Monday, December 31, 2012

Storytime and Pictures with Santa Claus

I am the mother who waited until the week before Christmas to take her child for a picture with Santa.

We simply didn't have a weekend where we had time to go see him before then. I would feel bad, except it really worked in our favor. We had plenty of time to talk about him, look at his picture, talk about what we would say to him, that he says, "Ho ho ho," and convince Jack that it was nothing to be scared of.

I had quite a few vacation days left since I worked all of Thanksgiving week, so I took the Tuesday off before Christmas for a family event and to see jolly old St. Nick!

On our way to see Santa!
(But mostly excited that mom jailbroke him from the stroller.)

Northpark in Dallas probably has the best looking Santa in DFW. They have a not so complicated number system where they hand out numbers for the line starting at 9 AM. Santa doesn't start posing for pics until 11 AM, but the line forms to get numbers at 8:30 AM. You heard me: 8:30 for an 11 AM start time. We got there at 9:15 and got number 79 in line.

Before pictures, Santa has storytime at 10:30. He had his dog do tricks and told some cute little stories about Christmas around the world. We made it through storytime with the help of some popcorn and a stop by Starbucks for an apple juice.

Santa and his puppy

As crazy as this sounds, we had somewhere to be and couldn't wait to be #79 in line, so we loaded up and headed out. We went back on Thursday night with Daddy (same clothes, just washed and starched) for supper and the money shot. There were a million people there, but we packed our patience and just enjoyed the holiday hustle and bustle.

Jack didn't cry, and said, "Hi Santa!" just like we practiced. When the flash started going off, he was like, "what the heck?!?" So that is the face in the pic.

Our 2012 picture with Santa Claus

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dinner at Bethlehem

I'm catching up on some of our holiday happenings while I have time to sit and relax on Christmas vacation!

One of the largest blessings God has given our family here in Fort Worth is the community of believers we have found through our local church. People often ask why I commute from Fort Worth to Dallas for work each day, and I share openly that our church is one of the main reasons. Within the past several years, the church has made one of its highest priorities to reach young families for the Lord, and God is blessing that ministry.

One area of focus is preschoolers, which of course is right in our wheelhouse these days. Our Jack is still very young, so there are many activities that are a little too old for us (I can't wait for him to start Mission Friends where they learn about missionaries all over the world), but our first big organized event to attend was the first Sunday evening in December--Dinner at Bethlehem.

Our fabulous preschooler minister and her wonderful staff organized an evening in Bethlehem, culminating with a dinner theater that absolutely captivated my little Jack. Before dinner there was a nativity with animals for petting (complete with some of our HS students walking around as angels, Mary, and Joseph.)

After we saw the animals, we went back inside where all the kiddos could get headdresses like what the shepherds would've worn and a manger for us to get our picture taken as a family. And Jack wanted exactly nothing to do with that, so we moved right along!

From there, we went in for the dinner theater. The show was performed by teenagers in a fine arts program the church has for homeschool kids, and it was so spot on to share the message of the birth of the Savior to young children. We could not believe how well Jack paid attention! At one point one of the characters said, "Do you want to hear more songs?" And Jack shouted, "yes!" Cracks me up.

During supper.

What a wonderful way to teach our preschoolers about Jesus!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

For only the second time in our marriage, we spent Christmas Eve at home. Expecting a baby (9 weeks!), wanting to have Santa in our own home, and having worked some marathon days up to the Christmas holiday had/has us wanting to stick close.

So Christmas Eve, we got up and had a beautiful holiday breakfast of donuts from the local donut place. I was just not feeling like cooking a full breakfast that morning, and the boys in my family were great with it. The day was really relaxing and low key, which was just what we needed. Less time being busy, and more time thinking and celebrating the Savior's birth.

For the first time ever, Jack made cookies with me for Santa. Looking through the pictures afterward was seeing one of my best dreams come true. We love that boy so much, and I'm so blessed that God gave him to me.

(For the record, he knows the oven is hot and should stay away from it.)

Before the Candlelight service at church.

