Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot..."

As with other blogs I'm sure you'll read today and tomorrow, I cannot believe that 2012 is upon us. 

I'm sitting here on our couch, last cup of coffee of the year in hand, pondering 2011. So much happened, so much didn't. 
I truly thought about doing a year in pictures, but after sleeping from 11 p.m. - 11 a.m. {I know, I know} I'm really not in the mood. 

I remember sitting in my apartment in college after the 2008 election results were announced. Brandon had already graduated and moved to Dallas; I was graduating in one month. I was crying, and I called my mom who said, "That's okay! We'll get 'em in 2012." I thought, "2012?! That seems so far away!" But here we are. 2012. 

There are so many things I want to accomplish this year, so many things I want to change. But I don't think I want to make resolutions. As with Andrea, I want to make goals. Not too many goals, because I know me and I know I get intimidated quickly. But like Erin, I want to make each year a theme. 
2012 is going to be my year of contentment. 



This is something I've struggled with, especially since moving to Dallas. Our Sunday School teacher talks about this often; living here amongst the proverbial "Jones's." As humans, we naturally want more and better: more house, better cars, more and better clothes... 

But my goal is to be content this year. (And years thereafter.) 2012 is not going to be the Year of the House. Or the Year of the Baby. Or the Year of the New Car. It's going to be the Year of Saving Money and Still Living in an Apartment and Driving Old Faithful. And it's going to be the year of being okay with that. 

Someone will always have a bigger house, a better job (or even a job), a nicer car, better clothes, a fatter wallet, a baby first, or take more vacations. But I am learning to remember that Brandon and I will never get this sweet, special time back. Once we have a baby, we'll always be parents. {And bye bye to sleeping until 11 a.m.!} Once we have a house, we'll have property taxes, no free maintenance and bigger bills. Once we get promoted, we'll have more responsibility and less time for and with each other. We'll never get this time back and I need to be content with that. 

We're gearing up for a low-key night with our friends the Jones's. (No, not the "proverbial Jones's!") Lasagna, salad, bread, dessert and wine. Just the way we like it. 

So, goodbye 2011. 

Hello, 2012. May you be a year of contentment and happiness. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Cleaning and Sic 'Em.

Caution: Random blog ahead

Sorry I've been a bit absent for the past couple of days. Since I've been home, I've had a major desire to clean and clean out this house...and basically just get things in some sort of order before I hit the ground running at work on Tuesday. 

So, I cleaned out out closets, took clothes to the resale shop and to Goodwill, washed clothes and sheets, took down the Christmas tree {I just couldn't keep it up any longer}, went to the library, and used my Vac-then-Steam

Anyway, other than cleaning, we went with Brandon's dad and brother Jeff to the Baylor vs. Mississippi State basketball game at the American Airlines Center. My father-in-law went to Mississippi State, and we obviously went to Baylor, so it was a really fun time. Baylor won {it was a great game}, so we left happy. :) And, our men's basketball team is undefeated! Sic 'Em!


I also went and got my nails done in a sparkle for New Year's Eve...even though we're just cooking dinner with friends. 


I'll be completely honest and tell you that I've gained about five pounds this holiday season. It all just starts in October with Halloween, then onto Thanksgiving, and then Christmas...and before I know it my jeans are snug and I hate the way I look in pictures.

So, I've been really determined to cook healthier and get back to my yoga. I pinned a ton of healthier recipes onto a Pinterest board, and we started last night with roasted salmon, asparagus and salad. So yummy!


After dinner last night, we were starting to watch the Baylor bowl game when one of Brandon's college roommates randomly dropped by to watch the game with us. 

And it quickly became college in my house: 


And I loved it. 

The game was such a nail-biter...but in the end, Baylor won!!! 

It's been a great, great year to be a Bear: Davey O'Brien award winner, Heisman winner, 10-3 football season, and Alamo Bowl winners

I saw a Tweet last night and a girl said, "Thanks to Robert Griffin III for bringing attention to a university that we all knew was great." Amen to that. 


Sic 'Em, Bears. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stylin' and Profilin'

I feel like I'm stylin' and profilin' today with my new Christmas gifts on!

