Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's A...


We held our "It's a...Party" Friday night to make our reveal to the family over dinner! The invitation announced the "Question Mark" theme for the event with a fruitful mix of bold and pastel colors (including blues AND pinks, of course!).

I was so glad I was feeling better this week...had some weird-feeling night (& some day), but it was just the little one moving around! Much better now and glad I was able to go through with everything~ God is good.

Welcome to the "It's A...Party"....

Excitement in the air. My friend Erin texted me earlier today and said her excitement was at an 11. Yes! She gets me.

The Blue Man Group
This was my little helper that made all of this possible! I owe a BIG thanks to Josh's mom, Jane and my sis, Kayla (Aunt Kayla). Whoa! What a whirlwind ... but we got it all done in time!

Veggie appetizer: Carrot, Celery and Pepper Medley tied with String Cheese

Lemonade with floating strawberries:

Josh surprised me with these from Party City when he came home from work ;)

We had to tell everyone first thing...I mean, how COULD I wait any longer. But first, I had the guests sign their names in pink or blue on a scrapbook page. Then we took a pic. Although the theme was question marks, Josh said it turned out to be a Smurf party! Lol. Practically everyone voted BLUE!

Jane is showing off her blue AND pink bling! She couldn't decide for sure ; 0
BTW...we sure missed the family who was not able to come!

We played a game to give our news....We had "baby songs" playing on the iPod--- The Supremes "Baby Love," Steve Tyrell's Disney version of "Baby Mine," George Strait's "Baby Your Baby," and Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby"....just to name a few!

We passed around this box filled with little white boxes.

Everyone sat in a circle and passed around the big box while the music played. The person holding the box when the music paused had the chance to open a box. Each box was filled with gender neutral-colored items...except one! The family was told ahead of time there would be one box containing something either pink or blue...and that is how they would know! I wasn't sure if this would be a very quick game or not...but we gave it a try...

And after about 5 rounds...Josh's mom opened this box.

And she began to tear up. My mom sat beside her smiling, eyebrows raised, but quiet! She waited---somewhat in shock I think until I said..."It's a Girl!" (A, L and were right!)

So, this summer we will have a 4th generation "Jo" girl.

~Welcome Paisley Jo~

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Be Kind and Let Me Rewind...Details About Our Current Life!

As I write this post, my mind drifts to Martin Short, Steve Martin and two "Vasnicks"---- after George Banks takes the two sleeping pills, falls asleep for quite some time, Frank (pronounced "Fr-onk") greets his out of his drowsiness as he stumbles into the living room....

"Look who's back from the dead!!!!!!!!!!"

Well, yes, I am in fact, back from the dead. As far as the blogging world is considered. A lot has happened since my last post:

I turned down one of my favorite annual pig-out foods: giant corn dog from Santa's Wonderland in College Station.

I cried when I watched the rerun of Regis leaving Kelly, as she gave her tribute to him with Uncle Kracker's "Smile" song playing in the background.

I cleaned out my closet...purses, clothes...I even took everything out that was on the floor and swept. A real deep clean.

These three items are three of many. Three of many weird things that my body has undergone since we found out I was expecting. :)

This pregnancy has been different. I think many people are shocked when I tell them I am this far along---to be honest it has gone by so fast. I'm shocked myself. It probably has gone by so fast because I am the proud mom of a tot who can't walk. He just RUNS everywhere. Which, I am hoping results in lower weight gain and awesome muscle mass for me this time around :).
Before I go any further, we need to travel back to Christmas morning....It was a cold morning when my parents knocked at the door. My fun-loving parents drove in all of the way from Brenham Christmas morning to watch Hunter open his gifts...even though this Christmas was on a Sunday and they had to be back for church!!!

We walked Hunter down the stairs, and they thought this was the most magical moment. But the magic was still to come! At 7:30 Christmas morning, the doorbell rang. I was upset...who would come to the door today of all days? Surely not those solicitors!!!!!

Josh opened the door. It was Santa. He bounced in with excitement. Passed out Veggie Tales books for Hunter out of his bag. Then the really weird part happened. Santa came up to my mom and said, "Well, if it isn't Little Jamie Grayum (mom's maiden name). I haven't seen you since you lived on Georgi Lane (the last house she lived in as a kid)." Twilight zone? What was going on.

He said he had something for my mom and handed her a small box with a shiny red bow. She opened it up (a little timidly, I might add). First she read a note from Santa which included a line that read, "You'll need this item this time next year." At the bottom of the box was a tiny stocking, which matched the color scheme of the stockings at her house.

Mom squealed. Dad wanted in on the surprise, but quickly got it. The rest of the day, my dad kept saying over and over again that he wanted a "do-over." He said it happened so fast and it was so magical with all of the lights off in the house except the Christmas lights...he felt like he didn't quite get to soak it in!

Then we got the thrill of telling Josh's mom. On the way to Belton, I just had to call Kayla. I think she about fell over. It was a fun conversation. Well, they all were! I know my other "sister" Leslie was just as excited when I told her :).

Back to Josh's mom. She has been upset with me for years (semi-joking, but you know) that we did not tell her we were pregnant with Hunter while we were on vacation with her in New Mexico in early 2009. We wanted to wait until we were a bit further along...and yet, in NM, as she reminds us, there was a perfect Nambe baby feeding set she would have gladly bought had she known there was a little mouth to feed! :) Well, this time around, we searching literally all over Houston to get her one-- and there was ONE left at a store called Surprises on Westheimer. We were so relieved to find it that we treasured it all the way home, wrapped it up, and then that is how she found out our news Christmas day!

So, as of tomorrow morning, "M" (as Hunter calls the baby) will be the size of a mango. This should be fun. I like mangos. Think I'll eat some in honor.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hunter's 2nd Year video

Enjoy this video of Hunter's second year. It's a large file, so if you hit play and then pause (it will load while on pause) and hit play again a few minutes later. Then it should play beautifully!

Hunter's 2nd Year from Josh Strong on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

potty training basics

1. training on a tuesday may not be as easy as waiting for a weekend to start, but it will produce the same results.

2. all you need are some Reeses pieces and a can-do attitude

3. the day you start, all you need from your husband is to roll up the rugs for you before he goes to work.

...these are the fantasy lies that were rolling around in my head the last day and a half. none of which are true, at least not for me. more than anything, i need grace for this project! which, as i have told myself recently, grace most beautiful and most humbling when you get to take a complete bath in it.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

palm beach - revisited

for a blissful 3 days, we got to revisit out honeymoon spot!
lots had changed, but so many things had not.
we reenacted some old memories and made some new ones.

these two chairs were meant for us.

i love this man. i loved him in 2004 the first time we went to palm beach on our honeymoon. i also love this balcony.

and i love him even more this summer when we went back. yes, i'm the one that makes him always pose this way, although i personally think he's a natural.

flowers awaited me from josh...

tennis time before dinner

even after 7 years, some things never change (photo june 2004)....
and forever when we go to palm beach we'll always forgo another fancy lobster night for Pizza Girls, next to the original Sloan's ice cream shop, across the street from the water fountains. (photo this July 2011).

until next time, pb~

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"Ohhhh, I love ya, love ya, love ya"

Memories from One Swivel Chair to the Right

She was the first face I saw when I first went into the counseling center at First Baptist. I don't know if she knew how close we would become (I think it was just her nature), but it was hug at first sight. And thus it began. Me. Dolores. And our little counseling center office. Not too many candy jar fillings later, we grew to love each other---over deciding who would take the mail to the 2nd floor, answering calls from each other's "hubbies," and laughing over her appointments with a hair dresser named "Buey."

We laughed together, cried together, prayed together although I guess most people would just classify us as we "worked together." But I think we laughed the most. (Sorry for you to find out this way, Adam). I remember so many times (usually "after hours," after she had worked a full day), she would laugh so hard she would stop breathing and just flat out cry. Sometimes it was when things went wrong on the computer and couldn't get right. When things just got more and more twisted the more we tried to figure it out. The laughing would come. She would have to turn her chair around so that she wouldn't be laughing at the waiting room. The pictures above were taken just after one of these enjoyable laughing episodes. I actually felt bad. I didn't know she would be so scared when they came up behind her with her birthday surprise at Ciro's!!! This was her birthday this year.

In all seriousness, she was a hard worker and a faithful prayer warrior. I remember so many days, I can feel it just now, how it felt to hold her hands as we would pray together in the counseling center kitchen. Those manicured, tender hands that so proudly wore her wedding ring.

I always knew her favorite time of year. It was so obvious. It was like she carried the turning of the Ohio leaves in her pocket, for she got giddy just thinking about the cool breeze, even in humid Houston. Especially if it was a cold fall. She couldn't wait for it to be "snuggling weather!!!" Oh, I am serious! The end of September was her absolute joy. She dearly loved that Dave. :) Their anniversary on the cusp of his birthday was just almost too much.

And we ALL KNOW she loved a good party. The counseling center staff meetings were proof. Matching table cloths corresponding with the appropriate holiday were a must. And often she would stay up until midnight making the dessert she couldn't find at the Barker Cypress Randall's, JUST BECAUSE it was the birthday employee of the month's favorite.

There are things I'll never forget that will be hard to do without her. In fact, I probably won't do without her. Like be able to go to Doyle's and order "the kid's spaghetti with an extra meatball, please." Or go to the Dollar Tree the week of Christmas. Every year, we would take our sack lunches (so we wouldn't waste time eating out) and use our lunch break to load up on last minutes stocking stuffers. Every year we so enjoyed it. We always went to the one at 290/Antoine. I think because she knew the Starbucks was in the same parking lot. She'd always whip in the drive thru afterwards and asked me if I wanted frappuccino to take back to work. Followed by the thought of skipping work all together and going to the Galleria. She was creative, but never executed. She loved and respected her job too much.

But couldn't love anything as much as those three grandkids! In my mind, Madison, Colton and Cameron are celebrities! We know all of their stats, talents on the stage and on the field and in the lap pool. And we are so proud of them, too! You couldn't talk to Dolores and not be proud right along with her! Christi, Judi and Craig stories were always a joy for her to tell and welcomed by us.

She studied her Bible, and loved doing it. I will always attach her faithful heart when I hear her favorite verse, Isaiah 26:3

"You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You."

She shared this with me when she knew I was taking my counseling license exam. And if Dolores ever told you she was going to pray for you---she did---without fail. The title of this post was what she said often, but she meant it everytime. With arms in a full out bear hug, she'd say "Oh, I love ya, love ya, love ya." If you are reading this, have assurance that she really did. Three times over.

Here we are ---celebrating a life well- lived. However, too short by our human judgment.

But here's one thing I know:

There are a few people who make the list of being the richest people in the world.

Donald Trump. George Bailey. Dolores Schreckengost.

This very minute, she's the richest woman I know.



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Birthday~Vacay

First day!

There's NOTHING, and I mean nothing Josh could have given me that I would have loved more for my birthday. There's this little place. Close to my heart. Just a little down I-10 West. My family went the summer it opened, and yes, I felt really old seeing how much it had changed. But some things hadn't changed.

The lazy river.

The amazing breakfast.

The front porch beckoning coffee drinkers and newspaper readers.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I'm talking about the Hill Country Hyatt. Just take the Sea World exit and, well, let's just say -my family will never make it to Sea World.

What beats poolside nuggets and bbq sauce?

An added birthday buddy was having his party that weekend, so we stopped by the par-tay and invited a few guests to the hotel pool the next's a toss up who liked it more...Christy or Mr. Hill :)
On the way home (see below) ...Couldn't even prop his head after trying! :) Too much fun!

Thank you, Josh