books, books, and suggestions?

 Number nine on my A-list is to read 25 books this year. Seeing as I just passed my half birthday and I'm only at 10, I've got quite a few to go. But... I need your help! I would love to know what y'all are reading/have read that either a) you thoroughly enjoyed b) taught you something about yourself or c) made an impact on your spiritual life

So far, I've read:

1. Sacred Marriage

2. Above the Line: Take One

3-8. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua

9. Beguiled

10. The Help

Currently reading/hope to read:

10. When Sinners Say I Do

11. Her Daughter's Dream

12. From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels - the Pioneer Woman's Love Story

13. The Silence of Adam

14. Jesus, Storybook Bible

15. What Color is Your Parachute?

What's on your bookshelf?


the A list August update

I'm half-way through my 25th year and not-quite half-way through the list, but I thought I'd give a mid-year update.

1. Go camping at least twice - CHECK! The second adventure, I took ZERO pictures because it was in the high-90s, BUT our sweet new friends, Amanda and Wes joined us!
2. Make "year in the life" photo book
3. Sell 1 thing that I have created/designed/refinished
4. Go skydiving - ughh, I really wrote that?! gulp!
5. Walk Eisley (our precious 2 yr old Vizsla) 3x a month - CHECK! This is good for both of us
6. Pick up photography again - this isn't one that can necessarily ever be fully "done", but it's safe to say, this is a CHECK
7. Blog more frequently...with pictures - CHECK (I used to blog once every 3 months, 2x a month is progress!)
8. Go on a picnic at least 4 times - half-way there! we've been twice, but we'll have to wait til "winter" to attempt the next two...right now we're in the middle of longest heat streak - picnic? no thanks
9. Read/finish 25 books - I feel a little behind here, I'm on book 11
10. Do something creative/artsy once a week - CHECK! and I have loved it!
11. Organize my closet and maintain it - CHECK! This one finally happened mid-July. I read somewhere to keep only what you actually wear and can wear. It really helped me get rid of "those" jeans and donate those other items that I haven't worn in years (why is it so hard to get rid of clothes?). My closet works for me now. I still have Container Store dreams, but at least I'm much more efficient now.
12. Throw a party and deck it out
13. Go on a vacation with Neal - CHECK and CHECK : once to Angel Fire and once with mom's family for the famous and annual Rogers Family Vacation (this year to Ilwaco, WA) and CHECK! he took me to Rockwall's Hilton resort last weekend to celebrate our first anniversary :)
14. Refinish at least one piece of furniture
15. Create a name for my "shop" - CHECK "the painted door" (story on this later)
16. Start Anthony family blog - CHECK
17. Lose 10 lbs.- started taking this seriously at the beginning of this month...so far, so good - I am learning a LOT about portion control, healthy options and most importantly self-control
18. Send out Christmas cards
19. Actively journal in marriage book - I am actively collecting things to put in said book, I'll post soon.
20. Help Mom with a project - Mom and I have plans for a t-shirt quilt. I also want to help her move all of our family photos that are unloved and unseen in a huge rubbermaid in the basement into coffee table albums
21. Invest in my sister-in-laws
22. Go to Groom Day - This will have to be postponed til next year (and it's already on the calendar) as the entire Anthony clan was in Tyler this year picking Natalie up from her last summer at Pine Cove
23. Teach someone something
24. Adopt a Compassion child - CHECK his name is Jonas and he will be 5 next month!
25. Surprise someone 
 I have to say that this list has really made a difference in the past 6 months. It has been so fun to come up with an "agenda" for my year. It motivates me to make time to do the things I really enjoy and challenges me to do the things I know I should.


Our 1st Anniversary!

I cannot believe it has been a year since this
So in celebration of our first year of marriage, my sweet hubby whisked me away to Rockwall. 
About a 30 minute drive from Dallas, Rockwall has capitalized on Lake Ray Hubbard by building a swanky Hilton, harbor and boardwalk-esque village of shops and yummy restaurants.
 First on our list of adventures was a sunset cruise on a 40+ person catamaran run by the cutest little sailing couple. You can have food delivered to the harbor or bring it yourself (there were several couples with their own coolers) and enjoy the hour and half sail around the lake.

MY handsome Hubby

The Captain's wife was precious! She walked around taking pictures of everyone - this was her idea.

 We had our cake top remade (enjoyed the original at 6 mo) and may or may not have enjoyed it as breakfast the next morning.... :)

 Neal was a good sport and took me to la Madeleine, even though it is almost obviously a "chick place"

BAHAMA BUCKS!!! need I say more??

Neal knows that my primo love language is WORDS and he wrote me a beautiful letter that I will always cherish

I got this idea from Pinterest. Each year on your anniversary you take a picture holding the picture from the previous year.

And finally, Neal spoiled me with an hour long couples massage! No joke, I was a puddle after we left. It was awesome. They also gave us champagne and chocolates. I have a winner!
 In other words...go check out Rockwall's resort. We will definitely be going back.

