Nov 30, 2012

Christmas List of Wonders

So after posting the Summer List of Wonders a few years ago, I figured a nice list was in order for the Christmas season. A list of all the things I want to do this season that I think would probably get forgotten if not written down somewhere. I guess it seems like Christmas flies right by sometimes and I say, "oh man I wish we could have done this, or that" or I talk to someone about their Christmas and I think "oh yes we would love to do something like that next year." Mostly though this time of year gets so hectic sometimes with the shopping and busyness so I figured a little list of all things old tradition, new tradition, and good times slowing down and having fun with wonderful people would be a good idea.

Trying to get ideas I googled the idea of a "Christmas To Do List" and apparently everyone and their mom had the same idea to make a list. Who knew? Some people are all about the planning and wrapping and getting things all organized, some are just really cute little printable lists. I don't care, I'm still making one... :)

Like this busy, organized one
Or this cute printable one

So here it goes. The Christmas List of Wonders. Let's see what we can do before the twenty-fifth.

(In no particular order. Maybe there should be an order, like priorities, but then it would be too much like work and not enough like Christmas...)

1. Watch some good Christmas Movies. Like the good ones: Elf, Miracle on 34th Street (the old one), A Charlie Brown Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, Home Alone (both of them), and of course those cute little claymation movies like Rudolph. We already watched White Christmas so we're one step ahead in the Christmas musical department.

2. Attend a local Christmas play or concert. Lucky for us, our good little friend Jonah, will be Tiny Tim in the local playhouse's version of A Christmas Carol this year. I can't wait to see him on stage, or to see the play, and to support the local theater.

3. Drive around town checking out all the Christmas lights. This year we're on a mission to check out the local Santa Land. I drive past it every day on my way to work and on my way home. I've always wondered about what goes on inside the woods of the Santa Land drive through lights, and I've heard a few stories that have me even more intrigued. This year we're going, after we told Kyle's family about it at Thanksgiving they insisted we check it out and report back.

4. Host a Gingerbread Cookie Party (and not burn the cookies like last year). Really we've hosted a party or two every Christmas we've been married where we convince our friends to come over and decorate cookies with us. I love the excuse to eat way too many cookies.

5. Decorate the house: tree, lights, and all. Around the Hess house, sometimes the outside gets lights and the tree has always gone up. But I feel like I need to put it on the list so it's something we make sure to have fun doing.

6. Give. I want to figure out a good way to give this season. Time or money or whatever is needed. I'm not sure where or when yet. Maybe making something special for our 93-year-old neighbor, who knows?

7. Take Christmas Pictures! I want to get out the fancy camera and take some fancy pictures of me and Kyle. We don't really send out a bunch of cards or anything, but maybe I'll make a Christmas card on the blog or something...

8. Attend at least one Christmas party. We've got a few options already: the Sunday School Class party, the 2nd Annual Cookie Exchange. But we want to make sure to make it to at least one, or two... to be festive you know. And because I love Christmas cookies and party snack food.

9. Send a few Christmas letters or make a few Christmas calls. Catching up with some of the friends and family that are far away, reminding them about how much I love them or how funny I think they are.

10. Read the Christmas Story. Not the one about Ralphie and the leg lamp, but the one about Jesus. You know, the reason for the season. The story's in the Bible in the books of Luke and Matthew but most people tend to read the story in Luke because it's got the most details. Here's a link to the story if you want to read it, so you don't even have to look it up. It's an incredible story really, the savior of the world born outside of an inn with the cows and everything. That Mary sure was a trooper.

To be honest, we've already started the Christmas-ing. We're ready to host some of our Colorado friends this weekend, and we saw A Christmas Carol last night. That Jonah stole the show! Highly recommended, if you're in the area there is a show tonight (Friday), Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon at the Lake Country Playhouse (Select Theater) in Mineola!

Happy Christmas-ing!

