the very proud Aunt Jen holding the princess :)

Ya'll, I could not keep it together. I just kept crying. Isn't she beautiful?!

Emily slept on my chest for awhile. She is such a gift and a blessing.
Here is Mr. Evan, all swaddled up. DO YOU SEE THIS CHILD? I mean HONESTLY! Could he BE any cuter?

Uncle Grant and Aunt Jen with Evan Charles.

Sleepy head. He looks just like his daddy!

Here is Little Miss Thing wearing the new outfit I got for her. It is way too big, but she is flippin adorable just the same!

Praise the Lord for these little ones. I miss them already!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It Just Keeps Gettin Better!

My friend Erica is going to become a mommy today!

After a long battle with cancer, followed by infertility and this long process through adoption... a 5 day old baby boy is on the way to their house. I feel like the Lord is raining down his blessings on His people!

Here's her blog to follow her story.....

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Glory, Glory, Glory!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm a Little All Over the Place!

Happy Wednesday morning to you all! I have so many things to say that don't really go together in any way shape or form so I have compiled these thoughts into a list. It's a little all over the place :)

1. Grant and I are headed up on FRIDAY to see the babies. I can't wait to meet Mr. Evan and Miss Emily in person and bring them the new outfits I have picked out for them! Ronda posted some pictures on her blog and I think I about fell out of my chair! TOO CUTE!

2. Yes, I have many thoughts on The Bachelor and the scandal that surrounds it. I must say that I am not upset with Jason for changing his mind. I am upset that he agreed to break up with the poor girl in front of the cameras. And what makes me the MOST MAD (I am telling ya, my skin was crawling and I almost jumped through our television) was that he KISSED MOLLY right after he dumped Melissa! Ummmm HELLOOOOOO! You were engaged about 10 MINUTES AGO! I was definitely yelling at the screen. I just shouted "HEY!!!!!!! WHY ARE WE KISSING??!?!". Totally inappropriate and unnecessary. I'm still mad.

3. My sweet hubby introduced me to my new at-work-lifesaver. It's an internet radio station! You go there and type in one of your favorite artists and it will bring up a radio station with that artist and other artists similar to it. It is making my work day SO awesome. Love it! :)

4. My sister Jaclyn finished baby Dean's nursery and it is TOO CUTE! Go see it here.

5. Speaking of babies, last night at my Houston Children's Chorus rehearsal that I help out at, one of our 8th grade girls brought her fake robot baby that she is required to take care of by her Home-Ec class. That baby cries and everything. It was so funny to see her singing these beautiful songs while holding that baby, bouncing it, and patting it's back so it would stop crying. It was the funniest thing! I COULD NOT stop laughing! And ya know, it's also a bit sad that we have to make our 13 year old girls take care of fake robot babies so they will understand how much work it is. Insane.

6. Grant's new job is going great! He started Monday. He is in a meeting this morning at the Houston City Club with a bunch of CEO's. I was calling him Mr. Fancy Pants. His boss told him he absolutely has to get a Blackberry. Oh mercy, what are we in for? On a fun note, his office comes fully equipped with a Ping Pong table and a Keg of Root Beer on tap. He's a happy boy!

7. My office building has 6 elevators. 4 of them are not operating. My building has 15 floors. I walked into the lobby this morning at 7:50am and did not walk into my office (on the 14th floor) until 8:10am. Sooo not cool.

8. I am not really in love with anyone on American Idol yet. I do like that Kris Allen boy from last week. He is a worship leader and seems like he has an awesome voice with GREAT tone. Ya'll have any faves yet?

9. I'm craving a gingerale. I haven't had a gingerale since 1996. I have no idea why I just got an urge.

10. When I started this post, I had 3 unread messages in my work email inbox. Now I have 14. Better get to work.

Love ya'll!