Monday, July 27, 2009

A Surprise 80th Birthday Party For Grandad

A couple of weeks ago most of my mom's side of the family got together to celebrate and honor my grandad's 80th birthday.  We had all planned to go up to the panhandle of Texas to visit him for his birthday, but a few days before the big weekend we had a change of plans.  We shifted the party to the DFW area since my uncle was having a procedure done on his heart the day before.  (He is doing well now, thank God.)  Thanks to my cousin Kasi (and anyone else) that helped rearrange things at the last minute, we were able to have a great night together!  On the night of his party, about 40 of us met at La Hacienda Ranch and waited for him to arrive, so we could surprise him then share dinner.

I didn't know if he would really be surprised, but he said that he was.
~ a cute sign made by Kasi ~
~ Grandad & me ~
~ Grandma & me ~
~ my family ~
My grandparents had not met their newest great-grandchild, Jacob, before that night.
Here are 4 generations  - Grandma, Mom, Emily, & Jacob  
~ Grandad, Emily, & Jacob ~
~ Sweet Asher & Sara ~
~ Jack, Ainsley, Allie, & Claire ~
I was in charge of compiling a scrapbook for Grandad.  Most everyone in the family sent a page (or pages) to me, and I added them to some pages that I had made for his book.  It was awesome to see the kind things and fun memories that my extended family had to include in the scrapbook!
3 Generations
~ Allie, me, & Mom ~
After dinner we all went back to my cousin Kasi's house for cake, ice cream, and a good visit.  I loved hanging out with my family!  (And I LOVE this photo of Grandad laughing!)
~ making a wish ~
~ My brother, Coby ~
~ Allie & Chloe ~
~ Emily & Grandma ~
~ me, Grandad, & Sara visiting ~
~ Poppie & Ainsley ~
He always has a baby in his lap!
~ Grandad & his girls ~
Maxine, Jeannie, & Stella
~ The Original 5 ~
My grandparents had 3 girls.  With all of the family that has been added since then, we are up to 55 members... and counting!  (So --- no, a group shot was not feasible.)


Prayers for Stellan
I have mentioned before a baby and his mommy that I keep up with through her blog. He has had trouble with his heart his entire short, little life, but since last night his health has been declining rapidly. Please pray with me today for this sweet family. From the sound of things, it could be a matter of life or death.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What We've Been Doing...

Last week, the kids and I visited my sister, Sara, and her family.  We had a great time!  Until I have time to post pictures of all of our adventures in Oklahoma, here are my favorite 2 things that we played with while we were there...

~ Asher ~
~ Ainsley ~
Yep, they are adorable!

Jack's Musical

Last week Jack was part of an amazing day camp, Week Of Worship. It was held at the First Baptist Church in in our area. Allie had done this camp before, and we were very impressed with it... and we were just as impressed again this year. During the week of camp, the kids are taught and work on a musical each day. They also have Bible time, snack, lunch, and afternoon activities (this year they included a childrens' entertainer, going to play putt-putt, having a water play-day at the church, and going to a mini-waterpark). Then, after a week of fun and learning, the kids perform their musical on Friday night. Jack loved it! And we were so happy that he got to have this great experience.

One of Jack's favorite things about the week was that he got to share it with his buddies.
~ Jack & Jack ~
~Zach & Jack ~
~ his littlest fan ~
My sister's family (including little bitty Jacob) came to watch Jack perform.

I love my boy!
~Cousin Claire & Cooper ~

The DMA & The Aquarium

One day last week I took Allie and Cooper to downtown Dallas while Jack was at day camp. Allie is my very artistic child - she loves to look at art and create it - so when I heard about the first Tuesday of the month being FREE at the Dallas Museum of Art, I knew where we would be this month on the first Tuesday. On that day, the museum caters to small children with crafts and such in one section which Cooper loved. The rest of the museum was normal, and Allie and I really loved looking at all of the art.

~ making his own art ~
~ Cooper's mask ~
~ Allie with a Monet ~
The black & white paintings were her favorite.
Cooper's attention didn't last as long as ours, but he was a trooper for a long time.
After the DMA, we went to The Spaghetti Warehouse where my friend James met us for lunch.

