Thursday, September 21, 2006


Yep, I'm a slacker.

Let me just skip that part and get on with my blog...

This has been the week from Hades!! I am relieved that today has been somewhat calm and relatively normal. I needed a break from all the madness!

I had a big project at work - knew I would have to work long and hard on Monday - and I couldn't figure out all day Sunday and Monday why I felt so sick. It's amazing what stress can do to your body! I just have to learn how to take deep breaths and close my eyes while I'm in the middle of the craziness. Tuesday and yesterday weren't any better - I even cried at work yesterday - so you can see why I'm thrilled to have relative calm today :)

But what this blog should really be about: my wonderful friends! Monday night was a regularly-scheduled Girls' Night Out. I was really debating whether I should go, since the day was so crazy - but I am so thankful that I did! My friends have a way of making me forget all about my problems and letting me focusing on the blessings in my life. I can laugh and cry and burn my fingers (long story) - and all else falls away. Amazing, huh??

Tuesday night was great too. Carrie had a Taste of Gourmet food party at her house. What's better than friends and food? My girl Shelley cracks me up! Plus, we got to eat some yummy treats that I would've never served at my own house :)

So bottom line - I have the best friends in the world! - I just need to slow down and realize the blessings in the middle of the chaos sometimes.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

This World of Ours

Isn't the Age of Technology just wonderful??

I was just thinking about how many of my friends have websites/blogs. I love that at any moment I can catch up with what's going on in their lives (assuming, of course, they keep the sites updated). Hopefully they're better at posting than I am!

Do you even remember the days before the internet?

Before email?

Before webcams and chat rooms and Google?

I honestly don't know how I kept up with everybody so well before email came about. I guess I was a much better phone-talker then. I would so much rather send an email than pick up the phone and call somebody... Don't know why, I guess it's that "instant gratification" thing.

Plus, I can do it at work without everybody hearing my conversation :)

My new nephew has his own website ( - and I've so enjoyed checking every day for new pics and a new journal entry from Erica.

When Lance and I planned our wedding, we absolutely loved having our own wedding website (which is active til October, by the way - whooda thunk??). It was a wonderful way for people - in town or out of town - to keep updated with our plans. I loved that so many people left us guestbook entries - it made us feel connected to people while we were in the middle of wedding planning chaos.

Anyway, that was my Random Thought for the day...

Thanks to those of you who made it to the end of my rambling blog. You deserve a cookie - and I'm not even talking about a fat-free low-carb cookie - a gooey, chocolatey, sugary treat. That's how awesome you are :)

Til next time...

-JessWill :)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

August Already???

Wow... I really can't believe that the summer is almost over! Although I must admit I'm soooo ready for fall to be here - I can't take any more of these 100-degree days. I've had some hot summers before but I think this one takes the cake. Ick!

Okay, so we've got a lot of catching up to do...

First of all, our new nephew Quentin is six weeks old! Erica's officially back at work this week, so they're working on their new schedule. Fortunately, she and Joe picked the World's Best Babysitter so they feel happy with where he spends his days. I know that is such a relief to them!

We had a lot going on the past month. Where to start...

I got to hang out with my girlfriends several times (dinner with Barbara, an old CSG buddy; happy hour and karaoke night this past Friday with the girls to celebrate Hang's birthday). I am blessed with the absolutely best girlfriends - I thank God every day for each and every one of them. My life in Memphis would not be complete without them!

We also had a lot of family time with the Willises - Lance's great great aunt Gladys was in town and we enjoyed a nice visit with her. I want to be as smart and happy and thankful when I'm 97!! We even got to have dinner and see a movie with Reed two weeks ago. For those of you who don't know, that's a rare occurence - his schedule is always crazy - so Lance and I enjoyed catching up on his life. We had dinner with Lance's folks one night last week, and got to spend this past Sunday evening with the whole fam - parents and bro Reed. That doesn't happen very often, all of us together, so that was a blessing!

Lance and I had some wonderful times together this past month too - some fun days, some romantic dinners - but every day we're together is better than the day before!

This Saturday we're meeting everybody for breakfast club - we missed last month so we can't wait. What a great idea Helen had for us all to get together every month. Now that folks are having babies, weekends are much easier than weeknights since our schedules are all so different. Can't wait to catch up with everybody!

