Tag Archives: date night

Skydiving!

As most of you know, we went skydiving on April 1.  And it was AMAZING!  We’re going to write this post together to tell you all about our experience.

Staci will be in normal text.

And Michael will be in italics.

So get ready for the jump of our lives!

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I’ve always wanted to go sky diving.  As you can see, it’s on My List.  Michael knew this, and he found an awesome deal for skydiving in Houston and gave it to me for Christmas.

We’ve been waiting since January to “cash it in”.  April 1 was the first time that the weather was supposed to be great and we were planning to be in town.  So we called and set up our appointment, and then drove to Houston!

(Oh. ps… that “Space Jam” picture was supposed to be about us watching that movie because of “Air Jordan” and it was one of Staci’s childhood favorites.  He planned a whole “air” themed day for my present.)

We drove out to Eagle Lake, TX where Skydive Houston is located (not actually in Houston).  We weren’t hungry until we got to the little town.  Sadly there was nowhere to eat except a gas station.  That was gross!  

And it turned out to be a mistake to jump on a semi-empty stomach.  But more on that later. 

As we got closer to the air strip, this is what we saw:

We were almost there!!  Oh–and we were also so excited about skydiving that we didn’t sleep much the night before.

But even amidst the excitement, we decided to call all of our immediate family to tell them we loved them one last time (just in case).   🙂

Yeah, he just said “amidst”.

yes, I am smarter than the average bear!!!!  —-  *cough* Mean *cough*

ANYway…

We finished eating our disgusting gas station food and watched some skydivers land.  We couldn’t believe we were actually about to jump out of an airplane!

AAAAhhhh!

Of course, by saying “about to Jump out of an airplane” she really means that we had to wait like a million years before we got to do it.  First we signed in and signed our life away (literally) and then we watched a video about skydiving narrated by this awesome guy   🙂

He’s not kidding about any of that.  Yes, we signed our lives away–neither we nor our families could sue if we were injured or died due to anything…including blatant negligence.  Yes, we waited a million years (more on that later).  And yes, we watched this guy explain all about the risks and excitement of skydiving.  It was priceless.

– Hey Guy!  Gandalf called… he wants his beard back! –  Oh, and I’d love to see his facial hair flying everywhere as he fell back down to earth from a plane!

After we watched the video, we were told to just sit and wait.

And wait.

And wait.

While we were waiting, we got to watch the instructors getting the parachutes all ready to jump again.  I would NOT want to be liable for putting them up the right way.

We amused ourselves with taking pictures…

Reading…and laughing at this awesome sign that was next to us:

Hehe.

We need that for our neighborhood, by the way.

We finally found out the reason we had to wait so long was that they wait for a lot of people to come, get the parachutes all ready, and then divide everyone into groups so they can do one jump after another.  They want to keep the plane running constantly (getting groups, taking them up, coming back down for the next) so they save gas and time.  So some instructors (like Michael’s) did 3 jumps in a row!  Oh–and a little side note–sometimes they each do over 20 jumps in a day when they’re busy!!

While we were sitting and waiting, one of the instructors came up and started talking with us about jumping.  He answered some of our questions and showed us how we’ll jump and everything.  He said that he’s been jumping for 20 years and he’s jumped 1052 times!

Later I found out that he was going to be my instructor, and I was his 1054th jump!

We got all suited up, and then got ready to head to the plane.

So we were in group 5, I think, so when they finally got around to us we walked out to the runway and then got all geared up to get on the plane. 

The plane is pretty small; it only holds about 22 people.  Our group was only 9 – 3 jumpers, 3 instructors, and 3 videographer/photographers. 

We decided that since this was probably going to be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, we wanted to splurge and each get the photo/video package.  So we had our own personal photo/video person jumping with us too!  They had these awesome helmets that held their photo gear, and they blew in a mouthpiece to take the pictures.

After waiting for so long, the initial excitement we felt when we first arrived had kind of started to wear off at this point.  But as we made our way to the plane it all became more real and the adrenaline started pumping again.  

Can you tell I was just a little excited?!

It’s funny, but I really wasn’t nervous as we flew higher and higher.  I kept on thinking that I would start to freak out (heart pumping, sweating, all that good stuff), but I didn’t.  I was just so excited that it was finally here!  It seemed surreal.

Yeah, I agree… I thought I’d be way nervous, but I wasn’t at all.  I was just ready to jump out.

Of course, then the awkward moment came when we had to sit on our instructors laps so that they could strap us onto them tandem-style.  It was even weirder cause I think I was probably a little bigger than my instructor.  I hope I didn’t break his legs.  

It was pretty funny looking across the airplane and seeing my husband sitting on a dude’s lap who’s around our age.  My instructor was at least 40 and bigger than me, so it wasn’t quite as weird.  Except for the fact that my feet could no longer touch the ground…

Then my instructor started pushing me around and I didn’t know what he wanted.  Then I finally realized that he wanted me to lean over and give Staci a kiss for the camera… they laughed and made fun of me for being so difficult!  But I was just so nervous to do the wrong thing and I didn’t know what he wanted… and it was hard to move around strapped to another dude and all, anyway…

I must say, it took lots of effort on our instructors’ part to get us close enough for this one last kiss before we jumped.  It was definitely worth it though!

Yeah, Just in case  *wink*

As you can see, someone’s about to jump in that last picture.  The other guy went with his photographer and instructor, and then it was my turn!  My photographer hung outside of the plane, holding on to a bar, so he could still film me, and then my instructor and I waddled over to the door.  He reminded me to put my toes on the edge, put my head back, and told me to kick him in the rear when we jumped.

And then it was “One, two, three, jump!”

I honestly didn’t even have time to get nervous.  We were out of that door and flying through the air before I could blink!  I couldn’t believe it–I just jumped out of an airplane!!

That first drop was just surreal.  I still don’t think it really hit me that I’d just jumped out of an airplane.  I have no clue why I wasn’t freaking out.  I mean, I absolutely love the rides where you ride up to the top and then fall down (Superman at Six Flags over TX), but my stomach is doing back-flips while I’m waiting to drop.  But this was completely different.  There was no fear.  I trusted my instructor so much (I mean, come on–he’s jumped over 1,000 times!) and I had been waiting for this for so long that I was just ready.

Then after she went… it was my turn!  So my instructor and I waddled to the exit, and all I can remember was at one second Staci was there safe and sound, then before I knew it she disappeared under the plane as she fell.  It was a pretty weird feeling to watch that; I don’t know that I can describe it, but I know I felt like, “Oh my gosh, she’s gone… and I’m next!”  So before I knew my instructor was yelling “Ready, and, GO!” and we were out the window flying through the air!

ps… I’m really not trying to sound macho, but this picture makes me look way more scared than I felt.  Especially, cause like Staci, there really isn’t much time for you to even think about it.  You just go.

