Thursday, June 30, 2011

Driving in Houston

Houston is notorious for having bad traffic. When we went to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., there was a picture of Houston as the example for "Crawl and Sprawl":

Back when we lived "in town," I used to drive 6 or 7 miles to school everyday, and it took me about 30 minutes because of all the traffic. On a bad day, it could be up to 45 minutes, and I sometimes resorted to playing with my camera when I was bored in a traffic standstill. When we decided to move out of the city, we were very, very worried about what my commute was going to be like.

Jeff's lucky because his office is out in the suburbs. For me, that will probably never happen. About 90% of Houston's law firms (and oh, about 100% of the big ones) are located Downtown (or various areas closely surrounding downtown). So I'll probably be commuting into the city for the entirety of my career. 

When we were deciding where to buy a house, we picked a suburb that is known for it's good highways (i.e. lack of awful traffic). Well, I guess we did our research well because I LOVE my new commute! Now I drive about 20 miles everyday, but it only takes me 25-35 minutes. On a good day, my commute is no longer than it used to be, and EVERYDAY I get to drive without my speedometer hovering at 10mph. 

Plus, I get lovely views of Downtown as I drive in! 

Look at this pretty blue sky!

Pretty buildings!

Sometimes the Houston sky looks SO weird in the mornings! The other day I just couldn't help but take a photo or two:

Doesn't it just look like the clouds are all converging upon Downtown?

Oooh, scary sky!!

I really should stop taking pictures while I'm driving. It's not quite as safe when traffic is actually moving. Haha.

In summary, I just really love this easy-breezy commute that I have now, and I'm hoping it's similar when I'm driving to school in August instead of to my internship (the school is in a different area). Oh, and if you're wondering about Jeff - he leaves the house at about 8:05 every morning, and he makes it to the office at about 8:10. Lucky guy. He's not even out of bed yet when I leave at 7:30. I think it's safe to say he likes the new house's location. :o)

Does anyone else get up, get ready, and leave all before your husband has even got out of bed? I don't think I like it very much. Although, now that we're sharing a bathroom, maybe it's good that we're not getting ready at the same time! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Baseball Season!

We like baseball. I have fond memories from when I was a little kid and we used to go see the Texas Rangers play in Arlington. Jeff's family has always loved the Houston Astros, and I became an Astros fan too after we moved to Houston in 2000.

With some friends in high school

Unfortunately, our beloved Astros aren't doing too well this season. We usually go to at least one game each season (in fact, Jeff gave me a pair of Astros tickets for my birthday in 2006), but we haven't been motivated to pay for tickets to see our team lose! However, Jeff's company gave us a pair of tickets for last weekend, so we donned our Astros gear and went!

Jeff was giving me a hard time about taking a picture. He DOES NOT smile like that. Haha.

As expected, the good old Astros were losing for the entire game.

Eventually I got bored with all the strikeouts and just started taking pictures. Haha.

I just love the grass on baseball fields. So manicured and fancy!

I think this is so clever... Chick Fil A advertises on the foul poles at Minute Maid Park, and they say "Eat More Fowl." Hehe.

Lucky for us, our college teams have had a much better year! Both the Aggies and the Gamecocks made it into the College World Series, and they unfortunately had to PLAY EACH OTHER for the first round. We've always joked that if the Aggies and Gamecocks ever played each other, it might be the end of our marriage. We both love our teams!! But, we managed to watch the game together without anyone being injured or ending up divorced. ;o)

The Gamecocks won by ONE POINT. Barely. I was NOT a happy camper.

We watched the game with my parents in their fancy-shmancy media room with a GIANT television.

Gig 'em Ags!

Once the Aggies were out of the competition, I started rooting for the Gamecocks (like a good wife should, I suppose), and they managed to win the whole thing! Jeff's thrilled obviously, and I'm just happy that I finally get my husband back! He's been glued to the TV or off at baseball watch parties for the entire College World Series!

(source -

Any other baseball fans out there? How's your hometown team doing?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Moving Out and Moving On

Well, we've officially moved out of our old apartment. The overlap between the house and the apartment is over, and we now (finally) have just one place of residence!

I thought leaving the apartment was going to be tough for me (emotionally, you know, with it being our first home together and such), but honestly, after the move-out cleaning and re-painting and all, I was just ready to be done with that place forever!

Remember our cute little guest room?

Now it looks like this:

And remember our pretty Master Bedroom?

Now it looks like this:

Repainting was exhausting... emotionally exhausting because we were basically erasing all evidence of our time spent in the apartment, and physically exhausting because we spent about four hours a day after work painting for an entire week. 

When the painting was done, it still wasn't over. Then came the cleaning. I scrubbed the oven and the fridge and the baseboards and the toilets. I Magic-erasered the walls and the doors and the crown moulding. I wiped the mirrors and windows and showers and tubs and counters until they shined. I dusted the blinds and windowsills and light fixtures and ceiling corners. Jeff filled in holes left from screws and nails. He swept the patio until it looked brand new. 

Shiny, clean, empty kitchen!

Our apartment had never been so clean. The whole thing smelled like bleach and lemon. BUT it was worth it because Jeff received a phone call from the manager the other day, and apparently we're getting our entire $400 security deposit back! Yay!

We thought there was hardly anything left in the apartment, but it still took quite a while to pack up all the cleaning supplies, painting supplies, and assorted left-behind items. 

We loaded up the car, went back in for a quick look around, and then walked out of our front door for the last time. We took the keys and remotes off our key rings, said a quick goodbye, and sealed them in an envelope with a note informing the apartment of our new address:

We confidently walked into the office (or... Jeff did while I photographically documented the whole thing... haha):

And then, we slid our keys into the dropbox. Goodbye, apartment.

It was at this point that I teared up a little. Once it was really all done and we were walking out of the office, it hit me that we would most likely never be back. It was so final. We'd never again see the first place we made into a home together. Jeff looked at me and said, "Come on, let's go home," and I remembered that we have a beautiful new house waiting to be filled with lovely memories. It was time to go home. 

We got into the car, and we quite literally drove off into the sunset....

We'll always remember the time we spent in that apartment. In my head, it will forever be associated with our first year of marriage and the time we spent just figuring out how to be a married couple. It was the first place we ever took pride in, and I'll always remember how we loved to show it off to friends and family. I'll always remember that apartment as the place where I worked through my first year of law school... studying, reading, writing, questioning everything, and then finishing successfully in the end with good grades and a huge sense of accomplishment.

I'll remember how happy we were when we found the perfect apartment and moved in.

I'll remember how cute it looked decorated for Christmas.

I'll remember all the times Jeff surprised me by bringing home flowers, and I put them proudly on the table by the piano.

I'll remember when I learned to use a power drill so I could make that apartment a home we loved.

I'll remember the great times we had with friends and family, and how I loved seeing the table all set for company.

It was a good apartment, but we're moving on to bigger and better things! Now that we're finished with the painting and cleaning and moving, we can really start to make progress on the house!

Farewell apartment, we'll remember you fondly!

Friday, June 24, 2011

2011 Weddings: Daniel & Kristen

Remember these two crazy kids from our wedding?

You might also remember them from our Spring Break trip to DC and Virginia...

Well, they finally tied the knot a couple of weeks ago, and I got the be the Matron of Honor! I've finally got the photos all uploaded and sorted through, and I'm excited to show off their wedding!

The festivities started Thursday night with Kristen's Bachelorette Party. She had three bridesmaids and two "bridesmen," so it was a little untraditional! We started out at PF Changs, where we were surprised with free dessert and free champagne!

Then we headed back to Kristen's house, where there was a small little surprise lingerie shower and just some hanging out time before we went to bed.

On Friday, Kristen's parents hosted a luncheon for the wedding party:

Then it was time for the Rehearsal! I made Kristen a practice bouquet with all the bows from her showers:

Jeff was a reader for the wedding, so we both had to be at the rehearsal.

I practice my bouquet-holding duties!

Such a silly groom!

The rehearsal dinner was a Fajitas & Margaritas bash at a Mexican restaurant - so festive and fun!

After the Rehearsal Dinner we weren't quite ready to go to bed, so we all went out for a little longer:

When we finally did go to bed, we only had a few hours left to sleep before getting up at 5:30 for hair and makeup!

So tired.

So, so tired.

We had bagels and coffee for breakfast, and then we woke up a bit!

Time for hairdos!

This is what I look like after not enough sleep with no makeup. I must really love you guys to let you see such things!!!

Adorable flower girl!

After hair and makeup was all done, we headed to the wedding venue! I got Kristen into her beautiful dress, and we were ready!

Waiting in the bridal suite! We all had aqua (technically the color is "Pool") David's Bridal satin dresses with rose bouquets.

She was a little nervous, but all ready to go!

Kristen wore my birdcage veil as her "something borrowed." It was really special for me that she wore it down the aisle as well. It looked so different on each of us!

This is where my photo-taking stops because I was busy taking pro photos, keeping the flower girl and ring bearer happy, and walking down the aisle! I'll have to share some ceremony photos once the pro photos come in. For now, you'll just have to trust me that the ceremony was beautiful. :o)

After some more photos, we headed to the reception! 

Texas Aggie Groom's Cake!

Amazing wedding cake - so cute, right?


Bouquets as centerpieces!

They cut the cake, they danced their first dance, I gave a toast, they threw the bouquet and garter, and all too quickly it was done!

The last song was Don't Stop Believin', and we rocked it out on the dance floor:

Their car was all ready to go:

We sent them off with a bunch of bubbles and a couple to-go boxes of the food they didn't have time to eat:

Yay Kristen and Dan!

I was so honored to be the Matron of Honor at y'all's wedding, and we are so, so happy for you two! 

Oh, and by the way, check out these adorable videos! The first one is the ring bearer dancing, and in the second one the groom copies him: