Friday, April 29, 2011

I'm Very Pleased

Well, it's been a long morning, but I am just thrilled. I woke up and turned on the television just in time to see the families arriving at the Abbey. Everyone looked beautiful. The HATS WERE INSANE but I'm willing to let it slide because THE PRINCESS LOOKED AMAZING.

I was worried that Kate would choose something less regal than I imagined) but I was so, so excited to see her in this!

Just the right amount of train. Beautiful lace. A beautiful, full skirt.
It was elegant and classy and tasteful and I feel that when she looks at these pictures 50 years from now she will be pleased with her choice. The dress didn't overwhelm her but it was still perfectly princess-like.

I REALLY enjoyed how her veil was so thin and sheer. It didn't obscure her face and I'm so glad. I also really liked that her bouquet was so dainty and small! 

And oh, the tiara. THANK YOU, PRINCESS! It is BEAUTIFUL and was loaned to her by the Queen. I also thought the earrings were a surprising choice but were very fitting. Oh, she is just so beautiful!

Also, I have to say that I felt that Pippa's dress was GORGEOUS.

Oh look, it's our Newlyweds! They do seem very happy and in love. There ceremony was very formal but that is how I expect the royal ceremonies to go.

Oh, my goodness. I loved every minute of it. I clapped and smiled as I sat on my couch in the dark with my big brown blanket in my pajamas :)

Hooray! Prince William has his Princess!

I was worried this morning when I woke up that I was going to be disappointed somehow with the way this all went down, but I was so pleasantly surprised! HOORAY FOR ROYAL WEDDINGS!!

What did you think? 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

This is a Blog of Many Topics

First things first, THANK YOU for praying for my rehearsal last night! Y'all, I have to say, it was NIGHT AND DAY from last week! Everything went so, so smoothly and honestly if the kids get on stage Sunday and do exactly what they did last night, I will be just thrilled to pieces. Your prayers were heard and answered and I am so grateful for all of you.

Secondly, my heart is hurting for Alabama. I have lots of friends there and I am just aching when I see the devastation on television. Not only that, but have you seen some of the footage of those tornadoes?!? I would be scared out of my mind. Pray for those families as they put their lives back together.

I was so glad to know that so many of you will be getting up to watch the wedding with me tomorrow morning. Makes me feel like I'm not so alone and not such a dork. Lindsee and I are having a slumber party Friday night to watch the whole thing in its entirety while we eat unhealthy food. I'm really looking forward to it :)
And for my last random topic, my sister Shannon recently shared this picture of my niece, Juliet. It makes my heart ever so, so happy. Juliet is 4 years old and apparently has a lot of upper body strength as she is LITERALLY CLIMBING THE WALLS.

There is such joy in her face! Shannon says this is something that she does often. Juliet and her twin sister Scarlett are on the advanced elementary school gymnastics team. They aren't even in Kindergarten yet! :)
What a little ham.....

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Because She's Becoming a Princess, That's Why!!


I've been doing my prep work.

I've been watching all the coverage of the Royals on TLC.

I've studied the itinerary and the times of each event.

I've done the difficult math in my head to determine what time it will be in Houston, Texas when these festivities are taking place.

I know that Kate Middleton and her father will leave the Goring Hotel at 10:51am London time (4:51am Houston time) and arrive at Westminster Abbey at 11:00am London time (5:00am Houston time) at which point the ceremony will begin.

I know that they will appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at 1:25pm London time (7:25am Houston time) to wave and kiss.

I know that I will be INCREDIBLY disappointed if she does not wear a crown or a tiara as is rumored. Apparently she may settle for a hat but come on, Kate! You of all people have a fantastic reason to wear a tiara. Wear it. WEAR IT FOR ALL OF US.

Now, some of you might be thinking "Jen, why don't you just DVR the wedding and watch it later?"

I will not be up at 3am watching every member of the Royal family walk into the Abbey. I don't really care and I can watch all that later (as I will be recording this) but I FULLY intend to wake up and see her leave her hotel and arrive at the Abbey. I intend to watch her walk down the aisle.

Because this is an historic moment, people, and I want to watch it live!!

And she's just so beautiful and fashion-forward and I am super excited to see what her dress looks like.

I told Grant about my plans and he said "Wow. Women are so different from men".

Even some of my own friends that that I am silly but I'm sorry, this is very exciting for me. I love weddings. I love history. I used to have a crush on Prince William. I love diamonds and crowns and tiaras. This is happening.

Who's with me?!?!? Leave a comment if you're going to join!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Quick Recap and a Prayer Request

Well helloooooo there! I hope you all had a fantastic Easter weekend! Ours was a good combination of busy and relaxing....

