Monday, December 28, 2015

Reflection of 2015.

For the past few years, I have sent out one of “those Christmas letters”, the kind that recap the year and tell you what I have been up to. When I started writing it in 2012 it was a way for me to reflect and document the big things that happened in a year’s time. Since I didn’t have a family of my own to put on a trendy Christmas card, I thought it would be a neat way to count my blessings. As Christmas 2015 came along, I realized that all those years of praying for a family of my own had become a reality in 2015 with Kevin. So, I decided to make a little change and not send out a letter in a card. As the holidays have come and gone, I have realized just how much I missed writing that letter and documenting my year. SO…here it is. In blog format instead of on paper, hopefully you all will enjoy it just as much! Our new year of 2015 started off in a unique way with my dad being in the hospital with an infection in his leg. Since then it has been a year of hospital visits and frustrations, but somehow he is still farming and ranching every day. His crutches are now normal and we pray that in 2016 he will gain the relief we have prayed for. I know God answers prayers because he somehow was strong enough to make a pretty important walk down our church aisle in May of 2015 (more on that to come later).
January through May were pretty much overtaken with Wedding Planning. From our awesome “Western” Engagement Party to bridal showers hosted by our family and friends to my perfect Bachelorette Weekend in Gruene….it was a dream come true. Many brides dread the planning process but I wasn’t one of them. Those months of preparation were the most blessed of months. We were constantly surrounded by family and friends who mean the world to me. Kevin and I were showered and loved in a way I could have never imagined. With every gift and wish, we felt so supported. I know for many of you reading this (especially our immediate families) we filled ALL your free weekends with to-dos…so again, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who celebrated with us. It truly meant the world to us.
April 4th, 2015 was another milestone of the year for us as Kevin made a huge commitment to continue his faith journey. After months of prayer and preparation, Kevin was welcomed into the Catholic church family at St. Mary’s in College Station. He has always been an amazing man of God, but this decision was one that we prayed a lot about. I will never be able to describe the fullness of my heart on that day….almost as full as it was on May 2nd.
May 2nd, I officially became a Gleason as Kevin and I stood at the altar of my home church and vowed to spend our lives together. As Kevin and I have experienced marriage, I continue to feel so blessed. I am so glad Kevin picked me and I can’t wait see what God has in store for our marriage in the years to come! Immediately following our wedding, Kevin and I took our first big trip together as we headed to Lake Tahoe for our Honeymoon. The weather was perfect and enjoyed having some much needed down time after all the planning. If you have never been, we highly recommend it for a vacation!
2015 also brought with it new jobs for both Kevin and I. In April, Kevin started as an agent with Texas Farm Bureau. His transition has been a successful one and he truly loves getting to help others and prepare for the unexpected through his job. In June, I moved from International Student Services to The Department of Poultry Science at Texas A&M. As most of you know, this was the academic department I called home during my undergrad years. I absolutely love getting to put both of my degrees to work as I work with the students in Poultry Science. I do academic advising, recruitment, and travel around Texas educating people on poultry and the importance of agriculture. I get to work with some wonderful people and students. It was a perfect career transition for me at the perfect time.
In August, I finally got to experience the fun of a new car as we bought our first car together. We got a 2015 Maroon Traverse and have already enjoyed putting many miles on it together as we travel from place to place.
September, started out on a high as I celebrated my 10 Year High School Reunion. As Class President, I got the task of planning a gathering and was happy to see so many of my classmates many of whom I hadn’t seen in 10 years! I also had a pretty handsome date to take with me. As a "Cameron Transplant" (which is what he calls himself), I enjoyed having him to show off 10 years later!
September also had some lows as we said goodbye to my sweet Pawpaw. At 90 years young, Pawpaw was a man of faith, family, and work ethic. He was one of those silent but strong people who impact people without even knowing it. I am so thankful to have learned so much about life from him and continue to see his legacy in our growing family.
We rounded out the year with a fantastic trip to New Orleans, Louisiana with Kevin’s parents! We had a great time eating our way through Cajun Country and had a lot of fun seeing and doing everything there is to do in NOLA! It was a nice weekend getaway and most importantly treasured family time with a family who has welcomed me as their own daughter. So thankful to have such great in-laws! In December we also celebrated our first married Christmas together. It was a blessed holiday spent with our families and remembering that Jesus is the real reason for the season!
You knew I couldn’t write an annual letter without updates on our nephews Reid and Owen. Reid is now 4 and will start kindergarten next year and Owen is 2. We enjoyed watching them grow this past year. Reid started soccer and Owen has gained quite the personality! I am in awe of all they learn as they grow up and adore how they have welcomed Kevin as their Uncle Kevin this past year! Here’s a few of our favorite pictures of them from this year.
We can’t imagine a more blessed 2016. Excited for all that is to come as we embark on a new year and wish all of you a fantastic 2016! May God’s Blessings shine down on you and your families.

