Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Who Are You? (A Musical Bloggy Giveaway)

My Christmas recap happened to be my 200th post on this little blog. I, for one, can't believe I'm still going because I was sure this would go the way of myspace.

From what I can tell through my Google Analytics, there are quite a few people reading my rambles. Some of you are personal friends and family, and some of you are folks I have never met before. I would like to take this opportunity to say "Hi, my name is Emily, and I read blogs of people I don't know too, so please don't feel awkward leaving a comment."

If you would be so kind to humor me, I would like to take a survey of the reading population. To entice you to actually participate I will give away a $15 iTunes card* to one of you lucky commenters!

It's so easy! Just leave a comment saying hi and possibly how you got here (if you don't know me in real life). If you do know me, just say hi! No google account? No problem! Anonymous comments are accepted--just make sure you sign your name.

Everyone who comments is eligible to win, unless they live at Casa de Gentry. I will draw a winner next Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 to give those of you who read at work (I know you do!) a chance to weigh in.

Thanks for stopping by!

*If you're not an iTunes kinda person, and you win, we'll figure something out!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Celebrate the Child Who is the Light

I hope you've had a wonderful celebration of the birth of the Savior. We have gathered with both sides of our families, we have worshipped in candlelight, the gifts are unwrapped, and now we are almost home.

I have slept late every day. I have stayed up late almost every night. We've watched every Harry Potter movie released, and Brad's been hunting nearly everyday. It has been peaceful. Now I am just fighting off a cold that I picked up from someone who shall remain nameless.

These photos are from Christmas Eve.

Brad (after opening his new hybrid golf club)

Drew swapping out his old pick guard with the new.
Santa also brought him a winning lotto scratch off.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Monday night was our annual Gentry family Christmas gift exchange. I probably should give it some clever name rather than GFCGE, but that can wait for another year, I suppose. By Gentry family, I mean Brad and me.

Our tradition is to go out for dinner, then come home and open presents, but this year, we decided it was way too cold. We'd rather just stay home until it warms up a little bit (which yay, it has.) But this girl wasn't about to mess up her kitchen, so I brought home dinner from Celebration, one of our favorite restaurants over in Big D, and dessert from Tart, one of my fave-o bakeries.

Imagine my delight to see in the midst of our presents that Santa had heard my whining about my broken camera and seen fit to bring us a new one. And it's exactly what we/I wanted--imagine that! That Santa--he's good.

P.S. At some point between my childhood and now, it appears that Santa has begun having the elves wrap the presents. Does he (or did he) do that at your house? On Christmas mornings of yore, Drew's and mine were laid out, unwrapped.

Christmas Weekend No. 3

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been intermittently taking vacation on Friday to use up my remaining days. This year I received a third week of vacation, and after rationing only two weeks for the past five years, it seems like I just had a whole lot of vacation days this year. No complaints from me--it has been lovely to have a day here and there of no expectation from anyone. That being said, I took Friday as a "me" day.

Friday evening, we left for Texarkana to have Christmas with Brad's family. (And when I say we left for Texarkana, we left a sparkling, spotless house. All gifts were wrapped. The laundry was completely done--even the special care stuff. Even the pile of clothes in the bedroom was conquered. Can you tell I am a wee bit proud of myself and my "me" day?)

Saturday half of Brad's family came to town for gift exchanging and lunch. Even Penny Lane got a present (from Brad's cousin, the veterinarian!) One gift I received was the Martha Stewart Cooking School book. On first glance it looks great--it teaches you "how to" do all sorts of things, like how to carve a turkey, roast a tenderloin, make a white sauce, etc. When I added it to my wish list I had no idea it had all the good information I'm seeing inside.

While we had a nice trip, we did make a sad visit by the hospital to see his grandfather. Thursday night he was admitted due to some chest pain. He had an angiogram Monday morning, and the prognosis was not favorable. He will not be having surgery, and for now, he is comfortable and resting. We would be so blessed if you would pray with us for Mr. Gentry and the rest of our family during this time.

