Monday, June 30, 2008

Room to Room Bridal Shower

One of my jobs for Kayley's wedding was to pick the theme for her bridal shower. We picked a "Room to Room" theme and are including recipe cards for each guest to bring their favorite recipe card as well. My mom and I just battled the computer to come up with these cards to insert in the invitations...

The Rest of the Weekend

We had a lot of fun with Mike's family the rest of the weekend, especially Ella who got to play with Aunt Chloe all day, every day. She also went to the Galveston beach with them on Saturday and LOVED it! Both the girls slept in this morning - they were wiped out!

Chloe completely styled Ella, head-to-toe :-)!

This one is from a few weeks ago and I forgot to post it...2pm church is tough on the little ones and Mike brought Addie home for a nap after sacrament meeting. She passed out in the car on the way home and he took this picture.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

SURPRISE!!!! Mike is 30!!!

Mike's birthday is on Monday and he is turning the BIG 3-0 so I wanted to do something special. The problem is, Mike is not one for big parties and social gatherings, so it was a little tricky thinking of something that would be a big deal, but he would still enjoy. I knew I wanted to surprise him somehow and after much thought came up with an idea incorporating his favorite and food, especially shredded beef tacos. I emailed our families and Mike's friend Josh, who grew up with him and happens to be in Houston for school right now, from a new email account (it is hard and stressful to be sneaky!) and after tossing around some ideas we hatched our plan. They were all to meet at Chacho's at 6:30pm and Mike, the girls and I would show up...Surprise! Mike's parents told him they weren't going to be able to come out for his birthday and mailed him a Chacho's gift card. When he picked me up at the airport Monday night he wanted to go right then and use it so I had to come up with an excuse - one crisis averted. Then yesterday he wanted to go eat at 4pm, waaaaay too early! I don't know why I planned 6:30pm originally, we never eat that late, but I decided I could probably stall him until 5:30pm and went outside to make frantic phone calls. First to his family, who had to drive 3 hours from San Antonio, and then to my family, my grandparents and Josh - luckily everyone was ok with the new time and I set to work being as slow as possible. I went to the gym and took my time, came home to get ready and took my time and then I had to keep forgetting things in the house when we were getting in the car. We pulled up to Chacho's a little before 5:30pm so I was a little worried how the timing would play out, but it worked perfectly! Josh and Stephanie (and baby Eli) walked in right when we did, which was pretty funny (they talked about what CRAZY odds it was to both show up right then) and when we walked into the restaurant everyone was there already and yelled surprise - we totally got him :-)! I am so proud that we actually pulled it off!
Hope, Chloe and Ella.
Mike, Eli, Stephanie and Josh.
Me and Mike, my OLD man :-).
Adeline and Grammy.
Kayley and Brittany.
Chrissy and (my) Mom.
Gabriella and GreatFrog.
Ili, Scott, my Dad and Mike's Dad.
Stephanie, Mike's mom, baby Eli and Josh.
THE Cutest Couple :-).
Sweet Adeline.
Grandfather, his daughter and granddaughters.
Aunt Chrissy and Ella Bella.
...ThE FaMiLy PiCtUrEs...

...ThE FrIeNd PiCtUrEs...

I made two Strawberry Whipped Sensation desserts and we let Ella decorate one of them. It was sooo adorable, she made the little ring of strawberries all on her own and was so proud of her beautiful, creative design :-)!

