Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

To all our family, friends, and loved ones, we wish you a Merry Christmas. May you be blessed to be surrounded by family, may your gifts to each other be the opening of memories of the past to be cherished once more, and dreams of your future in the year to come.


Brandie and Ray

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it SNOW

The pictures you are looking at are not altered in any way. That white stuff covering everything is indeed, snow. In Bryan, TX. This is not a joke. We woke up to a light dusting that was nice and we expected to melt as the sun came up, but a funny thing happened: It never warmed up! It stayed in the low 30s all day and the snow kept on accumulating. You can see before and after pics of the yard from this morning and this evening to see how much gathered over the course of the day. Ray even wrote a message to me on his truck!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tis the season, an Aggie Christmas

For those of you who know us, this is no surprise. For those of you who don't, this is how we get into the spirit of Christmas in our
house. In addition to our normal Aggie paraphernalia, we decorate the house in our Christmas themed Aggie stuff. We also like to have a nice setting on the porch, so we accompany our huge lighted wreath with lighted garland and bows. It helps us to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Baking is a Family Affair

Today the Pheris clan gathered at my house to do all the baking for the Thanksgiving Feast. We
took turns mixing, pounding, poring, and cutting to make a total of 11 delicious treats. We made 2 pumpkin pies, 2 pecan pies, one apple crisp, one cherry crisp, once peach crisp, fudge, pound cake, cinnamon rolls for breakfast and double yeast rolls to soak up all the tasty drippings from the turkey. We wish you all could be here to taste a bit of our decadent deserts.

Birthday Boys

Julius and Christian both celebrate big this month. Julius turns 11 and Christian turns 6! We went in for the weekend to visit them and help them celebrate their birthdays. The youngest is Isaiah and when they all stand together they are three peas in a pod.

Julius wanted a cookie cake for his celebration so we picked him one up decorated in blue and white. Christian is still into Spider Man so I baked him some cupcakes and bought all the fixings for them to decorate with Spider Man goodies.

There was pizza for lunch and some soda to drink, presents to open, and tons of fun and playing by all. There was plenty of talking between uncle and niece about Zelda for a good 15 minutes. There was demonstrations by all using the new toys, it was a great way for them to burn off all of the extra sugar!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


William James Henry Housley, my daddy. Dad would be 64 years old today. Daddy has been gone now for five years, he is still loved and missed very much every day. He was my idol growing up as a child. He was a hard worker and always gave it 100% in all that he did. Dad never gave up and believed that you should work for what you want, so you would appreciate what you have.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Touch of Spring in Fall

Today Ray and I decided to do some work in our garden. While we were planning our strategy of attack to restructure our garden we had a royal visitor. This majestic butterfly decided to grace us with its presence for a while. Ray was able to get the camera and take some great pictures as it fluttered throughout the garden.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Jack my pumpkin, for those of you who are not familiar with Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, the main character is a skeleton named Jack and this is what he looks like.

Ray spent a couple of hours carving my Jack O' Lantern today. As the ghosts and goblins came by the house to do their trick or treating they gave our house an A+ for decorations.

Inside and out we went with the Nightmare Before Christmas theme this year, with the exception of some Lenox pieces here and there. We have enjoyed this Halloween and we hope that all of you have too!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oh what a Treat

Aunt Brandie with the kids decorating cupcakes for a sweet treat! There were many little characters to choose from at this family gathering. Shanna the oldest was a Zombie, Aliceia was a rock star, Christian was a caterpillar, Beulah was Cinderella, Julius was a jock, Zeth was a business man, and Zoe was a princess.

It has been a while since we have all tried to get together in one place and still we did not quite make it. We missed having Blake and Kaleb with us during this fun time. Also, Isaiah was visiting some other friends of the family during this gathering.

Aunt Brandie holding Zoe. She is 3 months old now and she has pierced ears! She was extremely well behaved just like the little princess she is.

