Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tie Tying: Learning to tie a tie

Tomorrow we are headed to Houston for number 2 of 3 weddings in Brandon's family this year (our's being the first, Breanna and Tyler 2nd, and Brittany and Jack third). Through all the hustle and bustle of daily life, we were all able to find just the right outfits for all of the different events surrounding the wedding and Mimi and Papa's 50th wedding anniversary!

Last night Connie was finally able to check off everyone she needed clothes for off her list after a good 30 rummaging through the tie section in Dillards. We were after something for Kirk to wear to the wedding. We found the pants and then the shirt, all that was left was the tie. Who would have thought finding a tie in a place like Dillards would be so hard?

We searched and searched and even put two of the sales people to work. Everyone would walk around the tables grabbing ties they thought would go as the passed and then bring them over to the shirt and pants we had placed on one of the display tables. It was so much fun picking out different ties and seeing what they would look like.. even seeing the opinions that came out was entertaining. Between Brent, Connie, Myself, and two sales people (only I wish you could have seen the ties one lady was picking out.. I think at one point I had an audible "bleh!" with emphasis on the throw up face, before I realized I had made any noise at all), I think we looked at a good 50-60 ties.

If someone found one that looked pretty good, we all would bring our voice levels up a notch, so by the end of the 30 minutes, we were pretty much yelling from excitement. We had found our match. Then we looked at the price tag--$50 for a tie that he would most likely wear once. $50 wouldn't be so bad if there were 3 whole tables of ties $20 and less. So we started again--only this time limiting ourselves to the sale tables.

We were able to find one pretty quickly, fortunately, and the price was right! The sales man however, had been trying to push us over to the register to check out since we made the first decision. He kept saying, "I'll take you guys right over here." as he held the clothes and tried to lure us away. I think he saw the atomic tie bomb we set off durring our search, hoping to find the best tie there was, and wanted us to get out of there before we moved on to another section. Afterall, it was 8:30 and he thought he had a nice easy closing ahead of him. Little did he know we would be coming and coming with a force.

So as happy as we could be, because we found Kirk's outfit and we still had time to go to Old Navy, we walked out of the store.

Later that night, we made Kirk come home and try on all of his clothes to make sure they fit so they could go to the dry cleaners first thing in the morning to be ready before we left.

Everything fit perfectly, all that was left was to teach Kirk how to tie a tie.

Brandon went to his dad's closet and pulled out his Santa Clause tie, a staple I think every father must have at some point in his life, and through frustration, he finally got the idea of it.

Sorry these pictures are blurry, I had to take them with my phone.

"Kirk, watch me..."

He's getting it!

First knot!

A new found sense of confidence

This is Brandon's "what!" face to Kirk for tying a more difficult knot.. haha! I just love a mann in a Santa Clause tie and a Goodwill t-shirt.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How to Mail a Package

So, I'm a terrible sister.. you see, today is July 28th and my sister's birthday was June 16th--well over a month ago--and I still haven't mailed her a gift.

I've bought the gift, over a week before her birthday so that I could mail it to her and she would have it.. but that's where I stopped.

I kept forgetting to go by the post office and get a flat-rate box, so there sat her gift at the end of my dresser for about a month and a half. Last week at work, we got some USPS postal boxes so I saw my opportunity to make things right.

How to mail a package:

First, you have to start with a box, in this case, a flat rate box.

Tape up the bottom so all the stuff doesn't come out the bottom.. duh! I know you're jealous of my corner in my office, ha!

Next, you fill it with the goods! You didn't actually think I would let you see what I was putting in it did you? C'mon, she reads this thing too! *make sure you've dusted off the gift first since it was sitting for so long.

Then, write a sweet little letter to tell her that you love her and make sure you apologize for your tardiness.

Next, fill with CONFETTI! (in this case punched out holes from the copier) because, even though it can be annoying and messy, it is/was her birthday and this is a little party in itself!

Then tape it all up, nice and neat so the USPS doesn't come get you, or so they can't get in...

Now, get out your colored sharpies and decorate! Make it happy because it's a birthday box!

And finally, go to the post office and mail it!

Christy, I promise your box is in the mail TODAY! love you!

