Monthly Archives: January 2009

Garage Organization

Garage Organization

On Saturday, Matt and I worked in the garage taking down an unreliable ceiling shelf and putting up some heavy duty garage shelving.  Since we moved in, the garage has been really unorganized and was really bothering both of us.  Its not completely finished yet, but we made TONS of progress yesterday and hopefully will get the rest of the stuff put up in the next few days.  Here are some before and after pictures.

The ceiling shelf shown in this picture was here when we moved in and it just wasn’t overly useful.  In order to get to the back of the shelf, you actually had to lay on the the shelf, which made us nervous.  We didn’t really trust the guy’s construction either…the marks he made on the wall didn’t line up with the shelf itself and some of it wasn’t quite square with the wall.  The front ledge of the garage was just crap central.  It was difficult to get to stuff when we needed it because it was all just stacked on top of everything else.  For someone like me with OCD…it was truly awful.

Another before shot…

Finally finished!  We have some extra space on the right to add more shelving as we need it, but for now…this is perfect.

We also have hooks to put on the side walls for things like rakes, shovels, the weedeater, brooms, etc…  We love our new garage!

Crystal Beach

Crystal Beach

Last weekend before Matt and I had to go back to work, we took a few hours and drove down to Galveston and Crystal Beach to see the damage done by Hurricane Ike.  Its been almost 4 months since the storm came in, but this was the first time we’ve been able to get down there.  Because we had seen so many pictures on the news and internet, we had an idea of what to expect, but its much harder to see it all in person.  I think it was harder for me to look at it than Matt because so much of my life was spent down there.  Between different family members, we had 5 beach cabins and all but one of them is completely gone.  All of the restaurants we used to eat at are gone, the grocery store is bad shape, and there’s not a gas station in sight.  Nana and Papa’s church is completely destroyed.  The only things remaining are some bricks, the baptistry (because it was sunken into the floor of auditorium), and the slab.

Anyways…about the trip…We started to see the destruction as soon as we got near the causeway.  You could still see debris along the highway.  Galveston looks bad, but it really doesn’t look any worse than I expected it to.  Lots of work is being done and lots of places have reopened.  We drove along the seawall, which is in pretty bad shape in many places, and we could see all of the piers that were washed away.  Somehow, the old Flagship Hotel that sits on a pier over the water is still there, though one of the front walls was ripped off and the bridge from the seawall to the hotel is washed out.  We boarded the ferry and rode across to Bolivar to see how it compared and it didn’t.  It looks like a war zone.  There is garbage and debris EVERYWHERE…literally.  Piles of debris line the highway and you can see stuff like mattresses, appliances, toilets, couches, etc…all mixed in with the lumber from the cabins.  We drove down each street that my family had cabins on and it was definitely hard to see.

These red pilings are all that is left of Aunt Joyce’s cabin.  In the picture on the left, you can also see a dryer…which I am thinking could be from her cabin.  Next door to her cabin was the cabin my grandparents owned when I was little.  There is absolutely NOTHING left of it…not even a piling.

This is the plot of land my grandparents cabin used to be on.  We sold it a long time ago, but there were so many family memories in these two cabins…squeaky fans, creepy bathrooms, no air conditioners, sunburns, and itchy couches.

The front of Vick and Katha’s cabin…the only cabin in our family left standing.  This cabin was built just a couple of years ago, so obviously it weathered the storm pretty well.  The slab is either gone or completely buried in the sand, their grass is gone, and the dunes in front are much smaller.  The only other damage than the front porch is some missing siding on one side, the stairs are gone, along with the garages and outdoor showers.  Everything inside is still perfectly in its place and there is a fine layer of sand EVERYWHERE…no big deal compared to what other people have to deal with.  And…Vick already has the building permit to start the repairs, so that is definitely good news.

