Saturday, July 28, 2012

"Closer to Me"

(by Future of Forestry) Closer to Me - Travel - EP

Closer to Me by Future of Forestry on Grooveshark

I had a super great day! I spent it with my dad & baby brother! His group only has one quarter left of their program, so this was the last time that we had the chance to spend the day with them. It was sorta like Alpha Day, except there weren't any sessions. Instead, each of the 45-50 inmates stood in front of everyone and shared a bit of their stories. They accepted responsibility for their crimes and acknowledged the impact that their actions have had on their victims as well as their families & friends. As you'd imagine, it was quite emotional for most of them (& us).

As for the rest of the week, I...

...missed my baby girl while she was at camp

...welcomed my uncle into our home for a week or so

...saw my "twin's" grand baby! I don't remember if I've mentioned him or not, but he's serving time with my baby brother. I have no idea how the joke originated, but he calls me his twin! {ftr, he's 6-foot-something, 40-something, & black...! When he met Kerry ~ who actually looks like my twin ~ I said, "Surprise! We're actually triplets!!" Dad, Aaron, & I took a family picture with him today. If Aaron is able to get a copy of it, I'll post it for y'all to see!}

...reached 200 in Draw Something with my sweet boy another haircut. I'd show you a picture, but I didn't take one where you can really see how it looks. And since I was only going to the prison today, I didn't fix it. I'll try to remember to take one tomorrow or something!

...went out to eat for our 16th anniversary {I do have a picture of this, but I'm having more camera issues! My friend Laura was super great to let me borrow her camera, but my card reader doesn't work with her memory card. I'll post the picture as soon as I get it from Laura's camera to my computer!}

...spent several hours at the pool with some really sweet ladies who live in my neighborhood

...realized that I haven't cooked dinner in at least a week & a half! {Crazy, right?! I was out of town for four days, brought leftovers home from the wedding, Chris wasn't home for dinner on a couple of different nights when Dad & Uncle Neal were at Astros games (so Cody & I had leftovers and pizza), we went out to dinner for our anniversary and with my dad & uncle a couple of times, anniversary, & Chris fixed dinner another night! Nice, huh?}

...went to an Astros game {they lost, but Chris Johnson hit a home run for me!} ;)

As for the song, I listened to it more than most other songs but less than Abby Baker...I don't know why I always feel the need to confess when the song isn't actually the one I listened to the most, but whatever! I think the first verse is my favorite, but I like the bridge, too!

I have an exciting week coming up!! It consists of my birthday, the chance to cross something off my list, and my beautiful cousin Kendra is getting married!!! I may even reach another blogging milestone {though I'll probably insert some randomness to get there!} So expect some posts with pictures! :)

I hope y'all are having a super great weekend! ♥


Friday, July 27, 2012


(by Andy Pidcock)

Today is our 16th anniversary, and I have a related post in my new little series:

Of course I have a little background info before I get to the actual story...Due to some unfortunate circumstances, our church went through a split just a few months before Chris & I got married. We were left without a pastor, which ended up being a blessing for me because I had always wanted Brother Jerry to perform my wedding ceremony. {Side note: I remember asking him to marry me when I was a teenager. With a smirk & that thick southern drawl, he replied, "I'm already married." Obviously, I meant that I wanted him to perform the ceremony, and he totally knew what I meant...!}

Brother Jerry was glad to officiate, but we had Tom (one of our church elders) open up the ceremony by welcoming everyone before handing things over to Brother Jerry. Tom is a bit of a character, & he had asked us if it was alright for him to inject a little humor into the ceremony. Here's what he had to say to me...
Just the other day, the thought came to me that you're initials are "AA" as it stands right now. Pretty soon, that's going to change. It's going to be "AE", right? Well you know I had this thought that if I just happened to borrow $5 from you after the service that I could write you a note that would say, AEIOU." And also, if per chance I forgot the reason I borrowed that, I could write a "Y" on the bottom...
Ba-dum ching! ü


