hot bliggity blog 267

Saturday, May 28, 2011

they said 'i do'....30 years ago

location, location, location.

Next stop:  North Alabama.  Leaving my own, Queen-sized bed at the hotel, we headed for the Grandparents' homestead for several anniversary parties and photo shoots.

This past Tuesday was my parents' 30th wedding anniversary!!!  They have never been back to the church that they got married in since their wedding day.  For their anniversary my mom wanted us to all go to the church and have a photo shoot with my brother, sister & I standing in as attendants.  It turned out really well!

the colors/flowers.

For the first time in history, Mom, Emily & I all already own dresses that we felt like would go together well for the occasion.  The guys were the only ones who had to go out and buy something!  [Another history making moment!]  Then we moved to flowers...

Color palette in action
Mom wanted a wildflower-like bouquet to hold for the pictures and something small for us to hold.  You would think we would have learned after our first trip to Hobby Lobby at 7:51 p.m. that we needed to go earlier in the day if we wanted to hammer and haw over all of the choices.  [Those of you who frequent Hobby Lobby know what I'm talking about-that place SHUTS DOWN precisely at 8:02 p.m. and they will take prisoners.  On our third trip at this time of night we actually got called out on the intercom.  Ha!]  After 3 trips like that, we had every size and shape of any and all yellow, white, purple and blue flowers the store had to offer.  To this day there is a huge bucket sitting in our kitchen of unused stems to be returned.

Emily, Dad, & I spent hours rolling our hair; can't you tell?!
Mom used yellow and white daisies in their wedding so it was important to her that she have some of those in our bouquets.  Hers ended up being white daisy, yellow gerber daisy, a yellow spiky flower, white hibiscus, and an electric blue-ish flower.  It took very little time to make after we decided what it should look like.  With ribbon the ribbon that was used on Mom's bouquet, I made Emily & I pomanders, or 'kissing balls' to hold.  I personally think they came out cute!  Although for a minute there I didn't think they were going to actually get made as they were the last on the weekend's long list of the things to create, design, and assemble.

A Maid's duties: airing out & cooling off the bride.  It gets HOT in that dress!!!

how they met.

Mom and Dad met on a blind date!  My mom worked at the same place as one of my dad's first cousins.  [Note that I said they worked at the same place and not that they worked together;  I don't know that they even knew each others' name.  Ha!]  While eating lunch one day, Joyce approached Mom, laid a piece of paper on the table and said 'I have a cousin I want you to meet.  Here is his name and number.  He will be calling you soon.'  I can imagine the look on my mom's face!

Dad called her and asked her out on a date.

They went to Pizza Hut and a movie.

She thought they had a good time.

But she waited for his call...

...and waited.......

...and wait-ted................ Grandmother told her to stop waiting and move on; he was NOT going to call....

....but 5 WEEKS later....

....he called!!!  Haha!

I'm not sure what the moral of that story is; don't listen to everything your mom says?!  Ha!  Wait, be patient; one day he is bound to set his thinking straight?!  Or perhaps, listen to your heart?!  Like I said, I don't know but I do know these things: thankfully he did call her; blind dates can work; they have made it through 30 years of marriage, 3 awesomely, ahem, challenging kids, several moves, and more rough times than you could count and still love each other.  Praise the Lord!

these are my favorite two pictures of the entire event:

the kiss.

that was then and this is now.

Mom may not be too happy with me when she sees these last 2 pictures but I had to share.  I have always loved a certain picture of my mom on her wedding day.  It was obviously taken just hours before the wedding as there is much wedding prep and hair rollers going on.  I just learned recently that my dad is the one who actually took the picture.  [Yes, that is correct, they saw each other the morning of the wedding.  No superstitions here!  Maybe that's the secret!]  Anyways...on Tuesday morning [the morning of our photo shoot and their actual anniversary] I found her in the kitchen complete with her hair in rollers and complaining of an upset stomach [pre-wedding jitters I presume].  I couldn't resist this opportunity!

May 24, 1981

May 24, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

they said 'i do'....5 days ago

location, location, location.

Allen with an 'A'....all growed up!!!  Tear :(
This past weekend was a doozy for all members of my immediate, extended, and second families. The next couple of posts will blaze through the past 4 days of our lives [Saturday thru Tuesday] just as quickly and vigorously as our trails of this weekend past: down center aisles; across waters rising; through unrecognizable, tornado stricken towns; escapades and wardrobe changes in park restrooms; speeding down tarmacs; and many, many more paths of excitement.