Nov 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Rewind

We spent our Thanksgiving (and Black Friday) in Oklahoma this year with Kyle's family. Tons of family, tons of food, and really, leftovers for days. It was very yummy. I didn't quite get a picture of all the food, but I made sure to take a picture of my addition to the feast: Jeweled Fruit. We have it with my family at every holiday, it's kind of amazing. And it's a great way to sneak dessert into the main meal... Great way to bring a little of my family to Oklahoma, too.

But after the feasting we discovered an enormous pile of leaves in the neighbor's yard. The kiddos out there had been raking all day. Then they were running and jumping in it. The picture doesn't do it justice. It was huge.

So we decided we'd take the Hess Family picture right in front of the huge leave pile. But there were so many Hesses (or Keys or Malthaners) that the pile of leaves got a little hidden. Also, I apologize for the insane amount of hair and hair poof I have in this picture... I fixed it on the run and the neighbor girl said it looked great. #timeforahaircut

Then we tried to get the Key kiddos in a pic. I hate to post "bad" pictures of any kid, but the progression here is hilarious, if you know these kiddos it makes it even better.

Then just a few more leave pictures. Because playing in a massive leave pile is just what you do on Thanksgiving. At least I remember doing that in Little Rock a few times. This one I think is my favorite.

Or maybe this one...

Or maybe this one. Too many favorites.

So then we went on a family bike ride. I was impressed by the number of bikes available for adults to ride. I was also impressed by the fact that we got to ride to the Seven Eleven to get Icees or at least Seven Eleven brand Icees. I worked off my turkey and replaced it with Icee. Totally worth it.

The leaf monster road bikes too. But we ended Thanksgiving with the Black Friday shopping, the Nebraska game and the LSU game on Friday, pedicures with the ladies and the OU game on Saturday, and Pizza Shuttle, don't forget the Pizza Shuttle. Headed back to good ole Texas in time for the work week.

Good times in Oklahoma for Thanksgiving. And now Christmas begins...

And a shout out to Caralie, birthday girl. Who I had a crazy weird dream about last night that involved shopping malls. Happy 26th Birthday to You... we're getting old.

Nov 26, 2012

Technical Difficulties

For those of you looking for Monday's post, we're having a few technical difficulties. Trying to figure the problem out soon. Hope to have everything up and running again in time for Wednesday's post.

In the meantime, decorate for Christmas, have peppermint ice cream, watch lots of Christmas movies...

Nov 23, 2012

Black Friday 2012

So I actually wrote a post ahead of time about Black Friday, then after it happened I realized I'd have to write up the real story.

First of all we're up in Oklahoma. So if you're saying that "you should be spending time with the family on Thanksgiving," you don't know the Hesses, lol. Spending time with the family on Black Friday means heading out to the stores together, fighting the crowds, yelling at each other across the store, cheering one another on, holding a place in line. It's hilarious, it's family time, and we did it big two years ago last time we were here.

The stores opened early and while everyone was saying "oh they open so early," we were saying, "wow we can get in and out of the stores and then get back to sleep at a decent hour." It was kind of incredible.

So to give you the best representation of how things went, I thought I'd share my texts to my brother last night. He's known me since I was born, so poor thing he usually has to suffer through any situation I have to suffer through via text message. Mostly because I can hear him laughing even though I can't really here him.

The sales started at 8pm at Walmart and there were lines starting for some of the items going on sale for 10pm.

8:32pm Brit to Jared: So I'm sitting in a line at Walmart lol I'll be here until they give me a special tag when the sale starts ... at ten pm. I told Kyle to go find me a book in the store to read.

8:36pm Brit to Jared: The line is in the auto section ... So I'm starting at cans of fix a flat. Wouldn't be a better time to have an iphone.

8:37pm Brit to Jared: And the teenagers next to me are talking about making deals making deliveries splitting cash and hiding whatever it is they're selling...

8:39pm Brit to Jared: Yep. Something that comes in bags. They are totally drug dealers. And fifteen. Or maybe sixteen because I guess they drove here.

