Tuesday, April 28, 2009

blessed beyond belief

I was watching "Slumdog Millionaire" for the 2nd time on Saturday night, after a day of hanging out with friends in the backyard, eating and drinking and just having a carefree good time, and I just could not get over how blessed I truly am. How is it possible that I was not born in the slums of a third world country, only to lose any family I had and ultimately, fend for myself in this life. I know our true treasure lies in heaven, and this life is only temporary; however, I've been given quite a cushy lot in this short life and did absolutely nothing to deserve it.

Due to some "tough financial times," I've been on a self-imposed "spending freeze" since the beginning of this year, and most days, think I should be given an award for my amazing restrain and self-control. Seriously? What is my problem? When will I get off my high horse and realize that simply buying groceries at the store is an unrealized luxury for much of this world's population. Driving a car, washing my clothes, running the dishwasher, turning on the AC (even for a brief moment), using electricity...these are all luxuries I take for granted on a daily basis. Instead of complaining about traffic, I should be thanking God I own a car that can sit in traffic. Instead of lamenting having to put up the dishes, I should be thanking God that, not only do I have dishes, but I also have food to put on those dishes which made them dirty in the first place. The list goes on...

When will I get it? When will the thought process change in my mind? When will I begin to grasp even an ounce of perspective? America is not poor. We are FAR from it. It's like, if we have to alter our standard of living, even by the tiniest of margins, we are "in a depression" and all hope is lost. It's time we got a grip on things. It's time we realized that we are blessed beyond belief, and do not deserve anything we have. Period.

Friday, April 24, 2009

"easters" 2009

It is with sincerest apologies that I begin this long overdue post, and no, adding an "s" onto the word easter was not a typo. It was deliberate and my intention...somehwat of an inside joke. However, that is neither here, nor there. This post is about 2 weeks overdue, so let's get down to business.

A preview of Easter fashion modeled by Pearl

Easter morning was an early one for me. Crystal and I had greeting duty at Watermark and were supposed to check-in at 7:15...yikes! We braved the wind, cold and rain to make it there, but we were on time, and ready for the Easter rush. We greeted the first 2 services, and left without a minute to spare. I had to run home, grab my goods, and head to Michelle and Nick's for Easter brunch.

just a little coloring break at the table

The menu included spinach dip, maple-glazed ham, quiche, asparagus, corn pudding, spinach souffle, crescent rolls, fruit salad and mimosas...yum! We ate...and ate...and ate, until we couldn't eat anymore. After we stuffed ourselves, we spent some time outside on Haylee's new swingset and fort that Nick built...true story.

we're never too old (or big) for a swingset

Haylee on her brand new swings

We did attempt to play Taboo and a few rounds of catch phrase, but it should come as no surprise that I got pretty rowdy and left the table after reaching complete frustration with my team for failing to get the phrase "fingers crossed." Seriously, who doesn't know what phalanges are? I did eventually apologize for my outburst, and we ended up playing for a while longer without actual teams. (What's the point of that?)

Michelle with baby Meredith in the oven

our comical attempt at a group family photo

After my parents left, Michelle and I had somewhat of a mini movie marathon and watched Marley & Me and The Wedding Planner. We also had our fair share of the cake I made for Easter. It was a vanilla cake with a raspberry filling and buttercream icing. I must admit that I probably ate about 3 pieces...but I swear I didn't eat any Easter candy, so it all balances out, right???

the sugar-coated finale to a fun family day

All in all, it was a blessed day, and I'm so grateful I got to spend it with my family. We're not perfect, by any means, but with God's grace, we are a family that is there for eachother through thick and thin...and I love each one of them more than they know.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

a shower in the gardens

A couple weekends ago, I found myself, once again, southbound 35 headed to A-town for the weekend. Everyone knows that I'll find any excuse to spend a weekend in my favorite U.S. city. However, I actually had a great reason to make the trip. My cousin Lianna was having her bridal shower, and I was honored to attend the gathering. Lianna is getting married this July, and I couldn't be more excited for the pending nuptials.

cheers to the bride-to-be

The festivities took place on the lawn at The Four Seasons, and it was such a beautiful setting for a shower. It reminded me of scene out of "My Best Friend's Wedding." Upon arriving, we were greeted with champagne flutes of bubbly which was more than fine with me. The set-up was gorgeous, and the weather actually cooperated (minus the intitial crazy wind). There was lots of yummy food to stuff ourselves with, including fresh salads, ceviche, sandwiches, petit-fours, cookies, cake, etc. After several rounds of filling our plates, it was time for Lianna to open her gifts and take inventory of her bounty. The bride-to-be was showered with tons of kitchen essentials, and I was particularly jealous of her espresso machine. (Seriously, can I please find some excuse to register for gifts so I can get one of these magical contraptions? I promise I would use it everyday!)

me with the misses

fousins forever

The shower was altogether lovely and a rousing success. It was so fun celebrating Lianna, and I can't believe she's getting married! My little cousin is all grown up and I'm so proud of the woman she has become. She has a huge heart and is so loving towards all those around her. She is going to be an amazing wife, and Ed is a lucky guy.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

keep it a-cookin'

Well, as you might imagine, Michelle's tummy is getting quite large as she is almost 7 1/2 months prego. No doubt about it, "her eggo is prego" and "she is 4 shizz up the spout." This picture provides all the proof you need that little Meredith is cookin' away in Michelle's oven. Keep it a-cookin'. (Wow, are the Juno references getting out of control?)
Michelle with Meredith Hope in her tummy

I can't believe it was 7 months ago (the day of my infamous Margaritaville birthday party) that she found out she was expecting her 2nd child. I still can't comprehend that my sister has one girl, much less is about to be the mother of two! Where did the time go? Wasn't it just yesterday that we were going to Wet 'n Wild on a daily basis, fighting over the backseat on road trips, doing gymnastics together, dancing to *NSYNC, singing loud in the car, making ridiculous music videos to the Spice Girls, watching countless movies upstairs (while Mom & Dad yelled at us to turn them down)...sometimes I wish I could go back to those days and appreciate them for what they were. Nonetheless, I am beyond proud of my sister for the amazing wife and mother she has become. She blows me away with her patient spirit and loving heart. Tears come to my eyes as I think about how lucky Haylee is, and Meredith will be, to have her as their mom. I love you sissy, and can't imagine how empty my life would be without you!
can you feel me Meredith?

On a lighter note, the same day those pictures were taken, I had also made Haylee a cupcake cake for her "1/2 birthday." You don't turn 2 1/2 everyday, so I thought it was only appropriate to celebrate the best way I know how - with a sugary sweet baked good. Haylee takes after her Aunt Chie-Chie in regards to her sweet tooth. She can spot cake and/or cupcakes a mile away, and has radar for icing. I LOVE that we have this in common. People who don't like sweets just irritate me quite frankly, so I'm glad I don't have to worry about HG! I love you more than all the cupckes in the world Haylee Grace! You will forever be my Pearl!
Haylee and I doing what we do best...eating sweets!