Dec 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! I have loved getting to know all of you, my bloggy friends, throughout these past months. Thank you for you kind comments, amazing friendships, and invaluable support! I am really looking forward to continuing and strengthening my relationship with each of you during 2009. Thank you so much!

I hope the holiday brings you celebration, joy, friendship, family, happiness and love!

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Dec 22, 2008

Dallasites: Burberry

One Saturday, Casey and I ended up at the Allen Outlet mall and while we were there we came across a new outlet - Burberry!  It is only a temporary store (it will be there until March 31st) but it has great deals!

Polos - $49 for two (buy one get on free)
Womens Pants - $29 for two (buy one got oen free)
Mens Pants - $29 each 
Quilted Jackets - $199-249 depending on color
Rainboots - $49 (sold out of the plaid - only have solid black left)
Headbands - $19

We each got 3 polos and 2 pairs of pants!  The store manager said they were getting another big shipment in on Tuesday (tomorrow) so I'll probably go up in the afternoon to see if they get in anything great.  The sales will also change each week - and he thinks next week it will be coats - so the question is: one for me and one for Casey or should I just get two for me?

I'm Not Dead.

Just swamped!  It isn't truly Christmas until you have that string of days when you don't have time to potty let alone blog!  So let's recap my last 9 days since I blogged last!

December 13th - We had our 7th annual Christmas party with our college friends.  It was at our house this year, and I'd say it was a success!  My house looked gorgeous, all the food turned out great and we had a fantastic time!  I have tons of pictures that I promise to post this week.  

December 14th - Thomas (a friend from college who now lives is LA) had to leave :(  It was so great having him here for a few days!  We did a big group lunch as a farewell.  After lunch, Casey and I hit up a toy shop to try and get a few more neices and nephews taken care of.

December 15th - Defensive driving.  Pity me.  I deserve it.

December 16th - Okay, well I have no excuse for not blogging (or at least reading your blogs) on the 16th.  It was cold and snowing (!!! snow!! in Texas!!) and so I spent the entire day curled up in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot tea and a book.  I finished American Wife by Curtis Sittenfield and it was so so good!  You should all pick up this book!

December 17th - Megan (neice age 4) had her Christmas show in the morning so I drove up to McKinney to see her.  After her show, I did some shopping and had lunch with my BFF from high school.  It was great catching up!  

December 18th - Ryan (nephew age 2) had his Christmas show in the morning, so I was back in McKinney.  After the show, my Mom and I went through photos to make some choices for the family calendar.

December 19th - McKinley (neice age 4) had her Christmas show in the morning so I drove down to Midlothian to see her.  After the show, my Mom and I went to Northpark.  She hadn't realized there was a difference between abercrombie and abercrombie and fitch and had bought gifts at the wrong one.  Oops!

December 20th - Christmas errands with my husband in the morning and then I helped my mom babysit my sisters kids in the evening.  She wanted to take them to the Trains at Northpark - but thats a big undertaking for one woman so I went with her.  I had to hold Ryan through the whole exhibit because he couldn't see over the rails, but the joy of a two year old surrounded by trains (one that looked like Thomas!) was worth it!

December 21st - Casey and I went our in search of our Christmas pajamas to wear on Christmas morning.  I couldn't believe the number of places that were sold out (or at least sold out of our sizes!)  It was crazy!

So there you have it - my last few days in a nutshell!

Dec 12, 2008

You asked. I answered. Question 15.

Lindsay: What is your favorite part of being married?
I tried really hard to come up with a great and fantastic answer to this question - but it turns out my silly brain won't let me be anything but honest!  As cliche as it sounds, my favorite part of being married is falling asleep and waking up next to the man of my dreams every day.  I love him with all of my being and can't imagine my life without him.  Casey is my rock, my sounding board, my release, my de-stressor, my constant source of laughter, and my guide.  I treasure our evenings when we just sit and talk.  It is incredible to me that after knowing each other for so long, we are still able to sit and talk for hours and hours.  Lately, we've been hanging out in the gameroom a lot.  I have a glass of wine and he has a bottle of beer and we will play a little pool and talk all night.  There is no better feeling in the world than knowing you have found someone who loves you so completely.  

