Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It costs WHAT?!?!

Craig and I have started pricing different items to get a better view of what we should expect to spend, how many people we can afford to invite and what type of wedding we would like to have in general. My suggestions of Tahiti or Fiji for the honeymoon have both been shot down, as well as my frustrated decree of us getting married in Vegas over Spring Break.

The first few places that we have looked at, combined with the generalized quotes from friends and family have sent me into quite a tailspin. Not that I'm a cheapskate...I just like spending money on things that I can have right in front of me - like all those clothes in my closet and the several pairs of Nikes, Adidas and Pumas strewn across the floor.

But on a wedding?! I just can't wrap my head around it. I don't care how long we have to pay for everything and I don't care how much anybody's parents will contribute nor do I care how much of it Craig can take care of with his earning's from basketball. It's the principle of the matter.

I want to have a beautiful wedding with all our close friends and family, and I'm not trying to sound outrageously stingy or's just that since I acquired a mortgage, I'm having a little bit harder time parting with my hard earned money. I have never been in debt and I don't plan on staying in it for very long. We've got a little bit right now but it's just from stuff for the house and I've already made the decision that once these are paid off - that's it! No more debt.

So therefore, I'm not willing to stretch ourselves thin over one day. I just think about all the money that we're going to spend and all I can see is our air conditioner breaking and us having to suffer through the hot Texas summer because we can't pay to get it fixed!

Drastic and dramatic, I know...but I just like to imagine EVERY SINGLE possibility of what can happen. That way, I'm prepared for everything - good or bad. ;) My constant and irrational worrying drives Craig absolutely crazy. But I just don't like being caught off guard because that's when there's a possibility that I could lose control of the situation. And when you lose control of the situation or yourself...bad things happen. I guess if there's anything that Craig could really complain about me and my personality - it would be my constant cautiousness and worrying. And for those of you who knew me back in college...this might sound like a complete different person from the carefree girl that you knew. I sure did enjoy being young and not at all worried about the outcome of my decisions. But I don't think that I was really imagining that there were any bad outcomes to my decisions. I just did what I wanted and I got lucky that nothing bad ever happened. I think that it's only since then - since I've looked back in hindsight and seen the infinite possibilities of what COULD have happened to me during that time. I am damn lucky that I made it out of college alive with only a few bumps, bruises and scrapes - no major damage done.

Maybe it's my job. Maybe it was David. Maybe it's just the way my brain is wired. But whatever the reason - I'm a cautious person. It is really hard for me to revert back to that girl in college. I'm not the party girl anymore and I think sometimes Craig wishes that I would let my hair down and just.....relax...and not worry about the early morning meeting or what might happen if I lose control. Maybe I need to remind myself that he's my safe haven. He's the place that I can be myself and not worry about anything. He's the person that I know will always have my best interest at heart...he won't let anything bad happen. If there is anyone in this world that I can unwind and relax with, it should be with him.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Three days into being engaged, I'm a little overwhelmed at the thought of putting together the perfect wedding for Craig and myself. In the words of my brother, I get stressed because I just see the BIG picture, while forgetting that the BIG picture is just a bunch of little pictures put together. I focus so much on the entirety of the day, and I forget that it's just a bunch of little things put together and more importantly...I have a lot of friends and family that are more than willing to help me out.

I like choices broken down for me. If there are too many things for me to choose from I get overwhelmed and shut down. For example, when deciding on dinner Craig will ask me where I want to eat. This question is and always has been really hard for me to answer because there are so many choices out there and its hard for me to narrow down the field. BUT...if you give me three names of restaurants, I can definitely choose. That's why I have to make lists - otherwise I just get frustrated and confused in the grocery store. Craig says I have ADD...I think my brain is just so advanced that I process everything in sight very quickly, therefore the wires get a little "fried" sometimes. ;) Along these lines I think is part of the reason that I'm so terrified of starting to plan the wedding. Knowing that there are so many different decisions to make and so many choices to choose from. Google the word "wedding" on the internet and a million sites come up, each offering the "best" wedding experience available. It's enough to make me turn off the computer and take a nap because my brain is overloaded.

