Monday, June 28, 2010

Marry The Right Person

Things are crazy busy right now. We're having VBS at church and our entire family is involved. Since we're so busy our anniversary has sort of been an afterthought. We'll have to do something special when this week is over, but until then, this came to mind. "Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery." H. Jackson Brown, Jr. I saw that piece of advice on a poster and thought it was so true. Tomorrow Mr. Right and I will celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary.

June 29, 2002

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Road Trip 2010 {Part One}

Road Trip 2010 {Part One}
Texas to St. Louis, MO

Growing up I lived with my grandparents. It’s a long complicated story that I may share at some later time, but let’s focus on traveling and fun things today. For as long as I can remember I’ve loved to travel. It must be all the summers spent on the road with my family as a child. Since my grandparents were retired, they had the luxury of taking long road trips every summer. They planned many of our vacations where we would spend a great deal of time in national parks. I have a deep love for our country’s national parks because of this. I was teary-eyed watching Ken Burn’s documentary about America’s national parks. It brought back so many fond memories.

I’m lucky to have married a man who loves traveling just as much as I do. We are both teachers and have the summers off (huge perk of the job). This is pretty convenient for two people who love to travel. As soon as Christmas break is over we start planning our summer adventure. This summer the agenda called for a visit to a dear college friend, three major league baseball games (happy father’s day to my husband), five states and 2000 miles with two little ones in tow.

Part one of our 2010 road trip began in St. Louis, MO. We visited the Gateway Arch, which is a part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. While in St. Louis, we also attended a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game at Busch Stadium.

Because you can't have a road trip without the hokey photo in front of the state sign.

St. Louis, MO
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

Getting ready to walk to the Gateway Arch

Still walking

Our family with the Gateway Arch in the background and some really tall guy to the right.

The Arch is magnificent.

Mark and Will checking out the display tram car. Ben looks kind of bored sitting in his stroller.

Will posing by the National park sign. (We LOVE National Parks!)

I'm a history teacher and a complete and total history nerd! I thought these National Parks Passport travelogues would be great for the boys. We bought the passports online here and also purchased the companion book that goes with it.

Getting the passport stamped with the help of the nice park ranger.

Ben waiting before we boarded the tram.

About to board the tram car to the observation area of the Gateway Arch

Inside the tram.

Mighty Mississippi

This photo says it all. Will is making his typical face for photos, Ben's belly is hanging out of his shirt, and who knows what I'm thinking here. It's time to call it a day!

The guys with the Arch in the background.

St. Louis Cardinals baseball game at Busch Stadium

Probably one of my favorite photos of Mark and Will. So handsome!

Ben was asleep when we went into the stadium and after he woke up we changed the boys into their matching baseball shirts. Cute!

Still in the process of getting Ben dressed.  I'm putting his shoes on.

This is one of my favorite family photos of the entire road trip.

I like this one of Mark and the boys and the Arch in the background.

It's more like a silhouette of our family, but I thought the field and the Arch looked really great.

Busch Stadium is one of Mark's favorite ballparks of all time.

Next stop, Indianapolis!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Father's Day 2010

I know everyone seems to gush about how wonderful their husband is on Father's Day so I wanted to get in on the action, too. My husband truly is a wonderful father. It's neat to think that the influence he's having on our sons now will help them become godly men that will one day raise a family of their own. I think about the women that my sons will someday marry. I think about how lucky these ladies will be because they will be marrying men who have had the good fortune of growing up in a home with a father who sets an amazing example. He loves our family and makes us a priority. He loves me and respects me and raises our sons in a way to respect women. He knows what's important in life and those values are evident in his life. 