Well, that's about all for now. I'll post recent pics of Quentin when I can get to it. They're about to shut down Blogger for maintenance in 2 minutes - so I don't have time. Hopefully tomorrow.

Til next time...

-JessWill :)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Caught Up?

Okay, so hopefully I'll catch you up from the last couple of weeks...

First, our trip to Dallas to meet our beautiful new nephew went so well! He's absolutely precious and such a good baby! We had some loooong nights (the only guest bed is in Quentin's room, where Erica does the nursing and diaper changing) - so when they were up, we were up. But it was worth it to spend some quality time with the two of them in the middle of the night. It was a great trip. Hard to believe we won't see them again until September - but we tried not to focus on that and just enjoy our time together! Lance and I got a hotel room for our last night, just so we could catch up on our sleep - and on the way there we got to see some 4th of July fireworks! How fun!

That next week, Lance and I had a great night out in downtown Memphis. We saw Les Miserables at the Orpheum - it was a great show and I'm so glad that Lance got us tickets! He loves live theater, and has really gotten me hooked since we got together. This was his favorite show so I'm glad we got to finally see it together.

The next weekend, we traveled to Birmingham with Lance's mom, Martha, for his cousin Jill's wedding. It was really nice to see his family again and just to have some time to spend together. I wasn't feeling very well, but overall it was a nice trip. Birmingham is such a pretty place! Tons of lush trees and rolling hills. Not what I was expecting!

The next night was a cookout at Helen and Nate's - our friend Jason was back in town visiting after his big move to Florida. The band seems to be doing really well (check 'em out - and it was nice to catch up with him and his girlfriend, Katie, again. We had some yummy food and got to spend some time together as a group.

This past weekend was great too - Lance and I finally got to see the new Superman on Friday night. It was okay - not great - but I was glad to finally get to see it. One tip to parents out there: if you have a child under 8 years old, DO NOT bring them to an adult movie and let them talk through the entire film. I was sitting next to a kid that was talking, literally, after every scene. He had a comment about everything. Which is understandable - he's 7, that's what 7 year olds do - but his parents weren't doing anything about it. It got so annoying that HIS OWN FATHER moved three rows up so he could hear the movie. Ugh!! Lance and I finally moved ourselves about halfway through - I couldn't take it any longer!

Saturday night we had a wonderful time at our friend Tony's house for a good old fashioned fish fry. He had caught some fish at some lake in Arkansas with his folks, so he was good enough to share the bounty. It was great - Helen, Nate and Addison, Ronnie and Starr, and Hang were all there too, so we did some good catching up. After the feast we played Trivial Pursuit 90s and, as usual, Lance and I continued our world domination of All Things Trivia :) We tried charades after that - toward the end it got really silly! - but lots of fun to hang out with our friends.

Yesterday Lance and I went to Canale Farms for his office family day. It was a beautiful - a park with boat rides, wagon rides, horses, games for kids, a big lake to fish in - all sorts of family fun. The only bad thing was that it was over 100 degrees! I was proud of myself for not complaining til the 2nd hour :) We got to spend some time with our friends Jason and Kristen and their kids Cole and Ella. We got a little sunburned, but there's no harm done - Lance and I are pale as ghosts so we needed the boost!

Today we're back to the grind... nothing too exciting coming up this week, but we're looking forward to another down weekend again. We don't have too many of those, so we enjoy them when we can get them!

Hope this finds everyone doing well and happy and healthy!

- JessWill :)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Day Two

More pics of our precious nephew!

We can't wait to head out of town tomorrow so we can see him ourselves :) Of course we'll take tons more pics, so I'll post those next week.

Happy Independence Day!

-JessWill :)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Here He Is

Introducing our nephew, Quentin Andrew Maese!

He finally made his arrival last night, June 26, 2006 at 8:08 p.m., weighing 8 lbs, 2 oz and measuring 20" long. Erica did beautifully and all are well this morning.

Lance and I head out Friday to meet the newest member of the family! We'll post more pictures soon!