Zeth, Beulah, and Christian striking a pose for the camera!! They are the three musketeers when they are together. What one does they all do.
The three peas in a pod! They are so close and will always remain each others greatest supporters and adversaries on occasion. My sister Lulu with her three kids at the Pheris house. All healthy, happy, and having fun! The little princess did her part in entertaining the adults as well as her older siblings did in giving them a run their money.
Sisters, so much alike, but also different in many ways. My nieces started a new private school this year and the teachers and students both get the two mixed up. How, I don't know since they are two grades apart.

Everyone had a great time talking, taking pictures, eating, decorating cupcakes, and playing Rock Band. The kids got so into Rock Band that Zeth was moving around and accidentally knocked a door off of its hinge.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Reggies Favorite Spot

One of Reggie's favorite spots is watching TV with Ray.
When he is extra needy he will go chair to chair from me to Ray.
This is also Ray's favorite spot to relax and unwind after a long day.
He loves to watch football, wrestling, poker, etc... He watches so many shows that there are a total of 42 shows that are set to record on the DVR. I will admit that some of those shows are for me as well.

Trick or Treat

We love to celebrate the holidays and Halloween is one of our favorites. Halloween is almost here and we become more excited as each week passes and we get closer to all the candy and good times. We got all of our stuff down from the attic today and decorated the inside and outside of the house. We wanted to show everyone what the ghouls and goblins will see as they approach our house this "all hallows eve."

The Raven

The Raven

by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow will he leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore

Renaissance Festival

Today we went to the Texas Renaissance Festival. We walked around and took in the different sights, sounds, food, and entertainment. We always hit our favorites with the junk food, including funnel cake, fudge, and kettle corn. We usually hit the Ded Bob show and the Joust each visit along with a stop at one or two other shows. This year was our first year to go to opening weekend and it was muggy!! We made our usual circle and toured the many different and unique shops and by the time we entered the gardens we were soaked through with perspiration! So to say the least, we still had a wonderful time. We love going each year and this year will be one of those years that we go twice. We usually wait until November to go with the cooler weather, but we wanted to experience the Oktoberfest theme this year.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Don't Ya Want Some???

Ray made me these today from scratch! He used a Paula Dean recipe from the Food Network website and they came out awesome. Even the glaze is homemade!

Birthday Boy

Kaleb and big brother Blake playing at Aunt Brandie's house. Kaleb is turning 5 today! Such an important and memorable birthday for our wonderful nephew. We are wishing Kaleb a very special and fun filled birthday!


Aunt Brandie
Uncle Ray

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Austin City Limits Music Festival

Well what can I say, this weekend has been busy. Friday, our good friends came into town. Saturday, we enjoyed the Aggie football game. Now we are wrapping our weekend up with music, food, and fun in Austin. I picked out this concert this summer because I caught wind that Flyleaf was performing. We got into to t-sipville around 11:30 and roamed around the grounds and checked out some stuff. We bought a few things and then settled in and listened to the music. It was hot and dusty, and our allergis and the sun got the better of us, but we had a lot of fun. It was also fun to hear the Cowboys lost to the Redskins, take that Dallas fans!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Whooping it up with Friends

What more can you ask for, its Saturday, September 26, 2008 and our good friends Cesily and Jason came to visit, the weather is wonderful, and A&M won their game against Army (albeit not by the margin we had hoped.) We had great seats on first deck, second row, at the 20 yard line. Ray took some pictures, some of which you see to the right. This was their first Aggie football game, so we made sure to get there early and show them around a bit and do some shopping at the MSC. After the game we went and had a tasty lunch at Wings N More and reviewed the game. It was great to see J-Train get some carries; hopefully that means he is out of Coach Sherman's doghouse and will be a contributor for the rest of the season. We then made sure to hit some of the tent sales, did a bit more shopping, and that evening tried out the new restaurant/pub in downtown Bryan called Murphy's Law. I had the pot roast and Ray had the corned beef and cabbage. It was really good!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ready for Fall