This was our first year to go to our church's candlelight service since we're usually out of town. Our Pastor calls it "the most beautiful place in Fort Worth on Christmas Eve." I have to agree with him. Everyone attends worship together (i.e. no nursery) so Jack came into the service with us. He did awesome, and when I told him it was time to stand and sing, he put his little fingers together and started into a very confident rendition of the Itsy Bitsy Spider.


After, we came home to eat and open some presents! Our supper consisted of fun holiday foods like party sandwiches, sausage balls, and cookies, then we headed to the Christmas tree where we opened presents from one another.

We figured Santa might like a nice, cold Dr. Pepper on his trip through Texas.

And then we tucked our little guy into his bed together for a good night's rest before Santa came!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Week 29

Two weeks in a row of pregnancy updates!

Great news: I passed the glucose tolerance test! Not as great news: my iron level was low enough to be called anemic, so I'm taking two iron pills a day. And those iron pills can't be taken at the same time, nor can either of them be taken with my prenatal, and my Zantac inhibits the absorption of iron, which means I am basically like a geriatric patient with all the pills I'm taking for my different issues, spaced at different times of the day. (I'm also taking other meds to combat the after-effects of the iron pills, the details of which shall remain unspoken on this little piece of the web. Motherhood is incredibly glamorous.)

Anyway, I am extremely thankful that my issues are minor in the grand scale of the miracle that is pregnancy.

This week I ordered the bedding for Annabelle's big girl bed , and of course it's back-ordered but should be in here sometime in January. I also managed to purchase her some newborn hair accessories from Etsy because I simply could not help myself. I'm looking for a great bow holder, and apparently now I'll need a headband storage solution.

We had a wonderful time at my Southwest Christmas party Saturday evening. I wore the heels, and by the end of the night, my feet were a little swollen. I wasn't expecting that, but it was worth it. The party was at Union Station, which is a restored train station in downtown Dallas right next to Reunion Tower. It was a beautiful venue, and Wolfgang Puck Catering provided the food. YUM. My very wonderful (and engaged!) friend Alisia played with our sweet Jack while we were gone. Such a good friend!

This weekend is our last Christmas party of the season - with our high school seniors at church. I have high hopes of finishing my Christmas shopping and purchasing some wrapping paper. My hopes may be a little too high. We'll see!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Family Pics Sneak Peek

whoa, mama.

Back in October when I realized my work schedule was about to burst at the seams, I e-mailed my sweet friend Hailey of Hailey Erickson Photography and told her that the only time I could foresee stopping for family photos would probably be the last week in November, which would give me all of about 14 days to order Christmas cards and get them out before they became New Year cards. And that would only be possible if she would commit to turning the photos around to me in about 4 days. And she did it! What a sweet friend to take the time to do that in the middle of parenting 3 young children, being a pastor's wife, editing all her other photo sessions, and hi, it's the Christmas season.

Thanks so much, Hailey, for taking the time to do this for my family. You will never know how much these possibly last pro pics of us as a family of three mean to me!

Here are more of Hailey's photos of my family over the years.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Week 28

As I sat down to write this post, I had to take a glance back at my Week 28 post for Jack to see how I was feeling then. It appears that the same feelings kicked in about the same time. The realization that my baby could be here in potentially 10 weeks (he was born in the 39th week) has brought a real and immediate need to nest to the forefront of my mind. It's all I can think about: prepare house for baby.

I actually already have Annabelle's bedding unboxed (so I can go in and occasionally look at it when I am stressed) and in her room. I chose to purchase it over making it because, seriously, my life is a circus right now. Her bed is in there too, still in its huge box, and waiting for her daddy to paint the room over the Christmas holidays. It's currently a lovely shade of yellow, and I have very fond memories of us painting it back in 2008. What will be going on the walls is a beautiful silvery grey that I have yet to pick out, but I am positive that it exists and will look lovely with Annabelle's petal pink bedding.