BUT the good thing about getting married is the fact that there are TWO people doing the work. And if there is anything that Craig and I are good at - it's working together to accomplish something. We both played a lot of sports growing up and know what it takes to have truly great teamwork. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses and allow the other person to take the lead when it's their strength. At the same time, I know that when I get frustrated and overwhelmed, he will have no problem jumping in and taking care of things for me. He truly is my partner and my teammate and with that mindset, we will be able to make everything come together.

Besides - he's already pretty excited...his latest idea? A U2 cover band for the reception. We shall see...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Now what?

So. We're engaged. After all the initial excitement wore off and we told our parents, family and all the friends I could conceivably call during car rides in between dinner, my parent's house and home again...we kind of looked at each other and overwhelming sensation of "oh crap" melted down over us. Craig's knowledge of weddings is limited to the few weddings of my friends that I've dragged him to. Although I have been a part of several beautiful weddings, I have no real idea of how to get started.

I know that I don't want a really huge wedding, but we do have a lot of friends, family and work compadres that want to be a part of our day.

I know that despite Craig's slightly inebriated statement on his birthday in the limo of how we're getting married in Jamaica, we will be getting married somewhere in the greater Fort Worth/Dallas area.

I know that I want my colors to be a chocolate brown and bright, light green...if you've ever seen pictures of my living room or been to my house - look at the pillows and you'll see the colors I'm talking about. In addition to those colors, I want lots and lots of white flowers and candles.

I would love to get married in some historic building with lots of character and places for pretty pictures, but that all depends on how many people end up making the final cut for the guest list. But don't worry - if you're dying to go, we do take bribes. :)

I definitely will NOT be wearing a big and poofy wedding dress. I want it streamlined and simple. Thus...after this blog, I am hitting the gym.

After some intense discussion, we have tentatively decided to place the date of the wedding around March 13th of next year. I originally wanted the Saturday in November right before Thanksgiving, but Craig thought that was too soon. Then I kicked the idea around of June of 2010 so that we woudl have time to do stuff for the wedding once school was out and we wouldn't have to worry about taking days off from work. Craig thought that was too far away. So his suggestion was March of 2010 right before Spring Break. Hmm...I had to think - would my desired theme of hippie wedding in the forest work? Possibly. There is no real significance to the date other than the fact that we both could agree on it. At least we know that we have the ability to compromise in our relationship.

Other than that, I'm pretty terrified of the whole "wedding planning" process, as well as the wedding itself. Not because I don't want to marry Craig - I am just not a girlie girl who gets into stuff like that. And I'm not really comfortable with having a whole day dedicated to me. I don't think that me getting married is enough reason for other people to stop their lives to focus on me. I don't want the next year to be solely focused around the events surrounding March 13, 2010. Don't get me wrong - I'm totally excited about seeing a ring on his hand as well and becoming Mrs. Coach Nelson...I'm just not totally pumped yet about the whole planning process.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Guess what?!

I'm engaged!!!

Craig is definitely the type of guy that once he decides to do something, he focuses on it with a Rainman type intensity and gets it accomplished. Apparently, he woke up this morning, which was a typical Thursday, and decided that today was the day that he would propose.

We went to school, gave some finals, ate some lunch with the staff, had a faculty meeting and parted ways around 2:00. He off to "take his mom to Home Depot" and I had to flag down our busy principal to break the not-so-secret news that Coach Nelson and myself are dating.

After an excrutiatingly nervewracking meeting with my principal discussing my options were Craig and I to get engaged and then married, I left to lesson plan the next six weeks with my cohorts in 6th grade World Geography.

Upon leaving school around 5:15, I noticed a missed phone call from Craig's mom as well as a message. Ignoring the message, I just called Craig to see what was going on; I assumed dinner plans had something to do with the mysterious call. My female intuition was correct and I was informed that I would be attending dinner with Craig, his mom and MeMa...and I needed to figure out what I wanted to eat. "Ooooookay...see you at home honey. We'll talk then" I told him. After three hours of watching kids painstakingly take Geography finals, hand grading those finals, meeting tete a tete with my principal to discuss my relationship status AND reliving a particularly nasty interaction with a prickly coworker earlier this week...I was mentally exhausted and frankly, just looking forward to a nice glass (or two) of wine.