{New leopard Sperry's from Nana and Pah} 


{Beautiful watch from hubby...that now fits my freakishly small wrist!} 


It's been really nice to get to be home and get a ton of things done this week and last. However, I think Brandon noticed I was getting a teensy bit bored, so he booked us a massage for tonight and got us tickets to the Baylor vs. Mississippi State basketball game at the American Airlines Center for tomorrow night! I love him. 

I have been running a ton of errands today: grocery store, Nordstrom to remove links from my watch, lunch with hubby; and picking up around here and writing thank-you notes. 

I also took down Christmas decor last night and today. The only thing left is our tiny Christmas tree, which Brandon begged me to keep up until New Year's Day. I obviously gave in...I love seeing those little twinkle lights! 


We're getting super pumped for Baylor's bowl game on Thursday, and spending New Year's Eve with our friends Austin and Jessica! 

Have a happy week! xoxo

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope y'all had a very Merry Christmas!

We're back from my in-law's this evening and are getting toasty by the fire amidst lots of bags, boxes and paper, and we're majorly full and happy. While I really missed spending Christmas Eve and morning with my family in Livingston, it was good to spend time with my in-law's. {And they did a wonderful job of making me feel at home and welcome, so I wasn't too sad on Christmas morning!} 

Brandon and I started our Christmas cheer on Friday night with a visit to Taco Diner (love those Mambo Taxi's!)...


...and to Magnolia Theater to see the new Mission Impossible movie. 


We ventured over to Southlake on Saturday morning for Christmas with my in-law's. 

My mother-in-law taught my sister-in-law and me to bake her mother's tea cakes recipe. So yummy, and we had so much fun! {She also taught me how to make Brandon's favorite: peanut butter fudge.} 


We had so much fun icing all of the cookies of different shapes and sizes. 

{This is my brother-in-law, Todd.} 


Later that evening, we opened all of our "smaller" gifts from my in-law's, brother and sister-in-law and mine from Brandon. 


Apparently I really like to give plaid shirts for Christmas. :)

{Brandon and his brothers Jeff and Todd} 


My mother-in-law made her three boys the sweetest, most precious gift ever:

A photo album that encompasses each year of their lives, from birth to present day. It even included their little incubator card from the hospital, handwritten notes, newspaper clippings, etc. 

We were all bawling looking at these. 


My mother-in-law got me this fun "wrap" watch from her trip to Atlanta Market...


and the Shark Vac-then-Steam I wanted! 


Brandon got me the Michael Kors watch, the Oral B toothbrush I've been lusting after for months, and a one-hour massage. Love him! 


We woke up on Christmas morning and had breakfast, opened one more gift {mine was the Shark} and then went to church. 

Of course, obligatory family photos before church: 

Brandon and his three brothers...


My sister-in-law, Becca; my mother-in-law and me...


And my in-law's, Vaunda and Charles. 


After church, we had a yummy lunch: turkey, ham, dressing, green bean casserole, squash casserole, sweet potato casserole, salad, rolls, cranberry fluff salad, and tons of desserts. 

All weekend, the boys watched lots of movies, the Cowboys and Mavs, and lots of home videos. :)


Us girls had some cabin fever, so we went to Southlake Town Square today and I got a fabulous faux-fur vest from Loft and a few other things. 

I'm off to heat up yummy leftovers. Can't wait to catch up on your blogs about Christmas! 


Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Home" for the Holidays

As I sit here on my couch listening to the fire crackle and completely full from dinner -- that we ate before 7 p.m. -- I am feeling so thankful and blessed. 

Thankful to have a job that provides me with paid time off, thankful for the gifts that I'm looking at beneath the tree, thankful for this warm house that we're in right now, and thankful for the rest and relaxation I've been able to have in the last couple of days. 

I'm going to be honest: yesterday was a tough day for my family. My mom called me yesterday morning and said that my 93 year-old great-grandfather fell in the bathroom after his back surgery, and my grandmother {who was thankfully there} had to do CPR on him, and then rode with him in the ambulance to the hospital. In the words of my grandmother, "I thought we had lost him." 

And then, my mom told me that my parents' house was basically the only house in their neighborhood that hadn't been robbed in the past few days. My grandparents' house, however? {The grandmother that was with my great-grandfather?} Their house was robbed. Thankfully, they only took their TV and some of my Grammy's jewelry. But still. 