{I've gotten a lot of questions about this - my parents gifted us with a second crib for Annabelle. Jack isn't climbing out of his yet, and I am not about to mess with a good thing when we're about to go through such a big (exciting!) transition of adding a shishy. But there's a big kid bed in his room when he's ready for it.}

I've started ordering a few accoutrements for her walls, and one of my sweet college friends passed off huge load of baby girl clothes to be split with one of our other friends who is due two weeks before me. We went through those last weekend, and now Annabelle has clothes all over her room in all sizes. I need someone to 1. organize all of it for me and 2. order her dresser, have it delivered, and put them away. Any takers?

But hey, I got our Christmas pictures made and cards ordered in a 7 day window, so I'm getting a few things done. I might even get them out before Christmas.

This morning I had the glucose tolerance test at my monthly appointment. I don't go back for another month, which will be right after Christmas, then visits will be every 2 weeks. Annabelle is measuring 29 weeks and had a heart rate of 140. She sounded great and kicked at the doppler the entire time we listened to her heart. My sweet, feisty girl. I love her so much.

Our little girl looks good and feels strong, and we are well on our way to seeing her sweet face here in the third trimester!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What to Wear Where: Christmas Party Maternity Style

Obviously, it's Christmas party season, and while most of the parties we've been invited to are casual, my Company party is always after five dress. I came across this dress in navy at Pickles and Ice Cream a few weeks ago when I was last minute shopping for something to wear in our last minute family pictures. Below it's pictured in lurex, which I love. Maternal America makes such comfortable and stylish maternity clothes, and I'm certain that the navy will be a staple through the last months of my pregnancy.

I thought I would kick the rather simple dress up a notch with some glitter and round it out with a deep red lip and nails. MAC's Viva Glam is the most fabulous red for a night on the town. With some fresh highlights and a blowout that afternoon, I should feel like a million bucks even though I'll have to dose myself with Zantac to enjoy the evening.

And never fear, I have some back up gold flats in case the heels don't work out for big mama.

Maternity Christmas Party Style

I'm linking up with Amy at Forever 29. Click on over there for more holiday looks!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Giving Thanks

Well ho, ho, ho, and away we go into the Christmas season. It's only December 3rd and with the total assault on all my online channels by major retail marketers, it seems like it will be a fast and furious month.

That being said, we had a wonderful quiet and laid back thanksgiving with my family in Corsicana. We have so many things to be thankful for this year that 30 days of thankfulness wouldn't even scratch the surface. Of course the biggest blessings we count are our sweet children. Jack continues to be our great joy, and I can't wait to get my hands on those sweet cheeks of his little "shishy" as he so adorably calls her.

{He has no idea what a "shishy" is, bless his heart. And hers, for that matter.}

I had big, BIG plans to take the entire week off to hang out with my little guy, bake pies for thanksgiving, and fluff my house for Christmas, however that all went out the window, and I ended up working until 4:30 PM on Wednesday with just enough time to pack my bag to throw it in the car and hit the road. I had the good sense to realistically accept the change in plans coming the week before and ordered chocolate pies from Swiss Pastry Shop in Fort Worth. If you've not had one, you are missing out. They taste a lot like my Memaw's pies, and that's not a compliment I give lightly.

Knowing when to outsource is key to much success in life, no doubt.

Packed and loaded by dark, ready to head to Sugar and Granddaddy's house.

We spent Wednesday to Saturday afternoon out on the farm, which is a playground for boys of all ages, let me tell you. Jack fed the cows, called the cows (like this: "HERE TOWS!!!"), rode in the red wagon, stomped around in his boots and otherwise begged to be outside most of the daylight hours. His dad was pretty much the same, except he got up at dark-thirty to hunt and spent the afternoon napping. I just hung out in my pajamas and shopped on the internet. The good life. My mom's entire side of the family was in for thanksgiving, and it was really good to see everyone all together. It had been a while!

Saturday morning we stopped into the nursing home to see my grandmother (Memaw, the aforementioned maker of most delicious chocolate pies.) Jack provided plenty of entertainment and was well-behaved, compliments of the bags of Welch's fruit snacks I kept plying him with. Fruit snacks are one of God's many gifts to mothers of toddlers, amen?

So now here we are: in the final sprint of my project at work, as well as the final sprint into 2013. The goal is to finish the project strong so we can be out the entire week of Christmas!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


It has been several weeks since I did a true weekending post. I really hope to keep up with these because I've had so much fun looking back on these types of posts from two years ago when we were expecting Jack and remembering some of the fun we were having then. That means in the future I would probably benefit from my weekly pregnancy updates.

