Sunday, October 25, 2009

Falling in Love with Fall

I have a feeling many of my Northern and Midwestern friends will laugh when I say this, but here goes: FALL IS HERE! It may not be the traditional fall of foreign lands like New Hampshire, Minnesota or any other state north of Oklahoma for that matter, but our Texas-style fall has arrived. I love so many things about this season including the colors, the smells and the cooler weather. On top of that I think I look good in fall colors (rich oranges and reds), even though I think I waiver between being a spring and an autumn on the fashion scale. Anyway....

I wanted to share how Jeremy and I have embraced fall. To do this a little more creatively than a straight bullet point list, I have chosen to use our senses. Enjoy!

-Well, there's the obvious...FOOTBALL! Even though this one could fall under a few of the senses, I have chosen sight because we got the new television last Christmas and Jeremy's love for football tripled with HD. I also enjoy football and when the cooler weather rolls around, I always miss West Texas football the most! There really is nothing like high school football under the Friday night lights.
(Side note: my husband has a fantasy football team (which he calls "Fake Sports") and since we are talking about sight, I have to tell you about his hidden talent. He can watch a game on TV AND watch his fantasy team on the laptop at the same time. It's amazing. Does anyone sense my sarcasm?)

-I basically turned our house into a Hobby Lobby complete with candles, fall greenery, pumpkins and scarecrows. I used to get made fun of in college for hanging seasonal welcome signs outside our apartment door , but I love that we have a pumpkin right now that says "hello and welcome to the Sylestine household...oh and by the way, it's fall." At Christmas, there will be a Christmas tree or reindeer or something festive reminding people that it's winter. :)

-My favorite sight in the fall (other than the colors) is the costumes. Halloween is the perfect time to dress up your kid/dog, laugh at them and tell them how cute they are! Ella and Lexi both hate costumes but we usually spend about $5 on one just for the photo opp. This year my mom bought Ella a pumpkin costume and after we took it off (and put her out of her misery) she kept trying to find it so she could tear it up. She would not do well in one of those "dress your dog up in a ridiculous costume and prance them around" contests. I can't wait to have kids to dress them up...I hope they like it more than Ella!

She hates us.

-Who doesn't like the smell of apple or pumpkin spice?! I told you about the candles earlier and I wasn't kidding. I walk in to my house and immediately light those puppies. I love that smell!

-On top of the candles, there are so many yummy smells that come out of the kitchen in the fall! I love making pumpkin spice muffins (I have an awesome Weight Watchers recipe if anyone wants it). It's also a great time to start making soups and stews since the weather is getting cooler.

-Ditto from the last point above but add to the list Thanksgiving yummy-ness: pies, turkey/dressing, fresh rolls, etc.!

-Does anyone else think coffee just tastes better in the fall/winter? I mean there's the obvious Pumpkin Spice Latte, but I think drinking a hot cup of coffee when it's cool in the morning makes it taste ten times better! I had the privilege of going to Minnesota for a wedding at the beginning of October, and drinking coffee (Caribou) up there with the chilly weather and the fresh air was such a great feeling!

-So, even though I love watching football, I must admit that the droning noise of the crowd is really great for napping. I am not much of a napper, but if I lie on the couch on a Sunday afternoon while Jeremy is watching football, I am done.

-Who doesn't like the sound of an acorn crunching under your shoe?!

-I love dressing warmly when it gets cold outside. I love the way it feels to put on a sweater, boots, a scarf, jacket, etc. It feels all cuddly and warm!

-It feels so good to go for a run in the morning when it's chilly, and get in a hot shower when you get back.

In what ways have you embraced fall? Do you have any traditions or rhythms that you do every year?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Oh the Places We've Been

Summer '09 was the complete opposite of Summer '08.

Last summer we had one long "Staycation" and we loved it. We had just gotten Ella and we needed to be here in her puppy stage. We also enjoyed being Austinites and took advantage of what this amazing city has to offer.

