December 25, 2011

Ms. Ainsley Crisp

I have talked about Al and Kasha, a couple of our closest friends, a lot on this blog. Especially about their 2 year old son, Tac (aka my boyfriend as Al calls him). Well there is a new Crisp these days!

But she didn't get here without a little drama of course.

Last Thursday, Al called me and told me he is taking Kasha to the hospital because she was having very intense pain in her abdomen but mostly back. She was just a day away from being 36 weeks into her pregnancy. I asked her it felt like contractions or just pain and she said pain.

A little while later (actually a lot while later - they had to wait too long), they found out she had a kidney stone. The irony is that the night before Al was telling us how he has kidney stones sometimes and how horrible they are. And the next morning, Kasha wakes up with one..

As if she isn't in enough pain with a kidney stone, all the activity and pain (I assume) sent her body into labor. So she starts having contractions. While passing a kidney stone! She finally passed the stone two days later only to find out she has an infection in her kidney, too.

To make a long story short, Kasha's labor and kidney pain goes on until Monday night when she finally gave birth to Ainsley. They were very worried about if the early birth and infection affected Ainsley. The doctor told Al and Kasha that Ainsley would have to spend at least 7 days in the NICU because of it. But God gave us all a Christmas blessing because Ainsley had high Apgar scores and seemed to have no indication of an infection! We were all so relieved and excited! I couldn't be there for the birth because I had taken off work that morning to be with Kasha while she was just waiting to get further along in her labor. Ainsley was born at 3:38 pm.

Tac with his little sister! They said he was couting all of her fingers and toes and so interested in her.

Look at those chubby cheeks!!

Visiting her in the NICU!

The next day was Tac's birthday! So Ainsley's birthday is December 19th and Tac's December 20th. December will be a busy month for Al and Kasha!

The birthday boy!

Ainsley did not like being woken up...

A few days later, earlier than expected, Kasha and Ainsley both got to go home. Kasha's kidney infection was expected to clear up very quickly now that her uterus was not pushing on her kidney, irritating it.

I am so happy and thankful to God for the blessing of Ainsley and Kasha's health. It was a long week for me just watching all of it, I can't imagine how it must have been for Al. And Kasha was such a trooper. Passing a kidney stone and in labor at the same time?!? Just calling her a trooper is such an understatement.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you are enjoying your day!

December 22, 2011

Christmas in Welch

This last week has been a whirlwind of ups and downs. My best friend Kasha was in the hospital from last Thursday till this morning but all ended really great! I'll be talking about it more on my next post.

This post I wanted to tell all about the crazy weekend that we have every weekend before Christmas. Its a ton of fun and seeing family all in three days!

By Thursday night, all three of Kanyon's sisters and their families had arrived. We came over to Kanyon's parents that night after I got off work to eat dinner and see everyone. I had been so anxious to see all of our nieces and nephews!

Friday night, we went to Mama Brown's for our family Christmas with that side of the family. It was a great night! We got to see lots of family! We play Chinese Christmas (I think thats what its called) which is always interesting and Mama Brown made a very good BBQ dinner.

Saturday morning, we had our immediate family Christmas at Vaughn and Kalith's. Pumpkin bread, egg nog, and coffee. Yum. Its a crazy morning of ripping presents open!

That afternoon, the boys all had some fun with some tannerite. I didn't know what that was before last weekend so I'll assume some reading this doesn't either. It's basically legal explosives! They had so much fun finding things and blowing them up... one being Vaughn and Kalith's old tv.

Zeb was not happy about having to stay in the truck for his safety.

Saturday night, we headed over to Meme and Grandad's house and had our family Christmas there. Another fun night seeing lots of family! These are just the first cousins and their kids...

A few of the cousins didn't even make it that night either. 

It was a whirlwind, I can't even remember very many details from the weekend to tell you! 

One last thing - I wanted to show you the ornament that Kanyon made this weekend.

I think he did a great job with it!

We're in Houston as of last night and will be here until Tuesday. I'm so excited about it. We haven't been able to come visit for this long since before we were married!

December 13, 2011

Where my brother is.

I have mentioned here and there that my brother is living in South America right now but haven't really said much more than that.

A couple years ago, my brother told us that he was going to intern for a ministry called Dry Bones in Denver, CO. He was going to be the mountain intern, where he would assist the mountain guide (who happened to be a friend of mine from Young Life in college) in leading the trek up and down the mountain for youth groups visiting during the summer. Honestly, I was kind of surprised. We had both done treks before with Young Life and also with Wilderness Trek in Denver so it's not like he'd never expressed interest in trek but he'd never expressed an interest in doing it for 3 months straight. I was really excited for him, though. I had a feeling he'd love it.