Monday, July 27, 2009

birthday festivities

On Friday I turned 22.. but it didn't really feel like a birthday. I mean, is it just me, or as you get older do you really feel any different on that day like you did when you were a kid? I can remember when I was young, waking up early on my birthday with a sense of accomplishment--I, Kelly Susanne, am one year older, one year stronger, and I am so cool.. now Ii wonder what I'm going to get for a gift!

Anyone else have that same feeling.. anyone?

When you're little, each birthday seems monumental in the line up of days. You have all of your standard holidays celebrating people, to your country, to small rodents (groundhog day--I know, it's about the season, but still), but your birthday.. now that is something to be reckoned with. It was day that you could do pretty much anything and no one would care. People said nice things to you and you got gifts.. it was a holiday, just for you!

So why is it that the older you get, the more you want to just downplay your birthday? Women all over the place are celebrating their 29th, 39th, 49th, birthdays for about 15 years... Now this, I don't understand. I'm not in that point in my life yet where I feel embarrassed about my age, and honestly, I hope I never get there. I hope that I won't care whether or not my age is displayed for all the world to see, that if I had a brother like Ree Drummond's, Mike, I would not be embarrassed to have it announced to my entire hometown on the radio my age in all its glory.

I hope...

But, I'm sure I'll be right there with the rest of you women, shying away at any hint of how old I could be. Who knows? Well, at least for now, I could really care less! Here's some pictures from my birthday dinners!

I'm pretty excited about the chocolate sheet cake!

Excuse Kirk, he's special..

Here I am on my actual birthday at Carino's with some of my girls. Brandon was out of town this past weekend--which is why we went to Dallas the weekend before--so I had some fun with these girls instead!

22 Years down and who knows how many to come! I'm just going to have fun!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

sipping on history

Back in the day.. before I was even thought of, before even Jason, my oldest brother was born (he'll be 30 this year.. that's weird), my parent's lived in a small town in the country called Graham. Brandon's grandparents live in Graham, and that is where his mom grew up.

When we made that connection, that my parents knew many of the people his family knows, I decided that I wanted to know where my parents lived.

Brandon and I have made a trip before to find their old house and made it to the neighborhood, but we didn't know which house. When my parents were in town a few weeks ago, I asked again if they knew their address because I was curious. Being the high-tech people that we are, my mom pulled out her iPhone and found the top of the house using the satellite on the maps function by "driving" herself from town to their house and was able to get the street name.

Today I was in Bowie for work and on my way back home, I decided to go try to find the house. I called my mom and she gave me a description of what the house looked like from the outside when they lived there. The key feature that gave the house away was the 3 arches in the front.

So mom and dad, I hope you enjoy the house you used to live in, 49 Springwood Drive. It's now baby blue with a brand new asphalt driveway!

Monday, July 20, 2009

a weekend to getaway

Last Thursday evening, Brandon told me that this coming Friday--my birthday--was the first night of a bachelor party weekend for one his good friends getting married in a few weeks. Then he asked me if I wanted to go to Dallas for the weekend and go shopping. At first I wasn't too sure about it because we hadn't made any plans for hotels or anything, and I'm a planner... but then we were looking on Priceline to see what a hotel would cost. I've never actually done the name your own price thing because I've always gotten cold feet when it asked for my credit card information before I knew what hotel it was, but we did it. Brandon put in a low price for a 4-star hotel in the galleria area, and to our surprise, it accepted it! So we got The Westin Park Central, 3 miles away. That made our decision right there.

So Friday rolled around and Bridger knew something was up. She would not let me out of her sight all afternoon.

Please excuse the shoe, I was cracking up at her and didn't have time to move it before I took the picture. This is what she would do to watch me move around the room. Instead of picking her head up, she would just turn it all the way around.

Brandon got home a little after 5 and we were off! We met some friends in Ft. Worth for dinner before continuing on to our hotel.

The next morning, we found an Einstein Bros. for breakfast and then headed to the Galleria. I didn't buy much, and what I did buy was on sale, shocking, I know, but it was so much fun to go to all the stores we don't have here.

After shopping, we stopped at one of Brandon's favorite childhood pasttimes, Crystal's Pizza. I told him we could go eat there because he and his brother always talk about how good it was and how awesome the place was. It's funny how things seem when you're a child, because it was neither. As we were walking up to the front doors, I looked up at the decorative and absurd exterior and noticed that the wood was rotting and things were falling off. Honestly, it looked as though it had been abandoned for several years, left to fend for itself in nature.

