Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Our little artist

We've had a mild winter (if you can even call it that) but that didn't excuse Houston from some dreary days of rain and cold in January.  Thankfully we have a creative artist on our hands.  She used the time indoors to explore several different media.

She enjoyed markers...
She explored fashion...
She gave watercolors a go...
And she even gave the under-appreciated feathers a try...
It will be interesting to see what she chooses as a hobby later in life - whether it's art or not!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2nd Annual Inside Out Women's Retreat

We had our second annual women's retreat for our LBS class this January.  The first one went so well, and January turned out to be a fantastic month for it, so we did it again at Ally's parents' home in College Station.   It has quickly become one of my favorite parts of January.  A few of us went up early to prep, so we caravaned up there Friday morning, had lunch at Blue Baker and did our big shopping trip for the weekend.  As we got back to the house, there was lots of prep for dinner and the arrival of the rest of the girls.  Unfortuately I was feeling a little wimpy and under the weather, so I took a short rest in the bunk room. :)  The other girls arrived, and we had a delicious dinner of lasagna, salad and of course Pioneer Woman's Rosemary Rolls. :)
After dinner, we began with an ice breaker (our literal "hot seat" in front of the fire!) and we had our first session with Ally and Natalie's mom Susan.  She spoke on the difference between hospitality and entertaining.  It was really interesting - how hospitality is so selfless, points others to the Lord, and how entertaining can be selfish - look at me, look at my house, I have it all together...etc.  I did a short intro talk before our affirmation activity, we completed that, then did the craft.  It was a pinterest-inspired initial for our homes.  (Don't you love Marisa's gnome pajamas?)
We chatted while we wrapped that rope around and around and around...ha.  You can see the book I brought for the girls to use for the paper flowers - it was from my Military History class at Baylor.  Never reading that one again! ;)  We headed to bed, and I shared an air mattress with Noelle.  For some reason, we apparently woke up really cold, and I proceeded to put socks on my hands.  They were still there when I woke up.  Ha.  The next morning, Susan made us a delicious breakfast of bacon and pancakes.  We began the day with an hour or so of prayer stations. I have really enjoyed my time in prayer stations at our women's retreats because they are so wonderfully multi-sensory, and you can be in prayer for a long time without getting distracted or...let's be honest...bored.  Hate to admit that one, but I'm human too.  Anyway, after prayer stations, we had our first session of the day with Lisa Taylor and Paige Swiggart, two wonderful pillar women in our church.  It was great to hear from them, as believers, as moms and wives about 10 or 15 years ahead of us, and they are also sisters. :)  They spoke on so many things that were relevant to our season as wives and mothers (for those of us that are!) and they provided so much hope and encouragement that what we are doing today matters for what our families will become.
We finished up in the late afternoon.  Some girls left, others stayed for a dinner at La Bodega and one more night in College Station.  It was such a wonderful time, and I already can't wait for next year's retreat!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year, 2013!

This year I had an idea for a NYE celebration, and I was so excited it all played out!  After the busyness of the holidays, we really wanted a low-key hang out time with my sisters and their boyfriends.  I proposed a Cypress sleepover at my parents', and it was perfect because we could bring Madeleine along, put her to bed normally, and then play!  I missed the memo about wearing sparkles.  I am so boring.
Also, New Year's Day is my mom's birthday.  Traditionally this has been overlooked as we have driven home from Plano on New Year's Day as kids, or everyone is just tired from festivities the night before, on a ski trip, whatever and not so into serving mom mode.  We tried to make up for it last year by having a surprise "Happy Half Birthday" party for her on July 1st.  It was a hit, but we hope to not have to plan a re-do every year!  Ha.  This got us all in one place to also celebrate HER!
After the ball dropped and we celebrated with kisses and cheers and noisemakers, we broke into an intense game of reverse charades.  It got pretty funny, and I love these photos and videos.  I think "blowfish" is my favorite pic for the guys...
I love the videos - especially typical family comments like Jul "Mom you're going so slow."  :)  Also, the teamwork on "chicken pox" and "tea party" is exceptional.

M2U00292 from Allison White on Vimeo.

Please note how Ben just walks around on "remote control."

M2U00297 from Allison White on Vimeo.

The boys won!

I think my favorite picture below is mom riding me like a bucking bronco.  I can't remember if that was the word or not, but kudos, mom.

M2U00293 from Allison White on Vimeo.

It was such a fun way to all get time together (because what party is longer than a NYE party, hmm?) and I have to say it is so much fun to have more boys around.  Don't get me wrong, I love my sisters, but forever it felt like Cason and I were the "old married folks" and they were the kids.  It is an absolute blast to be in more of a similar season of life and have some other guys around, especially for Cason and Dad.  They would've been in trouble for reverse charades if they were the only two on their team. :)

So excited to see what 2013 brings!