After church and a lot of Mexican food, we helped do some cleaning at the Gentry grandparents' home to help get it ready for Mr. Gentry to come home from the hospital (he and the Mrs. are nearing their 90s). We headed west around 4 to be back for the two day work week.

I could get used to the two day work week.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Just Like a Circus

You say I'm crazy?
I got your crazy.

--Britney Jean Spears, 2008

Britney has been on the pop music scene for 10 years, and for each of those 10 years I have been loving her music. Like everyone else, I watched with fascinated horror as her life began to fall apart, starting with the K-Fed nonsense and fast forwarding from there. At one point, I was sure that I would have to go to LA, somehow become her BFF, and help her get her life back on track. I'm thankful that her dad stepped in because how awkward would it have been to show up at her door and be like "I know you don't know me, but Girl, Adnan has got to go."

I haven't downloaded her entire new album yet, but "Womanizer" and "Circus" have been on my commute to work playlist for the past two-ish weeks almost on repeat. Loves it. And of course I watched Britney: For the Record. I thought the documentary was somewhat insightful, but kinda vague at times. In particular, I liked it when she balked at the interviewer calling her a victim of her fame. I got the impression that she thought it was a bit offensive to others to call herself a victim, when her trouble stemmed from being rich and famous. She's trying to turn things around, and I think she's going to do it.

(Another thought on the documentary--seriously, what is the deal with Madonna's face?)

The thinking part of my brain does not want to feel sorry for BJS, but I couldn't help but feel a slight twinge of sadness when I think about the fact that she can't go to the grocery store or walk through a mall without people mobbing her for a photo. Because of the fame, she can't ever just be. And how can she know if people are being genuine? I think that would get lonely. Without a doubt, there is definitely more to life than fame and fortune. She needs Jesus.

Perhaps I will pull a Bebo and write a song about it. Now you must confess--do you love Brit, too?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Weekend No. 2

Oh yes, it's time for another weekend wrap-up. It was another wonderful one in the flurry that is the holiday season. I think I've been coming down with something, but thankfully, I've been able to take some time and rest. Who wants to be sick over Christmas?

Friday, I took the afternoon off and fell asleep on the couch. The grand plans I had to accomplish anything took a back seat to being unproductive. I slept from 2 to 5:30. After I put myself back together, we headed out to finalize our Christmas shopping and hang out in the Starbucks at Barnes & Noble. Back at home, I finished Breaking Dawn again for the second time. Even after my long nap, I still slept all night long.

I woke up Saturday morning determined to be super productive. By 9:30 am I had baked 6 dozen cookies for a Sunday lunch family gathering, changed the sheets on the bed, and finished the other weekly laundry. I put the last batch of cookies in the oven just as my mom called to tell me not to bring any sweets because she bought two cakes at the bakery. Feel free to laugh--I did. Needless to say, I have been spreading Christmas cheer by forcefeeding cookies to my Co-Workers all day today.

Saturday evening we met up with friends for dinner at Galligaskins on Camp Bowie. It is a great, slow Saturday night place to catch up. We headed home after cheesecake and more laughs over at the Smiths' house.

Sunday found us daytripping down to the farm to meet up with my dad's side of the family. Drew is done with school for the semester, so I'm a bit jealous that we still have to work while everyone is at home hanging out. I personally feel that college winter break is wasted on the young. Or maybe not, since I would just sleep all day too. Work it while you got it, college students of America.

Hope you had a great weekend--only 9 shopping days left!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Surprise, Surprise

Wednesday, when I got home from a long day at the office, Brad mentioned that he wanted to take me out to dinner Thursday night downtown and to look at the city Christmas tree. Fun and romantic, right?

