Saturday, November 29, 2008

McBrayer family jewels

Last year I posted a blog introducing you to my precious nieces and nephews (4 of them were born last year!). Well, they're a whole year older now and grow more and more precious!
Garrett and Crystal's baby girl, Greenlee(15 mos)

Brent and Merritt's kiddo's Griffin(12mos)and Avery(2 1/2yrs)

i've included videos of the others. they are so so short but i just think you get a glimpse of their unique and beautiful personalities with the videos:
Justin and Anna's youngest, Aeneas(19mos)

their oldest, Patrick(4 yrs), playing the "cello".

Peyton and Ann's baby girl, Addison(17mos).

Friday, November 28, 2008

a few changes:

For those of you who have been unable to comment on my blog, I am so sorry! It was not purposefully done, i am just totally dumb when it comes to technology and i had no clue. i THINK that i have investigated enough and have enabled you access to post comments - even anonymously - you no longer need a google or blogger account! so people like Mom and Dad and Gmarsha and have official access (notice how i singled you out in order to pressure you into you!)! Thanks for keeping up with my blog - i didn't mean to exclude you!

also, i have attached a new playlist. Christmas music. I know, I know. I like Christmas music and have been working on a killer playlist this last month and this is my blog, so deal with it. But, i wanted to tell you that once January arrives i am totally removing the playlist feature on my blog.

let me know if you want me to keep it for some reason.(use the anonymous poll on the right). If i get enough comments wanting to keep it, then i will. but i'm pretty sure y'all will be pretty relieved to have it done away with, especially after a month's worth of Christmas music. haha.

thanks for keeping up with us. I am so grateful that we can stay connected a bit through this medium, and i know it takes time and intention on your part and i really appreciate it!

An honest Thanksgiving

While i was flying home from Dallas Tuesday night, i was feeling so sorry for myself. I was remembering waking at 3:30a Wed, Thu, Fri and working Saturday before i left at 9am Sunday for Dallas. Long days in Dallas on my feet. My ankle has been killing me. Then i was dreading opening Wed, Thu, Fri and Sat this week. How many mmore nights will i go without more than 5 hours of sleep? I was listening to families all around me on the airplane talking about "home", and i was sad. I was near tears for that whole flight - my first leg - from Dallas to Detroit. I remembered that Landon and I didn't get to spend Halloween or our anniversary together because i was at ACSI conventions for those holidays also. And i really missed him.

I spoke to Landon at the airport during my layover in Detroit. he was with family in Georgia. I was sitting there in Detroit, knowing i needed to wake in 8 hours and still had many hours before i would get home.

I'm not sure what happened. Sometimes when i pray i feel like such a blubbering idiot. I know God cares because he loves me, but does he really care about this? And in my selfish prayers filled with self pity, confessing my jealousy of family celebrating together in Colorado and Georgia, God humbled me. He reminded me in that moment of all that i have to be thankful for. That Thanksgiving is not about amazing and abounding feasting and time with family - it is about remembering God and offering thanksgiving to him.

In that moment thoughts of thanksgiving came rushing through my mind, and i sat there for several minutes remembering all that i have to be thankful for. I have had such a blessed Thanksgiving because i have had so much to thank God for. Many of you reading this must know that you were (and are) among my prayers of gratitude. You are so dear. God's abundant provision in my life humbles me. He has always provided for us, even when we were afraid that we wouldn't be able to quite make it. And though i am mostly alone here in Illinois, love is abounding in my life in sweet relationships with loved ones both here and across the country.

I am so grateful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

red headed ness

I've always been a redhead. Growing up i had curly long red curls, freckles, braces, and played sports with the boys at recess instead of 4-square, tether-ball and london bridges with the girls. How many nick names do you think kids taunted me with on the play-ground? "That's just because they're jealous," were the words mom always used to console me. obviously that's not true - what kind of kid would want to have red hair, freckles and braces? that's pretty heavy package to carry as a kid.

as an adult, i am very grateful for all of those things. though most of my freckles have faded, i am so glad when they make an appearance - it means i have been outside in the sunshine, and i love being ouside in the sunshine! plus, my grandmother always told me that they were angel kisses - i still cherish that!

i like my red hair now. i have never paid to color it. though there are certain colors i can't wear and i have had guys ask me if the "carpet matches the curtains," i like this color.

and braces... well, i only had them for 6 (SIX!!) years, and ever since my smile has been my favorite thing about my appearance.

I married a man with FAR more freckles than i have, perfect teeth, blond hair, and beautiful auburn facial hair. sometimes people think he's my brother.

and i wonder what our kids will look like. i like to think about it - i don't see how we could end up with kids without freckled bodies, pale skin and hair in some shade of red-ish. my grandmother always said that when she came to our races and games she could always spot us (my sis and i) because we were the only kids with red hair. i imagine sitting on a park bench talking with other moms as we watch our kids play and torture each other - mine, are the ones over there throwing gravel up the slide - the redheads.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

going to another ACSI convention tomorrow morning. So very sick of this by now.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

been waiting all year for this!!!

Every year we look forward to the 3rd Thursday in November: the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau. Exquisite.

simple joys of the day

bringing the outside in!

experiencing our first bit of snow

relishing in the long-lingering spices and bold complexities of Starbuck's Christmas Blend.

wrapping Christmas presents (and having a huge chunk of my shopping done!)

reading Francine Rivers' Lineage of Grace series

making Raspberry Pinwheel cookies (recipe here)

wearing this sweater

bath and body works wall scents' new fall flavor: leaves

p.s. thanks for all of your creative ideas - the corn meal container is in the recycle bin (that was landon's creative idea).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

calling all creative minds...

reduce, REUSE, recycle

I know that many of us recycle but i think the reduce and reuse part of the campaign toward a better earth are often forgotten. I am definitely one to feel good about myself when i recycle my plastic propel bottles. ha! landon reminds me that water flows freely from our kitchen faucet and i shouldn't 1.spend the moolah, and 2.create the waste of a gazillion plastic bottles. yeah, i need to ponder the REDUCE idea a little more. (did you know you can buy propel in a powder and just stir it into a glass of cool water - eureka! now landon and i are both happy)

So i've been trying to be re-using things around here. I think we've made major improvements. We use cloth grocery bags so we don't use plastic, we use cloth napkins as well and i try to clean (haha -WHEN i clean) with cloth rags.

I save the old toilet paper rolls and slide my folded appliance cords into them to keep each cord with its host instead of entangled (my grandmother's idea). It's great in my drawer full of curling irons, straighteners and hair blow dryer!

I've decided to save glass jars (from peanuts, jelly, salsa, spaghetti sauce, etc...) to put left-over soup or whatever in. Also, i've noticed that they keep my coffee fresher than the bags that come with the coffee. So i get my coffee beans ground at Starbucks and then put them in their own glass jar marked "espresso", "whole beans", "decaf espresso", "french press", etc... it's great.

I've converted a metal tin that we received from the boy scouts popcorn fundraiser into our cookie jar - i've just covered it with some pretty paper.

But i can't for the life of me decide what to do with this thing. Surely it's worth keeping for something. It's air-tight and 24oz. What shall we do with my Quaker Yellow Corn meal container? Now, the most creative people that i know in the world read this blog every now and then. I'm not even kidding - you ladies and gents can surely come up with a really resourceful idea for this. Please help!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Shoe girl

I am not a shoe girl.
Most women i know have so many shoes - too many to count. And isn't it a reputation that women in general carry - to be shoe-obsessed? My mom loves shoes because they look pretty and you don't have to get naked to try them on. My sister buys shoes because they are on sale for $30.00. They'll probably hate me for portraying them this way - but i'm not too far off, right? They tease me, though.

If i have any stylish shoes in my collection (which i do!) it's because they were forced upon me by my mother and sister. And i seriously am grateful. I was planning to wear chacos on my wedding day. Right before the big day mom and nell came to me with desperation in their eyes and presented me with a pretty pair of champaigne colored dress shoes with heals - "at least for the ceremony". They matched with the champaigne sash on the train of my dress and i was having so much fun on the big day, i completely forgot i wasn't wearing a pair of my beloved chacos. once i was out of college, mom and nell presented me with heals and suits for interviews. I knew they were right - that i had to adopt these into my "professional" wardrobe. i wasn't really thrilled with the heals - thought they were uncomfortable and fugly, but i've gotten a lot of compliments on my "cute shoes" and have only Mom and Nell to thank. If it weren't for them, i probably wouldn't have a decent job and would have tripped on the hem of my wedding dress while walking down the isle.

Apparentely, I have "ugly" shoes. I have about 10 pair of shoes that i wear year-round. And i've had most of them for the last 8 years. Apparently i have no style when it comes to shoes. I'm forgiven, though, because at least they are good quality shoes. I really only wear a few different brands of shoes and they are all well made and silly-expensive. And in my opinion, they go with everything.

Earth shoes

and need i even mention....? Chacos

Of course, i have each pair in brown and black (or at least grey) because i have some sort of fashion awareness. I wouldn't dream of wearing brown shoes with jeans and a black sweater. Well, actually, i would wear my birks...well... regressing here.