You Asked. I Answered. Question 14.

CrstnBeach: Hi Alexis! Cristin from SMU here... I wandered over to your site today [distraction from my own finals!] I love that you are going back to school. I'm actually wondering what specifically you're going to be studying within Public Policy and Political Economy. I'm studying community health and am also taking policy classes, and I'm curious as to in which area of policy your interests lay. Did you have to declare a thesis topic or are they giving you time to simmer and focus your curiosities?
To get into the program I did have to write a statement of purpose that declared what area I want my thesis to be in, however once you are admitted they advice you to throw those notions out of the window and to use the two years before taking qualifying exams to explore a number of different areas.  I was basically told that, just as in undergrad, most people change their minds.  Sometimes this is because of the professor who becomes your advisor and sometimes because another class sparks your interest.

I wrote the statement of purpose on business reglation and the impact of government policy on the markets.  I think I want to stay somewhere in the business side of public policy since my previous experience is working in the markets, but I am taking my advisors advice to heart and actually none of my classes next semester are business related.  

Ask Me Anything is still open.  So if you have any other burning questions for me, now if your chance! 

You Asked. I Answered. Question 13.

New Girl On Post: What was one thing you knew you had to have in your wedding? (Such as a particular memento, design of cake, etc)
When Casey and I got engaged, my mom didn't have a ton of money lying around to pay for the wedding and rather than put us on a strict budget, she gave Casey and I a check to use as we pleased.  We could choose to spend the whole thing on the wedding, elope and keep all of it, or do a low-key wedding and still keep some.  We chose the third option.  I didn't have a lot of expectations for what I want - but we knew we wanted to keep it under $10,000 and I had one special request (which I'll get to later).  We ended up succeeding and came in under budget without compromising the beauty or elegance of our wedding.

We started with our guest list and realized it was huge!  My mom is very involved in church and volunteering and had a lot of people she couldn't leave out.  We decided that people were important and so mailed 198 invitations and had 328 people attend!  We ordered invitations from a friend of the family who works for a stationary company and he gave us Crane invitations at cost (which you will all be very sad to know - they don't cost much!)  Since we only had a 4 month engagement, we saved money by not sending save the dates.

Then I went to work negotiating.  I went to the country clubs in my hometown and said here are the dates I am thinking about what is the cost.  The country club we ended up choosing started off at $13,950 minimum for a Saturday night.  By the time I was done, we paid $6,750 for passed hors d'oeuvres, a beautiful cake and grooms cake (big enough to feed 300!), a buffet dinner, and the DJ.  The country club has two DJs on their payroll that you can choose between so when we met with the one we decided on he tried to up sell us all sorts of things like a slide show how, fancy lighting, a tv in the back room for kids, etc. For everything he suggested we said oh we'd like that - but not for that price!  We ended up giving him $100 to put together the slide show, bring the projector and screen, fancy lighting including monogrammed spotlights in the entrance way and behind the cake, the tv for the kids, and extra speakers on both balconies.  As I said, we negotiated like crazy!  The one thing we didn't get at the country club that we would have liked was an open bar.  We had champagne for everyone and a cash bar but our budget just didn't allow for an open bar.  Now that I have been to a lot more weddings, I'm not sure that's a bad thing.  People get pretty ridiculously drunk and trashy at weddings - and I'm glad no one did at mine!

A few of my moms friends volunteered to help with decorations at the church and brought in tulle and pedestals and bows and made it gorgeous.  They also helped make the altar arrangements.  My best friends mom led the group of women decorating the country club and sed tulle and twinkle lights to decorate the banisters and the balconies.  We put fish and candles on each table instead of flowers.  I loved that it was unexpected and people could see over the fishbowl to talk instead of being obstructed by tall flowers.  (My two goldfish in a bowl were also pretty romantic!)  We bought roses in bulk from Sam's club and used them to decorate as well as made our own bouquets for a fraction of the cost of a florist.  

