Anchors Aweigh : February 2013


Pre-Ceremony: Getting Ready

The day of your wedding is filled with jitters and butterflies and just plain excitement. Because we had a 2:00 pm ceremony, there wasn't a lot of time to anxiously pace or twiddle your thumbs. It takes a long time for a bride and her posse to get ready, and we didn't waste a minute! I had a hair appointment that morning and immediately went to the bridal party's room in our chapel to get ready with the girls. Luckily there was a huge counter and mirror, because there were curling irons, straighteners, and make-up containers everywhere! By that point, I really wasn't nervous because we were all at the chapel together, and I knew Parker was just a few rooms away. Getting ready on your wedding day with your girlfriends is the ultimate dress-up party!

Meanwhile, in the boys' room...

Needless to say, it didn't take them long to get ready at all. They had a nice little social hour while we girls obsessed about every little detail. Sounds about right.

Danielle led us all in a prayer before the ceremony began, just as I had done for her wedding. I cannot reiterate enough how special it was to get ready with my family and best friends! It was a perfect morning, and the best was still yet to come...

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our time in Pensacola is coming to an end, and we should be living in a different state within a couple of months. I have started going through our pantry and looking for recipes I can make with ingredients we already have so as to waste as little food as possible when we do move. I decided to throw all my favorite ingredients into a mixing bowl and make the ultimate chocolate chip cookies. These babies were delicious, so I had to share! I think I used everything but the kitchen sink, but they were very popular in my house!

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup oats
1/2 cup coconut

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
3. Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla extract in large mixing bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
5. Stir in chocolate chips, nuts, oats, and coconut.

Place dough on a cookie sheet lined with foil, and bake about 9 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and enjoy!

Our Perfect Mix of Productivity and Relaxation

This weekend was our perfect mix of productivity and laziness. We don't want to feel like we completely wasted the weekend by laying on the couch the entire time, but we also don't love waking up Monday morning feeling like we need a weekend to recover from our weekend. I'm all about the balance. Friday night we were itching to get out of the house, so we met some friends at our favorite local Mexican restaurant, Rio Bravo. Funny story: We were there with four other guys, and three of them all ordered drinks and didn't get carded (we are all between ages 23-25). I just ordered a water, and then Parker ordered a beer. Without hesitation, the waitress looked at Parker and said "Can I see your ID? Sorry, you're baby-faced!" We were all laughing and giving him a hard time, and then she pointed to me and said "Well I would have asked for her's, but she ordered a water". Sad day for the Phelps duo. On another note, check out the size of the margaritas at this place! Robbie and James ordered these babies and they were giant.

After I ate my weight in chips and salsa, we all went to the bowling alley. I have always been a pretty terrible bowler, but I enjoy the social aspect of it. I was definitely wishing some of my girlfriends could have made it when I pulled out my phone to take pictures because these boys were less than enthused. They eventually cooperated though!

Saturday was definitely the relaxation portion of the weekend. It rained pretty much all day, and I can't think of a better excuse not to leave the house. Parker caught up on his video gaming, I baked, and we had homemade potato soup for dinner and a movie night in. Ahhh, perfection.

Sunday was your typical "get ready to start the week" day, but we did get out for church and a little lunch date at Steak & Shake. We even walked around the mall a little bit where Parker was able to make some friends. Can you spot him?

I took Jenny Jenny took me on a walk for a little workout sesh and we ended the weekend catching up on our favorite TV shows. I hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend as well!!

Happy Monday!

February 14th with the Phelps Trio

Our Valentine's Day was really low key, but neither of us wanted anything super grand. We really aren't big Valentine's Day people, so we don't go all out with the chocolates and the flowers and the lovey dovey gifts. Don't get me wrong, I think Valentine's Day can be cool for newer couples or couples with kids who desperately need a night out, but we are newlyweds (ish) with no kids, so really every night is date night. Our relationship is fairly low maintenance in that we really just enjoy spending time with each other. All that fancy stuff just isn't us. Plus, since my birthday is also on Valentine's Day, we usually just celebrate that instead. That said, we tried to do a few things to make the day special for each other, so here is our Valentine's Day in a nutshell!

Parker made me a delicious breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes. They were so good! I think he's actually an amazing cook and just down-playing it so I continue to cook everything. Just a theory ;).

Parker didn't want me to feel hefty on my birthday, so he made me this little nugget of a pancake. Parker the self-esteem booster strikes again...

 Kidding kidding, I ate my weight in these delicious things!

I set out little treats for Jenny and Parker to wake up to. Nothing fancy, just little love gifts. (And let's be honest, I grabbed the beer from the fridge and the wine from the wine rack to make it look like he was getting more. Don't worry, he thought it was funny.)

Jenny loved her Valentine's Day lamb, which was completely de-fluffed in under 5 minutes.

