Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Road Trip

On Sunday we embarked on our longest road trip to date. We knew it was going to be tough, but were determined to make it an adventure. Armed with an endless playlist of Christmas music, Gatorade and a full tank of gas, we set off...before 5am.

West Texas was full of cotton fields and windmills, as far as the eye could see.

We stopped at a roadside rest stop to eat lunch. PBJs, Fritos, and apple slices hit the spot. We had hoped to eat at one of the picnic tables, but it was too windy to attempt taking anything out of the car!

After hours and hours of driving, it started to feel more like this.

But our energy was renewed when we saw this...

An 80 mph speed limit! Now THAT is what I'm talking about. For those of you concerned about safety, the truck speed limit was still 70 mph. It called for a celebration of hot fries, the optimum road trip snack food.

At one point, Andreas and I were a bit concerned we were heading into Mexico. Check out that flag! Our GPS did not recognize anything to the left of this highway.

We could see the villages of Juarez. The buildings were so close to one another!

New Mexico was spotted with freight trains and cacti.

It wasn't the most interesting landscape to drive through, but the sunset was beautiful.

Our trip was finished off with In-N-Out for dinner and warm hugs from family upon our arrival. All in all, it was a way better trip than expected for a 16 hour car ride.

*Trip recommendation: Only partake in an excursion like this with people you love.
**Trip recommendation 2: Don't cry over orange soda. Love you family ;)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Home Is Where The Hearth Is

The other night we had friends over for coffee and dessert. Andreas made this awesome fire.

Mmmmm, cozy. Shoutout to Mama Payne for making our pretty stockings.

Monday, December 14, 2009

December Madness

My brain is moving a hundred miles an hour these days. I have at least ten mental lists going at all times, ten more lists on my iPhone, lists at work, post-its everywhere. I've officially lost track of the days of the week. It's crazy how the holidays get so busy so fast. Why isn't my brain organized like this?

Instead it feels like a jumbled mess of paperwork, some of which was fed through a shredder. But through it all, I continue to remind myself of a sermon from a couple of weeks ago. Beau Hughes gave a sermon entitled 'The Age of Anxiety' from Matthew 6. He talked about how anxiety plagues our society and how easy it is to let fear and worry rule your heart. The sermon rang so true in my heart. That I let things like making cookies for cookie exchanges and mailing Christmas cards and staying on top of my laundry pile cause me mental exhaustion is just crazy. I hope everyone actually takes time to enjoy the holidays, be with friends and family, and let unimportant things fall to the wayside.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blue Skies

Okay, so I love that we had a fall season and that it actually feels like winter in December. I love wearing a hoodie, sipping hot tea, and the smell of a fire (we made our first one this weekend!), but tonight...

Tonight I'm missing this kind of weather. Really I would settle for the sunshine.


Wow, blogging every day is way harder than I imagined. But I'm going to continue to try to do it as frequently as possible this month.

This is the first ornament I ever gave Andreas, and I still think it is adorable. I mean a s'more telling you it 'burns 4 you' - what could be cuter than that?! Ornament gifting is definitely a tradition in my family. Every year on Christmas Eve my parents would give each of us three kids an ornament, something that reminded them of us, and we would hang them on the tree. When we went on a vacation or somewhere special as a family, we would always purchase an ornament as a memento.

I love theme Christmas trees, when all the tinsel and lights and glass balls coordinate to look festive and elegant. And I would love to have a tree like that in my home someday...but it could never be my only Christmas tree. I love love love walking by this tree, every day catching a glimpse of a different ornament, a different memory, a different story. It is such a special part of Christmas.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Insight from The Eagles

I missed yesterday's post. Four days into the challenge and I failed to get something written. It was a busy Friday, and I was barely home at all. Last night was our work Holiday Party, and we had a great time with friends and co-workers. In fact, we shut that party down and were the last ones to leave!

Today's morning was full of Christmas preparations - gift wrapping, baking, etc. - and typical weekend chores - because who doesn't want to spend their Saturday morning folding laundry and paying bills? This afternoon we took a break from our productivity and got to hang out with some friends. We took pictures at Frisco Heritage Park, and I think some of them turned out really cute! It was a great location, but the weather was so cold we couldn't stand it for too long.