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

This Says it All

Thanks to Shelley for the awesome cartoon :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Five Things

My girl Shelley "tagged" me - not that I really know what that is, because I'm new to this blogging thing - but basically I got double-dog-dared to fill out this quiz:


1) Leftover apple turnover that I made last week - still there cuz, well, it wasn't very good and my husband is too nice to tell me that it's not edible!
2) Ranch dressing - anyone who knows me well knows that I slather it on almost everything. That's how I got my girlish figure, ya know :)
3) A bag of lettuce that I swear we bought last year - I have a tendency to forget to look in the bottom crisper drawer and whatever's in there usually turns green (the fuzzy kinda green) before we find it.
4) Half of a 2-liter of Diet Dr. Pepper from a party last month - neither Lance or I drink caffeine, so it's just in there til someone stops by who does.
5) Velveeta cheese - cuz a good wife always has a block of processed cheese ready to add her cookin'.


1) A big box of holiday things - Easter, Christmas, Halloween, Arbor Day...
2) Every sweater I own - Lance and I have been lazy this year and haven't switched out our winter and summer clothes yet. Maybe by October?
3) Fifteen pairs of flip flops - what can I say? I'm obsessed.
4) My robe and tassel from college graduation - cuz I just know it will come in handy someday.
5) Two suitcases - from our trip to Atlanta in April. We still haven't put them away. Have I already mentioned that we're lazy?


1) A basket to hold all my "crap" in the back seat - it was supposed to help me stay organized, but I don't know how well it's working...
2) A dispenser of tiny trash bags - in case that organizing thing didn't work out.
3) Loose change - ya know, for all those toll roads in Memphis.
4) My yoga mat - for the yoga class I seem to have abandoned in favor of Happy Hours.
5) A plastic cup - it's been rolling around on my back floorboard for two weeks. Guess that basket didn't work after all.


1) Gift cards - from our wedding that we still haven't used. Whooda thunk I could hold on to "free money" that long!?
2) Business cards - some from folks I haven't seen in years. Guess I should go through 'em, but they make me feel important!
3) Makeup bag - cuz ya never know when you may need a new layer of mascara. Right, ladies?
4) Kleenex - for my perpetually runny nose. Some things never change.
5) Calcium chews - I've decided to start taking better care of myself, so I bought a 90-pack of calcium chews last month. But of course I can't commit to anything for longer than 7 days - well at least my purse won't have osteoporosis.


Yeah right, like 5 people read my blog...

-JessWillis :)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Here We Go Again

Yep, I've been a blog slacker again. But I'll digress, since every entry begins with the same regret...

Life has been busy - but good! - since I last posted.

My 27th birthday was one of my best celebrations so far! Lance was gracious enough to host a big party at our house for 25 of our closest friends, which was a blast. It was really nice to have so many great friends in the same place. Some of them are from different circles (church, work, etc.) so it was nice for some of them to see each other again. It was a Sugar Tooth buffet, so instead of grilling out like we normally do for parties, we had everyone bring their favorite dessert to share! Of course we all got overloaded on sugar, but it was so much fun to sample so many wonderful treats!

But the best part of my birthday was that we were able to celebrate with some great family and friends in Texas. On our way to Houston for Erica and Joe's baby shower, we stopped in Waco to visit one of my best friends from home. Andrea had never met Lance, so it was really special for me to have them finally meet each other (Andrea was a bridesmaid in our wedding, but unfortunately couldn't make the trip to Memphis at the last minute due to medical complications from the birth of her daughter, Alaina, a couple of months earlier). We got to see Alaina, who is 8 months old and just so precious! She was crawling all over the place, and seemed to be enthralled with everything and everyone around her. It was a really great visit. We had dinner with Andrea, her husband Jonathan, Alaina and Andrea's parents (who I grew up around). They even surprised me after dinner with a mini-birthday celebration! They had a cake and presents. I felt so humbled and blessed!

We made it to Houston the morning of the 12th. Being with Erica on our birthday, which we haven't done since we were 21, was soooo wonderful! The whole family - Mom, Dad, Cynthia, Erica, Joe, Lance and me spent the day together. We went to Pappadeaux, our favorite restaurant, for dinner, then back to Mom and Dad's for our birthday gift exchange. How fun!