We will begin our tour in and near Longview, TX where Allen & Kara met at an altar in a 42”+ inseam tuxedo and a handmade, beautiful white wedding dress respectively. In front of 200 of their closest families and friends, they vowed to commit their lives and love to one another for the rest of their lives here on this earth.

the colors/flowers.

The bridesmaids wore a deep teal color, a beautiful compliment to the sunflowers and yellow Gerber daisies.

Bouquets, centerpieces, and aisle garnish
Sunflowers are one of my favorites!  They scream HAPPY!!!
the bride.

Kara has the most Horrific Dress Catastrophe story that I have ever heard of, hands down.  When the dress finally arrived--6 weeks late, 3 ½ weeks before W-Day, and one night before her last final--she anxiously tried it on only to find that it was 7 inches too short!  Instead of the X-Long that she had ordered, the dress maker/manufacturer [who shall remain anonymous for their sake] ordered an X-Short!?!?  This might be an optimal high-water length for a beach or swamp wedding but not at all acceptable when walking down the aisle of a dry-grounds church to meet your man who is 6’-4”.  With 12 days to spare, the dress was shipped to the company’s national seamstress who would take Kara’s X-Short and the only other dress they could locate--a Regular--rip them apart and piece them together to account for the 7 missing inches.  They said they would try to have it to her by Saturday, the morning of her wedding.  Well, Super! 

All-[most] of the girls!
Ashley, Amanda, Kara, Emily, Ellen, Faith
I wish I was as laid-back as Kara.  She handled the fiasco with amazing stride and non-Bridezilla-ness.  At the end of the day she would be married to Allen and that’s all that mattered to her.  I hope to find that kind of love and relationship: longing and willing to stand by my man no matter the circumstance, appearance, or surroundings.

BTW-her dress DID arrive with 3 days to spare and an extra 8 inches!!!

Some Studly Studs
Andrew K, III, Kirby, Tim
the reception.

The reception was held in the perfect sized hall; not too big that people felt lost and not too small that you couldn’t walk between people seated at tables [ultra annoying].

More Girls!
Emily, Mom, Ellen
They had a live band that was so much fun!  It confirmed my thoughts of having a live band at my wedding reception.  I also picked out my ‘Father/Daughter’ song to dance to.  I don’t want to spoil the surprise but I can give you a sneak preview/snip-it of my conversation that transpired with Dad:

Daddy's Girls
Emily, Dad, Ellen
Me: Hey, Daddy!?  You could wear your coconut bra for our dance!!!
Dad: No, I think I’ll pass; it gives me a rash in funny places.
Me:  Oh well, that’s OK; you’re grass skirt should suffice.
Dad:  I think I lost mine, actually.

Sigh.  Don’t worry, Daddy, as luck would have it we have plenty of time to find you an even better one.  Ha!
The Fam!!!
Practice for the days to'll see!

The crew is growing!!!
Everybody minus 2

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

hunting for eggs, ages 14+

I know that Easter weekend was several weeks ago.  I also know that most people with blogs tend to blog about their life or current events that occurred that day; two days past at most.  But I can never seem to get it together to keep up with the 'now'.  It's like I'm in a constant state of living in the now, planning for the future, and recording the [distant] past.

Sigh.  Maybe one day I'll become a big girl and get my act together.  Not likely, though, as here I type at age 27 and nothing has changed in many, many moons.

Moving on...

Last year my second family had an Easter egg hunt/Ashley's 18th Birthday party.  This egg hunt trumped any Easter egg hunt that you or I have ever been a part of; this I know!  I would tell you about THAT party but then you would really think I live in the past!

We each had to design an egg before the games commenced.  Isn't my green bunny just precious?!
So this year, when the weather started to get warmer and the 'Dollar Spot' at Target began to be filled with Easter colored plates, grass, and memo pads [yes, 'Easter' is a color!] it was clear that Easter was just around the corner.  One night, as Ashley and I were discussing how the past year had flown by and that her 18th birthday party was her favorite party of all time, we both stopped and said 'Hey!  When is the party this year?!'  Apparently we exclaimed this in the earshot of the right people because the 'When', 'Where', and menu were in the making before you could even say 'Easter egg'.

One of the best things about the party?  All I had to do was show up.  Ha!  This is one that our mom's put together.  On the Friday before the party, we all received a text message reminding us to wear tennis shoes and our Easter basket/pail/mop bucket.