Craig was pulling into the driveway just as I was inching into the garage, careful not to drive PAST the strategically placed string that hangs from the ceiling. As he walked into the kitchen, I blurted out in a slightly verbal diarrhea way about my conversation with Mr. Taggart about our relationship. Craig seemed a little surprised and bemused by my earnest and anxious tale of the day. Soon after, I followed him upstairs to change into something more appropriate for dinner. In the midst of rifling through my overloaded t-shirt drawer, Craig came up and started asking some questions.

Craig: "Do you think things happen for a reason?"

Laura (slightly confused, but yet intrigued): " us meeting? Do you?"

Craig: shrugs and says "Yeah. I do."

Laura (still trying to process this mysterious conversation): "Do you believe in soul mates to?"

Craig (with a smirk): "Yeah."

Laura (figuring I might as well milk this stange mood for all it's worth): "Do you think that I'm yours?"

Craig (confidently): "Yes. I definitely do."

Then he sat me on the edge of the bed and started digging into the pocket of his favorite navy Adidas athletic pants and pulled out a little black box. Which was promptly followed by the most important question of my life... "Well, then will you marry me?"

Alright. Let's freeze frame on this little movie I'm describing for you. At this point I was completely in shock. I tunnel visioned in on that little box and barely heard what he had asked. Of course I knew what I wanted to answer, but I couldn't believe that it was really happening. But...the first words out of my mouth were:

"No way! Are you serious? This isn't a joke? You' real. For real, for real?" (Somehow this experience reverted me back to the vocabulary of my 8th grade athletes)

He's standing there with the ring box open and repeating that he was indeed serious, not playing a joke and that it was all real. Finally, after some screeching and jumping up and down, I allowed him to put the gorgeous ring on my finger. I screamed yes and jumped on him in a big hug.

Sooo...the moral of the engagement story? Craig will always be able to absolutely surprise me.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Longest quiz ever...

I love those Myspace surveys. Maybe it's just because I like talking about myself, but I just can't get enough of them...but I hate posting them on Myspace - I feel like I'm annoying people. So, every so often I'm going to post one here when I find a good one. Feel free to respond with your answers...or just giggle (or groan) at mine.

Name: Laura
Date of Birth: August 7, 1983
Birthplace: Texas
Current Location: My bedroom - all cozy under the covers with my iHome going strong
Eye Color: According to my friend Ryan - poop brown
Hair Color: An auburn-ish mix of brown, red and blond. My dad says I have his mother's hair color and that makes me really happy because I feel as if a lot of the "grandmotherly" emphasis has always lied with my maternal grandma. I like knowing that my dad can look at my hair and see resemblances to his own family.
Height: 6'0 even
Heritage: My mother is half Cajun and half Italian and on my father's side way back is probably English
Piercings: Just in my ears
Tattoos: I have the word "passion" written in Italian on my left hip.