The next day was Erica and Joe's baby shower. Cynthia, the other hostesses and I went all out - and I think it showed! We had about 25 friends and family members over, which was a great turnout. I know Erica and Joe were thankful to be able to celebrate Quentin's pending arrival with so many special people! They got tons of great things for their son, and they even endured some silly baby shower games! What good sports :)

Of course, at the time of this shower, we all thought Erica would have a good six weeks before Quentin made his arrival - but the week after the shower, she started having contractions. The doctor told her that Quentin could come any day, so the family started getting anxious and ready! At first Erica and Joe weren't ready for him - there was still so much to do! - but once the idea sunk in that he'd be coming early, they were thrilled! She kept progressing - dilating, effacing, etc. - and the doctors continued to say that he'd be arriving any day. Lance and I even drove to Dallas over Memorial Day weekend so we could be there to witness the birth!

Unfortunately, Quentin had his own timetable! Over three weeks later, he's still not here. Erica is one uncomfortable momma. She still has two weeks til her due date, but she's hoping that the doctor will induce soon. She's just finding it hard to do just about anything without being in pain. She had no idea that her "false labor" would last so long. She and Joe are just anxious to meet their son!

If anything, at least we'll have a good story to tell Quentin someday, right? :)

So here we are, anxiously awaiting the birth of our first nephew! We know he'll come when he's good and ready - we are just all hoping that's sooner rather than later. We're just waiting for the phone call from Erica that the time has come! We know we'll be in Dallas either this weekend or next, we're just waiting. Which everyone knows is hard for our family :)

That's all from here. I'll post pics of our beautiful nephew whenever he finally arrives!


Monday, May 01, 2006

40 Days and 40 Nights

I know, I know... it's been 40 days since my last post. What a slacker I am. After you get over your shock (yeah right), I'd like to share what's been happening in the Willis family over the last month...

April was a very crazy month for both of us. Lance was, of course, wrapping up his busy auditing season, so the weeks seemed to drag on as the end was near. But lo and behold, toward the end of April his long hours were over! Whoo hoo - I actually have my husband back! Now he's actually only working 45 hours a week or so, which is a nice improvement over the last three months. It's been nice to have him here at home again. We're still newlyweds, remember? :)

We were also very blessed with visits from some members of my family in April. Erica came the first weekend in April for our last "girls' weekend" before Baby Quentin comes (yep, they finally picked a name!).

Erica and moi hammin' it up for the camera

We had a really nice together. Lance was even around for some of it, ha! My friends were also gracious enough to throw her a mini-baby shower too, so it was nice to have my sister and my best friends together to celebrate her big event.

On Easter weekend, my Mom, Dad and little sis Cynthia made the long drive from Houston to come spend a few days with us. We hadn't seen them since New Year's, so it was a long time coming! We had a wonderful few short days together. We got to eat some yummy food, visit with Lance's family together, and even go to a Redbirds game (they're the local AAA baseball team). The visit was way too short, but we really had a wonderful time. They had to get back on the road early Easter morning, so Lance and I were able to spend the day with his parents and extended family. What a blessed Easter weekend!

In the middle of all of this, I started my new job - and let me just say that it has exceeded all of my expectations and then some. I feel very blessed and humbled every day that I get to go to a job that I love so much. I still keep waiting for someone to come tell me that they've made a mistake, and that I don't belong there :) My new coworkers are absolutely wonderful - they were very welcoming and I know they liked me because they started making fun of me and ragging on me on Day #1 - that's always a sign that you've been accepted! I've gotten to do some amazing things - I've worked on several logo developments, two magazine layouts, one book layout (over 200 pages!), etc. Our big project right now is redesigning the Message bible covers. This is a huge account for our company, and it is amazing to know that in a little over a year, I will be able to walk into any Christian bookstore and see a bible that I designed! I can't wait :)

One of the biggest events that Lance and I had been counting down to was our visit to Atlanta this past weekend. As everybody knows, Lance is a huge Mets fan, and we had decided back in January that we would travel to Atlanta to see the Mets vs the Braves. It was perfect timing since it was at the end of Lance's busy season - so it was a mini-celebration for us as well. We really had a wonderful time - I think we both agreed that it was the best weekend trip we've ever been on. We ate some wonderful food, went to the CNN Center where we got to go behind-the-scenes of the news-making experience, and we even visited the Georgia Aquarium. That was an amazing place - there were thousands of fish and even sharks and whales. I was nervous that I would get claustrophobic in there, but it was so overwhelming and beautiful that I forgot to be scared :) But of course, the best part of the weekend was the Mets game. It was so great for me to finally see Lance in his element. I know that he is very passionate about it, but to see him in the stadium, at the field, was really wonderful. We were lucky enough to sit in a section with lots of other Mets fans, which made it even better (plus, the Mets won! whoo hoo!).

