Friday, December 30, 2011

5 Years


5 years ago today.

I became Jen the Newlywed.

I was finally his wife.

I still can't believe he chose me.

I'm still really, really, REALLY in love with him.

He still makes me laugh.

He still makes really great decisions for our family.

He still impresses me with his wisdom.

He's an amazing man of God.

He is strong. He is smart. He is handsome.

He's beyond anything I ever thought I could have.

I love that man..... that husband of mine. 

Happy Anniversary, love.

You make everything better. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmastime Was Here

Well it was Christmas.

And then it ended. WAY. TOO. SOON.

I'm sitting in my living room right now, knowing that I'll have to take the tree down in a few days but I DON'T WANNA! I love the smell and the pretty ornaments and all my Christmas decor. And also I'm lazy.

We had a great Christmas around here. Grant has been home all week and we've been lazy and productive which is the best way to spend our time. On Christmas Eve the two of us went to a late movie and saw the new Mission Impossible. The theater wasn't crowded and there was no line for snacks... it was nice!

Christmas morning we exchanged gifts. I got Grant an effects pedal for his guitar (he asked for it) and he bought me these ADORABLE Tory Burch flats that I loooove. My man is a good gift giver :)

After that we headed over to my parents and exchanged gifts with them and Jaclyn and her husband Jeremy as well as Grace and Dean. I got lots of cute clothes and gift cards and pajamas and shoes and lovely things. The kids were adorable. It's so fun to see them experience all this. Then we had lunch which included cheesy potatoes and I AM ALL ABOUT THAT.

Yesterday my other sister Shannon and her husband Jason and their twin girls Scarlett and Juliet arrived. It's always such a joy to see those girls. They are growing up so fast. We had a great time with them yesterday and then again with some extended family last night.

Today Grant and I have gotten work done around the house. The MAJOR highlight of the day was when we got a little visit from our other 3 kiddos! Yep, Chase and Ronda (Grant's brother and his wife) were driving through Houston on the way to San Antonio and decided to stop at our house for dinner. Although it was a short visit, we were overjoyed to have Evan, Emily, and Olivia here to eat some yummy Taco Cabana and have some quick snuggles and hugs and kisses. What a joy all these babies are!!

I've spent hours today filing and shredding paperwork from the last year. I'm determined to go into 2012 in a more organized fashion!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Well, Hi.

Hello, my name is Jen. Many of you might remember me as "Jen the Newlywed" and I used to write here on the blog fairly frequently. However, as of late I've had what I like to call "a bad case of the lazies" and writing has just not been high on my priority list. Nothing has been all that high, to be honest with you.

Thankfully, I seem to be coming out of this funk and felt like stopping by to let you all know that I am alive and you don't need to send the search and rescue team. (If that ever happens, you know you can bait me with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.)

I can't even begin to recap everything that's happened in the last month or so with any real detail, so I'll just do one of those quicky recaps so I can look back on this years from now and know what was going on in my life.

We had Celebration at our church... the big church Christmas thing. We had six performances. Six glittery, red-lipsticked performances. Everything went off beautifully. There was a minor glitch on Saturday night during my special song when the flying violinist (Flyolinist) got a hitch in her wires and had to float back down, but other than that the show was great. I had an awesome time, got to know a bunch of people even better than I already did, lost my voice, got it back, and have spent the last few weeks recovering!

During Celebration, one of the girls introduced me to the clip-less curling wand and IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. I have never been able to curl my own hair.... and now I can get some lovely curls without being embarrassed about the back of my head!

Grant and I were supposed to leave yesterday to drive to New Orleans to spend a few days with the family before Christmas. (We rotate which family gets Christmas Day every year, but we always see both families during the Christmas season). This year the rotation has us in Houston for Christmas day, but we were planning on spending Wednesday thru Saturday in New Orleans. Sadly, last minute, we all decided to postpone. Between bad weather, busy work schedules, sick grandparents and sick babies... it just was going to be more work than fun and we would have about 5 hours together total. We decided to wait and go in January. We are disappointed but feel like we all made the best decision.

Meanwhile, I've been frantically finishing my Christmas shopping this week. Yes, I am WAY behind and now get to start the joy of wrapping. I love seeing wrapped presents under the tre... it's just getting them wrapped that's the exhausting part. I think my back is hurting just thinking about it....

Well, who knows when I'll be back to write again. If you haven't heard from me by February, go over to Lindsee's blog and ask her where I am.

Love you, people!

 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

And Now It's December

So last month was seriously the worst blogging month I've had on record. I apologize for not being present. November was busier than October, and that's saying something. Plus, the last two weeks of November included the cold that would not end. Coughing and mucus and kleenex - OH MY! Not so much fun.

Today, when we got home from church, I ate lunch on the couch and then fell asleep. After I woke up feeling quite refreshed, I asked Grant how long my nap was. He informed that I had slept for 3 hours, totally snoring, and pretty much in a coma. Oops.

The good news is, I'm getting a head start on my rest for the week. This week is our big Christmas Celebration at church. I'll be at church every night this week, till well after 10:00, and it's super important that I'm getting all the rest I can. After last year's show, I got the sickest I've ever been and I REALLY REALLY do not want a repeat of that this year.