After pictures we determined that nothing says 'cozy evening' like Chicken Express and collectively decided to indulge. Old fashioned chicken tenders, creamy mashed potatoes, and gravy? Yes, please. An early dinner quickly turned into late night coffee. I absolutely love evenings spent with friends just sitting around chatting about everything and nothing, from budgeting to miniature potbelly pigs (I did NOT see that trend coming) to WordWorld. Nights like that remind me I should take it easy more often.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


It's been too long since I put these guys to good use. I took a run in the 40* weather today, and boy were my lungs burning. I haven't worked out regularly in a while. I'm trying to get back in the habit, but December might not be the most ideal month for getting into a routine.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chex Mania

I've been working on Christmas gifts for friends the last couple of days...

Things are starting to come together, but I still have a long way to go. Praise God for putting so many wonderful people in our lives.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December Challenge

I stole this idea from another blogger, but it seemed so relevant that I thought I would partake in the challenge. Things tend to get so busy in December that days come and go in the blink of an eye, and the beautiful time spent with family and friends celebrating the birth of Christ is marred by the frenzy of mall shoppers, anxiety in crossing items off our to-do lists, and getting caught up in the overall hype of the holidays.

So, I'm challenging myself to take a moment each day in December to reflect on the day's joys, lessons, and stresses - and commemorate the day with a picture on the blog.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Guest Room - Mostly Complete!

Well we made some final headway on the guest room. The picture below shows my favorite aspect of the room, the anise decal. This is the piece we were waiting on before we could post pictures. The white and gray anise is actually a sticker! How cool is that?! Also you can see the two different colors of paint we used in the room. The lighter color covers three walls, and the darker green is only painted on the wall across from the bed.

Here is how the bed turned out. We wanted an inviting and warm room that welcomed our guests, something that was functional, but not too feminine or masculine. We settled on a print duvet, with accent pillows. I really like how the light bedding looks on the dark wood bedframe. I'm also loving the gray lamp.

You can get an idea here of the small shelf in the corner of the bedroom. I haven't gotten pictures in the frames yet or finalized the decorations that will be here permanently, but it's a start.

We still need to add a few touches to the room, but I really like where it's going so far. Hopefully our guests enjoy it too!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sneak Preview

Over the last couple of weeks, Andreas and I have been working on our guest room. Essentially it was a plain room with a bed in it, and it completely lacked personality. I am loving the progress so far. It's modern and inviting, just like we had in mind.

In light of the New Moon release this week, I thought I would have my own preview on the blog. It is still a work in progress, but here are a few sneak peeks at what is going on in the new guest room.
We've painted...
And accessorized...
And updated the bedding...

What do you think the final product looks like?! I'll post real pictures as soon as we get a few more key elements in place. The biggest missing item is coming in the mail today!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NASCAR - Yes, you read that right.

Last Sunday Andreas and I went to NASCAR. I know, I know, it's not our normal scene. But we decided to venture out and experience something new. Welcome to Texas Motor Speedway, my friends. I am willing to bet that 75% of all RV sales can be attributed to NASCAR fans. They were serious about these RVs. There were elaborate scaffoldings built onto many of them where people hung out to watch the race, cook out, and enjoy adult beverages.

You can blame these two for our attendance to this event. Andi and Page were nice enough to ask us to tag along with them to the race. Thanks guys! We had a lot of fun! As a bonus, this picture also includes a subject that is rare in everyday living but a common NASCAR sighting: the mullet. Can you find it?!

Now this isn't an amazing picture of our group (all the people on my row looking at the camera), but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to feature a large man in overalls catching a midday nap at a loud, public sporting event. This blog post is becoming sorta like Where's Waldo.

Here Andreas demonstrates the proper safety precautions for a day at the race car track. Surprise, it was loud! At first when the cars were driving their practice laps I thought it wasn't too bad. But 35 cars driving past you at high speeds - it's loud. Real loud. Earplugs loud. This made casual conversation rather difficult, but we managed to socialize a bit.

And what's a NASCAR race without a collision? You have to love a sport where fans are hoping for an honest to goodness car wreck. This race didn't disappoint. That number 24 car belongs to none other than Jeff Gordon, one of the two drivers in NASCAR I actually knew of prior to this event. Look at the people cheer! I wish you could grasp the speed at which this all occurred. It all happened so fast! And once all the other cars drove past him, he turned his car the right direction and kept on going. Too bad the other car didn't come out as lucky. The driver was perfectly fine though, thank goodness.

All in all it was a good day. The weather was perfect, the race was exciting, and the people watching was definitely entertaining!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


We recently experienced a change in our lives. We lost someone we dearly loved.

These autumn leaves reminded me this morning that God's plan is more powerful than anything any of us could fathom, that He is sovereign, and that life is full of changes. Some of those changes are simple, some are easy, some are gradual, some hurt, some seem impossible, but they all shape us, leaving their own mark on our story. And together they create something we could not have seem before - specks of green, and gold, and brown, and red, coming together to create a beautiful picture.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Our pumpkin is polka-dotted. Isn't it fantastic?!