This summer, we ended up taking several trips (one, a pleasant surprise) and we are ready for a relaxing fall...maybe. Since I have been really bad about blogging all summer, I have decided to do a quick recap:

Trip #1: Jen and Brad's Wedding in Santa Barbara
-Not only was the wedding beautiful, elegant and SUPER fun, but we loved Santa Barbara. We can't wait to go back. It's very quaint with its local restaurants, shops and hotels. Plus, you get the ocean breeze so the weather is perfect. A few highlights for us were: breakfast at Sambo's (they sell re-published books of Little Black Sambo that my grandmother Margaret used to read to me), the wedding photo booth, s'mores, chocolate chip cookies and shots of milk and just being with good friends. We also got to see our friends Julie and Ryan in LA during this trip and meet their puggle, Kenzie, for the first time. Kenzie was the inspiration for us to get Ella, so we were excited to meet her!

Trip #2: The Caribbean Cruise
-We flew back from California after the wedding and left the next day on our cruise. Luckily we left out of Galveston so Jeremy's mom, Renae, took us down there and bid us farewell. As one might expect, we had an amazing time on the cruise. It was a seven-day cruise that stopped in Jamaica, Cozumel and Grand Cayman. We ate A LOT, got some sun, ate some more, went to the beach, zip-lined, drove a beach buggy, ate again, played Blackjack and then rolled off the ship 20lbs. heavier. :) Hey, we were on vacay.

Trip #3: Jordan and Berto's Wedding in Tomball
-Two of my worlds collided the first weekend of August when one of my closest friends from Baylor and my cousin got married. It was such a fun wedding because I got to be around my family and many of my good friends. I sang a David Phelps solo and then sang The Prayer with my good friend Matt Butler. The wedding was beautiful and we had a blast at the reception where there was candy galore! Each table had a candy theme, and we were at the "gummy bear" table. There was also a candy bar, so we pretty much got our quota of cavities for the year after that night!
Trip #4: Lollapalooza Music Festival in Chicago
-SO MUCH FUN! This was our pleasant surprise. Preface: The weekend we were in Santa Barbara, we got a call (actually lots of calls) at 6:20a.m. Jeremy had entered a random radio contest through KGSR, and they had called his name as the winner of the all-inclusive trip to Lollapalooza! Since we were in Cali, we had no idea. Luckily, we have several good friends (thank you Daniel!) who were listening and called us just in time for Jeremy to call in and claim the prize. Highlights of this trip include: Kings of Leon, Ben Folds, Decemberists, shopping at H&M, eating some yummy Chicago-style pizza at Giordano's, the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower Sky Deck and the fact that it was pretty much FREE! :)

Trip #5: South Padre with my Family
-Trips with my dad's side of the family are always an adventure. This one was no different. We rented a condo on the beach through VRBO. Normally, you can trust this site, but the woman who rented this condo must have been on drugs when she told us how great it was and that it would sleep 11 people. I guess she meant 11 small children. We got there and even though it had a great view right on the beach, it was a mess. The area around the condo was still being rebuilt after the hurricane last year, so we were basically in a construction zone. Also, the sleeping arrangements were far from ideal. We all found a place to sleep but it pretty much consisted of pulling mattresses off bunk beds, cramming three people on a couch bed, etc. BUT, just like always, we made the most of the situation and had a blast. The guys golfed, several of us parasailed, we played on the beach, ate A LOT, played games and watched my dad throw a fit when he lost at Texas Hold'Em and Mexican Train! :) (Love you Dad!) My Mimi cracked me up when she called the South Padre police dept. to get a Mexican food recommendation and they actually gave her a good one.

All in all, we had a great summer. We are still trying to recover and we cherish every moment we have at home. I think the next trip we have planned is Baylor Homecoming so we don't have far to go. I am so blessed to have a husband who loves to travel and expand his horizons like I do, but who also loves just being home. There's no place like home.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Think It's Funny When...