My Recent Reads: The Poisonwood Bible and Emergence

I just finished re-reading The Poisonwood Bible and I loved it even more this time around! It is a wonderful story about the family of a Baptist preacher in the 60's who move to the Congo to save the souls of the people there. Kingsolver is a wonderful writer and I love that the book is told from so many perspectives, each chapter being told by one of the 4 daughters or mother. It gives you a glimpse into the political struggles of this still unstable country and shows how the decisions and unwanted influence of "developed" countries can often lead to only more problems for the innocent people who are just trying to survive there. It is fascinating to see how the relationships evolve not only within the family but also within this new society they were thrown into. You see how they are each shaped by their experiences in such a way that Africa will always be a part of who they are. I highly, highly recommend this book! Next on my list is to read Kingsolver's The Bean Trees, which I've heard is also a really good one.
My book club selection for this month was Emergence: Labeled Autistic, by Temple Grandin. I found the book quite interesting and it was a rather quick read. It is written, with help, by an autistic woman who has been able to, in a sense, overcome her disability to make some wonderful discoveries and developments in livestock equipment. While I enjoyed reading the book, what I really found fascinating was our book club discussion on it. Two of the women in our group have autistic children and I felt like I learned so much from them. I think you get a better idea of what someone with autism is experiencing as you read the book. One thing that Temple talks a lot about is how she craved physical touch and contact so much, but at the same time could not handle it when her mother would hug her because she felt out of control. It is inspiring to know that by being allowed to follow her fixation on this cattle holding device she was not only able to help herself, but in turn help many others through her designs.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ella and Addie Catch-Up

I know you have probably forgotten what Ella and Addie look like! Well, they are still really cute :-)! Here are some long awaited pictures now that I am almost caught back up to where my normal life should be...

Mike took the girls to visit his family in San Antonio while I was gone last weekend and Ella was attacked by fire ants while trying to enjoy her picnic - poor thing! Our neighborhood here has a "fire ant week" where we all cover our lawns with fire ant killer (obviously I completely know what I am talking about) and it seems to help with our problem here. Yesterday Ella was a little hesitant about walking in the grass though!
Addie came walking in with Ella's dress up shoes on - she LOVES to put on all of our shoes and try and walk :-).
Look at these little baby blue jays! So cute! Part of why I love having big trees all around our neighborhood is all the birds - we have dove nests in most of our trees too.

Ella has been singing along to every song she hears lately so I tried to catch a couple on video - they aren't the greatest, but you get the idea :-)...
You Ain't Never Had a Friend Like Me, Aladdin
Hey There Delilah, Plain White T's
A Whole New World, Aladdin

Berries for sale

I love that in the summer you can get berries for sooo cheap! Just for your information (if you live in Katy)...Kroger has raspberries on sale 4/$5 and HEB has 99¢ strawberries! YUM, YUM, YUM!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Last 2 Days...

Sunday morning we went to Sacrament meeting at a local chapel. The bishop was speaking and said he was going to be talking about perfect :-)...but his talk ended up really not having to do with friendship much at all, oh well. It was a beautiful day, with the sun out in full force, so we decided to walk down to the beach again.

I knew the beach was going to be cold on this trip, but it was REALLY cold because it was so windy down there away from all the trees and hills. Liz, who I shared a room with in our beautiful Park Place apartment, and I tried sitting down on the warm sand, but we didn't last long before walking back up to the house.

Sitting on the deck blocked by the house and the garage was much more conducive for talking! Eventually we moved it inside where Sara brought out the game Bohnanza. If you recall she is a plant expert and as she started explaining this game about trading different kinds of beans and harvesting them to earn coins I was sure it was not going to be a game for me. Let me just say that after one round we were all hooked and ended up playing it way later than we should have considering we had to get up Early the next morning to head on out. I'm definitely buying it!

Liz took this video of Sara and Caroline with their guitars and I'm so glad she caught this moment. We constantly had music filling our apartment and it was so fun to hear them playing around again :-)!
And ready to head out for the train station and the airport :-(. I was a little nervous before leaving for the trip that I may not have a lot to talk to these girls about. It had been 4 years since I had seen most of them and in many ways we are really different. However, I LOVED every minute of the trip! I loved that we were all able to talk for hours and hours and hours about anything and everything. I was truly sad to be leaving and not know when I'll get to see them all again. We are all different and we learn from each other because of that, but we are all the same in many ways too. I am so thankful that we all ended up thrown together at BYU! I love you girls :-)! (and we better not go this long before the next reunion!)