Another accomplishment of today: LAUNDRY. I've ignored the laundry for an embarrassing amount of time. I'm not even gonna tell you how long I've ignored but. But, it's all done, it's all put away. My handsome husband even cleaned the closet today and I am so thankful for his help. I think he realized during my 3 hour coma that I'm not fully functioning!

Now we're watching the Saints while resting and playing with the dog and having a really nice Sunday evening. This is the calm before the storm.

I am so ready for Celebration to get here. We've been working on this since summer time, and I am READY!

 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Twas the Saturday After Thanksgiving...

... and I am still full.

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving are the days and days of leftovers. I can eat stuffing and mashed potatoes every day of the week. I love food. I love Thanksgiving food. I just love sides so much and Thanksgiving is all about the sides.

It's Saturday morning and I'm sitting at the breakfast table in Grant's parents' house. We've had such a nice, relaxing few days here. I remember coming here when Grant and I were dating. The first time I came here was about seven years ago. I slept in a different bedroom, would say goodnight to Grant in the hallway before bed, and would get tours of New Orleans during the day. Now that we've been married almost 5 years (mercy!) this house feels very much like home. Thankfully, I now get to share a room with that handsome man, and take naps during the day at my leisure. The boys still go fish all day and the girls still chat and visit all day, but now there's 3 babies added to the mix!

When I met Grant, his family was just adults. Mom, Dad, Chase, Ronda, and Grant. And then I joined and we had a great time, just the six of us. But then the real fun started :)

Evan, Emmy and Olivia have turned this family upside down, but in the best possible way. I love their sweet faces, their big hugs, their loud exclamations when they see something exciting, and even when they start to crash. I love Olivia's curls. I love Emmy's big eyes and her ever-present "Pincess Cown" (princess crown). I love Evan's laugh and how he always wants his Uncle Gant.

I love that this whole house is child-proofed and there's toys everywhere. I love that a lot of the time someone has to help me get into our bedroom since the child-safety door knob is in place.

The thing is, sharing holidays is one of the trickier things about being married. You have to compromise, adjust, and embrace your spouse's way of doing things. Yes, I still miss my mom's mashed potatoes. On the years we spend Christmas here in New Orleans, there will always be a moment where I'll miss my parents living room and the noises there. Over time though, I have found that I no longer feel like this is "Grant's family." It's OUR family. It's MY family.

 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Clearly I'm Falling Apart Here

Apparently this month is not turning out to be very bloggy.

Bloggy (def.) adj. - full of blogs.


I'm just not finding time to blog, nor the material to blog about.

At some point, I'll drum up the energy to do a recap of this weekend. Lindsee and I went to San Antonio with our moms for our friend Amy's beautiful wedding. It was an awesome girl weekend and Lindsee took some pictures and I'll share them at a later date.

Meanwhile, the clothing situation in our home is out of control. The drawers. The closet. The laundry room. Clothes exploding everywhere. I'm not so sure where they all came from. The longer it goes, the more daunting it gets. My goal is to conquer it before bed tonight but I'm not so sure that is going to happen.

We're getting pretty excited about Thanksgiving around here. I get so gosh darn excited about the food. It's full of sides and I love sides. Mashed potatoes. Stuffing. Gravy. Macaroni and Cheese. Bread. MASHED. POTATOES. (I'm sorry I just had to mention them twice)

Plus, we get to hold lots of nieces and nephews. We love them :)

And this concludes the most boring blog you've ever read in all of your blog-reading life.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Reasons Why I've Been Behind on the Blog

Today is November 14th and it is only my second post of the entire month. I'm behind on blogging.

Ya know why? BECAUSE I AM BEHIND ON EVERYTHING.

You know how when I started working from home I started talking about how I'm on top of everything and I have no problems and my life is full of rainbows and unicorns?

Well, throw a major Christmas production that's less than a month away into the mix and you've got a recipe for exhaustion.

Ah, yes. My church has a fantastic, exciting, over-the-top, six performances of Christmas awesomeness every year and we are in full swing at the moment. Meetings, meetings, meetings, decorating, meetings, rehearsal, meetings, rehearsal, decorating, meetings, rehearsals. And meetings.

There's been a fully washed and dried load of clothing in the dryer for over a week now. While it would make sense to take the clothes out and fold them and put them away, I just keep going and getting out the specific clothing item that I need.

Anyways, I'll give you some highlights of the last few weeks:

Grant was traveling for a looong time and he's back for good now and that makes me happy.

I sang in a wedding last weekend. It was fun. I didn't have a microphone and I had no idea what to do with my hands.

Last night I made breaded chicken fingers and fettucine alfredo for dinner. I mostly ate the fettucine. Because it is delicious.

I've started wearing leggings. I'm pretty slow on jumping on the latest fashion trends.

We went to a Thanksgiving potluck on Saturday night. It was my job to bring mashed potatoes. Bringing mashed potatoes to a potluck is a pretty big job. Well, I started making my mashed potatoes around 2:30pm and around 3:30pm we had what I like to call "THE GREAT MASHED POTATO INCIDENT OF 2011" and around 4:00pm I finished crying and Grant finished cleaning up the mashed potatoes out of the stove and gas line and around 5:00pm I picked up several quarts of Mashed Potatoes from Cracker Barrel.

I love Thanksgiving food.

I'm gonna catch up on some work, but I feel much better now that I no longer have the "you haven't blogged in a sweet forever" feeling hanging over my head. :)

 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Help Your Favorite Non-Profit!