My favorite all time bands are probably the Beatles and U2 just because of their talent and their incredible ability to write powerful and inspirational lyrics combined with moving and innovative music.
Song: All I Want Is You by U2 and Blackbird by the Beatles
Movie: Gone With The Wind
Disney Movie: Little Mermaid - I can still picture playing "Ariel" in the pool with Kate. But she always got to be Ariel because of her fancy red hair so I had to be her "equally beautiful and talented" sister.
TV show: I don't really have one - I like stuff on HGTV, History Channel and A&E but there aren't really any mainstream sitcoms or dramas that I watch.
Color: Turquoise, green and black
Food: Please refer to the above question regarding heritage - I was raised by an Italian mother...I could literally eat any kind of pasta for every single meal. Too bad I'm not a marathon runner.
Pizza topping: Canadian bacon and pineapple!
Ice-Cream Flavor: Mint chocolate chip
Drink (alcoholic): Vodka and Redbull - perfect for playing Blackjack in Vegas
Soda: Sprite
Store: TARGET!!! This recent move to Flower Mound has really been tough. At my previous residence, I was merely minutes from my closest Super Target with minimal traffic. Now? About 20 minutes with insanely clogged traffic due to the cities slow-as-molasses widening of a major road. This is a ditto for my proximity to the nearest Taco Bueno. But - considering our recent vow to lose some weight before our proposed trip to the Bahamas this could be a good thing.
Clothing Brand: Banana Republic - I feel so clean in their clothes.
Shoe Brand: Nike
Season: That is a really tough one. Obviously, I enjoy summer. "Why?" some might in Texas, we do have scorchingly hot summers BUT summers also mean not working for close to three months which makes the heat bearable when you can lie on a raft in the pool all day. On the other hand, I get bored easily in the summer and I end up feeling a little bit...useless. I'm always ready for summer to end and school to begin because I love the electricity and energy that is in the air when things start gearing up - the new clothes shopping, the inspiration to write new lesson plans, seeing old friends at work, football season quickly approaching and of course - NEW SCHOOL SUPPLIES!!! It's kind of my favorite part of starting the new school year and thanks to my friend Jennifer, I look forward to my birthday every year in August because it means a brand new pack of Sharpie pens from her!
Month: Duh. August - it's my birthday!
Holiday/Festival: After my birthday, Thanksgiving and the 4th of July
Flower: I definitely don't like red roses because they are way too cliche. I like the really brightly colored ones that are a little funky. Don't ask me names.
Make-Up Item: My Burt's Beeswax chapstick. I couldn't make it through the winter without it. Luckily, Craig knows this and thanks to my stocking at Christmas, I am fully stocked for the rest of the winter.
Board game: The game of Life. For some reason, as a kid I always was disappointed when I didn't have a car full of kids at the end of the game. And yes - I was that child who NAMED the little blue and pink pegs sitting in the seats behind me and my husband. I had an overactive imagination.

This or That
Sunny or rainy: I love that first sunny and warm day in the beginning of spring when you walk outside and feel that warmth hit your face. On those days, I could sit out on my porch at the apartment and literally see the complex shaking off the icicles of winter and coming out of hibernation to enjoy the beautiful day. But, I also love those perfect weekend mornings when you need to sleep in due to a busy week and it's dark and rainy outside providing a few more coveted hours of cozy, uninterupted sleep.
Chocolate or vanilla: Neither? I'm not big on sweets...which has moderately worked to my advantage.
Fruit or veggie: Probably veggies...I was never the kid hiding her peas in the mashed potatoes. If anything, my parents had the problem of cooking ENOUGH food for dinner. I swear - as a fly on the wall, you would have thought my parent's had three teenage boys living in the house when I was growing up.
Night or day: Day
Sour or sweet: Neither again. But if I absolutely had to choose - sweet.
Love or money: The obvious answer is....both.
Phone or in person: Depends on what I'm doing! :)
Looks or personality:'s that sense of humor of Craig's that gives him the twinkle in his eye that I find so intriguing and attractive.
Coffee or tea: COFFEE
Hot or cold: I love hot weather. Maybe it's because I'm an August baby?!

