Wednesday, July 30, 2008

EIGHT is really GREAT

Our precious baby girl turned 8 months old yesterday! It seems unbelievable...
I can hardly remember a time when she wasn't a part of our family! Just when I thought your smile couldn't get any bigger....I went in to pick you up this morning and you were grinning from ear to ear and squealing with glee! I can't seem to kiss those big cheeks or squeeze those sweet legs (which actually look like a can of biscuits) enough these days.
You have had an eventful month this July, filled with many changes. These are some of the things I will remember most about you, my girl.

- You moved from army crawling to actual crawling EVERYWHERE. You are so fast that I can hardly keep up with you. Even on the tile floors you are sure of yourself and are determined to keep up with Mommy and Cade.
- Your gummy grin has expanded into a "one toothed" wonder!
- Somehow you have already taught yourself to pull to standing. We began finding you standing in your crib 2 weeks ago! Your favorite place to be is standing/holding onto our leather ottoman in the living room, playing with your toys! You smile and "talk" to me when I ask you if I can play too. I will remember these moments always.
- You LOVE to eat applesauce! I can't re-fill the spoon fast enough once you taste it.
- I love the way you tenderly lay your head on my shoulder when people talk to you.
- When your giggle turns into a chuckle.
- You also LOVE to bang your rattle on your highchair tray...very LOUDLY and then smile with pleasure at yourself.
- Oh my heavens, you melt my heart when you stick those 2 middle fingers in your mouth when you get sleepy!
- You survived a 4 1/2 hour road trip to Corpus Christi for our family vacation to see the Allens!
Since the day of your birth our lives have been changed forever, for the better. I will store up these moments and memories in my heart. I know they will bring a smile to my face once again when I am old and gray!
We love you Gracyn Avery and thank God for placing you into our lives and into our hearts.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


A. Attached or Single? ATTACHED!
B. Best Friend? Steve
C. Cake or Pie? Texas sheet cake , but I do LOVE chocolate pecan pie too :)
D. Day of choice? Friday, hubby is off a half day!
E. Essential item? my laptop
F. Favorite color? yellow....sunlight or lemonade
G. Gummy bears or worms? bears, bears, bears...
H. Home town? Irving, Texas
I. Favorite indulgence? coffee ice cream & pedicures
J. January or July? July...bbq's, parties, fireworks, swimming, friends & fellowship
K. Kids? 2
L. Life isn’t complete without? Jesus
M. Marriage date? June 9, 2001
N. Number of brothers and sisters? One sister, Amanda
O. Oranges or Apples? golden delicious apples.
P. Phobias? being in the backseat of a car with little a/c...recipe for carsickness!!
Q. Quotes?
"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." the apostle Paul in Galatians 6:14
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." I John 3:16a
"Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged,sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant with the weak and wrong...because sometime in your life you will have been all of these."

R. Reasons to smile? my Jesus, Cade singing, Gracyn's HUGE smile when I come in to pick her up in the mornings, Steve's voice impersonations, good friends, and family suppers
S. Season of choice? Fall please...and candy corn :)
T. Tag 4 people:
and Amanda
U. Unknown fact about me? hmmm...I'm sorta a neat freak...
V. Vegetable? roasted carrots....yummm!
W. Worst habit? blog surfing
X. Xray or ultrasound? Ultrasound...some of the most exciting moments of my life were seeing my children living inside of me!
Y. Your favorite food? chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes with gravy, biscuits and green beans. Breakfast for dinner. Sweet and salty things.
Z. Zodiac sign? Virgo...but I think they hold no value

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fun Friday...My Favorite Things

Brothers, Sisters, and Silly Faces

Love you Good Night, Sleep Tight

Bedtime is one of our favorite times with the kids! The day is winding down, it's dark outside, the dishes are clean, playroom is picked up, everybody is bathed, and even our rambunctious Cade is ready for a little snuggle.
Our bedtime routine consists of: jammies, brushing teeth/kids mouthwash, going to the potty once more, 2 stories, then we say a prayer from our prayer chart from church (basically covering one of the fruits of the spirit), Cade says his prayers and then we all sing a "Jesus"song together! It seems kinda long, but I really love these last few moments of awake time with our kiddos. It's like the calm at the end of a storm sometimes and other days it's like riding a train all day long and then arriving at your destination...I think all the Mommies out there will understand what I mean.

