Christmas Eve Pajamas

I’ve written previously about the traditions my family had during the Holidays and also about the unfortunate turn of events that has surrounded some of them, like the fiery Advent wreath. So it wouldn’t be Christmas without yet another story to add to the family history, right?

Every Christmas Eve, my family has a routine. We play games or work a  puzzle (or both if you’re really lucky) and fill up on Christmas goodies like Hairy Eyeballs, Cookies, Buckeyes, and any other sweet you could imagine. Then, we gather in the living room around the Christmas tree and open one gift each.

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Every year we expect this and we don’t pack this because we know it will be supplied to us shortly.

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We open Christmas Pajamas on Christmas Eve.

christmas 2006 (2)

And this year, I even bought a similar present for the pups of the family, my sister’s dog Lilah and our faithful pup, Senna.

Well, we usually do.

This year my mom asked my dad to keep the gifts separate from the others so they would be easier to find on Christmas Eve and he kept them so separate that he forgot where he put them. So instead of opening a pre-determined gift on Christmas Eve, we got to pick one gift from under the tree to open and if we got lucky they’d be pajamas. None of us chose correctly, so instead of this awesome picture I had in my mind of my sister and me in our pajamas with our dogs, we got this:

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This picture is equally awesome because my sister and I had on our matching Canadian tuxedos, but it’s not the same as all of us in pajamas.

On Christmas morning, after all the gifts were unwrapped and none of us ever opened up pajamas, my dad went on a house search for the missing packages. They were found in an upstairs hall closet on the top shelf and had “Christmas Eve” written on each box.

Guess we’ll have 2 pajama pictures to take next year!

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Courtesy of my sister

I’m a hugger.

There. I said it.

But here’s the thing about being a hugger when you’re 6’2″ – you often tower over the person you’re trying to hug.

It’s hard to put into words exactly how I feel when I’m giving someone a hug, but, thanks to my sister, I now have this picture which perfectly illustrates how I feel.

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I feel like I’m dive-bombing my friend.

This is what happens when you sing lustily…

I grew up in the Methodist church and have a ritual I follow before almost every service I attend. I sit in the pew and immediately reach for the hymnal.

One of the first pages of the United Methodist Hymnal is John Wesley’s Directions for Singing. Though written in the 18th century, they still provide great guidance to Methodist congregations everywhere, as well as a bit of humor relief. In fact, I remember several years ago a lay leader poking fun at a few of them when the  preacher was away on vacation.

Allow me to break these rules down for you.

I. Learn these tunes before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please.

II. Sing them exactly as they are printed here (So even if the projector screen reads “Hark the Herald Angles Sing”, that’s what we sing? AWESOME!!! Is it almost Christmas?), without altering or mending them at all (This includes all unwritten runs that American Idol contestants add); and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can (Unless you think your way sounds better).

III. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a single degree of weakness or weariness hinder you (Does laryngitis count as a weakness or weariness? What about those that are tone deaf?). If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing.

IV. Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, then when you sung the songs of Satan.

(Essentially, sing out strong…)

V. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony (This needs to be explained to the child that always hogs the mic when the children sing. Admit it, you know there’s one in every church); but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.

VI. Sing in time (ahem). Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend close to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can; and take care not to sing to slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.

VII. Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.

In reality, the majority of John Wesley’s directions have very good points that are still applicable 3 centuries later, but there’s a reason I’m sharing these rules with you…

Adam and I have spent the last few months attending a church we have grown to love. It’s accepting, friendly, genuine, and thought-provoking. Plus, it helps that it feels like a small town church, which made it even more appealing to both of us rural Arkansans. We love the community outreach and mission work it does, though we have yet to get involved and we’ve found a Sunday School class that we truly enjoy. I’m actually surprised that we felt so at home at the first church we “auditioned”, but I’m also very thankful.

Every week we’ve meet new people and feel more accepted than the last. This past Sunday, proved this more than ever before…

You see, Adam and I were sitting behind this sweet elderly couple whose husband sang in the church choir. Before the pastor began his sermon, all those in the choir and serving in worship came and sat with the rest of the congregation – which meant that when it was time to sing the final hymn, Adam was singing directly behind a choir member.

The final hymn that Sunday was “Standing on the Promises”. It’s a classic hymn, best known for its chorus – which I warned Adam to control himself during prior to the song even beginning. Let’s just say that he sang lustily and with good courage.