Goal for this year: Be more compassionate and patient with Craig's never ending stream of tournaments, quit biting my nails and remember people's birthdays - especially yours Mom!
Most missed memory: Easy. When I was growing up, we always headed down to Grandma and Grandpa's house in College Station for major holidays and some weekends. Upon arriving at the house after the three hour drive, my dad and brothers would usually sit in the living room, watching tv and chatting while my mom and Grandma retreated to my mother's childhood bedroom. They would lie on the bed, the room lit only by a lamp, and lazily catch up on recent events, the latest books that had been read, and general family memories. I would always crawl up between them in bed and close my eyes, letting the melodic mix of English, Italian and French banter gently ease me into that blissful state between awake and asleep. During this time, my Grandma would gently stroke her fingers through my long hair. I distinctly remember her touch compared to my mother's because it was softer, gentler and more comforting. I would give up five years of my life to have five minutes of moment back. Even now, when I am lying in bed and struggling to fall asleep due to some life crisis, I close my eyes and imagine my Grandma stroking my hair. I can always feel a sense of calm and contentment melt down my body as I quickly ease into sleep.
Best physical feature: My smile. Especially when Craig makes me laugh because that's when it's the most genuine and spontaneous.
First thought waking up: Craig! Turn off the lights! I don't have to get up yet!
Hypothetical personality disorder: OCD and Bipolar
Preferred type of plastic surgery: None. Absolutely not. During my recovery from my appendix surgery this summer, I assured my mother that I would never have plastic surgery. I can't wrap my mind around going through that much pain (and money!) WILLINGLY!!!
Sesame street alter ego: Sometimes I'm Big Bird. Sometimes I'm Oscar.
Fairytale alter ego: I wrote about fairytales some time ago. I was frustrated with the unrealistic expectations of men and love that these fairytales give to young girls. So, my answer is: When they write a fairytale about a girl who goes after her OWN dreams instead of a man...that's who my alter ego will be.
Most stupid remark: I've had personal favorite? "Oh my gosh. You know what would be REALLY creepy? If Halloween, a full moon and Friday the 13th fell on the same day." Think about it....yeah...I was laughed at.
Worst crime: Many of my college decisions
Greatest ambition: Make a true difference in the world and more importantly - raise strong, compassionate and intelligent daughters.
Greatest fear: Not being able to do the above mentioned items.
Darkest secret: I have three stuffed animals and a Cabbage Patch doll sitting in the closet. When Craig sleeps in another room due to his chronic freight train like snoring...I pull one out to sleep with.
Favorite subject: Math and History
Strangest received gift: Homemade dark and white chocolate teeth from student this year. Given the student, this was in character and made complete sense...but still strange.
Worst habit: Biting my nails and NOT biting my tongue with some people!

Do You:
Smoke: Nope
Drink: Occassionally, but not too much
Curse: Nope
Shower daily: Yes - usually in the mornings. That combined with a strongly caffeinated coffee will USUALLY wake me up.
Like thunderstorms: As long as they don't cause any damage to my personal property - yes.
Dance in the rain: I don't dance.
Sing: Definitely not in public.
Play an instrument: I can play a few songs on the piano.
Get along with your parents: I definitely do - my mom is one of my favorite relationships that I have in my life.
Wish on stars: There are stars in the sky? Could have fooled me.
Believe in fate: Ooh...tricky. I believe that we are in charge of our "fate" by the choices that we make in our life.
Believe in love at first sight: Nope.

Can You:
Yes. Brake? Sometimes.
Sew: God no
Cook: YES! I am definitely getting better. But more importantly...I am secretly starting to enjoy it.
Speak another language: I wish I did - I just know a few of the cuss words in Italian.
Dance: No. Absolutely not.
Sing: Nope.
Touch your nose with your tongue: Nope. But my mom can!
Whistle: Nope. Which can sometimes be a detriment when coaching out on the track...luckily I have compensated by developing a booming yell.
Curl your tongue: Yes

Have You Ever:
Been Drunk:
Ahh...yes. And unfortunately, many of the readers of this post can attest to this fact.
Been Stoned/High: I've been to Amsterdam. But only once. And I didn't like it. Getting lost in Amsterdam on the tram system is no fun.
Eaten Sushi: Yes and I absolutely hated it. I had to get Whataburger afterwards.
Been in Love: For sure. I love him and that makes me happy. But more importantly, it makes him happy.
Skipped school: I was too much of a rule follower in high school to skip school. And in college, after the first year I made an important realization...schedule classes from 11 to 2 and there was a higher chance that I would make it to class.
Made prank calls: Not really.
Sent someone a love letter: I've written Craig a few love letters. But I don't think he'll hang on to them like my mom has. I mean, like my mom has hung on to the ones she sent and received from my dad. Craig and my mom are not sending each other love letters. Unless she's writing him to tell him she loves the fact that he's taken me off her hands.
Stolen something: Only Craig's heart. Again. I am a rule follower, much to the opposite view of the general public.
Cried yourself to sleep: Of Cabbage Patch Ellie probably has the tear stains to prove it.

