Thursday, December 31

New Year Resolutions

Traditions are sort of a big deal in my family... At the end of every year my dad used to tell us kids, "take some time and write down your goals for the new year, if you don't write them down they won't get done!" And then we would all pile into the car, head out to breakfast (usually at Panera Bread) and sit around the table with our cinnamon crunch bagels and read our resolutions to one another. This year is a little different though, seeing that I am no longer living at home. So I will do my new year's resolutions a little differently- I will write them here and share them with all of you!

My entire life I have been a singer. At the age of 3 I stood up on stage at our church of 3,000+ and sang my little heart out... I've always settled for being, "just a singer," but there is a dream I've had for several years now that I am going to attempt to fulfill. One of my new years resolutions is to learn how to play the guitar. You may be thinking, Gosh, Nicki... You are almost 24, isn't that a little old to try and learn how to play an instrument? Well you are wrong! I've set my mind to learning and I am going to make it happen, even if it is only playing one song really well. There's only one problem... I need to get a guitar first. :0) My Birthday is only 18 days away, so who knows!

Another New Year's resolution is to embrace my family. Now that I am on my own (so to speak) I am realizing how important it is to make the effort to spend time with family. A week can fly by and I realize that I hadn't seen any of them once!
My little sister is no longer little, she has blossomed into a vivacious teen filled with aspirations and desires and I don't want to let this year pass by without me getting to know her inside and out.

My brother and his wife are in NC which makes spending time with them very difficult, but I seemed to have forgotten over this past year that phone calls work both ways- I will definitely be making a point to call them more often. Especially knowing that my brother can be shipped off to Afghanistan at any time.

My mom has empty nest syndrome and I miss her every minute of every day. I want to make a point to spend time with her at least once a week- I don't want to miss out on any of our fun girl talks!

I'll always be a Daddy's girl and some of my favorite memories with him growing up were when we went on breakfast dates- that is on my list of goals for this new year as well, more Daddy/Daughter breakfast dates. :)

Not only do I want to grow to know my immediate family better- I also want to make a point to get to know my *new family better. My dear friend (who just so happens to also be my sister in law) is entering a very exciting time in her life and I feel so honored to be able to experience the journey with her- I want to be there for her whenever she needs a hand to help or an ear to listen and I look forward to our friendship growing even stronger in 2010. There are so many wonderful things that I can learn from the Morgans and my goal is to be ready and available when those opportunities arise. They are a wonderful family and I love that I am now a part of it.

Friends are a huge part of my life. When I am down in the dumps they know just how to pull me out, when I need an ear to listen they offer the biggest ones around, and when I need a night out on the town they show up in their best outfits ready to show me the time of my life. This past year with the wedding and all of the insanity I seem to have forgotten that they need me, too. So this year I am going to strive to be the best friend I can be. I want to go above and beyond anyone's expectations of me- to be there even when they haven't asked me to be, to show love and compassion even when I feel it isn't being returned fully and to forgive before forgiveness has even been asked of me. My friends are precious and irreplaceable and I want to make each and every one of them feel that way. This is the time in life where some friends fall by the way side- I know that not every friend I've made will still be there in 5 years, but I do know what friends I want to invest my time with and in 2010 they will definitely be feeling the love!

A new goal for 2010 is to strive to be the wife that God intended me to be. People always say that the first year of marriage is the hardest- and I do believe that they probably know what they're talking about. But I would like to look back in October of 2010 and say, "well hey! That wasn't too bad!" In our premarital counseling we learned about being the spouse that God intended us to be- I want to strive to always show respect to Josh, I want him to have full trust in me and my love for him. I want to share every good and bad moment with him knowing that when we come out on the other side he will be there holding my hand. I will whine less, encourage more, build strength and do my best to never make him feel bad despite what I'm feeling inside. To attack conflict at the core and not sweat the small stuff. He is my everything and I will invest all that I have in him knowing that he will do so in return. I cannot wait to see what this new year has in store for our marriage!