We've lost him to the mountain ever since.

That first semester back in Abilene at ACU was very different for him. He had lost all interest in school, had changed his major again and just didn't feel at home in school. He still loved Abilene and he felt like his friends there were his best friends in the world, though. So he was torn. He finished up that semester though.

All the while, though, he was researching a program called NOLS. Two of my best friends, Jason and Stephen had done it when we were juniors. It stands for National Outdoor Leadership School. Jason went to Arizona and Utah for a semester rock-climbing and Stephen spent a semester in the outback of Australia camping. The best part? They got a whole semester's worth of school credit for it. I told Cole about it when they got home thinking that would be right up his alley.

I didn't know he would choose the really long program, though! That was not the deal! He chose the two-semester program in Patagonia, Chile. Before he tried to sell the idea to Mom and Dad, he called me and asked if I thought a Powerpoint presentation would work. No joke, the boy made a presentation complete with graphs and pictures. I think my parents were impressed but my mom's immediate reaction was no! She's kind of attached to him for some reason. But they didn't answer right away and thought about it a while. After some negotiating about how it will be paid for, some threats deals made that he would finish school after coming home, it was decided that he could apply. A little while later, he was accepted! He would leave the following October.

It was still January though, and he decided to move back to Abilene and work that semester. He worked at a law firm that a few of our family friends have worked at as their errand boy basically. He had a pretty boring semester since his friends were busy with school and club stuff but he was glad he stayed since he loves Abilene and Young Life there and his friends. Oh, except that time he had a bike accident and broke his jaw. Guess he needed a little adventure.

Sorry, probably should have warned you a gross picture was coming but I made it small.

He had a pretty awful summer after that. He lived in Denver again working for Dry Bones and then went backpacking in Italy for a few weeks with my Dad. Wait, did I say awful? I meant best summer ever.

Then the day finally came when he left for Patagonia! That was not a good week for Mom. I know from several sources around town that she had a tendency to burst out in tears about any mention of Cole or even a mushy commercial. She's better now. Love ya, Mom ;)

So what has he been doing? The first 48 days or something, from what I understand, they lived on the mountain and on a glacier. A glacier. That sounds so hard core to me. He said he took pictures so I'm excited to see them. Other than that, I don't know what all they did. I picture them doing little science experiments on the forest floor (for the school credit part) but I don't think that's really what they do. I talked to him when they got back to base camp through this internet calling service but I didn't want to overload him with questions. Yet. I'll wait when I see him at Christmas.

After that, like I said, they got back to base camp for classes. They have been training for their Wilderness First Responder test. Its like an EMT certification that includes general medical training along with accidents that typically happen in the wilderness. Mom just called me to inform me that he called her and he passed his test! He has to have that for any sort of job in that field so that is really exciting.

Now that they've finished the WFR, next they leave tomorrow for their community service project. They are volunteering for a national park. I assume they will be doing things like repairing fences and clearing brush. I don't really know. After that he has a couple weeks of break when he will come home for Christmas!

When he gets back, they will take a 40 day or so sea kayaking trip! I got him a wet bag for Christmas so that he can put stuff that he doesn't want to get wet in it. (He's not flying in until Christmas day and I know he doesn't read my blog out there, so I'm not worried about him seeing this).

After that, they will do a rock-climbing excursion for another extended amount of time.

And then they will have the section called "cultural immersion. During these two weeks, they will live with a local family by themselves, having to speak Spanish and participate in whatever means that family has to make a living, including tending livestock and farming. Kanyon can't wait to talk to him about that part. I hope he has to castrate a calf.

The last part is a sort of end of the year test. All the students go on an excursion by themselves with a satellite phone and find out if they learned anything! They will be by themselves using all the skills they learned that year.

I'm sure I'll have lots more info after Christmas but I wanted to finally share all that he has been doing. He has such a tough life, huh?

December 7, 2011

Some recipes worth trying.

I feel like I went through a spell for a while where all the recipes I tried were a bust... I would have to buy at least one ingredient I didn't already have, take the extra time to make it that always comes when you're making something new, dirty a million utensils and bowls... only for it to come out and Kanyon say as nice as he could that it wasn't very good. While I am in denial and trying to tell myself that he's wrong and it really is good.

BUT I've had a respite from that season, it seems, and I wanted to share a couple of new favorites of our's as well as a snack I made for Kasha's baby shower (which I never blogged about.. I'll put that on my list...).

