Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas with the Fam - Part 2

We headed to Odessa to spend Christmas with Randy's mom and step-dad this year. Kristi, Andrew and Bella arrived at our apartment on Friday night (before Christmas) and we headed out bright and early (well it was still dark) on Saturday. They drive an Expedition so we all loaded up and headed out for a roadtrip to west Texas. We left super early thinking Bella would sleep most of the drive there. Nope. I think all of us (minus Andrew driving) slept maybe an hour on the trip out west. Here is Bella with her bunny from Aunt Rachel & Uncle Randy.

For someone who is 13 months old and got up super early, Bella was a perfect little traveler. Of course, it was fun to get to entertain her too. She loves her Aunt Rachel. :)

Sunday morning we went to church at Immanuel (where Randy grew up). It was so good to see friends who we hadn't seen in a while. Corey, Crystal, Robin & Larry, the Haynes', Monique, and I'm sure there were more. So if we saw you at church and I didn't list you, I'm sorry!

Sunday afternoon we were all a bit lazy. Bella was up most of the night, sick with a cold, so Kristi and Andrew were pretty tired. By Monday morning, Sonia was pretty sick too. She went to work anyways. Randy and I had lunch with Crystal and Corey. It was soo good to catch up and visit. That afternoon, we decided to take pictures for Sonia for Christmas. The last picture she had of all 4 (me, Randy, Kristi, Andrew) was from our wedding and Bella wasn't even born yet! So we dressed up and posed in front of her beautiful Christmas tree for some pictures we hoped she would love. Here is a sampling:

Tuesday we hung out and ran errands. Wednesday (Christmas Eve) was spent cooking, baking, and getting ready for Christmas Eve night. Bruce's daughter, Jennifer, and her family came over for dinner and to open presents. I forgot how quickly opening presents goes for little kids! Literally 5 minutes after all the gifts were handed out, they were open! There were some pretty happy boys playing with their new toys though.
Christmas morning we woke up and gathered in the living room for gifts and the Christmas story. Sonia found this neat story and made up a Christmas box for Bella that she can use year after year. In the box are things that represent the meaning of Christmas. The story is about Santa coming to visit and him telling the true meaning of Christmas by the things he pulls out of his bag. He has a tree, a star, an angel, a wreath, a candy cane, a bell, and some other things I can't remember. Each item represents something about Jesus.

After the story, we exchanged gifts. I got pj's and a cool scrapbooking bag from Kristi, Kristi got scrapbooking stuff from her mom, Sonia got scrapbooking stuff, socks, and pj's from me, Randy got an Academy gift card from Bryan, Bryan got an American Eagle gift card from Randy, Andrew got a tool belt from Bruce, and Bruce got house shoes and Cowboys pants from Andrew. It was funny because all the girls got something scrapbook related! The boys were just sure we had snuck some into their gifts as well. :) Then came the stockings! More goodies!

Finally Sonia got to open her special gift - the pictures! She loved them! I'm so glad we did them. They turned out really well.

We ate breakfast and attempted to take Bella to the park. Attempted because when we got their, all their baby swings were gone. Weird. Plus Bella wasn't feeling great so all she liked was the slide. I did get some cute pictures though.

We did an early dinner then got together and played Taboo - girls versus boys. Boys won. We were really close though. :) We wrapped up the night with Horton Hears a Who! It is a cute movie and really funny. Friday morning (early again) we loaded up and headed out on the road toward home. Ronnie and Lupita (Randy's dad and step-mom) met us on the road and drove in with us. They ended up spending the weekend with us and going to church with us on Sunday.
That was a jammed packed week! It was good to spend time with family though. Makes us wish we all were a little closer. So that's all for the marathon post. I started this one a couple days before New Year and am just now getting to finish posting it. Be looking for my 100th post coming soon!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

CG Christmas Party

Our Community Group had our Christmas party on the Thursday before Christmas. We did chili and all the works. Afterwards, we had our white elephant gift exchange. Each couple was supposed to bring one good gift and one re-gift. There were some laughs on several gifts!

Christmas with the Fam - Part 1

So I know it has been a while since I really blogged. Blame it on busyness and travel. Anyways, I have a few weeks to catch up on so here goes:

2 weeks before Christmas, Dad, Mom, & Daniel came down to spend the weekend with Randy & I and to celebrate Christmas with us. The weekend started with the boys heading out to shop and Mom and I making our Christmas dinner. We made monterrey chicken (yum!), green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, mac'n'cheese, and salad. It turned out great. So yummy! Afterwards we exchanged our gifts. I got a picture frame clock from Daniel, Randy got a shirt and book from Dad, Daniel got books from Mom, Mom got a Shark VX1 and drying rack from me, and Dad got a shotgun from all of us. We originally were supposed to only buy gifts for the person whose name we drew. That was until Randy found this super good deal on the shotgun he knew my dad wanted. So after working it out with Mom and Daniel, Dad got a huge surprise when he opened his present and found the shotgun he wanted. :) I think he really, really, really liked it. There were several other gifts - you can see them in the video below.

On Sunday, we went to church, then home for lunch. Mom and I headed out to do some shopping. It was good just to have some girl time. :) That evening we put on the layers and headed up to Grapevine to the Gaylord Texan to see their ICE Exhibit. If you have never been, you need to go. It was incredible - cold, but very cool to experience. We didn't take our good camera in because we weren't sure what the cold and humidity would do to it. Thus, our pics are not quite as clear as normal. We used Randy's old faithful camera - the one that survived the trip to India a few years ago.

Monday had a serious change in the weather - a super cold, windy front came through. We did a late breakfast of pancakes and bacon before heading out. Mom and I did some last minute shopping, while the boys went to Cabelas to do "manly" stuff. Monday also was Mom and Dad's 29th wedding anniversary, so we treated them to dinner at Outback - all of our favorite!

I am so glad we got to "do" Christmas with them early. It was a great weekend celebrating Jesus' birth and being with family. Thank you Dad, Mom and Daniel for coming to our home for Christmas! We love you!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Where are you Christmas?

So sorry it has been a while since I posted. It has been a busy few weeks. Since I last posted, my parents and brother came down and spent the weekend with us, I finished up all my work for December, my division at my company was sold, and we drove to Odessa where we are currently spending Christmas. Whew! I'm tired just thinking about it. It was all fun (well minus the cramming of 2 weeks' work into 1) and completely worth it.

While my parents were here we did our family Christmas with them. We also went to the Gaylord Texan ICE Exhibit in Grapevine. It was really cool. There were ice sculptures of all shapes and sizes. I have pictures but since they are on our old camera, I haven't loaded them to the computer yet. So you'll have to take my word for it that it was cool. :)

I also found out last week that my division of the company I work for is being sold as of 1.1.09. What does that mean for me? I'm really not sure. The new company did offer me a job with them as of 1.1.09. However the company is based out of Massechusetts. Right now we don't know if they will keep us in Dallas, or move us somewhere else. We're just waiting to see how the transition goes. Thankfully, we are staying in the building we are currently in for the next 2 months.

And Odessa....we drove from Dallas to Odessa today with Kristi, Andrew, and Bella. We haven't spent a Christmas together with Randy's family ever, and so we all planned it this year so we could. The added bonus is Bella is 1 this year. She was the best little traveler today on our 5+ hour drive. She is just starting to walk and is a ton of fun to be around. I promise I will post lots of pictures when we get home.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


So I have had a few things I've needed to blog about but since we got home from Thanksgiving, I just haven't had time. Here goes:

1. November 30th - November 30th marked 2 years since Randy proposed. Awwwwww..... We didn't even realize what day it was until we were going to bed that night. Sad, I know.

2. Work - Since we are taking a week and going to Odessa for Christmas, I will be gone for a whole week. That means what I normally do in 4 weeks, I must complete in 3! Fun times. So if you are expecting any emails or calls from me, they might be a little late. Sorry!

3. December 5th - December 5th is our 5 year dating anniversary. Cheesy? Sorry, but to me it is special. I've known Randy now for 5.5 years and we have been together 5 of them. Pretty cool.