Once inside, I would agree with the article I linked to above, "think of it as a combination of Chuckie Cheese's and a haunted Southern Mansion... [with] a mishmash of Victorian Architecture [and] cheap, sticky, plastic furniture." The pizza was probably some of the worst I've had in a while, and Brandon agreed.

Though he was disappointed, he decided that the one that used to be in Abilene was much better.

Saturday night we went to the Rangers game with James and Bryan because I had never been to one. It's always fun to go to a professional baseball game and watch how rediculously into it the fans can be.

Brandon only agreed to take that picture if I would take this one below as well..

Sunday I woke up to breakfast in bed! Brandon woke up early and found a Grandys and brought back biscuits fo us! We checked out of our hotel and did a little more shopping because Saturday wasn't enough and then made our way to Ft. Worth for some lunch at Joe T. Garcia's. It. was. good.

If you have never eaten at Joe T's, grab your wallet (make sure you have cash or a check) and go! ti will be worth your while. Oh, and tell them you want to sit on the patio if it's not too hot, you probably wont have to wait as long for a table.

As we were headed to get back on I-30, we were driving through downtown Ft. Worth (a place I've never been in my life) and I saw a lot of cute shops I will be making it to on the next trip. We were almost to the highway when I saw the sign for the Ft. Worth Water Gardens and made Brandon turn around.

I have wanted to go to the Ft. Worth Water Gardens since I saw the movie Blank Check as a kid, and I finally got to go! The Water Gardens was also something I learned about in some of my Architectural History classes because it was designed by Philip Johnson who first became famous for his design of the Glass House in New Canaan, CT, which I will go see someday. Since then he designed numerous famous buildings and was one of the key leaders in postmodern architecture. But enough of your Architectural History lesson for the day...

Despite the heat and humidity, it was fun to climb down into the middle of all of the water and experience something designed by a person I learned about in school! Mom and Dad, I know you're glad.. :).

It was such a fun weekend to just get away and spend some time together!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Straight out of a Cartoon

Yesterday afternoon, Brandon sent me a text message that completely caught me off guard.

So later he came to my office on his way home to tell me the story and it goes something like this...

He was working out at one of the leases his company has close to town, cleaning it up and just working on routine maintenance. He was using a chain saw to cut down a mesquite bush that was right next to a couple of tanks. The tanks sit up on stilts to elevate them from the ground, and under those tanks were two "giant" hornets nests. Also under those tanks was a fairly large nest of those hornets that live in the ground.. I don't know what they're called.

Brandon is cutting away at this mesquite bush that is literally growing next to the tanks and would get in the way if they were to just let it grow. He gets one limb down and it falls slightly under the tanks. As he's starting to cut the next limb, one with an even bigger wasps nest (which he couldn't see), the ground hornets come at him, full-force and hit him in the side and back of the head. As he reached to pull them off, he felt something on his chest and noticed he had a ton of wasps on his shirt and shorts. He flung them off and took off running because the second wave of hornets, the ones with the "giant" nests could sense the stress in the air and were joining in the fight.

I imagine it looking something like this...

minus the Disney looking guy.. and adding some pasture with cactus.

He said he ran close to a quarter of a mile zig-zagging through the pasture, jumping anything in his path to get away. They finally dispersed and he had to make his way back to the chainsaw slowly because every once in a while, one would come fly a circle around him.

I didn't get an actual count of how many stings he had because the bulk of them were from the wasps and he wasn't kidding when he said they don't really do anything to him. They just disappeared to be little dots by the time I saw him. The hornet ones in his head were the only ones he said hurt, but he wasn't about to complain about them! ha! He did say, however that he pulled a lot of stingers out of his hat and shirt.. they had stung him, but they couldn't make it through the material to his skin.

My response was, "Well thank God you wear clothes to work or this would have been terrible!" good one, Kelly. He laughed at me and then we got up to leave.