So as you can tell, April has been one another crazy month for us. But we continue to feel blessed each and every day that God has granted us these times together. Even through these busy days, we continue to thank Him for all that he's blessed us with.

Until next time...


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Life Lessons

Well... needless to say, our lives have been upside-down for the past few weeks. I haven't posted since the end of February because our family has been through some pretty tough days and we are finally emerging stronger on the other end.

Lance's Dad, Bill, was rushed to the emergency room on the night of March 2nd with severe chest pains and breathing problems. It was quickly discovered that he had had a heart attack - the doctors believe it was February 27th (Lance and Reed's birthday) - and needed to have bypass surgery. Of course Lance and I were at the hospital as soon as we heard the news, and sat with Martha (Lance's Mom) and his brother Reed from Friday morning til Monday morning, the day of the surgery. It was a rough week - after the bypass, Bill was in ICU and we could only visit 4 times a day. We were up at the hospital whenever we could be, so Martha wouldn't be alone and so that we could see Bill as soon as we were allowed to. Bill went back home last week and has been trying to rest and build his strength up.

The doctors say Bill was extremely lucky - the next heart attack could've killed him. In addition to the attack they told him he'd had that week, there was also evidence of a previous one months prior.

This has motivated all of us to really change our lifestyles and work on keeping ourselves healthy. Bill has never really taken care of himself - he's diabetic and has never been routine about checking his blood sugar or taking his insulin - so hopefully this will motivate him to rethink the way he lives his life.

Throughout these really tough couple of weeks, Lance and I and our entire family realize how truly blessed we are. We have been inundated with concerned emails, phone calls, and visits. We have so many wonderful friends and family and we are so thankful for everything they've showed us throughout these weeks. God has truly surrounded us all during this tough time and has really brought the family closer. I always loved Lance's parents, but honestly didn't know them as well as I'd hoped to. Sitting in a hospital room and a waiting room with someone for hours on end is truly a bonding experience. I've had more conversations with Bill the past three weeks than I'd had the year and a half since we met. And Martha and I have reaffirmed our strong connection that we shared from Day One. It has also really brought Lance and I closer - being able to sit and hold his hand and cry and pray with him throughout everything was really helpful for both of us.

So, now that Bill is on the recovery side of everything, Lance and I are hoping that we can be a part of his new lifestyle. Our plan is to be able to go visit him and take walks with him and eat healthier together. I think this was a wake-up to all of us that each moment is truly a gift from God and that each new day is to be cherished.

In that stream of thought... throughout this struggle within the family, I came to a realization that I didn't want to continue to sacrifice any more of my time and my sanity at my current job. I know that God has given me gifts that I have been unable to use in my career up to this point, and I didn't want to waste a single day where I knew I wasn't using my full potential. I've been unhappy for months and have told myself lately that I would wait until this summer to pursue a career move.

Well, as we all know, God works in mysterious ways! My friend Amy called one day (actually, while we were at the hospital) with wonderful news - somebody that she goes to church with owns a graphic design firm and was looking to fill a position emptied the week before. It was one of those word-of-mouth things - the opening hadn't even been advertised yet - but she mentioned my name to him and passed along his information to me. The most appealing thing to me about the firm was that it was a Christian-based company. That's one of the things I've struggled with the most at my current position. I prayed about it and decided that it was such a God thing, I knew that I had to pursue it.

I gave him a call right away, and within 2 days I had an interview set up. I hurried to get my portfolio updated and ready to show. My interview was early last Wednesday morning, and by noon he had made me a job offer! I was so surprised by how well our meeting went. I know one of my weaknesses is not having enough confidence in myself and my potential - so it was truly humbling to see someone who's been in the design business for 20 years impressed with my work. I am so excited to get started and continue down this path that God has opened for me. I will really miss the people I work with, but I know that this is an experience that I've waited years for. The fact that I'll be in a Christian-based environment is just icing on the cake! I can't wait to begin and see what God has in store for me!

So... over the last few weeks, our family has been through a lot. We just have to keep remembering that God is in control. Everything - the good, the bad and the ugly - are always there to teach us, to humble us, to strengthen us, to empower us.

God is so good!


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Another Year Older

Well, this past week we've had some great get-togethers for Lance's birthday. He says he feels soooo old now - because he's closer to being a Senior Citizen than he is to birth.

That's over-analyzing, don't ya think? :)

Anyway, Friday night we started out with dinner at Texas de Brazil with Reed (Lance's twin bro) and his girlfriend Elin. It was really good to finally meet her and get to know her a little better. The food was yummy - although I know we would've never gone had we not gotten a buy one, get one free coupon. I'm just not enough of a meat eater to spend that kind of money on food!

As a surprise for the guys' birthday, I had called ahead to request birthday dessert to be brought out at the end of our meal. I made sure they knew that there were two birthday boys and that it was supposed to be a secret. Well, we got to the restaurant to check in, and they wouldn't seat us until Reed and Elin got there. They were running late, so the hostess went ahead and seated us after 15 minutes. As soon as we got to the table, the waiter said, "So, this is the table with the twin birthdays, right??" Luckily, Lance was on his cell phone talking to Reed so he hadn't heard. I was so glad that the surprise hadn't been ruined!! I had to pull the waiter aside to explain that it was a secret - that's when he glanced back down to his notes and realized he'd missed that part of it. He was so apologetic. Luckily when the desserts came at the end of the meal the guys were surprised. They even had birthday candles to blow out! Of course we could barely eat them - we'd been eating meat for two hours - but they were so good!

So, that was Birthday Celebration #1.

Yesterday, on Lance's actual birthday, I definitely had some tricks up my sleeve! I woke him up with a card and a gift certificate to his favorite clothing store. He's been needing a new pair of pants so I thought that would be a good gift (can you tell we're married now? a pair of pants as a birthday gift??) :) Then, unbeknownst to him, I got him some balloons and roses over lunch and delivered them to his desk at work. He's working at clients' offices during the day, and only is at his office in the evenings, so it was supposed to be waiting for him as a surprise until he got there around 5:30. Well, apparently some of the guys in his office don't know what a secret is, because by 2:00 he had gotten 2 emails from folks telling him what was waiting for him. Argh!!! I tried so hard. Of course Lance was still thankful and kept saying, "But babe, I won't know what KIND of flowers they are until I see them in person!!" It was still a little disappointing to know that the surprise had been ruined, but he really liked them and is keeping them on his desk all week.

Then last night we met up with Lance's parents, his aunt Helen and uncle Dick, and Reed to celebrate with a Family Birthday Dinner. We had some yummy food and the guys got some really good gifts. The family was really creative and got Lance things off of our wedding registry that hadn't been purchased for us. He's finally starting to accumulate all of those tools he really wanted!

Anyway, this week it's back to the grindstone and Lance and I won't have much time together, but on Saturday night I'm taking him out to dinner again to celebrate. Lance has never really had a big deal made out of his birthday, but I keep telling him it's important to remember that it's supposed to be all about you! I told him I'm glad that we've been able to stretch out the celebrations a little bit longer than just one day. It only happens once a year, so we should go all out!

I have some pics to share from Birthday Week, but I'll have to add them later.

I feel so blessed to have Lance - and pray that we'll have 70 more birthdays to spend together.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Treinta Anos Feliz

As promised, I wanted to post the pics from Helen's birthday party and to the surprise Girls' Night Out we had this past weekend.

Last Saturday was the party at Helen's house. All of her friends and family were there to wish her a Happy 30th! It was so much fun to all get together again.

Helen and Addie spending some together time (a.k.a. "meal time") before the party

No, Uncle Steve! You don't hold me like Daddy!

The Crew: Hang, moi, Shelley, Molly, Lashlee, Amy, and Helen with baby Addie

Hang and Amy

Nate had surprised Helen by asking all of us to write down special thoughts or memories of our times with her over the years, so he could put them all together in a memory book for her. She got to see what we had come up with. I think she was really surprised!

The theme of the party was, of course, Mexican - so one of my additions to the party was Helen's Party Hat (the sombrero) and I saw a little tiny one at the store for Addie too - I couldn't resist!

The Maloney Family

Momma Helen and Addie in matching FiestaWear!