I saw this idea in a magazine and really wanted to make it happen this year. Jack-o-lanterns are fun, but sometimes that gets old!

We are going to be out of town on Saturday, but to all our family and friends that will be trick or treating - Have a fun and safe Halloween!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Falling Into Fall

Fall has never been my favorite season, but it's beginning to grow on me. Maybe it's because Fall in Texas usually lasts approximately a week and a half, so it really hasn't ever had a fighting chance. Maybe it's because the appeal of school vacation, shaved ice, my birthday, fireworks, and the pool kept Summer in the number one position for so long. Maybe it's because hot cocoa, snow, endless holiday treats, and Christmas made Winter seem so obviously superior. But this year...something changed inside of me. I'm learning to appreciate Fall. With the turning leaves, open windows, brisk walks, and spiced pumpkin lattes, how could I not? And then there are these.

Something about these gourds is just so beautiful. They are unusual looking and certainly not anything I'm willing to cook up and taste - but, I love them! They remind me of the promises of Fall - the autumnal colors, kids dressed up in cute costumes, giving thanks.

Tonight Andreas and I are going to carve our Halloween pumpkin (not one of my cute gourds pictured - gasp!). I'll post pics of the finished product soon!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Preben!!!

Happy birthday to my favorite father-in-law. We wish so much that we could be there to celebrate with you. We love you very, very much!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Liselotte!!!

Happy birthday to my wonderful mother-in-law. Thank you so much for raising the man that I fell in love with. We love you so much and hope you have a fantastic day!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I've made these snickerdoodles three weeks in a row now - once for a dinner party, once for work, and once for home group. The ingredients are simple, the preparation is minimal, and the cookies are serious crowd pleasers.

You will need:

2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs

1/2 cup cinnamon-sugar mixture (use whatever ratio cinnamon to sugar you prefer)

In a small bowl, mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, combine butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients slowly, taking care to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl as you go.

Chill the dough for at least one hour.

Once ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Use a spoon to form balls of the dough and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place cookies about two inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.


Adapted from Martha Stewart

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fightin' Texas Aggie Football

This Saturday we headed over to the new Dallas Cowboys stadium to watch the Texas A&M vs. Arkansas football game. But first we enjoyed the day tailgating!

We caravaned with college friends and coworkers down to Arlington around lunchtime. JD and Brittany rode down with us and were definitely representing Arkansas. If you look closely, you can see more red behind them. We let some other Hogs join the party!

Nothing wrong with some friendly rivalry.

Andreas and Bobby discussed the finer points of life...

...and let someone else do the cooking. Mmmmm, there were burgers, chicken, sausage, and hot dogs!

Everyone knows it isn't an Aggie tailgate without washers.

Here Larame shows us proper washer-throwing form. I have to admit this game is much harder than it looks! Andreas and I played as a team one game and discovered we could definitely use some practice.

As the day progressed, our site became more and more popular! Look at all those Aggies.

Flip cup anyone? No thanks, not my cup of, beer.

By happy coincidence, the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band came marching right by our tailgating site!

These boots were made for walkin'. Only Senior Corps members are allowed to wear these custom-made boots - an Aggie tradition. Check out the spurs!

The band hung out and played for a while.

Even Reveille came to say hello.

After a long day of food and fun, it was finally time to go to the stadium. It is incredible looking!

And if you think that's impressive, check out the inside!

And the sea of Aggie maroon! Okay, okay, there were some Arkansas fans there too, but I couldn't be bothered to snap pictures of them.

And here it is folks, the famous HD screen. It spans from 20-yard line to 20-yard line and is almost 13,000 square feet. Need some perspective? Each one of those tiny letters spelling out Mitsubishi Electric on the top of the screen is 5 feet tall. RIDICULOUS. Two people work inside the screens at each event and use an elevator to lower themselves into the seven story structure.

This is at the beginning of the game, when our spirits were still high.

This is what $8.50 looks like at Cowboys stadium. Actually I was pretty happy with that considering people were paying $8 for a beer. A single beer! Plus I love artificial cheese. I know, I know, it's disgusting. But there is just something about ballpark nachos that I can't resist. Top them off with chili, jalapenos, and pico de gallo and I'm in heaven.

By halftime we were in desperate need of a pick-me-up. Good thing Aggies always win halftime.
Fightin' Texas Aggie Band signature ATM.

Even though we didn't win, it was an awesome experience. Thanks for sharing it with us JD and Brittany!