I don’t really know what I expected, but this wasn’t it.  I think I thought I might feel like a graceful bird or something.  But it was actually pretty harsh.  I was falling through the air.  Literally.

But at the same time, it was one of the neatest things I’ve ever experienced.  I was falling through the air.  Literally.  🙂

by the way, they tell you to keep your head up (it has to do with aerodynamics, I think) and I got in trouble –

Hehe

The initial fall was incredible!  It was really exhilarating – not frightening at all.  However, like Staci said above, I had always imagined it to be a peaceful fall.  Well, its not.  It’s actually pretty turbulent!  The wind’s rushing by, the air’s thin which makes it hard to breathe, my mouth dried out worse than it ever has, and, as I describe later, motion sickness started to set in.  But it was definitely the most incredible second most incredible feeling I’ve ever experienced (Marriage is number one)!

(And yes, I know my cheeks are flabby – yours would do the same thing)

Mine didn’t.  Haha.

Since I didn’t look down (I follow the rules…*ahem*), I didn’t see what it looked like below.  But my photograper got an awesome shot of us!

One of the things that my instructor told me was that I needed to focus on breathing when we jumped (he’s also a yoga instructor so we practiced breathing. Hehe.).  I didn’t really know why this was important until I’d been falling for a few seconds.  And then I felt like I couldn’t breathe to save my life.  I was giving myself slightly panicked pep-talks: “Breathe. In. Breathe. Out. Breathe!!”  You can start to see how hard it was for me to breathe here:

Then the motion sickness started to set in a little (I mean “hello?” I only dropped like 7 THOUSAND feet it less than a minute).  You can kind of see the discomfort in my face in this picture.

Kind of?!  You look like you’re dying.

Thankfully, I didn’t suffocate up there, and before I knew it, my instructor was pulling the parachute–which opened just fine, thank you very much. (That’s always the part that people worry about.)

And then as soon as it started and as breath-taking as it was, they pulled the parachute and the free-fall was all over!

It really looks more painful than it is.  I honestly didn’t even really notice when he pulled it other than we were going a lot slower.  (I kind of let my body go limp, so I didn’t strain anything with the tug of the parachute, which is why I look like a dying eagle!)

I agree.  It looks painful, but it isn’t at all.  Even though I really liked the first part of the fall, I was so ready to be able to breathe by this last part.  Being upright was a welcome relief.  Oh–and I also agree that he looks like a dying eagle in that pic.  🙂

Thanks.  It hit me that the “worst”, as some may see it, was over.  Everyone always worries that the ‘chute won’t open, but it hit me that mine had and we were safe.  So at that point I just enjoyed the ride as we floated to the ground for the next 7 minutes.  I even got to steer the parachute a little bit before we got to the ground.

I absolutely LOVED the parachute ride!  I liked being able to look out and see all of the “patchwork” of creation and see the little town slowly come into view.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  And since I was upright and could breathe (oh–and my instructor loosened my chest harness to make breathing easier and unhooked our hips), I could just take it all in.  I kept saying “Oh my gosh.  It’s so pretty!  This is amazing!” over and over.

I think my favorite thing was when my instructor pointed out Michael a little ways away.  We got closer to each other, and it was just SO neat to be able to see him parachuting, knowing that we both just jumped out of airplanes.  Since we do almost everything together now, it was a little weird not being right together when we jumped.  So it was that much more special to be able to see him in the sky.  “Hi, Honey!”

Yeah, since I’m heavier and fell like a rock (seriously, we jumped like 30 seconds apart, I only free-fell for about 45 seconds compared to her minute-or-so, and yet I still caught up to her when we were under the parachute).  I agree that that was my favorite moment.  It was so cool to realize that we were together 1000s of feet in the air, taking it all in.  It was really special and really cool.

As we parachuted, my instructor asked if I liked roller coasters.  I made a mistake in saying yes.  He spun us around in circles (I do NOT do well on spinney rides) and then changed directions and spun again.  It probably wasn’t much spinning at all, but by the time we got closer to the ground I was feeling REALLY sick.  I was scared that I was going to lose what little lunch I ate, and I warned my instructor that I wasn’t feeling so hot.  But thankfully that didn’t happen!

He reminded me to focus on my breathing, and before I knew it, we were heading towards the field to land.

It was SOO amazing.  Even despite not being able to breathe for a little bit and the motion sickness, it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.  It was amazing to know that I was in the air and just looking out at all of God’s creation without being behind an airplane window.  I was actually out in the open!

My landing experience was pretty similar.  Luckily, my instructor didn’t spin me around a ton, but I did start feeling pretty sick near the end.  I even mentioned to him that I didn’t feel so hot.  But we landed (which wasn’t difficult or painful), and the ride was all over.  It was so awesome, but I will admit that when I got my feet back on the ground, I thought to myself “This is it?”  Not that it wasn’t incredible or anything, but only that it was all so quick–especially after making the drive out there and then waiting for almost 3 hours until the jump.  I loved it, though.  It was totally worth it!

After we landed, my videographer interviewed me post-jump, and then I got one more picture with my incredible instructor.  I’m so thankful that I was paired up with him–it was a great jump!

You can see Michael walking from across the field.  We made it!  You can bet that big hugs were in store.  And after we got some water and tried to get some color back into our faces, we started talking about how incredible our jumps were.

As Staci said, and as you probably could have guessed on your own,  I made it!  One of the guys that worked there told us before we jumped to be careful or we’ll get hooked.  Now I see why.  Even though I got a little queasy during the ride, it was incredible and if it wasn’t for it being so expensive I would do it again in a heartbeat!  Maybe sometime later on down the road I’ll get the chance to do it again.  But I know that if I do, it will never be like the first time!

I felt pretty sick for about 4 hours after we jumped, but I know most of it was due to me not eating a good lunch beforehand.  So if I ever jump again, I’ll eat a healthy meal, drink TONS of water, and put on chapstick right before we jump.

But honestly, it was one of he most awesome experiences.  I’m still a little shocked that we actually did it.  There was nothing like looking down and seeing all of the tiny little houses and know that I was in the open air!  I would highly recommend it!

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So that’s our little skydiving adventure.  We hope you enjoyed it!

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Q for you:  So have you ever skydived?  Would you?  What’s one thing on your “list”?

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–Staci AND Michael

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December in a Nutshell

Now that December has come and gone, I guess I should finally get to posting about it.  Needless to say, it was a BUSY month!  I’m sure you can relate.  Instead of trying to go back and do an update for each individual part of December, I’m going to just write one big update with little glimpses of everything that went on in December.  As always, feel free to just look at the pictures.  🙂

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Gingerbread House Decorating

Michael and I decided to buy a gingerbread house to decorate.  I hadn’t made one in years (my Meme used to help us make them out of graham crackers and milk cartons), and Michael had never made one.  We were super excited until we started making it.  It just would NOT stay together!  We even tried blow drying it.  By the end of our decorating, it would have made Hansel and Gretel cry.  Let’s just say we’re pretty convinced that the box lies.  (We found out later that some of our friends hot glue theirs together before they decorate it.  If we ever try this again, we’ll be “borrowing” their method.)

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Road to Bethlehem

The first weekend of December, our church put on a huge event called Road to Bethlehem.  Our gym was transformed into the village of Bethlehem, around the time that Jesus was born.  We had people of all ages helping and taking part, from a four month old baby, to elderly men and women, and all ages of families and people in between.  People from all over the community were invited to come and “meet a beggar and the King on the Road to Bethlehem”.

Guests would enter our gym and find themselves in the Bethlehem marketplace, complete with weavers, brick makers, a wedding procession and feast, food stands, a beggar and a thief, and plenty more village people.  Michael and I were the inn keepers.  We all stayed in character, and the guests were able to ask questions and interact with us.  At the end of the “road”, they came to the manger scene with Baby Jesus.  I loved being able to be a part of something like this.

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Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens

The next weekend, Michael and I went to Houston to visit my cousin, Paul, and his wife, Elizabeth, again.  We had a great time!  On Friday night, we went to Moody Gardens in Galveston to see the Festival of Lights.  All four of us have been to the Festival of Lights in Chickasha, OK, which is absolutely incredible.  So we weren’t expecting a ton from this Festival.  However, we were pleasantly surprised.  Even though there were some very strange displays (zoo scenes, pirates, blooming flowers, and lots and lots of ocean scenes), it was really nice!

We stayed around and hung out on Saturday, and Paul even taught Michael how to take someone’s blood pressure.  He was pretty excited.  (Paul is in med school, and you can read his story here: http://storyofawhitecoat.wordpress.com/)  It was a GREAT weekend!  We’re so thankful to have family/friends so close!

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Anniversary Trip in Dallas

For our second anniversary, I planned a trip to Dallas.  (We’ve decided to take turns planning each year and then plan our multiples of 5 together.)  I did the “name your own price” thing on Priceline, and once again I was VERY pleased.  If you’ve never tried this, try it!  You pick your destination, star rating, and price, and then you see if anyone accepts your bid.  We stayed at the Grand Hyatt in Dallas for $60 (regularly around $230)!  And we stayed at the Hyatt Regency the next night for $50 (regularly over $100)!  Anyway, I love using this feature.

Since we have Fridays off, we drove up to Dallas on Thursday night and checked into our hotel.  It was really nice!

The next morning, we slept in (after waking up at sunrise), grabbed some breakfast at Panera Bread, and went to see “The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader”.  The theater was empty when we got there, and only two ladies came during the movie.  It was fantastic!  We’d just finished reading the book, and we loved the movie even more than the book.  If you didn’t get a chance to see it, be sure to rent it when it comes out!

We went to check in at our new hotel, and we got a free upgrade to the Deluxe King room just by asking about free upgrades!

After we dropped our stuff off, we went to downtown Grapevine to eat dinner at a local Italian place called Napoli’s.  Grapevine was decorated so nice!  I wish we’d had more time to wander around, but we were on a mission.

This was the part of the trip I was most excited about:  ICE! at the Gaylord Texan.  My cousin had told me about this, and I knew that Michael would love it.  Every year, the Gaylord Texan brings in ice sculptors from Japan to make an ice display.  They use colored ice, and some of the ice even has lights inside of it.  It was so cold inside that they issued everyone parkas!  But the ice sculptures were definitely worth it.  This year was “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, which is one of Michael’s favorite movies.  It was incredible!

After we went through ICE!, we walked around the hotel and looked at all of the decorations.  It was absolutely gorgeous.

We both loved seeing ICE! and exploring the Gaylord Texan.  It had been a perfect day!

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Christmas with Mom’s Side of the Fam

The next morning, we went to my uncle’s house to have Christmas with my Mom’s side of the family.  I was so happy that it worked out for us to be there, since we didn’t think we’d be able to make it up for Christmas this year.  The adults play “Dirty Santa”, and the gifts were hilarious, as usual.  We also took a new family picture, complete with Maddison.  I loved being with my family, even for a few hours.

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Kayla and Sean’s Wedding

To complete our Dallas trip, we went to two of our close friends’ wedding.  Kayla and I have been friends since we were on the same hall our freshman year, and I think Michael and Sean have been friends since freshman year too.  Sean was one of our ushers.  Needless to say, we were SO happy for them.  The wedding was beautiful, and it was great to see some of our college friends.

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Christmas with Michael’s Mom and Sister

Michael’s mom and sister, Sarah, came to visit for a couple of days before Christmas.  Sarah lives in New York, and we hadn’t seen her since last Christmas.  We were SO happy that they were able to come visit!  We went to dinner, opened presents, and played lots of games, including the BluRay games on Beauty and the Beast (I’ve said this before, but they are so much fun!).  Even though we wished they could have stayed longer (and that Michael’s dad could have come too), it was sooo good to see them!

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Christmas Eve

Our church has three Christmas Eve services, and this year we chose to go to the 6:00 and 11:00 services.  For the 6:00 service, we sat with one of the families that we’ve gotten close to since we’ve been here.  I’m so thankful for their family!  The service was wonderful, and the candle-lighting was beautiful.  Afterwards, we went to the associate pastor’s house for tamales and chicken tortilla soup.  Yum!  We helped run sound for the 11:00 service.

When we got home from the 11:00 service, it was already Christmas (technically), so we decided to go ahead and open our gifts from each other.  We’d decided that we just wanted to do stockings from each other, and then plan something special instead of getting traditional gifts.  For my big gift/event, Michael is taking me sky diving!!  I’m SOOO excited!  It’s something on “my list” (which I plan to post sometime soon), and I can’t wait to go!  I planned a mini vacation to Destin, FL for us for this spring.  (We may or may not be taking it though, because we’ve decided to start saving for a house.)

It was fun opening our gifts and starting our “just the two of us” Christmas early.

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“Just the Two of Us” Christmas

This was our third Christmas since we’ve been married, but our first to celebrate “just the two of us”.  Even though we both missed our families a lot, there was something sweet about just being together for Christmas day.  Since we were up way past midnight, we slept in late and then had a big breakfast.  We played some games, watched a few of our new movies, did laundry (we had to pack for our ski trip), and just relaxed.  It wasn’t like any other Christmas, but it was really nice.  That evening, I made a big dinner.  We’d bought a pork tenderloin from one of our youth, and we saved it for Christmas.  I also made red skinned potatoes, green beans and carrots, bread, and my apple roll-up.  (I took some pics for recipe posts that I’ll post sometime.) It was yummy!  It turned out to be a wonderful Christmas at home!

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We left for our ski trip a couple of days later, and I’ll write about that in another post.  Thanks for catching up on the December happenings with us!

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–Staci

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Q for You:  What was your favorite thing you did in December?  Did you stay at home or visit family for Christmas?

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Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – By Us

Yes, you read right!  This post is not just by Michael or just by Staci.  We’re combining our awesome mind powers to bring you this special holiday post of our night of Christmas Decorating.  So, here’s how things are gonna go.  Michael’s typing will be in Italics, and Staci’s will be in Regular font.  Here we go!  (ps… if you couldn’t tell, Michael wrote this first paragraph, but it’s not in Italics)

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We actually put up our tree a week before Thanksgiving.  I know, I know…that’s super early.  But it was the only time we’d be able to put it up before we went to San Antonio for Thanksgiving, and we wanted our tree to be the first we put up.  I made Chili Stew (I’ll probably post a recipe sometime.  It’s really yummy!) and we put in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” to watch while we ate. When it was finished, we put on some Christmas music and pulled out the decorations.

“Charlie Brown Christmas” is my favorite Christmas movie.  And chili stew is good!  And Christmas trees are awesome!  And Christmas music is fun!  And my wife is my favorite!!! … So I guess you could say it was a night of AWESOMENESS!!!!!

We bought this little tree our first Christmas right before we got married.  So even though we’ve only been married a little less than two years, this will be our third Christmas together.

Our first ornament of the year is one our friend Kaitlyn made for us before we got married:

Since we got married 5 days before Christmas, we decorated in red, silver, black and white.  We used lots of ornaments and things that we still get to use in our Christmas decorating.  So it’s like a double bonus–decorating for Christmas and thinking about our wedding!

Our wedding was awesome too!
Before the lights and the star:

It was my turn to put the star on this year!

We have a star because we were looking for a tree topper (angel or star) and all the angels were way creepy looking!  So we decided to go with this star!  I like it… it doesn’t stare at my soul.

ANYWAY…

Here’s the finished product:

We made those stockings last year.  We searched EVERYWHERE for stockings that we liked and couldn’t find any.  We finally found these at Hobby Lobby, but they both had huge bows on them (like mine).  So I took the bow off of Michael’s, and added a snowman.  I love them now!

Isn’t my wife so creative and cute?!    …. By the way that’s a pretty good-lookin’ tree if I say so myself!

I’d delete that, but he said I can’t change what he wrote…And speaking of my husband, Santa came to help!

And I have no clue what he’s doing here…

What do you mean you don’t know what I was doing?  I was protecting us from the scary ornament stealing elves!!!

We had lots of normal ornaments plus ones that we’ve been given or have bought over the past few years.  Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved looking at all of the ornaments; I love being able to think about where each of them came from.

We bought this one at church a few weeks ago.  It’s from Bethlehem (a company called Bethlehem Art), and it’s made from a real olive tree!

My friend, Jamie, gave us these at work last year.  It’s a pickle!  You’re supposed to hide it and then the kid (or person) who finds it gets an extra gift.  I think we’ll start using it for real after we have kids and they get older.  But for now, it’s a fun ornament.

This is from our vacation to San Antonio last summer:

And this is from our Disney Vacation last year:

My Meme gave me this one.  I can’t remember if she made them or if they’re Granny’s or who’s…but I like it!

I could go on and on about every ornament, but I won’t…

whew… that was a close one!  🙂

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We also put other decorations around the living room.  This is under the tree:

On the bar (but now it has another Christmas plate on it too):

My Meme painted these a long time ago.  They’ve always been at her house, and I’ve loved them since I was a little bitty girl.  Well, last year Michael and I were helping Meme and Pawpaw decorate for Christmas and she gave these to me!  I was SO excited!  Now they’re beside our tree:

In the shelves under the TV:

My dad bought me the little Nativity Scene before we got married.  It’s made out of clay, and it folds up into a present!

On either side of the TV:

I’m so thankful that Michael is such a great husband and helps me with all of this!  It was so much fun being able to decorate everything together.

Christmas is my very favorite time of year.

Me too!

I just love the weather (it was 30 degrees this morning, by the way!  Woo-hoo!!  It was about time it stopped being in the 80s!), time with family and friends, decorating, music, and everything about it.  And I can’t forget the true reason for Christmas: Jesus.  Could there be a better holiday?!

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–Staci AND Michael

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Q for you:  Have you put up your tree yet?  Do you have any special Christmas tree decorating traditions?  What is your favorite ornament?

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Tale as Old as Time, Song as Old as Rhyme

Beauty and the Beast

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A few nights ago, I watched my favorite movie with my favorite person.  And it’s one of those times where my heart was just really full — if that makes sense.  I don’t think that I quit smiling until I was asleep.

I know that I’m super nerd for saying this, but I absolutely love the Classic Disney Movies.  There’s just something about them that makes me feel so contented and happy.  And I’m glad that Michael enjoys watching all of them too!  We have lots of Disney Feature Films and Disney/Pixar movies, and we want to buy almost all of both collections (I’ll probably make a list of them on here someday).  We just both grew up loving them, and we wanted to buy them for ourselves since our parents have them on VHS.

I always felt like I could relate to Belle.  I absolutely love reading for starters.  I’m also more of the proactive type (like Ariel and Belle) who go out and find adventure rather than the reactive type (like Snow White and Aurora) who let life happen to them.  I also have a crazy father and married a beast (JUST KIDDING, Daddy and Michael!!!).  I also remember loving the fact that Belle had brown hair when I was little since Barbies and a lot of other princesses had blond hair.  She also has the most gorgeous dress of any of the princesses!  Oh — and it’s also good that she has the ability to see people for who they really are.

Beauty and the Beast is just incredible.  The music and drawings and story-line — they’re all fantastic.  We bought the 3 disk combo pack (2 Blu-Rays and 1 DVD), and the second Blu-Ray had this really neat interactive documentary.  It had a somewhat normal documentary (we’re both huge nerds for things like that!) but then it also let you click to learn more about different topics.  We watched most of it on Tuesday night, and then finished it yesterday afternoon.  If you have this disk, I highly recommend it.  It was so fascinating to learn about the story behind the movie as well as hear about and from some of the artists and actors.  I feel like it helped us appreciate the movie even more (if that’s possible).

I love that my husband and I can enjoy small things like this.  It makes life so much better.

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–Staci

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What’s your favorite Disney Movie?  Any particular reason?

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Our Past Two Weeks, Part Two

I know it’s been another week since we’ve moved, but I’ll keep going with the “Part Two” thing…

And let me warn you: it’s a long post.  But feel free to just look at the pictures!

Saturday, October 2

We were supposed to sleep in, but that’s pretty much a non-existant thing for us now.  For some reason, I’m turning into my father and can’t sleep in to save my life.  At least we woke up rested!

Michael and I went to Target and Wal-Mart and came back with everything we need for our new guest bathroom (we’ve only had one bathroom up until now) plus lots of other goodies for our house.

Our families actually did get to sleep in, and they came over later that morning.  We got right to work unpacking boxes!  Let me just say that I have NO clue what we would have done without our moms and my sister — they helped SO much!

We ordered yummy pizza from a local Italian restaurant, and some people from our church brought dinner that night.  We were still just blown away by everyone’s welcoming-ness.

Michael’s parents headed back to their hotel (we’d be seeing them in the morning) and my family stuck around for a little while longer.  We snapped this picture before they had to leave.  (Side Note:  I am REALLY short.  I think I just re-realized that.)

All of “the girls” cried when they left.  It killed me that we wouldn’t see them for a long time since we’d gotten so used to seeing them at least a couple of times a month.  But I’m thankful for my husband who hugged me and let me cry.  He also reminded me something we’d been telling ourselves and each other over the past few weeks:

“At least we’re close enough to our friends and family that it’s tough to leave them.”  So true.

My mom called after a little while and by the time we got off the phone I was lots better.  It helped that we knew that this is where we’re supposed to be — and that our families and friends support us in our decision.

Sunday, October 3

We met Michael’s parents at church so we could go to the 8:00 service.  Let me say that I didn’t know that church could start that early.  It was tough to wake up early the first week, but by last week, we’d already adjusted.

Church was great, and we went down to join the church after the message.  Everyone was SOO friendly, and it was great to meet everyone on their way out of the sanctuary.

We made our way over to the youth center and met a TON of youth students and some parents.  It was a little overwhelming, but really good at the same time.

Michael’s parents had to leave about halfway through our first Sunday School hour.  I really wish that we would have taken a picture with Michael’s parents before they left!  Thankfully we’ll be able to see them for Thanksgiving.

We went to “meet the church” at the end of the second service, and then repeated everything during the third service/second SS hour.

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As soon as church was over, it was time to unload a SEMI full of pumpkins!  We ate a quick lunch at the church and then got to work.  A lot of the students from one of the schools in the town came to help so they could get service hours.  There were people everywhere!  It was great to see everyone working so hard to get the Pumpkin Patch all set up.

I just realized that I need to explain the Pumpkin Patch a little more.  Our church has been doing a Pumpkin Patch Fundraiser for 17 years now.  The pumpkins are grown on a Native American Farm in NM or NV or somewhere over there (I can’t remember), and then a place somewhere around NC or VA or somewhere puts them on trucks and sends them to people all over the USA.  We got one truck-load on the 3rd and we’ll get another this Sunday.

All of the proceeds (after costs) go to the youth for our summer mission trips!  They usually make enough to cover almost all of the mission trip costs.  It’s so great to see people of ALL ages coming together and making this fund-raiser possible.  The Patch is open every day, and people from the church volunteer to work it.  They also open it up in the mornings for day-schools and pre-schools to come for storytime and a little pumpkin.  It’s been adorable to watch the little kids come and look at all of the pumpkins!  There have also been tons of photo-ops.  One little girl (she was a year and a half old) was in a huge orange tutu, and it was just about the cutest thing ever.

But I’m getting ahead of myself….

On Sunday, we unloaded pumpkins for a few hours.  Since I can’t lift the big pumpkins, I helped the little kids put the baby pumpkins on flats.  One little girl kept finding all of the “cuties” and hiding them under the flat so they “wouldn’t get hurt if it rained”.

The grown-ups and big kids unloaded the truck.  They made huge lines all the way down the grass to pass the pumpkins.

Our pastor made sure I got one of him passing the pumpkins.  He and his wife are both hilarious!  The lady that is passing him the pumpkin is the one in charge of the Patch this year.  She’s done an amazing job!

There were rows and rows and ROWS of pumpkins!

And there were all kinds of different pumpkins too!

Normal Pumpkins and Fairytale Pumpkins:

Pumpkins with “warts”:

And even Acorn Pumpkins (I’d never seen anything like this before!):

We also have Swan Gourds and even White Pumpkins:

There were pumpkins EVERYWHERE!  We had a lot of fun helping unload and set everything up.  It was also a good time to get to know some of the youth students and other people from the church.  Even though it was a lot of hard work, we’re both looking forward to unloading another shipment in a couple of days.

After the pumpkins were unloaded, Michael and I borrowed our new friends’ truck to go to IKEA for a few things.  We went in search of a dresser for Michael, a pantry, a storage thing for our office, and an end table/place for our blankets to be stored.

That store is NUTS.  The first time I went, I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t even buy anything.  And there were still a few times that I was completely overwhelmed when we were trying to figure out all of the million pieces that we needed to buy for the pantry and storage thing.  But we eventually found everything we were looking for (or so we thought…) and headed home.

It was a LONG but good day.  There’s nothing like a million gazillion pumpkins to welcome you.

 

 

Monday, October 4

 

This day was a WHIRLWIND.  We went to Burger King at 6:30 to meet with some of the students from one of the high schools.  (They meet every week for CrossTalk — a time for the youth to come and get free breakfast and pray before school.)  Even though it was “an ungodly hour” (my words that morning), we were thankful to get to hang out with just a few kids and get to know them better.

We came home, tried to get a quick nap, and then headed to work.  Since we’re the youth leaders and the Pumpkin Patch is a youth missions fund raiser, we’re in charge of “opening” the patch every day and making sure everyone has everything they need to get started.  So we opened the patch and then came back home for the cable guy to set up our internet (yay!).

We headed back to the church to meet with the ladies that have been serving as interim youth directors.  Talk about information overload!  But it was good to be getting the info.  Then we went to lunch with Robert (our pastor), Pam (his wife/the children’s minister), Mark (the assoc. pastor) and Erin (his wife/the newsletter and supply closet coordinator).  All I can say is our calendars are now FULL.  We flipped from Nov to July to Sept to Feb to Oct and back (plus all of the other months) about a million times.  But it felt good to get some dates down and start to see what all was going to be coming up.  And we love both couples (and their families) already — they’re so great!

We went back to the office and met with Robert, where we got a TON of our questions answered (like schedules, youth work, office stuff, etc) and received a lot more information.  By the time we left, we felt like our brains were going to explode.  But in a good way, if that makes any sense.

That night, we put together Michael’s new dresser!  I felt like Bob and  Bobette Villa.

I told Michael to smile for the camera, but he said that real men don’t take pictures while they’re building.  And that’s why women aren’t allowed on the building site.

EXCUSE ME?!

He smiled.  Hehe.

I, on the other hand, was all ready to cheese it up and show off my mad building skills!

(Side Note: I just realized how “daintily” I hold the screw.  I guess I don’t have mad building skills after all.)

Anyway, after we put the dresser together, we Skyped with my family and gave them a tour of what we’d done since they left.  (Isn’t technology amazing?!)  And then it was off to bed.  We were pooped.

 

 

Tuesday, October 5

 

On Tuesday, we worked really hard in the office, trying to start getting the bookshelves organized, put dates in our calendars, figure out email and things, and all kinds of stuff.  It was busy, but we felt like we were finally accomplishing something tangible.

That night, I worked on unpacking some more boxes while Michael had a meeting to go to.  I started working on the guest room shelf unit thing and Michael worked on the pantry.  He got a lot done!  I got one of the parts put together and then I realized that we’d forgotten to buy two main things: the base and the top unit where the filing cabinet goes.  We had the filing cabinet mechanism, but no unit to put it in.  We’d have to wait to finish it until we went to Houston again.

 

 

Wednesday, October  6

 

Wednesday was another super busy day.  It started with CrossTalk at 7:00 for one of the other high school’s students.  There were a ot of kids who came, and it was good to get to know a few more of them in a smaller setting.

Even though I’m just part-time, I decided to go in to the office most of the time for the first week so that I could help get things organized and set up and everything.  And let me say now that we LOVE working together!  It’s so much fun to be able to work together on all of the ministry stuff and planning and just all of it.  We love that we can feel like we’re both truly involved, and we’re able to get paid to be a ministry team!  We’re so blessed.

Anyway…a little while after we got to work, I was asked if I could go to the Patch to help with storytime.  There were going to be little pre-school classes coming all morning long.  Of course I’d like to help!  I just love little kids, and watching them in the Patch was so much fun.

The kids were so cute as they listened to the story.  And afterwards, they were able to pick out a little pumpkin and put it in their goody-bag.

There were a lot of families and individuals out buying pumpkins as well.  I loved seeing how much fun everyone was having!

That afternoon, Michael was interviewed on the local news station!  They wanted to do a story on the Patch and let people know when they could come purchase pumpkins.  They also interviewed a lady who has made a tradition of coming from Louisiana to take her grandchildren every year.  (By the way, some people have told me that they’ve been coming since their kids were in elementary school, and they’re out of the house now.)

Michael did a great job!  It was fun watching him be interviewed (the segment was live, by the way).

Hehe — less than a week in Beaumont, and he’s already on the news!  Our children’s pastor, Pam, asked for his autograph.  I told her he would sign her bulletin.

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That night was our first Wednesday night with the youth.  For the rest of this month, the couple who has been teaching on Wednesday nights is going to continue their lessons.  They were supposed to teach last week, but we found out that the youth are in charge of “rolling” the pumpkins  so that they don’t rot as quickly.  We spent a long time rolling all of them (there are a ton!) and then the hay bales arrived, so we had to move them.  We also took all of the scarecrows from the contest and placed them around the Patch.  It turned out to be a really good thing, because we were able to just visit with the kids and get to know them a little more.

And then Michael had a major break-through with the guys.  He taught them how to play this game where you have to try to poke the other person while making sure they don’t poke you (think a big-scale “thumb war”).  And that’s all it takes with guys.  He’s automatically “in”.

It was a really good night, and we felt, once again, that this is exactly where we’re supposed to be.

 

 

 

Thursday, October 7

 

On Thursday, I went in to the office with Michael and we got through some more of the books and binders files.  Then after lunch, I stayed home and Michael went back to work.  It was SOOOO good to have some time to relax.  I read some more of my book (I’m still working my way through the Harry Potter Books — 1 – 4 again and now I’m on 5 for the first time) and took some time to get some house work done.  It had been such a busy week, and the break was greatly appreciated.

That night, we ordered pizza and watched “Matilda“!  It was one of my family’s favorites growing up, and Michael had never seen it.  We both really enjoyed it.

 

 

Friday, October 8

 

Friday was our day off.  And let me say that it is AMAZING to have the same days off!  In the past, we’ve always only had one day off that’s the same: Saturday.  Michael got another day in the week, but I was always at work.  We kept thinking it was Saturday all day.  It was great!

After Michael opened the Patch, we got ready and drove to Houston to buy our missing pieces at IKEA.  While we were there, we bought a few toys that we just couldn’t pass up (I’ll post pictures later…I haven’t taken any yet).  It’ll be nice when we have kids so we can have an excuse to buy kids’ toys and books.  We just act like we’re buying them for someone else and then add them to our kids’ area in our guest room/office for little kiddos to play with when they come to visit.

That night, we went to our first football game in Beaumont!  I was trying to remember the last time I’d gone to a football game, and I’m thinking it’s been about 6 years.  We sat with Robert and Pam and a lot of people from our church and just had a great time!  The people really are so, so friendly.  And it seems like they have a blast everywhere they go.

 

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This officially ends “Our Past Two Weeks” but I’ll go ahead and do a brief update on this past week as well — since I let a whole ‘nother week pass before I updated again!

 

 

Saturday, October 9

 

We worked around the house and finished putting together our pantry and office shelf thing.  And then we could empty a lot more boxes!  We also went grocery shopping at some point, but I can’t remember if it was this day or another.  We had a nice, low-key morning and afternoon.

That night, we went to see some of our new youth students before their homecoming dance.  We visited with the parents before “picture time”.  We’re really enjoying getting to know so many of the parents.  All of the kids looked great!

And then Michael and I went on our first date in Beaumont.  We had dinner at Pappadeaux (which was wonderful!) and then came home and relaxed.

It was a perfect way to end the week.

 

 

Sunday, October 10

 

We got up bright and early for the 8:00 service.  But by this time we were used to getting up even earlier than this for CrossTalk.  It’s funny how quickly your body can adjust to new times.

It was “Children’s Sabbath” which means the kiddos were in charge of the service, and Pam preached.  We really, really enjoyed it!  The kids were so cute.

Sunday Schools went well, and we opened up the Patch in the middle of the second SS, so we spent the rest of the time doing that.  Oh–and we bought some BEAUTIFUL olive tree things after the first service, but I haven’t taken pictures of those yet either.  They deserve their own post.

We went to lunch with Robert and Pam, and Mark and Erin, and their kids.  We had a great time!

