Thursday, December 23, 2010

Twas the 3 days before Christmas

Christmas is here! At work on Tuesday, I realized I had a 'Personal Holiday' I had to use before the end of the year, so my 3-day weekend quickly turned into a 4-day holiday vacation...starting Wednesday at 4:00! Score!

Being this is Josh and I's first married-Christmas, we were both really excited for it to begin! I will take this time to say that Josh is hands-down the best gift giver ever. His gifts are always perfect and thoughtful; every year I strive to give a gift worthy of anything I might's quite intimidating.

We usually are pretty strict about 'No opening presents until Christmas' but this year we had to bend the rules a bit. See, I had been eyeing this pretty little camera for a while and since the price was dropping for Black Friday (and Josh was scheming with my dad) I knew he was purchasing it for me. Eek! I couldn't wait to get my little hands on it the minute it entered our house. (Josh had it wrapped and under the Xmas tree when I got home). I convinced him to let me open it early. My reasoning: I had to be able to take pictures of our first Christmas (and everything in-between)! Duh.

Pretty isn't it?
Josh on the other hand is waiting until after Christmas to get his gift. He has been researching hours a day (no exaggeration) on the one thing he has been wanting for years: a new TV. He has finally decided on this huge monster. And since it is a pretty penny, every cent I might have spent on a present is going towards it's purchase.

Seeing how we both got big gifts this year, I didn't expect to receive any else. However, Josh being the sweet romantic he is, couldn't imagine having a Christmas without me opening something! And, me being me, I convinced him to give me the gifts early...he's such a sucker :)
(But on a serious note, we are spending Thursday-Sunday with the parents so it was our only day to have our 'own' Christmas time...good excuse, right?)

He knows me oh-so-well! Silicone spatulas and tongs! I have been dying to own a pair!

A precious veggie holder! Ajax approved.

The most adorable apron ever!

And what could this be...?

...the red Tom Shoes I had on my list!

I'm a lucky girl, aren't I?

Do you open your Christmas gifts early?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Breakfast and Bingo

This weekend was spectacular! Josh and I drove to Little Rock for my family's Christmas get together and it was wonderful to see all of my extended family. I look forward to this every year, but this was the first year that my great grandfather wasn't there. My sweet Papa passed away earlier this year at the wonderful age of 95 and it wasn't quite the same without him. Because of him and Granny, my great grandmother, I am blessed to have such great relationships with great aunts and uncles, and even 2nd and 3rd cousins. It was great to see every one again!

The family met early Saturday morning for a giant breakfast- my favorite! The men of the family start cooking at 8:00am and we dig in by 9:00! Yum!

My sweet Pops. Isn't he quite handsome?

After we scarf down breakfast, we gather around a huge circle and plan a mean game of Dirty Santa. If you don't know the rules, you should learn. (Except we have no limit on the number of times a gift can be stolen...makes the game last longer and increases the amount scheming. Hehe)

The men went first this year. Josh got #13...out of 13 men- couldn't have picked better!

Can you guess what Uncle Scott got? Derek doesn't like to give his place away- very mysterious.

The boy gifts are boring: tools, lights, blah. So lets move right on to the woman gifts!

I picked #2...horrible luck!

But thats okay, cause I got some beautiful Christmas serving-ware! Score! Perfect for this newlywed!

After all the presents are open and stolen, we move onto Bingo!! Ooh, how I love our Bingo game. Mainly because there are presents for every Bingo!

Derek was pretty proud of his prize.

Of course we had some family portraits.

I am so amazingly blessed to have such an awesome family! Christmas time is truly the best time of year. Not because of the beautiful lights or the many gifts, but because of the memories made and the quality time spent with family.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


How do you know the Clarks have been grocery shopping? Just look at our fruit bowl. Ooh, how I love fruit! We stock up for the week, so by Friday this bowl is bare to the bone. But today it is full of yummy goodies!

Besides stocking up our fridge, I also had a little escapade in the kitchen. I was craving some breakfast muffins so I cracked open my favorite cookbook, knowing I'd find the perfect recipe. And Ree didn't disappoint. Her wonderful French Breakfast Puffs sounded perfect!

I set out everything I need because 1) All the fancy food-bloggers do it; and 2)I needed to make sure I had all the ingredients. Do you see the Pioneer Woman peeping out; I often pretend she is watching over my kitchen, to ensure no disaster occurs. Thanks Ree!

I got to work and followed her instructions: Creaming the sugar and shortening, then adding the eggs

Then I added the flour/nutmeg mixture and the milk, creating this beautiful yummy batter.

I filled up the muffin pans.

And may or may not have helped my self to a quick taste.

After cooking until golden brown, the messy part began: Dipping the warm muffins into melted butter then rolling in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Sinful!

Finally, heaven in muffin-form! Served best with a hot cup of vanilla-chia tea, the scent of your new pumpkin candle, the twinkle of Christmas tree, and Father of the Bride playing in the background.

This is going to be a great day!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pain is Temporary

But Pride Is Forever!

I loved the St. Jude Half Marathon! It was such an amazing experience and incredibly emotional. Watching these children cheer you on and hearing their parents yell out 'thank you' kept bringing tears to my eyes during the entire race. I am so honored to have given a small contribution to the St. Jude cause.

If you ever feel the desire to run a race, I would hands-down encourage you to consider the Memphis St. Jude race!

Disclaimer- This race re-cap will be much shorter than the last:

I crossed the finish line, and that was the most important thing. My IT-Band flared up much sooner than I expected, around Mile 3, and I was nervous and uncertain if I would be able to keep running much longer. However, each mile I dug deep and pushed through. But when I reached Mile 11 I knew my body was screaming at me to stop. I only had two more miles and wanted to keep going, but I knew I had to listen to my body. I encouraged Jessi to go on without me while I sat and stretched. After a few minutes I got up and began a run/walk method, finishing at 2:29.

Now here are the pictures to prove it!

(We were totally short on time so we have no before-pictures. Boo!)

Not sure what Mile this is, maybe somewhere around 3? Had to do a wardrobe change.

Quick picture. Jessi looks way too good here.

Jessi booking it. I think she is say "Alex is behind me!"

Here I come limping

No pain no gain!

Our racing bling!

Our wonderful husbands who carry around our stuff and cheer us on at the finish line.

Now, I get to rest these tired legs. I am excited to put running as a lesser priority and focus on other avenues of exercise!