Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve 2009

Right when I flew into Midland we made a quick trip for Christmas Eve dinner to Big Spring with the Stewart family. I have been waiting to meet my "nephew," Trooper for seven months now. He was the life of the party. He's a huge baby already at an early age. So much fun! Stephanie and I take a picture posed like this every year. We decided to add Trooper to the legacy.

An aerial view of the fun. We had tables set up throughout and everyone dined on all kinds of good food and hung out. As a tradition at each table Ina gives us ornaments for the next year.

Dad, Brenda, Me

Stephanie, Quintinn and I have been friends for 24 years. We didn't get a picture with Stephanie's husband, but maybe we will include him next year! We did add Trooper!

These are two of my stepsister's three children, Malachi & Aaliyah ... They are a handful! Malachi is in the phase where he loves sports and guns! Aaliyah is very smart and loves to show off her skills to her brother.

Every year we take a picture of these handsome fellas in the same positions. Jimmy & Howard are brothers... Dad is like the missing brother!

Santa was nice enough to bring all of the kids bikes. Xander had never ridden a tall bike like this so he kept falling off. I was laughing pushing him around. He didn't think it was so funny. While we rode around Malachi shot us with his new Nerf gun.

Trooper is trying to eat Aunt Julie.

I'm an only child. We love to open lots of gifts. This year my family wanted to make me domesticated. I came to this conclusion after opening many kitchen items! I am so excited about personalized kitchen sets, wine bottle holders and all kinds of other kitchen items. I got a lot of neat things this year, but I mainly remember the fun things I gave instead of received!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The 2009 Wrap Up

I saw a hilarious song performed on Jay Leno about Christmas letters. The gals sang that no one cares about your year and we all know your year was better than ours and we don't care that your cat is eating solid foods or your son loves math. I laughed along with the singers, but alas, I still send this hello to you. Our lives often get so fast paced that we forget to update everyone and we depend on Facebook to connect. You can probably follow my every move on Facebook, but this brings more of a personal touch and a bit of love where you know I am thinking of you as I write this and though you may not care about my "exciting" year, I'm from Only Child Land and feel it is still fun to share! Mine comes complete with photos, too!

As we look back at 2009 somehow it seems like a blur and somehow it seems like forever. My life changed in many ways as it does every year. I began the year with a new job and a new place of living in Dallas. I am now doing Marketing for Lincoln Property Company in Las Colinas. I miss reporting almost every day and I miss the spotlight more than anything, but at this time it's about having a foundation and having money to spend. One day I might get back into news when/if I move to Lubbock, but for now this is where God wants me. I got the job because I saw my elementary school principal, some of you remember Jean Broughton, while I was skiing in Ruidoso... She introduced me to her son who come to find out after I sent in my resume is the National Vice President of LPC! Wow... God was working that day. I enjoy my co-workers and I enjoy going to work so it's a winning situation.

Nick Gray has put up with me now almost two years. We have been through a lot in that time. Me both losing and gaining a job, him starting a new business, losing four grandparents, attending a million weddings... It's been a ride. He is amazing and we enjoy our time together. His family and mine have become close and his parents have become like another family to me. They live in Lake Highlands in Dallas so we go over there often to visit. Nick is busy working with his own clients and beautifying his house in Plano. We have had a fun year traveling. We went skiing at his parents' cabin in Ruidoso for Valentines, attended three Texas Tech football games in Houston, Lubbock & Dallas, drove to my family reunion in Brownwood... and we're always on board for weddings! Nick also graduated from Texas Tech so he is a die hard fan and spends his Saturdays watching football alllll day. We have yet to understand why one loves sappy love stories while the other loves sports and more sports. We have had our trials finding a church home as he was raised Catholic and I was raised Baptist. We have been attending The Heights Baptist in Richardson for almost a year and we find it a good balance. We don't know yet if it is our true home, but we like the preacher and have wonderful friends there.

Nick's beloved dog/child, Shiner

Texas Tech vs. University of Houston - Houston

Adams Family Reunion - Brownwood (Poor city boy doesn't know what hit him at my reunions!)

Skiing for Valentines Day - Ruidoso

Decades Party - Sarah Cohen's House

Kacie & Brian's Wedding - Grapevine

Nick, Brenda, Dad- Chandra McBee Brooks' Wedding - Grapevine

Nick's Mom, Dianne, His Dad, Jim and my Dad & Brenda - January 2009

Texas Tech vs. Baylor - Dallas Cowboys Stadium

Nick, His mom, Dianne - Halloween

Texas Tech vs. A & M - Lubbock with the Davis and King Family

Dad and Brenda are living it up in Midland. They are crazy conquistadors that just last year went on about five trips all around the US. Brenda got her a three wheeled trike and tries to be a Harley woman... but, she needs some tattoos and tough leather before I'll give her a true Harley stamp! Dad built her a home for the trike and they often take joy rides! Brenda's son, Steven and his wife welcomed their second baby girl this year. She is growing and so much fun. My three year old niece, Rylie is into Barbies now so she is making Auntie Jules very happy following in my footsteps of reigning the Barbie Kingdom! We all went to Oklahoma to visit the Corn family this Thanksgiving in their new home. Brenda's daughter, Alyssa and her three children moved back to Texas this year and we are glad they are finally back where they belong! Alyssa is working as a nurse in a mental retardation home while Steven is coaching and his wife, Ashley is teaching! My mom's brother, Mike left his job as a pro tennis player in Dallas to live with Grandmommy in Snyder. Mike is now a pro at a Country Club in Abilene and Grandmommy likes the company of Mike and his cat in her home.