We hired a photographer who was new and we were her second wedding.  She charged us $300 for 8 hours with her and her husband both taking pictures.  I have some wedding shots that aren't perfect, but honestly you hang maybe 3?  And the rest go in an album to be looked at once a year.  She gave me a CD with 2800 pictures on it from my day and some are awful - but an awful lot of them are great!  Our videographer was a friend who was a film major.  Since he wanted to participate in parts of the wedding, we don't have footage of everything (like the toasts) but he got the important parts - the vows, the dance, the cake cutting.

I wasn't your typical bride who was obsessed with the party aspect.  I just really wanted to be married!  I didn't care what flowers were at the altar or the size of the bows on the pews as long as Casey was with me.  The one thing I did want was some sort of a tribute to my Dad who passed away unexpectedly when I was 18.  My parents were both very active in the choir at my church, and when they learned this, they offered to sing at the wedding!  I love music and was planning on having a lot of hymns - so this was perfect!  I did make my whole wedding party stand through a long ceremony, but the choir was gorgeous!  My sister and brother also lit a candle on the altar in memory of my dad to bring him into the sanctuary with us.

You Asked. I Answered. Question 12.

New Girl on Post: What's your favorite hobby?
Blogging!  I love coming back into my little office and checking in with all of you girls.  Even on days that I don't comment (normally because I'm in a hurry) I treasure the time I spend catching up with each of you.  
Shopping!  I spend a lot of time with my family and frequently find myself running errands with my mom and sister during the day.  My sister loves it because it is help with her rugrats, my mom loves the company, and I just love it!  It is incredible how much fun a trip to Costco or Sam's can be when you do it together.
Reading!  I love to read.  Before bed, Saturday morning cuddled next to Casey before he wakes up, the random afternoon when I'm not busy.  I love losing myself in a book and I am constantly starting new ones.  
Designing!  I wish I could figure out a way to make it pay money because I really love making cards and invitations for people.  I've done a few save the dates, a lot of Christmas Cards, and one baby announcement.  So far I've done them all free for friends, but if I could figure out how to actually make money doing it, I would.  The problem is they cost so darn much to print!

Don't forget to submit additional questions if you have them!

You Asked. I Answered. Questions 10-11.

Follow-Up Questions:

BGirl: Sorry for the follow up question - the only reason I ask is because I work in investment banking....did you work in equity research or in banking? I'm always so thrilled to find other women that work in the field!
I was an equity analyst. Our company called it an investment banking position since you are part of the Capital Markets team.

Mrs. Guru: Wow, that is a lot of degrees! How long did it take you to complete all those degrees?
I finished in 4 years. I started college with a lot of hours from AP classes and then some of the classes for Economics and Public Policy double counted.

The Shabby Princess: I got married young too! But, I was still in college.
Um, helloooo, married people, helloooo, I'm married.... I live like 5 minutes from you, helllooo.... :)
We should totally get together! Casey and I are in!!

You Asked. I Answered. Question 15.

Lindsay: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I would love to live for a few months in Greece.  I would love to live for a few months with my extended family in Scotland.  But honestly, there is no where in the world I would rather settle down than where we are.  My mom and sister both live 30 minutes north of us.  My brother lives 30 minutes south.  Casey's parents and middle brother live 3o minutes southwest of us.  Casey's oldest brother lives an hour west of us.  We are really close to our family and love that we live close enough that we are able to see them often!  Sometimes we complain that being this close to family puts a damper on our social life (seriously how many dance recitals and karate matches and soccer games can these kids have!  and when the little ones call and ask you to come how can you say no?)  but we love every minute of it!  We know that when we are ready to have kids they will be surrounded by their cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents who will love them!

Dec 11, 2008

You Asked. I Answered. Question 9.

Newlywed Central:  What does a "day in the life of a housewife" look like? :)
I attempted to do posts that were "a day in the life of a housewife" but I didn't stick with them.  I promise to try better!  Here is today!