Waiting for the air-horn.  As you can see, we ALWAYS play fair :)
The hardest part of the hunt was listening and paying attention to the rules as they had changed from the year before.  You would have thought we were all in our 'Terrible Two's' instead of our mid-twenties!  Who knows what the outcome would have been had we all listened to the directions as there was much confusion on the playing field.  I think that at the sound of the horn, we were supposed to go and find 8 eggs, bring them back to the house, and work through a Easter-weekend appropriate crossword puzzle before heading back out to hunt.

Our soon-to-be newest member of the family!
Me & Adam: friends since birth
The average height of us all is about 5' 10"; maybe one day we will
remember to keep that in mind when taking pictures.
Amanda & Me
Amanda planned part of the activities for us this year!!!
After the huffing, puffing, and dry heaving died down from racing each other back to the house you could hear exclamations such as, 'SAVIOR!', 'TOMB!', or 'I can't find the DISCIPLES!!!'.  Some extra words were found as well: 'SATAN!  Hey, what's he got to do with Easter?!'  Unfortunately there no extra credit was granted for words found that were not meant to be found.

Kirby, Mom, Amanda, Andrew, & Ashley
Mom enjoys her roll every year: collecting our papers and recording our times.
Kara, Me, & Trey
It is intense! 
You even have to hide your answers as some people [Trey] have been know to cheat!
Back on the playing field...our goal was to find as many eggs before the sound of the air horn.  When the air horn sounded you had 30 seconds to get back to the house; you earned penalty points for every 10 seconds you were late.

Me & Emily
We thought 'bunny ears' were an appropriate pose.
Adam & Mr. Danny
NOTE: How to win an Easter Egg Hunt:
I might have paid Mr. Danny to distract Adam on the playing field.  Maybe.
This is what a 2nd Place basket looks like!
We were competing for several different categories:  'Most Eggs' collected, 'Best Time' in Crossword Puzzle Completion, and 'Best Overall', a combination of both scores.  Kara won 1st place in the 'Best Overall'.  I told that she could breath now because next year she will officially be 'in' the family and won't have to try so hard.  Ha!  Congratulations, Kara!

Allen, Me, Adam, Kara, Andrew, & Emily
The Winner's Circle
2nd Place prize: a 'Texter' Bunny
This was my 'trophy'; everyone laughed as it is most appropriate for it's recipient.
The next portion of the afternoon was dedicated to 'Egg' activities.  Believe it or not, there is a surprising amount of 'Egg' activities that test your strengths and abilities.  Our first challenge was to break an egg bare-handed.  Holding an egg in the palm of your upward-facing hand, the goal was to squeeze, crack and collect as much egg juice in your bowl. [I made sure that these were the kind of eggs that didn't have baby chicks in them before breaking mine.  Ha!]  Sound too easy?  For most of us it was simple.  But two unfortunate individuals got eggs that WOULD NOT CRACK!  At first we thought they were being 'Punk'ed' and had been given boiled eggs but upon further inspection [smashing them into the stone wall] we learned that some eggs just have a tougher shell.  Who knew!?

Perfect action shot!
WARNING:  Do not try this at home without the protection of a Garbage Bag Bib.
'Little' Brother, Baby 'Odrue
It was so icky!  Our parents then proceeded to leave us standing there for a while with
yoke oozing out between our fingers while they laughed at us and took pictures.
Most people did pretty well!
Adam & Andrew K. won with Dad and Mr. Randy at a close 2nd.
Amanda's bib design was both thoughtful and creative; I am pretty certain that she could be a contender on Heidi Klum's 'Project Runway'.  Look for her on Season 8!

Me, Allen, Kara, & Emily
Or Super-Ista's?!?!
Confetti Eggs
Circle of Love [and blood relations] 
Prize ledge
You do not go home empy handed from these events.
Miss Sarah always has the cutest little goodie-bags for us!
This year's goodie-bag/Easter baskets took the identity of a Chinese take-out box.  Contents of the cartons were-but not limited to-candy, Pez despsensers, more candy, toys, and even more candy.  You know how you always wanted to shoot the $1 air dart gun in the house when you were little but were never allowed to?  It always amuses me how at the ages of 20, 24, & 27 you still have that itch to shoot things in the house but now, all of the sudden, it is okay to do so?!  And not only is it now acceptable to play inside, it is also okay to go crazy ninja-like?! 