Okay people. I usually don't do plugs like this but I think this one is actually kinda awesome.

So, we all know a church or a charity group or a ministry or some other non-profit organization that is running low on the money. And honestly, they really really really need a new website cause the other one was built by someone's 14 year old son but they just can't afford to get a good, custom website.

Well, you can nominate them to get a custom, awesome website FOR. FREE.

My friends at Immerseme (they are an awesome web design and branding company) are doing a website giveaway for a non-profit organization. (Seriously I think I'm going to nominate three of them if that is allowed.) (I just checked, it is).

Seriously, you should go there and nominate your church or your charity group or whatever. Spread the love, people. Spread the love!

The rules, FAQ and nomination form are here: CLICK HERE.

Good luck to you and your favorite non-profit! Happy nominating!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Diet Time

Last week I decided that I am officially on a diet. A real one. I've seen a few photos of myself that were shocking to say the least and I am just not thrilled with how I look. It's important to be healthy and eat foods that are good for you and I need to jump on that train.

While I've loved my recent diet of Arby's, Wendy's, and pasta.... I feel like that may be part of the problem here. :)

I don't think I'll ever be able to cut carbs or stop eating sugar... but I think I can just make wiser decisions when it comes to what I put in my body and be more intentional and proactive about exercise.

I know, I know, I'm picking a really bad time to do all this with the holidays coming up (and y'all know how much I love mashed potatoes) but I will just cheat on those days. Anyone else dieting right now? Any helpful tips or pointers?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Things I Learned at Dinner Tonight

Tonight, I had dinner with my mom, dad, my sister, her husband, and their children Grace and Dean.

My niece, Grace, is 4.

My nephew, Dean, is 2.

Grace and Dean taught me a few things:

Grace got her Pocahontas costume in the mail that Aunt Shannon sent her and "it is absolutely adorable."

Grace told me all kinds of things about her Pocahontas dress. She cupped my face in her hands and stroked my hair, and then tucked my hair behind my ears as she told me about how the shoes, the necklace, and the dress. She says they are "so wonderful".

When a little girl intends to order a corn dog but accidentally says "corn on the cob", she will be VERY upset when a corn dog does not appear but in fact sends vegetables in its place.

When a little boy gets new Batman pajamas, he really feels the need to talk about them. I mean, they are Batman pajamas. There is a lot to talk about.

When Captain Jack Sparrow and Black Beard have a sword fight, their swords fall out of their hands many, many times and there is lots of crawling under the table to find their swords.

Dean thinks that his daddy is "kinda funny".

They really are amazing and you should click here to see fantastic pictures of those darling little ones!

 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Forgot I Had a Blog

Um, there's a blog here and I forgot about it.

I'm sorry.

It's been a whole week.

Let's just say that I've been taking some drugs for some sinus congestion and that I've been less than coherent.

I also sound like a man and cough up a lung every few hours. 

I've never been more attractive in my whole life.

But I'm not gonna talk about that.

I'm not really sure what to talk about. 

This blog entry is going really well.

I can tell you that Grant's mom spent Sunday with us and that was wonderful.

I can tell you that 20 seconds into our pastor's sermon the fire alarm went off and the whole church was evacuated and everyone was sent home. I was sad.

I can tell you that I have Diet Cokes in my fridge again because I CAN'T DO IT. I have to have them in the house at all times. I tried to stop buying them but I just can't. I'm weak.

I can tell you that my calendar is super full but I'm not complaining cause everything is fun.

I can tell you that I have a really strong urge to go buy Christmas decorations.

I can tell you that it's not even Thanksgiving yet.

Alright, I have to wrap it up cause this could go on forever. 

I'll try to remember that this blog is here and I should come visit more often. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's Blogging Time

Today has been super duper productive. I had a fantastic meeting with a new client, a fantastic lunch with my handsome husband, and a fantastic power-hour at Starbucks, my second office.

Yes, Symphony Social Media has two offices. I have a home office and a Starbucks office.

I got to Starbucks about an hour and a half ago. Since then I have posted all my dailies for my clients, written 3 proposals, 3 client agreements, returned several emails, wrote 4 blogs for clients, and now I'm blogging for you. See?


Fact: I am MUCH more productive at my Starbucks office than my home office!

I am glued to this gosh darn computer all the day long, but I am just so happy and thankful. Life is good. God has chosen to bless this business and I am excited to see what the future holds!

Also, thanks for the all the love I got yesterday about my Sports blog. I got lots of texts and emails telling me that I am not alone. One friend even said she never knew that the yellow line wasn't there! :) I will say that I know a whole lot more about golf than the average girl so at least I have that going for me.

One last thing I have to share: Earlier this summer I saw an ad posted on Craigslist for a real, authentic, gorgeous Burberry scarf for a ridiculously low price. I purchased it and have been waiting to wear it. The weather went below 80 degrees today (PRAISE THE LORD!) so I threw it on immediately. It makes me soooooo happy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sports

I am what you might call a non-athlete. Athletically challenged, if you will.

I have never, ever played on an organized sports team. I was all-music right out of the gate and never really enjoyed being outside or sweating or running and I had a tendency to start wheezing after physical activity so my parents put me in singing and piano lessons and called it a day. 

In middle school, a coach told me that I had two options: 

1. Run the track with everyone else
2. Hug a tree for the remainder of gym class.

I love that he thought that this would've been a hard decision for me. Um, YES I WILL HUG A TREE FOR THE NEXT HOUR. It was a beautiful day and I thoroughly enjoyed my day hugging one of God's most majestic creations. 