(Note: I can't confirm they were breaking the law... just for anyone who says "you should report them." Maybe they were delivering pizzas... in bags.)

8:41pm Brit to Jared: I think they're taking bets on if I'm under or over 40. But I hope I misunderstood. :(

(Note: To clear that one up, I'm under 30...)

8:42pm Jared to Brit: Hahaha sounds like you're having quite a time! You shoulda brought your camera. Don't get drug into their mess. You'd hate to get arrested!

8:42pm Jared to Brit: They think you look forty?! They must be on drugs.

(Note: That's my brother... making me feel good :)

8:44pm Brit to Jared: I know. I have my skinny jeans on, my LSU sweatshirt and even my cool yellow flats. Maybe it's my phone ... :)

(Note: this is my phone:
8:45pm Jared to Brit: Haha maybe that's it!

8:45pm Jared to Brit: We're playing spoons and someone just drew blood! My finger is bleeding!

(Not: My brother was at home in Louisiana. Not sitting in the auto department of Walmart.)

8:50pm Brit to Jared: Oh man. I'm in a store full of crazy shoppers and you're the one who is bleeding lol.

8:55pm Jared to Brit: Haha let's hope you don't bleed tonight.

8:57pm Brit to Jared: True. Ive seen both of these guys' moms come by. They were both in fancy workout clothes and in great shape. Makes since that they'd think I'm forty, lol.

(Note: Then my phone started to die. Had to stop updating Jared every few seconds. He was probably grateful. I knew if my phone died I may never find Kyle in all the crowds to get home...)

9:30pm Brit to Jared: Kyle brought me a Pioneer Woman cookbook to read. I think I'm going to survive.

9:39pm Brit to Jared: Hahaa I know you'll enjoy that!

(Note: I finished the cookbook pretty quick. And then I was hungry for anything with chipotle peppers. And then I went back to looking at this:

9:50pm Brit to Jared: A guy has been talking about himself for about 30 minutes ... He just compared himself and his life story to Babe Ruth... only ten more minutes.

9:58pm Jared to Brit: Hahaa.    Please.   Babe Ruth.

9:58pm Jared to Brit: Get Ready!!!

Then the line started to move. Then I got my life back. And then I returned to the crowds.

In bed before midnight and I'll say Black Friday Thursday was kind of relaxing. And for me at least, quite entertaining...

Much love to you all on Black Friday. I hope you're full of yummy turkey and dressing and read to see some good football today. As always, may the odds be ever in your favor (that is just so fitting in so many situations). Well, unless you're the Razorbacks, then may the odds be in our favor.

Happy Black Friday Thanksgiving!

Nov 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today we head up to Oklahoma for a Hess Family Thanksgiving. Guaranteed to be full of yummy food, happy kiddos, and Black Friday shopping... oh and football, we can't forget the football.

But I wanted to encourage you to really think about what you're thankful for this year. I think most years I say a little thanks on the day of, but this year I think I realize how much we really are blessed.

I was in our little kitchen cleaning up after hosting Bible study and I started to look around. One of the girls at Bible study hadn't seen our house yet, so I had the pleasure of giving her the house tour (which I love doing, by the way). So after every one had left I looked around our kitchen.

We have food, yummy food, like the ability to go to the store and buy whatever I want. Now, not all day every day or we'd go broke, but I can go to the store today and buy a turkey if I'd like or those yummy looking cupcakes in the bakery section without bouncing the check for the electricity.

I look around my little kitchen, and I know I talk about how I'd love to paint the cabinets and the flooring is very very retro, but we have a kitchen! Like we own a kitchen, that works and doesn't (usually) have bugs and we've even got a gas cooktop that I LOVE! (Well I guess the bank still owns part of the kitchen).