That night, we were thrown a welcome party at the church.  We were able to meet a lot of the students and parents we hadn’t met yet, as well as visit with others.  It was SUCH a good time.  Once again, we were blown away by everyone’s welcoming attitudes and generosity.  We’re blessed.

 

 

Monday, October 11

 

My brother turned 21!  We called him on our way to CrossTalk to wish him happy birthday.  It’s weird that we’re all growing up.  The rest of the day went really well.  Some of our youth had a Boy Scouts Court of Honor Ceremony, and we were able to go to that.  It was really neat to hear about all of their Scouts stuff.  I hope our boys are able to be involved in Boy Scouts someday.

Oh — and before the Scouts Ceremony, we ate a really yummy meal.  In fact, Michael didn’t want to eat his food until I took a picture of it.  We’d bought pre-seasoned pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon at HEB.  And then I fixed mashed potatoes, sauteed green beans, and Michael made some bread.  It definitely hit the spot.  If you have an HEB near you, try this meat!

 

 

Tuesday, October 12

 

I actually stayed home on Tuesday and got a TON done around the house.  It felt so good to get so many more boxes unpacked and housework done.  Michael spent the day going through tons of computer files and contacting people and things like that.

That night, we went and ran errands.  We bought a Christmas present, some games that were on sale, and a map at Toys-R-Us.  (Oh — and we’d bought the Sunday Paper on Sunday so I could get some coupons, and we’d found GREAT deals!)  After that, we went to Hobby Lobby to get some 1/2 price fall decorations with our gift card.  Then we went to Wal-Mart to get bread since we don’t like HEB’s bread.  And then we finally made it to HEB for our grocery shopping.  Let me just say that we have been BANKING on the sales!  I’ll probably write a whole post about it later, but we’ve saved a lot of money over the past week.

We were also talking to my mom off and on the whole night.  Something super exciting was happening, and she was keeping me up-to-date.  It definitely deserves its own post though!

Since it literally took 4 hours to run all of those errands, we just got Papa John’s and brought it home.  We put in a good-ole episode of “Growing Pains” (Season 1) and then chatted with my brother.  It was a good day!

 

 

Wednesday, October 13

 

Wednesday started bright and early with CrossTalk.  It was revealed that I’m not the greatest morning person.  It’s not that I’m grumpy, I’m just not functioning at 100%.  I couldn’t hear anything, and I kept thinking that people were saying the craziest things.  Let’s just say I provided quite a bit of entertainment without trying to.

We got lots more done in the office and even had a chance to come home for a couple of hours before evening church. Church was good (except for the disgusting, rotting pumpkins — one of them were so nasty that it made one of our students throw up!) and we had a good time with the students again.

 

 

Thursday, October 14

 

Since it was Boss’s Day yesterday (actually, I think its tomorrow, but we celebrated yesterday), I stayed home to make some brownies in the morning.  I went in a couple of hours late (but not for me since I’m part time!  Woo-hoo!) and got to work on the bookshelves again.  We had a wonderful Boss’s Day lunch with yummy food and LOTS of laughs.  And then I went out to check on Michael at the Patch (he was helping for a few hours).  We worked in our office and did some more work, and then it was time to come home.

We ate a snack and then headed to a JV football game to watch some of our students.  We sat with the parents again and had a really good time.  We all went to eat afterwards at the new restaurant in the town (it’s a little bitty community outside of Beaumont).  The burgers were good but we waited a really long time for the boys to get their food.

When we came home, Michael and I decided to play one of our new games: Scrabble!

Michael won — 272 to 214!  But we were both happy because we both scored “Expert” (over 200 pts for 2 players)!

It was a great way to end another busy, but great week!

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–Staci

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Game Night!

Last Saturday, we had a game night–just the two of us.  We played four of our favorite games, and I thought I’d share what they are in case you’re interested.  We LOVE all of these games–they’re great for two people or a small group.

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First up:  Blockus.  I’d bought this for my grandparents for Christmas last year, and our whole family ended up getting addicted to it.  We eventually bought it for ourselves.

This game is for 2-4 players.  The point is to lay as many of your tiles down as possible–but you can only touch your other pieces at the tips–none of the flat sides can touch.  While you’re trying to lay yours down, you’re also trying to block the other player(s) so that they can’t lay any more down.  All of the tiles are different shapes, so it gets pretty tough at the end.

Here’s an example of our board after one of the games.  (Oh–and you hardly ever get to lay all of your tiles down…)

We tied one, and then I won one.  And this is how Michael felt about that!

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Michael got to choose the next game, and he chose Monopoly Deal.

This is a Monopoly card game.  His mom had bought it before she came to visit last summer, and after we played a round and figured out all of the different cards, we loved it.  She ended up leaving it for us and buying them another one.

You have three different types of cards: properties, money, and action cards.  Each turn, you can play up to three cards.  The point is to get three complete property sets.  It’s harder than it sounds, though, because you can play all sorts of action cards that steal properties from other players and things like that.

Michael won both of our rounds!  (He almost always wins this game…)

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Our next game is my favorite:  Ticket to Ride!  My parents bought this for us for Christmas, and I just love it!  Michael likes it too, but I usually win and he hates that.

I think this is for up to six players.  Each player is dealt two short routes and one long route.  They’re also given five color train cards.  The point is to complete your routes (for example, making trains from Seattle to New York) using the different color train cards.

Michael was a punk, and he blocked me from getting my last route (the other players don’t know where you’re trying to go/what your routes are, but he took a gamble and blocked where he thought I might go).  Because of that, he beat me by a ton.

But I came back and beat him the next game, so it was all good.

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Our last game was Michael’s choice again.  He picked one of both of our favorites:  Disney Scene It!

We have the first edition game.  I bought my family the second edition a few years ago, and I didn’t know almost any movies!  They were all too recent.  The first edition has some of the really old movies like “Herbie the Love Bug” and then it has movies as recent as “Atlantis”.  But most of the movies are from when we were growing up.

We’re both REALLY competitive at this one since we’re pretty equal skill-wise.  We both love Disney movies (and Disney World, though Michael isn’t as quick to admit it…), and it usually comes down to who can roll higher numbers on the dice.

Donald (Michael) won the first game by a ton (all I could roll were ones and twos!), and Minnie (I) won the second by one question.

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We had a TON of fun with our game night!  I love that we both like things like this.  One of these days, I’ll do a post about our favorite group games.  We both just LOVE playing games!

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–Staci

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Q for you:  What are your favorite two-person or small group games?

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We’ve Been Spoiled

Over the past week, Michael and I have felt so spoiled!  We’ve gone places, bought things, and eaten at restaurants that are very out of the ordinary for us.  Since we’re on a budget (thanks to Dave Ramsey…), we usually only eat out a few times a month, and big purchases have to be saved for.  (By the way, Michael is a MUCH better saver than I am.  Almost every month, I spend at least $25 buying books and movies from Amazon, while Michael saves his until he has money for something big.)