Friday, October 2, 2015

My Bridals.

So, it appears that I haven't written a blog since 10 days before the wedding. Man oh man, so much has happened since then. Up first...my bridal portraits. We were fortunate enough to have RayEric Photography, a wonderful couple from College Station as our photographers for my bridals and the wedding. At that point, Ray and Chloe lived here in town as Chloe was finishing up her schooling at the Vet School here at Texas A&M. Since then, they have moved to the Austin area and are still taking beautiful pictures. If you are in that area and in need of a wedding photographer, I would HIGHLY recommend them. As soon as Kevin and I met them at a local coffee shop to talk about potentially being our wedding photographers, we loved them! They were easy going, had beautiful pictures, and just wanted to be a part of our day. Kevin discussed potentially taking "Groomals" in addition to my "Bridals". For a minute, I thought he had convinced Ray to do it. Ray and Chloe rolled with our punches and we had a lot of fun with them. Our wedding photography was one of the easiest part of the wedding planning process for us. I took my bridals on a cloudy day in March. I was worried it was going to rain, but luckily, it held off. It all became real on that day. My hair was up, my makeup was perfect, I put on the jewelry, and then...the dress. At that moment, it really all came together and I realized that this was it. This was what I was going to look like on the day I married my best friend. Mom and both of my sisters tagged along and were a huge help me to me that day. They held my flowers, they added my veil, and yes, even helped me carry my train across campus. I was so glad they were with me to share in that special moment with me. So, here are a few of my favorites from that day. Wish I could share them all!
Oh, and Kevin got his "groomal" as well...on our wedding day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Back to Blogging...10 days to go!

Welp, I haven't been doing as well as I was in documenting my wedding journey lately. I made it up to March...and then...well...wedding things just started happening! Sorry for leaving you hanging. I will do my best to catch you up on as much as I can in the next 10 days. Yes, I said it. 10 DAYS. We are just 10 days away from me being Mrs. Kevin Gleason. Oh crap, how can it be here already? At times it seems just like yesterday that I saw Kevin on his knee asking me to marry him. And then other times it seems like it has been years. Lots has changed, lots has stayed the same. But through it all, I still couldn't be more confident with my decision to become Kevin's wife. Since January here is what we have been up to! We had two wedding showers...
We had an engagement party...
Kevin got a new job and moved to Bryan...
We did LOTS of wedding planning, we even squeezed in a Bachelor/Bachelorette weekend...
And we even got a marriage license.
The last two months have truly been a whirlwind. I really haven't taken the time to stop and realize just how quickly it has flown by. Then, all of a sudden, today, as I was trying to get caught up at work (yes, I do still have a job and have been doing by best to stay afloat amongst wedding planning and work)I had a moment where my heart was just feeling overwhlemed in general. I clicked on Pandora hoping some music would help me relax, and that it did. Marry Me by Train came on and made me stop and really think about the words and what the next 10 days mean. It was just the reminder I needed. The next 10 days aren't about running around like crazy or spending lots of money (which will more than likely happen), they are about paving the way to a marriage...a marriage to my man. Wow, I took that sign and did my best to reprioritize the hecticness. So, here we are. 10 days from now, I get to marry this handsome young man. I am so glad he's mine.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Lauren's Legacy.

Change is one of life's inevitable actions. There are times that I look back at the past 7 years and realize just how much has changed. I see how much I have grown as an individual. I see all the opportunities I've had to travel. I see all the moments I was able to connect with the people around me. But most importantly, I look back and think of one particular lady who inspired my actions over the past 7 years. Without a doubt, her legacy has led me to where I am. Today, 7 years since that sad day, I celebrate the life and legacy that Miss Lauren Lewis left for us. Just thinking about her, always has, and always will leave a smile on my face. Those of you who have known me for a while know that Lauren was an extremely influential person in my life. Her love for education, serving others, and connecting with people is the reason I got into student affairs. I was planning to finish my degree in agriculture and head into the world of extension. But as I got involved in organizations at A&M and saw just how important student affairs professionals are, I knew that was the field for me. Over the past 4 years, I often stop and think of her as I meet with students. I see that same sparkle in their eyes for Texas A&M and leadership. Last semester, we also had the opportunity to talk with Maggies (a women's organization that Lauren loved) about Lauren and the impact she had on so many during her time at Texas A&M. It was an amazing night remembering her and honoring her...a night that I will treasure forever. In my office, I keep her words right above my monitor to remind me of why I am in this field. For being so young, she indeed was wise beyond her years...
Lauren's passing was a slap in the face for me. It taught me that we are not invincible. We are only here for a short amount of time, and if we aren't helping others, then our time here on earth has been wasted. I absolutely adored this lady. She was intelligent, beautiful, fun, charismatic, and had a heart of GOLD. She made me laugh with her crazy dance moves, made me tired by looking at her filled planner, and made me smile with her sweet East Texas accent. I loved the way she would fit right in my arms for a long hug and loved the way she could make you feel like you were the only person in the room when having a conversation with her. While she was only here for a little while, Lauren lived. And as each day comes and goes, I pray that I can live the way she did...fully and beautifully. In the past year, Lauren has continued to impact my life as she is the reason my current roommate (and one of my closest friends), Megan is in my life. On this day last year, Megan and I decided to meet up to celebrate Miss Lauren. Megan has recently moved back to College Station and was looking for someone who knew Lauren to spend the evening with. I knew that Megan was one of Lauren's closest friends and they had shared so many of life's big moments together. Megan and I knew of each other as we were both friends with Lauren, but didn't really know much about each other. Luckily, Lauren brought us together and sparked a special friendship. A few months later, Megan moved in with me and we've been friends ever since. Over the past year, I have grown to adore Megan Higginbotham. We have been able to laugh together as she makes up ridiculous songs, cook some incredible meals that we have shared at our table together, cried together as bad news has come our way, danced around the house together, and most importantly, we have been able to pray together and lead lives that hopefully make Lauren proud. It is amazing how people continue to bless your life even in their absence. Even though I can't pick up the phone to thank her, I will forever be grateful for Lauren linking us together.
To you, beautiful friend, I just want you to know that you are missed. Over the next couple months as life brings on more changes, know that you are being remembered and honored. So thankful for the life you led and pray that I can continue to live a life that will make you proud.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The items that make up life.

Right before the Christmas holidays, Kevin and I headed to the stores to take part in one of the most exciting and definitely one of the most tiring tasks that comes with getting married...THE WEDDING REGISTRY! Now, let me start by saying that I have spent a LOT of time looking at registries. I am a professional wedding goer, so if there is a registry...I have seen it. I like to think I am a master at reading a registry. I know exactly where every item is in the store, I know exactly which coupons get me the best deal, and I know EXACTLY how to use that coupon to get 15-20% off! One Sunday after church, Kevin and I decided to head over to the beautiful Bed, Bath, and Beyond. No, not Bath & Bodyworks. Although every time I try to say the name of one, I accidently use the other. While these two stores are unrelated, something about them both having the word "Bath" really can throw a girl off. Kevin and I sat down with one of the workers there and received instructions on how to make the perfect registry. He had lots of good tips that really helped us get started. Kevin took on the important role of registry scanner (which secretly I think he enjoyed), while I took on the task of pointing at items. Hey, both take a lot of skill. ;) After spending almost 3 hours in the store, we had compiled a list of almost 100 items. While to some, these are just items. I burst with excitment thinking of the wonderful conversations Kevin and I will have over a dinner prepared in those pots and pans. I smile when I think of the glasses of wine I will get to enjoy with Kevin after a long day at work. I melt when I think of the memories we will make as we bake cookies with our kids some days using those cookie cutters and cookie sheets. I am thankful when I picture us taking a casserole in those pyrex dishes to a friend who is just had a baby or who someone who just lost a loved one. Really, all these items are just that, items. But as I start to think about all these "items" that make up life, I just get MORE and MORE excited that I get to do life with Kevin. So, to all of you who will take a look at our registry and/or purchase items, please know that we are both so appreciative for these "items" and do not take take the blessings we have for granted. Here's some pictures of us after we conquered the Bed, Bath, & Beyond registry! We were exhausted and decided to take on store #2 (Target) another weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