1. Ella and Lexi slide around on the wood floors. If Ella knows there is food or ice (her favorite treat) involved, she literally peels out because she can't get enough traction.

2. People use the wrong words on accident.
(e.g. A friend in high school was talking about someone who looked really skinny and she mentioned that person looked "emancipated.")

3. Or when people pronounce things in a funny way.
(e.g. My sweet Mimi loves to eat jalapenos w/ almost everything, so she always asks for them. I will phonetically spell how it sounds when she says it: hal-uh-peen-uhs. Love it. She embraces her West Texas accent. (Let's be honest, I have no room to talk...I say "peench.")

4. News anchors stutter or just have a hard time spitting it out.

5. People fall. I am allowed to think this is funny because I am an extremely clumsy person myself. I think the best way to get a laugh out of me is to turn on that goofy show "Wipeout." Sadly, the heavier the person, the funnier the fall. I'm just sayin'.

6. The clients that I call have ridiculous hold music on their phone. How can anyone take you seriously when your hold music blares "Apple bottom jeans..." or one of my favorites, "It's midnight, in Montgomery?" I am all about personal music preferences, but I wonder if those people have given that number on their resumes. It's like having an e-mail address

7. I look through old pictures of myself. I was a fatty with a really bad perm for a while there. Unfortunately, I don't own a scanner or I would share the wealth. But, if you want a good laugh at some old photos, check out one of my favorite sites: Awkward Family Photos.

8. People try to sing but they don't really know the words. The best example of this is on Ellen where they pass the microphone and these excited, over-confident, cooperative audience members sing their hearts out. OMG, you have to watch this:

9. People fall. (I can't get enough.)

10. When Ella and Lexi burp or fart. Lexi farts and then looks at her butt like it surprised her. Love it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Brief Rant...

It's Not Okay...

1. For the school bus to sit outside someone's house (next door) and honk the horn for 10 minutes at 6:45a.m. Little Jimmy might be sick so let him stay home for the day...geeze! OR just leave them if they can't get ready in time.

2. To let your dog poo somewhere and just leave it there...invest in some doggie poo bags and pick it up people!

3. To leave your shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot...have some integrity and take it to the little return-cart thing.

4. To go to a Mexican food restaurant and order a side salad and water. Just indulge.

5. To use Facebook as a passive-aggressive way of dealing with confrontation. Status updates can be seen by all...even those who aren't in the fight and could care less.

6. To blow your leaves from the front yard into the street. Walmart sells extremely cheap lawn bags for this purpose. Get your lazy bootie outside, rake the leaves and put them in the bag. That's what we do with our leaves and the leaves that have been blown into our yard.

7. For any spiritual leader to use his/her position to "preach politics."

8. To forget (or just refuse) to say please and thank you.

9. To smoke around nonsmokers. I get it...I have bad habits too, but I don't force them on other people, so please keep your cancer stick to yourself. (I bet when I have kids, this feeling will only become stronger!)

10. To be ungrateful. God has blessed us with so much. I have to remind myself of this a lot, but just play the Glad Game and you will quickly be reminded of what you have!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Lied

My sweet husband Jeremy is very low-maintenance. He rarely shops, he will eat pretty much anything I cook, he doesn't have to watch every sporting event on tv, he doesn't require very much sleep and he is perfectly content with his wife, his iPod, the dogs and a good book. Having said that, Jeremy is also pretty straight-laced. Spontaneity is not really one of his strongest characteristics; he is a planner. (Thank God, because otherwise I would be a mess.) Because of this, when I started thinking about his 30th b-day present, I knew it had to be something out of the box. So, I lied.

The Lie: The best part about the lie is that everyone was in on it. All of our friends had Jeremy believing that we were going to the Salt Lick in Dripping Springs to have a birthday celebration. Then the next morning (Sunday) all the guys were supposed to go play golf. One of our good friends, Patrick, even told Jeremy that he had gotten some free passes and made the tee time. Jeremy bought the whole thing!

