Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Vacation

The magic of Christmas was definitely swirling around us following our engagement. I was beyond excited the parents were coming in town. Dad and Brenda got here Sunday and we headed to the Gray household for their night of fun on Christmas Eve. They host a LOT of family so we feel like little chipmunks in the midst of a zoo! It's so enjoyable to just chat and hang out. The best part was the little boy that always reads the Christmas story - he did it by memory this year! That was just too cool.

This is when they were announcing our engagement. I love our faces here.
Telling the Christmas story

Dianne, Jim, Granny Merle, Justin, Nick, Julie

 We opened gifts there then came to my apartment to open our gifts. I always say we give a lot of gifts... this year Brenda says I got 34. Sounds crazy, but one of those gifts might be coffee and the other might be a t-shirt. It's just fun to open. My biggest gifts were a Keurig and a little sewing machine. Love it! Nick's mom made me this adorable pillow with my family and his family when we were around the same age. Very special. Nick got me a neat video recorder so I don't have to use my phone! We had such a good time listening to music and opening gifts. Oh, did I mention, I got sick that weekend so I sort of felt a little out of it. I tried to not let it stop me. Chewy, the parents new doggy came, and she is precious.

Nick and I had Christmas morning with his family and Granny. We opened gifts and watched a part of "The Christmas Story" then headed to Oklahoma. It began to sleet and snow on us about halfway there so we had to drive about 45 mph. Dad and Brenda had gone ahead. We had a blast in Oklahoma with my family. It was snowy so we played with my nieces in the snow a little watched my stepbrother, Steven burn everything in this fire pit because they hadn't picked up the trash. He had too much fun! Christmas night Ashley's family came and we all had a big meal and enjoyed life. I slept with Rylie and Nick slept in a bed on the floor. Well, I couldn't find Rylie so I turned on the lights and she was asleep on the actual floor. I picked her up and asked her what she was doing, She says, "You were taking my covers so I went to sleep on the other bed, but Nick was on there, so I just slept on the floor." Pretty good logic there. We had a really nice relaxing time with the family. My favorite place to be.

You can see the snowball Rylie is throwing at me in the air. How mean.
Dad's New Ipad
Jumping on the trampoline in snow

Saige & Rylie

Steven & Ashley
Tea Party
We all headed back and hit some wedding venues. My Dad and Brenda were so kind to go look with me. They truly go above and beyond. Nick is very involved as well. I don't want to get into all that because this is about Christmas! I was really sad when Dad and Brenda left. We had such a great time. It's so nice just to be with family away from your own little world for a while. Of course, you know you have to always go back to the real world, but it's such a vacation in a sense. Watching Nick play tea parties with the girls and learning to sew from Brenda was such a highlight. Jesus is the reason for the season, and as I lay my head down after everyone had gone home and I was just me again, I talked to Him a long time telling him how thankful I am for such amazing blessings.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Proposal


The little girl dreams of being a princess one day. She dreams of her knight rescuing her from all of the dragons in the land. Somehow he does after she travels along the broken roads and the hills of horror. Oh, the journey is never over, it's only just begun.

The date was December 22, 2012. I woke up with a cold coughing and wheezing. I knew I had a big date that night so I had to work out and get beautiful. Nick tells me what time to be ready and just to look cute for the first event. He takes me to the new Ross Perot Museum. The exhibits wind and lurch as you touch each exhibit and it springs to life. We are both amazed at everything we are learning throughout the museum. After this he lets me go home and get dressed ready for tonight's adventure. He takes me to Bob's Steak and Chop House. Knowing I do not like steak, he promises me some scrumptious seafood. The atmosphere is perfect as we eat our meals. He has prime rib and I have Chilean sea bass. He keeps telling me we are going far out of town so my mind is wandering. Finally as we leave we travel down the streets of historic Grapevine downtown. The magic of Christmas whips around me and I am smiling. We arrive at the Gaylord Texan.

We walk through the middle of the Gaylord looking at everything and Nick is leading me to Gaylord Ice. I ask him how he knows where it is as he has never been before. He tells me he went many years ago. I find out this is one of the first "lies" of the night. We get down to it, but he decides since I am sick it won't be a good idea so I say, "Let's go take pictures." I love pictures so if I am ever down, just pose in a picture with me and all is well again. We find a fun sleigh we had seen before. Nick tells me that my camera isn't "good enough" and he is going to get a professional. I wait for about 15 minutes wondering what the heck he is doing. Finally he has a girl in tow with him. We get in the sleigh posing and smiling.


 He jumps over me to get out which I thought nothing of. As I step down the stairs, he gets on his knee. "What are you doing?" "Julie, you know you're the love of my life. Will you spend the rest of your life with me?" I think I said yes. All I know is I saw a sparkling ring and quickly slipped it on my own finger! The photographer is snapping away at this point. I am laughing and turning bright red. People are clapping. Nick is hugging me. I am shaking. I don't cry, I shake. It's just me! As we follow the photographer to retrieve our photos, Nick says, "Do you see the middle of the ring? It is your mother's diamond?" He specially designed the ring with his godfather who is a jeweler in Dallas.


He tells me of all of the behind-the-scenes stories as we stand in line. I called Dad and Brenda first. I said, "Well, I got my ring." Dad says, "Oh, you did, what ring?" I know he knows. He says he is very happy for us and he loves me dearly. Then I call my best friend, Chandra. I send out a million texts, my phone dies so I cannot call anyone else. Nick asks me if I remember my sister in law asking me about my ring size for a "jewelry party" she was having. Lie! Andrea asked me what rings I liked and where I pinned them on Pinterest because Nick had her on a special assignment I found out. Nick and his buddies had been to Gaylord scouting it all out the week before! Nick called my dad one night late to ask him when it just hit him, maybe God told him to, we don't know. Many of our families and best friends were in on it and I am quite surprised no one slipped.

Surreal to say the least, the princess slips on her ring.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Pictures, Parties & Pandemonium

They say it will feel like the holidays in a few hours when the cold front hits. Dad's knees are an even better indicator as he can hardly walk today. We have hit the season full speed. I try to relish every day of it. Each night I am busy either shopping for others, working out or attending a holiday function. Staying at home cozying up is not an option! Okay... I lie... Friday night I was so sleepy I went out in search for one of dad's gifts, came home when I couldn't find it, and hit the bed by 10.

Last night we had two parties. The first was Kacie's surprise 30th. So much fun. I think she knew about it a little, but she was still shaking. It was mainly our little group that hangs out a lot, her sisters and their church friends. Nick and I decided to take Christmas photos to send out in cards just wherever we could... I wrestled with figuring out a dress and truthfully it wasn't my favorite choice that made the photos, but ya had to see the entire cute outfit! It was too hot for Nick to wear his argyle sweater I wanted him to match me! Anyway... we had fun trying to get the right poses, too!!! At the party we watched the Heisman in the middle of it! We are sooo wild!!!

Jana, Julie, Andrea, Kacie, Raelyn

Showing me how to correctly pose
Andrea, Kacie, Jana
Then we went to Sean & Karen's house... They live right down the block from Nick about two miles away in Plano. We ate and hung out and laughed until after midnight. There were little kids there so Nick had a blast running around with them. My best friend, Cody and his girlfriend, Kristy were there so we got to hang out with them, too! The best kind of nights. We had such a nice time!!!

Nick, Cody, Julie

"Don't pose like that!"

Cody being cool, Nick posing like me
Kristy & Cody

Santa hats rock

 I know the holidays are about Jesus and family and love. My favorite things!!! Absorb every minute because it's magical.