7:30 AM:  Wake up with the puppy laying on top of me licking my face.
7:45: Get out of bed and go make a cup of tea.  Sit and look at the paper while drinking my tea in the sunroom.
8:15: Shower and get dressed.
9:00:  Check E-Mail.  Yay!  The guy on craigslist accepted our bid for his dart board.  Our game room is coming right along!  Call him and schedule a time to pick it up.  Check Craigslist for new great finds.  Nothing.
9:30:  Finalize menu for party on Saturday.  Make grocery store list.
10:00:  Clean, vaccuum, dust etc. back half of house (including bathroom)
10:30:  Check blog.  Answer a few questions.  Set them to post every 30 minutes or so throughout the day.
11:00:  Start cleaning front half of house but get distracted when the mailman shows up with a package for me!
11:30:  Decide I've procrastinated long enough and head to the grocery store and Michaels to get ready for party.
3:00:  Finish cleaning the front of house after I unload groceries.
4:30:  Get guest bedroom ready for company tonight. Finish moments before the door bell rings.
4:45: Bake some cookies for party.
5:45: Start dinner.
6:45: Eat dinner.
7:30:  Head to Target after cleaning up because I forgot to buy seran wrap at the store today and need to cover all of my cookies.  Target trip turns into Target and Wal-Mart trip because husband and houseguest both come as well and can't find what they need.
9:20:  Get home and come blog about my day.  Once I'm done here I'll go be a good hostess and play a boardgame or something.  

The rest of the questions that I was asked today will have to wait until tomorrow.  But please - keep them coming!

You Asked. I Answered. Question 8.

Mary Michal: I have a question for you. What was your job that had you working such long hours? Also, what are your first 2 degrees in?
I worked in Investment Banking as an Equity Anaylst covering Telecommunications Companies.  We covered 18 stocks in total.  I spent a lot of time on the phone with clients (buy-side institutions), schmoozing potential industry contacts (which accounts for some of the late nights - I call business dinners with 60 year old men who drink too much work.  And really - it is work they should have paid extra for!  Finance is still a bit of a boys club and those guys don't have boundaries), and I spent hours and hours and hours and hours modeling in Excel. 

I graduated from SMU in 2006 with a B.S. in Economics, a B.A. in Political Science, and a B.A. in Public Policy.  I have a number of graduate hours but do not have a Masters Degree.  Although, contrary to popular belief a masters degree is not needed for a PhD.  It is sort of like an associates degree and a bachelors degree.  While most people dont get an associates degree first, you can.  Same thing.  Most people don't get a masters degree first, but you can.

Feel free to ask additional questions. This is sort of fun! You can post additional questions as a comment to the original Ask Me Anything Post - or even just put them here! Ill do my best to answer. Or I'll at least make something entertaining up!

You Asked. I Answered. Questions 5-7.

Mrs. Cup: How did you and your husband meet? 

Casey and I met in the dorm at SMU.  On the ground floor was a ping pong room where a lot of people would hang out.  One of my girl friends and I went down to play and when we got there two guys were already using the room.  They offered to play us for the table.  Casey proceeded to hit me in the eye with a ping pong ball.  You could say that it certainly wasn't love at first sight!  We did become friends though.  The next semester we had Cal II together and would do all of our homework together (which pimarily meant that I, the math major on a math scholarship got help from the business guy!).  We had our first kiss on April 30, 2003 while watching the sun rise from the top of the parking garage.  Three years later, Casey proposed on April 30 at the top of that same parking garage.