I love you, Mark. Thank you for being such an incredible father!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

LYLAS (Love You Like A Sister)

I’m not really sure how good friendships are formed. It’s hard to know when you are going to hit it off with someone. I don’t think it’s something you can plan, but it’s just something that happens. It’s neat to look back and see how a casual acquaintance can change from being someone you barely know to someone you know almost as well as yourself. I don’t consider myself to have a large circle of best friends, but I have several dear friends who I’m still very close to despite living many miles apart. Just recently I was lucky enough to spend a week with one of my dearest friends in the entire world. We met in college and have stayed in touch ever since. She’s like the sister I never had. Angela is beautiful, smart, creative, chic, savvy, laidback and fun to be around. Her house is amazing and looks like it could be in Better Homes and Gardens or House Beautiful. On top of that, she’s also a great mom and wife.
It had been almost two years since I’d seen her last. The last time we saw each other she was living in Pennsylvania and had a newborn baby. At this visit, I had a little baby who just turned one, her baby is now two and our oldest children are four and 3 and a half. The best thing about a best friend is you can pick up right where you left off. It didn’t feel like we hadn’t seen each other in two years. Hanging out with her reminded me of when we were roommates in college, just now we had husbands and 4 kids between us. I loved every minute of our visit and wish it could have lasted longer.
I’m thankful for good friends and especially friends like Angela. They are few and far between.

The Barbie exhibit at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Ben and Angela

Getting ready to say goodbye at the end of our visit. We're about to cry so I'm glad this photo is not a close up.

Angela has started blogging about all of her creative ideas at Unexpected Elegance. I'm super excited to see all of the inspiring things she's going to share.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It’s Berry Picking Time

My in-laws have a knack for gardening and a phenomenal yard. My father-in-law is extremely knowledgeable about plants and can get almost anything to grow. My mother-in-law is very creative and can design beautiful flower beds. I’ll admit we try to emulate a lot of what they do in their yard in our own and often seek their advice on what to plants to buy. They have a huge area behind their house that has raised beds for vegetables, and they also have a blackberry patch. When they told us that the blackberries were ripe and needed to be picked, we were on top of it. We LOVE blackberries! After work, my husband and I loaded up the boys and went to their house. If you've not ever picked blackberries, then you should know that the vines are covered in thorns, and the thorns hurt. It always seems that the best looking berries grow deep within the bush where you have to maneuver your way past hundreds of sharp, pointy thorns to pick it. I can usually manage to reach the berry with few scratches, but I can never seem to get my hand and arm out without several pricks and scratches. I always look like I've been attacked by a cat when I finish picking berries. It’s definitely worth it for what you get in return. I forgot my camera so I couldn't take any photos of the beautiful berries on the vines. I remembered to take some photos of the berries after I washed them and before I put them in the freezer. We picked a total of 31 cups! It’s a really satisfying feeling to measure the amount we picked. I measured in cups because I have use the most amazing Blackberry Cobbler recipe (it’s from Southern Living about 10 years ago) that calls for 8 cups of blackberries. I’d never be able to make the cobbler if I had to buy the berries in a store, but since we pick them for free, it’s a treat we enjoy several times throughout the year. When we’re savoring each bite of cobbler, it makes every scratch worth it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

They Say It's Your 1st Birthday

My sweet baby boy turns one today. Ben's first birthday party was over the weekend. We invited friends and family to celebrate our very special little guy. Ben had such a good time. Happy First Birthday, Ben! We love you!!!

The Birthday Boy

I used this tutorial to make the party favor stickers.

The party's this way!

I can't take credit for making these super cute birthday cakes. My friend, Brandi, who is a teacher by day and cake maker extraordinaire by night made the cakes. The cakes look amazing and taste even better!

My uber-talented friend Stephanie made this adorable bib and Ben's birthday shirt.

Ben loves his daddy.

Mommy and Daddy photo with the birthday boy

Bring on the cake!

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, 
Happy Birthday, Dear Ben, Happy Birthday to you!

Let the fun begin!

I love this photo of Ben with his hand covered in icing.

Smashing the smash cake!

He demolished his smash cake!

Will could hardly wait to get his hands on some of Ben's cake.

Ben had to take a bath after attacking his smash cake.

Papa Ralph,my grandpa, will be 94 in just a few weeks. I'm so happy he was able to attend the party but sad that my grandma, Mama Winnie, could not because she is in the nursing home.

Our family and friends were so generous. Ben was given so many fun toys and cute clothes.

Thank you for all of my presents!

Terri, Cory and me. Love my girls! Just can't beat college friends.

We're hoping this is Rachael and Ben's first date!


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