Happy Anniversary, Love. Here's to 80 more!



Change and I have a love/hate relationship.

I love Change in seasons, furniture arrangements, wardrobe options, driving routes, menu options (at home), numbers on the scale, haircuts, and wall colors...to name a few.

I hate Change in .... well, anything that I don't have control over. Oddly enough, there is one thing on the previous list that fits the bill and that is "seasons", and the only excuse I have to offer is that to some degree THAT change is the catalyst for all my other "controlled" changes.

When its summer, I long for fall - because then I can rotate my clothes (and buy new ones), decorate differently, shop for school supplies eventhough I'm long since past those days, dress warmer, spend more time outside (or drive different routes to extend time with windows rolled down), and bake things like Sweet Potato Casserole in preparation for our Thanksgiving feast.

When its fall, I look forward to winter - to even colder temps, warmer clothes, Christmas decorations, Christmas parties, Christmas drinks and Christmas cookies, Christmas movies, winter haircuts (I always get the notion to chop when it's cold), yummy soups, and possibly snow days

Then... I long for spring - for the relief from blistering winds to warmer breezes, sundresses and shorts, cardigans and scarves solely for decoration, flowers, birds, green grass and trees, picnics, spring cleaning and bright colors

Understanding that I live in Texas, I can't say I necessarily look forward to summer, BUT in all honesty, I do enjoy the change - swimming pools, sno cones, tans, shorts and sandals, the idea that most people are eager for the spontaneous road trip anytime anywhere, homemade ice cream, bbq grillouts, family vacations, trips to the lake, and the overall laid back approach people have

Each season always comes. And each season always goes. It's cyclical. It's enough of a routine for my "beaver" and enough of a change for my "otter". There is beauty in each one of them. Each season is unique and I love them all differently.

This is one type of season. It's the other type I'm still struggling with. While I know winter only lasts a few weeks and summer a few years here in Texas, the seasons I speak of are those that don't work on routine, cycles, or equinoxes. There aren't even calendars to plot out when one might come. They are unexpected and sometimes ruthless. And at least to my knowledge, no one is like the other.

This type of season does not have the same affect on me as the other. I don't want it to be a catalyst for me to switch things up. I don't want to grow, I don't want to learn, and I certainly don't want to change...anything! I'd like to ignore this type.

My prayer is that I can begin to view both types of "season" as the same...a catalyst for change. One I can count on by calendar, and the other I can count on because of my relationship with the Lord. Because He loves us, He will stretch us. He will mold us. He will refine us. AND He will prune us....so that growth can occur.

which looks a little like this and a lot how I currently feel...

(for those of y'all not from East Texas, this is a pruned crepe myrtle)


all the cuteness

This is Eisley.

7 weeks old...in a cat carrier
2 months old...into everything
I loved when she was still small enough to hold

Except that she had easy access to lick my face (which she did right as we took this picture)

my favorite - always eager to play

Cute, right?

Think again...

Yes, that is our home. Yes that is a mysterious liquid trail spanning the entire width of our apartment. and Yes, that liquid is Eisley's pee. 


So in honor of Ms. Eisley's 3rd birthday (which happened 2 weeks ago) and to remind myself that she was worth the 20 minutes it took to clean it all up, here she is...in all her "cuteness" 

**for the record, watching her do this was at the time maddening, but retrospectively hilarious

my best guess is that something scared her, then it scared her that she was having an accident, then she just couldn't stop (TMI?) - but her facial expression was priceless as I'm sure was mine



I got to spend half of my day yesterday with these two...

It is safe to say that I am obsessed.

 I was holding Caleb on the couch and Madie crawled up next to me and said "Madie hold Caleb!"
She gave him lots of kisses and rubbed his chest saying "it's okay, baby"

 AND, there is a good chance I'll get to hold this growing little guy this weekend!!
Gavin will be 6 months old on the 20th, excuse me... stop growing.
We are blessed, blessed and blessed.

***Also, I hope our kids turn out this cute... :)


August 1 = diet day 1

Today is the day.

Today marks the first day of my new diet/exercise regimen...and I'm posting this publicly for as much accountability as I can get.

I chose today not only because it is the 1st of the month and it looks good, but also because of the other number that stared back at me from the scale this morning. I've had it. I've let myself go too far.

My A-list #17 says lose 10 lbs. by February, but I have bigger goals in mind. I do want to do this the right way...and keep it off. I will not be doing any fad diets or take any supplements to attain this. I want to work hard. I want to earn each pound I shed.

My first step? WATER. Lots and lots and lots of water.

I used to think that if I just didn't drink soft drinks (and not drink anything else) that I'd be fine. But our bodies need water. So not only am I not going to drink soft drinks or coffee (hello caffeine headaches), I will make myself hydrate with water.

GULP. (ha, no pun intended)

also - I'm done with trying to incorporate the letter A in every title - even I'm getting annoyed with it so I'm sure you are

we are still the letter A, but that's obvious. the end