In college, a guy friend of mine called me BEGGING me to come to the Rec Center as it was the finals of their co-ed flag football team and they were short a girl and I just HAD to be there or they would have to forfeit. I assured him 13 times that he doesn't need me to be there and that they would surely lose. I finally agreed to come after he promised me I could just stand there. He then told me I needed to wear pants or shorts with no pockets and then I got REALLY stressed out about wardrobe. Long story short, I went. However, at one point someone mistakenly handed me a football and all these people were running at me so I promptly sat down indian-style on the field and closed my eyes.

I'm saying all this because this is the season where sports are on every channel and I am just underwhelmed. I enjoy the spirit of competition and I feel like I need to try to get involved and root for a specific team but I just find myself getting distracted from the game. I also spend a lot of time empathizing for the players, coaches, and family members of the players and coaches. 

After seeing a wounded player: "You know his mom is freaking out right now"

After learning that a coach's job is on the line if his team loses: "Oh, well I'm totally rooting for his team. He needs to keep his job. He probably has kids!"

When a coach is mean looking: "Why is he always so unhappy?! A positive attitude would probably help."

When a generally unknown player makes a big play: "That's so exciting for him! I bet his wife is crying right now cause she's so proud of him"

"Do you think those refs have favorite players?"

"He just said a cuss word. Did you see that? He said a cuss word"

"People need to stop being so hard on him."

"I DO NOT LIKE HIM. His hair is HORRIBLE."

"Their pants are the color of a highlighter."

Anyhoo, all my friends are all worked up about sports and things and I'm trying to get there but I just don't know how I can do it. 

I've learned that the World Series is about to start (found out about that this morning), something is going on with Basketball where they aren't playing right now cause they are boycotting something, and the Aggies won this weekend. I AM AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SPORTS INFORMATION.

Also, that yellow line they show on the field on TV during a football game? It's NOT REALLY THERE!

Please note that I am actually quite good at Air Hockey and I will take you down.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's a Beautiful Day....

....for some wedding showers!

Grant and I had a wonderful time at dinner last night with 2 friends who told us they were expecting and I flew across the table and hugged and screamed and I think the whole restaurant took notice :-/

Now this morning I have not one but TWO wedding showers to go to on opposite sides of Houston. It's gonna be a fun morning cause I don't want to miss either one!

I've got my Bed Bath & Beyond boxes for Bride #1, and my Dillard's boxes for Bride #2. I am trying to decide what to wear. I don't want to wear pants cause I'm in a skirt-like mood today, but I also feel like it's time to retire the pale legs for the remainder of the season. Sigh. Decisions, decisions.....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Y'all, I Have An Announcement:

THE WEATHER: IT IS TOLERABLE.

Now, I'm holding my breath because October has a habit of melting us into a sweaty mess towards the end of the month. But, so far, we have had RAIN, BREEZE, and TEMPERATURES BELOW NINETY-FIVE DEGREES. In the last week I have worn a long sleeve shirt and on another occasion I wore a scarf. (Okay I wore a scarf with a tank top but that is neither here nor there.)

It almost feels like summer is thinking about taking himself elsewhere. We encourage him to do so. 

In other news, my hair is at that awkward length where it doesn't rest well on my shoulders and it bothers me so I wear it in a bun or a ponytail every single day and that is getting old. Just left a voicemail with my hair stylist so hopefully that will all end very soon. 

I watched the Kim Kardashian Wedding Special and I just need to say that I'm glad he shaved his mustache. And also her skin is ridiculous. It's almost the same as my skin. Just ignore the 4 zits I have on my chin and then it is like we are twins. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Highlights of Today

It rained the whole day. Praise Him.

The High 5 kids choir sang in all 3 services. So much fun. They are too cute for words.

My husband got out of bed and got dressed just so he could walk me to my car using his giant golf umbrella as it was storming bad.

I had Starbucks twice today.

The drive to church was super scary. I couldn't get my windshield wipers to go fast enough. 

I parked near a drain so when I got out of my car in the pouring rain, I also stepped right into a flood. Water was almost to my knees! I literally had to pour out my shoes in a bathroom at church. Seriously. Also, I was freezing the rest of the day.

Grant and I ate lunch in the food court of the mall. We also went into Target and bought me a long sleeve shirt and socks before I had to go back to church.

We had a great rehearsal for Christmas this afternoon. I had some really dorky socks on but at least I was warm during rehearsal. 

Long days at church are super fun when you have good friends with you the whole day.  I love choir people :)

I finally got home around 6:30. Grant cooked steak, I made corn and a salad and we sat on the couch together watching the playoff of this weekend's golf tournament and now we're watching Planet Earth. 

I'm so thankful for the rain. And now that I'm home and not going anywhere and not driving anywhere I like it even more. 

Looking forward to a rainy, productive, calm week!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Girls, We May Be Jumping the Gun

It happens every year.

Houston has a few days where the high is 85 degrees and we just go bonkers.

We bust out our cable-knit sweaters, scarves, and let's be honest.... boots.

On the one hand, I am quick to jump to our defense because WE TAKE WHAT WE CAN GET HERE. Not to mention we've been wearing our summer clothes since April and we are flat out tired of wearing the same thing every day. (CAN I GET AN AMEN?!?)