I had planned on cooking that night, but we found out Parker had the following day off, so we decided to go to our favorite commercial conglomerate, Chilis. We go there at least 2-3 times a month, and it was the first time in over a year we had to wait to be seated! I expected all of the couples, but I didn't realize how many families went out to eat together on Valentine's Day. We enjoyed a little people watching while we waited for a table. When we got back home, I opened the sweet gifts and cards that my family and friends had sent for my birthday. I felt very blessed! Jenny was so helpful and just loved having the bows on her head (sarcasm).

Overall, it was just a great day that we got to spend together as a little family! 

Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner

We all met on the eve of our wedding at Belltower Chapel & Garden to rehearse for the ceremony! For me personally, the rehearsal was a blast and really low stress. It was just our closest friends and family, and we got to do a run through of what the ceremony would look like. As stressful as planning a wedding can be, the day before and the day of the wedding didn't stress me out at all, and I am so thankful for that! Our wedding coordinator took charge of the rehearsal, so I just sat back and tried to take it all in.

Dad and I walking down the aisle :)

My two main guys!

Our wedding party standing in place

Practicing saying "I Do". That was the easy part ;)

Rehearsal success!
After the rehearsal, we all met at the Marriott where my in-laws had an amazing dinner planned! Blue Mesa catered, and it was delicious! I loved having both of our families one last time before the big day. We are blessed with families who love us both so much, and I cannot thank God enough for that.  Each of our Dad's gave a toast to our new life together, and they were both beautiful. I definitely teared up!

I was busy mingling and enjoying the evening and therefore did not snap one single picture. I wish I had thought to do so! These are the only two I managed to find:

My parents and twin

Bride and MOH!

After an evening of family and friends, food, fun, and margaritas, we all retreated back to our hotel rooms. I stayed up with a few of my bridesmaids just talking and enjoying my last official girls night before becoming a Phelps.

Danielle Is Going To Be A Nurse!

Okay yall, I just have to brag on my twin today. She has just received her acceptance letter into TCU's accelerated nursing program!! I have to say I am pretty excited to have a nurse in the family and plan to take full advantage of her when we have little Phelplets running around with ear infections and other childhood illnesses. Her acceptance into nursing school isn't necessarily why I am so proud though. She's a smart girl, and I never really doubted she could get into nursing school once she decided that's what she wanted to do. However, deciding to pursue nursing wasn't the easy or convenient decision.

She graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in education. She thought she wanted to be a teacher but quickly decided after college that teaching was not her passion in life. She thrived in student teaching and currently has a long-term substitute position at the middle school we attended 11 years ago in Midlothian. The faculty and students love her over there. She was told multiple times that a full-time position was her's if she wanted it. All she had to do was say the word. My mom is an amazing teacher and has been for many years, and Danielle definitely inherited that gift. It would have been easy to go the teaching route: she already had the degree, the job was there if she wanted it, and she was good at what she did. She knew though that this wasn't her passion in life and that she wanted to help people in a different way. Even though it meant taking more classes to even be able to apply and then 15 months of nursing school once accepted, she put her mind to it and never looked back.

She officially received her letter of acceptance yesterday, and she will begin nursing school in May! I am so proud of her for following her heart, even if it meant taking the road less traveled. Not many people can say they are passionate about what they do. I have only encountered a few people in life that are truly living out their dream in the professional world, my husband being one of them. The fact that Danielle gets to join this small percentage makes me beyond proud. I love you twin! So excited for your new journey in Fort Worth as a horned frog! (Let's be honest though, we are Aggies first and foremost, so don't forget it!)

Congratulations Danielle!

Birthday Getaway in the Lone Star State

I flew home to The Woodlands this weekend to spend time with my family and celebrate Danielle's and my birthday. I know it technically had not been that long since I was last home for Christmas, but Danielle and I were really bummed out about not being together for our birthday for the first time ever, so I decided to come home. As a twin, it just doesn't completely feel like your birthday unless you celebrate it with your birthday buddy! I know I know, we are a little ridiculous. Parker wasn't able to take leave, so he and Jenny guarded the house until I got back.

Friday night everyone was home, so we had a little Benner family reunion! Dinner, talking, was perfect. Saturday my youngest sister Faith had a track meet all day, but the rest of the girls hi-tailed it to the mall to spend those gift cards from Christmas! First we had a little photo shoot, naturally.

The birthday girls!
I have the cutest pupper nephew!
Sister sister

Don't worry, we have a hard time seeing the resemblance too ;)

We had a great day just shopping and catching up on girl talk. You can't go to The Woodlands Mall and not eat at Panera Bread (okay, we can't), so that was our lunch stop! We decided to call it a day around 3ish so we could get home and spend some time with Dad, but when we got in the car, it was dead. We couldn't get it to start no matter what we did, so we were thankful Dad was just a phone call away! Gotta love quality time, no matter how it happens, right?

That evening we celebrated our birthday, and my parents made an amazing dinner! I probably gained 5 lbs on this trip, but a vacation is a vacation and should be treated as such. Not only did we celebrate our birthday, but there was also another birthday to celebrate! Sister girl Bella turned 4 February 13th, so she was the third birthday girl in the house. Happy birthday, Bells!

