I also forgot to mention that Lex and I saw the movie "He's Just Not That Into You" on Sat. It was cute, very cute. I was bummed that the hot married guy ended up cheating on his wife, but I was glad Ben Affleck finally proposed to JA. Since I've been following John Mayer on Twitter (yes, it's true...and Karl Rove and Jimmy Fallon) I've taken to referring to his girlfriend as JA because he does. He is really WEIRD by the way, despite writing great music.
UPDATE: By the way, this is what the house looked like before...this is from last summer.
Well, this past weekend was a great one, because my friend Alexis flew down to visit me from Philadelphia. She flew in Thursday evening, and we stopped at Baker Street on the way home to grab a bite and they had a band. Friday we walked about two miles down to the Panera, had a long leisurely breakfast, then walked the two miles home. It was fun and tiring. Then we drove over to Enchanted Gardens, a really cool garden center nearby, where we explored and picked out plants for a LONG time. Lex is a horticulturist, but wasn't very familiar with our native plantlife. We made a plan, bought a ton of plants and supplies, and headed home to work.
I planted a bunch of colorful snapdragons while she did the hard work and dug out the two giant oleaders obscuring my front door. We replaced them with a handful of small red shrubs and replanted the big bushes in the backyard. We also dug out a dead crepe myrtle and replaced it with a knockout rose bush. And finally we planted a big palm tree in the backyard. It was a lot of work, but very inspiring and it looks great now! You can see the backyard stuff in my Flickr stream, and I need to take a photo of the new front yard.
We decided to head over to the Cinco Ranch Model Home Village and tour some of the new houses. Some were nice, some were not my taste at all. I got a few idea for decorating and we spent a long time chatting with an agent we met.
Sunday we went to church and then we took another LONG walk to check out the Cinco Ranch Bayou nature trail. It wasn't too exciting, but we did spot a bunch of turtles. You can see those on my Flickr stream too. I also took a bunch of nice photos of Alexis for her to use on her Facebook page and such.
Finally Monday we decided to explore the city. We drove through Rice University and over to the Museum District. We opted to tour the Holocaust Museum, which was well done. They had a great exhibit of political cartoons drawn by Dr. Suess! Then we drove over to Discovery Green where we walked around a took a bunch of photos. We finished up with lunch at the Galleria...the Daily Grill is yummy! Lex got a makeover at Origins, her new favorite store. I looked for shoes but didn't find any worth buying. Well, that I could justify anyway...Stuart Weitzman and Kate Spade both had simply gorgeous heels.
Monday night I dropped Alexis off at the airport again and she headed back to the freezing cold in Philly. I do NOT miss that weather, have I mentioned that lately? Next week my mom comes to escape the cold as well. We'll head north in July when Philly is a welcome relief from the sauna of Houston.
I kind of hate that label for a genre of music, but it's the best one I can come up with. It is honestly my favorite music, mainly because it is not for entertainment value only, it is participatory. A big part of why I like the church I go to right now is the music in worship, which is very high energy, very modern, and very uplifting. It can be loud too, which I think is great. I like my music loud, although not painfully so. And I sing at the top of my lungs too, in church, in the car, in the shower, with the kids...and especially at a concert like the one we went to last night.
So as I mentioned, the Fellowship at Cinco Ranch has a great worship team, led by pastor John Cordes. John is obviously a fan of Steve Fee's music, because we sing his songs a LOT. My husband jokes that Oh Happy Day is our church's official anthem, which I think is not a problem since it is a great song with an even better message. Well John somehow set up a fantastic 15th anniversary concert AT our church in our new building with Fee Band and the Robbie Seay Band, both awesome groups. I was really amped going to this concert, not only because it was my home church but because I knew it would be familiar songs played really well and really LOUD and that it would also be a worship experience.
Fee exceeded my expectations. They opened with their big hit All Because of Jesus, and followed with Oh Happy Day and Glorious One, all songs we sing in church regularly. And let me just say, they are good looking guys with style and their energy is infectious. But not just that, Steve Fee pushes forward the gospel and the glory of God first and foremost in a great way. I sat (stood actually) in the second row on the aisle where I could dance and sing away.
Robbie Seay Band was good too, but not quite as much my style of music. They were doing more performing and less leading worship than Fee. Their music is less heavy on the hooks and repetativeness, with more complex and well written lyrics. I noted a touch of reformed doctrine that I enjoyed.
Note for my mom, who doesn't like modern worship as much as old hymns...in this concert we sang at least four very old hymns...but in a way that made them very modern and terrific. How Great Thou Art, All Creatures of Our God and King, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing...I forget what else. They were extremely meaningful to someone like me who grew up with hymns and knew every word of every verse, yet I get a LOT out of soaring guitars and building rhythms and bass that you can feel in your chest.
So yeah, I love live music, rock and roll played loudly. But I left caring more about how I am free, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, and full of deeply satisfying joy.
Alex is finally transitioning out of his current daycare room with the awesome teachers into the next step up room. I'm less than thrilled, but he is noticably bigger and more developed than most of his class. This coupled with my unhappiness with Nathan's class and I'm really wanting to find a better center, even though it will be farther away. The trouble in our wonderful family-friendly community is that the daycare centers and preschools can't keep up with all the new families moving in, so they are all pretty crowded. I would really love to find a Christian school with private Kindergarten that also had toddler care, but I know that's unlikely.
Listening to all this talk on the news about IVF and the octuplet mom has me bothered. Just the way people talk about embryos is awful, like they are disposable. It just turns my stomach to know that 50 million people in this country are missing, not here now because they were aborted. I am praying that President Obama will see the light and not sign the Freedom of Choice Act, and will choose instead to protect life.
This week I finally dragged my butt over to the YMCA and joined, only to have Alex start screaming hysterically the minute I put him in the kidzone. We went back yesterday and he stayed calm for 30 minutes while I hit the elliptical. It felt awesome to sweat but last night my limbs were SORE.
The next battle to tackle is my diet. I just really like food, especially sugar, and I use it as a substitute for the lack of social interaction I have most days. Anyway, a burger joint called Mooyah opened this week just down the block, and it is nearly identical to the Five Guys chain we loved back home. I am not much for burgers but I LOVE fries and I think Mooyah's fries are the best I have ever had. They have some kind of secret ingredient, some taste that makes me want more and more. I ate WAY too many of those for dinner last night, and lunch the day before. So I will need to steer clear of THAT place.
This is gonna be a good month. The weather this weekend is fantastic and my church, The Fellowship and Cinco Ranch is having a big community family festival on Saturday as part of their 15th anniversary. We'll be there. Then Tuesday we will join my grandparents for a Rotary Club Valentine's dinner. Next Friday my church is hosting a kickass concert with Robbie Seay Band and Fee, two fantastic modern worship bands. We'll be there too. Then my best friend Alexis comes to visit for a weekend, and then my mom is coming. Awesome.
I read from a professional newborn photographer that day 6 was the best day for photographing, but this one refused to sleep! We tried feeding and rocking and even a hairdryer. Two hours I was there and she had her eyes on me (well, in my general direction) the whole time. Got a few snaps with her eyes closed, but none of the knocked out and floppy ones. She peed on every blanket and backdrop I had too, and she also peed right on her mom. Just glad she didn't nail me!
And for me it has nothing to do with alcohol, I have chosen to never try to keep up with those around me and I know how much and how slowly I can imbibe to stay in complete control. It's a concious decision I've made as part of my desire to live with integrity, consistant with my values and faith. Doesn't always work, but nobody is perfect and doing things consistant with my convictions creates much less stress in life.
Also having a couple days with high value potential customers on my other committee seems to have really refocused me on my work and my company's objectives. Working remotely from home has some disadvantages which seems to include a loss of focus and intensity. Well sitting on the plane home reviewing the conversations of the week a flood of ideas started coming so fast and furiously that I realized I should write them down. It was basically an acknowledgement that my memory is not what it used to be and if I don't write things down I will forget them. I never work on airplanes...NEVER. But I wrote four pages of sales strategy notes and then pulled out the laptop and proceeded to write a six page technical paper. It amazed me. Apparently my mommy-brain really needs resharpening now and then.