However, I also have to remind us that the short burst of cool, breezy air is definitely a relief from the brutal heat, but this first one always fades away. I've lived in Houston a loooooooong time and we always seem to climb back up into some warmer temperatures later in the month. And then we're going to be miserable in our cute jackets and scarves.

I hope I'm wrong.

I hope this beautiful weather is here to stay.

BELIEVE ME, I have a Burberry scarf that I am just dying to wear.

As long as we're willing to sweat it out, I say let's just buck up and pull on our tall, leather boots.

I am currently wearing long sleeves.

Have you pulled out your fall wardrobe yet?

 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A+ for October

October is starting off in the best possible fashion: COOL.

As 2011 has broken every heat record here in Houston, we have been praying for rain and for some relief.  When I walked outside this morning to walk the dog, I felt BREEZE and crisp, COOL air! I couldn't stop smiling. Seriously, it was like a whole new world. When Moxie and I go on long walks, I usually sing (quietly) to myself and this morning my songs were "A Whole New World" from Aladdin (naturally) and "What Joy" by Generation Church. You gotta keep some variety in there :)

Many of you have asked which movie I chose to watch. I am happy to announce that I watched both :) I watched Fried Green Tomatoes last night and Sense & Sensibility this morning. The first film makes me want to yell "Tawanda!" all the time and the second film has made me want to name my house. I really like the fact that every estate and cottage had a name. Perhaps I will talk to Grant about what we could name our house. I'm assuming we will end up with a name of a golf course. "Blackhorse." "Houstonian." "Bethpage." Something along those lines.

I would prefer to call it the Magic Kingdom, but that's just me.

What would you name your house?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Opinions, Please

Tonight I will be watching a girl movie and I am deciding between two films :)

Please share your thoughts and opinions on these:



Which should I watch?

Your opinions are highly valued and greatly appreciated :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Meme

When you can't think of anything to write about, just copy someone else's blog. And in this case, I'm copying Lindsee who posted this cute ABC meme. What is a meme, you ask? Well, I copied this definition from the world wide web:

Meme: In science, a Meme (pronounced to rhyme with “theme”) is a self-propagating unit of thought that is spread from one host to another. Richard Dawkins invented the term as a kind of idea-gene. Like genes, as Memes spread they mutate or die. Only the fittest Memes survive.

For bloggers Memes have become synonymous with internet quizzes, surveys, and novelties that people link to and pass around on their blogs, forums and via email, things like the “which superhero are you most like” test…

Now that you've been educated on what meme's are all about, I shall proceed:

A. Age: 27

B. Bed size: King. Grant and I inherited a king size bed when we got married and while we are ridiculously too small for it, (we are both very slight in stature) we now can't sleep in anything else. Mostly because I am what you call a ROLLER. I'm all over the place :)

C. Chore that you hate: Carrying groceries from the car to my house. I think I hate this less when it is less than 100 degrees outside, but still. Sometimes I consider telling the bag boy at the grocery store that I'll pay him $50 to follow me home and carry my groceries into my house.

D. Dogs: Just 1 dog. My little Moxie boy. He's quirky and I love that.

E. Essential start to your day: C.O.F.F.E.E.

F. Favorite color: GOLD! Isn't that weird? But I love gold.

G. Gold or Silver: See F.

H. Height: 5'2. I'm very wee.

I. Instruments you play: Piano. French Horn (seriously, but it's been awhile) and one Sunday a few years ago a choir director made me play the harp. I told him that I didn't know how to play the harp. He said that the harpist was sick and that if you know how to play the piano you can play the harp. Turns out he was right... but it hurt my fingers. :(

J. Job title: Social Media Manager.

K. Kids: No babies yet!

L. Live: Texas- Oh hail the mighty state! I love Texas and I love Houston. That is all.

M. Mother’s name: Cheryl Kay. She's pretty much awesome..

N. Nicknames: Jen. Jenny. JD.  Jiffer. Jiffer Markin. Neefer. Neef. Jennifer Juniper. Drojen. JenJen. Big Red. JeenyMartini. Martini. MiniMart. THE LIST GOES ON AND ON.

O. Overnight hospital stays: I got my tonsils out when I was 7 and something happened 2 weeks post surgery where I started bleeding and stayed in the hospital two nights. Lindsee came to visit me and was silent and wouldn't talk to me cause she was freaked out. Hid behind her mom. Hilarious.

P. Pet peeves: When people sing along to a song they don't know the words to.

Q. Quote from a movie: “Oh, lavender, you get on my head."

R. Right or left handed: Right handed, what what!!

S. Siblings: Two older sisters. And they have some husbands. And Grant has a brother and he has a darling wife That makes 2 sisters, 1 sister in law and 3 brother in laws. :)

U. Ultimate Vacation: I WANT TO GO TO EUROPE FOR A MONTH.

V. Vegetable you hate: Green beans. GAG.

W. What makes you run late: Oversleeping. Jen loves to sleep.

X. X-Rays you’ve had: Feet. I get lots of hairline fractures from running into things. 

Y. Yummy food that you make: Mashed potatoes :) And some awesome desserts.

Z. Zoo animal: Panda Bears are adorable.

Feel free to steal this meme!