And nowhere near half dead. 

We’ll also say that he had a head-bop going on in the middle of the chorus…

After the service ended, the couple in front of us turned and invited him to join the choir.

Full disclosure? They asked me to join as well, until I told them about my voice teacher going MIA after one lesson in middle school. True story. Hand to God. Ask my mom.

So, I got off the hook fairly quickly.

Adam was polite, told them he’d consider joining and confirmed that he could sing bass.

Too bad they didn’t ask how well he could sing bass.

We left the sanctuary and laughed about it in the car on the way to lunch with our Sunday School class; and haven’t thought much about it since.

Today, we received an email from the Music Ministries Director. In it, she tells us that she was sorry she didn’t get to meet us after church and hoped we are enjoying our worship and fellowship at the church. Then she tells us that she “watched Adam, as he very energetically sang the bass part in the final hymn” and extended a personal invitation for him to join the choir. She also said she spoke with the sweet couple it front of us who confirmed that Adam had indeed sung.

Truth is, Adam does sing, but it’s not often he’s in tune. He also isn’t the best at keeping time – a clear violation of directive number 6 above. I’m sure that the choir would accept Adam with open arms and I’m sure they’d never tell him he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket to his face. But secretly, I believe that they would regret extending an invitation to him.

Wedding Recap: The Reception, Part II

The one thing I was adamant about throughout the planning process was a reception that reflected the type of couple Adam and I are. We like to goof off, relax, listen to good music and spend time with family and friends. That’s exactly the reception we had. Our reception was high-energy and laid-back and allowed us to be ourselves around our friends.

Our DJ allowed us to create a playlist prior to the reception with music we thought our guests would be most receptive to and, while I stressed a bit about this element of the wedding, it turned out better than I ever imagined. Our dance floor was packed the entire night! Apparently we had a good mix of oldies, line dances, and current hits. 🙂

While we twisted,

my dad shouted,

and my aunts shimmied.

Guests jumped…

and threw their hands up in the air like they just didn’t care.

There were even a few sisterly dance moments.

And then the DJ played “Single Ladies”.

Remember the whole “Operation: No More Beyonce” thing and the fact that I’m slightly addicted to Jazzercise? I worked with my coordinator to loosely stage a flash mob, after I contacted my fellow Jazzercisers mere days before the wedding.

Yep, our reception had a Jazzercise flash mob in the middle of the dance floor.

It was so much fun dancing with my instructors and other Jazzer-buddies who drove down to celebrate with us! I seriously love those women!

There’s even video evidence of our Jazzer-moment!

Then I got sick…light-headed, stomach turning, overheated.

Note to future brides: don’t go a full day on only apples and caramel sauce, get married, then expect to dance the night away in your wedding dress.

Adam got me a bottled water, then got Heather, our coordinator, to come help.

So while my guests were doing this:

and this:

and this:

I was doing this:

Yep. I missed doing the “YMCA” at my own wedding.

But I was soon back out on the dance floor just in time for the “Time Warp”. My sudden weak state was nothing several bottles of water and a plate of food couldn’t fix.

While I went back to the dance floor, Adam went to hang with his family. And by hang, I mean totally goof-off.

Then it was time to drag him back out to the dance floor for the “Cha-Cha Slide”…

…before ending the fun-filled night with a sparkler getaway and a kiss to seal the deal.

We were officially married and on our way to Napa Valley for our honeymoon!

images via Karen Segrave | KES Weddings

Wedding Recap: The Reception, Part I

I’ll admit, we threw our amazing coordinator a huge curveball during the planning process when we told her the location of our reception. I wanted to create a warm, romantic, and vintage setting. In my hometown’s concrete and cinder block armory.

She accepted the challenge without hesitation and transformed the space beyond my wildest expectations.

Our reception began with a Wedding Party Entrance to The Beatles – All You Need is Love which took us right into our first dance as husband and wife to Adele’s cover of Make You Feel My Love

During our dance, we agreed that we felt very awkward dancing by ourselves in front of our family and friends. I also remember Adam goofing off during our dance, I think he was rapping along with Adele – which doesn’t really fit but, as always, made me laugh. I love that our photographer captured that moment.

Next up, was my father-daughter dance. My dad selected Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World for our big dance – which was only a mere warm up for the rest of the night.

After we showed off our fancy footwork on the dance floor it was time for Adam’s mother-son dance. Adam’s mom chose Lee Ann Womack’s I Hope You Dance for their special moment.