Though, i must admit that a pair of green or magenta flats to add to my collection of functional, expensive, long-lasting shoes is appealing now and then.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

family video

Landon and I have certain things that we do that sort of are a waste of time on the internet - but we each enjoy them thoroughly. Mine is reading your blogs and scanning the latest crafts on etsy. Landon enjoys watching videos through youtube and ebaums world. So just about every evening i hear him laughing in the other room and he calls me in to sit on his lap and "watch this!". Last night it was this video. Food for our souls.
This short (2 min) video was put together by some of Landon's childhood buddies who are now filmmakers in New York (some of you know them - the Callner boys!). It is absolutely hilarious. It's shot on the property of Landon's childhood home. His parents still live there (his duncle is the guy with the shotgun). Can't you just imagine the kind of messes Landon and his siblings and friends could have gotten into growing up here?

We miss our Southern home and those there that we love.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I don't get this

Just sort of freaks me out. I guess that "surface" piercings are getting more popular these days. Hey Anna, why don't you say you take Crystal to Your Flesh Tattoos and have her pierce her back skin instead of her nose?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Falling from Fall

Fall fell far away. I fear that winter is here. Well, i actually love winter. Though here in Illinois it's a bit rough. Winter brings bitter bitter cold days (last winter Landonw as sipping a coke outside while he was talking on the phone with Pooks and after 15 minutes it was frozen solid...not kidding).
I woke one morning this week at 3:30 to find my windshield frozen over with ice and all the leaves that were on our mulberry tree dead on the ground - still fighting green. That was it. That was the end of autumn and the beginning of Illlinois winter. Here come cold, cloudy, wet days.

The snow here is longlasting. We love snow. We really do - there's not much you can do in winter without it (around here anyway). Even today Landon got out our skiis and made his plans to wax and oil them, i know as soon as we get our first good snow, we will be out in it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sweater addict

I am a sweater lover. I remember my first autumn away from colorado in the sunny state. 75degree "autumn" days and i was sweating in my sweater (weird, never noticed that "sweat" was in the word "sweater" - i named my teddy bear joyer because he brings joy, just like sweaters bring ....? sorry 'bout that - been awake for 12 hours now and haven't had lunch - makes me a little loopy - anyway...) and onlookers knew why, "are you from washington or something?" they would say (seriously - got this question all of the time!). "Colorado," i would reply. And they would give a sympathetic nod of understanding. Yep. Time to don the sweater. I needed it for my psyche and for my heart.

Growing up, the top things on my Christmas wishlist were CDs and sweaters. This year, ever since the leaves started changing, i've been wearing sweaters here in Illinois. Though, i am lucky - the weather here actually makes sweater-wearing VERY necessary.

Sweaters are so sweet, cozy, beautiful, and meaningful to me. Really, they are. Some of my sweaters have been handed down in my family - from my grandmother and my mother. I LOVE to wear these! Many of my sweaters have been gifts, and i often think of the gift giver when i pull the cuddly softness over my head and pup my hands through the sleeves. And when i wear my sweaters i remember special occasions that correlate with them (but us ladies do that with pretty much everything in our closet or jewelry box, don't we?).

And when Landon wears sweaters, wow - somebody better sweep me off of the floor! For some reason, it is just the hottest thing!

Last year when Landon was doing laundry (Landon does laundry!?! j/k babe) he shrunk 2 of my fav. sweaters. i was very bummed! any tips on how to unshrink them? my sister is an internet navigating queen so she found like 5 remedies for me. let's see.... i soaked them in water with hair conditioner and then stretched them back to normal size and layed them to dry. yeah, i donned one of them the other day and the kangaroo pouch could have doubled as a support bra. ha! i wore it anyway.
The cosby's

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

... for thought

Watch out ladies! A recent study that questioned 300 women about how much coffee they drank per day, women who drank three or more cups of coffee per day had breasts that were 17 percent smaller than women who drank less than three cups per day.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

simply amazing

I'm loving listening to the Annie Moses Band. When I found out that the "worship band" at several of our ACSI conventions was going to be a "family band". I cringed. But these guys are absolutely incredible. They are a family of 6 kids and all of them play string instruments - 3 are graduates of juliard. The parents compose the music and they are just incredible. If you don't want to listen to this whole song, at least go to 4:15 where the violin and viola duet - it is amazing.

