Sunday, August 28, 2011


The Good Lord gave doubly when it came to the 28th of August. My dad and sister share the SAME birthday... TODAY!

Happy Birthday to my sister who is stylish, caring, inventive, imaginative, witty, and hilarious.

Happy Birthday to my dad who is generous, intelligent, charming, creative, hard-working and hilarious.

BAM. Double Birthday!! Wish I could be there to celebrate with both of you! Much love...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

So Many Birthdays, So Little Time

Too many wonderful people to celebrate this month. I mean really, people. Let's try to spread them out next time!!

Happy Birthday TODAY to my wonderful mother-in-law, Nancy! (Woman!)

Happy August 21st and 24th to mi amigas, Whitney and Becca!

And Happy August 1st to my own fabulous mom! Love you! (POLLUTION!)

And Happy August 4th to the Siren- Annie, August 8th to the Game Boss- Ross... and all of August to everyone else in the world... apparently. Oh don't worry - more birthdays to come tomorrow. ;)

(You think I'm joking... I'm not.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Baby

This morning, I walked into a fantasyland.

A fantasyland that looked an awful lot like Stars Hollow, the fictional dreamland of a town that one of my most favoritest shows of all time, "Gilmore Girls," is based in.

There were quotes from the show everywhere I looked, pink balloons, Luke's Diner, and my friends even dressed up as characters! I was immediately adorned with a "Happy Birthday" crown and a pink feather boa, which is exactly what Rory Gilmore wore on her season one birthday.

I don't know what I did to deserve this wonderment!

Waffle's very happy.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Favorite Things (A few of my)

1. Grant's condition.
We can't thank you enough for your prayers for our cousin Grant. We are awaiting a 4th (and hopefully) final surgery today. Every day his condition takes baby steps forward (although he is still in critical condition) and we all lean a little harder into our Father God. Please continue to pray for healing!

2. A California trip on the horizon!
D and I are flying to Cali over Labor Day weekend and we are looking forward to some days away from technology and the tyranny of the urgent. We're spending some time with my college roomie, Joy and her sweet family.

3. Master Chef.
We fell in love with this random reality show and now find ourselves cooking "the most amazing, most delicious, most succulent" whatever and trying to break down our dishes like the professionals. While our favorite, Ben (and former ACU Wildcat) didn't make it to the finals, we still enjoyed almost every minute of the show. (Minus all the whining. If I'm ever on a reality show tell me that I am not allowed to whine about the other contestants.)

I don't want to let the cat out of the bag, but Val has become quite the inspiration when it comes to diet and exercise. I'll let her be the one to tell you about her INCREDIBLE SUCCESS- but suffice it to say, "Lose it" has been part of that success. We had a long chat last week about the app that she uses. I've used other weight loss sites before, but the accountability of having someone else you know ON the site is making all the difference. If you join it, find me. :)

5. Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds
Valerie has talked about her favorite cereal before. I can't match her writing or advertising skills, but I can tell you that if you check my food log for "Lose it" you will find cereal listed every day and sometimes this one twice in a day. Addicted.

6. Making lists.
This shouldn't surprise you. We even have a label for posts entitled "lists." My calendar and journal are FULL of them. Today I'm sharing one of mine and asking you to share yours.

TOP 5 boardgames (or just games):
4. Mexican Train Dominoes
3. Speed Scrabble (play w/out the board)
1. Pit

These are my personal favorites to play in a group setting. We are ALWAYS on the lookout for fun games. Care to share which games make your family/friends shout/laugh?


Tuesday, August 16, 2011


My life is richly, richly blessed. One area of my life that God has seen fit to bless is my insanely fun, spontaneous, close-knit cousins. There are 11 of us.

We all grew up spending time together at the beach house in Galveston, visiting each others houses, and celebrating Christmases together at my grandparents' house. Playing The Roach, watching "Hot Shots," shooting off fireworks, putting on Christmas "pageants," running around at the Balloon Festival together, building forts on the beach, camping out at Grandpa's farm, and laughing at each other. (Lots of laughing at each other).

Even now, we cross paths frequently, enjoying our Smorby Christmases, traveling together to weddings, meeting up at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and staying up late laughing at the beach house.