I absolutely love the looks of pure happiness on both our parents’ faces during these dances. Wonderfully captured by our photographer, yet again!

Once the dances were done, our coordinator whisked us away to cut the cake. In fact, we were whisked so fast that our parents missed us cutting the cake. Thankfully, we have pictures that captured the excitement and yumminess!

Our coordinator surprised us with some vintage forks I had been lusting over for months from Etsy. It was at the moment she presented the forks to us that my emotions from the day finally overcame me and I shed some very happy tears. Heather truly was the best!

After the cake cutting, Adam gave a speech thanking our guests for coming and celebrating our special day with us. We also wanted to thank our guests personally and went from table to table in an attempt to do so.

At the end of Adam’s speech, we led our Razorback loving guests in a Hog Call. It was only fitting since we intentionally picked our wedding day based on the Razorbacks’ football schedule – our wedding day was one of the only bye weekends of the season.

Throughout the rest of evening we had a few scheduled “events” for special moments. First up? A sorority sing. My Alpha Delta Pi sisters are the best and I was so honored that they made the trip to the middle of South Arkansas to celebrate with us.

Then, of course, we had to have the garter and bouquet tosses towards the end of the night…

Our reception wasn’t all structure and formality. After the cake was cut, the guests were thanked, the Hogs were called and the buffet was opened, the dance floor became a happening place…

images via Karen Segrave | KES Weddings

Wedding Recap: The Details

Everyone has a specific part of weddings they love. For some it’s the ceremony or the way a groom looks as his bride is walking down the aisle. For others it’s the bride’s dress or the reception.

For me, it is all about the little details. The things guests may or may not pick up on immediately, but that have importance to the couple and their families.

Immediately after I got engaged, I started stalking wedding blogs and trying to determine a vision for our big day. I’m a Southern small town, Anthropologie loving girl and knew I wanted to bring in bits of this throughout the ceremony and reception.

I emailed picture after picture to my mom of mason jars, lace, burlap, and wheat. I overwhelmed her and confused her. In my head I knew exactly how I wanted my wedding and reception to be, but telling it to someone else? Not that easy. Eventually we got on the same page – understated elegance with a romantic rustic chic feel.

I loved my bouquet and I loved that I was carrying a part of the strong women who were no longer here with me down the aisle. In memory of my grandmother Gran-Merle, we pinned one of her brooches to it, which served as my something blue, and wrapped the bouquet in a handkerchief which had a border tatted by my great-aunt Lila.

In the months leading up to the ceremony, my mom worked tirelessly on various “mom-jects”. She sewed burlap table runners, found beautiful iron work medallions at a steal to use for mason jar candelabras, created perfect burlap bunting banners to hang at various places throughout the reception, sewed pillows and cushions for our hay bale lounge, hot glued lace to french pails, cleaned antique medicine bottles and glassware, made moss letters and burlap wreaths. And just one week before the wedding? She stayed up until 2:30 in the morning to bake 72 dozen of her famous dishpan cookies as favors for our guests.

Details

She was quite busy and I’ll never be able to adequately thank her for all of the love she poured into making our wedding day absolutely everything I imagined.

Meanwhile, I was busy designing the program and other paper goods for the ceremony and reception using a few free graphics from the Wedding Chicks website which I manipulated to fit my overall vision.

The family fun didn’t stop there, though. My dad and uncle built a screen out of old doors my parents salvaged from the 110+ year old victorian home I grew up in, all of which had been kept in our shed since they remodeled the home in the late 80s and early 90s. My dad also cleaned up his old tandem bicycle that had been stored out in the shed for as many years as the doors.

Adam and his brother joined in the project fun as well, bringing wine barrels from the winery Adam worked in throughout high school and college which would serve as the “legs” for the groom’s table and my sister brought her large collection of wine corks to fill additional mason jars for the groom’s cake stand.

The effort that was put into these details by our families helped to make my wedding day all that I dreamed and more…

images via Karen Segrave | KES Weddings

Wedding Recap: The Ceremony

I wanted our ceremony to take place in the sanctuary where I spent every Sunday of my childhood.

The sanctuary where the kneeling pads my grandmother Ottie helped to needlepoint are placed around the altar rail.

The sanctuary where I have so many wonderful, peaceful memories.

I wanted to make a new memory in the place where so many of the memories that shaped me into the woman I am today were made.