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's Hard to Blog After a Vacation

We just got back from vacation last night. I always find it really difficult to write a coherent blog post after I return from a trip. Therefore, I am just going to do this blog as if I'm filling out a form, because that is the level of creative writing that I am currently capable of producing.

Where did you go? I went to Orange Beach, Alabama.

Why would you go to Alabama? There are actually really pretty beaches there as you get close to Florida.

How did you get there? Grant and I drove there. Yep, it was about 9 hours. We rented a car to save money on gas and to avoid putting all those miles on one of our vehicles. We ended up with a bright red Jeep Patriot. We drove halfway there Wednesday night, slept in a hotel from 1:15am-7:00am and then woke up and drove the rest of the way.We got there by 10:30am Thursday!

Who else was on this trip with you? My husband Grant, his awesome parents, his brother Chase and his  wife Ronda (Ronda is the one who had the idea to introduce me and my Grant... we're forever thankful for her!), their 3 children (Evan age 2, Emmy age 2, Olivia age 1), cousin Wendy and her husband Cosmo, and their 2 children (Isabella 10, Sofia 4). That makes 13 adults and 5 kids. 

Where did you stay? We stayed in a gorgeous condo right on the beach. We all chipped in to a great condo with a kitchen, living room, 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. There was a jacuzzi on our balcony. For reals. 

What did you do while you were there? I napped everyday. I hugged and loved on sweet kiddos. We watched a lot of football. We went to the beach and to the pool. We went to the outlet malls. We ATE MORE FOOD THAN ANY HUMAN SHOULD EVER EAT.

Did you take any pictures? Um, that's a negative.

What?! I'm sorry?! You didn't take any pictures? Um, no.

Why the heck not? Well, all I brought was the camera on my phone. And I brought that to the beach one day and took a few pictures and they all turned out bad cause the sun was so bright and then I realized that I didn't want to spend my vacation taking pictures. And also I want the children to love their Aunt Jenny and not be annoyed by her constant picture taking. And the kids are hard to take pictures of because they are running away at all times.  Also, I don't love photos of me in swim suits. Also, I don't love photos of me in swimsuits when I'm mega pale, which is all the time. 

Did you have fun? Yessss! I had so much fun and it was hard to come home.

What are you doing right now? I made tacos for dinner and I'm waiting for Grant to get home from work. I'm trying hard not to eat anything before he gets home. I'm watching Dancing With the Stars because I only watch the most sophisticated of television shows. 

So you really didn't take any pictures? Move the heck on. 

Would you like to say anything else about your trip? I love to eat off of the kids' plates. Their food is awesome. (Macaroni and cheese)

Are you gonna end this blog now? Pretty much. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

So, How's Work?

So, it's been over 3 months since I started my own business.  3 months since I up and quit my long-term, steady job to take a risk on something that was just that: RISKY.

I get asked a lot how things are going, (great!) if I'm liking what I'm doing (absolutely!), and if I regret leaving the law firm (absolutely NOT). Does it have its stressors? Yes. But is it rewarding? Abundantly.

There are things that I wasn't prepared for, like having to mess with quarterly taxes and the logistical issues of setting up a bank account, a PO Box, establishing an entity with the Secretary of State, and the large amount of pressure (self-inflicted, of course) of financial goals and trying to achieve them.

There are things that I am loving, like setting my own hours, doing something that I love, helping people, businesses, companies, and organizations get the word out about what they're doing, getting emails from clients telling me that they are seeing a difference since I've started to work for them, overcoming obstacles, conquering challenges head on, and, of course, lunch dates with friends that can last more than an hour!

The freedom that I am feeling, the amount that I am accomplishing, the fulfillment that I feel after a hard days work, and the joy of knowing that my husband and my home are taken care of is indescribable. I know it seems small, but the stress of balancing work and home life was not good for me before. I got home from work and was either tired or frustrated and laundry would go weeks without being touched. Literally. WEEKS. But I now have the ability to do chores in the morning and still start my workday by 8:30 or 9am. And, let's face it, last week I wasn't feeling too good so I worked from 8-10am in the comfort of my own bed. (Totally honest here, in 3 months that was the first time I worked from bed!)

I just feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I feel better, I've lost weight, I don't break out as much and I'm not frazzled like I used to be. So many people have told me that I am a different person since I left the law firm. Calmer. Less panicked. I think my husband would agree... I am much more pleasant to come home to!

I do miss my friends at the firm. Believe it or not, we did have some fun there and I miss the jokes and the comradery that I had with the girls there. Sometimes the house gets really quiet and I can't wait for Grant to come home.

I've been pleasantly surprised that I don't find it hard to stay disciplined. I was worried that I wouldn't have as great of a work ethic without supervisors breathing down my neck each day, but to be honest, I feel like I get MORE work done now that I'm working for myself! I rarely leave my office during my workday and I sometimes have a hard time turning work off after Grant gets home.

My client list continues to grow (I think I have 7 now?) and I have two promising meetings next week. I'm blessed for sure.

The moral of this story is this: Work is good. I am beyond blessed and beyond thankful that the Lord provided this opportunity and that I have a husband who supported me as I chose to take a big risk.

I've never been much of an "entrepreneur" and never would've thought that I'd start my own business. It's working though, and I am so, so grateful!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Red Carpet: Emmy Awards 2011

Y'all. It's been a long, long day. I was at church from 7:15am till 6:00pm. I had several rehearsals, meetings, performances and such, but all day I have been looking forward to the Emmy's! Y'all know how much I love the television. And y'all know how much I love the red carpet. 