Although Kyle was out of town that night, I have a husband that, you guys, is the most incredible man that could have ever decided to marry me. Just this week he left me a note on the mirror when he left town, he did so many dishes, he cleaned up the house on his day off, he helped me make dinner, and then just the other night he helped me hang the gallery wall. Yep, me all "um, maybe the frame should go just a little bit to the left, oh not here, oops, maybe hang the frame a little more spaced" and him just helping along, or actually doing all the work while I "supervised." (Can't wait to show you the gallery wall!!)

I have family and friends who love me to death. I cannot tell you how fun it was last weekend to get to hang out with all of my siblings, and have fun (I feel like a lot of people can't really say they enjoy that, but we do!) I've got a job that I actually like going to, I'm healthy, and to top it off my hair has natural highlights, lol.

I have a God who loves me more than anyone ever will. Who paint the sky in sunsets and sunrises just for me sometimes, who teaches me in little and big ways how much I need to trust him because he is all love and all in control.

I know there are more things, and I'm thankful for them all. But I encourage you to stop in your kitchen sometime this week, while the house is filled with guests and dishes and pies or while the house is quiet and empty, and thank the Lord for all the things he's given you. Even if you spend more time wishing you had the Jones' Ikea, trendy, all stainless steel commercial grade kitchen... take a few minutes to love your own, your own kitchen, your own family or your own friends.

We said this as loud as we could with my kiddos at church on Sunday night, like yelled it to the tops of our lungs with hand motions and everything, lol:

Be joyful always, pray continually, Give Thanks in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

And of course, Happy Thanksgiving. And be careful out there all you Black Friday shoppers, it's a crazy world out there.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Hess House

Nov 19, 2012

Young House Love Book Signing in Dallas

So I've never met a famous person before. Well I guess I was very close to Daniel Radcliffe one time in NYC, but I didn't get to say anything to him because I was too busy pretending I saw his show on Broadway and taking pictures of him and my brother.

But then there was Saturday, where I stood in line for hours like a teeni-bopper with Beiber-fever to get a book signed. I was there to get a book signed called Young House Love by the one and only John and Sherry Petersik who write a blog by the same name Young House Love.

See I started off trying to read blogs over my lunch break. I tried like ten or twenty, and they've slowly dwindled down to by favorites.

Young House Love
Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
The Simple Dollar
Buffy Sunshine

I keep it well-rounded with people I actually know, people I've never met, DIY blog, cooking blog, finance blog. I'm still trying to figure out what they all have in common that makes me keep reading them. Because there were many that got passed over, that I guess I just wasn't motivated to read every day anymore.

So Young House Love stayed and I enjoy their blog. Feel free to check it out, I like their style, I like that they like to save money while spending money needed on quality items, and I like that they explain how to do things that I'd have no idea how to do correctly... most of all I think I like their story, the way they live life, things like that, like the way Sherry's wardrobe is rockin' but simple and how she can always wear her hair in a ponytail and look great. You'll see, we've got the proof.

So anyways me and my friend Tracey drove over to the West Elm in Dallas Saturday morning and stood in line with all the other Young House Lovers (I just made that up). The line wasn't bad, it was fun chatting it up with the other fans, and I don't think I realized how cool my friend Tracey was until we had hours in line to talk.

They even had hot chocolate, gingerbread, and fancy Young "House" "Love" cookies. Get it?

Can you tell we were having a good time? And don't we look so cute? After both agreeing that we shouldn't be worried about what we were wearing, Tracey texted me a few minutes before we left letting me know that she was having her husband approve her outfit. I told her that I had half my closet spread out on the bed trying to figure out how I could look "cute and a little put together without looking like I was trying too much." Right?