Well, we made many memories that day. From the chills I got as soon as the organist began playing the processional music for the bridesmaids – a song I had chosen in memory of Ottie, The Wedding Processional from The Sound of Music, to how I felt right before I walked down the aisle alongside my father. The memories were only beginning.

As I walked down the aisle towards Adam, I faintly remember seeing friends and family out of the corners of my eye, ecstatic to be able to share this moment with them.

I remember looking at Adam and seeing the look of sheer happiness across his face. I couldn’t stop smiling.

It was time.

We were ready.

After my dad presented me, the preachers began our traditional Methodist ceremony. Everything was moving along perfectly until the first prayer.

That’s when my sister realized she forgot the ring.

Thankfully, our coordinator, Heather, sensed that Madeline had forgotten the ring and was already halfway down a side aisle when it was time to place it on Adam’s finger.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t fast enough to save Madeline from embarrassment. When the preacher asked for the rings, Madeline had to admit her mistake – which was the first moment Adam and I knew what had happened.

Madeline hates to draw attention to herself – specifically embarrassing attention – so this moment couldn’t have been more perfect for me and I laughed heartily at the altar.

Then I exchanged a forgiving smile and a high-five with her – yes, you read that right, we high-fived at the altar – before taking the ring and placing it on Adam’s finger.

The moment we exchanged rings was surreal for me. This was actually happening. I was becoming Adam’s wife!

I remember Adam proudly and loudly repeating each line of the vows after the preacher and I remember the look of complete commitment in his eyes. It warmed my heart and showed me a new side of him that I immediately loved.

After a final prayer it was done.

The ceremony was over and we were taking our first kiss as husband and wife.

As we were exiting the sanctuary, I felt a swell of happiness greater than anything I had ever felt before. It was overwhelming and exciting and the perfect emotion to ramp me up for our fun-filled reception…

images via Karen Segrave | KES Weddings

Wedding Recap: Wedding Party

Our  wedding party was the best!

Just as I wrote of how wonderful my bridesmaids were, the same could be said for Adam’s groomsmen. They were attentive, hilarious, easy going and supportive all day long.

Made up of siblings and close friends, there was no other group I’d have wanted standing in support of the commitment Adam and I were about to make to one another than this.

They were willing to hold one of several bunting banners my mom made for our wedding day…

Willing to stand in rocky alley way terrain for a less traditional photo-op…

Willing to wear matching shoes and socks…

Willing to put up with Adam’s excitement…

And, most of all, willing to put up with our shameless displays of affection in the moments leading up to the ceremony…

images via Karen Segrave | KES Weddings

Wedding Recap: First Look

Adam and I chose to have a “first look” prior to me walking down the aisle and I’m so glad we decided to do this! After exchanging our gifts and putting the final touches together before our wedding party pictures, our photographer whisked us off to the garden of the church between the education building and the sanctuary for our only chance to be alone on our wedding day.

Adam stood with his back to me and between the coordinator and photographer we had a timed photo opportunity, followed by several moments of alone time to soak up all that was about to happen without interruption. It was perfect.

Seeing him for the first time, EVER, in a tux was great in and of itself, but knowing that in just a couple of hours he would be my husband made seeing him at this moment even more special. I was overwhelmed with joy.

I was full of love.

I wanted to know if he was nervous.

He wasn’t.

And just as soon as we were left alone, we were swept back into reality for wedding party pictures…

images via Karen Segrave | KES Weddings

Wedding Recap: Getting Ready

While home for Christmas, Adam and I received our gorgeous wedding album and disk of images from our photographer, Karen Segrave of KES Weddings. Ever since then I’ve been itching to share the story of our wedding day with you. From getting ready, to the “I Dos”, to the par-tay following the ceremony and everything in between, I’ve decided to break our day up into a series of blog posts.

Let’s begin, shall we?

On the morning of our wedding, my bridesmaids and I gathered at a local salon in my small hometown to have our hair and makeup done. My sister served as photographer at the salon – which would explain why there are no pictures of my maid of honor getting ready.

First up was Sydney, a hometown friend I’ve known for my entire life – and hers.

Sydney

Then my hilarious sorority sister, Sarah got her pouf on.

Sarah

Following Sarah was another sorority sister and sweet friend, Lauren – whose hair had never held a pouf until my wedding day.