100 Days....100 Reasons.

Today marks 100 days until I marry Mr. Kevin Gleason. So, today my blog post is a special shout out to him. Here are a 100 reasons I love him. Over the next 100 days, I pray that we can continue to grow together and enjoy this special time in preparation of the sacrament of marriage.
1. You make me smile. 2. You drive me places. 3. You are a servant of The Lord. 4. The way you hold my hand when you are driving. 5. That we have the same taste in music. 6. When we pray together at church. 7. You look up to your Dad. 8. You are an Aggie. 9. Lazy days with you are my favorite. 10. You always send me a good morning text. 11. You let me pick out your clothes. 12. You always tell me you love me. 13. You can wrap anything in bacon. 14. You pray for me. 15. When you hug me, you never let go first. 16. You let me make the plans. 17. You love my nephews. 18. You love cattle. 19. You spoil me. 20. You fit in with my family. 21. You have strong hands. 22. You give amazing back rubs. 23. You can season any type of meat. 24. You miss me when we are not together. 25. Your random texts throughout the day always make me smile. 26. You don’t know words to most songs. 27. You love agriculture. 28. The way you talk with old men. 29. Your laugh. 30. The way you look in a pullover. 31. Your strong arms. 32. You hug your Mom. 33. That we go to mass together. 34. The fact that you are becoming Catholic for our family. 35. The way you talk about our future family. 36. The fact that you play guitar. 37. Your love for Aaron Watson 38. Your love for Aaron Watson’s family. 39. The way you tell the same stories over and over. 40. You like having me as a tag along when you play golf. 41. God created you with me in mind. 42. We are a team. 43. Your love for Columbia fleeces. 44. You are my designated driver 45. You don’t like to read…neither do I. 46. You love breakfast. 47. The way you offer to help my Dad. 48. You are smart. 49. Home is wherever you are. 50. You drink coffee. 51. You are driven. 52. You carry a bible in your truck. 53. You would pick up and move wherever to be with me. 54. The way you use your charm to impress my Mom. 55. You don’t judge people by their looks. 56. You like being involved in the community. 57. You were on the livestock judging team. 58. When you say you love me, you mean it. 59. You make good choices. 60. You trust me. 61. You mow my grass. 62. You love my friends. 63. You would do anything to help anyone. 64. You donate money for good causes. 65. You always offer to pay for dinner. 66. The way you impress everyone you meet. 67. Everyone knows you…from Facebook. 68. You always have your phone nearby so I know I can reach you. 69. I can picture my life with you. 70. You can make a mean omelet. 71. Sitting at home doing nothing with you. 72. You let me clean your house. 73. You have nothing to hide. 74. I never doubt that you will protect me. 75. When you tell me I am sweet. 76. You don’t need fancy things. 77. There is no one I would rather spend the rest of my life with. 78. It took me 27 years to find you. 79. The way you smell when you get out of the shower. 80. The two little moles behind your ear. 81. The fact that you don’t know a stranger. 82. When I hear your ringtone I smile. 83. Whatever you do, you give it your all. 84. The way you always walk outside of me to protect me. 85. You love church picnics. 86. You want to give me the world. 87. We both like the mountains better than the beach. 88. The fact that we talk on the phone every night we aren’t together. 89. You think about taking care of me when we are apart. 90. You are open to trying new things with me. 91. Whatever I suggest is a good idea (most of the time). 92. That you are willing to make improvements on your house for me. 93. You want to travel with me. 94. We drink our coffee the same way: 1 sugar and cream. 95. You don’t want to use your vacation unless it is spent with me. 96. You are willing to sell anything to my friends when they want to hear you auctioneer. 97. Your soft lips. 98. That fact that you bought my engagement ring from Chuck. 99. You are the Kevin Gleason in Kevin Gleason and the Locals. 100. I can picture you at the end of the aisle looking back at me on our wedding day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Engagement Pictures with Bethany Womack Photography

