Monday, December 30, 2013

Anniversaries and Football

Doug and I celebrated our 15th anniversary the day after Christmas.

Yes, we got married on December 26th.
If you already know the story why, skip down...

So, why did we get married the day after Christmas?

Simple... Texas High School Football!

It was the era of Art Briles at Stephenville High School and Doug and I were both teachers there. When we got engaged in June of 1998 and were discussing wedding plans, my dad said that he had missed one state game for me (had to pick me up from the airport after I had been in England for a semester of college..) and he didn't want to miss another.

 So, even though it was JUNE... we went and reserved the church for the Saturday AFTER the state game... the day after Christmas!

Turns out to have been a pretty smart call.

We won state that year.

Doug and I joke that we should have just gotten married at half-time at Cowboy Stadium on the star! Our friends, some family and our students were there!

I'm guessing only in the great state of Texas do people plan weddings around a high school football game... especially when they don't even have a family member in the game!


To commemorate our anniversary, Doug got me a watch. Not just any watch, but a Coach watch to match my purse! He said that since my purse was a reminder of my weight loss journey, the matching watch would be a reminder of our love and life together. 

That's romantic stuff.

I was equally romantic.... I got Doug a garage door opener. Ouch. Good thing he doesn't love me for my romantic gestures! 

(Hey, but I did do a romantic gift last year... remember the wedding dress photo shoot?)

So Friday night we got a babysitter and spent the night in Fort Worth. It's so nice to get a way once in a while!! Here we are at Taverna, a really awesome Italian restaurant in Sundance Square (downtown). It was soo good!

We have aged a bit.. but we are still looking good and enjoy each other's company! Not bad for 15 years!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

To double post or not

Now that I have an official art portfolio online that I can post too... I have to figure out what to post where. 

I guess I'll end up double posting. The finished product here and the process there?  Or should it be the process here and the product there?

Hmmm... Gonna have to figure that out.

Anyway... I made this last night while the family was watching movies in various rooms all over the house. (I'm not a movie person..)

I wasn't planning on doing a blue marker piece, but sometimes you just go with the inspiration and let it flow! In fact, since I wasn't planning on doing this in marker, I had already drawn the girl in colored pencil on watercolor paper. Let's just say that watercolor paper and markers are not usually used together. The tooth of the paper causes the marker to bleed and spread. But I liked how it looked, so I went with it.

And there you have it. Isn't it fun! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sweet and Simple Christmas

Some years it seems like all we do is race from one holiday event to another. This year, there was no racing.
Maddie was sick, so we hunkered down and chilled.

Really, that's not a bad way to spend Christmas!
(Well, maybe for the one that is sick...)

Christmas morning we slept in until 7:30am! Wow!! With a 13, 9 and 4 year old, that is a gift in and of itself!

We opened gifts. Lexi bought all of us gifts at her school's "Santa Shop." What a great treat for us! It just cost a few dollars and she had real gifts for the entire family. She even was able to find thoughtful gifts like Kylie's cross with "Faith" on it. Kylie loved having her middle name on a cross!

Doug  found a story book/building kit for Kylie to create and she loves it! I see more of these books/kits in our future! Too bad they don't work with Lego's, we already have a truck load of those!

Doug also got Lexi more of the History Mystery books. She is such an avid reader, that she will probably have read all 4 before she goes back to school!

And Maddie got lots of clothes. We have completely moved into teenage world with her, so no more games/toys/sweet girly gifts for her! 

One of the highlights of this Christmas had to be the treadmill. If you haven't read about God's amazing provision, click here to read about this awesome gift!

And no, Doug and I were not left out. We gave each other running stuff. Exactly what we wanted!

One of my cherished gifts, I actually ordered and created for myself back in October... but I put it away for Doug to give to the girls to give to me! It's a bracelet that commemorates my marathon and half marathon races! I can't wait to add more charms!

The best part of the bracelet is that the proceeds are helping to cover the adoption costs of a forever family!! How cool is that!! If you are looking for a custom piece of jewelry at an incredibly affordable price, I highly recommend my friend Kristy. What a joy it is to know that I get something that is created just for me, and I get to be a very small part of bringing Hannah Joy home! Her etsy store is closed until Jan 1, but you can find her here.

And that pretty much sums up our Christmas. We had a great day, Maddie is feeling better and we are enjoying quiet and slow holiday mornings!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Providing beyond what we could ask for or imagine!