Lauren

My bridesmaids were awesome that morning. We laughed, we played Tribond, we chatted about life and we enjoyed the Southern small town requisite lunch of Sonic. Well, I should say they enjoyed Sonic, I was given strict instructions by my wedding coordinator, Heather, not to eat anything greasy so I had apple slices and caramel sauce while the smell from everyone else’s greasy goodies filled the air.

Leading up to my wedding I had no idea what I’d be like on my wedding day. Would I be nervous? Manic? Stressed? I actually ended up having a tremendous feeling of peace all morning and in the minutes leading up to the wedding. And, in addition to peace? Complete and utter happiness. I’m still shocked my cheeks weren’t sore the next day, because I’m pretty sure I had a smile all. day. long.

No Makeup

Ignore the lack of makeup…I know I’m scary

Around mid afternoon, our photographer arrived at the church to begin capturing our day. I had taken my dress, veil, and other belongings over to the church earlier that morning so that all I’d have to worry about once my hair and makeup were done was getting dressed at the church.

Photography by KES Weddings

After getting to the Bridal Suite at the church and getting everything in place it was time. Time to put on my dress.

For my wedding.

On my wedding day.

I was so excited for this moment.

After putting it partly on in the bathroom, my mom helped to button me in. I still remember the rush of excitement that swept through me at this moment.

Laughing

After putting my dress on, I was able to relax for a bit. Adam and I had decided to exchange gifts first thing after we had gotten ready, so my sister took Adam his gift while Adam’s brother and best man, Sam, was in charge of delivering my gift.

Once our gifts were exchanged, it was time for our “first look”…

images via Karen Segrave | KES Weddings

A Holiday Survey!

I came across this survey over on PB Fingers and thought I’d share my responses with you.

Enjoy and feel free to play along in the comments or post to your own blog!

  1. Eggnog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate. With peppermint.
  2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? We always have at least one Santa gift wrapped under the tree, but most were unwrapped and sitting around the tree.
  3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White is preferred, though I also have an appreciation for the vintage colored bulb strands.
  4. Do you hang mistletoe? Growing up, my parents always hung mistletoe in the hall of their home.
  5. When do you hang your decorations up? Typically, we decorate our home the weekend of Thanksgiving.
  6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Christmas morning my mom makes a breakfast casserole and an amazing bread dish she calls “Tutti Bread” – it’s smothered in a poppy seed mustard mixture, cheese and topped with bacon. Deeeelish!
  7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? My family gathering at my grandmother’s house on Christmas night and singing Christmas carols. A family favorite was “Twelve Days of Christmas” and we’d break into groups for each “day”. My uncle had the 5 golden rings part down! A close second would be The Advent Wreath mishap.
  8. What is on your Christmas wish list? Anything from my holiday gift guide!
  9. Do you open a gifts on Christmas Eve? Yep! We get to open one pre-designated gift on Christmas Eve and it’s almost always a new pair of PJs.
  10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? With random ornaments that have either been given to us or bought by us over the years. I much prefer a mismatch of ornaments that have meaning!
  11. Snow? Love it or dread it? Love it!! Too bad we were more likely to get ice than snow at Christmas in Arkansas.
  12. Real tree or fake tree? Real!
  13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Probably the Playmobil Victorian Dollhouse. My sister and I spent countless hours playing with it growing up. I loved making up stories for the dolls and tucking them in to their beds. I think it’s still stored in my parents’ attic and I occasionally dream about playing with it as an adult. It was seriously a gorgeous dollhouse.
  14. What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you? The memories made with family.
  15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? I am always up for a large serving of my mom’s dishpan cookies.
  16. What is your favorite tradition? I love going to the 11 o’clock Christmas Eve Candlelight service with my family. It’s a wonderful and peaceful service that reminds me every year what the season is truly about.
  17. What tops your tree? An angel always topped my parents’ tree, but this year Adam and I have a star topping our tree.
  18. Do you prefer giving or receiving? I love giving gifts, but I also equally love snooping to find out my gifts.
  19. What is your favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night
  20. Candy canes, yuck or yum? YUM!!!!
  21. Favorite Christmas movie? Elf!
  22. What do you leave for Santa? Dishpan cookies and milk.
  23. Do you have a Christmas morning tradition? My sister and I always had to wait and come down the stairs together before we could open our presents. We always wear our new Christmas PJs.
  24. Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall? Lately, I’ve enjoyed shopping online, but there are some gifts that are just easier to find in-person at the mall or local shops around town.
  25. Christmas letter or Christmas card? Christmas card.