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Going to the Chapel"

(by The Dixie Cups) Going to the Chapel - Ladies of Doo Wop Classics, Vol. 1

Going to the Chapel of Love by The Dixie Cups on Grooveshark

I had a great time helping Jana & Julie's family get ready for Julie's wedding! I arrived at Bruce & Myra's house on Wednesday afternoon, and everyone was in full-on wedding preparation mode! The game room was filled with flowers, satin, blinged items & items that still needed their bling. I got to work putting little pearls on plastic champagne glasses that would hold shrimp at the reception. After dinner, we went to the church & started decorating the gym (where the reception was held). I wish I had thought to take official before & after pictures, but to give you a bit of an idea...

The gym went from this... to this... just a few days!! Beautiful, isn't it?!

As I mentioned in my last post, I was exhausted because of several late nights in a row. It was worth it, though, for Julie & Len to have a beautiful place to celebrate with family & friends! Jana & I kept saying, "We can sleep next week...we can sleep next week..." Bruce, on the other hand, took a little nap on the gym floor!

Along with the gym beautification, we enjoyed a little personal beautification as well! Julie was so wonderful to provide us with massages & pedicures on Friday morning, & we all got our hair done on Saturday morning ~ including the little girls, who also got their nails painted.

There were funny moments, touching moments, and anger-invoking moments {provided by people that I don't know, but I still won't go into the details here!} I don't think I'll ever forget the events surrounding the song from my last post {that none of you seemed to think was strange!} I had every intention of explaining why I posted that, but I completely forgot. It wouldn't be as funny to y'all as it was to us, but it involves a Chug crossing the road & a mosquito being swallowed by someone who will remain nameless. But believe it or not, it wasn't me!

Clara Belle was a great help with all of the wedding preparation, but I thought I'd show you a little of what she did during her breaks!

I was a little busy during the wedding & reception, so I failed to get a picture of the bride & groom! {I know: epic fail!} But I snapped this shot of Julie working on the slide show before the wedding:

& Amy took this picture of me with Jana:

I also managed to catch Julie & Len as they walked through the bubbles on their way out!

I enjoyed meeting so many of Jana's family members who I have heard of throughout the years. And I love her parents & Grannymom and am honored to be counted as one of their own! I'll try to get some pictures from the wedding at some point, but until then I hope to appease you with this pic of my little friend! ;)

 Cute babies make it OK that I don't have a picture of the bride in her wedding dress, right?!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

"There Was An Old Lady"

(by Music Factory Music)

I have all sorts of stories to share, but I'm exhausted. So exhausted, in fact, that I chose to sleep an extra hour instead of getting up in time to fix my hair before church this morning! My hair was curled up all crazy from the wedding yesterday, so I put it in a ponytail & wore it to church that way. For the record, I've never done that. I could've slept in & not gone to church, but those girls are more important than sleep. Hair isn't, though. And you should be proud of me, because I feel like I've come a long way...

My stories from Julie's wedding trip will also have to wait because I have a little camera situation & don't want to post about things without the pictures to go with them. But maybe I can compose my thoughts enough to tell you the story about my broken camera...

Elly & I had gotten home from something, and I noticed a weed in my flower bed. While pulling it out of the ground, I got eaten up by fire ants. After I got them off my feet & shoes, I realized that a couple had made their way to my shorts. Yep, my shorts. So I ran into the garage & shut the door real quick so I could take them off & get rid of the ants. {ftr, Elly was laughing at me the whole time, even though I was being eaten alive! I told her that I hoped Poppy didn't come home while my shorts were off, & she said that it was OK since he's my dad. I suppose that's true in some regards, but I was also concerned about the neighbors who might be going by when/if the garage door was opened during my little ordeal!} After treating the ant mound with some stuff I had in the garage, I went inside to treat my wounds. A little while later, Dad came inside carrying my purse. He had run over it when he pulled into the garage {he's color blind, so it blended in with the concrete} & was afraid it was the cat, at first!

Ya, so I could've just told you that my camera broke when my dad ran over my bag, but y'all might wonder why I used so few words, huh? Anyways, when Dad handed me my purse, I checked to see if my phone was alright {it was} but couldn't think of anything else that would've broken. Sadly, I've been discovering broken things all week, but I haven't told Dad because I don't want him to feel bad about it. My lip gloss & Chapstick are OK, in case you were concerned. But my mirror & brush didn't survive the accident. And when I turned on my camera to use for our tacky ladies night, this is what I discovered:

I took some pictures anyways, just to see how they turned out. Then, when we got into my van for our ladies night adventure, Hannah found a disposable camera in it! And since I'm totally dragging this story out way longer than I had intended, I'll go ahead & tell you that Nicole had an extra digital camera that my team used for the photo scavenger hunt. Halfway through the hunt, we realized that it didn't have a memory card, though. I ran to my van to get the memory card from my broken camera, and when I put it in Nicole's camera I found out that mine had actually worked when I took the pictures earlier in the evening! I can't adjust the manual settings, but I can use it in the auto mode. Anyways, once I use up the disposable camera & get it developed, I'll see if I have any blogworthy pictures to share along with my adventures with Jana & Julie's family over the past few days!

On a completely random note...I have a little MISplacement story, but it isn't worth an entire MISseries post...As I pulled up to the mailbox one day, I realized that I my mail key was missing. It has a safe little place in my van console, but it wasn't there. I have an extra one on my key ring, but I don't generally prefer to use it since it involves turning my van off (only to turn it back on a few seconds later). As it turns out, I didn't have to use my spare key after all. When I stopped at the mailbox, I discovered my key right there waiting for me:

Nice, huh? :/

Alrighty, y'all are probably wanting to beg my family to take the computer away when I'm tired, huh? Sorry if this was all over the place, but I wanted to let y'all know that I'm back home & hope to catch up with your blogs soon! ♥


Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"

(by Cindy Lauper)

I'm in Jana's hometown helping her family get ready for Julie's wedding, but I wanted to post something while I had a chance. Brian is getting breakfast & let me use his computer. I started this post yesterday but ran out of time. I was afraid I wouldn't even get to show you these lovely pictures, because my camera got run over! {long story} Fortunately, it was still capable of taking pictures, so you're in for a treat...

{I have no idea why that paragraph is white, & I can't use the HTML mode right now to fix it!}

We had another tacky ladies night with the girls in the youth group, so I used the same song as I did last year. This year, the theme was tacky prom. My dress last year was way more tacky, but you never know what you'll find at Goodwill. I'd give more details about the night, but Brian's ready to have his computer back! :) We had a photo scavenger hunt, and here are some of the pics...

I'll try to post something Saturday... :)


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Everything Good"

(by Ashes Remain) Everything Good - What I've Become

Everything Good by Ashes Remain on Grooveshark

For those of you who didn't see my post on facebook yesterday: Christopher's scans were clear, & we can reset the countdown for another six months! The doctor is actually going to try to get the scans done at the end of the year, but I have no idea if insurance will authorize that. It'd be nice to not have to meet the deductible in the first couple of weeks of the year, though. We'll see...

Anyways, it was a long & emotionally draining day, but it was good! As Brooke commented yesterday, it was so great that Steve was carrying the Olympic torch on scan day! It gave me something else to focus on for awhile, and I was able to share the experience with my OM community through the marvels of modern technology. About 30 minutes before his projected time, I turned on the live coverage along with seven other ladies in one of our groups (including several OM patients, a sister-in-law, & a widow). These people have become like family to me, so it was really neat to share this special moment with them. As things tend to go, we lost the picture shortly before his turn. Fortunately, it came back just in time to see him! At one point, one of the ladies posted, "Am I the only one crying?" Maybe it's weird, but we were so proud to see "one of us" do something so neat! And again, it was a great way to pass some time on a day that tends to be so stressful!