The Lie Almost Revealed: I started getting worried when Jeremy would come home from work and tell me about his friends who were going to meet us at the Salt Lick. I even had a few of his buddies e-mail and call me to ask me what the plan was. It was funny to have to tell them it was all a made up story. THEN, the morning we were leaving for our trip our lab Lexi almost gave away the whole thing!

Lexi's Stunt: Thursday morning I took our dogs over to David and Sarah's house. They kindly offered to keep them while we were gone. It was rainy and muddy, but the dogs loved being in the backyard anyway. Ella's boyfriend is their dog, Kirby! :) Anyway, Jeremy called me mid-morning and said "Why isn't Lexi at our house?!" I flipped! Apparently, Lexi had somehow scaled the 6-ft. privacy fence and gotten out. David and Sarah's sweet neighbor called Jeremy (his number is on Lexi's collar) and told him that he had Lexi. At that point I really thought I was going to have to spill the beans. But, I thought fast and told him they were keeping the dogs so we could stay out late for his b-day dinner. He freakin' bought it!

The Truth: Back in the first week of February, I bought a vacation package to LAS VEGAS!! Somehow I kept this a secret (despite Jeremy's endless invitations to the Salt Lick and our dog, the escape artist). Both of our families knew and even contributed, and he had no idea. When I picked him up from work on Thursday for our "early dinner reservation" I basically told him we had really expensive he MGM Grand. His reaction was "holy $%it!" He kept telling me I was crazy and "we don't do this." I quickly told him that HE doesn't do this. He smiled the whole way to the airport and kept asking me who knew and who was in on the lie.

So, thank you to everyone who lied with me! Jeremy was totally surprised and we had a great time! The pictures below will sum up our trip in Sin City and we can't wait to go back! Oh, and we are still up for a Saturday at the Salt Lick for anyone who is interested! :)

Jeremy loved our hotel room at the MGM Grand.

I got a kick out of the statue replicas, so I imitated.

The view from a pedestrian bridge.

Apparently this is the face you are supposed to make right before you ride the "Insanity."

The hangs you about 900 ft. above the ground and spins you...SO FUN!

We did it!

I was a winner at the computer Blackjack...for a while at least.

Biggest slot machine ever! (I lost)

Jeremy wasn't so great at the computer Blackjack, but he enjoyed the free beer.

At our favorite hotel (where we hope to stay next time) the Venetian.

Bellagio fountain

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Catch Up On My Life

Since it's been a while since I have written, I wanted to give you an update on my life in the form of a bulleted we go:

  • I got a new job! It's kind of a long story, but I was very unhappy at my former place of employment. The job wasn't so bad, but the work environment was no bueno. If you want to hear stories, call me because I have them! :) Anyway, my new job is at Volusion (an eCommerce software company) and I am a sales consultant. So far I love it and the work environment is awesome! Some of our clients include the Barack Obama store, Ed Hardy and Crutchfield. The people are great and randomly one of my friends from church is my boss. If you are looking to start an online store, I am your girl!

  • Last Sunday I ran my third half-marathon. (The Austin Marathon) It's one of the harder marathons around because of the hills and my calves and bootie are feeling it! It was so fun though! I ran w/ a couple of friends (Allison and Jill) and we had a great time. I finished in 2:06 and I was happy w/ that considering the terrain. It always feels good to finish another race. My body (mostly my hips) is telling me to take a break from major running right now, but I hope to do a full marathon one day.

Molly, Jill and Allison

The home stretch!