Thursday I stayed home from work sick. Boo. My allergies went from inconvenient to unbearable and I decided that I could go through 3 boxes of kleenex from the comfort of my own home. It was a nice day and there was lots of sleeping. I spent a considerable amount of time researching the Royal Wedding and the time everything will begin so that I can set my alarm for the appropriate time. You know, the important stuff.

Friday was a day off work (hooray!) so Grant and I slept in. We woke up around 9 and had breakfast together at Denny's BECAUSE WE ARE CLASSY LIKE THAT. After breakfast Grant built a fence with our neighbor (they were busy little bees) and I went on a shopping excursion to TJ Maxx. And to Target. But I promise I didn't spend more than $100. And most of it was gifts for other people. Most of it. :) Friday night was super fun. Grant's best friend Ricky and his wife Olga were in town for Easter weekend and we got to have a dinner date with them! We had dinner and then ate dessert at another restaurant on the patio. Olga and I even spent a little time in Anthropologie while the boys sat on a couch and discussed meaningful life decisions.

Saturday morning I got to sleep in again (hooray!) and spent a little time cleaning the house. We then went out to Redstone Country Club to attend a Sip & See for our friends Rusty & Jen who just adopted a sweet, beautiful baby boy named Ben! Ben looked very handsome in his bow tie and Jen did a fantastic job putting such a fabulous party together! And, you know, since we were already at the golf course and everything, and since Grant just happened to have his golf clubs, he decided to play some golf. I rode around in the cart with him and enjoyed the breezy day and closed my eyes and relaxed. I love getting to see my man in his element and the weather wasn't too hot so I didn't do a ton of complaining. We ended the evening with Mexican food.

And then there was yesterday. Oh, Easter Sunday. What a glorious, beautiful day! I will never complain about celebrating my risen Savior, even if I have to celebrate FOUR times! Yes, folks, I sang in four Easter services yesterday. I'm not gonna lie, it was tiring. We had to be at church at 7am and the last service started at 5:30. So while I was exhausted, I also had a very full heart at the end of the day. Each service was so sweet and glorified the Lord. It was a nice day at church. We met my mom, dad, and Mamaw for lunch. There was a bit of restaurant shuffling, but we ended up at a steak house that had a buffet that included MACARONI AND CHEESE and also CREME BRULEE. Yes, pleeeeeese! Later that evening, Grant went to the grocery store for me (I LOVE HIM) and then we cooked dinner.

Okay, now that I've recapped this weekend and documented it for historical records, I have a little prayer request for you people.

As many of you know, I help as one of the directors for the kids choir at my church. I LOVE doing this and it is so rewarding. There is another girl who is the "head director" who had a baby in April so she is (understandably) out for the rest of the semester. This Wednesday is our final dress rehearsal before the kids' Spring Performance this coming Sunday.

Problem is: this last Wednesday DID NOT GO SO WELL. We have ALOT to do before this Wednesday night's dress rehearsal and I dont' know if I'm going to have enough time to do it all since I work full-time. I only have ONE HOUR with the kids on Wednesday and there are 150 of them. This performance has 20+ solos, dozens of speaking parts, dancing, instruments and more with kids ages 4-11. I am overwhelmed and beginning to feel slightly inadequate.

Could you pray for this Wednesday night? Pray for a smooth rehearsal and kids that are listening? I had a major discipline problem last week and was feeling pretty down about everything when rehearsal was over.

Thanks, friends. Love you, have a good week :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday, Indeed

The Friday before Easter is called Good Friday. As a little girl, this was very confusing to me. I didn't understand why we would celebrate the day Jesus died and call it "Good". To those that don't follow Jesus nor believe the Word of God, Good Friday is nothing more than a nice day off work, the start of a long weekend. Spring time weather, a day of work, a quiet day with friends and family..... these are all good things. But, do you know why it's REALLY good? Like, life-changing, life-saving GOOD?

During the time of Jesus' life, the temple in Jerusalem was the center of religious life. It was "the church", multiplied by 10. People worshipped there, prayed there, and sacrificed there. However, the main difference between the temple of Jesus' time and the church of our time was the curtain. This curtain wasn't decorative, it wasn't thin and sheer. It had a purpose.

The curtain was there to make a separation. It might as well have been a wall. A first century Jewish historian named Josephus tells us that the curtain was somewhere near 60 feet high and 4 inches thick. Like I said, this curtain had a purpose: separation. On one side of the curtain was the Holy of Holies, the dwelling place of God. On the other side of the curtain was the people. The common man could not pass the curtain. The only human being that was allowed to go behind the curtain was the temple's high priest, and he could only go behind the curtain once a year. He did so to enter God's presence and to make atonement for the sins of all of Israel.

My Jesus was sentenced to death. He carried his heavy cross with a crown of thorns upon His head. The head of my King. They nailed his hands to the wooden cross, they whipped and beat Him. His feet were nailed to the cross and He was spat upon. He was mocked. He suffered a slow, painful, agonizing death.

But at the sixth hour, darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. At the ninth hour, with a loud cry, my Jesus breathed His last.

One of my favorite verses comes next. Mark 15:38. (THIS IS THE GOOD PART!!)

"The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom"- Mark 15:38.

That's it. One simple, informative sentence that seems to just be relaying the sequence of events. But it says so much more than "here's what happened next". This is what makes Good Friday so, so very good.

That giant, heavy, 4 inch thick curtain ripped apart. Do you understand what that means? NO MORE SEPARATION.

Before Jesus died, man was so very sinful that He could not come into the presence of God. We were too dirty. We had to find someone deemed holier than us to enter the presence of God on our behalf. We couldn't even ask the Lord for forgiveness. Someone else had to do that for us.

Jesus was crucified so that we could enter God's presence. He paid for our sins and now we can come before the Holy of Holies. Acts 17:24 tells us that "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and does not live in temples built by human hands". YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO TO CHURCH TO BE CLOSE TO GOD. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, you can cry out to God as you're laying in your bed. You can cry out to Him from your desk at work. You can confess your sin to Him in the car on your way to have dinner with friends. You can ask for forgiveness in the shower. You can praise Him on your daily jog.

Jesus died so that you can be saved. You can be with Him for all of eternity.

One of my favorite speakers, Afshin Ziafat, said something along the lines of, "The next time you are upset about your prayers going unanswered, remember that the greatest gift you have came about because the request of "Take this cup from me" was denied."
That, my friends. That is why Good Friday is so, so good.

**If all that I've written here is confusing to you, or you have questions, I'd love to talk with you about them. Leave a comment with your email address.**

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Recently Introduced

There are a few things that have been recently introduced into the life of Jen the Newlywed. Some of them are brand new to the world, and some of them are only brand new to me. Regardless, I'd like to share them with you. Because I love you. :)

So there's this new show on Bravo called "Pregnant in Heels" starring this darling British girl named Rosie Pope. She is something called a "maternity concierge" to rich people in New York City.

This show is BANANAS. Absolute crazy town. These people are out of their minds. Now, some of the stuff is just Rosie helping people baby-proof their homes or what not, but some of these people hire her to help pick a baby name. And by "help pick a baby name" I mean HIRE A FOCUS GROUP FROM A MAJOR ADVERTISING AGENCY TO SIT AROUND AND DISCUSS YOUR BABY NAMES. Seriously. But, I'm addicted. Crazy town.

This is one of the things that is more "new to me" but I downloaded an app on my phone called "My Fitness Pal". It sets up a calorie plan for you and you type in what you've eaten all day and it will tell you how many calories you have left.

 I really enjoy the fact that it will tell me what I still need to eat. For instance, it will tell me that I've only met 20% of my calcium goal for the day. It is eye opening to see just how many carbs I eat throughout the day. I love me some carbs. (Note: the photo above is one I got off the internet to illustrate for you what "My Fitness Pal" is. That is certainly not how many calories I have left to eat. I don't even start with that many each morning!)

One thing that is helping me keep the calories down is this new Kashi cereal, Honey Sunshine.
 Warning: While it may look like Cap'n Crunch, IT MOST CERTAINLY DOES NOT TASTE LIKE IT.

Now, we all love You know, the site where people can sell their homemade items. It's really a genius idea and some people like my sister go a bit nuts with etsy. I've recently found a site called Regretsy that illustrates the times when Etsy goes wrong. Very, very wrong.

I mean, who wouldn't want to wear this dress made out of doilies?
 And, just in time for Mother's Day, this Prosthetic Leg Lamp can be yours for only $320.00.
 We all have that person in our life that this shirt/vest/puffed sleeved blouse would be PERFECT for!!
 For $479 you can BET YOUR SWEET BIFFY that I'll be purchasing this Floral Bib Necklace. I'm just sad I didn't see it in time for Easter!
** I must warn you that some of the photos on the Regretsy website are a bit vulgar. Visit with caution **

So anyway, those are some new things in my life. What's new in yours?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Welcome, Parker!

This is my new friend Parker.

He was born yesterday at 7:16pm. He is 7lbs, 5 ounces and is 19 3/4 inches long.

I'm super proud of his mama, Sarah, who had a very long day and did such a good job.

I love him.
Oh, I want to squish him.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's a Happy Day!!

These are our friends, Daniel & Sarah. WE LOVE THEM. We met at church and now they're in our core group of friends. Sarah has her own photography business and she took our awesome Christmas card pictures for us.

Sarah and I have become fast, dear friends and she is precious to me. We talk every day. She's one of those girlfriends that you really, really need in your life. She's honest, but lovingly honest. She's overcome alot and I have been so blessed to "do life" with her.

Back in August, I was on a Girls' Weekend trip with Sarah and our friends Liz and Stephanie. We had shopped all day and were resting in our hotel room before dinner. Sarah and I were laying on one bed while Liz and Steph were on the other. Out of nowhere, Sarah said "I'm pregnant". The rest of us girls did the casual "no you're not..." until Sarah said "YES I AM. I have, like, 8 positive pregnany tests at home. I'm pregnant".

There was screaming and hugging and I think I hit her in the leg really hard cause she had been lying to us all weekend! :)

Today is the day their little boy comes. Parker Wilson Shalley is on his way. We are SO SO excited to meet this sweet Parker boy. When Sarah was trying for a baby, we were talking about timing and I told her that the Lord already knows Parker's birthday and that everything had to happen in the Lord's perfect timing.

So, April 19 it is! Come on Parker boy! Sarah informed me this morning that she showered and did her hair and make-up.

Please pray for Sarah and Daniel as they welcome their son into the world!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Whole Lot of Nothing

There's not much better than a weekend of nothing.

It's not like I sat on my couch and stared at the wall all weekend. I had activities. However, none of them were planned and none of them were mandatory. And that is some kind of special.

We rested. We watched movies. We ate food. Lots and lots of food. We got stuff done around the house. We visited with friends. We ate more food. We went on walks with the dog. We declared that starting tomorrow we will be more disciplined with all the food we're eating. We saw our niece and nephew, Grace and Dean. Grant golfed and fished. I shopped and read magazines. We went to church.
It was restful and wonderful.

I'm currently watching an infomercial about "Pajama Jeans" and I'm seriously considering purchasing them. If it's anything like the last time I bought something off of an informercial (Snuggie) then it will change my life for the better.

I'm trying to get excited about a new week. While I'm not thrilled to be going to work tomorrow, I am thankful that the Lord has blessed me with a job that provides and I realize that I need to bloom where I'm planted and stop complaining.

Being a grown up is hard.

In other news, I bought 2 new sports bras. Somehow I'm not very excited about this purchase.

Friday, April 15, 2011

New York City Day 5: The One Where You Get to Stop Hearing About NYC

You poor, poor people. I know you don't want to talk about NYC anymore. I think it has been about a month now that I've been blabbering on and on about it. I promise, this is it!

Day 5 in NYC goes like this: we woke up and packed our bags and then we went to the airport. I had some grapes and then we flew home.

And that is all.

On a more serious note, I am so, so thankful and blessed to have gotten to take this wonderful vacation with my husband. We had a fabulous stay and it was just really, really quality time together. I'm very grateful for how the Lord has blessed us.

It's Friday afternoon and I couldn't be more thrilled about that! This has been a long, long week and I look forward to relaxing this weekend.

At some point Grant is planning on teaching me to drive his truck and I'm pretty wigged out about that. He feels that I need to learn how to drive it in case something happens to him and I have to drive it for the first time in stressful circumstances. I think he is imagining that he will break a bone while we are somewhere and I have to drive him to the emergency room and I back into a brick wall or something cause I've never driven something that big.

I'm pretty sure that is exactly what would happen. :)

Anyhoo, thanks for letting me bore y'all with vacation stuff. I'm back to normal now!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New York City Day 4: A Tiny Bottle of Wine

  Saturday morning was a very exciting morning for me. My cousin Katie and her husband James live in NYC and agreed to meet us for lunch! Katie is pregnant with sweet baby girl Josephine who is due to arrive around May 2. It was so fun to visit with them! We had a yummy breakfast at a brunch place in Greenwich Village. After brunch, Katie walked me by the "Friends" building.

Anytime they show the outside of Chander, Joey, Rachel and Monica's apartment on "Friends" this was the building they showed.

I looked across the street for Ugly Naked Guy. Didn't see him.

Now, I think what I am most ashamed of is that we didn't get a picture with Katie and James. I KNOW, I know. I'm a horrible picture-taker. We said goodbye at the subway platform, although Grant looked over at one point and saw James taking a picture of us..... they are like the papparazzi!

That's Grant in the white hat and me in the tan jacket. It looks like we're under surveillance.

We took the subway to the Brooklyn Bridge. This was a really, really beautiful walk.