& because I'm a weirdo, I captured theses screen shots:

Alrighty, I guess that's all for now! Thank you so much for your prayers! I really appreciate every kind word of support & encouragement. ♥


Monday, July 16, 2012

"Your Hands"

(by JJ Heller) Your Hands - Painted Red

Once again, I find myself posting from the Medical Center. As you may already know, scans are today. As I mentioned on Saturday, I feel like I've handled them better this time around. I had a little bit of a meltdown one day last week. We still hadn't heard anything regarding pre-authorization, and it was maybe Wednesday. I had pretty much decided that they weren't going to happen, so that could be part of the reason why I wasn't dealing with as much scanxiety as usual. But that day, I was upset for some silly reason & realized that maybe I was overreacting due to the upcoming scans. So I pulled out my phone for a little encouragement from my YouVersion app...but the verse of the day was Matthew 5:4. Really?! I don't think of myself as superstitious, but things like that can mess with your head. Just sayin'.

If I can be completely honest with y'all again, I still struggle with this journey. And I'm not sure that I'll ever be absolutely OK with it. It's not one bit fun to face the reality that my husband will never be cancer-free. And it certainly isn't enjoyable to always have the thought of cancer in the back of my mind (if not the forefront). Every waiting room I sit in is a reminder that we face this dragon, this beast called cancer. And I can't help but remember that there's a 50/50 chance that today will be the day that we discover mets.

But I have found joy in the midst of it all. I am learning to fear the unknown a little less & enjoy each day for what it is. It may not always be simple & free, but I have come to know such beautiful truths that I honestly wouldn't trade for anything. So I live with this dichotomy of sorts within me, but hope is winning. Just thought I'd let y'all know.

Something pretty exciting happened in the Ocular Melanoma world last week! There was an article about it  on the front page of the New York Times! That's HUGE, people. For such a rare cancer to receive this type of recognition is a big deal.

In other OM OM survivor is carrying the Olympic torch today!! Steve Brooks is a funny librarian from England. He was kind enough to post a link to live coverage of the relay on one of our groups on facebook. We are quite proud to have him represent. {& if you watch the coverage and see him wave, just know that's for me...or maybe all of the members of the page...either way, I'm included in that!} And am I crazy that I love the fact that the official mascots for the 2012 Summer Olympics are one-eyed?! I think Christopher is quite jealous that their eyes are made out of a camera lens. If he were to ever have his eye removed, he'd totally love to put a camera in its place!

I know that this post is a little disjointed, but I have one last thing...I have loved today's song since I first heard it, but somehow I've never posted it before. It speaks so well to what I feel. I certainly have trouble that I wish wasn't there, but one day God will set all things right. He is faithful and caring, and I have never left His hands. He comforts like no human being can. He loves more deeply than I can comprehend, and He allows me to feel His love more than I've ever felt in my life. And He weaves peace and joy into the pain and heartache in a way that is unexplainable. I pray that you know this love. If not, there's a button under the header where you can email me. I'd love to have the opportunity to share the hope that I have found with you!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

"I'm a Pepper"

(by David Naughton)

In lieu of my usual Saturday post, I decided to post a Dr Pepper song because today is Christopher's birthday!! {& he's a Dr Pepper fan} We used some movie tickets that we got for Christmas {ya, I know, we don't get out much...} & saw The Avengers. It was good, but I'm sure it would've made more sense if I had seen more than one of the previous four movies, huh?

Elizabeth made her dad this cute card:

{Can you see the word Dad in her drawing of his face? You can see it if you look at the mouth, nose, & eye patch ~ creative, huh?}

Do y'all take advantage of free birthday offers? Chris does, and he has been thoroughly enjoying his birthday freebies this week! We went to Dunn Bros to use his free birthday drink coupon on our way to the movie this afternoon.