Allen, Andrew, & Adam
Don't remember what their intent was...
...but it took all 3 of them to execute their mission...
...and they were pleased with the results!
Mom & Daddy
After a satisfying meal of delicious hamburgers, hotdogs, and shark steak!
You can be sure I'll be practicing my crossword completion and egg hunting skills for the year to come.  I will also polish up on my jump-roping skills as I am sure they will throw a change at us again next year!

Friday, May 13, 2011

'normal' after all

For more homeschool testimonies, curriculum ideas and support, check out Kelly's Korner where Kelly hosts a 'Show Us Your Life' every Friday!!!

I write to you on this topic not as a current home-schooler or one who is considering home-schooling [no kiddos=home-schooling not even on my mental radar] but as a past home-schoolee.  In case you do not plan on reading on into the next paragraph I am going to go ahead and tell you the one thing that I want you to know:  I was home-schooled for 3 years [middle school] and I survived [with minimal side-effects] to tell you about it.
It never fails, when people find out that I was home-schooled for a period of time I get the same questions asked of me:  Did you like it?  Hate it?  Did you have any friends?  Did you ever get to see your friends?  So you got to, like, play all the time?   And my favorite response of them all:  Wait, you were home-schooled?  And, you’re like, Normal?!  Like every person that comes out of any other education system is indeed, Normal.  What is Normal, anyway?!  Another frequently asked question is this: How did your mom know what to do?  I guess you could call these valid points since home-schooling is not, in fact, ‘the norm’ and I will do my best to address them all.
I don’t know where the idea came from; I don't recall being very involved in the decision making process either.  I only remember that one day I went to school and then the next day I didn’t.  I was in the 5th grade when my parents decided to give a try at homeschooling.  Very much the planners and analyzers, they chose to pull us [my 2nd grade sister and me] out of public school for the 4th nine weeks of the current school year for a trial run.  I guess the test run went well as I found myself at the same desk with the same teacher year after year for the following 3 years.
Home-schooling is not something you can do on your own.  Nor do you want to do it on your own.  Fortunately we lived in an area where there were A LOT of home-school families.  And I mean it: A LOT.  [That we lived in an area where the schools were not all that great goes without saying I think!]  Our area had a city-wide organization, or fellowship, that we were a part of.  I don’t remember the numbers exactly but I think the first year we started there was something like 100 families in the group; in three years time I believe it had grown to 300+ families.
Through the organization we got our sense of ‘real school’.  Some organized events/opportunities included, but were by no means limited to, a science club, math club, bowling team, basketball team [I played!], softball team, and various other co-ops within the group.  We had P.E. 3 days a week at the city park.  A local, retired Marine would come out M/W/F during his lunch break to work with us and train us for the ‘Presidential Fitness Challenge’ just like I remember doing in the 1-5 grades in public school.  I was a part of a weekly, creative writing workshop to enhance my oh-so-lacking writing skills.  At the end of the year there was opportunity to take the CAT [standardized testing] together; we were placed in rooms with people our age, desks, and ‘teachers’!  There were so many more opportunities that I either A) was not a part of, B) can’t remember, or C) never knew they existed in the first place.