Jill and Molly after the finish

  • Jeremy and I are celebrating our one-year anniversary this weekend! We are headed to Fredricksburg to stay in a B&B, but that's all I know. I love surprises! I can't believe we have been married a year. I feel like I have known Jeremy forever and we just grow closer and closer every day. In the past year we have gone through two job changes w/ me, we got a puppy, we started leading a Bible study (Tribe) every Tues. night, we accomplished many of our financial goals, we have grown closer to many of our "couple friends" at church and we have gotten to know our amazing city even better. I love him so much and I am very blessed!

My family

  • Ella is a brat! Lately she has been acting like a little toddler puppy. We have been trying to leave her out of the kennel when we leave (just for a few hours at a time) and she had been doing well. BUT, two Sundays ago we left her out during church. Somehow she got my eyeglasses (really cute BCBG I might add) off my nightstand and ate them. Yes, friends, she ate them. The only parts left where the earpieces and lenses. Luckily they were plastic lenses so she didn't cut herself on glass, but I am sure it hurt just as badly when she was throwing up/pooping out the plastic parts of my glasses. Jeremy laughed and said "if you are what you eat then Ella is your eyeglasses." :)

The evidence

Well that's enough for now. I just wanted to let you all know I haven't forgotten about the blog. Stuff has been happening, but I have been super busy. Stay tuned for pics/stories from our anniv. weekend in Freddysburg.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I thought of a new video game!

(Another disclaimer: I am a fuddy-dud. Read this knowing that I don't have video games and I just don't get them. Maybe one day when I have kids?)

It seems like people my age tend to like video games a little more than I do. Maybe I am a fuddy-dud, or maybe I just don't get it since Jeremy and I have yet to give in to the Wii/Playstation3/etc. trend. Don't get me wrong...I have fun when I play. Several of my friends own these life-sucking devices so I partake when I am around. But, I can't really get into it that much. After a couple of rounds, I am good to go. Give me a book or hand me the vacuum to clean the house. Those are activities that have an end in sight. A goal. A point.

Having said that, I thought of a new video game. I was inspired the other night when we went to a house-warming party. Our friends bought a cute new home pretty close to where we live and it was fun to see them settling in to their own space. To keep their company occupied between home tours, they set up their Wii and Rock Band. (Side note: Jeremy and I were driving with my cousin Tobi (9yr.-old) in the back seat one time. Jeremy randomly had the radio set on a rock station. An old rock song came on and Tobi knew every word! Thanks Rock Band.) Anyway, people were getting excited playing this addictive game at the party and there were even some pros in the house. Expert level blows my mind. I played one round on the drums (easy level, thank you very much) and I was done. That is when I had my epiphany. That is when my money-making idea was born.

Are you ready for this? Church Band. It's just like Rock Band, but it has "churchy" songs and
instruments. (Props to my friend David for helping me think of a good name.)

Just imagine! The instruments could include: hand bells, a harp, timpani, a conga drum, egg shaker, cheesy keyboard and a drum set with a little house around it so it's not too loud. It might even have a choir!

Does anyone want to be an investor for me? I need some money to do the research and create the game. I will probably have to also post an ad on Craigslist for video game testers too. Anyone? I really see this making millions. We could travel with our marketing campaign to all sorts of church music conferences! I bet private Christian school music teachers would buy it in a heartbeat.

So, for real. Anyone?

Friday, January 16, 2009

If You're Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands

Our Sunday School class (my pastor hates it when I call it that)…community group, whatever, recently started a series on happiness. The challenge was for us to write down or at least share five things a day that make us happy. We can do it by ourselves or, even better, with a friend/significant other/etc. Here are a couple of things that have made my list that I thought were blog-worthy. (By the way, my sweet hubby gave me the idea for this so make sure to read his way-more-eloquent blog about what makes him happy!)

(Disclaimer: What I mean by blog-worthy is that they are funny/quirky. I will share some of the cheesy, heart-warming things on the list later…there are plenty of those!)

Advertising Slogans
Jeremy and I have a favorite coffee and we might even be a little snobby about it. We order it online but it’s so freakin’ good! We got some in the mail yesterday and it came with a catalogue. On the bottom right-hand corner of the cover, the company branded its slogan…it made me smile! The name of the coffee is New Mexico Pinion Coffee because it’s made from pinion beans. The slogan is “ It’s a matter of a pinion.” HA! Check it out…I love puns! This piqued my interest in funny ad slogans so I found some other fun ones for you to enjoy…

“Thank Crunchie it’s Friday.” –Crunchie (I know I didn’t know what it was either, but it’s funny.)
“Are you a Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut Case?” –Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut candy bar
“I’d rather die of thirst than drink from a cup of mediocrity.”—Stella Artois (Wow, way to make yourself sound like a snob Stella!)

Tools at the Gym
This is for real! I went to the gym yesterday morning and saw this guy who was a tool of a man. He was doing free weights with his sleeveless spandex (not Under Amour…spandex) shirt that was way too tight and tucked into his shorts. Whatever…people wear weird things to the gym…that’s not what made him a tool. The dude was wearing and talking on a Bluetooth. While he was lifting weights. Counting reps out loud. Cursing at the end of each set and then talking about stocks, the market, etc. May the Lord bless the poor soul on the other end of the line. I pictured some poor executive assistant who has to get to the office every day at 7a.m. to listen to her boss work out. This kind of made me laugh…not at the exec. asst. but at the weight-lifting dude who thinks she is impressed.

Christian Bumper Stickers
I am taking a chance with this little tid-bit because I might sound like a snob. Luckily, most of you who read this know me better than that. So here we go. I love Jesus. I also love fashion and not being socially awkward. I was driving home from work the other day and God said “I think Molly Ann needs a laugh.” So, He placed a car right in front of me w/ a bumper sticker that said “I love my German Shepherd. Pope Benedict.” Wow…just…wow. It made me laugh so hard and I was like “man that person has a great sense of humor!” Unfortunately, I don’t think the person driving the car was joking. She sort of fit the stereotypical mold of the middle-aged, single, cat lady who wears denim jumper dresses and organizes all the church pot lucks. I feel like she might be friends with this person. (I am slapping myself on the wrist right now for being a snob.) Anyway, this too piqued my interest and I was taken back to the days when I used to shop at Family Christian Bookstores. Here are some other fun bumper stickers:


Terrible slogan!

Way to make me think.

My husband needs this for when we go to Odessa.

A message for those left behind.

What's making you happy today?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Year's Eve and Time w/ the Inlaws

Jeremy and I spent our 3rd NYE together with Stacey and Morgan. When I was a junior in college, my friends and I started an annual NYE get-together celebration. I have spent the last five NYE w/ mostly the same people, but Stacey and I are always the common thread. We have been at the last six together! Here is a short recap:

2002-San Antonio, ate dinner downtown, walked around a bit and almost got pushed in the river by some crazy folks (drunk people + River Walk = accident waiting to happen), toasted the NY at a cute little wine bar. We spent the night at my friend Crystal's house after that so her mom could wake us up and make breakfast for us. Her mom talks to everyone (including grownups) like they are 5yrs. old, so we love her. We watched the Tournament of Roses Parade and laughed at the night before.

2003-San Antonio downtown at a fun hotel w/ dinner, drinks and dancing. We spent the night at Crystal's parents' house again. The highlight of this night was when Ellie's date started taking drinks off of other people's tables when they would go dance. Yeah, she didn't marry that one.

2004-Crystal, Stacey and I went to NYC for the holidays. We stayed w/ our generous friend Phil who shared his tiny efficiency apt. with three girls for a few days. We ate dinner at a nice little Italian place in Brooklyn Heights and then headed downtown to hang out w/ one of Phil's friends. Crystal was obsessed w/ seeing the ball drop and since she didn't get to see it up close and personal this year, she ditched us the next year to go back to NYC, stand in the cold for eight hours and see the ball drop with a million other people. Love ya Crys! :)

2005-A small group of us spent NYE in Houston and had a great dinner at the Rainbow Lodge. The food was pretty "gamey" but great!