Before I was a mom, I was a nanny. The family that I worked for the longest hired me when they had a 3 year old (Jordan) and a 3 month old (James). I worked for them for almost 4 years, and by the end of that time we were all very much like family. I had been with their family through chicken pox and potty training, horrible sicknesses and hospitalizations, terrible twos and terrific twos, and vacations... and life in general. I loved those boys almost like they were my own! When I stopped working for their family, it was to come home full-time and be a mommy to the baby that I was about to have. They got busy with school, and I got busy with Allie... then Jack... then Cooper... and about a gazillion other things, so we have not seen each other as often as we should have. Thankfully, our love for each other has remained, and with the addition to Facebook to our lives we have all become a more regular part of each other's lives. Shortly before the kids' and my trip downtown last week, James told me that he's like to get together with me, and we decided to go to the Dallas World Aquarium together. He planned to meet us for lunch, and when he walked in I was surprised to see his big brother, Jordan, with him. I was so happy to be surprised by him! Jordan said a quick "hi" then was off with his girlfriend, and James, Allie, Cooper, and I ate lunch then went to the aquarium together. It was so wonderful to spend time with him!

My little boys have grown up!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Another Summer Concert

Evidently, the summer is concert season. Who knew? So just about the time that Allie & I went to the Jonas Brothers concert we started hearing about the Demi Lovato/ David Archuleta concert that was coming to town. Since Allie pays for her own concert tickets, she was not sure that she could afford to see another concert so soon. Well, 2 nights before the DL/DA concert we checked ticketmaster to find that the tickets were on sale for a fraction of the cost of the original price. I guess that the concert was not selling out like they had projected... which worked out good for us! Allie, Jack, and I ended up getting tickets and meeting up with some friends for the concert. It was a really fun night. The concert was great - both of those kids are so talented! And being with my kids and our friends was so fun!
~ me and the kids before we went to the concert ~
We have not downloaded concert photos yet.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Zilker Park, The Hotel, Hula Hut (and other thoughts on Austin's food)

I know, I know... enough about Austin, already.  I feel the same way.  But when one takes over 300 photos of one's family's non-weekend getaway... there tends to be several blog posts that come of it.  Naturally.  And when one is busy with a gazillion other projects the week after the said non-weekend getaway, it sometimes takes one a week to get all of those posts posted. Rest assured, my friends, this is my final post on our time away in Austin and the surrounding area.  Until next time, of course,  that "one" visits the lovely city again anyway.


On the afternoon of our "Austin Day" (after we had spent the morning at the capitol), we went to lunch at what we vote our favorite restaurant of the trip.  It is called Home Slice Pizza, and oh my goodness, it was marvelous!  We sat at the bar where we could have a front row view of the girl that was throwing pizza dough and watched the delicious pies being made right before our very eyes... which inspired Corey & me to order something that we would not have otherwise ordered.  A pizza with sausage, red peppers, and ricotta cheese.  We don't even really like ricotta cheese that much, but mercy! it was delicious!  If you are ever in Austin, you must visit Home Slice Pizza!

After lunch we visited Zilker Park.  My sister has mentioned it several times, and it was fun to check it out for ourselves.  We took a look at the Barton Springs Pool but opted to go back to the hotel for a swim after a train ride around the park.

Cooper wore his goggles the whole time "because it was sunny".
Seriously - even a ride on a kiddie train while on a mini-vacation can do wonders for a marriage.  Gotta keep life interesting!
~ brothers ~
After the train ride, we went back to the hotel for a swim in the pool.

~ the view from our hotel room window ~
On our last day there, we loaded up then headed to lunch at Hula Hut (a must when you visit Austin, evidentially).  We sat on the deck while we waited for our table then went inside for lunch and some air-conditioning.  Both were wonderful!  We loved the atmosphere here, and the food was really good too.

After lunch, we went downtown for a little while and the kids got souvenirs at my friend Stephanie's mom's store on Congress Ave.  Then, we made a stop at Hey Cupcake for to-die-for cupcakes that we ate in the car on our drive home.

So, if  you can't tell... it was a great little get-away for our little family!  I am so thankful that Corey and I share the desire to create memories and invest time with our kids.  We have found that if we are creative enough we can make super-great memories without a ton of time or money, and there truly is no other thing on earth that I would rather do!  

Thank you to those of you that gave us ideas for things to do in Austin.  When I posed the question on Facebook, I got lots of input - everything that we did came from those ideas.  There are still several other places that people recommended that we will try to visit in the future.  I thought that this was funny --- when I asked for Austin ideas on Facebook, almost every idea included a restaurant.... and every restaurant that we tried was GREAT!  You people know how to eat!  And Austin knows how to feed its people!  :)  

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