I know there are many wonderful groups of home-school families all over the country.  I know several families in a local group where I live now.  They have a school day with 'real' classes every Wednesday at the church that I worked at last year.  My office was in the hallway that they use and it was really neat to see how the group did things.  The classes are primarily for older kids [Jr. High and High School] who need more advanced school subjects such as biology, calculus, and physics.  For these classes they usually have a retired teacher or someone with great training/knowledge of the subject matter to come in and hold class.  Their biology class is taught by one of the home-school moms who has her bachelor's in biology; a retired military officer leads a survival and safety class.  You get the idea.  Beyond all of this there are also awesome opportunities for exposure to other walks of life and sharing the Gospel.  These groups are a place where most families are Christian but from different denominations.  If you are considering home-schooling, do yourself a favor and search out these groups.
Like any school system, home-schooling has its pros and cons.  You just have to figure out what works best for you and your family.  For mine, none of us went the same route.
My schooling path:
  • public  K-5
  • home-schooled  6-8
  • public  high school
My sister, E [3 years younger]:
  • public  K-2
  • home-schooled  3-7
  • private  8
  • public  high school
My brother, A [7 years younger]:
  • home-schooled  K-5
  • private  6
  • public  J-High & high school
There were many variables that played into each of our different paths and I know that my parents did what they felt was best for each of us given the present circumstances.  I am thankful that they evaluated us each separately and didn’t keep one at home/public/private just because that’s what they had done with the other two.  I guess what I am trying to say is that if you are considering home-schooling one [or two] of your children but for whatever reason don’t think that it would be best for the other child, don’t worry about it; don’t leave them all in or take them all out because that what seems like you ‘have’ to do.
Did I like/dislike it?  Again, as with anything, there are pros and cons to both.  There were days that I loved it as well as days where I just wanted to leave the house and go walk the hallways of a school.  I do not in any way regret any of it.  It was truly a great experience.  I will say, though, that had my parents not willingly allowed me to go back into the public school system for high school [not sure if mom was tired of me or what.  Ha!]I might not have this same attitude.  One of the neat things about our time at home was my parents also had a house built one year.  This allowed us to go over to the property almost every day and see what all they were doing.  Even though I was young, I can still remember the overall process and steps to building a house.  We also got to go on vacation during the ‘off’ season!  Not that I really and truly appreciated this at the time; but as I have entered into the ‘real’ world I do see the benefits of this!
As for friends, well, I was rarely ever without.  On top of the home-school organization we were [and always have been] extremely involved in church.  And you can bet that I was at EVERYTHING when I was home-schooled.  I might have even used it against my parents a time or two:  How will I know how to behave around other people my own age if I don’t even get to see them tonight?!!  Ha!  Obviously I think that church, or the people you meet at a church, is the answer to most of my problems anyways. 
And as for my mom knowing what to do, well, what can I say?  She’s one smart cookie!  There were also a lot of hoops to jump through and forms to submit with the state/government; they won’t just let you take your kids out of school on your word that you will ‘do your best’ to educate them.  Ha!  We were registered with the state as an Academy!  How pristine does that sound?!

*I wanted to add to this post that I wrote yesterday.   It occurred to me that I didn't mention anything about my transition into high-school and post-life home-schooling:

As for me, the hardest part of going back to public school was getting up at 6:00 a.m. to be ready and out the door by 6:45!  Seriously; that is not even a slight stretch of the truth.  To say it was easy for me would be a stretch but I can say that I handled it with ease [two very different things :)].  The first few weeks were difficult in the social aspect as everyone had formed their cliques during the previous two years in Jr. high.  Since I was only out of the system for 3 years I still knew and/or recognized a lot of people from before; some remembered me, some didn't; some chose not to acknowledge they remembered me and some willingly and excitedly welcomed me back.  I even got asked to the homecoming dance by a sophomore!

Once again, church came into play; I had a lot of friends-in all grades-from my youth group who guided me in learning the ropes.  In fact, several of my closest friends were those very people-it did not matter that we were not the same age.  I was involved in several clubs and organizations: marching band [I was Drum Major for 2 years of the 180+ member band], FCA, National Honor Society, and several other extra-curricular activities.  Post graduation I went on to complete a 4-year undergraduate degree followed by a 3-year Master's degree.  [My intentions in telling you this is not me bragging by any means; I just want to show you it can be done!]
To anyone who is considering it my suggestion/advice is this: pray about it and you will know.  Try it for a year and if it doesn’t work out, the kids can go back to school and you can enjoy a grocery shopping alone again!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

snapshots of my life: marpril

Mom's birthday and Hillsong.

For my mom's birthday, I went with a group of friends to the Hillsong concert.  Yes, you read that right.  Instead of spending the Friday evening with my mom I choose to go to a concert.  But it wasn't just any concert; it was the HILLSONG concert!!!  [I did call and make sure it was okay with her that I attend the concert.  We were all 5 able to celebrate the next day.  Unfortunately, I don't think we took any pictures.]

Hillsong is an UH-MAY-ZING praise and worship group from Australia.  They write and record many of the praise and worship songs played on the Christian radio stations and sung in church.  These guys mix entertainment, testimony, worship, and the Word into two jam-packed hours of awesomeness.  It was so cool to see the venue absolutely packed out for a Friday night of praise and worship.

This guys is NUTS!!!  He has the most energy I have ever seen in a person.

For the past year, I have been involved in a Thursday night Bible study, Pass!on.  It has been a tremendous blessing as I transitioned into my new, post grad-school life.  The class primarily consists of people who have other obligations on Sunday morning i.e. teaching, attend another church, work schedules.  It draws a huge and dynamic mix of people.

