Sunday, July 18, 2010


Last weekend Josh and I drove to Tyler, TX for the Bi-Annual Russell Family Reunion. Every two years my dad's extended family gets together for a weekend. Among the attendees are all of my Grandpa's siblings and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. (ie - lots of people!!) This year I think we had about 75 people come out. The picture above is Uncle Bill's family (That's my grandpa.) I think that over the last 4 years with all of the marriages and added boyfriends/girlfriends we have literally doubled in size. Crazy.

Catherine, Mom and Me

The weekend technically begins with Friday afternoon/ evening where everyone is traveling into Tyler. Josh and I drove after I got off work on Friday and so we did not get in until everyone was already asleep. We met up with everyone the next morning as is usual and grandparents and our family cook breakfast for everyone complete with the most amazing pancakes you will ever put in your mouth (Grandpa gave me the recipe to take home and try myself this time...) Josh and I woke up a little late and managed to get passed up on all of the regular pancake and serving line duties which was fine by us... now that we have so many people in our family (see picture at beginning of blog) there are many more people than there are jobs to do and so we managed to provide moral support as they were finishing up breakfast.

After breakfast we LET THE GAMES BEGIN!! As is customary there are tournaments for horseshoes, mini-golf, basketball, fishing, 42, volleyball, did I leave anything out? Everyone has to team up in pairs with someone who is not in their generation... it makes for some very interesting pairs to say the least. I teamed up with Aunt Sissy for horsehoes and we were eliminated in the first round... not surprising. Josh teamed up with my Great Aunt Ellen for horseshoes (as usual) and they played really well but got rained out and were unable to finish - to be postponed until next time. They are currently the reigning champs for horseshoes throwing which I think is awesome.

Josh throwing the horseshoe...

When the rain started in that afternoon we were all stuck inside and the 42 tournament began... since I never learned how to play 42, Josh and I decided to gather up some of the others that had never learned to either and we taught them how to play a Hewiett favorite - Capatalism. It was great. Aunt Sissy definitely had beginner's luck beat us all.

Aunt Sissy, Cousin Vicki, Josh, Jenni, Me and Uncle Jean-Claude

Later in the afternoon we held the Bi-Annual Russell Reunion Auction. We hold this at every reunion to help pay for the expenses of food and housing for the next reunion. Everyone is supposed to bring items that they made or family heirlooms they would like to share and put them in the auction. This usually does very well and this year was no different. It is definitely a fun way to share and raise money for next time. The pictures below are the items that I made - pillows from Calico Corners fabric and some seasonal wreaths. It was a lot of fun!

Molly came along on the trip with us as well. She did really well on the 9 hour one-way car ride to and from Birmingham to Tyler down I-20. Throughout Mississippi the interstate gets a little bumpy and kept her head in the floor and was breathing very deeply for about 2 hours, but other than that she did great! She did really well playing with everyone all weekend - although I think she was not very amused by all of the water guns that were distributed to the kids 10 and under. By Saturday evening, she was tired and we had to coax her down out of the loft in my mom's cabin when we were heading back to ours....

On Sunday morning before everyone leaves to drive home we all have breakfast, a church service and then a pinata hitting together. Its tradition. For the pinata, we get to hit it in order from youngest to oldest... about 6 years ago or so all of the little kids were not so little anymore and then I became accustomed to the pinata being broken open before they get to my age group. Its okay, it is still fun to watch.

My cousin Natasha taking her turn


Sunday July 11 was actually my sister Catherine's 22nd birthday. (O boy do I feel soooo old...) My mom, Catherine and my sister's boyfriend Dan all drove to Tyler as well and so we caravanned for a while along I-20 and stopped for lunch at Wendy's for Catherine's birthday (lovely place I know, we had to make it quick for Molly's sake.) It was so good to see them and spend some time with Catherine around her birthday weekend.

Overall we had a wonderful weekend and we can't wait until next time!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


So... I HAVE MY OWN OFF- ICE! I abso- lutely love it. When I took this job I definitely had no idea that I would be getting my very own own office, but I must admit that it is very nice. I even have a window - which is kinda funny because it stares at a concrete wall next to our building, but I am definitely not complaining. Very "designer-esk" if I do say so myself... complete with stylish guest chairs that are very uncomfortable to sit in, cute boxes to separate my projectsin, funky quarter-turned carpet tiles and of course, I cannot leave home without my hot pink hard hat!! I love everything about it and I am just so humbled and thankful for this new job. God has blessed me tremendously and I want to glorify him with everyone task I complete and person that I come across in this position.

Another shot of the office...

Our Conference Area

Our Resource Library - we are rather busy.

I absolutely love my new job!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


This past week I got put on my first official project team here at Capstone, and guess where the project is located?!?!? Only the most awesome college town in the world... GAINESVILLE, FL!! It is called the Sanctuary Student Housing at the University of Florida. A few years back, the First Baptist church in downtown Gainesville decided to move to a new facility and Capstone decided to buy the property, complete with the sanctuary built in 1923 in order to preserve the buidling and use it as sort of a "front door" to a housing complex that will be built around it. You can read all about it in this Gainesville newspaper article here. The article is back from 2008 - it has taken that long to get funding for the project... as of right now we are hoping to move forward and complete the project by the fall of 2011. Very exciting! You don't know how cool it is to be working on a project in my college town... I can't wait to visit the site! (The picture above it an artist's rendering of University Ave with The Sactuary on the left and some of the proposed housing buildings to the right.)

One discussion that Josh and I had once I figured out what this project was all about was whether or not we should feel guilty for using a "church" as a clubhouse of sorts... It really bothered me at first. After some consideration and prayer, Josh and I really believe that God's "church" is His people... not the buildings they meet in. It is a little hard to remember this at times... this body of believers moved to another location in order to cut down on their overhead costs, hopefully they will be able to glorify Christ that much more with the money they are able to save and therefore give to furthur his kingdom. As part of the development plan, it is agreed to preserve the sanctuary as a historical monument as a reminder in Gainesville's history of the first baptistcongregation that was established in the city.

I am so incredibly excited about my new job. I am so thankful and just want to praise God for this wonderful opportunity He has provided for us. (Side note - my name is officially on the company wesbite - check it out!)

Saturday, July 3, 2010


HAPPY BIRTH- DAY MOM! We love you very much and we wish we could be there for your birthday. (This picture was just a couple of years ago, right? I know, you are only a couple years past 46...)

Miss you and can't wait to see you next weekend!
Much love,