Isn't it awesome when you want something and you know that it really is too much and too expensive,but you hope anyway, and in the end God provides even more extravagantly than you had imagined?

Well, this is one of those stories!!

Backstory, one day a couple of weeks ago Maddie and I were discussing running and her struggle with trying to find a time to go out and run. A 13 year old girl just can't get up at 5 am and run in the dark outside, nor can she run at 4:30pm as the traffic is horrible. So she has been frustrated that on days when she was physically strong enough to run, she couldn't because of our schedules.

So she mentioned how she would like a treadmill.  

I wanted her to have one too! But have you priced treadmills? Just your plain vanilla, no chocolate, no sprinkles kinds are still a couple hundred dollars! So I turned to an online running community I belong to and all of the ladies said to put it on Facebook and tell my friends. 

So I did and within an hour, a friend said she had one that she bought used and doesn't use it and if Doug could drive the 30 minutes over to her house, we could have it for a good price.

So he did.

Last night, we got it out of storage and set it up. I hadn't seen it,so I didn't know anything about it. Given that we paid $100 I figured it was your basic treadmill.

NO! It is FANCY! I'm soo pumped!

Here is Maddie on the treadmill. No, she isn't running in her pj's. She's sick and can't run. Bummer, but she walked on it a couple of minutes.

Look at that console! It has training plans, miles per hour quick buttons, it inclines, has a heart rate monitor and even a fan!

I looked it up, we could have bought this treadmill at a sports store for $800!! Instead God provided a new to us, looks in perfect condition, treadmill for $100!

That's the very definition of providing beyond anything I could ask or imagine!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Party Time!

We spent most of the day yesterday cleaning house and making food for our Christmas Party with Friends last night.  

The girls were helpful, they cleaned their rooms and then Lexi and Kylie made candy coated popcorn and dipped strawberries in chocolate. 

They had fun helping and it is nice that they are big enough to help do something that actually needs to be done!

Then it was party time. I remembered to take a couple of pictures just as the party started.

And then it was time for fun!! Lots and lots of laughter! And yummy food too!

We had a house full! Lots of friends and even more kids! :) 

That's all the pictures I took. I was too busy enjoying myself!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Not Your Everyday Homemade Christmas Presents

I've been a busy elf making Christmas presents for friends and family.

Here are a couple of the presents I've made. Since they've been given, I can share!

The first is a sign that says "Not My Monkey, Not My Circus." I gave these to teacher friends. We teachers easily get caught up in things that are out of our circle of influence and get bogged down in areas of the school that we have no control over. It's nice to be reminded to let it go! And there is just something fun about saying... not my monkey, not my circus...about things that bother us that we can't fix!

I screen printed the signs. I made close to 50 to end up with 10 decent signs. It was one of those projects! Who knew that the black chipboard would turn the white ink PINK! Grr.  I did make a tshirt for myself. :)

Then Saturday night, Libby came over and had me scan an old recipe from her husband's side of the family. We talked about the recipe and the heritage and I was inspired to go make up something for my sisters and my dad for our Christmas celebration.  

I have to say... my keeping of all things turned out great for this project as years ago I scanned in my Grandma's recipe, so I just had to find the file on the computer. And then to find the picture of my Grandma in her kitchen, I went to the tote of leftover pictures that my parents left here when they moved. It's not the best picture of my Grandma in her kitchen, but it didn't matter for this project!

So an hour later, I had these babies printed! I used Grandma's Lime Jello Salad for a couple of prints and her Big Red Ice Cream recipe for a couple of others.  
It was a fun project. I slapped them into the leftover frames from my teacher project. So really, it's a double gift. Behind the recipe project is the screen printed sign!

I love making gifts for people.

I've got a couple more that need to be made today..

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Gift of Family

The gift of family.
 Truly a priceless gift!!!

Today we celebrated Christmas at my sister Melody's house.  It is so much fun to get our group together and enjoy each other!

I know I have mentioned them, but in case you don't remember... I have 3 sisters. My older sister by 20 months is Libby, then me, then Melody is five years younger than me, then Katy is five years younger than her. So yes, we are spread out, but we have that special sister bond that covers age span and distance.

Here we are with my mom. I love this picture!

Growing up, my mom and her 3 sisters always took pictures of the 4 of them and the 4 with my Grandmother. I am more aware of this special tradition this year since is this is the first year without my Grandmother. It is now more important than ever to keep family traditions going!