Bistro Chicken Pasta

This sounded weird to me at first, since Caesar dressing doesn't sound that great on pasta. But this specific dressing brand is the key because it is not really tangy like some Caesar dressing and after baking, it has a really great flavor. Kanyon doesn't love pasta like I do, but he said he really liked this, especially with crushed red pepper on top.

4-5 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded or cubed), season with Seasoned Salt or desired seasoning while cooking.
1 pound bow tie pasta (cooked according to package directions)
2/3 cup chopped onion (I cooked them before assembling and putting in the oven)
2/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
8 Roma tomatoes, chopped
8 oz. feta cheese
1 bottle Newman's Own Caesar dressing (16 oz)
Italian seasoning to taste
Garlic salt to taste

Preparation: Mix all ingredients well and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees (uncovered) in 9x13 pan.

Easy Barbecued Ribs

This was a great find. I like grilled ribs fine but putting them in the slow cooker for this recipes makes them fall off the bone and so tender. And the taste was really yummy. Its so easy. I threw together the seasonings in a bowl before going to bed, so I just rolled the ribs in the seasoning the next morning and stuck it in the Crock Pot. You really have to try this!

1.5 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
S&P to taste
2 lbs pork (baby) back ribs
1.5 cup barbecue sauce

In a small bowl, mix together paprika, brown sugar, cayenne, and S&P. Rub this mixture over all sides of ribs. Arrange ribs in the slow cooker by standing them up against the wall of the pot. Pour bbq sauce over the ribs, cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low. (I did 6.5 hours and they were great.)

Next (don't skip this even though the ribs look great already), remove the ribs to a baking pan lined with foil and a baking rack, bone side up. Set aside.

Skim any fat that has risen to the top and strain remaining juices into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and allow to reduce by a third, approximately 15 minutes.

Turn oven's broiler on and set top rack about 10 inches below it. Brush the ribs with the sauce and broil for about 3 minutes. Brush with sauce again, turn them over, and broil for another 5 minutes. Brush with any remaining sauce.

Cookies and Cream Popcorn

This was a really easy throw-together sweet snack for Kasha's shower and everyone really loved it.

1 bag popcorn, popped
6 ounces white chocolate candy coating
10-15 oreos, crushed or roughly chopped

Preparation: Place popped popcorn into bowl with oreos. Melt chocolate in microwave and pour over. Stir to coat. Dump on wax paper and spread into single layer to cool and harden. Serve!

I hope you get a chance to try these recipes!

December 5, 2011

Thanksgiving and a Mule deer.

Sorry about that two-week hiatus. I honestly just flat out forgot to blog most days! Its been busy.

Thanksgiving was so wonderful. Mom and Dad came up to spend it with us and Kanyon's family. With Cole being in South America, they decided to come to us! Let me tell you, it is so wonderful for Kanyon and I that our parents are good friends. Both of our parents never mind sharing us or spending holidays all together. We know that is very rare and we're so thankful for it. 

So Mom and Dad got to Welch on Wednesday and we had a great time relaxing, going on cotton gin tours and seeing harvest (Dad and Kanyon), researching TV's (again.. Dad and Kanyon; we're getting one for Christmas), cooking, hunting, playing with Zeb, and of course eating really yummy food. We had Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws house with some cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents. 

One of the most exciting parts about the weekend was that on the last day of the season for our county, Kanyon went hunting that afternoon like he had everyday that week and finally got him a mule deer! Its his first one. He usually hunts white tail, so this was exciting.

Also, exciting - it is huge. The rack is a great size, nothing too unusual but the deer himself was a big boy. We were excited. And after some talking to Al (him and Kasha are also taxidermists besides owning the gin), we are going to have our first mounted deer!

Sorry if anyone is uncomfortable with bloody dead animals - this isn't too bad but just warning you!

I wish I got a better picture of this - Zeb was pretty excited too! 

"Can I have it now?"

We're pretty excited to get it back and put it on the wall! With the addition of this big boy, a new TV and TV console after Christmas, our living room is going to look a little different! Can't wait!

Also, in deer news... Last year, Kanyon killed two deer and in a rush, we just stuck them in the freezer un-processed and left in quarters. Well, some of it got some freezer burn and Kanyon decided to have it all made into sausage and jerky since that would allow it to still taste good since we absolutely weren't going to throw out the meat. Well... this is what two deer turned into sausage look like... this doesn't include the 12 bags of jerky, either.

72.... pounds.....

Anyone got any meal ideas with venison sausage to share with me????

Oh, AND that doesn't include the mule deer that he finished processing, too. Which counts for two white tail, just about. And he plans on killing two more white tail before the season ends. We won't be lacking in protein this year. 

I hope yall had a great holiday! I have a few recipes that I really want to share with you that I've used recently that are definitely worth sharing tomorrow. Unfortunately none with venison. 

November 22, 2011

Camille's Wedding

Last weekend, I got to return a favor:

Almost two years ago, Camille was my bridesmaid. And last week, I got to be her's!

And I cried. A lot.

I didn't realize I would, but this wedding was one of the sweetest I've ever been to, much less been a part of. Camille and Jacob were so excited to be finally married, the whole weekend was stress-free (at least for us) and all about excitement and so emotional.

The wedding was on Sunday, so on Saturday morning at 11:00 am, Camille's grandmother and aunts gave a Bridesmaid's Luncheon for the bridesmaids. It was at the Houston Country Club and was a beautiful formal affair. I'm really glad Mom talked me out of wearing jeans... (I was going to wear heals, though!) We headed over to the venue for a quick rehearsal that afternoon.

That night, Claire (another bridesmaid and best friend from high school) and I headed downtown to the Rehearsal Dinner. It was at Pappa's BBQ. The food was excellent!

Claire and I 

The toasts after dinner went on for a while because everyone wanted to make sure and tell Camille and Jacob how proud of them they were and how much they loved them. Many tears were shed. It was such a special night.

That night, all the bridesmaids and groomsmen and bridal party (about 20 of us or more!) went over to one of the groomsmen's houses and had a lot of fun hanging out. One really fun part of this wedding was how well all of us got along, even if we didn't know each other. We all had so much fun celebrating with Camille and Jacob and each other.

Then the big day finally came! We got up to The Gallery Sunday morning. Camille looked absolutely stunning.

Camille's Maids of Honors were her two sisters, older sister Carrie and younger sister Carly.

I was such a proud bridesmaid!

I don't have a picture of the venue but this is from online:

 We were so happy to see our friend James. He lives in California now and we don't see him as much.

The wedding was definitely a huge success. It was such a fun weekend. Camille and Jacob are in Mexico this week for their honeymoon and then will be back in Dallas.

November 16, 2011

Sunrise, Sunset.

West Texas sunsets.

(This second one is horrible quality but such a gloomy beautiful sunset.)

November 11, 2011

As told through my iPhone pictures.

This week, Kanyon has been in the throws of harvest. My favorite time to come visit him is at night after the sun has gone down and ride along with him in the bowl buggie or cotton stripper (just picture a tractor if you don't know what those are). I plan on going out there soon to take pictures of this year. I haven't had much motivation though. This year's cotton is very weak because of the drought and its made harvest more of a drudgery than an exciting time.

I also want to show pictures of the shower I threw Kasha last weekend but she is working a Walk this weekend and I forgot to get the pictures from her before she left for Stanton. Oops!

I was going through my iPhone pictures this morning, though, and wanted to show you a few that represent both some recent happenings and some randoms.

Here is a picture I sent my Mom of a part of the almost finished guest bedroom. I'm not ready to show the finished product yet. But I just ordered the last couple of things I need to finish so I'm almost done!

Zeb protected me during Opening Day (hunting) weekend while Kanyon went to the deer lease. (I stayed at home to get ready for Kasha's shower). He took his job seriously, staying like this for a long time, growling quietly the whole time.

Here is a picture of the gift table as I was setting it up for the baby shower. More pictures of that soon.

After Jr. High girl's Small Group last Sunday night, Kaila (my high school sophomore co-leader) and I saw smoke from a fire and decided to go find it... Probably not the best decision. We left right after we got there so we wouldn't be in the way of the fireman. But the blaze looks so much less scary in this picture than it did in real life. I read in the paper Wednesday that its being investigated as arson. (No people or people's homes were harmed, it was an abandoned home - but the serious burn ban will probably give the arsonist a heavy penalty, I bet.)

My grandmother gave us a scare last weekend. She is 93 years old and has had dementia for several years. Her breathing was so labored on Saturday night that my aunt and uncle took her straight to the emergency room. My mom flew up immediately and they and my cousins have been by her side all week in the hospital. She's stable and back at home in the nursing home now.

I got lots of videos and pictures of her last week and this was one of them. Such a sweet sweet lady. This picture warms my heart.

Zeb has been "working" hard during harvest. He rarely got to come inside the summer because 1) he sheds like crazy when its hot and 2) he is a farm dog and gets bored immediately inside. But these long hours and the cold outside have had him wanting to come inside (and nights when it freezes, he sleeps inside). This night I was especially honored to have him voluntarily snuggle with me without any forcing prompting by me.

Last friday night home game of the season. We won this game and became District Champs! First play-off game is tonight.

Go Dragons!

Have a great weekend!

November 8, 2011

Porch and Pillows

I threw Kasha a shower on Sunday and it went great! She got so many super cute girl-y clothes and gifts. Ainsley is going to be very well dressed, for sure!

Kasha has several pictures on her camera and I will get some from her to show you.

In the week before the shower, I was doing some re-arranging (I made some big progress on the guest room, almost done and I love it!) and attempting some crafti-ness. I made this wreath! The shower's colors were pink and brown and I love these yarn wreaths. It was very easy, just took a long time. I made it during the World Series, though, so I had a good reason to sit for several hours.

Last year, I bought a wreath like this on Etsy for about $25, I think. Now that I know how easy it is, I hope to make a Christmas one! I don't regret buying the previous one though, since I like to support small businesses like that.

Also new for our porch is the wire stand I bought in Fredericksburg last weekend with Mom!

I LOVE it! Willow House and I'm sure other stores sell items like this for around $75 but I got this one for $25. Right now my pots just have fake moss in them but next spring, I will be getting some smaller planters to fit in and around it with flowers. Flowers... haven't seen those in forever...

So the porch is looking cuter lately although everytime I see a picture I realize how much the crumbling cement and chipping paint sticks out. For some reason in person, it doesn't seem to near as much.

I told Kanyon I'd like to just paint it a cream to match the trim but he thinks it would make it stick out more. Maybe I should paint it a muted brown that matches the brick?

I have about twenty things in my house that I'm going to paint "someday"...

Also, I'm wanting to take down that light fixture and replace it with a non-upside down cuter one. I guess you can't really tell in that picture that its upside down though. But it is.

And last but not least, I want to show you the pillows Kanyon made for Al and Kasha. They had some axis hides and commissioned (that sounds so official) Kanyon to make pillows out of them with a leather back. I thought they turned out beautiful!

Now if I can only get him to make some for his OWN home... I think this will be a lifelong battle, Kanyon having to make time to make stuff for himself when he has a list of other people's jobs in front of him. 

Coasters! That's all I want! 

Well, thats not all I want.

November 3, 2011

Fredericksburg Mother-Daughter Weekend

Last weekend was so much fun and relaxing. Mom and I decided to meet in Fredericksburg since it was exactly 4.5 hours for each of us and there's not a whole lot of "vacation spots" between us. She chose a great bed-and-breakfast called Angels Above the Creek that was on a side street from Main Street. 

The rooms were gorgeous! At least our's was. I really should have taken these pictures with my camera but sometimes an iPhone's just too convenient.

I love the stone on the wall behind the bed. It changed the room dramatically.

Huge bathtub!

 The room was full of antiques and had a small kitchenette and huge closet. Our room was right off the beautiful pool area. There was also a few little outdoor living room areas, one with a large fireplace that would have been a lot of fun with a big group.

 Behind the pool and below is where the creek is.

Friday night, we drove into Fredericksburg about 9:30 pm and just headed to our room and hung out there while we watched the Rangers game. (So sad.)

Saturday morning, we got up when they delivered our breakfast! The food was so good. a breakfast burrito, muffin, fruit... yummy. Then we headed out to go shopping for the day!

One of my favorite things about Fredericksburg is the home decor inspiration! I took pictures of several things I loved.

Isn't that last bedroom beautiful!?

After shopping all day, we went back to the room in the afternoon for a short nap and then headed out to a vineyard where they had tastings and live music. We chose the Grape Creek Vineyards, a different one than the one Kanyon and I went to last time we were there.

The grounds were gorgeous and the wine was definitely good.

I think Kanyon could make this... this sells for $399!

That night, Mom and I headed to dinner and decided to try something other than a Main Street restaurant and we're so glad we did. We ended up going to Cabernet Grill. (terrible picture..)

THIS was the highlight of the meal. Mom got the german chocolate bread pudding. Top ten best deserts of my life. Seriously. And mine was a chocolate and white mousse cake.

I definitely recommend that restaurant. It was so good.

The next morning, we did a little more shopping but headed out around 1:00 pm to head home. It was a great weekend and much needed. Love you, Mom!