Mrs. Cup: What would your dream house look like? 
My dream house has a kitchen big enough for the whole family to gather.  It is covered in flour and sugar because I spent the afternoon baking cookies with the kids.  My living room is large and inviting.  It looks like a room people want to be in, with a big fireplace going, a dog on the floor, and perhaps even toys strewn around.  It has a yard big enough for my boys to play football and a fort that Daddy built so the girls can have a tea party.  It has a huge master suite with a big old jacuzzi tub so I can have a glass of wine and a bath while Casey puts all the little ones to bed.    My dream house isn't about the crown molding, the hardwood floors, the cute little nooks, the handy built-ins, or the great new appliances (although I do like all of those things) my dream house is about the home Casey and I will build to raise our future children in.  It is about the messes that come from family.  It is about the stain in the middle of the gameroom carpet from that one time my brother and I thought it would be fun to watch a soda explode.  It's about the champagne that rolled out of the fridge at my Mom's - who ever knew that champagne could make such pretty pictures on the ceiling!  My dream house is about the dead patch of grass in the backyard where my Dad and I used to sit and talk.  My dream house is filled with warmth, and memories, and love.

Mrs. Cup: What is your favorite memory of your wedding?
Casey and I decided not to see other the day of the wedding.  This was a hard choice because it means we don't have any where near as many great photos of the two of us as some of you have - but it also led to the best moment of my life.  When all of the bridesmaids were lining up and going down the aisle my Mom and I had a private moment and prayed together and cried together and talked about my Dad who was watching me wedding from heaven.  There was a longer than normal pause after the flowergirls because my mom needed to help me fix my make-up.  When I started to walk down the aisle - I kept trying to see Casey but we had envited way to many people to the wedding and I couldn't see him through the crowd.  I will never forget the moment I first saw him on our wedding day.  For the rest of the day, I only had eyes for him!

You Asked. I Answered. Question 4.

Miss Anne:  As you know my wedding is coming up! I love seeing your sweet wedding pics on the left! Tell me.... what did YOU guys do for wedding favors??? :)
I was very active with the American Cancer Society all through college and was Chair of the Relay For Life at SMU (it was the largest college event in Texas and top 5 in the nation!)  Instead of doing traditional wedding favors we had notes on every place with information about cancer, the American Cancer Society, Relay For Life, and Relay For Life at SMU.  The notes let our guests know that in lieu of gifts, a donation to Relay For Life at SMU had been made in their name.  We did our wedding on a budget (as in a real budget not one of these oh we had a budget we only had $20,000 or only $15,000 to spend) and favors get very expensive and I personally don't ever appreciate them at weddings (and frequently even forget to take them home!)  

Don't forget to submit any questions you have for me!

You Asked. I Answered. Question 3.

HS: Do you guys have debt?
We pay off our credit card in full every month, so the only debt we currently have is our mortgage.  If you ask this question again in January, we'll have a bit more because we are going to need to take out student loans.  We thought we had enough cash to pay for school, but Casey's company put a hold on all bonuses in 2008.  Hopefully bonuses come back in 2009 so we can get student loans paid off fast!

Don't forget to submit any questions you have for me!

You Asked. I Answered. Question 2.

The Shabby Princess: Are you nervous at all about going back to school to get your PhD? I'd be scared to death! I have a really hard time managing family, friends, life and being a wife--how do you do it all?
I am terrified!  I have no idea if I even remember how to be a student.  But we'll find out soon.  I think the part that makes it better is knowing that I can't go back to my old job.  I can't work 100-120 hours every week and so I need to find something else I love to do.  I really want to be a professor and think I'll be great at it - so school is a must!  As to how I do it all - I don't!  I do what I have to do to get by.  This week I am hosting a big Christmas party and so I've been cleaning and making cookies - which means we ate out last night.  I am a very organized person and so my house always looks really clean - unless you turn on bright lights and then the dust bunnies show themselves.  When I was working, I did nothing.  We had a cleaning service.  Our dry cleaning got dropped off and picked up.  People did my laundry for me.  (eeewww.  someone washed my unmentionables for me!)  I made dinner sometimes.  We ate out or got take out a lot.  When I did cook, it was because we had hired a PA to deliver groceries or Casey got off work in time to go.  Life was insane.  Now I am much more relaxed  - and much more domesticated!  I probably won't be making pies from scratch after school starts, and that's okay.  You just need to do as much as works for you.  And if that is using premade dough or even putting store bought cookies on a pretty plate - then that's okay!

