Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye, 2008

Oh, how I have enjoyed you. It is bitter-sweetly that we leave you behind tonight.

Despite the many, many people in America who have had a bad year, Jack and I have really been blessed with a fantastic year. Here's a quick look at our favorite things of 2008:

January - okay, I realize this is actually December. But I'm counting it as January because I'm class of 2008, and it really kicked off the year. I graduated from Texas A&M University! Whoop!!

February - Bridal shower number TWO in College Station with some of my best friends! Paris planned a "U-Paint-It" bridal shower, in which all the girls painted a plate so I'd have a set afterwards! This was IN ADDITION to another beautiful shower my neighbors threw me in January. This getting spoiled thing really showed me how wonderful my friends are!!

March - Obviously this was a good month for us. Not only did I land the dream job as a broadcast editor, but I married my best friend on March 22. It was an extremely RELAXING day (after a sometimes not-so-relaxing wedding planning process!) with close family and friends. What a blessing.

April - The honeymoon! WOW! Nothing could have been better than a week in Hawaii with my friend! We took a cruise around the Hawaiian islands, letting us visit several places and eat unlimited food. The perfect vacation. It was absolutely gorgeous and everything went right. Our favorite island was Maui, where we did the Road to Hana, went hiking, and drove along the coast and ate at Cheeseburger in Paradise!

May - Relay for Life! I did this last year in College Station, and I always wanted to do the Team Captain thing. It was a small team, but we had a blast!! (My family and my neighbor also rode the MS150 this month for the second year riding, third year involved).

June - World Championships in Little Rock, AR. Jack was ranked at NUMBER ONE in both forms and weapons going into the world champion competition in what I consider to be the most difficult ring - 18-29 year-old 4th and 5th degrees. This is an incredible accomplishment. Jack walked away with a silver in weapons after a tie for world champ. Second in the world? Not bad, Mr. Hornbuckle.

July - Jack and I bought our first house. Wow. It's like we're grown-ups or something!

August - I caught a gecko in my house. All by myself. I'm like a super-hero, basically.


September - I started AWANA as a leader to six very sweet 8-year-old girls. They are incredible kids and I am always excited to go on Wednesday nights. I've so wanted to get involved with AWANA again since I graduated from it, and I'm so glad I finally have the time to do this!

October - I went to Boston with my parents to visit my brother (Shane) and sister-in-law (Cassandra), and their new dog, Ajax, and to see the first Celtics game of the season, shortly before Shane and Cassandra received their NBA championship rings!

November - Jack and I finally installed (with the help of his dad) new hardwood floors in the kitchen! The whole year has been spent fixing up the house, and this was a BIG improvement over the linoleum we had previously. We're doing it, little by little, and it's so exciting to see progress in our house!

December - Jack found an awesome deal on a 2005 Infinity G35 with only 36,000 miles on it and bought me my first "big girl" car! What a nice Christmas gift!!!

Happy New Year, friends! It's been one heck of a 2008. Here's hoping 2009 brings just as many blessings as 2008. Thanks for staying with us!!

Maybe if we ask nicely...

I was just sitting here, working in my office at home, when I overheard Jack talking to the dog in the living room.

"Okay, Maggie," he said, evenly and rationally. "We're having people over tonight, and I'm trying to clean up the house. So you can get a toy out, but just remember to put it away after you're done with it, okay? Okay."

Sure, that'll work.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Gary Unmarried

It's girl kid's turn to pick the TV channel. Boy kid is annoyed because she picked CSPAN and so he's complaining about it.

"This would be a lot more interesting if they voted people off," says boy kid.

Girl kid rolls her eyes. "They do, idiot," she says. "Every two years."

We laughed and laughed.

This was our first "Gary Unmarried" episode. It was pretty funny.