For the past year and a half, I've been blessed to live in the same city as two of my cousins, Carter and Grant. We eat dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's every Wednesday night, discussing movies, planning our "Family Feud" team, and laughing about our crazy family. They've come to my apartment several times this summer to cool off in the pool, and invited me over to their house for steaks. They come to church with me, and afterward we always go out to lunch (Oliveto is a favorite).

This past Saturday morning my day came to a crashing halt with one phone call.

Grant was in an accident. He's in the hospital. He's critical.

He was hit by a car in a parking garage late Friday night. The driver didn't stop to see if he was okay. God sent an angel in the form of a med student who found Grant almost immediately and not only called 911, but also found Grant's phone and called my aunt and uncle.

Grant has severe internal trauma to his abdomen- particularly his liver. He's already had two surgeries, and is set to have a third tomorrow.

And yet.

And yet the Lord is doing SO MANY great things. Bringing SO MANY people together in prayer over Grant. We continue to hear stories about more and more people who know of Grant. Stories that prove the world is a very small and well-cared for place. I am overwhelmed.

It's hard to hear about him being in in this condition. This young, healthy, Crossfit-rocking guy. Unconscious. My responsible, hilarious, polite cousin. Sedated. I was just at his house watching movies. We were just laughing about our grandparent's aversion for normal sized boxes of Saran Wrap, instead opting for giant reams of the off-brand stuff that lasts for years. I was just bringing him a bomb pop at the pool because it is SO HOT these days, and who doesn't love a bomb pop??

Thankfully Grant seems to be taking a turn for the better today. Just this afternoon, his sister Hilary shared this on Facebook: "Just went into see him and said "Hi Fatty" (nickname i have for him) and he started nodding his head. Sweet Granty!"

And shortly thereafter: "
A Pastor in Fort Worth just came up to the hospital to pray with us. Went into the room with Grant and my parents to say a prayer and my Dad said Grant was nodding his head and could tell he knew the Pastor was in there praying for him! God is at work here!"

Oh, He is at work alright! I am so amazed that I am called to serve such a benevolent Jehovah Rapha. God who heals.

God who won't give up on me.

On you.

On my cousin.

Thank you. Thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Having a four day "staycation" was a fabulous way to break up the past months of travel and work. Between the two of us, it's rare to find a day when at least one of us isn't working. We watched movies (I FINALLY saw "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"), pretended to be chefs, played racquetball and finished up some projects that had been on our list for months. Below is a random sampling of said "staycation."

So three cheers for COLOR in our room. It's just a start, but it's one of the first pieces of printed fabrics that we have BOTH agreed on. He always wants stripes. I always want something less masculine. He asked for no flowers, so I simply pressed for plant life. This is our mighty compromise. :)

The ancestor photos are slowly being printed and framed. We are so blessed to have so many amazing examples of faithfulness and love in marriage.

A Ciminello weekend wouldn't have been complete without lots of eating and lots of cooking. We even went so far as to go to a sausage factory to pick out and purchase some meats for the weekend. Seriously. On the menu for the weekend: brisket, pizza, short ribs, spaghetti sauce, colossal breakfast creations... you get the idea.

What's that on the plate? I'm so glad you asked. Braised short ribs, cheese grits, and a cherry glaze. I don't know if these pictures will do this meal justice. I want to eat it every day. I want to go to there.

More than anything, I think I'm just enjoying living in the now. I'm not worried about next year. I'm not even making plans for November yet- a rarity for me! I'm learning about living and loving right here... right now. I hope you are too. :)

p.s. Making plans with the neighbors again. Praying they accept our invitation and that we continue building relationships right here... right now.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Once Upon A Time In New York

I'm nothing if not timely. (Ha.)

My parents took Clay and I to New York back in April. It was amazing. It was... video-worthy.

Oh, would you look at that! There's a video of the trip right here! Gosh, how did THAT get there?

Well, as long as it's just sitting here, why not take a break from your day to enjoy a few virtual minutes in the city with us? No flights required, all you have to do is press play:

Thanks for watching! It means a lot to me.