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It was a fun Christmas this year because it was Rocky’s first!  Well, I guess he technically had a Christmas last year, but it wasn’t spent in his “forever home”.  He definitely made out like a bandit this year!


The tradition at Mom’s is that we stretch out the gift opening for as long as possible.  One person goes at a time and we take breaks to refill on coffee and to grab another piece of Shortbread (which is always in the stockings!).  We open gifts in the same order (Mom, Dan, Emily) until there are only gifts left for moi.  Once the gifts are over, we move on to the stockings.  I think this whole process lasted almost 3 hours this year.  Not too shabby.


At around noon, we finally had breakfast.  My Mom began picking up cinnamon rolls from The Kitchen Door when I was a little tyke and it’s become another tradition to have them on Christmas morning.  They are so freaking delicious!

Mom and I got matching jackets from Banana Republic.  She bought the jacket for me while we were out shopping in Memphis and fell in love with it but unfortunately they didn’t have her size.  Sneaky little me found it online, claiming they only had her size in purple, and ordered it without her knowing.  The jacket sorta reminds me of the the Beatles “Help” album cover, so we tried to recreate it…



Rocky’s big Christmas gift was a new bed.  He got in it immediately and took probably 5 or 6 naps throughout the day.


Little did my parents know that their son, Charlie, would have wanted one, too.  I think he was only slightly jealous of Rocky…


I managed to also accumulate a new printer (yay for scanning stuff for my blog… I guess it’s gettin’ pretty serious), lots of soaps, a ton of Aveda shampoo, an Elvis coffee table book and endless amounts of Anderson’s coffee.  Oh and let’s not forget my one month’s supply of gum… it’s even in order!


We spent the afternoon napping, working out and then we fixed our traditional Christmas dinner: steak, sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts.  I know you are jealous!  I gave Mom the Sex and The City movie, so we watched it afterwards.  All in all, a pretty swell day.

Here are the rest of the Christmas pics.


I figured I should split my Christmas blogs up into pieces just cause I felt like it.  And I’m almost to 100 blog posts, which I feel is a major accomplishment.  Go me!

Since I’m a product of two households, I have to make my rounds each time I go to Austin, especially over the holidays.  Christmas is celebrated with my Dad on the 24th and with Mom on the 25th. 

We went out for our family dinner on the night of the 23rd and then opened gifts afterwards.  The next night, Christmas Eve, we have a dinner party with the whole family… and anyone else who wanted to come.  ESM (YES I AM MENTIONING YOU!!) made lasagna and it was delicious! 

It’s been tradition that we play games after dinner.  Sometimes they are Christmassy, sometimes they are not.  Our first game is called “The Night Before Christmas”.  Why?  Because its played to the sound of ESM reading “The Night Before Christmas”.   It involves three wrapped gifts that we pass to the right every time we hear the words “A” or “AND” and to the left each time we hear “THE”.  I capitalize each of those words for a reason.  In order for us not to miss a single word, ESM over exaggerates (times a million) those three words.  Now that Gamma has new hearing aids, everything was coming in loud and clear.  I think she was concerned that they might get ruined because of ESM’s loud tone…


Whoever ends up with the gifts at the end of the game gets to open it and see what they won.  This could range from a dollar bill to a plastic pile of dog doodle.  Clearly, the stakes are high. 

Halle and I snuck off into the guest room for some quality mirror time.  I pointed to myself in the mirror and asked, “who is that?” and I got her to say “Auntie Em” for the first time.  It was a sweet moment.  We then started imitating each other and taking pictures…



Unfortunately, Papa was sick and couldn’t make it to the house for our evening of fun.  Without him around, ESM and Tess have no discipline.  They started arguing over who is the prettier daughter…


After the show was over, I headed back to Mom’s. As it turns into the wee hours of Christmas morning, I am usually putting the finishing touches on my Christmas gifts and watching part of the 24 hour “Christmas Story” marathon. I love that movie.

My Mom and I spent all of yesterday at the Lake Austin Spa.  It was pretty much heaven.  Dan treated us to a very nice Valentine’s Day gift and we finally found time to use it!  We both got body scrubs, massages and facials.  I don’t think my skin has ever felt softer.  One of my favorite things about the spa is that you walk around in robes all day long.  It’s glorious.