Princess Nails in the Shoppes at Legacy

Last Monday, my boss "kidnapped" us in the middle of the work day and took the girls to get our choice of a manicure or pedicure (it was very sweet of her!) at Princess Nails in the Shoppes at Legacy. I chose a French manicure, because it keeps me from biting my nails, and Jack always likes it, and I had just painted my nails red (for Christmas), and he told me he did not like red nail polish on me ("I like it on my mom, but not you..." then, the next day, "You know what? I think I like it on my mom because she has the long fake nails, but on your regular nails it makes your fingers look short and stumpy.” That’s a direct quote, friends. So much for Smoothbuckle.)

The ladies at Princess Nails were super nice and did an absolutely phenomenal job. They took their time doing everything, and did arm massages for us for a good 10 minutes with all kinds of different scrubs, oils, and lotions. It was great.

Also, I must admit, I’m really quite picky about French manicures, since I do my own and I like them “just so.” But she painted them perfectly. Also, it’s now exactly one week later and there’s not one chip (except the one from the same night, when I tried to open a CD and chipped it on that). I would definitely recommend this place.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Stupid. Funny in parts, but mainly stupid. Quite crude.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Guest Book!

So, I'm often struck by how many people stop by my blog and I LOVE it when they say "hi!" I meet so many amazing women (and sometimes men) though the blog, so if you're just stopping by, take a minute to say HI - leave a comment on this entry! I'd love to hear from you and visit your blogs too!

Stupid drivers

As I was waiting to pull out of a parking lot today with my mother-in-law in the car, wanting to turn left on a two-way road, I noticed that the car on the other side of the road was also pulling out, sans turn-signal. That must mean they're going straight, right?

As they pulled out, I inched forward, watching them, about to pull out as well. Suddenly, instead of going straight as their signaless driving had hinted, they unexpectedly turned left, right where I was about to cross the street. I put the brakes back on as I let them pass, rolling my eyes and ranting to my mother-in-law.

"Stupid people! Why doesn't anybody use their signal?" I asked, as I began my turn and looked down at my own signal, which would of course be blinking, because I am the perfect driver.

"Oh, I guess I should put my signal on," I said, sheepishly, as I realized that it wasn't on after all.

Stupid drivers.

By the way, happy 200th post to me!!

And the winners are...

Jack just drew winners for the contest!!

Congratulations to...

...drumroll please...

Amanda from putting down roots and Angela!!

You won the 5 thank-you notes! I'll mail those to you (or probably deliver myself to you when you visit, Angela) shortly after the first of the year!

Congratulations!!

Another contest coming soon - in which you could win a customized blog banner!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Dogmas!

I must have done something really good yesterday. Maybe it was the cute way I sat up when I wanted them to pet me, or the way I stayed when they told me to. Whatever it was, I want to do it more, because for some reason, it's been all about ME lately!!

It started last night, actually. They opened up some boxes that had been wrapped in paper, then they gave me something in paper of my own! At first, the paper scared me a little, but when Mandy helped me unwrap it a little, I discovered that it was a fancy new plush toy with both a rope and a squeaker! All of my favorite qualities in a toy!

I had so much fun with my new toy, and I thought that would be it, but they woke up really excited (well, Jack woke up excited. Mandy never wakes up excited), and then they took me out to the living room, where I saw that the weird cloth things that had been hanging on the mantle for the last month were filled with stuff. They seemed pretty excited about it, and took two of them down, pulling out all the stuff inside and putting it all over the floor. It was weird, but I liked that they were on the floor with me.

Then, something magical happened. They took the third cloth thing down, called me over, and when I looked inside, I found out that everything inside was for ME! Toys, rawhide bones, treats, and more toys! I didn't even know where to start; I was so excited! Then, Mandy took me over by the tree, where I found another box of treats, just for me! I was so excited by the time she finally got the box open that I stuck my whole head inside the box to get a treat.

After all of that, they opened more, less interesting paper-wrapped boxes and talked about something called a "pool cue rack" and "leaf blower" for Jack and "light fixtures" and "scrapbooking sticker maker" for Mandy.