& on Cody's half birthday (earlier this week), we used Christopher's free burger coupon at Red Robin:

Sooo...we found out on Thursday that his scans were approved for Monday. This is maybe the second time ever that they're actually going to happen on the day they were originally scheduled! I feel like I haven't had as much scanxiety as usual, but I had pretty much convinced myself that they weren't going to happen. Maybe that's the trick? Anyways, I'll let y'all know how things turn out...

I hope y'all are having a super great weekend! ♥


Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Tea and Cake"

(by The Lovelies) Tea & Cake - The Tuff of the Tracks

[Disclaimer: I have absolutely no idea what this song is about. I should've taken the time to listen to it more, but I didn't. Please forgive me if there's something offensive that I overlooked!]

Tea And Cake by The Lovelies on Grooveshark

On the way to Julie's Bachelorette Party on Friday, Jana & I stopped at the Teacake Factory. Julie loves teacakes, but Jana didn't have time to make any before the party. So it gave us an excuse to visit another bakery! :)

I was super excited to see that they had Peanut Butter Chocolate frappes!! Chocolate + peanut butter = my most favorite food combination in the whole entire world! And you can't get this type of frappe very many places...

Unfortunately, it wasn't as good as the frappes I've had before. It makes me sad, too, because the place where I used to get them is no longer in business. So I had hoped that I had found a new place to get them...Anyways, back to the teacakes! In all honestly, I didn't keep up with all of the flavors that we got. Nor did I get a sampling of each of them. I'm sorry, but we had other stuff going on! They're pretty, though, right?!

I think we got a few red velvet, a couple of chocolate chip, a chocolate dipped, a few original, and a few others like maybe cherry & orange. Sadly, we didn't get peanut butter because we didn't realize they had it until our box was full. And yes, you see a broken one. We forgot to take a picture until after our bachelorette tried a piece of it:

We took the remaining teacakes to the Astros game on Saturday. {Thank you, Jim Crane, for allowing us to bring food into the game now!} We called these The Traveling Teacakes! :)

Yum! Do you like teacakes?


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"

(by The Proclaimers) I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers

I had such a fun time this past weekend! I went to a little slumber party in Houston with Jana, her sister Julie, and Julie's best friend Brianne to celebrate Julie's transition from Bachelorette to Bride! Jana & I got to the hotel suite a little early so we could decorate:

{no, we didn't make Julie wear the hat & sash everywhere...}

{Do you see those teacakes? I'll tell y'all about them in another post!}

We went to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner & took our cheesecake to go {we were too full to eat it there ~ but you can't go there & not get dessert!} There's a Charming Charlie's at The Galleria (where we ate), so we browsed around in there for awhile after dinner. They have some super cute stuff, but they had some crazy weird stuff, too! I wish I had thought to take pictures of the awful peacock & lightning bolt necklaces...

We took our cheesecake back to the hotel, & then we walked down to Pete's Dueling Piano Bar! I've never been to one before, but we'll call it an experience...I have to confess that I'd rather they skip the dueling part and just sing songs with the appropriate lyrics. But I definitely enjoyed when they did a little 80's medley! :)

After Pete's, we went back to the hotel & ate cheesecake, played Draw Something (ü), and stayed up way too late talking about wedding stuff! In the morning, we decorated the bubble bottles for the wedding and went to Craftex to pick up a few wedding decorations. Then we went to an Astros game!

The Astros won, which is always super great! It was a pretty exciting game: the Brewers' pitcher & manager got thrown out after the second batter, Jason Castro accidentally threw a bat that almost hit Chris Johnson, and I got to see RR Mama! :) Overall, I think everybody had a great time! I mean seriously, a bachelorette party at an Astros game?! Sounds perfect, doesn't it?!


P.S. Today's song has no significance to this post other than the fact that Julie, Jana, I & like it! :) All "GNO"-type songs just didn't fit us (or the weekend) at all...