I love Fall, with the temperature lowering and the colors changing it just excites me that my favorite time of year is near. There is just so much to look forward to in the fall with sports.
Football is already here, although not with the results we would like from the Aggies. Volleyball and soccer have already started, and we have a ton of choices of events to watch and cheer our teams on. Ray and I went yesterday to Aggieland and enjoyed our first live football game of the season together. Today we put out our seasonal decorations; it might be a tad bit early but I could not wait to start celebrating the coming of fall. As the seasons change and the holidays come and go I love to decorate and get excited for each and every one. There are so many special moments that can be created and shared with our loved ones that I get excited with that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. So here's to everyone we know, wishing you a very fun and festive start to your fall!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

May God Be With You

May God be with you to guide you when you need direction.
May God be with you when you need to be shown the path to walk.
May God be with you in your darkest moment to give you shining hope.
May God be with you and keep you sheltered and protected from the elements.
May God be with you to lift you up with confidence and wisdom to make it through your voyage.

I know that many of us are going through our own trials and tribulations, worrying about family, friends, and loved ones. Just know that we send our prayers and best wishes in your direction.

Monday, September 1, 2008

One Down, How Many to Go???

The first week of school has passed and the second has begun. I never feel like there is never enough time in the day to do everything that needs to be done, much less the things I really want to do. I am teaching 4 classes of 7th grade Texas History and 2 classes of 6th grade World History/Social Studies this year and my class sizes vary from 14 to 31. Between teaching, planning lessons, attending trainings, and meeting the needs of my students and myself, it seems like a whirlwind of nonstop action.

My day starts at 6:00 a.m. with the alarm going off and me laying in bed until Ray exits from the shower. I am on campus by 6:40 and I have been clocking 12 hour days, which I do not foresee changing for at least the next two weeks. I am excited about my students; I teach around 150 students a day. They are all wonderful, special, and unique in their own way. I hope to enrich their lives as they will mine by just being ourselves. My motto for my students this year is that they are all super stars, that I take pride in who they are and what they do no matter if its in my classroom or in the community.

I am hoping for a terrific year full of good memories and lasting impressions. I wish all teachers a blessed year of success and happiness. Know that when things get crazy, or you feel overwhelmed, that this too shall pass, and a new day will dawn full of possibilities.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Monkeying Around with the Burnham Boys

The Burnham boys came for a visit today! My sister-in-law Heather and two nephews Blake and Kaleb came for the day to visit and play. I bought them new dinosaurs to play with; both boys have loved dinosaurs from a very early age. We had tons of fun. They played with Reggie, running around the back yard and through the house. It was a merry time of playing chase, fetch and giving treats.
They loved the hammock in the backyard. Blake would get on it first, then Kaleb would try and climb up it and wound up flipping big brother off, then he too would tumble to the ground. They would go back and forth from playing outside with the hammock and Reggie to coming back in for water and back to playing with Reggie some more inside.
We all went to eat at Sodolak's for lunch and the boys both ordered steak and polished it off like true Tyrannosaurs Rexs. While eating lunch, they were able to look at the decor and watch Animal Planet. Of course, the boys commented on the hunting trophies on the walls and the different animals they like or want to hunt. Did I mention they are only 4 and 7 years old! Yet they have varied interests and the 4 year old was talking about using a telescope and binoculors to better see the animals, especially Reggie.
We then took a tour of the school where I teach and they had very insightful questions about lockers, maps, where Texas was located, the cafeteria and where to sit to eat their food; they loved this little adventure.
After the school tour we went to the park where they proceeded to run around some more, glide down the slides, climb all over both playgrounds, jump from frightening heights, and even wanted to stay when it started to rain.
We then proceeded back to the house for some cake and ice cream and to play Candy Land before they had to call it a day. They were sad to go, but I am so happy they came and can't wait for another get together!