Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Home Again, Home Again Jiggity Jog

We returned home (from Odessa) yesterday afternoon about 4pm. Once the car was unloaded, we laid down for a quick nap and ended up sleeping for an hour and a half...man it felt nice. We spent the evening starting laundry and doing some unpacking as we watched the last Monday Night Football game of the season - sniff sniff.

We had a wonderful Christmas and a great time spent in Odessa with the family. It was very relaxing and enjoyable from start to finish. We also got all sorts of great stuff!!

We are looking forward to having our Christmas together over the New Year's holiday and also getting the house back in order...lots of cleaning to do, items to put up and decorations to take down.

We will share a few pictures once we have them all uploaded and many more to come with the exchanging our gifts from each other and still John's family to visit in Arkansas.

We hope your Christmas was a very merry one - here's to 2010!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Heading Home for Christmas

The bags are packed, the presents are gathered and the loading will begin very soon. This is our year to go to Odessa for Christmas. We alternate spending Christmas with John's family in Arkansas and my family in Odessa from year to year. Last year we were in Arkansas, so to Odessa we go. We will be leaving here this morning and will get into Odessa later this afternoon. Hooray!!! We will be coming back home on Monday morning. I'm not sure how much blogging I will do while we are away, but I will be back with updates and pictures galore, I'm sure!
John and I wish you and your loved ones a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! Enjoy celebrating the birth of our Lord - God Bless!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Monday, December 21, 2009

Update on Noah


Before I start, I would just like to thank you for your prayers - they are MUCH appreciated!

Today, Noah had and MRI and an EEG as well as more blood work at the hospital in Lubbock. Thankfully, all the tests were able to be done today. There are lots of details, but the short of it is they diagnosed Noah with a seizure disorder. The name of the disorder is one that I could not pronounce or spell (my apologies) - it's not epilepsy. The solution is for him to take an anti-seizure medication at this time. So, not great news, but it could have been so MUCH worse so we thank God for all blessings. It could be that he takes the medication and never has a seizure again...only time will tell. Hopefully this will help though! This is the first one he's had in 15 months so it hasn't been a problem until now. Once they figure out what dosage he should take, they will prescribe some to him and they can be on their way back home. He just needs to be monitored closely as he gets used to taking this medicine and he may have a few follow-up appointments.

They did also find a quarter size hole/place/space on his brain, but it's basically just a spot that didn't fully develop and it should simply mean that it may take him a bit longer in his development. He may just need a little extra time and therapy to be where he needs to be, but he should be fine overall. They will monitor that as well, I'm sure.

The good news is, he will get to go home later tonight and be home for Christmas - Hooray! He did really well at the hospital and was just a sweet, happy baby. They will take him back for a follow-up appointment in Lubbock on January 12th.

Again, we greatly appreciate your prayers! We give ALL thanks, praise and glory to our mighty God.

Uncle John and I cannot wait to see, hug and kiss this adorable one at Christmas!
Until we meet again...
Aunt Riley

Please Pray for Noah!

This sweet, precious little boy needs our prayers! This is our 15 month old nephew, Noah...
Isn't he just the cutest?

While at home yesterday afternoon, Noah had a seizure! He was taken to the hosptial in Odessa by ambulance. In the Emergency Room, they did a CT scan as well as a blood and urine test. After those tests and a couple of things they saw, they decided he needed an MRI and some other tests run. They decided to send him to Lubbock for further testing and evaluation. They took him to Lubbock by ambulance last night and he's now in the Pedatric ICU at University Medical Center. The doctor will come in sometime today to see Noah and then they will run various tests. Luckily, Noah is stable and doing well. He's alert and seems like his normal self, so that is a huge blessing.

Hopefully, the tests will go smoothly, they will get results quickly and he can be released to go home in time for Christmas (and anything that might need to be taken care of can be done so after Christmas).