Our little sleeping bebe!

All of the girls escaped to one of the back bedrooms for some silly "girl time" while the guys hung out as well. It was so much fun! We felt like we were back in junior high again!

The party was definitely a success!

Okay, on to Friday night at El Porton. It was a surprise for Helen - another Girls' Night Out, her first without Addie. It was soooo much fun!

They've recently redone the restaurant, so the demand was even higher than ever for a table (hard to imagine!). While we waited 2.5 hours by the bar, we were surprised by a sighting of David Gest. Of course Hang was the brave one, and asked for his pic. Nothing like a pic with a C-List celebrity at a Mexican place in Memphis!

The Group with Gest: Ellen, Cat, David, Helen, moi, Amy, Molly and Lashlee

Gest and Hang, the brave one!

Of course the evening got sillier as the margaritas flowed! We had such a wonderful time, telling crazy stories and reminiscing.

Helen (the birthday girl) and Shelley

Moi and Amy

Carrie and Lashlee

Hang and moi

Cat and Molly

One of the things that they do at El Porton for your birthday is bring you a dessert, sing Feliz Cumpleanos, and then smash your face with a bit of whipped cream. Well, Cat knows the workers so she had requested an extra-special version for Helen.

It was going fine until...

Smack! Two plates at one time!

Poor Helen!

She didn't take it very well - I mean, who wants to spend the rest of the night picking Cool Whip out of their hair? - but it was a good excuse for a laugh. Shelley was a trooper and helped do some of the cleaning.

What a friend!

Helen tried to get Cat back but she moved too quickly

After a while, Lashlee started to feel bad for Helen so she slathered her own head with some cheese dip. Is that a true friend or what!? :)

That Lash, you gotta love her!
And look at Hang! Think she was shocked!?

Overall, it was a wonderful night. We always have a blast when we get together! We're trying to plan a Girls' Night Sleepover soon. I hope that gets kicked into gear before too long!

This week and the following week are full of celebrations for Lance's 28th birthday (and Reed's)! Tomorrow we're having dinner with Reed and Elin at Texas de Brazil (yum!) and on Monday, their actual birthday, we're getting together with their parents. Should be a good time!!

Plus, I've got a couple of tricks up my sleeve... so I'll have to write about those later. Can't wait to celebrate with Lance!

God Bless!


Friday, February 17, 2006

I Digress

So... since I'm actually attempting to keep up with this blog, I thought I'd share some pics from the past few weeks. We've had a lot going on lately!

Two weekends ago, I flew to Dallas to see my sis Erica and her husband Joe. They're expecting their first baby in June, so I was there to help them register for baby goodies. A couple of their friends - who actually have experience with parenting - were there for more practical help. I was mostly there to give input on what stuff is the prettiest :)

Erica at Babies R' Us - she was so proud to park in the Expectant Moms Only lane!

Erica and her Baby Bump. Isn't she adorable?!?

We also got the opportunity to visit with one of my best friends from Mineral Wells, Andrea, her husband Jonathan, and their daughter Alaina. This was the first time we'd gotten to meet Alaina - and she is literally one of the most beautiful and well-behaved babies I've ever met! She was so happy and all giggles.

Andrea and Alaina. What a doll!

All the gals - Alaina, Andrea, moi and Erica

It was such a joy to see them again and catch up. Lance was sad he missed this visit - he was working, of course - so we are hoping to plan another reunion with Andrea and Jonathan soon. It will be wonderful for them to all finally meet each other!

Okay, so fast forward to the next weekend - Memphis was pelted with a somewhat unexpected snowstorm on Friday afternoon. The meteorologists on the local news all said it was coming, but they barely ever get it right - so we thought at the most we'd see a few flakes and that'd be it.

Uh, not quite!

Within 2 hours on Friday afternoon, we had over 1.5 inches of snow. Our office closed early and I ran home to take some pics.

It was so much fun! I hadn't been caught in a quick snowstorm like that in years - since my time out in Lubbock.

Lance was on his way home from work himself, and the next thing I knew the snow had accumulated to over 3.5 inches in our neighborhood! Some parts of town had over 5 inches.

These next shots were taken 2 hours later.

I wanted to get out in the snow and play, but by the time Lance got home (it took over 2 hours for him to make it) it was dark and I figured it could wait til morning.