As soon as I got home from church, I changed clothes, cooked dinner, got my laptop, pen, paper, dinner, and Diet Coke and got to work on the red carpet specials that I DVR'd.  I will finish my evening with a slice of italian cream cake. Life is good. Here's what I've got for you tonight:

(I did something a little different tonight. On some of the photos I wrote my comments directly on the photo so I could pinpoint the actual objects I'm discussing)

This is Angela from The Office. On the show her character is very plain so this is a WOW moment for her. LOVE the dress. Beautiful, classy, timeless. 

JUST ONCE I want to hang out with them. Amy Poehler always looks good in blue and her husband Will Arnett cracks me up. He's so goofy. 

Cat Deeley from SYTYCD wore a GORGEOUS Monique Lhullier dress. Monique is one of my faves.



Christine Baranski looks fantastic. Great dress. So flattering on her....

Claire Danes' dress is a great cut but the color scheme reminds me of something I could've gotten at Gadzooks in the 9th grade. 

Cobie Smulders (aka Robin Scherbatzsky) looks AMAZING. That color is divine on her!

I give Dianna Agron two thumbs up for modesty but felt that the cut wasn't doing anything for her. Color is beautiful, I love blue on the red carpet. 

Elizabeth Moss chose something very elegant by Marchesa. She looks stunning. 




1. This color does nothing for her. 2. The dress is a bit too froo-froo for me. 

I am not sure what is going on with the top of her dress. 

Well, well, well, if it isn't Julia Stiles?! Welcome back! Where've you been? 

Why this length?! Seriously? Why? You were so close to a great dress if you were to add 16 inches!

She actually looks pretty stinkin' cute. 



Everyone is ranting and raving about Lea Michele. I liked the back better than the front. 


Marchesa does make a great gown. The structure of the back really is amazing. She may be trying too hard with her sexy face pose, though. 

Maria's earrings are beaaaauuuuutiful!!!

For as gorgeous as she is, I found this dress underwhelming and an odd choice. She looked like she could be going to a funeral. Very lovely, but just not a WOW moment for her. But she would look good in a clown suit. 

I am generally not a fan of dresses that are the color of mustard. I just don't think it's flattering on anyone. 


Hey! It's the office gang!


Does anyone else feel like this doesn't fit her!? It's just odd. Not so sure about this one. 

I loooooved this dress. Jewel tones are great for red carpets, and that belt is MAJOR (to quote Rachel Zoe)


Sarah Hyland from Modern Family looked pretty and youthful. Such a fun color. 


I was so excited for Modern Family. They won so many awards and I love that show. I was EXTREMELY disappointed that Steve Carell didn't win for his final season of The Office. He never won an Emmy for his performance as Michael Scott. :( 

That's my Emmy post, people! If you've missed years past, check out my Emmy award posts from 2010, 2009, and 2008

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Meals

I've been trying to get creative with my meals lately. I have a general rotating menu:

1. Jambalaya with sausage and cornbread
2. Tacos
3. Chicken with sides
4. Pork chops with sides
5. Steak with sides
6. Lasagna with salad
7. Grilled cheese and soup (for when I'm lazy)
8. Tamales with chili and cheese

Please note that the sides for items 4, 5 and 6 are any combination of the following: Potatoes, Salad, Broccoli, Carrots, Rice, Crescent Rolls, Corn on the Cob.

Frankly I can tell we've been getting bored. Now that I work from home (Hallelujah) I have a bit more time to make some different meals. Here are my favorite two from this week:

Pork Roast with Mashed Red Potatoes and Steamed Veggies

Monday was a big day in our house. My darling Grant who is an amazing golf played in the qualifier for the Houston City Amateur Golf Tournament, and he made the cut for the 2nd year in a row! I am so, so proud of him. (This means that he is qualified to play in the real tournament in October).

To celebrate, I made this yummy meal for him!

It was easy peezy. I bought a 2 1/2 lb pork roast at HEB. I covered the whole darn thing in a lot of olive oil and then rubbed dry salad dressing (the mix stuff in a bag) on top of that. I threw that in the oven for about 2 hours. Then I made mashed red potatoes (those are our favorites around here). I'm a bit of a purist so all I added to those was half a stick of butter, a little bit of milk, and salt and pepper. Steamed veggies are simple enough, just olive oil for some flavor and salt and pepper! It was good and gave us good leftovers.

Pioneer Woman's Penne alla Betsy


I've made this a few times before and made it again this Tuesday. It involves shrimp which I do not eat but thankfully I can eat around them and the dinner is just as good! You can find PW's recipe here.  Any recipe that includes white wine is okay by me.


I don't eat any seafood. At all. Never have. So, if you had asked the non-married version of myself 7 years ago "Jen, do you ever see yourself standing in a kitchen pulling tails of of shrimp with your bare hands?" I would have said "HECK to the NO".

Ah, marriage. How it changes you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Yesterday

Yesterday was the ten year anniversary of 9/11. I've been pretty quiet on the subject on Facebook, Twitter, and my blog. The truth is, I have not been spending a lot of time watching the coverage on TV. It's just too much for me.

I participated in the worship services yesterday at church as we honored the victims and prayed for our country. I was so glad that our leadership decided to end our service on a victorious, triumphant, "WE TRUST IN GOD" note rather than defeat.