The road behind Vick and Katha’s cabin completely washed out…

Bolivar Church of Christ…they have nothing left.  This is where my grandparents go to church.  They had just finished remoldeling and adding on to the building…I hadn’t seen it, but heard it looked great.  The sunken part at the front of the picture is the sunken baptistry in the auditorium.

the white tent is where the Bolivar Church of Christ is now meeting…

I walked up to this as I wandered around on the slab on the church and as I got closer and got down to look at it…I realized that it is a song book.  I found two of them…who knows how many more are buried in the sand around the slab.

close up of the song book

The famous Mama Teresa’s Flying Pizza…good thing we REALLY enjoyed it last time we ate there…

These are just the places that we could get close enough to and get some pictures.  We saw where Monica and Brad’s cabin used to be, but couldn’t get to it because of debris and sand and we drove by where Cecil and Catherine’s cabin used to be, but I wasn’t 100% sure that it was his land, so I didn’t want to take pictures of random property.  Tommie’s cabin and land I’m pretty sure is now in the water, and we couldn’t get to it either.  It was a sad day, but I’m glad I went down there.  I wasn’t shocked at all by what I saw, but it was very hard to look at.  Its also hard to think about how long it will take before it is rebuilt.  Matt says he thinks it will be 20 years or so…I will be almost 50 years old!  It makes me sad because our kids will never be able to have the memories there that I have.

Mother Nature’s power is just amazing, but what is more amazing is how God protects and blesses his people.  Yes, Bolivar Church of Christ lost everything, but they have not lost their faith or their attitude of service.  They’ve been down there serving the people and holding services for those who are left.  While I miss what is gone, I’m excited to see what Bolivar becomes.

A Few of My Favorite Christmas Gifts…

A Few of My Favorite Christmas Gifts…

Christmas was awesome this year and I want to share some of my favorite gifts with you.  I love these gifts so much because most of them are so personal.

I know its kinda crooked, but this is probably my favorite gift.  There is a shop in Abilene that sells signs like this for almost $200.  Each picture is supossed to be a different letter to spell a specific word.  This is our last name, MANGES, but instead of just ordering it from the shop in Abilene, my sister went around town and took the pictures herself and put this together for us.  It means so much to me and is so much more special because she took the time to take all of the pictures and have it framed for us.  Thanks, Jillie, we love it!

my mom bought us these pictures to go in our bedroom

these are the curtains in our bedroom…they weren’t a Christmas present, but my mom had them in Abilene and finally brought them back to me.  The tassels that gather the curtains in the middle, however, were a gift.  Thanks, Mom!

I used some of my Christmas money to buy this AWESOME Ipod Dock.  It sounds AMAZING!

this is an old window frame from a church…my mom found it at an antique store in Abilene. LOVE IT.

these hang in our breakfast area…and I promise the walls are the same color…stupid camera

Matt got me two flower pots like this…they are sitting on our front porch…now all they need are some flowers!

These are just a few of my favorite gifts.  Absolutely love the additions to my clothing and shoes collection and the gift cards and cash.

2008: A Recap

2008: A Recap

2008 was a really eventful year for us.  Here’s a recap…

January – we celebrated our first New Years as a married couple at our friend’s ranch in Hamilton.  Our good friends Zach & Molly got married in Dallas.

February – I started searching for a teaching job in the Houston area.

March – Matt was invited to speak at a Civil Engineering Conference in San Francisco and we took a little spring break vacation during the week of the conference.  San Francisco was awesome!  Oh and my job hunt continued…

April – Matt and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary on the 28th.  We started house hunting in Katy and my job hunt continued.  I attended a Ladies’ Retreat with the Bolivar Peninsula Church of Christ…it was awesome!

May – I officially resigned from my position as 10th grade World History teacher at Bryan High School.  My hunt for a replacement job in the Houston area continued.  Our good friends Jeff and Katie got married in College Station.

June – We found a house and made an offer!  Matt finished the coursework for his Masters degree and my mom and I threw Cortney’s Beaumont Bridal Shower.