{Note to self: get on that.}

I really can't remember a time when I've been more busy than I am right now. Some of it is self-induced, but most is family and work-related. Not long after we got home from San Francisco, at my monthly check-up, my doc diagnosed me with SHINGLES. If you're not familiar with it, most of the time it's stress-induced and occurs when the chicken pox virus gets all ticked off again in your nerve endings. It's itchy and painful at the same time, and the spots left me unable to pull my hair into a ponytail for a week.

Just icing on the proverbial cake of too much going on I've been baking over here.

The major blessing is that I had a mild case, and Jack had been immunized for the chicken pox and apparently said vaccine was effective because he didn't get it. Also, Annabelle was perfectly safe and content and continued to kick the heck out of me like she was none the wiser. The only concern my doctor had was if I still had it when she was born, she would likely contract chicken pox shortly after. Let's pray I am all clear by late February! (I should be already clear even now although my marks are still fading.)

So with that, work, home, a toddler, being pregnant, holidays, work (bears repeating at this point), this weekend was pretty sacred to me. And so I spent it cleaning my house like a maniac because apparently that's what I do to relax.

But first, I saw the last Twilight movie with some of my girlfriends on Thursday night, and it blew me away. Without a doubt it was the best one of the series. I really thought it was genius.

We had reserved seating at Movie Tavern for a marathon showing that started at noon. I showed up in my yoga pants and house shoes just in time to order supper before Breaking Dawn Part 1 started, and since we were part of the marathon, we actually got to see Part 2 starting at 10 PM. I can't tell you how excited I was knowing I would be home not long after midnight.

{That moment you know you're getting old.}

Seriously, I don't even remember how old this manicure is, but with the
exception of rapid fingernail growth due to crazy horse pill pre-natal vitamins,
it's still perfect.

Friday I worked from home because due to my current project, Fridays off are non-existent. Working from home is rarity for me (meaning I normally go on in to the office), but with, you know, the SHINGLES having been present in my life over the past couple of weeks, I'm trying to take it easy on my pregnant self.

Here is Jack modeling the most adorable toddler-sized North Face backpack or "jackpack"
as we call it because we are so punny. He starts preschool/mother's day out/whathaveyou
in the spring two days a week.

Saturday, I took a break in cleaning the house and loaded up my boys for a trip to Trader Joe's for the first time. It's been open in FW for several months now, but it is near the most awful road construction, plus I wanted to wait for the crowd to thin out.

Really wanting to know why no one has told me about this before. This is a must have product.

Internet, you really need to warn a sister about these things.

Get yourself to Trader Joe's for some cookie butter. I can't stand peanut butter (I know) OR nutella (I know!) but this? AMAZING. I bought a second jar to take home with me for the holidays. For real.

Experienced Trader Joe's patrons, please tell me: what else should I be buying from there?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The City by the Bay

As I mentioned earlier in the week, this past weekend we took a short getaway with our friends, the Cooks, to San Francisco. While we were somewhat celebrating a milestone birthday for Ashley, so far for several years in row we've come up with some excuse to go somewhere. It's a great blessing to have friends that you get along with well enough to go on adventures.

We flew in on Thursday evening and didn't get to the apartment we rented on until almost 2 AM Texas time. (I'm usually in bed by 9, FYI.)

Thankful to be on left coast time the next morning, we kicked Friday off with donuts from a random place we found driving down the street and were off to Alcatraz. What a weird/neat piece of American history. The weather was a little cool, but it was a clear day on the bay, so we had a great view of the major SFO landmarks on the ferry going to and from.

After Alcatraz, we walked over to Pier 39 for lunch and a check of the tourist traps before driving over the Golden Gate Bridge towards Sausalito and Mill Valley. From there we headed out to Muir Woods, which was beautiful. (This is coming from not-a-nature-lover.) A Co-worker of mine had told us to go on a week day because the parking is bad on weekends. It reminded me of a Twilight movie so we kept making jokes about Edward and Bella. (Hang on, Spidermonkey.) (Also, we have tickets to the midnight showing so we are, sadly, fully qualified to make jokes like that.)