Then, we went over to Mandy's parents' house, and they had ANOTHER treat-filled cloth thing for me - they told me by this time this was called a "stocking." There were even more treats and toys in this stocking for me! I could definitely get used to this style of living!!

Later, when Jack's parents arrived and brought more stockings, I was so excited that they had brought me another stocking (I love those!!). When I stuck my head inside the one I thought was mine, Mandy didn't like it very much, because it turned out that was hers (again -she's so greedy). It was disappointing, but I was still happy because I had so many toys to keep me busy and everybody wanted to play with me!

Even though they made a big mess in their very clean house, I think it was my best day ever. Tomorrow, maybe they'll give me a few more stockings!!

Smelly Night, Holy Night

A few weeks ago, I took my high-school-aged neighbor to the FFA barn to take care of his pig while his parents were out of town. It wasn't the first time I had been to the barn, but the same thing strikes me every time I visit: That place stinks!!!

It's disgusting, really. Smells like manure and unwashed large animals. If you've never experienced this lovely aroma, you really should look up your local FFA barn and take a little trip there to sniff around.

Have you ever thought about the first Christmas, with Mary giving birth to the Savior of the world amongst pigs covered in slop, in a dirty, dingy barn? Can you imagine how much that sucked?

Last night, at Christmas Eve church, we sang "Silent Night." I don't really buy the lyrics in this one. I think this night was anything but silent. Anything but calm.

I hear Mary screaming in pain with each unmedicated contraction. I hear the cows groaning and mooing and the goats rustling around. I hear the chaotic crowd, right outside the dingy cave, each family trying desperately to find somewhere, anywhere to sleep that night after such a long and stressful journey. I hear a slimy, disgusting baby cry out as the cold and unfamiliar air hits him for the first time on Earth. And then I hear Joseph crying out with joy when he's allowed to come back in to see his borrowed son for the first time.

I realize it could have been the perfect nativity scene that the song, statues and paintings depict, but I kind of prefer the image I have: a perfect Savior born in an imperfect body, in an imperfect world, to save a lot of very imperfect people.

Sounds perfect to me.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Adhesive Nightmares

So I made my own Christmas cards this year, and I was hoping to find a cheap adhesive to use for these, because it wasn’t all that important that they be acid free since most people throw their cards away anyway, and I wasn’t working with photos. In that spirit, I went to the store and got all kinds of adhesives to possibly use instead of my Creative Memories tape runner, which I use for all my scrapbooking. What I found was that there’s nothing out there worth using. Without further ado, I give you the four worst adhesives I’ve ever used in my life!!

The Paper Studio glue sticks – Usually I’m not all that impressed with glue sticks in the first place because they tend to dry funny and wrinkle paper (and I won’t even start about how they’re probably not actually acid-free), but this glue stick truly sucks. Don’t bother.

Elmer's Adhesive Dot Stamper – It’s not terribly hard to use, as long as it actually works. Most of the time, however, the dots come out in random places, if they come out at all. Not impressed.

Paper Studio repositionable tape runners – This tape runner does not actually function without you using your finger to drag the tape forward every time you actually want the tape to come out! Awful.

Rubber cement – What is this, from the 1940s? The bottle I have doesn’t even claim to be acid free, and on top of that, it’s a pain in the butt to use. Don’t go near the stuff.

I've heard that the ATG Guns are good, but they're a little pricey, and I know a lot of people like glue dots, but I really like having the applicator. Like I said before, I'll probably be sticking with the Creative Memories tape runners. The refills are only $5 anyway.

Does anybody use any other adhesives that they actually like? (Or, if you'd like to be pessimistic like me, does anybody have any that we should stay away from?)

Update - I just got a message from Deborah of Megan Lock Designs - apparently the comment form wasn't working (grr) but she was kind enough to send me her comment on Facebook:

It won't let me leave a comment on your adhesive crafty blog post. Booo. I've heard the ATG is bulky and too cumbersome to use. I've heard it takes up a lot of space on your table and if you're like me, that's important. I usually work on a small table. Like you, I think it's too pricey to take the plunge. I *LOVE* Duck adhesive. It's made by the duct tape (I think) people. I buy mine online because I live in the country, blah...so I buy it online. You can get it at JoAnns and when you have their 40% off coupon and you buy the 4pack it's $7. They aren't refillable, so they're not very green....if you're worried about the atmosphere. They're FAR better than the Tombow runners, BUT the Tombow Mono glue is a universal favorite in the crowds I know. It's the best. I like glue dots if I want some dimension, but not so much dimension that I need to use a pop dot. I also use glue dots for some embellishments. I'm not familiar with Creative Memories products...

Thanks, Deborah!! That's very helpful and I can't wait to try the Duck adhesive. And to answer your question, no, I don't care if it's "green" or not.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not Me Monday!

It's Not Me Monday again!

This weekend, my husband and I did NOT buy a new LCD TV for our bedroom, because my husband did not get a really nice bonus. If he did, we would of course be responsible and save it rather than immediately spending it.

I am not sitting here blogging when I should be cleaning, because we do not have tons of friends coming over Monday night and family coming over later in the week for Christmas.

Jack's students do not spoil him us with extravagent gifts, like new A&M pool balls and a very nice A&M leather pool table cover.

I do not usually have my work pants halfway off on the way to my room when I get home from work every night, and I don't get straight into PJ pants from there. Not me, and certainly not every day.

I definitely did not fold my husband’s underwear this weekend for the first time since we’ve been married, which is not nine months, by the way.

My husband absolutely did not wear my “Gucci” sunglasses (and by “Gucci,” I mean they say “Gucci,” and I got them in China for $5. You do the math) while driving my car, since it was bright and he didn’t have his.

I did not [BADLY] belt out "Sweet Caroline," "Hey Good Lookin'," and "Crazy" on Erin's karaoke machine at my work Christmas party with my girlfriends. I'm WAY too refined for that sort of behavior, and I obviously know that I shouldn't sing for lack of ability.

And I am definitely not looking forward to Christmas. Not at all.

What did you not do today?

Friday, December 19, 2008

You never know how much it will mean

Every year, Jack and I get the Christmas ornaments out and hang them all on the tree. Except one. One ornament has its own place, in an ornament display case on our shelf. One ornament, I'm not allowed to touch (okay, I'm allowed, but I don't really like to because I'm quite clumsy and I don't want to be the one to break this very special ornament).

In 1998, one of Jack's Corps buddies' moms gathered some ash from the year's Aggie bonfire into a bunch of Christmas ornaments. Then, she decorated them and gave them out that year as gifts. Little did she (or anyone know) that this would be a priceless artifact one year later, because that ash was from the last bonfire that would ever burn on the campus of Texas A&M University.

Make something this year. You never know how much it will mean to someone.

Something cute!

So Jack gets a LOT of homemade goodies from his students around this time of year, which means Mandy eats a lot of homemade goodies around this time of year. This morning, when I got into the cookie stash, I found this little gem:

How cute is that? It's a little Nutter Butter Santa! Just some Nutter Butters, white chocolate, red sprinkles, chocolate and white chocolate chips, and red hots, and you've got yourself some cute little treats!

Thank you, Carson!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A little reminder...

Shane (my brother), on not entering my contest: Well, if you sent me five, I’d really only receive 4 because I’d have to send one back just to say thank you for sending me the thank you cards. Plus, I’d have to write a Thank You Card. I don’t want to win a chore.

If you DO want to "win a chore" by putting one or both of my buttons on your blog the enter to win a set of five handmade "thank you" cards, you have until Christmas day! I'll draw two winners then. If you put both buttons on your blog, you get entered twice! If you don't have a blog, put it anywhere you can add HTML and leave a comment that you did it. I'll count that.

HTML code is on the right sidebar.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Baby it's cold outside!

...so here in Texas, that means we don't have to go to work today.

I think it's God's way of telling me to "finish making the Christmas presents" and "for goodness sake, clean your house!"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Not Me! Monday

To read much better blog entries than mine, visit www.mycharmingkids.net.

This week…

I did not add something I had already done to my to-do list at work just so I could cross it off.

I do not yell at my computer at work when it doesn’t do what I want.

I did not fall asleep during the Cowboys game last night, then wake up three hours later, thinking it was the end of the first quarter, when it was really the end of the fourth.

I do not hate my work mac, and I do not think hard-core mac users are stereotypically arrogant and annoying. I do not whine about this to my work friend all the time.

I did not giggle about my husband hating parades after I hung up the phone with angry Jack.

I did not find it amusing that Jack’s family said “no Christmas gift exchange” this year, then secretly passed unauthorized gifts all around to everyone, claiming “this isn’t really a Christmas present.”

I will not let work stress me out this week. Even if I don’t have time to get the work I desperately need to get done done because there are too many other fires to fight. Even if I get more work piled on top of normal work. Even if this place burns down. I will not let work stress me out anymore. Ever.

What did you “not” do this week?

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Braeburn Apple I bit into today

Better. But it's still no Honeycrisp.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Smoothbuckle

Tonight, as I was heading to bed, Jack informed me that he would no longer like me to pre-heat his side of the bed (I go to bed a few hours earlier than he does, and I usually turn his lamp on and pre-heat the electric blanket so he has a nice warm bed to get in). It's too hot for him, he said.

"Really? Are you sure?" I asked, shocked that somebody would actually pass up a glorious pre-heated bed.

He said he was sure.

"Okay," I warned, "but you're going to be getting into a cold bed."

"That's okay," he said, as he flashed me a smile. "I'll be getting in it with a hot woman."

10 MEANS 10!!!!!!

I just called Jack to see what he wanted for dinner. His two choices: frozen pizza or Chinese takeout. He chose Chinese (and refused to pick it up on his way home, instead wanting me to pick it up, but that's a rant for another day).

I Google our favorite Chinese place, Royal Chopsticks in Allen. I find their phone number and glance at their hours. They close at 10 p.m. Perfect, because it's only 9:45.

A teenage voice answers the phone.

"Um... we're closed," he says, without any introduction.

"No, your website says you close at 10, and it's only 9:45," I reply, annoyed that he would try that with me.

"Oh, yeah," he stammers, "we stop cooking at 9:45 so the cooks have time to clean up."

"Seriously?" I ask the kid, indignantly. "You're not going to take my money?"

"Sorry," he replies apathetically.

"Fine," I say, and hang up.

Listen, you buttheads (oh yes, I just called you that. That's what happens when you tick me off), when your hours say 10 p.m., you are obligated to keep cooking until 10 p.m.! If your doors must remain unlocked during your business hours, then why the heck will you not take my order (and money!) during your business hours!? It is absolutely ridiculous to refuse service during your posted business hours!!!!

Needless to say, we're shopping for a new Chinese restauraunt.

The Braeburn Apple I just bit into

Disappointing. If it were my first, I wouldn't buy another Braeburn. 

Fortunately, you are far from my first, Braeburn apple, so I will give you another try. But don't keep ticking me off.

Starbucks Espresso Truffle

WAY better than all the other ones. By far my favorite hot Starbucks drink EVER.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What's the point...

...of living in Texas today, if I get these kinds of e-mails from my brother:

"It’s 29 in Dallas and 65 in Boston. Take that, suckers."

I'm boycotting winter. Where's this so-called "global warming" when we need it?

Nate’s Steak and Seafood in Allen

Oh my goodness – Nate’s Steak and Seafood is wonderful and amazing. They have a lot of Cajun food on the menu, so if you like Cajun, you’ll love this. Jack grew up with a lot of Cajun food because his mom grew up with it and cooks it amazingly. I never really had Cajun, and I don’t like spicy food, but I LOVED this place. I had the broiled seafood platter and he had the fried seafood platter – everything we ate was AMAZING! Also, if you like gumbo, you’ll want to try their gumbo. Jack actually called his mom in the middle of eating his because it was the closest he’s ever found to hers (and she is GOOD at making gumbo).