July -We officially started packing to be out of our apartment by the end of the month.  Matt started working at his company full time.  I took a trip Abilene for a week and FINALLY got called to come in for an interview at Cy-Ridge High School.  The closing on our house was delayed by a couple of weeks.  We took a family trip to the ranch and enjoyed relaxing by the pool.  We packed up the apartment and the moving truck and spent our last couple of nights in College Station with our dear friends, Jeff and Katie.

August – We left College Station on August 1st and parked our moving truck for a few days while we stayed with family waiting for our closing day.  As if we hadn’t waited long enough, tropical storm Eduard caused our closing day to be delayed yet again.  We finally closed and moved…all in the same day…and it rained…it has rained EVERY SINGLE TIME I HAVE MOVED…maybe thats a sign…  Matt graduated from Texas A&M with his Masters degree in Civil Engineering.  I was FINALLY offered a job as a 9th grade World Geography teacher at Cy-Ridge High School.  My dear friend Cortney married Brandon in Dallas.  A new school year started.

September – Hurricane Ike…need I say more?  School was cancelled for almost 2 weeks.  Oh and we did finally find a church home.

October – Made our first mortgage payment, bought a new car, and got a dog…the last two were in the same day.

November – Participated in an historic presidential election, celebrated Thanksgiving with our families, went to Abilene to see my family and watch the ACU football team finish their perfect regular season.

December – Christmas, shopping, Hannah’s graduation from Harding University in Arkansas, more shopping, 2 weeks off from school, Christmas vacation to the ranch, out to dinner at Pappadeaux for New Years Eve, fireworks in the neighborhood (even though they’re forbidden by the Homeowner’s Association), and I was asleep before 2009 started!

2008 was definitely our most exciting and adventurous year so far.  It was a year that no doubt showed us how lucky we are to have each other and supportive families who love us very much.  We survived the frustrations of buying our house, came through the hurricane with no damage and great stories, and managed to live with only 1 car for almost a whole month.  But in the end…we loved, laughed, cried, prayed, were tried, worried, and most importantly, fell more in love with each other than the year before.  What more could we ask for?

Here’s to 2009 – may it be a year full of love, laughter, and even a few trials.  Happy New Year!

Climbing Enchanted Rock

Climbing Enchanted Rock

The day before we all left to go home, a few of us decided to go climb Enchanted Rock in Fredericksburg.  Enchanted Rock is this huge granite formation in the hill country of Texas and its actually the 2nd largest granite formation of its kind in the United States.  Second only to the formation in Stone Mountain Georgia.  It was the warmest day we had had since we’d been there, but it was absolutely beautiful!

Monica & Brad ready to climb the rock

Matt, me, and my dad

Rachel & Bailey

my parents

the whole gang at the top of the rock…the views were awesome!

My brother and me coming down the rock…he was a genius and wore his cowboy boots to climb…what a moron.  I had to hold his hand on the way down so he didn’t slip.

We rounded out our day with some Mexican food in Fredericksburg and then enjoyed our last night at the ranch.  We all headed home on New Years Eve.

Campfire at the Ranch

Campfire at the Ranch

We decided to build a fire in the fire pit one night and grilled burgers and hot dogs.  We even finished off dinner with smores over the fire.

Jeff and Christopher…thats a frightening combination of guys dealing with our food over the fire…such a manly oven mitt my brother has on his hand…haha

Monica (my aunt), Rachel (her daughter), and Bailey (Rachel’s boyfriend)…all enjoying the fire

hanging out around the fire

Alexandrah and Ben enjoying dinner by the campfire

Christmas Vacation

Christmas Vacation

The day after Christmas my whole family packed up and headed to the ranch outside of Fredericksburg.  We were there until New Years Eve.  It was an awesome week of just hanging out and relaxing.  The guys were able to do some hunting and my dad, Papa, and Jeff all shot deer on this particular trip.  Matt was hunting for turkeys, but never was able to get a good shot on one.  The girls spent most of the week just relaxing.  We walked around the ranch, rode 4-wheelers, and rode around on the Rangers.  The scenery and the animals out there are just absolutely gorgeous.  We always love our times at the ranch.