Yesterday we were going to officially begin our house searching process by going to see a house with a realtor, but we pulled the plug at the last minute. We don't actually have a realtor for ourselves, but through information and advice from a friend, we decided not to have the same realtor that's listing the house show it to us. I know nothing about real estate and don't claim to, but something about trying to offer a lower price and it being more difficult to bargain down with the realtor that is going to see the profit no matter what and the fact that they want as much as they can get.. I don't know. But we are going to talk to a realtor that Brandon knows here in town that is from a different agency and we'll go from there!

Have a Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Best Ways to Battle the Heat

It's hot. There's no other way to put it. Every summer, Texas undergoes a daily battle with the heat and this summer is no different. Sometimes it blows me away to look at the temperature on my mirror in my car. The other day I was driving home from work and this is what I saw...

Now, that's borderline ridiculous! But what better way to battle the heat than at the pool? Friday after work, I spent some time at the pool with Carly, one of my YoungLife girls and it was a blast!

Well, hello Carly!

Notice the hat.. not only is it for fashion (hehe), but it's shielding my face from the scorching sun. I used to stay out in the sun all day everyday in the summers and kept my tan lines year round as a result. Now, I'm older, wiser, and I have a job so my skin can at times seem blinding and it doesn't have near the stamina it used to at deflecting a bright red sunburn. So I opted for the floppy hat to at least cover my face and chest. After about 3 hours, I had to tell Carly I was done--if I stayed out much longer I was going to be burnt like yesterday's toast. This is also a new thing for me, I used to stay at the pool as long as I possibly could even making my family bring me dinner and a change of clothes as they picked me up on their way to grandma's when I was little. Now, I'm trying to see how long I can actually stand it out in the sun!

So I took myself home to enjoy a nice cool shower and a 2 hour nap! Later that night, my parents came in town for the weekend and Brandon and I met them at Outback for dinner. We never go to Outback and I wasn't really sure why, but now I remember..

Anyway, the reason my parent's were in town was for my baptism!

Being raised in the Episcopal church, I was sprinkled as a baby and then confirmed in the eighth grade. The thought of being immersed never crossed my mind until I transferred to private Christian school in high school--and then it became almost a sense of rebellion. Through high school I never had it actually said to me that I was not saved because I hadn't been immersed, I knew that's what some people thought. What I found was that most of those people had been told by 'the church' that immersion was required for salvation and if it wasn't, why risk it?

That is was I didn't like about it. No one could give me a solid reason for why it was so important, just that they weren't willing to risk it, and I was not smart walking on that thin line--I might as well just get it over with. I turned away from it and decided that wasn't what my faith was about. In my teenage rebellion, I decided I wasn't going to do things because 'the church' said it was what I needed to do. I wasn't going to do things and make decisions just so I didn't risk it. I wanted to have a purpose and a reason behind those things that I did so that in the case that I met someone like myself with questions, I would have answers, and answers that we backed by scripture.

My Freshman year at ACU, my parent's joined a new church in Houston and because neither of them had been baptized by immersion (my Dad raised Catholic and my Mom raised Episcopalian) they were asked, as representatives of their church to be unified in baptism and to follow the example Christ Himself gave and be immersed. They agreed and through prayer, decided it was time for them to die to themselves and to become new in Him. I was there at the service when they were baptized and I watched in a sense of confusion. I was still under that sense of rebellion. I had rebelled from the thought of that by the environment I was in and the friends I had surrounded myself in from high school. I couldn't understand exactly why they had chosen to be immersed.

From that moment on, I slowly gained a knowledge of what it meant to be immersed, and more specifically, what it meant to me. I knew it was something I was probably going to have to do if I was ever going to become a member at a church other than the Episcopal church, but I wanted it to be while I was at the church I wanted to place membership at. All through College, I loved going to Beltway, and I knew what they believed was what I believed and had believed since that rebellion in high school, but I never thought I was going to be staying in Abilene. Little did I know, I was going to get married, live here, and fall in love with this city. So to me, this baptism wasn't about checking off all the required things I needed to do before I could become a member. It wasn't even completely about following Christ's example (which, was definitely a big part, don't worry). It was about me getting over my pride. Letting go of my rebellion I had in high school and showing that it's not about me, but about Him and only HIM. It was my symbolic release of those things I had held on to and fought for, for so long, with no real reason.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Matthew 3:16-17

With no further ado, here's some pictures!