Pricing is reasonable – about the same as Red Lobster, and much better food.

And the service – amazing. We had a wonderful lady named Elizabeth as our server and she was sweet, friendly, and quick! Definitely ask for her if you go. Tell her Jack and Mandy sent you - she'll probably even remember us!!

They also have a restaurant in Addison, but you should go to the Allen one because they just opened and we want them to stay!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

16 years ago today...

...I was being adorable. My mom recently found this:

December 9, 1992

Dear Santa,

Can you go to the children that are hungry and give them some toys and make a Merry Christmas to them. Guess what I want for Christmas. My two front teeth.

I will leave you some cookies!

Love,
Mandy Crawford

Apparently I wanted the hungry kids to starve to death while they were playing with their new, useless toys.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Not Me Monday!

Check out “Not Me! Monday” and more at www.mycharmingkids.net!

I did not slice my hand with my paper-cutter while making Christmas cards last night, and I did not refer the cut as my “war wound” today.

I was not disappointed about my old car [which I did not personify by naming “Burt”], that I sold last week, being wrecked by its [his] new owner. Why should I care about it [him] now?

I was not completely bored with all the meetings today, and was not highly unproductive at work as a result.

I am not so materialistic that I absolutely love my new car (Michelle). And since I don’t absolutely love Michelle, I’m absolutely not mean to Jack when I think he’s going to hurt it by hitting something. [10 points for anybody who can tell me why I named the car Michelle. The car looks like this.]

I did not stay up until 1 AM, again, working on Christmas cards last night. I will probably not have to do that again tonight in order to get them out soon.

My house is not a mess. And I’m not worried about Sarah coming over tonight and seeing it messy.

I did not spend all of Sunday afternoon cleaning out the garage, only to have Jack’s truck not fit.

I was not disappointed that our new, pretty blinds in the game room make our old, not-so-pretty blinds in the kitchen look worse.

What did you not do today?

Live Free or Die Hard

I liked it more than I thought I would. But it felt really long.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Poor Burt...

Just got this e-mail from my dad:

Dad: [Our friend who bought Burt] called me. His son came up to get Mandy's car yesterday. He totaled it on the way back to Austin. 

My response: "Are you serious!?"

Dad: "No joke. [Our friend who bought Burt] got a call at 1:00 in the morning (last night). He told [his wife] and she started crying, shook her head and said 'He killed Burt.'

[Our friend who bought Burt] is borrowing my trailer to go to Roundrock and pick up the wreckage."

Me: "Is his kid okay? It really wouldn’t take much to total it; can it still be driven? What exactly happened? 

Poor Burt. He was still so young."

Dad: "Remember, car years are like dog years so Burt was 86.

[The kid] is OK. Apparently he was texting and rear ended someone on 35."

--

Hey, by the way, don't text and drive!!!! (Duh!) I think it may be worse than drinking and driving.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bye bye, Burt

Blessing #4,251 of the week:




We sold Burt (my 1994 Toyota Corolla) for a very nice and fair price only four days after we bought my new car (whose name is to be determined!)


Farewell, Burt. You've served me well. Thanks for the years and miles.

New Starbucks Drinks!

Gingersnap Latte - Very good. Just be aware that they put little crumb things on top, which, if sunk, become disgusting little floaties (sinkies?) at the bottom of your drink, so ask for it without the crumbs if that will gross you out, as it did me.

Peppermint Mocha Twist - Tasty, but I probably wouldn't order it again. It's very pepperminty.

Next up - Espresso Truffle... we'll see how that one goes.

Mandy's first video

I finally got a video project at work, and it's up on the web now! It's just a promo for our new Radio Theater production, but you can watch it here!