Alexandrah and Ben on the 4-wheeler…Amelia in the background

Rachel, Bailey (her boyfriend), & Ben

Ben and me throwing rocks into the creek

these rams followed us all around when we were in the creek bottom…I guess they thought we had food.

Amelia and Ben in the hammock

Christmas Pictures

Christmas Pictures

Our Christmas tree…before I finally decided on a topper I liked.

I put 1700 lights on it and even melted…yes, melted the first cord I had them plugged into!

So…we had these grandiose plans to do our roof line with the big clear C9 lights this year, so we borrow a huge extension ladder, buy all the lights and roof clips and climb up to the roof and realize our roof is WAAAAY too steep to stand on.  Instead…we bought some yard stakes and lined the driveway and sidewalk and then did lights in the all the bushes and around the trunks of the trees.

My sister and brother opening gifts Christmas morning.

Me in all my glory on Christmas morning…notice my dad’s thumb in the top left of the picture…way to go Jims!

My parents watching us open gifts.

Holiday Season 2008

Holiday Season 2008

We kicked off the holiday season with our annual Thanksgiving Feast with my family.  This year was a little bit different…and honestly, a little bit weird.  Because of the major damage Nana and Papa’s house sustained during the hurricane, we weren’t able to have Thanksgiving at the Big House.  That was really hard for most of us, as it was the first time in probably 13 years that we haven’t been at the house for Thanksgiving.  But thankfully, Vick and Katha have huge hearts and opened up the old Beaumont Christian High School building for our big feast.  Some of the family even spent the night at the building to reminisce the nights spent there during Hurricane Ike.  My parents drove in the day before Thanksgiving and stayed here with us, which was lots of fun.  Even though it was strange to not be at the house for Thanksgiving, it was still an awesome day with our family.  We are truly blessed to have such a happy and healthy family.

We didn’t do alot of Black Friday shopping, but my mom, sister, and I did hit up Target that morning (but not until about 9 AM).  We got a few things, but nothing big.  We weren’t able to do a whole lot more shopping because my parents had to get back to Abilene for Jillie and Christopher to go back to work.

The next weekend we had our Christmas celebration with Matt’s dad and Michelle.  We combined our Christmas celebration with Matt and his dad’s birthdays.  It was a really nice evening and it was even cold that night…cold enough for a fire!   Definitely helped make it feel more like Christmas!  The following afternoon, Matt’s mom, Kevin, Danielle, Daniel, and Grandma came to our house for a belated Thanksgiving celebration.  I cooked all day getting ready for them and we had a really great time.  Matt fried a turkey for us and his family enjoyed their first fried turkey experience.

The first couple of weeks of December absolutely flew by.  We picked out our Christmas tree and decorated the house and we were absolutely thrilled with the outcome.  The Christmas shopping extravaganza commenced and we were extremely successful with our shopping endeavors this year, thanks to my newfound friend,  We got some really great stuff to give to our families.

We spent Christmas Eve with Matt’s mom and family and had a great night together.  When we got back home, my family was already here and had turned the game room upstairs into Santa’s workshop.  There were bags and boxes and gifts absolutely EVERYWHERE!  My brother and I baked some Christmas cookies, concocted some “trash” (chex mix), and put together stocking for my parents.

Christmas morning was early…VERY VERY early.  We had to get up and get started opening gifts by about 7:00…which is crazy since we are all grown up now.  But, we had to be in Beaumont by 11:00 to start our Christmas celebration with my grandparents and cousins.  We had Christmas at the school, just like Thanksgiving and it was pretty great.  They set up a Christmas tree and we had a bunch of couches and stuff and just had a really great day with everyone.  The kids got a bunch of really awesome toys that fascinated even the adults.  I think the big hit of the day were the motor bikes that Amelia and Harrison got and the animatronic dinosaurs named Kota that all the little kids got.

I will blog about some really awesome gifts we got from our families in another posting and also post some pictures from the holidays.