Other Questions:
What annoys you most in a person? The list is long and detailed but I would have to say that the number one thing that really bugs me is when people have no spine. Not physically - but mentally and emotionally. And I don't like weak minded people that can't make a decision or stand by the decision that they do make. I also don't like it when people expect to be treated differently - like the rules don't apply to them. Ridiculous. It's all making me angry just thinking about it.
Are you right or left handed? Right handed - my left is pretty much useless.
What is your bedtime? Whenever I fall asleep. Usually between 11 and 12.
Name three things you can't live without: Craig, sleep, and Starbucks. Without one or all of these, I am extremely cranky.
What is the color of your room? Beige. Our whole house is boring beige. The excitement is in the details of the rooms.
Do you have any siblings? Yes. I have two biological brothers, Stephen and Michael. Two current sisters-in-law Meredith and Laura Renee. And when I marry Craig, I will have a new sister-in-law named Sherika.
Do you have any pets? NO. And I made a great case the other day for us to get a dog--I need someone to keep me company during the nights and weekends that Craig is basketballing. Plus - I need a dog that will cuddle and listen to me without talking back. According to Craig...a dog to do everything he won't.
Would you kill someone you hate for a million dollars? Ha, ha, ha. It wouldn't take that much money for me to completely eliminate her.
What is you middle name? Elizabeth
What are you nicknames? La La
Are you for or against gay marriage? I don't think that they should have a sanctioned marriage in a church setting because I'm not sure that God is a real fan. But, I think that if they would like to be able to get a civil union so that they can receive the governmental benefits that would be fine.
What are your thoughts on abortion? I would not get one, nor would I encourage or support my friends in getting one. I think you get to a certain age where you are financially responsible enough to deal with the decisions and events that take place in your life.
Do you have a crush on anyone? Only one curly blond headed guy. I hope that he likes me back. ;)
Are you afraid of the dark? Not really. Only when I have truly terrifying nightmares.
How do you want to die? A long, long time from now.
What is the largest amount of popsicles that you have eaten on one day? Probably a lot. I really loved them when I was younger.
Would you take a bullet for the one you love? I probably would. But I also know that he wouldn't ever put me into a situation where this act would be necessary.
What is the last law you’ve broken? Speeding I suppose. Nothing too terribly exciting.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Years Resolutions

For many years, my yearly resolution was to turn in my Blockbuster rentals on time as to avoid the late fees. Then, Blockbuster made it easy for me by eliminating late fees...somehow though, I still managed to go past the alloted rental time and had to pay a few hefty fees to the Blockbuster establishment. I still tried to make this resolution each year because I was avoiding making the resolution I really needed to make...quitting smoking. But this year, thanks to a very influential statement made by Craig and the full week being out of commision induced by an erupting appendix, I quit this summer. Already, I've noticed a change in my life by making that decision - most importantly, Craig and I bought a house and moved in together, which would not have happened had I not quit.

So...what is up for the resolution this year? Seeing as how there is a very real chance of a large and significant piece of jewelry being placed on my hand in the near future, I figured it might be time to stop biting my nails once and for all. I have chewed on my nails, as well as pens, gum, sunflower seeds etc. since I was a little kid...especially when I got nervous or bored. Freud would have a field day with my oral fixation! But this is the year - I've got a good motivation to quit and I know I have the willpower because of quitting smoking. Hopefully, I'll be able to show off a pretty new ring with a pretty and natural manicure!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

What...a whirlwind!

This being our first Christmas together, combined with a new house, plus two weeks off from work for both of's been a whirlwind of a Christmas vacation.

We started our vacation off with a trip to the Meyerson for their annual Christmas concert. Craig dressed up and didn't fall asleep so I consider the evening a complete success. There was a discussion afterward about how women (more importantly ME) need compliments. I don't get dressed up very often - most of the time it's brushing the hair, minimal make-up and sweats to work. So, when I DO take the time and effort to get dressed up for a special occassion, I would like the acknowledgement. Unfortunately, Craig can't read my mind. I came out of the bathroom in my special new top (onsale for 22 bucks from Banana Republic!!) and asked him "Do I look okay?" His answer, as he grabbed his stuff off the bed and was heading out the room? "Yeah, you look fine. Ready to go?" Uh...a little insufficient, don't you think? After carefully explaining to him a few days later that there are times when I don't expect the WOW moment from him - most of the time I just need to know that my hair isn't sticking up on top and there's no toothpaste on my shirt. These times occur most frequently and typically take place before we're heading to meet up with friends or to a Stars game. BUT - there are those times when it is obvious that I that I spent a lot of time and effort into looking good and I think that I deserve a little bit more than his response. He understood and promised to make a better effort.