Last but not least- and this is usually the thing I strive for most in my goals- is to strengthen my walk with Christ. I grew up going to church, from the week I was born I was attending Sunday services. Now that I am a grown woman I have to make it a point to spend time with God on my own- to turn off the TV and take some quiet time, Bible in hand, and talk with God. He has something planned for me this next year- I don't know what it is, but I know that when it arises I want to be prepared. My goal is to spend more time with Him and less time with technology. That may mean less photos uploaded, less Facebook statuses to read, and less time watching my favorite shows... but it also means a stronger relationship with my Father, wisdom to do what is right in every situation, and the strength to continue walking despite the difficulties that I may face... And that, to me, is SO worth it.

Josh and I will be off to Hempstead, Texas for the rest of the weekend. We will be bringing in the New Year with a large group of friends at Trevor's ranch, sitting by the bonfire, shooting skeet, fishing and playing games. It feels like a much needed trip to me and I am looking forward to the time away. I pray that you all have a wonderful and happy New Year, be safe, have fun and don't forget to write down your goals, because after all, if you don't write them down they won't get done! :)

Wednesday, December 30

Recent Happenings

Not only is Christmas the happiest time of the year, it is also the busiest!  I've done everything from Birthdays to graduation parties to sleepovers and movies... I just feel blessed to have family and friends to share all of those moments with.  Here's a run down of what we've been up to lately.

The weekend before Christmas Josh and some friends left for East Texas for a weekend hunting trip.  It was that weekend that we experienced our first nights apart.  You sleep by yourself for 23 years and then after nearly two months of sharing your bed you just can't sleep alone anymore!  What's up with that? 

So to keep myself sane I decided to ask one of my best friends, Jami, to come and spend the night with me.  Jami and I were roommates in college and our friendship has only gotten stronger iduring these past couple of years.  December 18th was also my Daddy's Birthday!  Jami got into town after lunch and we spent the afternoon relaxing on the couch and dozing off to an incredible nap.  Later that night we picked my sister up and headed to dinner before catching a movie with my parents.  Dad decided he wanted to see Avatar for his birthday.  I thought it was going to be kinda lame, but I love my Daddy very much so I decided to go anyway!  It turned out to be one of my favorite movies of all time.  It's a BEAUTIFULLY made film and I couldn't find anything I didn't like about it (minus a few profanities).  It was also the first 3D movie Jami and I had ever been to.

The next day our friend Josh Rollins graduated from college.  YAY JOSH!  So that night we all met up at Angie and Josh's apartment for some yummy dinner and watched the Cowboys game to celebrate.  We're so proud of you Josh!


Sunday morning after singing at church I drove out to McKinney where I met up with my dear friend Hillary.  We did a little antique shopping and then headed to her new home for the night.  Brian, Hillary's husband, is a great friend of Josh's and went on the hunting trip as well, so Hil and I planned a sleepover.  It was the first time I had gotten to see their new home and it was so beautiful!  Charlie tagged along and had so much fun playing with Elle.  I wish I would have gotten more pictures! 

That night Hillary and I decided to make Christmas cookies, little did we know it would take us a trip to 3 different stores just to find cookie dough!  They turned out pretty decent though and we had so much fun making them.  I had a little too much fun eating the cookie dough as I woke up the next morning hugging the toilet... Twice.  0:-) It was sure yummy though.  She also got me to watch Twilight for the first time ever.  It was a nice love story- but I still don't see why people get so worked up about it!

Monday afternoon Charlie and I loaded up the car and headed back home to wait for Josh.  Boy were we glad when he finally got home. :)  The boys had a great time hunting that weekend despite the fact that they didn't bring anything back with them- it's about the memories made though!  We were back on track and ready for our first Christmas as a family... But that's another post!

Monday, December 28

Praying for some Peace

I've really fallen off of the blog bandwagon here lately.  Things have been going pretty good, just staying busy with spending time with family and getting things settled in.

This will be a short post- Josh and I had to make the (incredibly) difficult decision to not get the puppy I've been talking about in previous posts.  Turns out the timing just isn't right.  With Josh's grandparents both still in the hospital we are spending many weekends traveling to visit them, we've also had a few unexpected financial obligations pop up and both of those mixed together made it nearly impossible to get a new dog, especially one of his size.  I'm broken hearted. 

I know that God's hand is in this decision, as difficult as it's been, and I trust that He will ease my heart soon... Please pray for peace. 

Thursday, December 17

The making of Mr. and Mrs. Kincaid

This past weekend my dear friend, Kellie, married her best friend, Cameron.

The weekend started off with the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner on Friday night.  Josh's parents had been over at our house helping us hang blinds and we lost track of time, making us about 15 minutes late to the rehearsal, the good thing for us is that Butler time runs about 15 minutes late ALWAYS... :)

Kellie and me at the rehearsal dinner

Once there the rehearsal got started and went very smoothly, I believe it was the shortest rehearsal I've ever been to.  No one complained about that. :)  Then we hopped in our cars and headed towards La Hacienda Ranch- a great Mexican restaurant in Carrolton.  The food was wonderful and company was even better.  Highlight of the night was definitely Kellie's grandfather singing the song he had spontaneously made up during the meal... I can't remember it word for word but it ended something like this, "And after the wedding they'll head to their motel where they will have a lot of fun that they will never tell!"  Everyone died with laughter as it was a VERY unexpected comment to be coming out of her grandfather's mouth.

All of the Bridesmaids

Saturday we all met up at Kellie's around 2:00 for a delicious meal prepared for us by Kendra's boyfriend.  After stuffing our bellies we jumped in our cars and headed towards the Grand Hyatt (which is actually the same hotel Josh and I stayed at on our wedding night) to get ready for the wedding.  Kellie booked a beautiful suite (that would be their room for the night as well) for us to use to get ready, it was beautiful!  We prepped and pampered ourselves and finally got on the road toward the church around 5PM.

Finally got the GORGEOUS dress on

<3 LOVE!

Waiting for the wedding to start... in the nursery. :)

The rest is obvious, pictures, waiting, playing, waiting.... You know the drill.  Then at 7:00PM Kellie walked down the aisle, one of the most breath-taking brides I've ever seen in my entire life.  I promised myself I wouldn't cry, and even avoided wearing waterproof mascara (determined to stay dry eyed) but then I looked over at Cameron who was BALLING and I couldn't help but to tear up.  The highlight of their wedding was for one, standing up there with them as they made their commitment (what an honor!) and the other highlight was listening to them sing "The Prayer" to one another on stage.  I don't think there was a dry eye in the entire church- they gave Charlotte and Josh a run for their money.

Sharing a kiss after they said "I do."

After the wedding and pictures were finished we went to the reception hall.  They even had their names on a marqee!  It was uber cool.

It was so wonderful watching the two of them interact all night, dancing, making faces, hugging and sneaking sweet, loving kisses.  You could really feel the love they shared for one another.  Everything was beautifully decorated and the mood had really been set well.  I even got to run into my high school teacher, Robyn, and some old friends I hadn't seen in over 5 years!  What a wonderful night.

Kellie with her beautiful sisters, Kendra and Katie

Dancing the night away... This is a typical Cameron face. HAHA!

Kellie and Cameron are now in Jamaica soaking up the sun and enjoying their new married life together.  I was so honored to have been a part of their special day and wish them nothing but love and blessings in their marriage.

Thursday, December 10

New Christmas Traditions

Growing up one of my favorite Holiday season crafts was building a gingerbread house.  The excitement of the long awaited sugar high and the opportunity to express my creativity always sparked my interest.  For some reason the idea of building a gingerbread house is always much nicer than actually making one...

This year we've started new traditions, one of them is a night of making gingerbread houses and gingerbread men with friends.  Christmas is fast approaching and for some reason, this is the season for busyness... getting this night scheduled happened fast because of that and unfortunately not everyone could make it.  But we made them cookies anyway! :0)

Jami and Angie came over after work last night for some delicious dinner (homemade beef fajitas with homemade chips and salsa!) and then a night of messy, sticky, ooey, gooey, sugary fun. 

In years past I've made gingerbread houses completely from scratch, no molds no forms... And they never really turned out that great.  So this year I did a little research and discovered graham cracker houses.  After watching a few tutorials I decided this would be the way to go.  So we attempted to make a beautiful, sweet home... This is how the night progressed:

Yummy candy!

We were THIS close to being finished when the entire thing collapsed...

We were sad...

But we had fun... so we were still happy!

And even happier when we realized that we could now eat it!

The night was a blast but since we missed our other friends so much we decided to make them each a cookie...

We came to a decision that next year, we will plan this event on a Saturday and spend the entire day preparing and decorating houses.  Maybe we'll even get brave enough to have a competition!  Either way, this was a great way to get the tradition started and I look forward to many more years of sticky, ooey, gooey, sugary fun with my friends!

Wednesday, December 9

Another fabulous weekend

This past weekend started off with Kellie's bachelorette party. Kellie and I went to high school together and were each other's rivals in choir competitions. Kellie and Jamie (my sister-in-law) were roommates in college and we've all gotten a lot closer since then. On Saturday, December 12th, she will be marrying her best friend! So we ladies got together and planned a night out to celebrate her last weekend as a "single" lady.

The night started out at the Cheesecake Factory in Arlington. We LOVE their food, but their drinks aren't have bad either. ;)

While we were waiting for our meals to come out Kellie opened her gifts. She received some beautiful pieces of langere and a few gag gifts as well. My favorite gag gift was "Macho Man." We wanted to embarrass Kellie as much as we possibly could and boy did it work.

After supper we headed over to a bowling alley for the rest of the night. It consisted of two rushed games within our hour time slot. We had a lot of fun goofing around and spending time together. In only 5 days she'll be Mrs. Cameron Kincaid! SO excited for you, Kellie!

Saturday was the Jingle Bell Run. Jami and her family have done this run for a couple of years now and this year Kristi and I decided to join her. We all met up around 2:30 at the Starbucks downtown and hung out watching all of the buzzing excitement go down before the race started.

Because we were there with a big group of people of all ages we decided to walk the 5K. We weren't there for the competition, we were there supporting the cause. It was so much fun to see all of these people come together for such a great purpose! We saw some very interesting costumes as well.

My favorite costume! He was ADORABLE!

Next year, when we do the race again, I'll have Boy#4 (we still don't have a name for our pup) to run the race with me! I'm really looking forward to that!

Wednesday, December 2

'Tis the Season

Most couples fall into a post-wedding coma after they are married... Josh and I simply didn't give ourselves the time! One month after our wedding Thanksgiving rolled around and now it is time for the Christmas season!

Josh and I went out in search of the perfect Christmas tree and found ourselves at Hobby Lobby where all of the trees were 50% off! Doesn't get much better than that. We spent an entire evening trying to find the perfect decorations. There are so many colors and textures, patterns and motifs... We simply didn't know where to start. We had our basket full of gold and red when we walked into the aisle filled with beautiful steely blue and silver ornaments. We both looked at each other and immediately started to unload the basket and replace the items with our new ornaments.

The day before Thanksgiving we were given a half day at work. So, we ran a couple of errands and then headed to the house to begin setting up our tree. Since we do not have any chairs in the house yet Josh came up with a very unique way for us to get the angel on top of the tree:

It took absolutely forever to get each branch fluffed and each ornament strung but the end result was TOTALLY worth it.

It took an entirely separate evening to set up my village. When I was a young girl we visited a friend for Thanksgiving. Inside of her fireplace, covering the hearth and all along the surrounding floor were little village pieces. I sat there for hours mesmerized with the beauty of her creation. That Christmas my brother bought me my first village piece. It was a little cottage along with a beautiful gazebo. 12 years later my collection has continued to grow and I now have my own Christmas village to share.

Another task was trying to find the perfect stockings and stocking holders. I came across these adorable country bears, and knew right away that they were perfect for us. The stockings we found at Pottery Barn and the price was right on.

Josh's grandmother offered us some garland she had ordered last year and that was a perfect fit for our mantle. I am so pleased with how everything has turned out so far.

This morning, Josh and I woke up to a beautiful snowfall. It's Texas... and December... So we were a little in shock. But it was romantic none-the-less and we stood there together enjoying the site in our room filled with Christmas decorations. It's easy to find joy when you've been blessed so abundantly. 'Tis the Season to be jolly and by golly... I sure am.