A typical prayer for Cader:

"dear God,

thank your for my mommy and daddy

and thank you for my sister gracie,

thank you for my doggies, bentley and sammy,

thank you for my letters: C-A-D-E....Cade (wooden letters hanging on his wall)

thank you for my aggie football man,

thank you for my basketball hoop and ball,

thank you for my 'fwriends'

and thanks for my 'twain' bed.

in Jesus name,


He always reminds us not to take the little things in life for granted...thanks Little Man!!!

I snapped this shot the other night of story time with Dad.

So tell me, what do your bedtime routines consist of?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sea, Sand, & Sun in Corpus

Okay, let's sing a little vacation song to get you in the mood for this post:
Holiday Roo...oooooo...oooooo...oooad,
Holiday Roo...ooooo...ooooooo...oooad!!!
If your familiar (or can quote most of the lines in the entire movie like me) with the Chevy Chase classic National Lampoons European Vacation you'll recognize the song! I love that song!
Our family preparing for a vacation more resembles the Beverly Hillbillies though. Yes, that's right folks...when you've got 2 kids and 2 adults the sheer volume of vacation "stuff" is astronomically HUGE. Our little minivan was stuffed to the roof! We literally had everything, but the kitchen sink, even Granny in her rocker. (okay, so it was Gracyn in her car seat, but pretty close)So on Thursday of last week, Steve held his official honorable discharge papers in his hands, Sonic drinks were keeping our cup holders cool and we hit the road headed to Corpus to visit our longtime friends Chad & Amy along with their sweet girls AnnMarie and Allie! The trip down wasn't a bad drive at all we made it there in about 4 hours and 15 minutes with the help of our nifty GPS system once again. Upon arriving we spent a little time catching up with The Allens and then enjoyed one of Amy's delicious pot roasts!!! She's a supermom I tell ya...because she's got a 2 1/2 year old, a 7 week old and she's cooking up supper for all of us INCLUDING dessert! Amy...your the best!

After heading toward our hotel and checking in we all settled in for the night...or so we thought! Now, we have 4 people on THREE different sleeping schedules all cramming into ONE 15X15 hotel room for a 3 day that we look back it was a recipe for disaster. Gracyn usually goes down for the night around 6:30, Cade at 8:45 and Mom & Dad at 11:30. So we ALL hit the hay around 8:30...Cade was not the least bit interested in sleeping and sang "Jesus songs" and talked to himself about the trip for about another half an hour while Gracyn listened to him in her pack-n-play and chimed in every few minutes. I think everyone finally went to sleep around 9:30! So the next morning rolls around and we're up and at 'em at 7 A.M. on the button. Headed to the beach with the Allens, which was really a lot of fun for AnnMarie and Cade. They built sandcastles, played in the ocean, dug holes and examined the seaweed. Amy and I had the little ones on shore and tried to stay in the shade to keep cool, while talking it up about mamahood! It was great to see the kids enjoying themselves with their dad's though :)

That night we enjoyed a delicious meal at Niko's Steakhouse with only the babies in tow! Chad's parents were angels and volunteered to babysit the preschoolers for us! Chad and Amy also picked up on the trouble we were having all sharing one room and graciously asked his parents if we could spend the rest of the trip at their home! What a treat! In typical grandparent form, they had one room already set up with a crib, one with a bed for Cade and a large bedroom for Steve and I to share! Oh the heaven!!! Everyone got to bed at the right times, in their own spaces for the remainder of the trip! THANK YOU DR. & MRS. ALLEN.

The next day the dads hit the aquarium with Cade and AnnMarie in tow! I think they were most impressed with the dolphin show! You could even see the S.S. Lexington in the background.