Anyway!  We enjoyed the day!

Here are some of today's highlights!
My parents.

No explaination needed...

Maddie and her cousin Abby.

Playing "Pin the nose on Rudolph"

Lexi wearing her new custom made cowgirl belt with her name on it!
Thanks Papa and Ma! (all the "middle" grandkids got them!)

And the baby of the family, Nora! Oh my, she is adorable and a whirlwind! So glad she is Katy's baby and not mine! There is a reason you have babies in your twenties!! :)

And finally, Doug and me. 

Finished Super Kylie

I know I've shown y'all this before. But I finally got it up and good pictures of it.

Here it is on our high school stage to give you scale.

And with me. :) Yes, it's a big piece!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Taking time to rest and reflect

I haven't run in a week.
Nope, I'm not injured.

I'm resting.

Do you know how HARD that is for me? 

It's so hard that Doug took my running shoes.

It really is for the best.

He said tonight that he'll give them back to me Christmas Day.
I'll be ready and rested to run!!


The timing of my rest comes at the same time as Linny from over at A Place Called Simplicity asked her blog readers to stop and rest and consider what God has done for them this year.

Taking a rest from running this last week has given me to time to consider and rest in thankfulness.

As it is every year, this year was busy and full of important moments and memories in our life. It's incredible to think about really, I ran a marathon this year.. (and a dozen other races)! Doug ran a 1/2 marathon this year! And Maddie ran a 5k!

As you can imagine, I am way more pumped about Maddie's 5k than I am of my marathon.  Sure, I ran a marathon, a full 26.2 miles. But my body is made for that. I've always had endurance. It's one of the reasons why resting is hard. I'm not the first to the finish of any race (or project or deadline) but I can out work anyone.

But Maddie. WOW! It makes tears come to my eyes! Here she is in the picture below with her cousin Abby. Abby invited Maddie to come race the Turkey Trot with her.

Maddie had never run three miles and didn't know if she could. Over the summer, it seemed like anytime she got over a mile her body would give out and she would have a relapse. But we just kept telling her to run/walk/run and keep going. That she could do it.

When I think to her struggles over the last 13 years, her physical therapy, doctor's visits, pain management clinic, tests, daily meds and all the rest... my heart aches for her.

Then she has a big win like this and it's hard not to stop everyone and tell them that my girl, my chronically ill, auto-immune kidney disease girl that almost died a couple of times this summer from asthma attacks during the night and couldn't call out for help girl.. completed a 5k! A full 3.1 miles!

Yeah, that's worth stopping and celebrating.

So this week I'm resting in the knowledge that my God is a gracious God. That even in the midst of struggles and trials, that He can change everything. That God gives us the ability to do things we never thought we would be able to do. That God gives us wings to fly!

And guess what Maddie wants for Christmas?

A Treadmill.

Oh how I love my girl.

and Lexi and Kylie! I celebrate them too!! :) And let me finish this post with one of my favorite pictures from this summer! Resting with these kids is relative, but I sure can celebrate them!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Being a big football town doesn't mean we ignore the arts!

Living in a small Texas town, obsessed with football, people automatically assume that the arts get the leftovers when it comes to funding and community support.

I have to say, it is one of my favorite conversations to have.. cause while that might be the case some places, it's not for us!! We in the Stephenville, support our athletic programs AND our art programs!!

Case in point, Tuesday evening's 6-8th grade Christmas band concert. The concert was held at the high school, because their are soo many kids in band that they can't fit on any of the other school's stages easily! Nice problem to have!!

Then, there is the seating for the audience. We got there at 6:40 for the concert that started at 7pm. Maddie was in the third band performing, so I figured we'd have plenty of time to find seats and then as the bands performed we would just shift up to get closer as people left. NOPE! by 6:40 there were just a few rows of seats left in the auditorium that seats 1000 people! And nobody left! Okay, some did, but the people that were having to stand at the back immediately filled in their seats!

Isn't it fabulous that these junior high students get to perform for a full house!

And of course, my first-chair clarinet girl did awesome!

Here is the Symphonic Band getting ready to perform.

Yippee, my camera took decent pictures..even from the very back of the auditiorium.

And with her directors. They do a great job day in and day out.

And with a friend after the concert.

One of the best parts of the night... three bands+ percussion specials and we still got out in right at an hour! 

Love being a band mom!