One of my best friends Jami came over to celebrate with us, and it was so good to see her! We don't see each other often at all, but when we do we pick up right were we left off and make the most of it. I am so thankful for her friendship!

We all gathered in the living room to open presents and eat cake. Seeing the family was the only present I really wanted, but they all gave Danielle and me sweet gifts and goodies in honor of turning the big 24. I took a picture of the card from my parents because I look forward to seeing it every year. My mom always writes my name and then "2:54" right beside it. I was born at 2:54 pm and Danielle at 3:36 pm, and I always look forward to seeing the time on the card. It's just a neat little tradition that makes my heart happy.

My mom asked Danielle and me what kind of cake we wanted, and we were unanimous in our response. She makes a homemade strawberry cake that is to die for, and it definitely did not disappoint!

Too much deliciousness in one bowl!

My sweet Dad and one of my best friends!

I didn't want to leave without taking a picture with Faith, so we took one right as I was leaving for the airport!

Overall, it was just an amazing weekend of family togetherness. I missed Parker and Jenny, but being home was a wonderful treat. Danielle and I can now say we have gotten to spend every birthday together, including our 24th! I hope that no matter where we are in the world, we can keep up this tradition. We will take it year by year! I came home Sunday to my sweet husband and pup, both of who had been fed and bathed since I left. What more can I ask for?

Love you twin!


Where The Shiny Things Go

Many of you know that last weekend was my birthday, but what I haven't shared is that I got The. Coolest. Gift. from Parker! Seriously yall, I'm in love. I wanted him to share how it came to be, so here is Parker's take!

They always used to say “diamonds are a girl's best friend” … what they meant to say is “accessories are a girls best friends”, and Chelsea is a girl. The problem with having so many accessories is that it is not easy finding places to put them. Chelsea was running out of room and needed a solution fast. This is when “we” decided that I should make her a jewelry armoire for Chirstmas.
Chelsea's jewelry box looked more like a chest of buried treasure

Chelsea's inspiration for her armoire was the armoire of her mother. Unfortunately for me (the guy who had to design the new armoire) the old armoire had been given away.  There were a few features that were important to Chelsea. She wanted to have the ability to hang necklaces, and she wanted plenty of room to store her ever growing collection of shiny things. I wanted it to match our bedroom furniture (which I also built) and to be aesthetically pleasing. So Chelsea and I worked together to draft and initial design.

Initial sketch

Unfortunately for Chelsea, this is about where the project stalled, courtesy of flight school (I am not complaining). Since you are reading about this project in February, I think that it goes without saying that she did not receive the armoire for Christmas. Luckily, there were other things on her wishlist.

You can read about that here

After coming back from Christmas leave, I had the bug to build something. We made a toy box for Jenny, but that was not quite on the scale of what I wanted. That was when I decided to finish up the armoire design. A little brow sweat later and a few sleepless nights (not really), and I had a “final” product.
Main Sketch
The build itself took about four days. Everything was pretty straight forward and there were no major alterations to the initial design.

Building Materials. Note 1: Not all the plywood was used on this project. Note 2: I had to cut the plywood down to a smaller size so it would fit in the Audi.
Gluing the legs

Box construction: The inner plywood box formed the core for the rest of the armoire. I eventually attached the legs on the outside and the drawer rails on the inside.

Legs attached

The doors for the necklaces were one of the more challenging parts of the design. I wanted to make the doors hidden and not obtrusive. The frame was easy enough to make, but the back of the door had to be thin so that there would still be room for the necklaces. I used 1/8'' plywood that I couldn't really sand, and eventually the stain ended up looking (explicit adjectives here).

Necklace doors

The trim was picked to match the other furniture in the room. I was able to use some scrap wood from the drawers. 


 Just to make Chelsea happy... a picture of me in the shop:

Love you!
If you aint makin' saw dust, you aint makin'!

After the build I did something bad: Instead of putting everything together completely before staining (including drawers, doors, handles, etc), I just did all of the finishing work. This was a problem later when a number of small fixes needed tweaking (including some things that would have been significantly easier just to sand). For the record, I did install one drawer with slide before staining just to make sure everything worked properly.

As far as drawer slides go, I could have done them for cheaper. On all previous projects, I used 1x2 with a dado'ed guide right down the middle of the drawer. I did this to make it fancier … really it ended up just making it more expensive (and not really any easier).

Stained with drawer slides installed

After the stain and poly, I attached all the hardware, lined the drawers, and finished off the project. I had some issues with the big drawer fitting properly and the magnetic latches for the side doors. Luckily, these problems were resolved relatively easily. 

The drawer bottoms serve almost no function except to look pretty (and to keep stuff from sliding around).

Drawer bottoms
Side liner installed. Notice the hanging hooks.

In the end the whole project cost just over $200. But you know what they say, you can't buy happiness … just jewelry.



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