There were a TON of fish and they were nibbling on me the whole time! Hence, the strange faces.

What better person to baptize me than the man who is the spiritual head of our new household, my wonderful husband!

"This is my Daughter, whom I love; with her I am well pleased."

How's that for battling the heat?
Thanks for making it to the end of this long post!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I love Baseball!

I wrote before how Brandon and I have been going to some Little League baseball games to watch his boss' son, Wes play on the all stars team and we love it! Last night we got to go to another game, but unfortunately they lost.. Here are some pictures of Wes in action!

While we're watching the game, I get so stressed out for the kids when things are going wrong.. I mean, I don't do anything embarrassing, but still.. I'm going to be so stressed out when it's our kid out there!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Remember the Alamo!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July weekend! Brandon and I spent the weekend at the lake with his family, and it was a blast! One of the little cousins had made a replica of the Alamo for school this year and saved it to 'blow up with fireworks' so all weekend, we would hear a black cat go off and then kids yelling, "REMEMBER THE ALAMO!!!"

This weekend we watched people start 3 different fires, and when I say fires, I mean big ones where the fire truck had to help out. Mostly it was the cattails that were igniting but it sure did give us a show from across the lake. The next door neighbors however, decided they were done so they put all of their hot firework trash into a 5 gallon bucket and went inside. Within minutes, it went up in flames and one of Brandon's uncles had to go down there and throw it in the lake--the neighbors had no idea!

We also had a 6 year old pyromaniac, Carson. You may remember him as the sweet little boy in a tux as the ring bearer in our wedding.

Isn't he just so sweet and innocent looking with his cousin Abby? That was when he was 5...

This is him at 6... (with the Alamo)

Here, all the boys joined in for the fun..

At Mimi and Papa's house, we all write our names on our cups so we don't go through so many (I mean there were 17 of us). I came inside looking for my cup and found this..

On the other side it said Trey (the oldest of the younger cousins) I thought it was pretty funny.

Apparently the kids have a competition with the "blue house" across the lake every year to see who has the best fireworks show. As we were out on the lake Saturday we kept seeing them bring down trailers full of fireworks and set them up on the lawn to get ready for the show. The boys didn't stand a chance with the thousands of dollars spent across the way, but it sure did leave us with a good show!

The best part was the boys kept saying on Sunday that they 'poned' the blue house ('poned'' is their way of saying 'owned' or 'beat' --it must be a Dallas thing, or they just made it up).

Last 4th of July, Brandon and I had found this shirt at Bealls for like $2 and he wore it when we were in Colorado, right after we had gotten engaged. Well, we had to make sure it made its Graham debut with the family, so it go packed and was worn all weekend. What we forgot though was that when he lived in Snyder, Bridger had gotten mad because she was in her kennel and pulled it in there to eat all but two of the buttons off of it! He still made it work though! We took Mimi out on the boat for a ride, but then the sand bass started running and Brandon couldn't resist! He caught 17 in less than 15 minutes!

This was only my second time on the boat since he's had it for about a month and a half, and he even let me take a picture of us!

And this was the sunset that we watched from the boat with some of the kiddos and Mimi. I just love how it reflects off the water!

When we go to the lake there is a lot of eating, fishing, swimming, laying out, and water sports. I tried my efforts at knee boarding again and was able to successfully do a full 360 about 5 or 6 times! I was so proud! One of the funniest things about that was the time I wiped out about a third of the way across the lake but in front of our dock and Bridger was so concerned she swam all the way out to check on me with Jeff, one of the cousins, on her tail trying to catch her. We had to put her on the knee board and pull her back in to get her to leave... so Bridger did a little knee boarding too!

The older boys did a little bit of wakeboarding, which I wish I knew how to do, but have just never tried it.. Here's my little brother-in-law, Kirk doing a jump.

And here's my husband landing a jump!

This one is a pretty cool picture with the silhouette of Brandon.. doesn't he look good?

Everytime we go to the lake, Bridger wears herself out and will sleep for a full week to recover. This was just from Friday and we didn't get there until about 3:00. She was already tired and taking the attention she could get from Abby.

On the way home, she slept the whole way, except when we slowed down in a town, so I reached back and scratched her favorite spot.. Look at those eyes.. and that paw!

That's just about sums up our weekend!