Monday, November 10, 2008


i don't know about you, but this is one of the last things i would put on my bedroom wall. haha. funny. i really like the wall decals from badass custom decals usually. This would look really great on a Matatu.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Current Guilty Pleasures:

(in no particular order)
1. coffee

2. Lipstick Jungle
3. Facebook (VERY funny short video by the way!)

4. Etsy

5. Duvick

6. Autumn

7. Christmas Music

8. Eyeshadow

9. Your Blogs
10. Sweaters

my comfort blanket

Do you have a movie that you return to over and over again? One that after a long day, you know you'll feel much better if you could just watch it? I have a handful of favorite movies that are not in this category: "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "Legends of the Fall", "Out of Africa", "A River Runs Through It". I think it's because the movie that i'm referring to is one of those easy watching movies that make you feel good at the end - none of these aforementioned favorite movies do this. Yesterday when i got home from an 8 hour day at Starbucks and my feet hurt like crazy and i was sleepy and hungry, I looked over our lawn full of leaves and thought to myself, "While you were Sleeping." And that was it.

I put together Teresa Bolton's recipe for hot apple cider and while i was patiently letting it brew for "a minimum of two hours", i nestled up with a good friend. This is the only movie in the world that i can only listen to and still picture each expression, not missing a thing. The only movie that i know all the words to. And i still laugh out loud, come near tears, and LOVE it! Especially now that we live so near Chicago, i enjoy this movie even more! In fact, my VHS died this summer, so i took my parent's DVD home. I knew they would understand - it's "While you were Sleeping", after all, and they know how i love it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The joys of the day

After i woke this morning, the first thing i did was bake a pumpkin cheesecake (EVEN before i made a pot of coffee - i'm not kidding). I had meant to make it last night, but i got tired pretty early and went to sleep. I loved working at my computer as the smell permeated the rooms in my house. Landon woke and said, "It smells like Martha Stewart in here!" I'm not sure how he knows what Martha Stewart smells like. It turned out really nicely. So delicious! I got the recipe off of Nestle's recipe website.. I have also made a pumpkin soup recipe from this website that was so so very delicious.

Once we got a good amount of work done, we took a break to shop for our Operation Christmas Child boxes. This was so much fun! Landon put together a box for a boy ages 10-14 and i put together a box for a girl ages 10-14. it was so so sweet to do together and so much fun. What an amazing thing to be a part of.

Duvick was so curious and jealous of this little puppy that i put in my little girl's box. It was a teachable moment - to tell him that this is momma's baby, not Duvick's toy. Well, he's a dog, so maybe he didn't understand a thing...yeah, probably.

Just a reminder to those of you who are considering doing this, boxes need to be dropped of by mid-November, so... get on it! See the OCC link that i have posted on the right column of my blog if you want more info.


So a few weeks ago i bought these mineral eye shadows on Etsy. I received them in the mail today and am loving them! I got to choose 6 shades for 4.50 (click here if you want some!)

I have had problems lately with eye shadows. I don't wear much eye makeup, but i have been wearing eye shadow to ACSI conventions and by the end of the day my eye lids are red, itchy, and flaky. The next morning the lids are almost swollen shut - weird! I haven't been able to figure it out. It's not just my revlon mascara, but maybelline and clinique and everything. So i decided to try the mineral thing. I put it on this morning and my eyes feel so great! the color is so pretty! The seller even sent me a free sample of her lip gloss and i'm loving that as well!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Change has come to America"

I'm terrified.

But hopeful.

And i hope Obama is right...that the victory is really ours, and not just his. I hope he will be the man he says he is. I hope that this election will inspire our country. I hope that our nation will move into the future united. I hope he keeps his promises. I hope when he said "A new dawn of American leadership is at hand," that the leadership he speaks of will preserve the ideals and foundation of our country. I hope that having our government over dominated by the democratic party will bring about good change, and not just change.

I will tell you, this is not what i wanted. This is not who i thought would be the right man for the job. But he is it. This is our future.

I'm terrified.

But hopeful.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Simple shoe

I had been wanting these shoes for a long time. Then, this summer, Mom was shopping one day and just happened to see a pair of shoes that reminded her of me (she is so sweet - a lot of things remind her of me, but don't always remind me of me). Eureka! They were these amazing shoes. So now i wear them with everything that my Chacos don't go with, like.... well, i can't think of anything that Chacos don't go with, but the good 'ol reliable sandals are finally enjoying some shelf life due to these Simple shoes (which are only $19.90 on their website right now!)

So, i won't write a poem for Simple like i did for Chaco - i don't quite have a love-affair with this company yet, but i do terribly admire them. This is another company that is SO SO very eco friendly and conscious.

See their video to see what i mean: