Happy Life Day!

Happy Valentines Day! We are out of this world busy right now, so all romance is getting overlooked in our house this year. No décor. No dinners. Nada. But I thought I’d take a minute to be thankful.

Each year on February 14 my mom and grandmother choose not to celebrate Valentines Day—at least in the traditional sense. They celebrate Life Day—not primarily focusing on the ‘love’ aspect of the cupid’s holy day but instead on the beauty of life.

Twenty-eight years ago these two women became survivors.

On Valentines Day 1985, the year before my glorious entrance into this world, my mom and one of her best friends were victims of a school shooting in Temple, TX. Both were shot and both are alive today. At the same time my mom was admitted to the emergency room, my Grandmother was wheeled out of her cancer surgery.

Not only did one of these dynamos actually give me life, they have both taught me how to live life. Teaching me daily not to sweat the small stuff but to focus on relationships with people. Encouraging me in academics and enthusiastically supporting my travels. Modeling compassion for the least of these and grace for all. Demonstrating integrity, commitment, responsibility and humor. They are much better at these things than me (except humor, I’m claiming that one), but I continue to learn from their example. It’s safe to say that every day is Life Day for them.

This year on Valentines Day, I intentionally celebrate two inspiring ladies whose lives have been so interwoven with love that when I celebrate them, I can’t help but celebrate love, too.

Happy life and love day to each of you, today and every day!20130214-125711.jpg

PS. I lied. We did at least acknowledge Valentines in our house last night. You know, when Walker gave me his gift—new toothpaste. I’m a lucky lady!

Puppy Play-date

I finally got to cash in my Valentine’s gift…a puppy play-date! Walker and I spent an hour or so with four of the wrinkliest little girls around! I tried my best to narrow our 100+ pictures down to these few.

There is nothing cuter than a baby bulldog going to the bathroom. Nothing.

Mabel and Me

Y’all! I would like to introduce you to Mabel! The cutest and prissiest bulldog ya ever did see!

I stressed over what to wear, Walker grabbed his 7D and video camera, and we headed to meet the breeder at Buckner where she works.  I learned two things from this date:

1. I still want a bulldog. More than ever.

2. I need a serious color and cut. Please ignore the state of my not so golden locks.

Here is our love affair documented! Video at the end!

We both decided to wear our neon!

So excited…but is anyone else SO annoyed that my zipper seam and cardigan buttons are out of alignment in every picture?

Bulldog or seal?

Can you spot the slobber on my upper right thigh? Not even my own dogs are allowed to slobber on me.

Both a little squinty!

I kept singing “It’s Mabel and me tonight” to Hanson’s ever-popular tune of “Penny and me tonight” throughout the entire play date. Hope y’all liked our engagement photos! Bring on those PUPPIES! Miss you, Mabes.

Valentine Schmalentine 3

Watch out, picture overload coming your way! We spent our Valentines night serving at the church banquet. I thought it was for the senior adults, so I was pumped! Once I got there I realized it seemed to be for everyone, but I still got to gawk over the cute little old ladies and gentlemen! Everyone was dressed to the nine, and I got to wear my new blue pants!

The orchestra strummed, youth and deacons served, and Dustin Ellermann was the guest speaker. He won last season’s episode of Top Shot… a reality show about who can shoot the best. Walker calls it a marksman competition. Having been raised in an anti-gun household (am I even allowed to say that in the E.Tex?), I was less than pumped, but I was pleasantly surprised, and everyone just loved him. I think my husband is his #1 fan. I should probably get him a coffee mug that says that.

I caught Walker in the bathroom mirror practicing how we was going to greet Dustin while brushing his teeth. Looks like this is the “what’s up shooter” approach. This was only after he had also said, “How do I look?” and “I bet Dustin can’t wait to meet me!”

Pink and red all over da place!

I’d say it was a pretty good turnout.

Cuties!

Walker meets Dustin! Although I didn’t see him use any of his moves he was practicing.

And I got a balloon!!! I wore my heart necklace, because cheesy isn’t always bad.

Nathan and Walker watched last season’s Top Shot together.

Walker putting his newly-signed bullet into my head. Yep, we’re weird…more often than not.

I love this picture! And my new, bright blue pants!

Here’s to hoping we all celebrate everyday like it’s Valentines Day! Let’s all love each other a little bit more.

Love,

The McWilliams

Valentine Schmalentine 2

Part 2 of our Valentines celebration was a surprise. Walker told me to meet him at the Longinos for a surprise party for Kelsey because she got a teaching job. Walker told Katie to come over to the Longinos for a surprise party for me because I got a job. And Luke told Kelsey to, well, come home after work. Spoiler alert: nobody got a new job!

Walker and Luke, dressed in their finest suits, prepared a fun meal for us three girls. Kevin is out of town but there is no way they would cook a meal and not invite Katie! Our night = good food, good laughs and really good YouTube videos. Thanks dudes!

Flowers and appetizers.

Gourmet.

I gave Walker his second gift, which he has been begging for since Christmas. And now he will finally join me in reading at the downtown coffee shop.

Valentine Schmalentine 1

Happy day of St. Valentine to each one of you! We celebrated in a threefold process here. Enjoy part one! A Friday night date to Auntie Pastas in Nacogdoches:

The homemade decor and wrapping.

Ready for our night out, but first let’s open a present.

I gave Walker a bag of Very Cherry Jelly Belly’s. They’re his absolute favorite, and he told me he can never find them because they stopped selling them most places! I ran across a boutique candy store in the airport a few weeks ago and stopped just to check. They had them! For $3.75 a pound. What?! I got two pounds for that rate! Get to the checkout and find out they were actually $13.75 a pound. Too embarrassed to put them back, he wound up with his favorite treat. And I felt good about it.

Until….

I was walking through the Lufkin Mall yesterday and what did I spot? Oh, just your average, everyday candy store selling Very Cherry Jelly Beans for oh, you know, much cheaper than a boutique airport candy store. He then admits that because a small candy store in Granbury stopped selling them he assumed most places stopped as well. Dave Ramsey is mad, but Walker is happy! To me, he’s probably the most important of the two!

Walker gave me… AHHHHHHHHHHHH… I still can’t believe what he gave me! My current dream is to own an English bulldog. Due to renting a house, the lack of a fenced backyard, and newlywed finances, it is just a dream. Walker gave me TWO play-dates with bulldogs. The first is a date with Mabel, the mom bulldog. My second is a playtime with SEVEN bulldog PUPPIES! This probably falls within my top 2 gifts ever received. The other being the swing-set my parents gave me back in the day.

Funny story: I found that card in Target one day. There is quite literally no better card for Walker to give me, considering he incorporates bacon into every meal he can. So, I bought the card and gave it to Walker to give to me, and he did. Take a look at those pups!

Our quaint little date to an Italian restaurant in Nacogdoches. Auntie Pastas!

Finally, enjoy this short clip. Walker took a video because he knew how excited I would be. If you know me well, you know that I’m not very expressive when receiving a gift. Even though I might LOVE what I’ve gotten, I normally just react with “Thank you, I really like it.” So this is a big, big deal.

Also, you might misinterpret the “Walker” at the beginning with me being gushy; however, if I let you inside my head, you might hear “Walker bought me a bulldog and I’m so happy but we absolutely can’t afford this. Do I act excited? We can’t afford this! What do I say, What do I say? Uh, Waaaalker!”  Enjoy :