2006-Stacey and Morgan's house in Clear Lake, Morgan prepared an excellent dinner and Stacey and I made an awesome tiramisu w/ raspberry coulis. Jeremy gave us all a lesson on how to give a sobriety test...that was ironic.

2007-Brad's house in Austin, we broke a lot of dishes and there might have been some yelling. We played Guitar Hero and Jeremy and I had a double celebration since we had closed on our first home earlier that day.

2008-Stacey and Morgan's cute new house in Houston, Morgan and Stephen made an awesome dinner and they even prepared the pheasant that Jeremy had shot a few weeks prior on his hunting trip. I am a pheasant fan. We played a rousing game of Spades and toasted the NY w/ some amazing prosecco. team totally won!

There ya go...the last six NYE in a few short words. It's crazy how much changes in five years. God has blessed me in so many ways and I can't wait to see what 2009 brings. Anyway...after NYE we spent the next few days w/ Jeremy's family in Houston/Livingston. Here are some highlights:

Dinner at sis-in-law Shawni's-My mother-in-law Renae made a great dinner (Jeremy's favorite: fried chicken and mashed potatoes) for us and she was happy to have all her kids in one place at one time. It was also fun to see our nephews, Jaden and Kameron, and give them their Christmas gifts. After dinner we played my new favorite game: Snorta! This might be a kids' game, but it's the most fun I have had in a while. It's basically a game of memory where you have to remember what animal the other people have and make their animal's noise before they do. You have to try it, especially if you have kids! You would be amazed at the noises that come out of your mouth when you are competing to remember an animal and its sound.

Renae's kids/grandkids

Hanging w/ Renae-Since we don't get to see Jeremy's mom very much, it was nice to spend some time with her. We went to a movie, had dinner at Chuy's (our favorite restaurant, collectively), took the dogs to the dog park, rented a movie and just hung out. Ella and Lexi got to play w/ their aunt Pixie (Renae's dog) and they were spoiled w/ Milk-Bones. I learned some fun new things about my new family, and Renae made us laugh a few times with her East Texas/Houston accent. She called an escalator an "esceeeelator" and Febreze, "Feeebreeze." I love it!

Ella and Pixie...I think Renae needs to reset the camera's calendar!

A Day in Livinston-Jeremy grew up in Livingston and Houston. (Time w/ Mom and Dad) His Dad is Native American and he lives on the Alabama-Coushatta reservation just outside Livingston. Jeremy's grandfather, Smiley, is actually the Chief of the tribe! Anyway, we went to the reservation on Saturday to see my father-in-law, Rick, his wife and my sister-in-law, Tylia. We had a great time visiting with them, eating at Florida's Kitchen (recently featured in Texas Monthly), hanging out at home and going to visit Smiley. It was really good to see Smiley. He has been in the hospital a lot recently and Jeremy has been wanting to see him. He can't get out of bed right now so that was sad to see. Right before we left his house, he asked Jeremy and me to pray for him so we said we would. But, he reached out and said "right now." It was so sweet and Jeremy and I held his hand and prayed for his health and his upcoming surgeries. It's always a unique experience going to the Reservation since it's so foreign to me. That's what makes new families so experiences and views on life that I never would have seen otherwise. After we left the Reservation we headed into town to see Jeremy's cousin Rachel, to whom he is the closest. She recently had a baby boy named Briley and he was a doll. He had more hair than most grown men!

Baby Briley

So there it is...Jeremy and I survived another holiday season w/ our crazy families. When the movie Four Christmases came out, we wondered if someone had written a story about our holidays! But, the couple in the movie didn't want to see their families. Jeremy and I love our families and, despite their dysfunction, we will continue to drive across Texas (both ways) to see them. When we have kids, it might be a different story...stay tuned for that. Stay tuned for a while actually!