There was a photographer taking pics for a work project (I asked - it was for a catalog), and he let passersby grab some snaps of his project as well.

After all of the walking around we did (my usually desk-bound pregnant self was flat give out) we drove to Ghirardelli Square where I parked myself in front of a warm brownie Ghirardelli hot fudge sundae. It was as good as it sounds.

On Saturday, we all slept in and watched the Aggies beat Mississippi State. All four of us headed out to TPC Harding Park where we ate lunch, then kissed our husbands good bye to play golf while we explored the shopping of San Francisco. Ashley and I found our way to Union Square, which pleasantly reminded me of NYC. It's one of the largest shopping districts in the world. In short, I was in my element.

After a time, we decided to rest our feet with some mani/pedis. I'm going to camp here for a sec because this was nothing like a Texas mani/pedi experience. For one, neither salon we checked out had a store front. They were suites in big office buildings which were kinda deserted on a late Saturday afternoon. Also, they didn't have the big chairs - just tubs lined with disposable plastic liners, which is cleaner than the big chairs anyway. And lastly, mani/pedis were much less expensive. The nail salon I frequent in Fort Worth costs me approximately $40 for a standard spa pedicure, while we both got a shellac mani ($$$ in FW) and pedi for almost the same price.

What's the deal, Fort Worth? Lower cost of housing, but higher mani/pedi prices. Go figure.

Anyway, it was fun, and I'm loving the shellac manicure. My polish shows no sign of wear yet.

That evening we found a hole in the wall pizza place not far from the golf course called Paradise Pizza. It was one of those small shops where the owner comes around to check and make sure that you like your food. My husband loved it!

Sunday, we breakfasted at a little place not far from Fisherman's Wharf called Hollywood Cafe. The food was AMAZING. When the bus boy picked up our plates, I said, "Thanks! that was so good!" He said (with pride), "We know!"

After that, we did more shopping and had a date night out on the town with dinner at McCormick & Kuleto's and one of their fabulous chocolate bags for dessert. (McCormick & Schmick also carries the chocolate bag. If you don't see it on the dessert menu while there next time, ask for it by name because you must experience it at least once.)

The next morning we were up early for the return trip to Texas, and we were so ready to see our sweet little man's face. It was a great adventure and good to get away before the holidays begin with a busy and full calendar. Now the rest of the week will be spent recovering from the time change.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Catching Up

Hi and hello!

I've been (and still am) tied up at work on a project that has me working long hours, and that's why I haven't posted much recently. I don't post from the office as a rule, and really the last thing I want to do is fire up my MacBook when I arrive home just in time to tuck my toddler into bed.

We already had a short getaway on the calendar for this past weekend, so it was nice to take what was most likely our last little vacation before Annabelle comes. I can't believe it, but I'll be in my third trimester in less than 4 weeks. Time is simply flying by and bringing so much excitement along the way!

So let's talk about the little miss. While we were out of town, Mr. G felt her move for the first time. I've been feeling her since 16 weeks. She's a dancer, that Annabelle. I'm 24 weeks now, and this pregnancy has been very different than Jack's. Everything is happening faster: heartburn, restless legs, having her on my lungs and stomach. With Jack, those symptoms didn't occur until nearly 8 months. My understanding is that is just part of a second pregnancy. So far I am managing with remedies from my doc (and also, staying really busy at work.)

But now speaking of the little guy, he is an absolute joy right now. I missed him so much while we were out of town, but he had fun with his grandparents. Here he was at our church fall festival last week. He's such a good sport.

I love that kid!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What to Wear Where: Pregnant Traveller

I have spent my fair share of time in airplanes and moreso, in airports, over the last decade, so I really liked this week's challenge. One of the best pieces of advice for air travel is to keep it simple.

Usually TSA makes me take off my scarf, jacket, and shoes at the checkpoint. In an effort to not feel like I'm undressing in public, I go ahead and store those first two items in my tote ahead of time. Ballet flats make for easy last minute shucking.

