Thursday, December 23, 2010

My baby's a decade old

Boy am I starting to feel old! Today is my daughter's 10th birthday and Mommy is having a hard time with the fact that she's now in double digits.  But she couldn't be more excited.

The day before her birthday, her Uncle Cody flew into town from New Orleans. He was coming in for the holidays and was just an added bonus that he was here for Brianna's big day.
how cool are these silly bands?
And for the day's festivities, the birthday girl requested bowling and supper at Red Robin. And I'm not sure how it happened, but I forgot my camera at home. So the rest of the pics are cell phone pics.

When asked, she said she had a good day. Family, fun, and could she not?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hanging out in trees

In my last post, I told you guys that I was having a good friend coming into town. And that I would share pics afterwards. I guess the Christmas rush got ahold of me and I hadn't been able to post an update until now.

They made their way into town that night and spent the night at a hotel on base, across town from us. The next morning we invited them over to our house. We figured instead of going out to eat lunch somewhere, that they might appreciate a home cooked lunch for a break. Eating out on the road day in and day out can get really old. They had already driven from Washington state, all the way down here to Texas. And have more to go after their Christmas break with family.

After eating, and before her young son could get too tired, we took off for a park that my daughter had found that morning. It had really cool trees with branches that just about touched the ground! That spot will definitely show up again in future photo shoots. I guarantee!

Here's a small dose of the trees.
And without further ado....Andrea and her beautiful family!

The only regret is that we didn't have more time to get to hang out. But we enjoyed the time we had. After letting the kids stretch their legs at the playground, they were on their way to her mom's house for the holidays. I'm so glad that we finally got to meet everyone. Some day, it would be great if we could all be stationed in the same area. But until then, we'll continue talking on the phone and chatting on Yahoo messenger. Right, Andrea?

Monday, December 20, 2010

A friend is coming to visit!!

/I am so excited for today. My friend Andrea over at Walking in My Socks is coming for a visit. And while normally it would have been quite a trip to just spend one day with us, they just happen to be in the area. They are moving across country with the military and was stopping in Texas to see her family for Christmas. Thank you Raquel for living so close to me !! :)

And the reason I'm so excited? Because I am yet to meet her kids and husband. I met her in person ONE time at a mutual friend's house for a ladies game night. We were told we had a lot in common at the time. And boy were they right!! About a year after that first meeting, we started a page together on Myspace (back when it was cool) to design graphics for people to use on their page. We had a lot of fun and have continued our long distance friendship long after the switch to facebook.

So today I finally get to have a second meeting, and meet her ADORABLE family for the first time. And of course I'm gonna have the privilege of taking some family pictures for them.

 Yay!! Can't wait! I'll post the pics soon!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My 8 year anniversary

Today marks 8 years since my husband and I got married at the French Quarter Wedding Chapel. It boasts that it's the only wedding chapel in the french quarter of New Orleans.

So let me take you back for a story sure to ensue laughter........

It was December of 2002. Stephen, being in the military, was due for a change of duty station and we knew that we wanted to be married before that. We had been engaged since mid August, and figured why not do it now? We went online looking for wedding chapels in the area and thought the French Quarter Wedding Chapel would make for a good memory. And we were right.

I remember it well...we called about rates and dates Saturday December 7th and decided that exactly a week later that we'd be married. So if you're following along closely, that meant we had exactly ONE WEEK to get everything into place! Talk about being resourceful!!

Oh...and talk about short notice...We had a week to get his mother there from New Jersey. And unfortunately my dad couldn't get off of work in such short notice, but my step-mom came in his place from Indiana. Looking back, I wish we would have had more time to plan things out, but that is common-place for military weddings.

Moving onto attire. My sister had a white dress and matching shoes that she had worn to her high school prom. The dress was a little snug in the chest, but I got it to Bride attire-- check. Stephen decided that since we were on a budget both monetary and time wise, that he would wear his cracker jack uniform. Ahh a man in uniform. :) For my veil, I bought a pretty beaded white hair comb to put into my hair...that we later attached some tulle from my mom's old veil.

Attire was now taken care for my future husband and I, now what would our witnesses wear. My sister was going to stand up for me. We asked a few friends if they had any dresses that we could borrow for the event. My best friend from high school came thru for us in a big way! She had been in someone's wedding I believe, and still had the bridesmaid dress. Awesome! What about the best man? Stephen's twin brother was living in New Orleans at that time, so it was natural for him to be his best man. And who would've known that he actually OWNED a tuxedo?? Ok...this was working out better than I had expected.

A friend of his brother's helped us to make all of our flowers. They were his wedding gift to us. We used artificial flowers, and I still get to look at them today and forever. And he also did my hair and makeup, and my sister's as well. (To add to the feel of the day, this friend bragged that he was a title holding drag queen in New Orleans. He assured me that I was in good hands....complete with a "z snap". And yes!! I'm serious!) now it's THE day. We get ready at my brother in law's house in New Orleans. Everyone that was attending was there watching as I got my hair practically pulled out by the roots. The teasing, the hairspray, the brushing, more hairspray, and more teasing. I tried to tell him I was tender headed, but he didn't care all that much. Thanks David!! *rolling eyes*

* Are you still with me? lol

To get to the chapel, we tried to pile as many people into each car as possible since there is limited parking in the French Quarter. Oh and there's also what seems to be a maze of one way streets. Oh that was fun! As we were driving down the street that the chapel was on, we come about a "DO NOT ENTER" sign. The one way street that we were on had stopped, and the chapel was within sight on the other side of the intersection. You see, Rue Burgundy St was made of 2- one way streets that met in the middle. Fun!!

Once we all had made our way to the other end of the street we had just been on, we then had the problem of parking. Stephen had found the perfect spot, but needed a little assistance from his best man. His brother got out of the car to stop the few cars that we waiting to pass as Stephen backed into his spot. Oh did I fail to mention that the car that he stopped was a COP?? A man in a tuxedo stops traffic and it happens to be a cop! But this is New Orleans and nothing happened.....LOL .

We all get parked, get out of the cars to walk up to the chapel when a fire truck comes driving down the road. Normally that would probably mean a fire..but remember we're in the Big Easy. No, it was leisurely driving up and down the streets of town manned by people wearing Santa hats and throwing Mardi Gras beads!!! It's December and we had Mardi Gras beads being thrown to us. ONLY in Nawlins!!

So the rest was pretty calm comparatively speaking. We said our vows, said I do, and was received by a violinist playing Anchors Aweigh. ( It was THEIR idea, since Stephen's in the Navy. ) The in-house photographer then posed us for pictures before we left for our small gathering back at my brother in law's house. At which my brother in law had prepared TONS of native cuisine for everyone. He's a chef that was working at a 4 star restaurant at the time. Food--check!

Now that I've shared all the details, I'll share pictures. The b&w pictures are from the in-house photographer..aka the officiants wife. She used b&w film as per our request, but seems to need some more training on picture taking. Most of the roll was BLURRY! Blurry wedding pictures...nice! But it is what it is, right?

my brother in law and my sister
my oldest younger brother walked me down the aisle

of all the pictures to be blurry..the kiss.
With my daughter in tow
2nd try?? Yep, still blurry
I was then instructed to take off my glasses.
I love this picture in spite of it's lack of focus
Can you tell I'm still pretty miffed that most of the important pics were blurry? Sorry, it's what I DO!!

Stephen's side of the family.
His mom and brother
Even though it was close to Christmas,
I didn't actually want it in our pics.
Guess they had other plans.
The rest of these pictures were taken by someone else's camera throughout the day. I should have saved the money and had THEM take our
makeup done, hair in process and trying to get a 2 yr old
to sit still long enough for a picture.

Stephen's mom and brother back at his house after the ceremony

Someone's date stamp was a day early. oops!
And now for 2 pictures from the ceremony that were either missed by the in-house photographer or were too blurry to be recognizable.
This pose wasthe blurriest of all that the photographer took.
Come on!!
It's our mother's for goodness sakes!
Thankfully someone else snapped this one!!

So you've got to be wondering what we are doing in that last picture. I know I would be had I not lived it.

After the ceremony was over, the officiant came over to Stephen and asked that he take a 1 dollar bill out of his wallet. We were then instructed to write both of our names on it. It being the first time that I was to write my new married name. Yes it gets a little stranger. We were then handed the stick that you see pictured. It had a thumb tack attached to the end. We then tacked on the dollar bill to the very end point of the tack. And then together we stuck the money to the ceiling beams. Unfortunately you can't see it, but there were many many dollar bills already there from all the previous ceremonies that had taken place there. And from recent pictures on their website, it looks like they carried on the tradition. Even after the chapel was damaged in Hurricane Katrina.

We would love to go back to visit some time soon. We just may have to go back to have a look at their newly renovated chapel and to make sure our dollar bill is still there.

Thank you for stopping by to learn about our wedding story. It may not have been what we would have planned had we had the time to plan it out, but it's our story. And I'm pretty confident that no one could ever duplicate it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I love this time of year! Family, the big dinner, eating anything and everything that makes you feel good, oooh eggnog!!!, seeing the faces of family as they open their gifts that Santa brought..........but one other things stands out to me as well. Decorating for Christmas!

The tradition starts off with my daughter and I assembling the tree. Yes, we have a fake tree every year. I don't think that I've ever had a real tree. And while a lot of people prefer them and can't imagine Christmas without them, it's just not what I was raised with. And let's be totally honest....

I'm way too OCD about our tree to not have the ability to mold the limbs in just the right way!! Yes it does mean fluffing, fluffing, fluffing...but it's all worth it when you can move the pieces around to hold that special ornament in just the right way.

Once we get the tree up and fluffed to's my husband's job to string up the lights. Just as he has no patience to assemble and fluff...I have NO patience whatsoever to put on the lights.

And once he gets the lights just so, my daughter and I jump in and decorate with all the ornaments that we've collected over time. Although most of them are store bought simple colorful balls, we do have a select few that have special meaning. And to me, that makes them stand out even more. But the best part of the whole tradition, is to complete a task with my daughter year after year that she loves. I love seeing the plastered smile on her face the whole time we work together. This year I got a little choked up and had to pause for a second just to give her a great big hug. I stopped to let her know how much I enjoy decorating the tree with her every year, as well as making sure to let her know that I know she will have her own wonderfully decorate tree of her own someday.

Some people may not share this tradition with their children, and that is completely fine. But for me, as long as she's in my house, she will always decorate the tree with me. And as long as that happens, I will love it forever.

A friend once told me that this blanket reminded her
of Freddy Kruger.
I can't help but to think of that every time I take it
out of storage. But it's one of my favorite things to
see in the house around Christmas.
Plus it's oh so soft and comfy!

This wreath was a happy accident.
I had a plain greenery wreath, box of candy canes,
leftover ribbon, and poinsettia flowers leftover
from years' past decorations. Combined together
they became a fun, whimsical holiday wreath.

Here is another self-made wreath. It's simply a wreath form from Dollar Tree,
 2 packages of red garland (50 feet each), newspaper, tape, and ribbon to hang on.
a $4 price tag...sweet!!
Second only to the tree, the bow above our tv is one of
my favorite parts of all the decorations. The fabric covered
canvases are everyday decor, but needed a little "Tjuzs"
as Carson Kressley would say. Using a thumbtack, I pinned
the ribbon directly to the canvas. LOVE!!!!!!!!!

Not sure if you noticed, but I did not include a picture of the tree I was gushing over at the beginning of the post. You know that OCD I mentioned....well it applies to pictures of it as well. I took all the above pictures during the day today, but really want to wait til it's dark enough to use only the lights on the tree as light for the picture. It seems to make the tree look more magical and pretty. So that'll be a post for another day.

How WILL you stand the wait? ;)

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