Noses are Deceiving

Now that [almost] all of the boxes are unpacked and I’m slowly able to start accessorizing rooms, I’m feeling more settled. Adam’s old “grandma chic” bachelor pad apartment is starting to feel like the home in which we’ll start our life together.

Every day this week I’ve made a concerted effort to make a visible dent in a random room as far as organization goes. I’ve stored books and papers from my old cubicle in my old dresser we refinished, hung pictures, replaced lamp shades, put away our china, and pulled out my Scentsy.

Y’all have one of these, right? I’m obsessed with mine. I love letting the scents permeate my apartment and now that I’m working from home all day you better believe I have it on all day every day.

Back in September, on a rare trip to Wal-Mart, I bought some wax cubes by Better Homes & Garden. I wanted to have seasonal fragrances like Apple Strudel, Pumpkin Pie, Blueberry Muffin, and Gingerbread. Tuesday, was my first day to use my Scentsy warmer since moving and I chose to put in a Gingerbread cube. I put it in mid-morning and had forgotten about it until Adam came home from work that evening.

He walks straight to the kitchen looking for a freshly baked batch of cookies. I felt horrible that the Scentsy led him astray so that night, we worked late cleaning the counters and putting away the remaining wedding gifts and serving pieces I already owned. Essentially, we made the kitchen usable.

And yesterday? Because I wanted an excuse to use my KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Adam got his cookies. Dark Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip.

This time, the scent he smelled as he walked through the door is edible! Given the fact that he ate almost an entire dozen by himself in one hour, I’d say he thought they were scrumptious!

Dark Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/4  cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed until creamy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla until all ingredients are blended.
  4. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  5. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating well as you go.
  6. Stir in chocolate.
  7. Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  8. Bake for approximately 12 minutes.

Yield: 5 dozen

Transitioned and Thankful

It’s been a month since I got married. A single, whirlwind month full of traveling, packing, Hog calling, unwrapping, unpacking, organizing, working, and more unpacking.

Needless to say, I’ve neglected my blog, but I’m in a groove now – or so I think – and blogging will return to normal soon.

In the meantime, my favorite holiday is upon us and the practice of giving thanks is something that also seems to be neglected in my day to day life. But, you see, I am thankful – I’m thankful for a lot of things.

I’m thankful that my husband supports and encourages me. That he tells me he loves me frequently.

I’m thankful for my health.

I’m thankful that I have a roof over my head, food in my kitchen and lots of warm scarves in my closet.

I’m thankful that everyday I can smile at a perfect stranger and get a smile in return.

I’m thankful that even in a new city, which I was hesitant to move to because it was smack-dab in the middle of Longhorn country, I already feel at home.

I’m thankful for my family, for the laughs we share and the memories we continue to make every time we’re together.

I’m thankful for my friends and their loyalty, even if I am almost a Texan now.

I’m thankful that the first place I learned to drive by myself to in Austin was Nordstrom Rack.

I’m thankful that I haven’t gotten lost yet – especially since I hear everyone gets lost when they first move here.

I’m thankful for an almost unpacked apartment and look forward to decorating it with flea market finds.

I’m thankful for inspiration found on Pinterest.

I’m thankful for the window next to my desk. It’s amazing what blue skies and sunlight do for my mood.

Most of all, I’m just thankful, for everything in my life.

I couldn’t imagine a life any better than what I have right now.

Halloween Honeymoon Horror

Yep, I’m officially a married woman – the wedding and honeymoon were absolutely perfect, and I plan to share a series of posts about them in the near future. Literally, I’ll be writing a series of posts, because I never want to forget certain moments or details from my wedding weekend.

Adam and I returned from a picture perfect honeymoon exploring Napa Valley, CA to a weekend of packing up my apartment in preparation for my move to Austin, TX.

Yeah, you read right – I’m becoming a Texan and moving to Longhorn Country. Last I checked, the world is still spinning.

Sunday, Adam headed back to Texas to clean and make room for my stuff to be moved in this weekend. When he arrived back at his apartment he called and told me that he was “perplexed” because his kitchen was in disarray. His blinds had been ripped to shreds, his desk area was disheveled and there were black spots everywhere.

Growing up in an old house, my immediate thought is a bird somehow got in while he was gone for the wedding and honeymoon. He’ll just need to find it and throw it away. Unfortunately, according to his stellar shit observation skills, he determines these droppings are not the kind most commonly associated with birds.