4. I have done no Christmas shopping yet and do not even have my tree up. I am so behind! And the bad thing is a week of Dec is almost already gone so that is 7 days less that I get to enjoy my tree and all the Christmas stuff. :( I love Christmas, I do. I've just been so busy that I haven't had time to get all our stuff out and put it up. Maybe tonight. Oh and Courtney and I are going shopping tomorrow so maybe I can knock out my list in 1 day!

5. It is Friday and I am so glad. This has been a long, busy week. Nothing bad, just busy. I am ready to go home tonight, fix dinner and pull out our Christmas stuff. Randy is not into putting the tree up and decorating, but maybe I can bribe him with chocolate!

Thanksgiving 2008

I know you have all been waiting for the 400+ pictures we took during Thanksgiving. Well, you don't have to wait any longer. Here they are (well not all 400, but a few):

We took off a day early to head to Oklahoma to visit my family. Our visit was good - we helped Mom and Dad decorate their house for Christmas (well I did), Randy and Daniel went mountain biking, shot Randy's new gun and Daniel's bow, we played games, ate lots of food and stayed up too late. On Thanksgiving, we went to my grandparents' for lunch. Again this year, there was way too much food, but surprisingly not as many leftovers. My "little" cousins are getting bigger and have way bigger appetites this year.

We left Oklahoma on Saturday morning and headed south to Tyler for Bella's 1st Birthday. It is hard to believe she is already 1! Time flies! It was fun to get to see Randy's family and spend some time with Miss Bella. She loves her Aunt Rachel, but isn't so sure about Uncle Randy. Minus the picture below, she cried almost everytime he came near. Hopefully she will warm up to him during Christmas.

From Bella's First Birthday

Sunday, November 30, 2008

We're home!

We're finally back home. Thanksgiving break was good and very needed for us. We spent much needed time with family and just relaxed. I have so many pictures to share, but am now just trying to get them all uploaded. We have 400+ pictures from Thanksgiving alone! My family loves taking pictures. Randy calls them the paparazzi! Yes they came from 3 cameras, no one person took 400 on their own. :) Here is a sneak peak:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bella's Party

We were able to be a part of Bella's first birthday party today. It was so much fun. Just family, but fun none the less. This little princess was the star of the party.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Bella Grace!

Today is our neice's 1st birthday. One year ago today, Bella Grace joined our family. She has been a joy to us all. We don't get to see her very often since they live in Tyler, but we love it when we get to spend time with her.

We love you Bella Grace! You are a precious little girl and we are so excited to see who you are becoming. God has big plans for your life. We pray that you will always seek God in all you do. We know your parents love you greatly and are striving to show you Jesus in all you do. We are always here for you - and can't wait for when you can come spend the week or weekend with Uncle Randy & Aunt Rachel. We're going to have so much fun! Love you sweet girl!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 14

Day 14: I am thankful.

Today is thanksgiving and I hope you are getting to spend time with your family and friends. We have so much to be thankful for - more than I could list in one day. I hope you take some time to stop and thank God for his many blessings on your life, your family, our nation and our world. God is good - the stuff in the world is sometimes going badly and life sometimes doesn't go as we would like, but God is in control and he is on his throne.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 13

Day 13: I am thankful for time with family.

Today we are in Oklahoma with my family for Thanksgiving. Time with family is so important to Randy & I. Things are sometimes challenged due to our family living in different areas geographically. My family lives in Oklahoma, Randy's family lives in west Texas, east Texas, and New Mexico. So you can imagine how much planning goes into the holidays each year. Despite all the planning, our visits always are uplifting and encouraging when we do visit family.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 12

Day 12: I am thankful for my Oklahoma friends.

So I was supposed to blog about this a few days ago and blogged about our apartment instead. So this goes out to my "Oklahoma" girls.

I grew up in Oklahoma - from the time I was 1 until I graduated from college. My first best friend was Khriston. Our parents were friends so we naturally were together all the time. Then when I started school I met Tiffany. We also went to church together so we naturally became best friends. I remember doing everything with Tiff. From our Land Run in the 4th grade, our 5th grade Field Day, playing middle school basketball together, starting high school together and all the change that comes with that, then graduating together and going off to ECU, we have shared so many great memories. Yes, we've had our ups and downs, and times when we haven't always been close, but through it all our friendship has remained. Only God could do that. Here we are almost 17 years later, and still best friends. She knows the best and worst of me and loves me anyways. We are very, very, very different and yet share a bond of being sisters in Christ. We complement each other in our differences and encourage each other through our trials and victories.