I was overcome by emotion yesterday. I was so angry, sad and scared. I called Brandon at work to tell him and just sobbed. It's hard to see the family that you love grow old and frail; and it's hard to understand the evil in the world...especially this time of the year. 

Please just pray for my great-grandfather, "Paw-Paw Sass," his wife, "Maw Maw Sass," and for my grandparents, "Grammy and Grumpy." They're going to have to make some tough decisions in the next few weeks, and Christmas is going to be a bit tougher this year. 

But aside from yesterday's news, we've been enjoying Christmas week and have been lounging by the fire...


...running lots of errands...

...cleaning house...

...enjoying good wines...


...watching lots of movies on OnDemand {Hangover 2 is awful}...

...and eating lunch together, which we never get to do. 

Pappy's? Is awesome. 


For you Baylor graduates, current students and/or Waco residents, this place rivals Healthcamp and Double-R. It's that good. 

Brandon ordered the chicken fried chicken sandwich, I ordered the regular ol' cheeseburger, and we split an order of the onion ring/french fry combo. 

{For those of you health nuts, I'm sorry.}

It was so good. And you know what? It's Christmas week. I'll worry about weight later. 


Happy Christmas week, friends. Hug your family a little tighter tonight...and lock those doors! :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Crafty Time!

I will be on PTO beginning today (!!!) until Jan. 3 (!!!). And while that sounds super fun, Brandon will be working and I'll be in at home, so I'm going to need a few things to do so I'm not just a vegetable on the couch watching re-runs of The Real Housewives on Bravo and eating my weight in leftover Christmas candy.

Of course, I'm planning to do a ton of stuff during those two weeks that I can't normally do because I'm too busy and working: deep cleaning the house, washing and vacuuming my car, cleaning out the closets and drawers, getting my ring cleaned, etc.

But I needed some fun stuff in there, too!

So may I present to you my list of Pinterest crafts for the next two weeks:





DIY scrubs {will be cute gifts for co-workers, bosses, etc.}


Happy Tuesday! So excited for lunch today at Neiman's with my sweet friend Jenna!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fatties.

I have gained so much weight this fall. Why, you ask?

Hmm, it just might be because this is currently sitting on my counter: 


Yes, that would be sugar cookies, pretzel bites, chocolate peanut clusters (two kinds) and my favorite, Harry & David Royal Riviera Pears

{It's not Christmas unless my Nana and Pah pass along one of the many boxes they receive this time of year!} 

Oh, and let's not forget the numerous bottles of wine, flavored coffee creamer, sticks of butter and fattening comfort food in my fridge. 

And as much as I hate that my skinny jeans are more like jeggings these days, those chocolate peanut clusters sure are good. 

Until January...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Family Christmas.

As I mentioned Friday, we went to my parents' house this weekend for Christmas with my family. Sadly, I won't get to be with them this year {it's Brandon's year} so we did Christmas a week early in one of my favorite places: 


Home. 

I absolutely love my parents' house at Christmas. My mom goes above and beyond; I can't wait to be out of an apartment and actually decorate! 

Don't you love her "Ho Ho Ho" sign?! She is so crafty. 


She has two trees; one in the living room {above} that houses all of our homemade and "kid"-type ornaments, and one in the study {below} that is "her" tree with the fancier ornaments. The one thing I love is that this tree faces the street, so when you drive by or walk up to the house, it's the first thing you see. 


This was the new addition this year to the bannister: "JOY" in wreathes and through garland. 


We spent the evening visiting with my family...and my sweet cat Herman. 

Call me silly, but I love this cat! He was a stray that kept hanging out around my dad's office; my dad has a soft spot for cats, too, and picked him up and brought him home. I immediately fell in love with him. He's so sweet and so cuddly! :) 


...and Brandon is finding a soft spot for him, too. ;) 


We were absolutely exhausted from my company Christmas party, so we went home and crashed. We stay with my Nana and Pah {my dad's parents} when we go home, and I just cherish those sweet, special times spent with them. 

They have a beautiful house, and we have the entire second floor to ourselves. The bed is so comfy and we slept in so late on Saturday. We kept saying, "It's so quiet!" Gotta love East Texas. 