If you have a burning question about me or my life - don't forget to submit it!

You Asked. I Answered. Question 1.

KLC: I see you got married rather young... were you the first of your friends to get married? Did any of your friendships change?
We did get married fairly young.  I was 21 and 4 months out of college.  We knew one other couple who was engaged but we didn't have any married friends at all.  We still have very few married friends (Mrs. Mojito is one of two close friends to be married!)  We had been dating for so long that most of our friends knew us as a couple and our closest friends were mutual.  We aren't one of those gross make out in public couples, which I think has helped our ability to keep all of our single friends.  My best friend is engaged and will be married this August - but sadly she won't be a "couple friend" because she will be staying in West Texas with his family.  Casey's best friends is gay and unless Texas changes its laws he won't be getting married any time soon.  We wish we knew more married couples (any married couples....) that we could hang out with, but we have a really great group of friends.  And we forgive them their singleness.  I do worry a lot that in a few years when we have kids (and our friends are still single) we'll lose them all because we won't be up for bars or brunch anymore.  But we will have to cross that bridge when we get there.

Don't Forget to Ask Me Anything

I am currently working to answer the few questions I got to my ask me anything post yesterday.  If you didn't submit a question yet  it isn't too late!  Leave a comment with any questions you have for me -- no matter how silly, personal, serious, whatever!  Ask me anything and I’ll try my best to answer… or make something up…

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

Don't forget to Ask me Anything!  (I would love to hear your questions!)  But until then here is my first question(s) to get you started.

Quiche Me,  I'm Yours tagged me to do this little survey about Christmas.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? I have to have at least on glass of Egg Nog just to say I had it - but really I prefer hot tea
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just put them under the tree? Most gifts are wrapped - but Santa just puts a bow on the really big things (like bikes and playhouses)
3.Colored lights on house/tree or white? I really like plain white lights. Casey loves colored lights. We tried to go all green this year and so we bought LED lights - and neither of us are big fans of blue lights. Poor Casey had to take them all down! We haven't bought new ones yet though.
4.Do you hang mistletoe? I wish I could find some to hang! I bought it last year and had it in the house - but this year I can't find any.
5. When do you put up your decorations? Decorations go up on Christmas Day and stay up through Epiphany
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? My moms sweet potatoes
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? The last Christmas before my Dad passed away he and I put up the Christmas train while my parents were watching my niece. She was about 6 months at the time. My Dad and I loved watching her as she pushed up off of the floor and her whole head moved in circles as tried to follow the path of the train. My Dad died a few months later and everything about that year is incredibly special to me.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't remember.... I know that one year I believed and the next I didn't, but I don't remember a traumatic event or dramatic moment
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes - my mom always let us choose what gift we would open. And somehow she always convinced us to open to box that had our new pajamas in it.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Our big tree is all silver and crystal. Casey's parents collected sterling snowflakes and have the entire collection from 1976 (first year) to almost present (missing a few from 2000-present) and we inherited all of those. We are adding to that with our own collection of Swarovski snowflakes and Waterford Times Square Balls.
11. Snow. Love it or dread it? Love it!
12. Can you ice skate? I can make one or two laps before I completely wipe out and humiliate myself in front of the whole mall
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My big outdoor playhouse or my American girl doll.
14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you? Family
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Mint Squares
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Casey and I are still working on creating our own traditions - but I'll let you know!
17. What tops your Christmas Tree? We just bought a new topper at the Neimans Christmas store this year. It is a gold pointy up thing with blue crystal sprigs all around it. It looks much prettier than I am describing it!
18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? Giving for sure
19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Anything on the Beach Boys Christmas album
20. Candy Canes. Yum or Yuck? Love them!
21. What do you want for Christmas? We got a new pool table - and now we are just exchanging stockings
22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party? Yes. I am hosting this year (Aaaahhhh - I have to have everything ready by Saturday and instead of going to the grocery store I'm filling this out!)
23. Do you dress-up for Christmas Eve, or wear pajamas? Dress up for the Christmas Eve Service and then change into PJs.
24. Do you own a Santa hat? YES!no
25. Who do you spend Christmas with? In the past Casey's family has done Christmas on Christmas Eve so we spend Christmas with my family. This year we get the fun task of attempting to split the day between two houses. Can you tell how thrilled I am? I love Casey's family and definitely want to see them. But the idea of driving an hour to Fort Worth for a sub sandwich for lunch on Christmas Day isn't very appealing. And even less appealing is the idea of staying for 2 hours and then driving two hours to my Mom's house. It'll be a great day of bonding for Casey and I since we'll spend most of the day crammed into the car together!