Chinese!  Most people are able to stay and go out to dinner after class.
Unfortunately, at this point in my life, I feel that I am being called away from this group.  I have recently [and finally] chosen to admit that I have too much on my plate.  In efforts to maintain those obligations that I cannot withdraw from-and to sleep more than 4 hours a night-I am having to close some doors in hopes that the new found 'Me' time will result in a more clear-thinking, well-rested, and fewer trips-to-the-gas-station Ellen.

John, Jihye, Micheal, Stephanie, & Kay-Kay
I still look forward to being able to go the the class when I can, bringing lost friends who may be too busy or intimidated to come on Sunday morning.  I will miss the people of the class but know that I will still be able to see them at other times. 

Sweet girls!
no more teenagers?!

My baby brother turned 20 in March!?!?!?!?  I cannot believe it.  I also don't want to believe it as this means I am only getting older :(  

Pretty much the only dessert that Pearl will eat: COOKIE CAKE!!!

Mom, Dad, and I drove to meet Emily and Andrew for a birthday celebration.  We went to Texas Roadhouse [I think that is the name]....YUM-MEE!!!  As the Birthday Boy, Andrew got the extreme privilege of straddling a horse and saddle while flapping his 'To-Go Box' wings and water cup 'beak' in his mouth while we serenaded him with rendition of Happy Birthday that you most probably will not find on iTunes.  Ha!

He always did want to fly!
a night [and day] on a ranch.

I have joined a Sunday morning Bible study class at my church.  I have enjoyed it very much and am grateful to the members of the class for accepting me with ready and open arms.  I have also appreciated their understanding my occasional absence as I am still in transition.

My first big adventure with the group was just that: adventurous.  The family of one of the guys in our class owns something like 75 [+/-] acres about an hour outside of the city.  We had a great time getting to know each other better while camping, cooking, fishing, and shooting things.  Yikes!

Our community of tents.  Aren't they cute?!
Some of the girls gathered 'round the campfire before heading off to our tents.
We were up and at 'em at some crazy hour like 7:00 or something.  We had to get the day going!  These lovely girls made sure that we had a delicious breakfast spread to help get us going.

Tiffany, Stephanie, Amanda, & Lindsay
The Coffee Crew:  Joseph, Me, & Nathan
The primary thing on our agenda for Saturday was the shooting range.  As you can see below, there was no shortage of big, fat, and scary weapons.  We had a safety meeting at 9:00 a.m. to go over the shooting range rules and to meet our Safety Instructors [seen in the navy shirts].

There was a ridiculous amount of armor, ammunition and decibels flying around all morning.  Thankfully, we each came back in one piece!

Range Master
I am not a fan of guns and had no intentions of picking one up...

Drill Sargent Will! 
...but I had to show Will how it was done. 

Don't recall my record, but I do know it was good!
Some people chose fishing...a wise bunch of people if you ask me.

Courtney caught a fish!
final four.

One particularly relaxing Saturday afternoon I found myself sitting with several girlfriends on the patio of Berry Hill.  We sat there for hours, taking the day in and kept saying things like, 'Wow!  When was the last time I didn't have to run off somewhere?  Or make time to see friends?!'  Lindsay and I sat there for 5 hours, I think!

During our camp-out, a certain someone joined us for lunch...

Blue II, Butler University's mascot!

I had Lasik sometime just before this.  As you can see by these pictures I was in glasses for the entire month of March and out of make-up for most of April!

mud bugs!

Raise both hands if you are excited to get your hands on some crawfish!  [You can put your hands down now.]  I have gotten several face-to-face run-ins with the little guys and hope to have several more before the season is over!

Some people like to pause and take a moment to take it all in...

Lindsay prefers to entertain hers with a kiss first...

...and others were never told not to play with their food so they make Crawfish Families!

pseudo birthdays.

As if we don't do enough birthday celebrating in our family during this time of year, Emily and I decided that we needed to have one more last curtain call before the commencement of Birthday Season.  Because life here was crazy and demanding Emily never really got a birthday party.  She has become kind of attached to some of my fabulous friends that she now calls them her own.  I mustered together a group of people to enjoy a night at The Chocolate Bar and several rounds of pool.

I was so glad that Amanda and Trey were in town that weekend and got to come hang out with her.  We miss them :(

Amanda, Emily, and Me
the end.  whoo!