On Tuesday the 22nd, Craig and I took Alex, my nephew, to eat at Fuddrucker's for lunch and then to the Gaylord ICE show. He was perfectly behaved and enjoyed spending time with his Aunt La La and Craig. Alex was the funniest when we were walking out of the restaurant and he struck a pose and shouted "It's Ice time!" Craig and I really loved being able to spend one-on-one time with Alex.

The next few days were spent buying last minute gifts for people and cleaning up the house. By the time Christmas Eve rolled around our tree was so full with presents underneath we had to organize the presents into the three Christmases we would be attending. For Christmas Eve, we cooked Chicken Cordon Bleu, mashed potatoes and pineapple au gratin. I had begged Craig all day to let us open presents as soon as possible, but he was convinced that we had to wait until the very end of the evening. After a wickedly intense game of Rock-Paper-Scissors that Craig won, we cleaned up dinner and watched my favorite holiday movie, Elf. As soon as the credits started rolling, I popped up from the couch, clicked off the DVD player and announced that it was time for PRESENTS!!! Among other things, I got an A&M Reville little statue thing, some Carolina and A&M shirts, new jeans, tickets to Britney Spears, a spa certificate and the Beatles Love Cirque de Soleil DVD. I got Craig some new Nike shirts, a jacket, a book on Beer, some Texas gear and the Stepbrothers DVD. It was pretty hard to find stuff for each other because for the most part...if we want something, we go out and buy it.

The next morning we woke up early and got ready for a day full of family, eating and presents. I think both of us were a little nervous heading into this day because of the fact that we had never done Christmas together, or with each other's families! We had a great time at his mom's house with his mom, MeMa and sister - we got a ton of stuff for the house...a blender, a Blue Ray dvd player, an iHome, a crock pot and bath mats just to name a few. Craig got lots of new clothes, which led me to tell him that his closet needs to be cleaned out before the new clothes go in! It was a little overwhelming for me because my family does Christmas a little smaller as far as presents go, but like Craig said...this is the only time that his family buys things for each other.

After a quick stop and nap at our house after lunch, we headed further south to the HEB area for Christmas with my family - Mom, Dad, Stephen and his wife Meredith and their two boys, Alex who recently turned 5 and Ford who will be 2 in March. Christmas was pleasant - Craig got lots of new tools and I got a squishy new set of brown towels for our master bathroom. After all the presents had been opened, we had to get dinner started, which can be kind of difficult in the cramped kitchen at my mom's house with two little guys running around. Craig sensed this and took Alex and Ford outside to play with the new sports balls that we got Ford for Christmas. Peeking out the front door while cleaning up the paper from the presents, I was touched to see Craig rolling around with the boys, both of them looking thoroughly thrilled to be roughhousing and playing ball with their favorite new friend. After a delicious dinner, we stuck around long enough to watch a little of the Mavs game, but couldn't stay too long because I was quickly falling asleep. We headed back home and quickly cranked up the spa and relaxed out there before going to bed.

Although I truly enjoyed spending time with all our family, three Christmases is EXHAUSTING!

The rest of the Christmas week was spent finishing painting the spare bedroom, the guest bath and the gameroom upstairs. Between Craig doing the majority of the big wall space and me doing the detail work, we were able to knock out those three rooms pretty quickly. I was amazed at the difference that a little bit of paint made on our bright purple spare bathroom! And it gave me an excuse to go out and buy new bathroom decorations for our master bathroom. At first, I couldn't understand why Craig was so insistent on painting these rooms RIGHT NOW, but then I realized - DUH! His birthday was on the 29th and we were having a bunch of friends over for a celebration. He doesn't say it very blatantly, but I know that he is super proud of the house and the work that we have done.

We had a lovely party for his birthday on the 29th - lots of his friends were able to come over and help us celebrate his 35th birthday. It also gave me a chance to prove to myself that I CAN throw a party and cook as well! I think he really enjoyed the party and was touched that I went through so much effort and planning to do something special for him.

School starts back up on Monday and I'm looking forward to getting back on a regular schedule...