It was definitely brisk that day!

Such a cool view!

Then we walked down to Ground Zero of the World Trade Center. That was humbling. The actual site of Ground Zero is not easy to see since they are currently building a memorial. It basically looks like a construction site. We did walk over and look at St. Paul's church across the street from Ground Zero. This was the church that ministered to all the firefighters in the hours, days and weeks after the towers fell. They've turned this church into a little museum. It really was so beautiful.

We then took a subway back to the main part of the city. We walked into Tiffany's which was super fun. After browsing the main floor, Grant said to me "The engagement rings are on the 3rd floor. Do you want to go up there?"

Why yes. Why yes I do.

IT WAS FANCY UP THERE. And none of those sales people even took a second glance at us. It was fun to look at all the MASSIVE diamonds. Such a beautiful place.

After that, we walked into Trump Tower. We ate lunch in the Trump Grill... the food was DELICIOUS. Thank you, Donald Trump! I had pasta again and a brownie with ice cream for dessert.

Then we walked through the Plaza Hotel. It was so, so beautiful and ornate. I kinda wish we had eaten lunch there.

Then, we enjoyed my favorite part of the day! CENTRAL PARK! We walked around aimlessly just enjoying the weather and the people watching. We sat on a bench outside of the Central Park Zoo for about 30 minutes, just watching people go by and interacting with all the precious kiddos.

Then we walked over to the Boathouse in Central Park and grabbed a snack. They were selling these teeny-tiny little bottles of white wine. I got one with a plastic cup. Grant made fun of me. I was the lush in the park.

 We went and sat on a rock overlooking the water. We sat there for over an hour just enjoying the views and talking. And having conversations with these ducks.

Such a beautiful, beautiful day! This is what vacations are all about.

I love him.

After a brief rest back at the hotel (and a little bit of The Masters) we took another walk through the city and Times Square. We ate dinner at Junior's. AMAZING CHEESECAKE.

We sat in Junior's for quite awhile and got to see Kathleen Turner leave the theater she was performing in. I know she's a living legend and all that but when I see her all I can think of is "Look! It's Chandler's dad!!"

Times Square at night.

I love New York :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New York City Day 3: Michael J. Fox and Pasta

Friday we slept in a little bit because, hey, THIS IS A VACATION. We really don't like going on trips that are meant to be relaxing but you come home more exhausted then you were when you left.

After a nice breakfast-on-the-go and some good coffee, we headed to Macy's. There is something so fun and historic about the New York Macy's and we happened to be there during the Macy's Flower Show. The entire bottom floor is covered in flowers. This picture hardly does it justice.

Yes, those are flowers hanging over the Coach handbags. It's a beautiful thing.

Grant bought me a beautiful watch in the Macy's. And then we got the heck out of there because I CAN'T HANDLE THE THOUSANDS OF CRAZY PEOPLE IN ONE STORE. TOO MUCH GOING ON. Then as we walked out of Macy's, we looked up and said "Oh, look, there's the Empire State Building. Let's go do that".
As we waited in line, Michael J. Fox walked by. We exchanged a few words and he stood there long enough for us to take a photo. So nice :)

Sadly, it was a dreary day, but there are buildings as far as you can see....

More of the city...

And here I am. My hat is all kinds of dorky.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: THE ONLY PEOPLE WEARING HATS IN NEW YORK. I'm sorry but WE WERE COLD because WE ARE FROM TEXAS.

After the Empire State Building, we took a cab to Greenwich Village where we had lunch and walked around aimlessly. Then, suddenly, we stumbled into SoHo entirely on accident and HEY THERE WAS SOME SHOPPING THERE. I browsed in Louis Vuitton just for kicks and also visited Coach. People bring their dogs into the Coach store. (If I brought Moxie into the Coach store he would get hair everywhere and chew on the leather.) I had a lovely visit with a Sales Associate in Coach named Derek and he is very into musical theater and we gushed about broadway for about 10 minutes. Grant loved that part.

We went to the Apple store cause we heard they had bathrooms there.

Grant bought a few shirts at Penguin... and around that time I started telling my dear husband that his dear wife NEEDED A NAP.

So much walking. Feet hurt. Need to lay down. Thankfully I was able to convince Grant by reminding him that he could watch The Masters.

So we went back to the hotel for a mid-day nap.

After the nap we took the worst cab ride ever (so nauseous) to Little Italy for our dinner reservation at Da Nico.

The food was delicious. I had rigatoni pasta in a vodka cream sauce. I cleaned my plate :)

Tune in tomorrow for Day 4 which was filled with more walking and cheesecake and diamonds and more walking.