I think our spoiled-ness started on Tuesday of last week.  We were all ready to eat at Danna and Jonathan’s (our really good friends, who we hang out with as much as possible), but they decided to get Oscar’s Chinese food instead.  Michael and I LOVE Oscar’s.  Let’s just say I *might* have given Danna the number by looking through my most recent 10 calls…

Then later in the week, I was looking through my purse and saw a ton of unused gift cards.  These are the one thing I do save.  I didn’t even have a clue where we got most of them, or how much was on each.  I called the number on the back of most of the cards, and I found out that we still had a  gift card from our wedding to Dillard’s, three Wal-Mart cards, my massage gift card from my parents for my bday back in April, an Elephant Bar gift card from my Bible study girls back in April, and a few other random cards!  Why hadn’t we used these before?!

I called and made my massage appointment for Thursday, and the spoiling started full-force.

On Thursday, we each got to pick out new glasses!  This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but we were both looking forward to it.  Michael has never worn glasses or contacts in his life.  Up until this past year, he had perfect vision.  (He still likes to say his vision is perfect and that he just has an astigmatism, but we won’t go there…)  We both picked out our glasses and we’re only going to have to pay less than a third of the price because my work covers a certain dollar amount! You can see Michael’s later on in the post, but here are a pic of mine:

After we went to get our glasses, it was time for my massage!  I’ve never had a true table massage before, but I’ve always wanted one.  My family bought me a massage for my bday, and I’d been saving it until now.

Oh.

My.

Word.

Why haven’t I been getting massages my whole life?!  When Michael came to pick me up, I was still completely out of it, and I feel like I walked around in a haze for the rest of the night.  I was just SO relaxed!  I’m pretty sure I’ve inherited the stress gene (thanks, Mom), and no matter how hard I try to not stress, my shoulders are one big knot.  Ann, my massage therapist, spent almost the whole hour trying to get the knots out.  She said that if I really wanted to get rid of them, I’d need to come at least every two weeks.

While I won’t be going every two weeks, I was talked into buying a membership to Massage Envy.  I get one massage a month for a discounted price, and then every massage in addition to that is even more of a discount.  Michael and I are hoping that they’ll help with all of my stinking back problems.  He’s going to go with me next time!  If you’ve never had a massage before, GO GET ONE!  (and if you join, tell them I sent you!)

While I was getting a massage, Michael was picking out our new Blu-ray/surround sound system!  We sold our X-Box to our friends since we never use it, and with that money plus one of the gift cards, we had enough to buy it.

But before we went back to get it, we used another gift card and ate an AMAZING dinner!  We went to the Elephant Bar for the first time for my mom’s birthday, and since then it’s become my favorite restaurant.  The food is incredible, and the atmosphere is unique.  Every time we eat there, I feel like I’m dining at Disney World.  And if you know how I feel about Disney Dining, that’s saying something!  Well, my wonderful Bible study girls somehow found out that I love the Elephant Bar, and they gave me a gift card for my bday.  We’d been holding onto this for a long time.

Michael ended up ordering braised lamb shanks (sorry, can’t find a picture), and I ordered the Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi.

Both of our meals were fantastic! For dessert, we split a mini walnut fudge brownie sundae.  SO GOOD!  Neither of us could finish even half of our meals.  And one of the things I love the most about Elephant Bar is that I always feel like I’ve eaten so healthy when I leave there.  It’s VERY yummy!

We left Elephant Bar and went to see my brother at work.  I’m still not used to seeing him in a shirt and tie and hearing him say, “Can I help you with something, Ma’am?”  Being the three crazies that we are, Michael and I tried to hide from him and he tried to hide from us when we saw each other.  I think we forgot that hide and seek only works if at least one person is seeking…  I’m sure the people in the rest of the bookstore were wondering what three grown people were doing sneaking around bookcases.  Anyway, we had a great time visiting with him!

We left there and went to pick up our new Blu-ray player.  Michael was VERY excited about this! We’ve used it a few times, and the sound really is great.  Oh–and I got to help set it all up.  I felt very tech-y!

We went back to pick up our glasses and used our Dillard’s card to buy a new waffle maker since ours died sometime last year.  Have I mentioned that I love gift cards?!

Then on Friday, we were spoiled too!  I’d found tickets for Beauty and the Beast for 70% off through Travel Zoo (By the way, if you like to travel or want discount event deals, subscribe to their newsletter) and I was SOOOO excited about this!  Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney animated movie (I’m a lot like Belle), and the abbreviated show at Disney World is one of my favorites.  I was so excited to see it in person!

Before we went to the show, we were able to meet up with one of my really great friends, Jane, and her boyfriend, Andrew (who I’ve also been friends with since before they started dating).  Jane and I were in The Forge together, and I’m SOOOO glad that all of “us Forgies” have stayed so close.  She’s been up north, so I haven’t seen her for over a year.  It was wonderful to just be able to eat yummy Pei Wei food and visit.  They’re very cute together, by the way!

After spending time with our friends, it was time for our show!  It was at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas.  The building was really pretty!

I don’t know why, but I was so nervous that we’d get there and it’d be the wrong place.  We went to Will Call to pick up our tickets, and they were there!  I know I’m silly, but just knew they wouldn’t be.  We were definitely at the right place.

I bought a little pin before we found our seats.  I started this when I saw Mary Poppins with my mom and some friends.  Hopefully I’ll be able to buy pins from every Broadway/traveling Broadway show I see.

One of the attendants asked if she could take our picture before we went into the actual theater (no pics allowed).  Doesn’t Michael look good with glasses?

Everyone kept telling us we had great seats when we would show them our tickets.  And they were right!  Because of the discount, I was able to get second row mezzanine seats (regular $95) for $30 a piece!  The show was outstanding!  The actresses and actors did a great job, the special effects were wonderful, and the music was fantastic!  Here are some pictures I found on the actual site (since I couldn’t take any inside).

We had such a great time!  I’m so thankful to have a husband who likes to do things like this with me!  We felt so spoiled–it was a great date night.

We drove to my Aunt L’s house for the night and hung out with her, my cousin M, and her girls.  The next morning, Aunt L took us to brunch at a really good little place in town.  I had Texas Pecan Waffles with Bacon, and Michael had an Omelet, Pancake, and breakfast Potatoes.

It seems like it was a week full of spoiling!  I’m so thankful that we can have times like this.  We don’t expect them at all, but they’re always special when they do happen.

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–Staci

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Q for you:  When is the last time you were spoiled?