I got home from work (late again) Thursday evening, and we loaded up for P.F. Chang's. He had put Michael W. Smith's Christmastime album in the cd player, and we were singing along when he reminded me that it was the 5th anniversary of our first date. I thought that was incredibly sweet of him to remember. On that first "official" date, he took me to the Michael W. Smith Christmas concert over in Dallas. Such fun memories.

As we were talking over dinner, I made a joke about getting him a present, but that it was wrapped and under the tree. (I have been trying to get him to let me open this one package early, which is a scheme I try every year, and I thought this might work if I let him open one.) Well, to my surprise, he had something for me in his pocket: Celine Dion tickets!

Because I would never subject him to a Celine Dion concert, I am taking my mom with me on January 5th. (I think he is a little relieved.) I can't wait! I'm definitely going to see Celine!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Louisiana Saturday Night

Here are just a few pictures from Amanda's wedding. (My camera is on strike, therefore I am borrowing.) Amanda was one of my college roommates, and along with Alisia, we lived together for 4 years either in the same apartment or next door to one another in the dorms. We have had so many fun adventures together, and it was such fun and an honor to be part of her big day.

Getting our nails done, of course.

At the rehearsal dinner, on the bayou.

The beautiful bride and her girls, out in front of the reception site.

One more of many, many roommate pics!

The bride and groom, with the jazz band.

I can't wait to see the photographer's finished products!

Christmas Weekend No. 1

Reflecting on everything we did this weekend, I would say it was incredibly busy, but every event was something I was super excited about, therefore, it was relatively relaxing one. Does that even make any sense?

Friday evening we started out with our Sunday school department's Christmas party. It was a fun time to catch up with friends--it seemed like we hadn't seen anyone in forever since we were out for Thanksgiving and the wedding the week prior to it.

Saturday was a wonderful day for sleeping late. I made breakfast, did some of the never-ending laundry, and picked up in the house before heading out for shopping. Let me pause for a moment to say that considering how bad traffic was on Saturday, I absolutely will be finalizing my Christmas shopping on the weekdays or online. I don't see the downturn in the economy with the number of people out and about.

That evening we dressed up and headed to downtown Dallas for my office Christmas party. It was fabulous, and I even won a prize in the raffle!

Finally on Sunday we spent the day at church. I help with pre-school choir on Wednesday nights, and their Christmas Cookie Theater performance was last night. They are SO cute and keep me stitches. They sang two songs, and then dressed up and acted out the nativity scene during two other songs. I can't decide what was more entertaining--when "Mary" looked up at me and asked "Will you carry the baby Jesus in? I'm TOO tired," or when we noticed that the "donkey" (yes we had a donkey costume) had gotten tired and decided to rest on the manger. They are absolutely precious. The hour I spend with them each Wednesday is one of the most hectic yet rewarding times I have all week.

I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Now that it's December, I thought I would take a little time to tell you about our Thanksgiving. It was delightful.

This year my man's family decided to get together here in DFW. I have to say that there is something to waking up in your own bed on Thanksgiving morning. It's nice. But of course, there is nothing like being home with the fam either.

I'm not really sure how this occurred, but this is the very first Thanksgiving I spent away from my immediate family. And, not to give myself too big of a pat on the back here, but I think I handled it with much aplomb. I banned sadness from my day and didn't cry for my mama. Could it be that I have finally grown up?

That being said, Friday evening after taking in a showing of Twilight, we packed our bags and headed to the farm for the weekend. (Like I would not see my the fam at all over the holiday when we are only 90 minutes away!) We got in just in time for gathering at my grandparents' including but not limited to: watching Jeremiah Johnson (a Robert Redford classic), eating hot dogs, and talking really loud over one another. All in all--a good time.

Saturday, Brad rolled out of bed and into the deer stand at a very early hour. I went hunting too, but chose to do it at Northpark and the Galleria. (I had a bit more success than him. Sorry sweetie!) The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing and eating leftovers.

I hope your holiday was a good one too. Bring on the Christmas cheer!
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