Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Tree Snobs

Alrighty my blog readers, I have something to confess: Casey and I are Christmas tree snobs!  With this year marking Casey and I's first Christmas as married folks, this brings the added pressure of starting our own Christmas traditions.  While there are ones we each bring from our own families, we also wanted to start our own for our family.  I realize not all traditions begin the first year you're married, but I want to have at least a few for us, so that way we can say years down the road that we started doing them our first Christmas together.
     When having the real vs. artificial tree discussion (I had always grown up with real, while Casey had a combination of real and artificial), we cam to the conclusion we wanted a real tree.  The perfectly arranged lights and over time the inexpensiveness of an artificial tree was very alluring, but Casey wanted real Christmas tree smell in our house (which I love too!), so real is the route we took.  To make this tradition our own, Casey and I wanted to go to a Christmas tree farm and actually cut down our tree, which neither one of us had done.  Growing up, we always went to a nursery or somewhere like Home Depot.  Saturday morning Casey and I ventured to Old Time Christmas Tree Farm in the Spring area.  Going into this, I expected the longest part of this endeavor would be the commute to and from the tree farm.  I was wrong.  It seemed like there was a couple thousand trees, which at first sight can seem overwhelming, but I was also comforted in the fact that there was so much selection that this would be easy and take no time at all!  WRONG!
     We agreed beforehand that a 7-8 ft. tree is what we wanted, which was definitely doable.  The challenge came in the fact that since this was a taller tree than either of us had ever had that I wanted it to be a little more slender and Casey wanted one that was going to last,  not already loosing it's needles, and didn't have any holes in it.  All sounds pretty reasonable, but tree after tree we looked at would be missing something one of us didn't like, so on we went to the next one.  The funny part was that we both were pretty picky, but neither one of us got frustrated with the other over their pickiness.  We walked through many rows of trees, amazed at how snobby we realized we were, but also that we didn't want to settle for just any tree.
   Even though hunger was starting to set in (and we all know that me without food in my stomach results in a much crankier version of myself) and feet were getting tired, we pushed forward in our search.
After about 2 HOURS (yes I am ashamed to admit it was at least that long), we finally found a tree we both loved and could see it taking it's residence in the Hixon House!  It's a beautiful tree and we both enjoyed spending time with each other walking among nature.  It was wonderful to see so many people out there with their families and made me look forward to the years ahead when we can share this tradition with our kiddos.
     With each tree, comes my tradition of naming the tree.  Sounds weird to some (not to many if you know me well!), but to me it personalizes each tree and the memories associated with it.  At my parent's house, I would always name it after an Aggie football player that had a spectacular game against those Texas Longhorns since we usually purchased our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving while I was home from school.  With the Aggies being in the SEC now, this complicated things somewhat.  What I ended up doing was naming the tree at my parent's house Johnny Everett (after #2 Johnny "Football" Manziel and #29 Deshazor Everett who both had great performances against Alabama and were crucial to the Aggie victory).  At the Hixon House, we decided on the name Kevin Sumlin, which was a perfect compromise being that he is the current Aggie coach that used to be the coach at the University of Houston.  Kevin Sumlin was decorated Saturday evening and looks beautiful!!!  Now I just need to get on my Christmas shopping and get some presents under him!!  Have a blessed week from the Hixon's Christmas Tree Snobs!!
On the hay ride at Old Time Christmas Tree Farm about to find our tree!!!

My handsome Christmas tree picking out partner
The selection of trees was indeed vast!
We FINALLY found our tree!!!!

Not your typical tree hugger:)

Tree is down!

Shaking all the dead pine needles out!!
Binding it up makes it much easier to transport and get inside one's house!!
May I present to you the Hixon House 2012 Christmas Tree,
Kevin Sumlin!

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Thanksgiving Blessings

I LOVE Thanksgiving!!!  In many ways, I like it better than Christmas (though I still love Christmas too), but as I have gotten older my love for this holiday in November has increased.  I like to think that people are less materialistic and concerned about getting gifts, and are more focused on being thankful for the many ways God has blessed their life.  The point of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus, which gets lost easily, but with Thanksgiving it seems that even those who aren't religious have their attention drawn to being thankful for what they have, not looking to things of this world they think will bring true fulfillment and enjoyment to their lives.  You still have the opportunity to eat incredibly delicious food and spend time with loved ones.  The only shopping you really have to worry about with Thanksgiving is that of grocery shopping, which seems much more manageable when compared to Christmas gifts plus Christmas dinner.
      In the Hixon house, both Casey and I agreed that we are not going to have any sign of Christmas decorations or lights inside/outside of our house until after Thanksgiving Day (contrary to our neighbors that have their lights and decorations out in their yard beginning the week before turkey day.  Thanksgiving deserves to have it's day to celebrate it's purpose of being thankful for our blessings and not be considered another day closer to Christmas.  I will admit though I started decorating our house with Christmas decor the next day after Thanksgiving.
    This year was Casey and I's first Thanksgiving as husband and wife.  He might drive me cray sometimes, but he also makes me laugh, I love him more each day, and he is definitely my most treasured blessing after our Lord and His Son.  Since we have yet to figure out how to be in 2 places at once, Casey and I decided the easiest and fairest way to do the holidays with our families is to flip flop.  Since last Thanksgiving we went to Kerrville and spent it with Casey's family, that meant this year we stayed in town and spent Thanksgving with my side of the family.  We went about 15 minutes down the road to my Uncle John and Aunt Regina's house and had a wonderful meal, great time with family, and of course watching football!
   After spending most of the day there, we went to over to my in-law's house to bring my father in-law some Thanksgiving food since he's unable to travel to Kerrville to be with the rest of Casey's family.  We had a nice visit and then headed home.  Combined with some vacation days he used along with the Thanksgiving holidays, Casey had the whole week off work and I only went to work on Monday.  We were able to get a lot done around the house. I cleaned/cooked while Casey made much progress on the hole in the floor upstairs.  Even though my job is great and I love the people I work with, I enjoyed not having to wake up early, dress up super nice, and the way my house looked after me having time to clean it. 
  I hope and pray your Thanksgiving was as blessed as ours!! To close a Thanksgiving 2012 picture!

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." 1 Chronicles 16:34

Monday, November 12, 2012

We Graduated!!!!

     So for the past couple months Casey and I have been going to Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class at our church on Wednesday nights, but as of the end of October we graduated!  While I have missed going to Bible class and eating a relaxing dinner with mi familia, the Hixon House has already begun to see blessings from this class that if we stick with it and follow the lessons we learned in the course we truly will have financial peace.  One of the things I loved most about this class is how spiritually minded and focused Dave Ramsey is.  Each lesson includes numerous scriptures, and the end result of the class is to set you up to be financially secure so that you will be able to give to others like never. He really emphasizes the importance of helping those in need and remembering where our treasure is, how it's not the material things of this world, but about the wonderful God we serve/follow who is the owner/creator of all things.
     I also enjoyed the common sense-ness of it all!  Even though I have a finance degree and might know a few more facts about all that crazy financial stuff, I still felt like Dave Ramsey explained it in a very simplistic and basic way, so that those whose talents are in other areas still know what to do.  Planning for the future and evaluating how the money you receive is spent can be very overwhelming and stressful, but this class did a great job of breaking it down into manageable steps.  Casey and I thankfully both were more on the frugal side (though he will be the first to tell you I have a immense weakness for clothes/shoes/jewelry) and did a pretty good job of saving before we were married.  I'm so thankful we took this early on in our married life together because it really made us get on the same page together and get us financially off to a great start.  Taking this class made us tell our money where to go versus it telling us where it went.
     There have definitely been some adjustments the Hixon house has had to make, such as saying so long to my monthly massage membership at Massage Envy and less eating out, but you know we are still making it with food in our stomach, clothes on our back, and a roof over our head!!  It amazed me that once you are forced to really look at your spending with a fine tooth comb how much of what we buy is a want versus a need, which results in a lot of wasteful purchases.  It's nice to see so much $ going to savings and being able to pay off that nasty debt.  I highly recommend this class to anyone and a nice perk is that once you take the class, you have a lifetime membership so you can back at anytime and do the class for free!

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luke 12:34