I'm supposed to tag 5-7 people - but I feel like a lot of people have done this already so I'm going to leave it open to anyone who wants to do it!

Dec 10, 2008

Ask Me Anything

I am jumping on the bandwagon. I don't have a lot of good exciting things happening and until I find my camera cord I can't show pics of the new pool table or my Christmas decorations so I'm going a different direction.

A number of different bloggers have done this already and now it's my turn.

Ask me anything and I’ll try my best to answer… or make something up…

So fire away. Leave a comment with any questions you have for me -- no matter how silly, personal, serious, whatever!

Yo-Yos Are Not My Friend

If you watched your child throw a yoyo at someone in Target causing their feet to get all tangled in the string and leaving them sprawled all over the floor surrounded by the pieces of what used to be a cake stand would you:

a. Walk away as quickly as possible and hope your child follows
b. Apologize and help them up
c. Point and laugh
d. Yell at your child for misbehaving

I see that you are having trouble choosing between a, c, and d. Don’t worry – the mother didn’t have any doubts at all. She chose A quite quickly. Leaving me to explain to the Target folks why I was on the ground surrounded by glass.

Dec 9, 2008

Merry Christmas Cards

Today I walked out to mail box and had an incredible surprise - my first two Christmas cards arrived!  

I proudly put them on my display and can't wait to watch it fill up over the next weeks.

I love getting Christmas cards in the mail - and while I love cards of all kinds, my favorites are the ones that let me know what has been going on over the past year.  Photo cards and annual Christmas cards do that best - but they also seem like the type of thing you do when you have kids.  So, our first Christmas, I wrote a Christmas poem and designed a Christmas card in powerpoint.  I've gotten a bit fancier (now I use photoshop) but I still love designing our Christmas card and sharing a bit of our lives with family and friends and across the country who we don't get to see as often as we would like.  I put our Christmas cards in the mail today so I feel comfortable sharing them with you.  Yay!  

Below you can see the card I designed and the poem I wrote to mail.  I ordered them from VistaPrint (thanks for the suggestion Nina!) and they look incredible!  They are the over sized postcards (6x9) and the colors look really bright and clean.  I am thrilled with how this years card turned out!

Click on the links to see a larger version.


Dec 8, 2008

Family Weekend

It was family weekend for the Casses. I spent Friday in my hometown visiting with my Aunt and Uncle who were down from New Jersey for the weekend. We walked around the new Homegoods in Allen, went to the going out of business Linens and Things in McKinney, bought a new jute table runner at Pier One for my sunroom (remember that Ikea table - I really need to show pictures now that I painted it!), and generally had a really nice time.

Saturday, we had the whole clan at our house for family dinner. Our house is pretty big, but when you add 4 neices, 1 nephew, my brother, his wife, my sister, her husband, my mom, my aunt and uncle it doesn't feel so big anymore!

Sunday, our pool table was delivered!!! Woo hoo!!!! And then we spent the evening at a different neices Christmas performance followed by dinner with Casey's whole family - including his grandparents who were in town to see the show!

Overall we had a great weekend and were so grateful to see Grandma and Grandpa Parker as well as Aunt Ellen and Uncle John. We are blessed with incredible families on both sides and really love spending time with them!

I love Craigslist!

I really love to look at Craiglist. I have a serious thing for garage sales, consignment shops, goodwill shopping, antique stores etc and Craigslist is a great big garage sale that I can shop in my trashy sweatpants before I even bother to brush my hair. It is truly heaven.

I spend a lot of time laughing at the things people post, shocked at the great prices, or really amused at the ridiculously high list prices. I don't actually buy things.

Until last week.

When we moved into the new house, our bedroom TV somehow stopped working. Casey had all sorts of fun taking it apart and using his soldering iron to try and fix it - but it didn't work. We ended up putting an old 19" TV in the bedroom. Did I mention I'm blind without contacts or glasses? Actually I'm not even as bad as Casey who is LEGALLY blind without his contacts in! 19" is no good!

Well last week I saw a 36" Sony Trinitron Flat Screen TV for $65. And so we bought it. Yay! Last night I sat and watched Private Practice in bed and it was glorious!

Dec 4, 2008

The Texas Wife

The first man married a woman from the East Coast. He told her that she was to do the dishes and house cleaning. It took a couple of days, but on the third day, he came home to see a clean house and dishes washed and put away.

The second man married a woman from the West Coast. He gave his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes and the cooking. The first day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done and there was a huge dinner on the table.

The third man married a girl from TEXAS. He ordered her to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed, and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything but by the third day, some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye, and his arm was healed enough that he could fix himself a sandwich and load the dishwasher.

Dec 2, 2008

Christmas Card Preview

So much for me not blogging.  I need to have my house cleaned.  Not as in organized and picked up (which it pretty much always is) but as in clean so people can come over by tomorrow afternoon.  So that of course means that I spent today finishing the design on our Christmas cards, writing the poem to go in our Christmas cards, ordering Christmas cards, filling out my FAFSA, paying bills, requesting Casey's books from the library, signing up for my silly drivers ed class, and other things that don't involve a broom, mop, or vaccuum cleaner.  
Not sure how I plan to get all of the laundry put away and have everything cleaned if I never leave my office!

But, because I love you all here is a sneak peek at our Christmas cards.  I won't post the whole thing because I know of at least 10 people who read my blog and I don't want to ruin the Christmas card surprise for them. Cards should be at my house in a week - and then it will take me 2 or 3 days to get them addressed and mailed so be on the lookout for a full Christmas card post in about 2 weeks.

Until then, this should hold you over!  

Merry Christmas!!

Dallas Bloggers

Hey Dallas-Area Bloggers:

A few people have mentioned a few times in passing that we should do a get-together.  And I couldn't agree more!  I am sure the holidays are pretty crazy for everyone but I think we should try and plan something for January.  Would enough people be interested?  Would people prefer brunch?  Coffee?  Dinner?  Happy Hour?  At a restaurant?  Or pot luck style at someones house?  I would love to meet all of you in person!

Let's discuss!


Wow - I've been an awful blogger lately!  I haven't posted in a week!  I've been reading all of your posts - but I've been too busy to comment.   I apologize to all of you for my absence!

We got our house decorated for the holidays.  It's a day after Thanksgiving tradition.  The tree is up, the mantle is decorated, the stockings are hung and I have some little touches scattered around the house.  I truly beleive that a house always looks its best when it is all decorated for the holidays!  

We ended up going out shopping on Black Friday - although not on purpose!  Casey and I decided to go see a movie (Four Christmases is so so good!) at Northpark and so we had a bit of time to walk around.  We found the perfect tree topper at the Neiman Marcus Christmas Shop, bought the annual Waterford Times Square Ball at Macy's, bought the annual Swarovski Snowflake at Neimans, and found a few deals at Martin and Osa.   

Overall it was a pretty fantastic weekend.  We weren't able to see Casey's extended family this year (which was sad! but we'll see them all next year.)  but we spent Thanksgiving day with my family and then had dinner with Casey's parents on Saturday.  I made Puttin On the Grits chocolate pecan pie and it was a hit!  I also made Casey's moms Thumbprint Cookies which made Casey's week.  

Hopefully the rest of the week will be a bit calmer and I will be around more.  I've missed you all while I was gone!