Once we saw John and Sherry through the window we realized we would need to figure out what we were going to say when we met them. I knew if I didn't have options planned that I would say, "love your husband, I mean blog, your daughter is pretty, I mean your house DIY, thanks you, take luck..." And I just knew I'd trip in front of them.  As we got further up in the line, I got a little nervous. And I told Tracey I was definately ridiculous for being nervous, they were just real people... who I know so much about and they don't know I exist... right? lol

So we had a plan, it was finally our turn, and it went something like this:

Us: Thanks so much, great to meet you.
Them: Great to me you guys.
Us: Are you enjoying Dallas?
Them: Yes, we stayed at a real nice hotel, the Omni?
Us: Oh yes, that one is real nice.
Us (Tracey): Were you (John) able to go running, Dallas has some great running spots?
Them: No, we didn't check a bag so we didn't have room for the running gear.
...chit chat...
Us: Great to meet you guys, we were trying to figure out what to say so we weren't so awkward.
Sherry: Oh, you seem so normal.
Us: Don't let us fool you.

There was more conversation after that, pictures taken. Doesn't Sherry look like she should be on a skin commercial? right?

Then Tracey tripped over a rug and almost died, and I laughed my loud/ugly laugh and about peed my pants... Once recovered, we signed their tour book, kind of like a little guest book for them.

Ignore the fact that I was trying to be all poetic. I'm already making fun of myself over here.

But it really was fun, good times with Tracey, great meeting John and Sherry. They really did seem as nice and genuine as they come across on their blog. It was like meeting an old friend, lol. I was a little worried that meeting them would be weird and then I'd have to find another blog to read or something crazy like that, but nope, all good times. They really were great.

And now I have a new book to read, look out house, we're ready to DIY this place.

Well, you know, after we get the Christmas tree up and then down and travel to Norman and Lake Charles and host a family camp counselor reunion and all... no big deal, right.

Good times. And if you love things DIY I highly recommend their blog. Although I guess that may mean you might stop reading mine... oops.

Happy Monday. Next time you have a chance, go meet a celebrity, even if you feel fifteen again, it's kind of worth it :)

Nov 16, 2012

Weekend in BR and the Campus Photo Tour

After a day like last Saturday, I was excited to be in BR for a few more days last weekend. Usually I'm running out at noon on Sundays, but thanks to the three day weekend I was staying for the party Sunday night. By "party" I mean good times with the fam, not an actual  party, anyways...

Church, lunch at Drew's Aunts' house, and then rolling to the mall. The Baton Rouge mall is a bit bigger than ours here in Tyler, lol. And it made for some good outdoor shots.

We roamed the mall, I found a great candle on sale at Bath & Body Works and I want to tell you about it so bad, but I want to surprise Kyle with it first!

Headed to Texas Roadhouse (apparently the Kingsley restaurant of choice) and us four kids, Drew and Aphra had a good time. I really do love hanging out with my brothers and sister. Jared talked about how we were growing up, and I told him I bet Mom and Dad are pretty impressed that we're "grown-up" and still like hanging out with each other...

One James Bond movie later and we were all exhausted from a great weekend. I will say I recommend the James Bond movie, mostly because I was actually able to follow the plot without asking anyone questions about what was happening, but it wasn't too predictable either. And I think Daniel Craig plays a good James Bond, although I guess technically I haven't really seen anyone else play James Bond.

Finished up the weekend on Monday morning with a trip to campus to shoot a few pics, play around and experiment with the camera, and capture some of the places I spent quite a bit of time during my four years at LSU.

Stopped by to see my brother on campus and had the most embarrassing thing happen. I thought it only happened in movies... see it was really cold outside and then really hot inside and so I took my jacket off once I got inside...
Mean Girls moment! I realized I my shirt was stuck to my sweater. Praise Jesus I had decided to put on a camisole under my shirt that day. Really or my brother would have gotten a show...

I couldn't stop laughing. My brother was just fifty shades of red.

With that I was off, in my little car with my Pineapple Surf smoothie in the cup holder, Dave Ramsey CD in the stereo ready to roll back to Texas. Five hours later, home safe and sound.

And those pictures of campus. Here are just a few... nothing exciting like the stadium or anything. Just the places that aren't so often photographed but mean a whole lot to my heart.

I started off my little photo walk at the BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministry). They kind of stole my heart in the spring of my freshman year and I never looked back. After stepping into that place and that community I was forever changed, learning to know and love the Lord in a completely different way.

Time for Monday Lunch, lol... seeing that sign made me laugh. Some things change, some things don't.

This next one's quite funny actually. It's what we knew as 'the chapel' and we had TNT there every Thursday night. Now they have it in the newer part of the building and this part gets used a little less often. The creepy part is that as I was taking the picture this door slowly opened. After I peed my pants, I went inside. It was like someone told me to come on in or something.

The new Tiger Room, all fancied up after the renovation.

Next Stop, oak trees... I love these. I absolutely love the LSU Oaks. 

I also like the "resurrection ferns" that grow in the trees. See them all green and bright? It rained that morning and so they popped out. See when were were on campus for game day, you wouldn't have even noticed them, because when it hasn't rained in a while they shrivel up and turn brown. They actually blend right in with the bark. But then it rains and they pop right back! Isn't that neat?

Busy campus. I was experimenting with the shutter speed getting the "swoosh" of the cars as they passed by. Unfortunately right after I got the camera setup right, there weren't many cars for a while...

Evangeline Hall. Most recently seen in the background of a scene in Pitch Perfect. You know when I yelled, "Kyle that's my dorm! Where was this movie filmed? That's where I LIVED!" right in the middle of the movie theater. No one told me ahead of time...

First home away from the parents. Where we weathered both Katrina and Rita, where we made blueberry cupcakes for our friends when their electricity was out, where we washed our dishes in the bathroom sink, where we studied to much and rehearsed theater and Spanish presentations, watched Grey's Anatomy and first joined Facebook.

Crazy thing is that our dining hall is gone. The place that we headed to at 4pm every day because we were "starving!" and ate way too much ice cream. It's now a parking garage, but it's a really pretty parking garage. But the dining hall was much more convenient for us :)

And it's not the only construction. Looked like there were gutting the inside of one of the other halls in the horseshoe and redoing the entire thing. Boys lived in that dorm, so it was probably stinky :)

And then Knapp Hall. Were me and my trusty assistant did what we called research. We had fancy equipment and everything. Spent a lot of hours there, reading way too many papers about macular pigment degeneration. But I loved every minute of it, yep, because I'm a nerd like that.

Then the On Campus Apartments... I'm not sure you could have picked four girls better suited to be on a TV show than what we had going on in here. We had a TV tower, a bird cage, a dead leg under the furniture until well after Halloween, we killed many dead fish, and made a whole lot of pancakes... and even got struck by lightning... 108 The Lightning Building.

I was a little nervous taking this next one. I just knew someone was going to walk out and say "what are you taking pictures of my apartment?" And then I would have to be shocked because that would mean they let someone move in there after us, oh the horror of seeing our 'replacements.' Luckily, that didn't happen, "we're still the only ones who've ever lived there, right?"

And then of course the condo. The place my parents so graciously bought for my brother and I and one of 
our many roommates. My sister and brother live there now so I got to stay there this weekend, but I lived there my last two years in college. IT was like our little home away from home. Jared, Me, and that tall girl from Wisconsin that seemed to be in Australia or Philadelphia every other semester ;)

I guess that last picture wasn't technically on campus... but I couldn't leave it out. It was neat to walk around campus and just be there. To remember when it was my home and how grateful I was to be there to be able to grow up to be able to have adventures and pretend to be poetic on occasion. To study in the Law School to feel grown up, and to listen to the high school band play to feel younger again. But to know that I don't wish every day that I was back there, but I'm thankful where that place has gotten me and the things I've learned that made me who I am now... but I guess if I could go back for just one day, maybe I would.

Anyways, Happy Picture Taking, Happy Cold Weather, Happy Remembering.

But just know that you have been warned, don't let Miss Norbury's sweater mishap happen to you too! Keep your shirts down and hearts thankful... it's almost Thanksgiving!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...