I am little late but on Sunday, October 26, 2014, Kevin and I were very blessed to take Engagement Pictures with our sweet friend, and one of #LesleysLadies, Bethany Womack! Bethany and I have been friends since high school and have continued a special friendship over the years. Bethany and I have one of those relationships built on trust and honesty. So, who better than someone I trust and who will be honest with me to take pictures of my man and I! I spent a couple weeks shopping for new clothes, digging in the back of my closet, and hoping to find the perfect outfits for Kevin and I to wear for the pictures. After a weekend of laying out every option and not being able to see the bed, we had the outfits selected! Up next, the location. If you know us well, you know that country and laid back is our style. So, I told Kevin to start searching for some cool spots in Milam County. The week before our pictures we drove around as Kevin showed me all the spots he had picked. A few were good....a few were bad....some were impossible to get to in a vehicle. But after searching and searching, we decided to take most of them right behind Kevin's house on his land in Cameron. With the sun setting over the tree line, we knew it was the perfect fit. I had been looking forward to pictures for a long time...I like to think I am a natural in front of a camera. I mean, have you met our family? Pictures are a part of our daily life. I got my hair cut, my nails done, this was it. I was ready!! We started with our first shots in front of the tin barn then decided to drive to Milano to take some at the sale barn. The wood was a really cool tough and some of my favorites. Kevin found pictures a little more challenging. I told him to act normal but apparently, this wasn't normal. Haha...he was fun to watch and after a while started having fun with it too. Right at sunset we came back to Kevin's house and took the last round of shots in the pasture...with us....his cows...and his guitar. FINALLY, this man was in his happy place. And you can definitely tell as a result. The pictures turned out more perfect than I could have imagined. As I look at them (on a daily basis), I can see the love we have for each other captured perfectly in these shots. A huge thank you to my B for loving us, for being our friend, and for taking pictures that I will treasure for a lifetime. If you are looking for a photographer, check her out!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bridesmaid Boxes

Now that I had picked my 6 ladies to stand by me, I started thinking of creative ways to ask them to be in our wedding. I spent hours on Pintrest...browsed stores for days...and then finally decided that I wanted to put together a "Bridesmaid Box". These boxes ended up more perfect than I imagined and they were full of special items for each of my ladies. This best advice I can give to others planning to make a box for your bridesmaid, is to make it personal. Buy items that are special to you and your girls! That will make it even more unique and special for them! First, I started with the boxes. I was planning to make them with a variety of pictures but found these at Michael's and decided that pre-made boxes would save me time and money in the long run. So glad I picked these. Next I started collecting supplies to go inside.
I started with your typical wedding necessities: Kleenex for the happy tears, wine to celebrate all the special occasions, coffee to help us through the morning afters, a calendar with our wedding date circled so the ladies can save the date, nail polish to have something a little girly, and a ring pop...well, because ring pops are FUN!
Then I made it a little more personal...I bought gold frames and added a picture of me and each bridesmaid in it. To continue the personalization, I bought two different movies to add in. For Lindsey and Lacey (my sisters and Maid/Matron of Honors) I got "My Best Friend's Wedding" and for the other four ladies I got "27 Dresses" for a little comic relief. Everyone always told me that movie was about me. I definitely got some entertainment from the lady at Hastings who asked me if I always buy movies in sets of 4. Um...not usually. Only for special occasions.
Finally I added a few little pieces that I created especially for my ladies based off of ideas I found on Pintrest. My first was a list of #LesleysLadies so everyone knew who all would be included in the bridal party. These looked better printed, but here is an idea...
Then I found this cute list of "Bridesmaid To-Dos" that I really liked. I changed up a few things so that it would apply to my ladies perfectly!
And then finally...I popped the big question along with a personalized letter from me to each of them.
I was super happy with how they turned out and I think the girls were too! Here are some pictures of the final products!
They must've liked them because I got six "YES" replies to the questions! I now have six beautiful bridesmaids. What a gorgeous group of #LesleysLadies!!!