September 11, 2001 was a very, very hard day for me. Probably the scariest of my life. Out of respect of those involved, I'm not going to get into why. Just know that someone I love deeply was at the twin towers, ran for her life, and survived. While we spend much time remembering those whose lives were lost and praying for their families, I think we forget to pray for those who survived. Yes, they kept their lives, but many of them suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The anxiety, the nightmares, the panic attacks. They witnessed things that weren't shown on television. They were covered in dust and walked for hours as there was no public transportation.

So yes, keep praying for the victims. But pray for those who lived through it and carry it with them to this day.

 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Beyond Proud

There's a cast of characters here on the Jen the Newlywed blog... people that have been coming up in posts since I started this thing. One of them is my best friend Lindsee.

I have a lot of work to do today, but I just have to take a moment and share with y'all a new chapter in her life and rejoice with her! I am beyond proud of her and get teared up just thinking about how the Lord is blessing her. 

Yesterday was Lindsee's first day at her new job. She's now working for Living Proof Ministries (Beth Moore's ministry). I'll let Lindsee and Beth share a bit more about what she is actually doing. 

You can go to the Living Proof Blog to see more!

Lou, I am so, so proud of you and am honored to call you my best friend for 25 years! I LOVE YOU!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Snippets

Having a hard time forming coherent, cohesive thoughts right now. So here are a few snippets:

Today was lovely and breezy and was the first tolerable day we've had in months. It was God's gift to me and I am so very thankful.

I tried something new for dinner tonight. I roasted potatoes rather than mashed them. I also coated chicken breasts in oats to give it crispiness. The potatoes were delicious. The chicken underwhelmed me.

I saw a tweet the other day that had me giggling for a long time. "Every pizza can be a personal pizza if you try hard and believe in yourself."

Hot dogs are amazing.

I'm trying some new things for work. I've set a goal to meet by October 1, a goal to meet by November 1, and a goal to meet by December 31. I'm not telling anyone what those goals are, but I'm super motivated!

In other news, Grant went hunting every day this weekend and brought home many many doves that are in my refrigerator. Apparently he will be making "dove poppers" one night for dinner. That night, I will be eating "peanut butter sandwich".

I'm dreaming up an entire overhaul of my master bedroom. We spent some time walking around Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn this afternoon for ideas. Note: Grant and I have different tastes. This makes things difficult.

I emptied the laundry basket Thursday night. All clothes were washed and put away. How it is now overflowing again on Monday is beyond me. THERE IS ONLY TWO OF US WHO LIVE HERE.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about it and I've decided that while I don't know that I can watch Law &  Order: SVU without Detective Stabler, I also don't know that I can't  abandon Olivia Benson in her time of need. It will be painful and sad, but I will continue to watch.

Okay. That is all of my snippets for tonight. I know that this has been a literary masterpiece and you're all walking away from your computers feeling like you can conquer the day now that you've been enlightened by my eloquent and important words of wisdom.





Wednesday, August 31, 2011

There Were Moments of Gold and There Were Flashes of Light

Saturday night I went to a karaoke birthday party.

Me and the birthday girl sang "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips, but I then closed out the evening with a solo performance of "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" by Celine Dion.

There were fist pumps. There was foot stomping. There was eye closing and finger pointing. 

I belted it out. The VERY large bouncer gave me a fist bump when it was over and said "Ya do good, girl". 

Let's just enjoy this song:


SO MANY MOMENTS. It just gets better and better as it goes on and on. 

I love to belt out some Celine Dion. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Yard of the Month

Isn't my front yard beautiful? We've been using a sprinkler and it's really been making a difference.


Our flower bed is filled with beautiful flowers that are really unaffected by the heat. Such beautiful red and yellow blooms. Here is how the flowers looked when we planted them in April: 


The man at the nursery said these flowers would stand up to the heat, and boy, was he right! THEY LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME!



Look, I know you're jealous of my yard.  It truly is the jewel of the neighborhood. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Jen Is Ready for the Fall

1. We have topped 100 degrees every single day this month. The heat is unbearable and I'm cranky. And the rest of the city is cranky too.

2. I am not so comfortable showing my legs because they are pasty but I've been wearing shorts and skirts all summer and I am just about over that.

3. I need my routine back. All the Fall schedules are about to "fall" into place and I am looking forward to that.

4. I get to start Kids' Choir again! I've missed my kiddos so much...

5. I feel like I could write an entire blog post about the Fall TV schedule. Oh my goodness. Grey's Anatomy. Modern Family. The Office. 30 Rock. How I Met Your Mother. Ellen. Criminal Minds. Law & Order SVU. THE LIST GOES ON AND ON.

6. I feel like I just look cuter in non-Summer clothes. Boots. Jeans. Sweaters. That's more my style.

7. I'd really like to step outside without my sunglasses steaming up.

8. All the flowers in my flower bed have been dead and crispy since June. And it's too hot to dig them up. So we're just letting them be dead and ugly until it cools down.

9. Ever since I quit my office job, I have taken over the "Chief Dog Walker" duties from Grant. I now walk Moxie 95% of the time. Part of me wonders if I should have held off on this until it cooled down because I don't think he's getting a sufficient walk with me. I let him pee and then we head right back inside.

10. Pumpkin spice candles, anyone?!? :) :)

Are you content with summer? Or are you ready for Fall, like me?