My faithful travelling companion will always be one of those "everything's $10" faux pashminas that are found in airports everywhere. It's large enough to double as both an accessory, as well as a blanket or pillow, which is great since most airlines have gotten rid of those items onboard.

I can't get enough of leggings this fall, though I've never really cared much for them before. I found this tunic at Old Navy over the weekend and loved how comfy it looked. I think it would equally perfect in a cabin at cruising altitude and a cabin in the woods. Really, this outfit is like travel-appropriate pajamas. That's a win.

Happy Jetsetting!

Fall Jetsetting

The Proof is in the Pin {link up}

My internet friend Sarah at Life Sweet Life blog is hosting a link up today on Pinterest creations!

Our church is hosting a ladies' ministry craft day at the beginning of November. The idea is to invite our friends and neighbors out for a day of Pinterest crafts and sharing Christ with ladies outside our normal circles. I'm hosting one of many tables and was charged to come up with something fun to make.

As such, I perused Pinterest quite a bit "for the Lord," of course.

I like simplistic shabby chic-type crafts for the most part, and honestly I don't have the patience or time for things that take a long time. The crafts I came up with were so easy that I thought we'd make two at my table.

This first one is so easy that I thought we'd do a make one, take one. Each lady will make one for her own home and a second to give as a gift.

Original source: Life as a Thrifter

{I can't decide if I like this there, but for now, that is where it lives.}
18 inch quilting hoop with stretched burlap, stenciled. And I love it.

And for our second craft of the day, each lady will make one rustic banner with her choice of holiday phrase. I'll have give thanks, peace on earth, o holy night, and a few others from which to choose. I don't have a pin for this--I just like making banners for my mantle.

I made these up early so photos could be made for the sign-tables.
I'm excited--I love spending my Saturday socializing with a hot glue gun!

Monday, October 8, 2012

And the newest Gentry is...

a sweet little healthy Miss Gentry! Her name is...

Annabelle Katherine

And so far her wardrobe looks a little like this:

There's some Feltman Brothers, Kissy Kissy, Zutano, Janie and Jack, pink bows in different sizes, some with clips, some with headbands, a little bit of Aggie, and an adorable pair of lace trimmed socks to top it off. I'm going to need to clear some space in Annabelle's closet that has heretofore been my annex. And soon.

Without question, we are excited about our littlest blessing and can't wait to see her sweet face. We are praising God for her (and my) good health. The sonographer noted that she posed for every picture that was taken of her.

Oh my!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Celebrating Milestones

Last night I cooked one of Mr. G's favorite meals (nothing gourmet--just chicken spaghetti) and served it in my special casserole dish. It's a red heart-shaped Le Creuset dish that was given to us as a wedding gift lo, these seven years ago.

The reason for the celebration is that today we will hopefully find out whether Jack will have a brother or sister. My prayer is for a healthy baby. I understand now more than I ever could two years ago that--boy or girl--this child will bring immeasurable joy into our lives. I can't wait for a peek at that sweet face.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What to Wear Where: Fall Fun

My fall fashion is having a bit of a mustard moment, seeing as I've already bought one sweater in that colorway and have my eye on at least one scarf. This week's challenge was putting together an outfit that I would wear to take Jack to the local pumpkin patch!

{I will not discuss here how I thought pumpkin patches were dumb until I had a child. I cannot wait to take him this year, as I know he will love it.}

I mentioned last time I linked up that I try to keep from purchasing maternity wear, but for something like a basic chambray shirt, I have to bend a bit. I get so much wear out of my regular one that I know this will be a solidly spent $18 at Old Navy. I'm not a big fan of the drawstring front, but with a little string tucking and a belt, I won't even know it's there.

In Texas where it will be hot until January, short sleeves are perfect for someone who continues to experience her own personal summer thanks to the little person growing with me. And, let's face it, chasing a toddler doesn't exactly lend itself to casual strolling.

Pumpkin Patch Perusing

What to Wear When is a Tuesday link up sponsored by Melissa at I Pick Pretty and Amy at Forever 29 Blog. Check out their blogs for more fall fashion inspiration.
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