Brenda & Dad - Chevron Texaco Christmas Party

Ashley, Steven, Rylie, Dad at The Galleria when they all came to visit Dallas

Rylie - Dallas

Steven & Ashley's Girls, Saige & Rylie

Dad - Chandra's Wedding

Brenda with all her grandkids: Rylie, Aaliyah, Malachi, Xander & Saige

Dad & Brenda went with Nick, his dad and I to the Texas Tech vs. Baylor game at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium!

My protege/cousin, D'Layna is growing so much that I may have to make her a bridesmaid instead of a flowergirl by the time I get married! - Adams Family Reunion at Lake Brownwood

In Dad's letter he mentioned those we lost. We lost one of our family patriarch's, Judith last February the same day Mom passed away eight years to the day. Then we lost Dad's stepmother, Rae. One thing that came from losing Rae was getting closer to Dad's stepsister and her family who live up North. It was wonderful to connect and get to know more of the family. Rae was laid to rest next to Grandaddy in Snyder. I have had a very hard time with the loss of one of my very best lifelong friends, Sarah Smith. Sarah passed away suddenly of unexplained causes as her mother found her home motionless. The doctors say it could have been a brain aneurysm. She had called me a few times the night before she passed... I didn't answer as I had answered many times before... Sarah enjoyed staying up late and had nursing hours as she was a nurse in Big Spring at the time so she would call as she knew I would talk to her in the middle of the night, but that night I was so sleepy... Many of my classmates flew to the funeral and we all said our goodbyes to our dear friend. It has been hard and confusing and we all just miss her so much. We also lost a sorority sister, Melissa Brinker at the young age of 29 to a believed heart attack. I've been to six funerals in two years... it's tough. The word I always use to explain these losses: Speechless.

Grandaddy & Rae - 1991 Christmas

Sarah Celeste Smith - This was taken when Sarah visited Dallas in 2008

We celebrated the union of many friends this year. My very best friend since childhood, Chandra McBee Brooks married Michael in April. I was fortunate enough to be one of her bridesmaids.

Chandra McBee Brooks

I guess I was really excited Chandra and Michael got married?

Chandra's Bachelorette Party - Gaylord Texan in Grapevine

My good friend from Texas Tech, Kacie Rowland Griffith married Brian in January!

Kacie's Favorite Texas Tech Pals

Kacie's Bachelorette Party - Downtown Dallas

There you go! The rest of life is about the same... About always staying busy and enjoying every single day. I am involved with the Texas Tech Alumni Association and the Kappa Delta Alumni Association. I also am an advocate for The American Heart Association and the Foundation for Fighting Blindness. I have a personal connection with both organizations and try to give of my time to help the fight.

Foundation for Fighting Blindess VisionWalk in Dallas - We are sponsored by Southwest Airlines. We laughed the entire time that it was a day to remember as it poured rain on us the entire walk!

Other exciting events of the year... 27th Birthday Party at BlackFinn in Addison... I'm getting old.

Two of my best friends growing up finally figured out they are soulmates and are getting married next summer! Blair Nutting & Lauren Fraser...

I don't go out much, but these girls are my favorites... We call ourselves the WWW because we try to go out for Working Women's Wednesday once a month... or once every three months with everyone's insane lives! We are all friends from college...

One of our sorority sisters moved to Seattle so when came to visit we had a mini Kappa Delta Pledge Class 2000 Reunion!!!

My next door neighbor growing up, Gabe came back from serving overseas so we had a party to welcome him back... Pictured is my best guy friend/brother, Cody, Gabe and his wife, Heather

And I'll leave you with one picture to summarize the trend of the entire year...


As always I am truly blessed with amazing family and friends. I pray God has a wonderful year ahead for you and your family. Thank you for being a part of my life and may God bless you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Almost Christmas!

Things are such a whirlwind right now as they always are at Christmas! I enjoy each day... I shop, workout, shop some more... eat cookies... I just love it. I spent many hours today perfecting my Christmas card online and should get them out this week. I send way too many, but I just get so excited!!! I decided this year for the card for Nick and I to take pictures with his beloved dog, Shiner... Well, his dad is a photographer on the side so I thought it'd be cool if he took some snapshots of us... We get to Nick's parents' that night and an entire lighting system and backdrop are set up!!! Jim made us take pictures by ourselves, too... then he made his brother come in there and put on a good shirt to take pictures by himself!!! He was loving it. We took a lot and it was fun. I didn't feel as if I was looking my best, but oh well... We can't win them all! People keep making fun of us for taking pictures together saying we are getting married... For the record - NO TIME SOON!!! I wish... but, we don't know where our professional lives are leading and Nick is only 25 so we both need to let parts of us grow before that step... He jokes he wants to be like Goldie and Kurt... umm... yeah... noooo.

Saturday night we had a few parties to go to, but my favorite was hanging out with my Big Spring friends! Blair was excited he bought a real tree so we all went over to his house... I got to see Lauren's parents and Josh's parents... and I finally got to see Lauren's ring! James and his wife, Hamilton, Cody... all there... all treasured friends from my childhood to now. We played games and ate a lot and just talked... That is my idea of a little piece of Heaven. I just truly love being places where you can feel the love.

Lauren - Friends since first grade

Cody, Blair, James - We took this picture to show our old Student Council teacher, Mrs. R because we literally spent two years all together as officers... Here's a flashback ten years ago (Jon lives far away, Mike lives in Phoenix and Heddy lives in Midland, but atleast you got four of us together!)...

Tonight we celebrated Nick's mom's birthday. I baked her a cake... and it was very sad. I didn't have measuring cups at work where I was making it (Hey, it was last minute) so I threw in the oil and water... a lot of it... It was a bit mushy in the middle, but the outside was yummy! The other day I started a fire on the stove making eggs... Man... I am not Donna Reed.

Toast to this week... Three more Christmas parties... I just totally love it.