Then there is Amy. Amy and I haven't known each other quite as long as Tiff & I, but hit it off from the beginning. We met in Sunday School at church in Virginia's class. She was engaged to Shane at the time and I had just graduated from high school. She was so welcoming and that made the transition to college so much easier. Then she and Shane got married and changed classes. God knew Randy & I would need dating mentors and had placed Shane and Amy in our lives for that. They let us hang out with them and let us learn from them how a relationship works. We were there when their first daughter was born, and Amy said Abby would call us Uncle Randy & Aunt Rachel. We were so honored. Since we've moved to TX and especially since we got married, we haven't been able to spend as much time together. But the cool thing is any time we are together, it is like we never left. We love them like family.

And then there is my dear April. The funny thing is I used to babysit her and her sister when I was in middle school. Who would have thought that 5 years later a friendship would develop between us that I value so deeply. April is 6 years younger, so in many ways she is like a little sister. But at the same time, we connect on such a deep level that sometimes I forget she is younger than me! :) And the extra bonus is she is dating my little brother! So I get to see her whenever my little brother is around.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 11

Day 10: I am thankful for Mondays that only come once a week.

So who out there loves Mondays? I do like them, yes. But some Mondays make me glad they only come once a week. Today was one of those days. I've been working on a project for the past week and a half at work. It was due this Wednesday. Well, since we are going out of town for Thanksgiving and leaving tomorrow, I had until tomorrow at noon to finish it. So I get in to work this morning and proceed to wrap up a few of the remaining details, printing and proofing the packet. Then I find out that because of a small oversight (not on my part), it can't go out this week. So it will be pushed back until next week. Normally this would be great. Extra time to finish is always good. I guess since I had been working extra hard to finish before I left, I felt a little frustrated. That with some other deadlines I had to meet made for a little overwhelming day. Thankfully I have a God who is in control of all my deadlines and knows exactly how things are going to turn out. I have a great friend and co-leader who is ok with me calling just so I can get things out and move on. She is a great listener. Thanks J! I have a husband who is working a 12 hr. shift tonight when nights shifts really aren't his thing. Love you Randy! And thankfully Mondays only come once a week and this one is almost complete. Just a few more bags to pack, clothes to fold, and prayers to say. See you tomorrow!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 10

Day 9: I am thankful for freebies.

The other day I was driving home from Target and happened to notice that the new car wash next to me was open. And they were doing free car washes. I thought, "I should stop," but I didn't since it was dark and I really didn't have time. Plus I figured there was a catch. Like free with purchase. Or something like that. So today on my way home from church I was driving by and decided to stop. The line was long, but hey, I had time. And what do you know? They were free! No strings attached. The cool thing is they are doing this promotion until the 28th so I can go back before we leave for the holidays. Yay! I've neglected washing my car lately (bad, I know) and this way it can get washed twice in one week - for free! Ah, thank you God for little blessings!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fourteen Days of Thanks - Day 9

Day 9: I am thankful for best friends.

Tonight we had Thanksgiving with a few of our best friends. Jacob & Laura and Brent & Tiffany came over and we ate Thanksgiving dinner together. I was really excited to get to use my special stuff I got at our wedding shower and still have packed up because we have no room for it in our little kitchen. :) Here is a picture of the table from before dinner:

From Early Thanksgiving Dinner

We had way too much food for just 6 people. But it was fun to do Thanksgiving on our own - and it turned out rather well. Hopefully this can become a tradition and we can do it again next year. Sadly I didn't get any pictures of us at the table. :( Oh well, we have memories.

We rounded out the evening with a game of Killer Uno. Let me say, if you have never played Killer Uno with Randy or his family, you need to. If for nothing else, than to see how competitive Randy can be. I ended up winning, surprisingly. I never win at Killer Uno.

Oh, and we can't leave out the Ninja Turtle Boxing Match that happened before Tiff and Brent left. Here are the play by play pictures: