Archive | June, 2010

photos of David over nine years

29 Jun

Today, David and I have been together for nine years. A photo list to commemorate…

Jr/Sr Prom 2002

Cedar Valley Community College ID, Fall 2002

Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama 2005

Wait… Is that?

Romerhof Steakhouse, Hanau, Germany 2006

Torturing Martha’s cat Mittens, Germany 2007

Playing Hide & Seek, Germany, 2007

Field Training, Germany 2007 (Doesn’t every service member take this picture at some point? Ha!)

Proud new daddy! Texas, 2008

memorable moments with Shayla.

22 Jun

(I had a million ideas for a going away present for my sister, but I think she will like this one best. Been working on it a couple weeks now. I hope it makes her smile. This is a lengthy entry, but if you take the time to read it, I think you will enjoy getting to know Shayla and me a little better. Oh and be forewarned, after re-reading this I realized, most of these stories involve one or both of us crying. To those who know us well, this will neither be a shock or surprise. Heh.)

For those of you who don’t know, my sister Shayla will be moving to Seattle at the end of this week. Words do not justify how I feel right now. Though all at the same time, I am very happy that she will be able to have this experience. Living away from home really made me grow up, and made me realize the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex is not the only place that exists on planet earth. I hope she grows in a way she could never imagine, and ultimately, I hope she is happy. Over the past month, I’ve been recalling several #shaylamemories with friends. Here is my list of stand-out moments, with the woman I love the most. She has been my inspiration and my other half since the day I was born. I love you Shayla.

1. A Broken Elbow. Probably not what you’re thinking… I’ve never broken a single bone in my body. This is one of my earliest memories of childhood. It was raining really hard outside in Lancaster, Texas. We were in the car as a family, I was still in a car seat (I was probably three years old). We pulled up to Winn Dixie off of Pleasant Run Road, and thankfully the rain had subsided. My mom needed to run in to get something, so my dad parked and we listened to KLTY as we waited for her to return, groceries in hand. I can remember sitting in the back seat holding on to my Winnie the Pooh pillow, while Shayla and I sang a song (can’t remember which one though). I was looking out window wondering when my mommy was going to be done shopping. I see her walking out of the automatic door. She was wearing jeans, a white v-neck t-shirt with turquoise stripes, and of course heels. In case you didn’t know… my mom is pretty fierce. All of a sudden, I see her trip on what looks like a hole in the concrete. She falls flat on her bottom, and it looks like she hit her elbow pretty hard. “MOMMY!” I screamed. My dad freaked out, ran out of the car to go help her up. By this point, Shayla and I are both crying, panicking wondering if our mom was ok. My dad gets her into the car, and she is visibly in some of the worst pain she had ever been in. Luckily we weren’t too far from a hospital. She had definitely broken her elbow. As a three year old, I’m really freaking out. What I remember most about this moment was that Shayla saw me losing it, and even though she was crying too, she reached out and took my hand and tried to calm me down. This is one of my first memories, and one of the first times I can remember that Shayla was there for me. She was strong when I couldn’t be (yes, of course I wasn’t. I was a three year old, but as a seven year old, Shayla already showed me what a strong person she was, and still is to this day).

2. Showbiz Pizza. I think there was about a three year stretch when my sister and I had every single one of our birthday parties there. Who knows why we loved that place so much. I mean, look at this picture! Those mechanical animals are possibly the creepiest things I’ve ever seen. I have a feeling it was the pizza, maybe. I remember the first time I had a “pizza preference”. My parents had ordered all us kids a few different pizzas, one with just pepperonis, one with just cheese, and one with pepperonis and black olives. I had never had (or at least could remember) pizza with black olives on it, but I can remember seeing how excited Shayla was when that pizza came to the table. Why was she so excited about pizza with some weird looking black stuff on it? It puzzled me, but it intrigued me enough to want to try it. My mom put a piece of cheese pizza on my plate. “No thank you. I’d like the same kind of pizza Shayla has please.” My mom asked me if I was sure, then gave me a slice. To this day, pepperoni & black olive is one of my favorite kinds of pizza. I’ve always wanted to like what she liked. She’s always been my favorite person… if she likes something, it has to be for good reason. And in the case of this pizza, I couldn’t agree with her more.

3. Lana the Ladybug. She was beautiful with long straight brown hair to the middle of her back, her bangs perfectly curled. She wore black eyeliner and glitter for eyeshadow. Black tights and a black leotard were what this ladybug wore, along with the most beautifully crafted red and black-spotted wings you had ever seen (of course because my talented artist-for-a-dad made them). While she was getting ready at home for her first school musical, I felt left out because I wasn’t the one getting dressed up and pretty. So I went to my closet and found my prettiest dress and asked my mom if I could wear it. “WE don’t have to dress up silly. Just wear something more casual. We aren’t going to church.” I begged her to let me wear my pretty dress, so she let me (for the record, my pretty dress was a pink cotton dress that had little Miss Piggy and little Kermit on it from Muppet Babies). When we got to the auditorium of Millbrook Elementary, I sat on my dad’s lap so I could see the stage better. And so the play began. It was a sort of “Bug’s Life” type of story. Then came Shayla’s solo. For the life of me, I can’t remember how the song went, but I do remember that the song was about all the little boy buggies and how she had been rejecting their attempts to win her heart. It was terribly cute, and she sang wonderfully. I can remember especially in this moment, wanting to be as good as her, and wanting to be able to sing on a stage as beautifully. Though I can not count the number of times I have had this thought. I have always wanted to be just like her. And in case you were wondering, we still have this play on VHS. Yes, oh yes we do.

4. A Plane Ride. We had only lived in Hawaii for a year, (1995) but even in one year we had done so much, made so many wonderful friends, and created so many irreplaceable memories with our family. We didn’t want to leave, but living in Hawaii had become more expensive, and my dad had found work back in Texas, which was once our home. Our closest friends and family said goodbye to us at the airport, including a recent boyfriend Shayla had to break up with due to him graduating high school, and her moving back to Texas. I remember watching them say goodbye. She was very quiet as we took our seats on the plane. As we began to take off, she grabbed my hand as tight as she good, and began to weep. In most situations, I would have probably cried with her, but in that moment I felt something for the first time. Just like she had been there for me so many times, and had been strong for me, I wanted to be strong for her. So I let her cry as she laid her head on my shoulder. We didn’t move or talk for the first five hours of our trip. I let her sort through all of her emotions all the way to our layover in California. I felt very honored that my sister, whom I had looked up to my entire life, wanted my shoulder to be the one she cried on. We hadn’t been very close while we lived in Hawaii, but it seemed like from this moment on we were pretty much inseparable.

5. 3Days. I’m not sure if this was my very first concert, but I remember one of the first times I went to a local Christian rock show was at a small venue called God’s Place in Arlington. When Nick and Shayla started dating, my dad didn’t want them to be alone. So guess who got to play chaperon? That’s right, this girl. But I have to say, this has been one of the best obligations I could have ever had. It is what opened the door to my obsession with good music. Back to that night… we were going to see a band called 3Days (oh my gatos!). Nick and Shayla walked around and talked to their friends while I sat in the back and listened to the set. They started to play a song that many of you reading might remember…. “In the time that I thought that I needed love most, and the cries from my heart seemed to surface in vain…” It was their first acoustic song, and the girl singing it had the sweetest voice. I started to get teary listening, and this was one of the first moments that music spoke to me in a way that, to this day, nothing else can. I guess I caught my sisters eye, because she walked over to me from whatever she was doing, put her arm around me, and began singing along since she already knew this song so well. I’m glad that I shared one of my first music moments with her to a song that still means a lot to me. It was the first song I learned to play on the guitar. I am forever indebted to her (as well as Nick) for introducing me to the music scene.

6. Personal Shower. I was so excited about my sister getting married, and even more excited that I was her maid of honor. As her maid of honor, it was my responsibility to put together her personal shower, aka, the shower where girls get together to give their soon-to-be-married friend lingerie. I had been to a few in the past, but I wanted Shayla’s to be different. So, I had it at a roller rink! I had some great girls who helped me put this together, and also some good guy friends (including the man who would one day become MY husband, David Harris) who were game for a fun surprise for my sister. I thought it would be funny to bring in some guys to put on a satirical clean strip tease…. Let me explain, for those who weren’t in attendance. Three guys showed up in, no exaggeration, 40 layers of clothing. They all looked hilarious. Along will their endless articles of clothing, each came in with a shtick. One was a plumber, one a pizza guy, and another a cop. There was some “bom-chicka-wah-wah” music playing, and it took them about 3 minutes to literally cover the entire rink floor with various items of clothing, but they continued to still be fully clothed. The reason I love this memory of Shayla is because she was SO surprised. Her laugh makes my heart happy, and this was and is to this day one of the hardest times she’s ever laughed (or at least that I’ve witnessed). That along with some other hilarious moments, made that personal shower one of the most fun days I have ever shared with my sister.

7. Manacotti. When David and I first started dating, we went over to Nick and Shayla’s house to hang out often. They had only been married about six months, but welcomed us over at anytime to go swimming or for dinner. The first dinner Shayla made for us was her Manacotti. To this day, I remember this meal. It was so wonderful, and I was proud and envious of her skills all at the same time. I knew we had inherited our skills from our mama, but from that point on, I also wanted to be a good cook like my sister. She has since made me dinner several times, and I am so excited for her to be able to have her own kitchen again so she can cook all the awesome food Seattle has to offer.

8. You Are My Sister. Moving to Germany was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but to this day, I don’t regret it or have any ill-thought of my time there. One of the worst things, was being away from Shayla. I have never missed anyone the way I missed her. After about four months or so of being there, I get a message from her telling me to go download a song by an artist I had never heard of before- Antony and The Johnsons. The title of the song was “You Are My Sister”. She explained it to me, and I immediately went to listen. The moment the first note played, I began to get teary. I hadn’t even heard Antony’s extremely haunting and compelling voice. Then the lyrics…

So similar over the years
The way we laugh the way we experience pain
So many memories
But there’s nothing left to gain from remembering
Faces and worlds that no one else will ever know
You are my sister
And I love you
May all of your dreams come true

I was balling uncontrollably. It was early in the morning in Germany, and I’m pretty sure I woke David up. Shayla was asleep as the time difference put her seven hours behind me, but the feeling I had listening to that song has never been replicated to this day. I missed her, I would have given anything to just hug her. That hug would come almost a year and a half later… When I got off the plane from Germany, so many wonderful people were there to greet me and David. When I walked through those doors, the first face I saw was Oliver’s. He was perched on Nick’s shoulders, and it was the first time I had ever met him. Then I saw my sister, and she was the first one I hugged. I don’t think I’ve ever held anyone so tightly in my life. We just stood there and hugged for what seemed like forever, but in reality was probably two minutes……….. and this is where I begin crying writing this. SHEESH SHANELLE!…. I’m not looking forward to the hug goodbye, but I know that on a daily basis I will look forward to and think about the next hug hello. I’m glad I remember what that feels like, because it helps me have something to look forward to.

9. Sex and The City 2. (do I even need to say spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen it? Well there- there’s a spoiler in here…. I guess) This one may seem like a shocker to Shayla… We went to see Sex and The City 2 about a month ago. For those of you who don’t know, Shayla and I are HUGE fans of the show. We’ve watched every episode a hundred times, and condemn anyone who judges it without watching the entire series from start to finish. Both of us believe that the movies probably weren’t the best idea, but we have seen them, and will continue to see them even if they put out a movie, Sex and The City 6: Gettin’ It On In The Nursing Home. Anyway, yes, as we thought, the second movie was pretty bad. But something we both liked was how they showcased Miranda and Charlotte as moms. There was a scene where Charlotte’s two girls are pretty much doing everything to drive her to tears, and at one point, she ducks out to her pantry to shed some uncontrollable tears. Shayla immediately grabbed my hand as we continued to watch and for some reason, wept along with Charlotte. Being a mom…. wow. It may sound cliche to give all the moms a shout out, but REALLY… women who are moms deserve more than I could have ever imagined. In that moment I think we both cried because, even if it’s in a movie, it is a relief to know that we aren’t the only moms who have moments like that. And she grabbed my hand because the two of us have been through so much together as moms…. and just so much together in the past year or so. Just like it was ok for Charlotte to let go in a pantry, it was ok for us as sisters to let go of our emotions in a crowded theater. Shayla is one of the most amazing mom’s I know. She loves her kids so much. June was seven weeks premature and not the easiest baby to take care of. I am eternally grateful to my sister for being there for me to answer my questions, and to just be incredible example of a good mother.

These are just nine memories of Shayla that stand out to me. There is no one like her, and no one can replace who she is to me. You will be missed, but I am so happy that you get to start on this new adventure. I love you Shayla, with all my heart. This is not goodbye… only a “See you later…”

things that just won’t go away!

18 Jun

1. Printed phone books. Really, does anyone use them anymore? When I see one at my doorstep, I roll my eyes and walk over it to get inside my apartment. I pretty much dread that it’s there because that only means I have to take it to the dumpster.

2. The mullet hair cut. Ok so almost ten years ago, it became funny to make fun of a hair-do that was over ten years old, but now ten years later, people are trying to bring it back in the way of the hipster mullet or the fashion mullet. PUKE. Let it die people! Let. It. Die.

3. Whitney Houston. Do I need to mention her recent tour? Her outbursts? Crack is whack, Whitney! Gone are the days of “Queen of the Night” and “The Bodyguard”. Blame Bobby Brown, I guess.

4. The Office (NBC). This goes along with the same principle Ms. Whitney Houston should have stuck with… Go out while you’re on top. The NBC version of The Office should have followed its British predecessor and only stayed alive a few seasons. After Jim and Pam finally got together (or sometime around season 3 or shortly after) the show just became completely blah for me. The addition of Andy livened it up for awhile, cause he’s hilarious. And Dwight still makes me laugh from time to time. But really…. just end it now. You’re definitely not ahead, but it’s getting worse. Not even Kathy Bates could save you.

5. VHS. The only ones I have left are home movies, but my mom still has a pretty substantial collection stored in a closet. It makes me wonder how much closet space VHS tapes are taking up in closets, storage rooms, and garages across the world (yes that is a weird random thing to think about).

6. MySpace. I once heard it referred to as “the ghetto of the internet”, and have called it that ever since.

7. MTV. I know it probably wasn’t going away in the first place, but in my opinion, it really needs to. How about instead of calling it Music Television, we call it- Retarded Reality and Pointless Show Television.

8. Ripping off well known logos and slogans on T-Shirts and other things. Why are people allowed to capitalize on other people’s GOOD ideas. And why is it considered clever? And why is it usually something Christian in nature?

9. The WNBA. Yeah, I didn’t know that still existed either.