Following a round of awesome naps, parents included, we had another delicious meal at Waterstreet Restaurant! If your headed to Corpus anytime soon, mark this place in your meal guide because it's definitely worth a stop! I tried the Mexican caldo soup & the seafood quesadillas which were both delicious and Steve said the Caesar salad was the best he's ever eaten...this coming from a man who ALWAYS orders the Caesar salad. His grilled mahi mahi with crawfish cream sauce looked amazing as well. As if this feast wasn't enough we followed up with ice cream at Marble Slab for the young'ins!
It is another family trip for the record books and worth the drive to see such wonderful friends! Chad and Amy thank you for all your wonderful hospitality and warm hearts! We enjoyed every second with the Allen family of 4! We are already looking forward to YOUR visit to the heart of Texas hill country!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summer Storm

We had a TERRIBLE storm hit yesterday! We had very high winds, driving rain and a major lightening display. Of course all this blew in right on the cusp of laying the kids down for naps, luckily they're fairly sound sleepers and slept through it all...THANKFULLY!!!

Check out the aftermath in our backyard

YES...the winds pushed half of our 40 lb. stainless steel grill off the patio & completely toppled Cade's swing set.

Steve, Cade and I spent the rest of the evening dismantling the swing set! It's been through a cross country move, a wind funnel cloud (which happened right after we moved in), and now a summer storm! Poor thing, we put him out of his misery...may all his pieces rest in Lake Belton.

Recipe Addition

Since some of you asked me via email, I decided to post an update to the recipe!
If you decide you DO want to thicken your gravy on your cube steaks (like we do), simple stir one Tablespoon of cornstarch with just a little water...just enough water to incorporate the cornstarch...not too much. Stir it together in a small dish and pour it into the crock pot stirring well. Give it about 15 minutes and you'll have a nice thick gravy to serve on those side mashed taters :) Thanks for asking girls!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Menu Monday

Melt In 'Yo Mouth Cube Steak

'Nuff Said...

Most of you are probably thinking by this point that I NEVER cook unless it's in the crockpot! And do you know what I have to say about that?


IT'S TOO DARN HOT to be slavin' over the stove these days!

Man, have we had some hot ones here in central Texas. 100 degrees that's the actual TEMPERATURE, not the heat index. So yes, when it's that hot give me a crock pot meal any day of the week, especially when it tastes like this one!

Cast of Characters


1 lb. Cube Steak (about 4 pieces)

3 pkgs. Beef Gravy Mix or Mushroom Gravy mix, dry

3 C. Water

Sliced Mushrooms

1 Onion, thinly SLICED (think long and thin pieces, not diced)

Place meat in bottom of crockpot. On stovetop, bring water and gravy packages to a boil and whisk until smooth. Then pour over the meat in your crockpot. Add mushrooms and onion. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Serve with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots!

You can mix and match the gravies to your liking!

You even get cute baby pics with this recipe to boot!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wedded Bliss

Mom came through for me in the pics department...I brought my camera, but with being in the wedding, nursing a 7 month old, corraling a 3 1/2 year old boy and taking care of my Matron of Honor duties...I got no pictures of my own, ACK!!!


You asked and I listened...

Our Family My Handsome Man

Amanda's New Sister-In-Law

My sweet parents...who are happy to have 2 daughters


now 2 sons!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Get Your Kicks' On Highway 6

I love days like today!

This morning I was up by 7:30 feeding Gracyn, showering, and getting ready! I headed out the door at 9:00 a.m. to prepare for a baby shower at church that I was hostessing with a group of girls for a friend who is having twins! The shower was a wonderful success and I returned home around 12:15 pm. to once again....feed Gracyn.

Steve and I have been talking about taking a road trip to College Station for awhile now, as we have not been since last fall before we became a family of 4!!! So I just up and said, "hey, let's go today" and Steve's response was, "that sounds awesome, I'll get Cade ready to go!" The boys had stayed in their jammies all morning while I was at the baby shower, playing Wii together! So an hour later we headed out the door and hit the road with our newest gadget purchase, a Garmin GPS navigation system. Now granted this was a STEVE purchase because he's definitely the "techie" in this marriage, but I am now as excited about it as him. It showed us a different way to go to College Station, shaving about 40 minutes off our previous time...less time in the car with the DVD player cycling CARS movie over and over...ALWAYS gets 2 thumbs up from me! What a beautiful drive it was! Ranches, land...just so much open land filled with crops, cattle, horses, barns, old country homes and tractors. Just the scenic drive was worth the entire trip in and of itself.

And before we knew it, this was upon us... Aggieland, WHOOP!!!!!!!!

This little college town holds so many memories for both Steve and I. The four years I spent there were some of the best years of my life! It's so neat when you can share things like this with your kids, it's your life coming full circle!

As soon as we pulled into town we headed straight for Hullabaloo's Diner.

That's right people, as seen on Food Network's own Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives hosted by Guy Fieri. It's an old diner car that's been moved from Chicago and renovated into a restaurant! It was 3 o'clock by this time and we were all starving....Luckily their burgers, hamburger steaks (seriously grubbin'), onion rings, and HOMEMADE pies hit the spot! Actually they hit several spots, but the chocolate pecan pie was to die for, I can't even tell you! Flaky crust, dense chocolaty center with a toasted pecan top and a generous dollop of whipped cream! Luscious, let me tell you. Steve, Cade and I had that entire slice devoured and plate licked clean in exactly 3.5 seconds!

Chocolate Pecan Pie not your cup of tea?

Check out the other dessert options:
Another satisfied customer

We spent the rest of the afternoon/evening walking around on campus, going through the MSC (Memorial Student Center for all ya'll non-ags), visiting shops, and going t-shirt hunting! Gracyn got her first aggie outfit on this trip...we like to start'em early :)

Look even Cade knows how to Gig'em!!!

Cade Matthew class of 2027/Gracyn Avery class of 2030

We ended our day with a drive-thru visit to Sweet Eugene's to pick up a Java Shake for the road! I am already looking forward to our next trip to Aggieland. It's just a special place that's hard to explain. A quote on one of the t-shirts we saw today sums it up best...

"From the outside looking in, you can't understand it. And from the inside looking out, you can't explain it."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ballard Design Sweepstakes

Anyone want to win $25,000 in awesome home furnishings? Then go to Ballard Designs and register today!!! You can register to win once per day for the remainder of the contest! We take their catalog and they really have some neat decorative things and home furnishings! Just thought I'd share the wealth...I've been signing in EVERYDAY hoping to win.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Best Friend's Wedding

For 29 years Amanda Gail Necessary has been my best friend,

but on Saturday July the 5th...

Amanda Gail McCain

became my best friend.

It was truly a beautiful wedding in every detail.

It was so Cody & Amanda

from the robin's egg blue bridesmaid's dresses

to Cody's surprise serenade to my sweet sister, to

the bride's cake with I Corinthians 13 written

out on the layers & the groom's cake

having a message specially written in HTML.

Everything was just THEM.

Seven years ago I was so honored to have Amanda stand next to me at my wedding

and I felt completely honored to stand next to her

when her big day came!

Most importantly it was a day of joyful celebration

for the way God brought Cody and Amanda together.

She's officially yours now Cody

and she couldn't have found a better match in you.

I know you already know how lucky you are to have her for your wife and best friend.

I couldn't be happier for you both,

congratulations to my favorite newlyweds.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Cardboard Testimonies

I saw this clip on a friend's blog and couldn't resist posting it on mine as well. What a powerful message these little cardboard signs hold...I was very teary by the end of it!

What would your card say? What would mine? (now that I think about it...mine would say me) Have we brought these things before God and asked for his loving forgiveness or tried to sweep them under a rug and pretend like they never happened or don't continue to go on?
A christian author I read said that "as with anything human, church always mingles the glorious with the flawed." Not one single person is perfect, not one single person has it all together or knows all the answers and that's where my sweet, sweet Jesus comes in!!! We are all flawed in some way, shape, or form, we live in a fallen world...but through the glory of Christ we can live abundantly, serve faithfully, and trust immeasureably more through the blood of our risen Lord. Thank you Lord, oh how I love you so. Take me, mold me, USE me...let me never forget where I've been or where I'm headed Lord.

What I've been reminded to do today?

Take it to the cross, don't wait one second more. I believe that God's wounded often make His strongest soldiers. Thanks Rebekah for originally posting this clip, I needed the reminder.