They also provide lunch that’s delicious and nutritious!  I bought the cookbook, so look forward to hearing about some of the recipes in the future.  Here is what I had:

Beef and Black Bean Chili 
LakeHouse Salad (mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette)
BBQ Chicken, Smoked Gouda and Spinach “Pizza”
Cookies and Cream Fro-Yo

After all our treatments, we went to the pool barn and swam.  I haven’t been swimming since September, but I still managed to crank out 2200M, no problem.

If I ever win the lottery, I’ll definitely treat my loyal blog readers to a day there.

The 2008 wedding season has now come to a close.  Last night was Erin and Daniel’s wedding at Briscoe Manor in Richmond, Texas.  And what a beautiful wedding it was!  I left my camera cord up in Big D so I probably won’t get around to posting pics for a while.  But, wait for them… they’ll be worth it.

Friday morning, the Rock and I got up at the butt crack of dawn and headed to Houston.  There was a bridal luncheon at 11:30 at the Junior League (oh la la) and then we went to Sugar Land to get checked into the hotel and ready for the rehearsal.  Briscoe Manor has been one of my favorite wedding venues of the million weddings I’ve been to this year.  Not only was it gorgeous, but it was so nice to have the ceremony and reception at the same place.  Made for less headaches!  The rehearsal dinner was at Cafe Adobe and since it had been such a long day for many of us, it wasn’t a crazy night.  I had to go work on putting some CD’s of music together for play when the band was taking a break. 

I couldn’t have picked a better hotel, at least for the sole reason of having a Bally’s within 100ft.  So, Saturday morning I got up and got some endorphins flowing before heading to the salon to get my hair did.  I’m so not an “up do” person, so I went with normal hair, just partially back.  After the salon, we went to the Baethge’s house for makeup.  This part was exciting because I got my first experience with fake eyelashes!  I wish I was skilled enough to put them on, because I would totally wear them often.  Here’s grandma gettin’ her hair did…

After lunch we headed to Briscoe to get dressed, take pictures and get ready to rock!  I’m really going to consider getting a couple ribs knocked out because my dress was so constricting around my ribs.  They stick out so much, I feel like a heffer at times!  We had fun hanging out in the bridal suite, trying to make Erin laugh to forget about her wedding jitters.  


The ceremony was at 5:30 and went off without a hitch!  Minus the fact that Erin, bless her, first tried to put Daniel’s ring on his right hand.  Erin’s BFF growing up sang “Ave Maria” at the ceremony and it was just beautiful.  It was at this point, and right when Erin walked in that my eyes started watering.  No tears actually fell, but the watery-ness is a major step.  I told Erin and she was definitely touched.


I’ve also given Erin, Robyn and whoever is in the audience at Suz & Jay’s wedding in April to make funny faces at me while I’m up near the “stage” trying to be a good bridemaid.  I think those clowns strategically sat on Daniel’s side so they could be in my eyesight.  They kept making faces at me and I couldn’t help but laugh and then look away immediately.  Jerks.


After a few pics it was time for the reception!  In the words of the wedding coordinator, “you guys are now free… go get plastered!”.  With the open bar, this wasn’t too hard of a task.  Dinner was delicious, the cake was creative and the couple’s first dance was very fitting.  I don’t know what kind of jig they did, but it was obvious they practiced.  I remember when I lived with Erin, the two of them took dancing lessons on Tuesday nights.  They’d always come home and practice and sometimes I’d peer around the corner out of my bedroom to catch them in action.  


Once we loosened up the band to play more than George Strait, the dancing began.  I think our crew was the only ones out there dancing all night, but the Cotton Eyed Joe did end up getting the Brits out there later on.  I’m scared to see the wedding video, I know I was really hammimg it up.  I’m pretty sure I even apologized to the camera man for stealing the spotlight so much.  He just laughed.  I’m sure he also enjoyed the bridemaids’ personal video message as we decided to sing “Proud To Be An American” in honor of Daniel’s new American status.  

The night wouldn’t have been complete without the receiving of my new life-size Elvis cut out!  Robyn’s dad went as Elvis to a Christmas party recently and I guess they gave him the Elvis.  And of course he realized it was meant for me, so he gave it to me at the end of the party last night.  I told Suz I could recreate the Home Alone-Michael Jordan-train track setup anytime now.  You know, just to keep the burglars out.


Congrats to Erin and Daniel!  I didn’t have to give any toasts but if I had I would have recalled the night we all met Daniel.  I remember wondering who this kid is with the British accent and crazy sideburns.  I then remember how Erin wasn’t keen on him at first and then it was like a week later and I was reading an email from her stating how she and Daniel had gone on a picnic and she felt like she was walking on air.  I think the moment I realized they were meant to be together was when I was leaving TCU one day, walking back to the McCart house and I crossed paths with them as they were heading to school.  I remember looking back after a minute or two and they were walking and then jumping and clicking heels.  I remember thinking, they are definitely in their own little world!  I told Erin that story Friday night and she goes, “I can’t believe you saw us!!”  Which is pretty remarkable because this was like 4 years ago!

Also, I unfortunately did not catch the bouquet this time.  But, I tried!


Now that the wedding festivities are over, its time to enjoy Christmas vacation.  Can I just say how amazing it feels to be out of the office????  I was so tired this afternoon that I took almost a 3 hour nap.  Maybe I’m still recovering from last night.  I’m sure spa day tomorrow at the Lake Austin Spa will get me re energized.  Oh baby oh baby oh… I’m excited!

P.S. You can view the rest of the wedding pics here.

Last night was a holiday cookie decorating party with the group from Bible Study.  We decorated snowmen, gingerbread men, snowflakes, ornaments, Christmas trees, etc etc.  I arrived on the scene with severe cookie decorator’s block.  But, it wasn’t long before my creativity started flowin’.

The categories were: Most Creative, Ugliest, Most Original, Most Patriotic, and Most Professional.  I’m proud to say that I received two 3rd place nods.  Which I’d like to think equals one 1st place prize. 

I decided to think a little outside of the box for Most Patriotic.  Surely everyone would be doing something red, white and blue.  But, patriotic doesn’t have to mean U.S.A.  Which is why I decided to be patriotic through Rocky’s eyes and created the following…


My next creation was entered into the Most Creative category and received 3rd place.  The judges thought it was just a smoking Santa, but clearly they didn’t notice the feather in the hat.  It’s a pimp snowman.


Unfortunately, my entry for the Most Original category didn’t win anything.  If the judges would have known that I had transformed an Indian into Elvis, they would have had a little more respect for my creation.  Right when I got the idea to do Elvis, I was informed there were no more snowmen cookies.  Luckily, Debra hadn’t gotten any farther than icing the cookie brown and placing a red dot on the forehead before she graciously surrendered the last snowman cookie to me.  I then wiped the slate clean and created Elvis.  Suz also made a Frida, which placed 2nd, and we opted for the cheesy Christmas photo ops…

cookies  cookie21

P.S.  I’m preserving Elvis in my freezer, so if you want to see it next time you’re over… just ask.

Just the sound of this song makes my eyes tear up.  Last night was the finale of yet another Biggest Loser season.  I’m proud to say that not only did a female win, but also a Texan! 

I have to keep Kleenex nearby at all times because I’m constantly crying happy tears during this show.  I’m absolutely amazed watching the transformations these people are making.  And I think its such a wonderful thing… the show is giving these people their lives back!  They of course do all the hard work, but with the help of the trainers they are learning the keys of being healthy and getting in shape.   And they are able to lose so much weight the right way.  By eating healthy and being active.  No diet pills.  No surgery.  Just pure blood, sweat and tears.  It always amazes me how idiotic and oblivious some people are about what they eat.  Healthy foods not only taste wonderful but they make you feel better! 

I suggest watching the new season starting January 6th.  I think I got Mary hooked on the show… so I know you can get hooked, too!

Michelle lost 110 pounds and 45% of her starting weight.  I hate to be a cheese-ball, but you go girl!


This is a four day work week for me and going into Monday I had successfully booked lunch dates for all four days.  But, apparently this week I’ve become extremely uncool.

Erin had to cancel on me Monday for obvious last minute wedding prep.  Understandable.  MJ had to cancel on me Tuesday because her office was ordering pizza in to avoid driving in the slick streets (suck).  Understandable.  And today a girl I used to work with cancelled on me for a reason I’m unaware of.  Washing her hair?  Maybe.

I’m trying to keep my chin up here, but its really depressing this close to the holidays.  I mean, I take a shower every morning.  I wear deodorant.  I comb my wear.   I’m somewhat in touch with style.  What’s wrong with me?  Should I start eating worms?

Tomorrow is lunch with ABS and I’m hoping she doesn’t cancel on me, too.  Although, if she does, I forsee her excuse being she’s absolutely wiped out from law school finals and can’t gather the strength to drive out to Irving.  Ho hum.

This being the only free weekend at home I’ve had in 3 weeks and the only one I’ll have before Christmas, I had to make it a productive one.  I counted about 10 places I needed to go to this weekend and yesterday I crossed about half of them off.  And I managed to wrap gifts, make my grandma’s fudge (OMG) and go hangout with my favorite almost old married couple.  

I’ve decided to *try to give up Starbucks and resort back to homemade brewing.  I’ve asked Santa for some sweet to go coffee mugs, so I’m thinking if/once he delivers I’ll get into the habit of taking my coffee from home.  Of course, what fun would life be if I didn’t indulge in Starbucks occasionally?  It wouldn’t.  So, I’m going to make Starbucks a Friday morning treat.  But, yesterday and today it’s been quite an adjustment.  My homemade coffee is not nearly as strong as theirs and I almost feel like I’m drinking instant Foldger’s or something.  Hopefully Santa puts some good Anderson’s coffee in my stocking, too…

I also think I am BFF with my alterations lady.  She loves me.  She really does.  You should see her face light up when I walk in the store.  “HIIIIIII, HOW ARE YOOOOUUUU?”.  It gives me warm fuzzies inside.  I saw her yesterday to pick up my dress for Erin’s wedding.  It was nice because we got to exchange Merry Christmases and for kicks I threw in the classic “I’ll see you next year!”

Last night, we went to dinner at Olivella’s in Snyder Plaza and got to sit outside.  It felt very non-Dallas like.  It was fun!  And afterwards we went back to Suz’s to watch the beloved Home Alone.  I had to go to three places to find it on DVD.  Apparently, it’s a big hit this year and everyone is sold out.  Interesting, since it’s been out for 15+ years, right?  It was as good as always.  And of course we knew all the words.  I think Baby’s First Christmas enjoyed it, too… although he was asleep on the couch for almost all of it.


One of my coworkers got Rickroll’d this morning.  Rickrolling happens quite often around here, but its usually done with the original “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley.  Someone will call another person’s phone while they are away from their desk and leave a message with just Rick Astley singing.  When the person gets back to their desk they notice a voicemail, turn the speaker on and listen to the message.  And then everyone starts cracking up at the sound of… 

“Never gonna give you up,
Never gonna let you down,
Never gonna run around and desert you,
Never gonna make you cry,
Never gonna say goodbye,
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you…”

I’m mean, that song never gets old.  And it’s so uplifting… it always puts you in a good mood.  But, today was a new song.  And it took me back to the 2622 days and endlessly watching “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” on Mary’s computer.  I think we even used to do the dance occasionally. 

And writing about Mary’s computer also reminds me of the extremely annoying theme she used to have on there.  The jungle theme.  I’d be only person in the apartment and out of nowhere I’d hear jungle noises… birds chirping, a monkey beating a drum (?), something quacking… just all sorta of crazy and it would always scare the buh-Jesus out of me.  Somehow she found this so amusing.  Which is probably why she left the theme on there.  Jerk.

What a game last night for the Spurs.  I’m so relieved we finally pulled it out in double OT.  I average about one or two Mavs games a season, so its nice that this season’s game was against the Spurs.

The excitement of the game and double overtimes made me realize why I can’t get too involved in sports.  I get extremely superstitious.   It brings me back to my high school days and about the time I made the decision to keep sports watching at an arms length away.  I used to be ridiculously crazy about UT sports.  I’d be so upset if we lost, especially after I had exhausted all of my superstitious ticks during the game.   Because if I had screwed just one thing up, that was definitely the reason Texas lost.  Perhaps this is why I never really got into TCU sports? 

During the first three quarters last night I kept the game at an arms length away.  But, something in the 4th quarter clicked… we had to win this game and I was going to be upset if we didn’t.  So, the antics began.  Everytime the announcer yelled “defense”, in my head I said “offense”.  Everytime we scored, I clinched my fist and threw a punch.  Everytime we missed a shot and the Mavs got the ball, I looked at Bowen and blinked three times.  Obvliously, none of this has a rhyme or a reason, but last night I was dedicated to my Spurs and went the distance to pull out the win.  Good thing I didn’t start superstitious-ing until the 4th quarter… I’d have been absolutely exhausted had I started at tip off.  Go Spurs Go!


I love Tim.