John and I are asking for your prayers for our sweet nephew that we love so much! It is so hard for a child to go through this and we pray for good test results and that this is something minor and easily treatable. We hate this is is happening the week of Christmas, but we trust in our Lord that good things will come and he will be home to spend Christmas with everyone. We are leaving for Odessa Wednesday afternoon to spend Christmas there.

God is the divine physician and we will fully rely on Him through this. As always, we are putting our complete faith in Him that everything will be okay and He will place His healing hands upon Noah. As human nature, we are worried and nervous, but all we can do is pray and trust our awesome God.

We have 10 nieces and nephews (6 nephews and 4 nieces) and we adore them all so very much. One of our favorite jobs is being an Aunt and Uncle to these sweet children. We would greatly appreciate your prayers for Noah.

I will post updates as often as I can when I have news to share. Enjoy this week of Christmas!
Until we meet again...
Aunt Riley

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Last night, after dinner and I wrapped a few more gifts, we watched a true classic..."A Charlie Brown Christmas" on DVD. We've been trying to watch some of our favorite Christmas shows and movies as we have had time this season. If you know us well, you know that John loves the PEANUTS gang (I of course love them too!). We even have a little set of Peanuts characters out with our Christmas decorations...
The best part of the entire show is when Linus tells Charlie Brown the true meaning of Christmas as Charlie Brown is struggling with all of the commercialism of Christmas. Each and every time it warms our heart as we hear Linus' sweet voice...

We hope you are not loosing sight of the TRUE meaning of Christmas - the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Card ~ 2009

I am participating in the "Christmas Card Carousel" hosted by Faith. How fun!

This is our Christmas Card...
We tried to choose pictures that were highlights from our year. On the strip on the left, the top picture was taken in May at Andrew's (my brother) wedding. It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony and we are so happy to have Heidi in our family. The middle picture is of our precious beagle, Calvin. You can read more about him on the right side bar. He'll be turning 7 next month and we just adore him! The bottom picture is of us heading out to a Texas Rangers baseball game. We love the Rangers and really enjoyed following them this season. Living in the Dallas area, it's nice to go to a few games throughout the year. All of the other games we watched on TV and enjoyed a pretty good season. The large picture on the right was taken in Fredericksburg, Texas. It's such a fun little town and special to us. John and I spent part of our honeymoon there and try to make a trip there once a year. We enjoyed a weekend getaway in October.

Our first Chistmas together (and our first card) was in 2002. So this is our 8th Christmas together! We have a copy of each one of our photo cards in with our Christmas decorations. It's so fun to look back and the past year's pictures and reflect on wonderful memories.

Enjoy the Christmas Card Carousel and may you have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Friday, December 11, 2009

High Kickin' Holiday Fun

GUESS WHERE MY SWEET, HANDSOME HUSBAND IS TAKING ME SATURDAY NIGHT??

The Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular - hip hip hooray! He bought us tickets a couple of months ago. Since he surprised me with the tickets, I've had it written on the calendar in red and green pen and have been anticipating this night for a while. I am super duper excited!! My Mom and I went to this show 3 years ago and it was FANTASTIC. I completely enjoyed it and could not to wait to go back when they came again.

I have always loved the Rockettes! They are my favorite part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Hence this picture on Thanksgiving this year... It will be lots of fun to get all dressed up tomorrow night. We are going out for a nice seafood dinner at Pappadeux (John's favorite restaurant) before and then to the big show. I don't know how many pictures (if any) I'll be able to take, but I am hoping to at least get a good one of John and I in front of our Christmas tree.

This week has been non-stop and action packed so it will be so nice to enjoy this evening with my husband - what a fun holiday date!

Have a wonderful weekend! Two weeks from today is Christmas - WOW!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Below is a slide show, with about 40 pictures, of us decorating the inside of our house for Christmas. For just two people, we sure have A LOT of Christmas decorations. We didn't even put everything out OR take pictures of everything - these are just a few glimpses. We said goodbye to all of our fall decorations and brought out the red and green Christmas tubs to "Deck the Halls".

We have two Christmas trees - one in the dining room and one in the living room. The one in the dining room is decorated to match the dining room with burgundy, olive green, cream and gold colors. This tree is more for show and it's in the front window of the house, so when people drive by, they can see a tree in our window to go along with the outside lights. The tree in our living room is much bigger and taller and every ornament on it has a special meaning....seriously! There are ornaments we had separately or that we've gotten together. We also have several we've received as gifts or given each other plus we buy an ornament every time we go on a trip or vacation. Every ornament is unique and special and we could tell you story or something neat about it. It makes it so nice to look at everything each year and reflect on memories.

We enjoyed some snacks and toasting to the Christmas season with sparkling grape juice. We watched football and listened to Christmas music as we decorated. Except for a few malfunctioning strands of lights - hee hee, it was a wonderful day!

I also set up a wrapping station in my office. I put out all the rolls of wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift bags, tags, tape, scissors, ribbons, bows - you name it! I LOVE to wrap presents and we really like having a central location to do all our wrapping. We only have seven under the tree, but there are many more to wrap - fun times!

On the slide show - all the pictures will spin around in a circle once, but then they will stop one at a time for viewing.






We have such a full week and into next...lots of activities keeping us busy, but it's all part of the fun of the season. Have a great week!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Lots O' Pictures - Thanksgiving Weekend

Below is a little slide show of our Thanksgiving weekend. We had such a great time. You can read about it all HERE.

I think over the course of five days, we took about 200 pictures! No worries, there's only about 40-50 in this slide show - just the highlights. We took lots of pictures of our Chrismas decorating last Saturday, but I'll put those pictures in a separate post in a few days.


Hope you enjoyed a look at our Thanksgiving. Have a great weekend!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Eight Years Ago today...and the rest is history

Eight years ago today, December 3, 2001, John and I met each other. Well, electronically anyway!

Here's the story...

For Thanksgiving in 2001 I went with my Mom, Armando and Andrew to spend it with Armando's family in Pearsall, Texas and also celebrate Grandma's (Armando's Mom) 70th Birthday over the weekend. During the evening of Thanksgiving, a few of us were sitting around visiting and John's sister-in-law, Angela (who is also Armando's niece), asked me if I was dating anyone. At that time, I was a few weeks away from my college graduation. I was not dating anyone at the time, but was focused on finishing school and looking for a post-college job. So I proceeded to tell Angela that I was currently single. Well, she got all excited and said that I should meet Jason's brother (Jason is her husband - John's brother). Are you confused? Hee Hee!

Anwho, Angela went on to tell me a little bit about John and what I heard sounded really good. I obviously had specific things in mind regarding guys I wanted to date and from the little that she told me, John sounded great. Keep in mind at this time John was living in Arkansas and I was living in Odessa...about 12-13 hours apart. So Angela asked me to give her my e-mail address (that she would give to John) and she gave me John's e-mail address and suggested that maybe we could e-mail each other and see what happened.

After the Thanksgiving weekend was over and we all went back home, I waited a couple of days to hopefully hear from this John guy :), but several days passed and I never did. Therefore, I decided to go ahead an e-mail him myself. I had his e-mail address afterall. So, on December 3, 2001 I e-mailed John and then he e-mailed me back later that day. Come to find out, John HAD actually e-mailed me before I decided to e-mail him, but he was sending it to the wrong e-mail address. He was probably wondering why I wasn't e-mailing him back, but it's a good thing I decided to reach out to him. So we made our connection on December 3rd - hooray!

We continued to e-mail each other back and forth through the month of December just getting to know each other, asking questions and sharing about various topics. We then eventually made the step to call one another and talk over the phone.

In January of 2002, I flew to Arkansas to meet John face to face (January 8th to be exact)...and the rest, as the say, is history!

We still have those first two e-mails we exchanged. John actually forwarded them to me this morning with "Remember..." as the subject of his e-mail. I certainly do remember how it all began and I thank God. Only He could bring two people that lived miles apart together in the way He did.

I love you, John! Eight years ago today, my life was changed in wonderful ways!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fantastic

What a FANTASTIC 5 days this has been! I got home from work Tuesday afternoon and it's been non-stop fun and good times since then. Now it's Monday...back to work, reality and eating like a normal human being. I hated to see the extended holiday weekend come to an end, but it's been great and there is much more fun to come in the month of December.

Thanksgiving was simply wonderful. After coffee and coffee cake for breakfast, I finished cooking and baking while I watched the parade and John replaced the last of the burned out bulbs on the house. Once we stuffed ourselves completely at lunch, we cleaned up the kitchen, took naps and watch the Cowboys game. Hooray for victory!! The evening was spent eating leftovers, making a shopping list for Friday, playing games and watching the Texas vs A&M football game

Friday we ventured out to do some Christmas shopping...what a full day it was. We left our house at 7:30am and got back home about 4:30 - whew! We didn't want to fight the " early bird" crowds, but we did want to hit a few stores Friday morning. We went to Kohls and Target and then made a Starbucks stop on our way to the Galleria mall in Dallas. We shopped at the mall and also enjoyed the ice skating show and tree lighting. The Galleria tree sits in the center of the ice skating rink and stands 95 feet tall with over 400,000 lights. It is gorgeous and it was so neat to listen to the holiday music and watch the show. After the Galleria, we went to Firewheel for pizza (the best pizza in the world) at Brooklyn's and then more shopping. We got a lot of Christmas shopping done and had oh so much fun. We took a nap when we got home and then watched a Christmas movie and I worked on Christmas cards...while eating more food of course!

Saturday we tended to various "to dos" around the house in the morning then spent the rest of the day and evening decorating the inside of the house for Christmas and making snacks to enjoy. We watched football and listened to Christmas music. I love when the house is all decorated for Christmas - so cozy and nice! John loves getting up each morning and turning all the lights on inside on the trees, nativity scenes, etc - that's his thing.

Sunday was church and working on various things around the house, plus finishing Christmas cards and watching football. It rained all of Sunday, so it was a nice, relaxing day inside.

We took TONS of pictures of our weekend so once we get all of those uploaded, I'll put a little slide show on here for your viewing pleasure. We are getting back into our normal routines and have a full calendar for December, lots of exciting stuff going on this holiday season.

Hope your Thanksgiving was fantastic too!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

What a wonderful day this has been! After breakfast this morning, John and I went to Starbucks and then to pick up our last minute groceries. We also stopped in Target to buy "Four Christmases" and "Home Alone" to add to our Christmas DVD collection - can't wait to watch them this season. The rest of the day was spent here at home cooking, baking and cleaning. John so kindly cleaned a lot of the house while I worked in the kitchen for several hours doing all sorts of cooking and baking for tomorrow and the weekend. The house smelled so good all day. It was a great time and we are excited for tomorrow.

I made a coffee cake to have for breakfast so we are looking forward to that and a cup of coffee while we watch the parade and then work on lunch. John has a few burned bulbs to replace tomorrow sometime and then we will be ready to plug in the lights tomorrow night. Oh and GO COWBOYS!!

I'm now off to watch "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" with John and Calvin. It's a really funny movie that takes place at Thanksgiving, so it is very fitting. A good way to unwind for the night!

We wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Exterior Illumination

On Saturday, John worked on getting all of the lights on the house and the yard decorated for the Christmas season. Yes, it was the weekend before Thanksgiving, but we haven't actually turned them on yet. In fact, he's still got some work to do. He is off the rest of this week, so he's working on getting it all finished up today and tomorrow. We always do this the weekend before Thanksgiving so that as soon as all of the festivities are over, we can plug in the lights and let Christmas begin. If he had it his way and we had tons of money, we'd have a house like the Griswold's. He's already talking about changes he wants to make for next year. Here are a few pictures of my sweet husby in action...
It'll be so beautiful once it's all done - I cannot wait to see the house all lit up. This is hanging on our fridge right now. I am so excited to make and eat everything on it - hee hee! These are our menus for Thanksgiving breakfast and lunch plus our Tree Trimming menu for Saturday night and weekend desserts. There will also be lots of leftovers and we have some goodies that I recieved at work to enjoy as well. We'll get back to eating right and working out next week - too much to enjoy this week.

Have I mentioned how much I love the week of Thanksgiving?
Until we meet again...
Riley

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Week is Here - HOORAY!

Hooray, the week of Thanksgiving is here! This is probaby my favorite week of the year. This year, John and I are staying in town for Thanksgiving...just the two of us and we are looking forward to it very much. Two days of work and then a nice extended weekend. We have so many fun things planned over the next few days. I'm really excited about all the cooking and baking to do for Thanksgiving - we have quite a feast on the menu. We are anxious to celebrate on Thursday and then look forward to getting the house ready for Christmas over the weekend. Shopping to do, cards to prepare, gifts to wrap - fun times. John worked on getting lights on the house this weekend and we'll have pictures to share soon. Oh the excitement...

Have a wonderful week and truly take time to thank God from whom all blessings flow!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Show Us Your Life - Pets

Kelly at Kelly's Korner is hosting another installment of the "Show Us Your Life" series and this week we are showing off our pets! I've been so excited about this one...we simply adore our dog.
This is CALVIN - isn't he cute? We got Calvin two months after we got married. We were married in February of 2003 and we got Calvin in April. We had been talking about getting a dog once the wedding was over and we were all settled into married life - how domestic of us. John really wanted a beagle and he knew that he wanted to name him Calvin after the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes (one of his favorites). We would look in the newspaper from time to time and finally came upon a man selling several beagle puppies. We told him we wanted a male and arranged to meet up with him. When we went to get Calvin he was the only puppy left in the cage - all 5 pounds of him. So we've had him for almost 7 years - he'll be 7 in January and it's been such a delight to have him. Calvin is the laziest dog we have ever seen and we mean that so lovingly! The picture above pretty much sums up what Calvin does at all times - nothing but lay around. He's so laid back, bothered by nothing, rarely barks, watches toys being thrown (but doesn't go to fetch them), sleeps constantly - so carefree. His absolute favorite thing, besides eating, are his fleece blankets. He will curl up in them, snuggle with them, wrestle with them, chew on them, cuddle with them...you name it! We have several fleece blankets around the house that he enjoys. He even sleeps with a couple in our bed each night. He loves our bed and spends most of his time there during the day. We laugh because he's like a little child and likes to be under the covers, surrounded by stuffed animals. We don't give Calvin "people" food too often, but the three things he gets most excited about are bread, animal cookies and popcorn. He goes nuts when any of those things are out in the kitchen - too funny. Calvin's greatest fear is the vacuum cleaner. When it is pulled out of the closet, he freaks out and starts shaking. He will run and hide from it - poor dog. One day when John was vacuuming, I was getting some clothes out of the dryer and Calvin came and jumped in the dryer. I had to take a picture...
We love being able to take him on trips with us - he does so well. Calvin is the best cuddler - such a snuggly dog. He is so soft and warm ...the best napping partner. Except for the early puppy days (when he did a lot of chewing and digging), we've had no problems with Calvin. We have been lucky too because he has been very healthy, but we take good care of him. We just LOVE Calvin - he is the best dog ever and we are so blessed that he is a part of our lives.

In closing and with the holidays approaching, Calvin would like to wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!Thanks for stopping by - have a great weekend!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up X 2

Well, we have some catching up to do from these past two weekends...

The first weekend of November we spent in Mount Vernon, Arkansas with John's family. We had a great time! We played board games, played football outside, watched football, did a lot of cooking and eating, made homemade hot cocoa mix, camped out in the living room, talked and laughed, went to church - all sorts of good things. We also shared an early Thanksgiving meal Saturday night and did our annual gift exchange. Each Thanksgiving, we all draw a name and get that person a little gift to kick off the Christmas season - it's a fun tradition. We took lots of pictures, but here are a few highlights...




This past weekend, some of my family came up to visit and help celebrate our nephew Seth's 7th birthday. My Dad, Kristin, Andrew, Noah, Hillary and Bronte all came up LATE Friday night. My step brother, Neil, his wife Amy, Seth and Alyssa live about a half hour from us so some people stayed with them and some stayed with us over the course of the weekend. The birthday party was Saturday afternoon at the Lego Education Center, so that was lots of fun. It was a nice weekend getting to hang out with everyone and visit. We all went to dinner Saturday night and made a trip to Toys R Us afterwards for Seth to spend his birthday money. What a crazy place that was - everyone is already Christmas shopping for toys I suppose. They all headed back to Odessa when we left for church Sunday morning. Again, we took tons of pictures, but here are a few of them...



This weekend we are here, but we have a packed calendar with all sort of things. So much going on this weekend, but fun times indeed!! Have a wonderful week. Thanksgiving is getting closer ~ Hooray, we can hardly wait!

Until we meet again...
Riley

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!

My apologies for a lack of blogging these past few days. We left last Friday afternoon and returned on Monday afternoon from a trip to Mount Vernon, Arkansas to visit John's family. We had a really nice weekend with them and we will share our pictures once we get them all uploaded. Stay tuned!

Life is staying busy for us in all sorts of ways, but life is good! Don't you just love this time of year? So much going on, but so great.

Speaking of "this time of year", a few turkeys have made their way into the living room. The turkeys on the DVD shelf were Grandma Stone's and I was able to take them when she passed away - so special. The cute little "Give Thanks" piece was given to me by Carianne as part of a hostess gift for helping with her baby shower. I just love it. We have a turkey on our "Welcome" wreath, a turkey towel hanging on the stove and a Fall flag in our front flower bed, but I haven't snapped pictures of those yet. Hopefully in time...If your interested in a yummy fall treat, I highly recommend a Starbucks "Caramel Apple Spice". Oh my, is this a tasty drink with all the flavors of fall...apple, caramel, cinnamon - DELICIOUS!

We have a full rest of the week and weekend ahead - we'll keep you up to date as best we can. Take good care - until we meet again...
Riley

Friday, November 6, 2009

Celebrate Good Times ~ Halloween 2009

This post is way late, but it's been a week of sickness and busyness. All is well now!!

We had a really fun Halloween. It started off with orange cinnamon rolls for breakfast with milk and coffee. After breakfast, I opened all of our candy and got it ready on the entry way bench and also made some cupcakes for us to have Saturday night. We then spent the day being productive around the house and working on all sorts of things. For dinner, John went and picked us up a pizza and breadsticks. Being the darling that he is, when he came back in with the pizza he was holding a bouquet of beautiful flowers and said "Happy Fall" as he walked in the house. I'm so lucky!! I put them in a vase and set them by the sink. After our pizza, we spent the next two hours passing out candy. We bought more candy this year and STILL ran out. When we turned out the light and blew out the candle in the jack-o-lantern, we had "treated" 161 kids (we had 148 last year). We easily could have gone over 200! That was about 8:30 Saturday night. We ate cupcakes and watched a movie after trick-or-treating was over, but that's when I started to feel pretty ick!

Below are various pictures from our Halloween. Be sure and notice the jack-0-lantern...John carved it and I love it! It's not the typical shapes for eyes, nose and mouth, but they are awesome. Also one of the pictures is kind of blurry, but it shows people in our neighbor's yard - just shows how many people are out for candy in our neighborhood... they're everywhere!

Now it's time to move onto Thanksgiving - HOORAY!! This is such a wonderful time of year...Thanksgiving is just 3 weeks away. We have fun things planned for that time as well. Today we are headed to Arkansas for the weekend to visit John's family. It should be a great time and of course, we will have pictures to share. Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Until we meet again...
Riley