Saturday, March 26, 2011

Story Canvas-Cameron Park, Draper, Window Flowers

You may remember this story canvas that my friend Steph made for me and Trent:

Well, here are the first three installments of my promise to show and tell the stories in this canvas.

First, Cameron Park. One evening, the second weekend of my sophomore year at Baylor, Steph called me and said that a group of people from the honors dorm (where we lived, yeah we were cool) were at Cameron Park playing frisbee and such and that we should go find them. She also mentioned this guy Trent that was there that she thought I should meet. I agreed, thought about showering and getting cute for the meeting of said guy but decided that if anything were to come of meeting him, he had better like me in athletic shorts and my white Baylor cap as well as dressed up. (I still have that cap and it reminds Trent of when he met me) After quite a while of being lost in the dark in different areas of Cameron Park, we found the group, right about when they were wrapping up and heading back to campus. I shook Trent's hand and smiled. I smiled the rest of the evening. We all went back to campus and some of us hung out in the dorm. Someone had a video camera, filming people horsing around and spinning in desk chairs. My smile was caught on camera that night. To quote Highschool Musical 1: it was the start of something new and turned into something super. About a month later, we went on our first date, to Lake Brazos Steakhouse, a place neither of us had been. As we sat outside on the patio by the river, we realized that right across the river was the spot in Cameron Park where we first met. This picture is taken standing where we first met. That's "our" steakhouse across the river:


Next, Draper. Draper is an academic building on Baylor campus, connected to buildings called Old Main and Burleson. Each building has a tower.

Trent and Caleb made a hobby freshman year and following to get up into these towers. Somehow in planning our first date, Trent and I decided that Draper Tower would be part of it. Steph told me as I was getting ready, "A first date isn't complete without doing something illegal." Haha. So we went to Lake Brazos Steakhouse for dinner, went for a stroll on the suspension bridge where Trent asked me to be his girlfriend, then I changed into more practical tower climbing shoes and we headed to the top of Draper.
There is a door out onto the top deck and room to walk around it, with a railing. It looks rather tiny in this picture. It was a beautiful night, September 30, 2005 and we could see all of Waco from up there. It was breezy and cool and wonderful. Draper Tower is where we had our first kiss, where we talked about being a couple and where we tried to believe the amazing thing that was getting started between us.

Finally (for now), is "window flowers." Sophomore year, I had a glorious little dorm room all to myself, with two closets and three windows, on the second floor of Memorial Hall. My windows are the three in a row within the grey cement part on the front of the dorm, on the right side.

This randomly googled image must be rather outdated as there are now much, much bigger trees around the dorm. Anyway, that is where I lived when Trent and I started dating. On with the story. One Saturday (I think) morning a few weeks into our relationship, I had just gotten up and was putting around in my room. I got a call from my boyfriend (eee!).
"Hey can you look out your window and see what the weather looks like?" So I kneeled on the sofa I had managed to fit in my little room, opened the blinds and looked out the middle window.
"Um, not a cloud in the sky..."
"Oh...are you looking out your left window?"
"No, middle. What is going on?
"Look out the left..."
"Ok.........oh my gosh!!"
There on my second floor window ledge, sat a coffee thermos of beautiful carnations. I broke the dorm rules and opened the window to retrieve my window flowers. Then I thought about the improbability of flowers waiting for me on my window ledge. Trent was still on the phone, hearing my happiness and explained that he had climbed up to my window at 2 in the morning with the flowers originally in a glass vase but that it fell in the process. So he went and stuck them in a heavier coffee thermos and tried again. After a cut hand from the metal grate thing under the window (which is the only reason he was able to climb up there in the first place) he nodded at his accomplishment and went to bed. The next morning he was scared to death that the flowers had fallen during the night. But they stayed! How many ladies can say that their man climbed to a second story window to leave them flowers? Hmm?

The weather forecast for that day became, and always will be, "Sunny with a chance of carnations."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I love lists. It's no secret. I think most accountants and folks with a mind for organization get a kick out of lists. Sometimes I even put things on lists that I have already done, just so I can then cross them off and feel good about myself. That's why I was so stoked to get this from my mom:

It is a list book. Or at least that is what I use it for. I guess it is really just a skinny notebook. But it is perfect for lists and fits perfectly in the bottom of or along the side of my purse. And it's cute!! I have no idea where she got it...she pulled it out of her random stationery, notebooks, thank you cards and birthday cards drawer at home. (I need to start a random thank you and birthday cards drawer for when peoples' birthdays sneak up on me. Maybe I'll put that on a list) Anyway, my list book so far contains grocery lists, a list of my youth girls to make sure they all got a certain piece of mail from me and that they each get prayed for often, a list of things to spend tax season overtime pay on, a list of things to do a few weekends ago and most recently a list of blog post ideas that have been floating around in my head helter skelter:

-Cameron Park
-Window flowers
-Brazos River
-Waco, TX
-Navy Pier
-Ivy Ave
-Hand in Hand
-Being a husband and wife team in ministry
-More Beautiful You
-Room Remodels?
-AE camera case-crafts
-Chronicles of the Kings-books
-Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood-books

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"My" Girls

I put together a youth girls sleepover at my house this past Friday night, with the wonderful help of my friend Gretchen. Several people told me I was "crazy", or "a brave woman" for scheduling it during tax season, and I will admit that I got a little bit stressed out the couple days before it, but it was a total blast and so worth it. Trent and Gretchen helped get ready for it and I took to heart Trent's saying: "You can plan an event all you want, but God may have a different plan for it, so just go with it." Or something like that. We started out planning for three discussion topics and only ended up doing one, but that one was great. Overall, I had a blast and I think the girls had a good time too:

Hahahaha. I heart them so much. These girls bring a lot of joy to my life, whether they realize it or not. Trent often refers to them as "my" girls and I refer to them as my chicas, chickadees, girlies, etc. They are each so sweet and fun and I look forward to each time I get to see them.

So to "my" girls, thanks for being a part of my life and hanging out with me. Remember, you are each a wonderful, unique creation and "there could never be a more beautiful you."


Monday, March 21, 2011


Tax season makes a lot of things seem more annoying and difficult. Like combing and blowdrying my frumpalicious long hair. I decided one morning last week that I was officially tired of it! I had already determined that my long hair was too damaged to donate, so I went to a cheap place Saturday and had it chopped off! But, since Saturday marked the longest my hair has ever been in my life (including wedding), I decided to mark the occasion with some before and after pictures.


(Yes I'm wearing my accounting firm's softball team t-shirt...we're cool)


Channeling my inner middle schooler by taking pics in the mirror...

The next morning. I still liked it!

I can't really say I'm proud of myself for growing my hair so long, because it was really just a result of laziness and not caring. I hadn't had a real haircut besides a trim since November of 2008. There was a point somewhere along the way that it became a challenge to see how long I could let it grow, and then some considerations of donating a ponytail to Locks of Love. But after some recent scrutinizing of the ends and realizing just how damaged my poor, thin hair was, and how annoying it was getting to take care of, it was time to say bu-bye. I'm so glad I did! It's still straight and flat as ever, but I'm used to that. Hurray for new beginnings and new, non-split ends!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Our Story On Canvas

Quick lunch break blog post!

This is my friend Steph, also known as Stephanus and Delicious:

We were roomies at Baylor, she was in my wedding (obviously), and she is now a CPA and forensic auditor for a federal government agency. You have my permission to be impressed. But she is also pretty crafty! Check out what she made for me and Trent:

All these phrases and places have something to do with our story, things that molded mine and Trent's relationship, on a canvas wall hanging. She still has it up in Dallas but I can't wait to get it and hang it in our house. I think it will be an awesome conversation starter when people see it and a chance to tell some of our little stories. Don't worry, I am going to share some of those little stories here gradually. In the meantime, feel free to take some guesses for what these phrases are all about.

Alrighty, back to work. It's March 15th, corporate tax deadline. I've got all my corporate ducks in a row (aka, out the door or extended) so I'm good there. Whew.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Work Out Woes

So you may remember my new year's resolution to get in the habit of working out. I challenged myself to do Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred dvd workout every day for the month of January except my birthday weekend, the 15th, because a) it was my birthday and b) it was Create Your Own Coming Of Homies 2011 (aka, the fab four friends back together again for the first time in a loooong time + Roo's fiance!). I was very successful with this challenge during January and would have made it if I hadn't gotten sick at the end of the month.

Now, I am very motivated by stickers. I chalk it up to the 12 years of piano lessons I had growing up. Silly or not, they are a very happy, physical reminder of when I do well. So I use stickers to mark on the calendar when I work out. They even have little motivational phrases on them. Aw, cute.

So here was January's calendar page:

I win. Well, close enough. Keep in mind that I began tax season overtime on Monday, January 24th at 48 hours for that week, then kicked it up to the required 55 the following Monday, the 31st.

So, here is February:

Noooooot so much of a winner....though not terribly terrible either if you average it out?? Ok, I stunk at it. But wait. Here's March thus far:
FAIL! That is a very sad, lonely little sticker.

I blame tax season. My cube neighbor Angie is working on eating healthy and exercising right now too and we agreed the other day that tax season is not the ideal time to try to lose weight. It falls right after the holiday splurge and right after new year's resolutions, but also smack dab on top of the busiest and most tiring three-ish months of our year as tax accountants. It is reeeally hard to make myself work out after working 6:30 am to 6:30 pm. Nevertheless, we are persevering, at least with the eating healthy part. I am doing awesome on that. I use to track calories, exercise and weight and it is set up like facebook so you can add friends to motivate, encourage or scold you. The food database is very thorough. It has an app for iphone and droid and it's all free! Check it out. Despite how lonely that one sticker is getting on the March calendar, I have lost about 9 pounds since the beginning of the year and my sweet grandmother told me this past weekend "Anna, something is agreeing with you. You look slim and your complexion looks great." Go me!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Adventures In Dishwasher Repair and Meal Planning

So it turns out sinus pressure and dizziness do not go well with 11 hour work days. Ugh. But I persevered and made it through, then came home and laid horizontal for a while in an effort to calm down my head and straighten out my aching neck. Between that and some beef stew, I felt somewhat better but I'm still immensely looking forward to going to sleep momentarily.

In other news, our dishwasher still hates us and our losing streak must not be rained out yet. Trent pulled some junk out of a drain or something last week and we thought it was fixed. Even ran it through a whole cycle with no sign of water spewing out onto the floor. Then last night I came through the kitchen to find a river headed downhill from the dishwasher end of the kitchen, to the refrigerator. Yes, our kitchen has a downhill slope. With a few mountain ranges on the way that are only getting worse each time the stinkin' dishwasher does this. Anyway, after some hollering and trying to get the water to shut off and lots of wet towels, we ended up with this:

Handyman husband to the rescue! My cat baby was not so sure what was going on...

The dishwasher remained displaced throughout today and Trent pulled some things apart and made some phone calls. There is a valve or something that shuts the water off when it has enough in there. Said valve was busted. Another one has been ordered from an appliance repair guy that was on the roof of Ninfa's when Trent called him. Random.

I came home ready to tackle this, by hand:

As I proceeded to run water into the sink, however, I noticed water coming out of the dishwasher standing next to it. Argh! Something was still hooked up or not hooked up to where the sink drained onto...the floor. And handyman husband is in Ft Worth tonight for a meeting. So much for doing a pile of dishes by hand...daaaaaaaarn.

I turned to my other task for the evening. Menu planning. Oh my gosh, scary. But necessary. I took a gander at our recent restaurant receipts online this morning and had a mild panic attack. This cannot continue to be the norm and I am determined to take it into my hands to FIX IT! Oh how I wish I had listened to my mother all those times she said "Hey Anna Pie, why don't you help me fix dinner, you are going to need to know how to cook someday." As a result of blowing off those opportunities, I know only a few recipes that get old after a while and I only know how to make said recipes for a family of seven. Yikes. So I started by making a list of everything I do know how to make/throw together without staring at a recipe the whole time and was pleasantly surprised by the length of the list! Then I got out a few of my many wedding gift cookbooks and scanned through them to see if anything else stood out to me that I wanted to try.

Yes, that "cookbook" is called "A Man, A Can, A Plan." No, it does not belong to Trent. I am seriously desperate... I printed out my Outlook calendar for this month so it would show what we have going on on different days. Got out my markers and decided on some color coding and set to work divvying up the list of things I already know how to make. Check it out people, I planned the rest of this month:

Eating out is red because it is BAD. Grocery days are green. Wednesdays are crossed out because youth group includes dinner. And purple is for meals because I like purple. CACC means Catch As Catch Can. I don't exactly know what that means but that was the phrase in our house growing up that meant "We are dumping a whole bunch of leftovers and random food items on the counter, you're on your own, try to make a meal out of it." I have expanded the definition in our household to include things like canned soup, frozen entrees, or simply "figure it out yourself." Ok so I planned this out forever long, but really my next step is just to grocery shop for the first increment of meals, between grocery days. I zeroed in on that section and made my shopping list for March 8 through March 16:

That's it?!? That's not much at all. Granted some stuff we already have in the pantry/freezer so that helps. But for real, that won't be a hefty shopping trip at. all. And I have a cutoff point. Used to when I'd grocery shop, I'd just sort of think of meals in my head as I went down the aisles, not real plan or date range in mind. Now I know this is all I need to get us to the next grocery shopping day. Once I do this for a while, I'll get a better idea of a budget week to week and it'll just be stupendous all around. You'd think I'd already be a good planner and budgeter in this area since I'm an accountant, but I'm not. Sigh. But I am determined.

Now we just need a working dishwasher to wash all the dishes I'm going to get dirty!