Ok, then. What is the culprit?

A mouse. He tells me he has had a mouse destroy his kitchen.

I’m immediately all, “I’m not moving to TEXAS to work FROM HOME with MICE!!!!” Seriously, little mice co-workers running beneath my feet throughout the day? No thank you. The move to Texas? Is off. For reals.

He tries to console me in a somewhat stressed voice, “Don’t worry my sweets, I’m headed to Wal-Mart to buy extermination supplies and will have this solved before moving you in Saturday. I promise, there will not be mice in my apartment by the time you arrive.”

Adam goes to Wal-Mart to buy supplies in Texas while I’m back on my couch in Arkansas procrastinating packing, reading blog posts about unwelcome guests and putting myself in her shoes. It’s not a good image in my head – I can assure you of that.

He calls when he gets back home to tell me he’s identified the “Bait”. His cycling energy bars that were left unopened on the kitchen counter. This is good, right? Never leave energy bars on the countertop. Lesson learned. Now let’s trap this mouse. Pronto!

He hangs up and spends the next 30 minutes cleaning and disposing of all food and other ruined items in his kitchen and desk area. Then calls with an update.

“Megan. It’s not a mouse.”

“It’s not?”

“No. I’m a little freaked right now”

“Why?”

“There’s a squirrel in one of the wedding gift bags.”

My first response is “WHAT?! Which bag? Are the gifts* okay?”

My second response is “YAY!!! NO MICE!!!”

My third response is “Is it dead?”

Adam responds, “I’m not sure. I’m gonna kick the bag.”

I wait…

“Ok, the squirrel didn’t move but I’m still afraid I might get attacked by it. What else should I do?”

This is when I suggest he take a broom and push the bag across the floor. He does so, deems the squirrel “dead as a doornail”, uses a garbage bag to pick the squirrel up and places it on his balcony as evidence for the apartment manager Monday.

Here’s the crazy part: No one has entered Adam’s apartment in 10 days. All of the doors and windows were shut and locked and the dryer vent appears to be properly connected.

In other words, there is no sign of forced squirrel entry.

But hey, at least I’ll have a really clean new kitchen to use once I get moved to Austin.

*No wedding gifts were harmed in this story

Tailgate [Dis]Agreement

Full disclosure? It’s rare that Adam and I don’t see eye to eye about something, I guess we’re lucky in that regard. But this week? Notsomuch.

You see, we are huge Razorback fans and  have a shared dream of a tailgating vehicle. Originally our dream was to find an old University of Arkansas Transit bus or school bus, but given the difficult game parking scenarios on campus – not to mention the gas bill – we have decided to forgo that option. For now.

Since this realization, we have been brainstorming other ideas. First, I thought we could convert an old VW Bus. I had the whole plan in my head, it was going to be amazing. That is, until Adam’s brother reminded us that they are rear engine and crushed my dreams.

Then, I had the idea to save up and buy one of those pimped out Ultimate Tailgater trailers. I mean, have you seen these things?

They smoke your BBQ. While. You. Drive. For serious. And they come with 3 TVs, surround sound, refrigerator/freezer, taps for beer and soft drinks, and much more. It’s PERFECT. However, the price tag deters us. As do the university tailgating restrictions for our parking lot. But it’s ok, there are other options, right?

According to Adam, YES!

We could buy an ambulance and convert it to the “Razorback Fanbulance”. In theory it’s perfect. You can buy used ambulances for next to nothing on eBay – I’m talking $255 and they already have a/c power adapters so we can sink the majority of the budget into tech-ing it out (him) and making it super cute (me). There’s only one problem with this vehicle: most likely someone DIED there.

Adam isn’t convinced though, as he responded, “They probably would appreciate you partying in the ambulance. Joy out of heartache.”

Responses like this will become my forever in one month.

Or, we could buy a 15 passenger van and take out the bench seating. Build a party deck on top and attach a grill to the back end. Put a little seating inside and install  TVs on either side. He was so excited about the party deck that I called him a frat boy and he immediately began to pop his collar.

Someone please help. I need ideas. Ones that don’t involve death or wannabe frat boy dreams…

And if we choose yours? You’ll get invited to the first official tailgate in our dream tailgating machine.

Until this gets resolved we’ll be picking up pizza and tailgating from a Coleman folding picnic table – like amateurs. Woo Pig Sooie!