Needless to say, we never made it outside to make snow angels or snowmen. We're notorious for not following through.


Saturday night was our friend Helen's 30th birthday party. We had such a great time! All of our best friends were there and it was wonderful to help Helen celebrate her big milestone. I have some great pics but I'll have to post those next week. Plus, tonight is Girls' Night Out to celebrate again, so I can post all the pics at once. I'm the DD for the outing to our fave hangout, El Porton, so I get to watch all the girls swim in their margaritas while I chug ice water. It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it!

Oh - and here are some pics of our crazy cat Gracie. She's a cutie! She's made some progress the last few days, but we still have a long way to go.

Gracie was so afraid of us her first week home that she hid underneath the desk like this. I think she thought if she was still enough we'd never find her!

She slowly progressed enough to let us hold her. We're slowly getting her to open up!

Anyway, that's about all from here. I think you're caught up. Have a great weekend - and God bless :)


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Crazy, Beautiful

Lance and I have now settled into our routine, which I must say has been soooo nice compared to the frantic pace we followed through the fall, up to the wedding, and then into the holidays.

It has been such a blessing to feel settled at "our" house (it's taken me months to stop saying "Lance's house") and really feel like our lives are falling into place.

Granted, with Lance's crazy work schedule right now, it's hard to say that we are truly comfortable. But we are making a conscious effort to scale back and work on spending more quality time together. Lance works til at least 8:00 every night during the week, and another 5 or 6 hours on Saturdays - which means that when we do see each other we try to make it more special.

I am very blessed to have such a wonderful, tight-knit group of friends who have made my life here in Memphis absolutely perfect. So I have plenty of people to keep me occupied during the week, so I don't notice as much that Lance isn't at home. I just wish Lance was around more... (am I whining yet? do I sound pathetic enough?) :)

Plus, we just got a new cat, Gracie! She's been my roommate when Lance is working, although it turns out we picked the Psycho Cat from the rescue shelter. Why didn't they put "won't go near humans, bites when unprovoked, yet craves human connection so badly she cries" in her file? I think we would've thought twice about bringing her home. But she really has been a great addition to our family, we've just got to work through a few things. I think she was abused in her past, so she's taking awhile to really open up to us. We're trying to be patient and let her take her time. We don't know if she's craving more cat company (she was in a shelter with over 100 cats for over a year) or whether she just needs more time to feel comfortable in her new environment. We're praying that she gets over this hump soon and doesn't feel like we're going to do anything but love her - and snuggle with her on the couch. But who doesn't love a good snuggle?!?

So, with that all said, Lance and I are doing very well. We have a lot to look forward to this year: my twin sis Erica is pregnant with her first child, so we will be doing a lot of traveling back and forth to Dallas to see her and Joe before Baby comes in June. I am helping host a baby shower for her in May, in Houston at Mom and Dad's house, so that will be a wonderful time for our family. We can't wait to welcome the first grandchild! Lance and I are sooo ready to spoil that kid rotten!

Anyway, I digress...

Last year was such a great year, filled with such wonderful highs - and we know that this year will be another blessed year for us. We are still in awe every day that God brought us together, and we feel truly humbled by His grace.

We look forward to living our crazy, beautiful lives together each and every day.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for further updates from the Willis Family!


I Plead the Fifth

I know, I know... I've been a horrible blogger. Let me just add that to my list of goals that I've attempted but only halfway followed-through on.


Okay, well I promise to do better.

And only because this now going to be our FAMILY WEBSITE! I know before all you got to read was just the crazy ramblings of an almost-married, wedding-obsessed gal, but now there will (hopefully) be some substance and interesting tidbits to share.

I will be attempting to keep the site update regularly on happenings in our lives. I know you can't wait to hear about the oh-so-exciting things happening here in Memphis (right????).

Now that our time-consuming (but perfect!) wedding is over, the holidays are past, and our lives are back to a somewhat normal pace, it will be easier for me to keep up with.

I hope!

So I raise my right hand to you, my blogging audience (what are we up to today? 2?) and promise to do my best to keep this blog going. I'll try to update weekly.

With that said, I'll start on a new post now. With actual information. About Lance and me. Oh, and I'll post an engagement pic so you can see our lovely faces.

Bet you can't wait, huh? :)