Monday, December 30, 2013

Wrap it up

I genuinely LOVE wrapping presents.  Using excessive amounts of tape (although I think I've really toned it down in recent years - people were actually able to open their gifts this year without using pocketknives or excessive amounts of force) and folding corners and making all the shiny things go together just gives me great joy.  Most of this wrapping has been destroyed by now, but fortunately I have just a little more wrapping to do tonight for friend festivities tomorrow night - yay!  Shiny shiny shiny...

Yes, I'm insane and ridiculous and who actually enjoys spending hours wrapping presents?  This girl!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas from the fur-babies

Harrison has historically wished you all a Merry Christmas by playing grumpy Santa...

...but this year his dad decided he needed a new form of torture and brought this into his life, which in Harry's eyes was made infinitely worse by the dog's interest in the stuffed blinking thing attached to his head:

Oh, Harry, I'm sorry, but it is just so adorable.

Now, Zach doesn't really have any holiday attire - there used to be reindeer ears at some point, but I think he destroyed them.  However, he does have a slightly too small garden gnome Halloween costume (we're good parents, I promise), and the pointy gnome hat kinda resembles a Santa let's go for it.

Close enough, right?  Merry Christmas from the fur kids!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ice, ice baby

We've been stuck in the midst of a wintry blast here for the past few days...ummm, I thought we were supposed to have patio weather in Dallas in December!  Isn't that one of the perks of suffering through the ridiculously hot summers?  Oh well, I guess we'll take a little actual cold; it makes it feel more holiday-ish, anyway.  I actually escaped from the ice (well, the start of the ice - still had to face the aftermath) by driving down to Austin Thursday night to go to tax school on Friday.  And since Dallas got covered in a thick sheet of ice Thursday night and Friday morning, I really didn't mind being in Austin where there was no ice in sight.  Especially since my office decided to say, "hey, you guys go ahead and brave the ice and come on in today!  If you can't make it, you'll probably just need to take some time off, ok, cool?"  Not cool, actually, especially when sanity says to stay off the crazy ice slick roads and you have a twenty-something mile drive that takes 45 minutes on a good day.  Anyway...happy to be in Austin so I didn't even have to deal with that.

No one wants to hear about tax school, so I'll just share my version of highlights, which you know includes food.

I picked up dinner Thursday night from Hyde Park Bar & Grill, which has one of my favorite restaurant landmarks - a big ol' giant fork outside.  It's awesome, and so is the food. 
I was originally planning to drive back Friday after the conference, but decided to stay an extra night, knock out some Christmas shopping, and face the icy disaster on Saturday instead.  Which meant one more delicious Austin dinner!  So I went to Maudie's and indulged in Tex-Mex deliciousness.  And yes, the margarita is virgin - no tequila for baby, I promise.
I waved at the Capitol on my way out of town.
The drive back on Saturday actually wasn't quite as horrendous as I thought it might be; the ice and mess really only added about 45 minutes to the drive and didn't get too dicey.  Although coming into south Dallas, the first bridge I went over had two smashed-up cars and flashy lights on the scene...oh boy.  Fortunately, sand had been laid out in force and most people were actually driving with caution instead of stupidity.  The worst part of the drive was our neighborhood, which with minimal traffic was still basically a ginormous sheet of thick ice.  I slowly pulled into the driveway...and slid right back down.  Oops.  Street parking it is.  But then Craig the Brave went out and made it up the driveway and into the garage - I just didn't watch it happen.

Our poor, sad tree-bush-thing in the backyard has quite a few broken branches.  Wah wah.  Hopefully it's salvageable and not a total goner.
Total ice slick out there!  And temporary street parking since the driveway got the best of me.
Brrrrrrrr.  So we've kept it pretty low key and have mostly stayed holed up at home with the fire going.  I've actually been semi-productive and knocked out Christmas cards last night and this morning, woot woot!  Now it's time to get my baking on.  And maybe I'll do the boring stuff, too, like laundry and a touch o' cleaning.  Stay warm, y'all!

Piles o' Christmas card goodness make me happy

Monday, December 2, 2013

Counting down to Christmas

Before we left for Thanksgiving, a little elf by the name of Trinity stopped by with a very special gift for Craig...a custom-made beer Advent calendar.  How awesome is that?!?  Check out the impressive wrapping for his own version last year, and here's the customized beer crate with a bottle for each day:

Craig didn't want the pregnant lady to feel left out, so he got me this adorableness at Target so I could have an Advent calendar, too.  Which prompted me to actually go learn about Advent, and...we really are just counting down to Christmas, y'all.  Unless there's more to it and I'm just not a very good scholar.  My attention span is a little short these days.  At any rate, let's count down the days, Craig with beer and me with chocolate.  That's not a bad way to do it.

Here's beer #1, which Craig enjoyed last night while we watched death and destruction (well, that's not really keeping with the holiday spirit, is it?  We'll try to get some Christmas movies in the rotation...).  We're already big fans of Shiner Cheer around here, so you know this one was well received.

Trinity, you should go into business and sell these crates on Etsy.  It's brilliant.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Culinary misadventures and batting 0.633

Not quite as successful with NaBloPoMo this year as in years past, but I'm going to call my 0.633 batting average for last month a relative success.  Can I just blame the baby?  That probably won't work until the kiddo is actually any rate, got some catching up in there and will try to knock out more than one post a month going forward.  Maybe...

Turkey Day roundup!  The Bryans were all scattered this year, and Craig and I journeyed out to Virginia Beach to spend a few days with Momma Dale and Wes.  We had chilly days full of a cozy fire, lots o' food, football games galore (watching, not playing - who do you think we are?), movie and shopping outings, and general family good times.  But that "culinary misadventures" leading note?  Yeah...

Let's just say that last year's Thanksgiving, hosted at our house, had a couple of...mishaps along the way.  The things I was really worried about, like Craig deep-frying a turkey, went off without a hitch.  Things I hadn't thought about, like slicing off the end of my thumb with a mandoline and visiting the emergency room and leaving the rest of the Thanksgiving work to the crew at home...yeah, those were the things that happened.  So my mishap led to another mishap, which involved a certain Pendarvii placing the turkey thermometer in the oven...when it's made of plastic and has batteries and really isn't intended to go in the oven...resulting in a bit of a molten electronic mess.  Oopsie.

You would think everyone had learned their lesson, but I give you...

...molten thermometer, round two, from THIS year's Thanksgiving.  We really have to get the Pendarvii to stop doing these things.  Here's hoping next year is free of both emergency room visits AND molten thermometers...we're getting better!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Expecting the arrival...

...of some teeny feet to fill these shoes!  Baby Pendarvis is on his or her way (and yes, we're finding out boy or girl- dying to know!!), ready for a May 2014 arrival.  Eeeeekkkk!!  And if you're actually reading this, you probably already knew the news. =) But here are some tiny baby shoes to really drive the point home.

We couldn't be more excited.  And a little freaked out.  But mostly...excited, blessed, and ready to embark on this great parenthood adventure.  Can't wait to meet you, Baby Pendarvis - I think you're really going to rock our world.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jumping the gun

It feels eighteen kinds of wrong to do anything acknowledging Christmas before the sacred day o' turkey passes...but we did it this year.  In the form of going ahead and busting out decorations, addressing a few Christmas cards, and engaging in one of my favorite kinds of shopping along with actual real, in-store shopping for things like extra garland and ornaments.

Pure logistics, people.  Thanksgiving is just late this year, and we'll be out of town, and then next weekend disappears, and then before you know it the tree's not up until December 8 and we only enjoy it for two weeks before it all falls down.  So we went for it.  I think it helped that it was cold and disgusting this weekend and actually felt like we were on the verge of real winter activity - roaring fire (well, as roaring as it gets when the fire starts by flicking a switch on the wall) all weekend long!

Ginormous tree, also an excellent tree fort for Harrison - thank goodness he leaves ornaments alone.  We just have to hang the breakables out of the reach of Zach's tail...
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...oh, wait, do we have a real chimney?  Hmmm...
He of the wonky stocking (it turns!  I think I need to throw a few strategic stitches in there to keep it facing forward) and keeper of the fire
There's also garland and ribbon twirling down the staircase with giant ornaments dangling, a wreath on the front door, and cinnamon pine cones scattered here and there to make the house all Christmasy.  Yay for holiday cheer!  Just not excessive amounts of holiday cheer - please don't ever let me put inflatable things on my lawn.  I just don't think I can go there.

We also gave in to an impulse scentsicles purchase at Home Depot; they were a little overwhelming at first and a touch on the air-freshener-from-a-can scent side, but now they've pleasantly faded into a "oh, is that a real Christmas tree??" kind of scent coming from the corner of the living room.  It's hard to beat the pre-lit tree that's relatively easy to assemble, especially when you can kinda fake it on the real tree scent front.

Happy holidays, y'all!

Monday, November 25, 2013

You're breaking my heart, Raider boys...

Kinda fell off the blogging bandwagon for a week or so, didn't I?  Ok, so this version of NaBloPoMo didn't quite go according to plan, but here's to knocking out a few more posts over the next week.  I'll try to at least put up pie pictures.

Last weekend we turned stereotypical football adventures upside down when the girls went to the football game and the boys stayed at home.  What the what?!?  Don't worry, the guys had plenty of meat products and choice beverages to get them through the afternoon and evening, so I'm not too worried about them - unless there was some kind of secret spa outing that I know nothing about.  

We left the menfolk at home to tend to the toddlers, and Diana, Jen, and I headed out to the behemoth known as Cowboys Stadium (or AT&T Stadium for those of you keeping track of the dollars) to cheer on our Red Raiders as they took on the Baylor Bears.  Remember when this game used to be a guaranteed victory?  And not just that, but a lopsided victory and a chance for the third string to get out there and play a little bit?  Well, those days are long gone and Baylor is actually good.  Yeeps.  So this time around we were really just hoping that our guys would make a game of it and maybe, just maybe turn it into a good thing.

Well, I should have taken a picture of our faces in the first quarter when we were up 14-0 and believed that the Raider boys might actually have a chance to pull this one off...because it was pretty much all downhill after that as we handed them touchdowns and didn't really play defense.  Sigh.  Even with the smackdown, still a good time with my football girls and fellow Red Raider faithful.  If they can't hack it this Thursday against the Longhorns, at least I'll be able to just give in to my Thanksgiving food coma and forget all about it.

Everything is SO. BIG.
The massive jumbotron (apparently "video board" is the correct terminology) in all of its ridiculous glory

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Back in business

Hiding in the depths of a slightly scary strip mall off a questionable part of Harry Hines (but really, how many parts of Harry Hines aren't questionable?) were my saviors, bringing my phone back from the brink of death in a mere forty minutes.  I even wrote them a review on Yelp singing their praises.  Of course, check back with me in a couple of weeks to make sure everything is still roses and rainbows, but hopefully my phone's guts are ok.  Phew.  It's painful to have to pay for these kinds of things at all, but I'm a lot happier with $250 (Internet guesstimates were right!) than the new phone cost.

So now instead of hanging out in a slimmer, cuter case, the phone is back in a trusty OtterBox.  The phone survived several drops in the cuter case...but now the trust is broken and there's no going back.  OtterBox for the win!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Man down!

So, probably best to limit the number of items you're juggling while making the precious walk from car to kitchen counter after fighting traffic for almost an hour and then arriving home to a dog, crazed from the chill in the air, spinning in wild circles.  Almost there, almost there...oh, dang, I dropped one thing on the cold, heartless, unforgiving ceramic tile.  Hmmm, what was it...oh, my phone!  No big whoop, that's what the case is for.  Oh, say what, now?  The case didn't actually stop the screen from cracking and the LCD crapping out so that now all I see are some sad lines amid a sea of black sorrow and nothingness?  Fudgeballs.

In the interest of not spending $600+ on a new phone when I've had this one all of three months, I'm attempting to find a local phone doctor who can work some magic and bring this little guy back to life.  I don't know anything about how to fix this, but the Internet is full of magical knowledge that tells me this is totally fixable and will theoretically cost about $250.  We'll see how it really goes...

Say a little prayer for the phone, guys.  It's not time for it to go to phone heaven yet.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Family fried fall weekend o' fun

A few weekends ago we had alllll the parents in town, pretty much just to go to the epicness that is the State Fair of Texas and eat delicious fried things.  Seriously.  This was the plan.  Momma Dale mentioned this summer that she'd really like to come to town for the fair, so we booked it for post-10/15 (you know, crazy tax deadlines and such) and had the whole gang in town for some Texas-sized adventures.

Ready for fair adventures!
And then we went and had a generally fabulous time and we ate allllll of this (LOTS of sharing on the food - otherwise you would have had to roll me out of there):
  1. Omg, we started with Twinkies - they were handing them out FOR FREE as we walked into the fair, presumably to celebrate the fact that Twinkies still exist.  What a way to start and prep our palates.
  2. Fried Thanksgiving dinner - this was one of our favorites!  It's impressive when an early contender can hang in the competition for so long.  Basically a giant fried ball of turkey and dressing goodness with gravy and cranberry sauce for dipping.  It was really, really good.
  3. I think they were called...pig's toes?  Essentially a deep fried jalapeño bacon-wrapped situation with chili and nacho cheese for dipping.  Disgustingly delicious.
  4. Fried spaghetti & meatballs - also one of our favorites.* Spaghetti and meatball bits with plenty of melty, gooey cheese and marinara.  Yum.
  5. Fried shrimp & grits, also delicious but a little greasy.  Imagine that, the piles of deep fried are getting a little greasy.
  6. The classic, Fletcher's corny dogs - both original and jalapeño
  7. Free baby cones of soft serve ice cream!!  One of my favorite reasons to visit the Food & Fiber Pavilion.
  8. Fresh, delicious, life-giving fruit.  Yes, a giant cup of fresh fruit.  Mom's decision, and a really, really good one.
  9. Fireballs - this fried pimiento cheese situation, which sounds delicious in theory but just wasn't very good.  Too spicy and kinda blech.
  10. Deep fried biscuits and gravy.  Pretty much gravy inside a biscuit inside fried.  Also greasy along the lines of the shrimp & grits situation, but pretty good.  Didn't blow my socks off.
  11. Bratwurst...yeah, on a stick!  One of the few non-deep fried items, just delicious meat on a stick.
  12. Fried King Ranch casserole IN THE SHAPE OF TEXAS.  Pretty dang good.
  13. Fried Cuban roll.  Also a bit of a grease bomb, but really delicious.
  14. Red beans and rice - one of the best bang for your buck items at the fair, and it may actually qualify as "real food" instead of a just an artery-clogging fair specialty item.  Props to Mom for being the voice of reason.
  15. Fried grilled cheese.  This was AMAZING.  It came with those little crunchy potato sticks on the side AND had tomato soup (which tasted very, very, very much like Campbell's out of a can) for dipping.  I loved this.
  16. Fried jambalaya - spicy and delicious.  Our last of the savory items.
  17. Fried Nutella - time for dessert deliciousness, and this was delightful.  It even came with fresh fruit on top, which made it totally healthy.
  18. Fried peanut butter & jelly sandwich - I'm counting this as dessert, and it was really delicious.  You know how fantastic peanut butter is when it gets all melty and warm?  Throw some jelly and powdered sugar into that situation and you're doing ok.
* with this and the Thanksgiving dinner, maybe we just liked the fried food when served in softball-sized form?  hmmm....

This list does not account for beverages...none of which were fried, thank goodness.  That fried beer incident was truly awful.  Check out all the shades of brown below.

Shrimp & grits on the left, giant spaghetti & meatball situation on the right
You can't go wrong with a corny dog, as long as you have plenty o' mustard
Dad, double-fisting the corn dogs - nice work!
Omg - King Ranch casserole, Cuban roll, red beans & rice, and fried grilled cheese.  Holy moly spread of food stuff.
A healthy heaping of Nutella - oh yum
Deep fried PB&J in all of its 100%-bad-for-you glory
Ok, putting it in a list is kinda scaring me.  We all made it out alive, though.

Yeah, it was mostly about the food, but I mean, it wasn't allllll food.  There was also plenty of car show time for the boys...

...and breaks in the ridiculous massage chairs (twice! they were amazing) and making new puppy friends...

...and more animal time (horses and rabbits and tiny adorable baby kittens, oh my! and checking out new Big Tex (I thought he looked a little scary).

Happy fair weekend, y'all!

Monday, November 11, 2013


Happy birthday eve, Mom! Apparently I'm all about celebrating the eves this works.  Anyway, you rock, Mom, and you totally deserve a blog shout-out.  Happy almost birthday, and keep on being awesome.  Especially at earring putting-on.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pie season is upon us

It's pie season!!  Or what normal people might just call "fall" or "November" or "the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving" - but no, to me it's definitely pie season.  Last year I made four pies for six people at Thanksgiving.  Excessive?  No, not at all!

Apple, pumpkin, coconut cream, and pecan. Dig it. And dig in.
I. love. pie.  Happy pie season, y'all.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

This is how I know

This is how I know that Craig loves me.

He wore a Red Raider shirt completely of his own accord last week when we went to Vaughns to watch the incredibly frustrating Tech-Oklahoma State game.  I didn't ask him to, he just did it.  That's love.  For us, anyway.  Fortunately, Diana captured the moment for posterity.  And yes, we're bringing obscene amounts of food into that home; that's just the way we roll.  Or the way I roll.  As Craig likes to remind me, I tend to overdo it a bit when it comes to the food front.  Although he's the guy who prepares two pounds of meat per person, therefore enabling the handing out of meat bags at the end of the night.  We're both food overdoers.

For a reality check, I think this whole Red Raider fan situation went really well for me because Washington had a bye last week...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A very valued customer

I'm a big believer in online shopping.  Perhaps a little obsessive about online shopping, considering one Mr. Vaughn points out that there's an Amazon box on our doorstep more often than not.  Which is not exactly true, but I did come home to three boxes today.  Look, I can't help it if Amazon sometimes ships one order in two different those two boxes definitely really only count as one.  And obviously it makes perfect sense to buy Toms online because that's where the biggest selection is, so you can overanalyze the purchase by comparing styles AND colors WHILE reading all of the reviews.  It's really just the intelligent way to shop.  I think these are the winners, by the way.  So that was the other box.

The Amazon order consisted of three books, a page-a-day calendar for 2014 (I'm ahead of the game on that one), and a new set of flexible cutting boards for the kitchen because we destroy them on a pretty regular basis.  I was less than excited about one of the books, and while normally I'm not overly anxious about getting a $15 refund, I figured I would go ahead and send this one back so that the $15 could be better spent on other amazing Amazon products like anything you could ever want EVER because they have it all.  So I went and selected the book for return and gave the reason "no longer needed/wanted," which is just the nice to say that I totally changed my mind and just don't want this at all.  Click.

"Since you are a valued customer, there is no need to return this item in order for us to issue you a refund.  Please feel free to keep the item, and we will issue the $14.62 refund to your method of payment in 3-5 business days."

Well, thank you!!  I mean, who does that?  We'll give you your money back, but just go ahead and keep the thing you don't really want anymore and maybe it'll grow on you.  That's cool, you spend a gazillion dollars with us and we'll just spot you the $14.62.

While this is completely awesome, it also makes me wonder just exactly how much I've spent on Amazon in the last...omg, ELEVEN YEARS.  My first Amazon order was in March 2002.  For a VHS copy (let me repeat that...V. H. S.  Woah...) of the entertaining and mushy One Fine Day, which I think I sent Mom & Dad for their anniversary.  Yeeps.  I might put my analytical skills to use later today and add up the grand Amazon total...maybe.  It might be too scary.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In my next life...

...I think I'd like to come back as a cat.  Or possibly a dog.  I mean, these two are both pretty much living the dream.  Lazy bums.  I can't handle this.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy anniversary eve!

Holy jeez, where have the last two years gone??  And yes, it's only anniversary EVE, not actual anniversary, but I needed something to write about tonight and was feeling a little mushy.  To celebrate two whooooole years of marriage, we took off to Seattle for a few days to celebrate (which I'll tell you all about in this month o' blogging), a little before our actual anniversary to make time for important things like University of Washington football games.  Last year at this time we were having red rocks adventures and relaxing in Sedona, celebrating one whooooole year of marriage...

...and then two years ago I'm certain I was having trouble trying to wind down and go to sleep because I was just a little excited about the whole "I'm getting married tomorrow!!" thing.  But it was all worth it for this.

Happy almost anniversary, husband!  And just when Craig is FINALLY HOME from the Great Houston Adventure, he's out of town again this week for work training in Orlando.  But I have some really wonderful friends who are going to celebrate birthaversary with me tomorrow (birthday dinner on the anniversary, of course), so I think I'll be ok.  Two down and many, many more to go.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

More vacation, please

Back in June we went to Cabo San Lucas for a few days to celebrate our good friends Dan & Jeremy...and also just RELAX.  I mean, just look at that.  Sigh.  I want to go back to there.