I spent the afternoon just hanging out with my family, while Brandon chopped fire wood and had a barbeque lunch with my grandfather. 

My brother was named a "Senior Hottie" (or something ridiculous to that effect), meaning that he has to do photo shoots with our photographer friends every so often. This was the Christmas photo shoot, and this is my brother with his friend and fellow model Broderick doing the "RG3" pose before they left. Love it! 


Saturday night was Christmas with my family. We had the most yummy meal: my dad's homemade beef tenderloin (Southern Living recipe...I need to find it), my Nana's brown rice casserole, green bean casserole, rolls, salad and buttermilk pie. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it! 

{Maggie and me. Love her!} 


After dinner, we opened gifts with my parents, sister, brothers, Grammy {my mom's mom} and Nana and Pah {my dad's parents}. 

We got Maggie sparkle Toms and a cute H&M dress...


The boys each got J. Crew button downs and iTunes gift cards...

{And yes, Parker has the ribbon on his head.} 


Pah got a UT jacket {yes, it killed me to go into the UT Co-Op store} and Nana got a Talbot's sweater {sorry that I didn't get a picture of you, Nana!} 


Grammy got a Banana Republic shirt...


And mom and dad got the iPhoto cube


Brandon and I got amazing gifts and are so thankful. I even got the Jon Hart tote I wanted! :)

And I surprised Brandon with his very first shotgun: a Browning 12-guage shotgun. He was SO shocked and surprised! I loved his reaction. 


Today we went to church and then went to Maggie's Christmas piano recital. She did so well and we were so proud of her! 


After her recital, we were outside our church telling everyone goodbye, and I was hugging my Dad, when my brother came up and bear-hugged us both. My mom made us pause for a picture, when we realized that the "Ogletree genes" were in one picture...


...so we had to take a picture of those with the Sasser genes {aka: my mom's dad's side of the family}. 


How funny is that?! We have such even representation in our family...love it. 

We're now lounging on the couch watching last night's SNL, which is hilarious so far. Only two days of work for me this week -- so excited! 

Have a happy week!

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

As I've mentioned over and over again, I've always loved Christmas.

I grew up in a household where Christmas was celebrated...and it was celebrated well. Hot chocolate, fires, gingerbread houses, elaborate decorations, fun Christmas cards, gumbo on Christmas Eve, my great-grandfather reading us the Christmas story in Luke, my parents amazing Santa gifts...I could go on forever.

I'm going to be frank with you now. When you're married and working full-time, it's really hard to get into the Christmas spirit. The 9-5 job really takes away from being able to buy Christmas presents {the mall is horrendous on Saturdays}, and when I get home the last thing I want to do is make a gingerbread house or go get in the car with hot chocolate and look at Christmas lights. And the constant Christmas parties, happy hours, dinners, get-togethers and gift exchanges? Can get exhausting.

I found myself thinking about all of this last night as I was getting ready for my fourth event of the week: my company Christmas party. I kept thinking, "Gosh, I don't want to go. I don't want to get dressed up again. I really need to pack for my parents' this weekend and holy crap I'm tired."

But when we drove into Highland Park Village for the Christmas party, I saw the beautiful lights and I wanted to slap my own face back to reality.

This is Christmas, and get in the spirit, dangit!


And after seeing sweet work friends and sharing a glass of wine {or four} it made sense: while it is exhausting, it's about spending time with those you love, and celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The words to "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" always get me. And last night they got me even more:

"...faithful friends who are dear to us, gather near to us, once more. Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow..."

It's so true. I can complain all I want to, but being near to precious friends ("if the fates allow") is why we celebrate with family. Why we host and attend 5,000 different parties, dinners, gift exchanges and happy hours.


{And I also got in a good mood because we won a camera at the party! Thanks, fab clients!}


It's why we dress up and put on a face. To celebrate friends and the best gift we've ever been given: Jesus.


And moving on from the sentiment, I talked our office manager into buying Whataburger taquitos for the office today.

Let's just say we needed them.


Merry Christmas, y'all. Don't get caught up in the little things -- the parties, the wrapping of gifts, baking for the nth Christmas party of the week -- and celebrate the big things, the things that matter:

Our Lord and Savior
Family
Friends
Each other

We're heading southbound today for Christmas with my family. Can't wait.