Monday, October 31, 2011

A New Project

Since we purchased our house 4 years ago, Steve and I have been dreaming about all that we could do to make it more enjoyable for our family. The first project was our backyard, which we fenced in, resodded and landscaped. After that we couldn't decide what to tackle next... our front yard and driveway, building out our basement, or screening in our deck.



After living in our house for the past several years, we elected to do the deck. It has taken us months to draw up plans, shop for materials, meet with our builder and finally get the approval from the city, but we started! In fact, we are 1.5 weeks into the project with an estimated completion date just before Thanksgiving.






Things are moving along smoothly, but we are still anxious for it to be over so we can begin enjoying it! Stay tuned for more photos and updates.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Best Purchase!

For those of you looking for a cool Christmas gift for your child, you need to consider magna tiles! We bought Preston a deluxe set of these for his birthday, and the children just love them. They are plastic tiles, in various shapes, with magnets on the sides, so you can build really cool things.






Steve, my engineer, loves to play with them too! Here are a few of the creations (notice in the photo above, how they even have them attached to the frame of the table).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Little Man...Preston

The days go by so quickly, so I wanted to jot down a few things that Preston does that puts a smile on my face...

1. Though I don't like you being upset with me, I do think it is funny when you say "You are such a mean guy" when you are mad at me or your Daddy. We have no idea where you came up with that!

2. I also love it when you give me a kiss. But what makes it so special is that you put your sweet little hands on my cheeks and close your eyes.

3. Lastly, the fact that you request to listen to "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga every time you get in the car is hysterical! I must admit I am totally sick of the song now, but you love it and are adamant about hearing it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Memphis

Sunday morning, Shannon, my mother and I drove up to Memphis for a quick trip. Since none of us had visited Graceland before, we decided to make a pit stop there for a quick tour. we elected to do the 1.5 hour audio tour through the mansion and other buildings. It was just what I expected... tacky!! However, it was fun to hear stories of Elvis and his friends, and what they did in the various rooms. It was also amazing to see all of his platinum records and awards. I learned lots of things about "Elvis the pelvis!"




Here is one of the rooms where he entertained friends. In fact, we were told this is where Elvis played the piano the day before he died.








And here is one of the beaded outfits he wore for a show, this one was worn in 1969.










Lastly, here are some photos of his meditation garden, which is where he is now buried (in addition to his mother, father and grandmother...who all lived at Graceland with him). What I found so interesting was that fans still mail and deliver flowers to Graceland, especially around his birthday and the anniversary of his death, and the staff at Graceland put them out. Their policy is to place them in one of the buildings, or around the grave site until they wilt or look worn (if silk or plastic).

Elvis has left the building....





The rest of our afternoon and evening was spent catching up with my Aunt Sue and Uncle Jim. We first met them for a late lunch, and then separated to get ready for the reception before the opening of "Memphis" at the Orpheum Theater. Since the reception was at the Peabody Hotel, we decided to arrive early so we could see the ducks do their thing at 5pm. We arrived just before 4:30, and the place was packed and lines were formed around the fountain and along the red carpet where they walk to the elevator. Shannon squeezed her way up to the front and I followed so we could get some photos.




The hotel's lobby was fairly dark, so many of my pictures didn't turn out so good, but it was very cute to see the trainer tap the side of the fountain, and up they got on the edge. Then they waddled down the red carpeted stairs from the fountain, across the lobby and onto the elevator.






At the reception, they introduced me to David Bryan (the keyboardist from Bon Jovi who wrote the score for the play). We also met the woman who plays the lead (Felicia) on Broadway in New York for the play. Since the leads on the touring company were the understudies in NY, she wanted to come support them for their big night. Following the play, we walked to an after party at the Majestic, where we ate, drank and mingled with all of the producers. About an hour after the play wrapped, the actors started rolling in. I snapped a few photos, and spoke to Bryan, the leading man who played Huey. It was after midnight before we finally headed back to the hotel. What a fantastic night, and what fun to feel like a superstar at all of the parties!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Painting Pumpkins

This morning Bennett's class invited all of the fathers in to have a snack and help them paint pumpkins. Unfortunately, Steve was unable to attend since he departed for South Dakota for a long weekend of hunting with my father and brother a couple of hours earlier.

Thankfully, she wasn't terribly upset since her Nene and I came in his absence. We let Bennett do all of the painting, which started off with a smiling pumpkin. But she couldn't stop with just a little bit of painting, so it slowly developed into one of her "rainbow" works of art...with red, white, black, green and red paint all over the pumpkin. It was too wet to handle, but it will be on display in front of our house next week!





Though hanging with Bennett and her classmates was loads of fun, the best laugh came from reading her report on her Daddy....see for yourself.....









I got an even bigger laugh, when I emailed him a copy of it and told him that the teacher read the reports out loud in front of all of the dads!! (ha ha ha)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

It's Not a Party Until....

the cops come, the smoke detectors go off or something breaks, right? Well, let's start from the beginning....


A year ago we knew that Steve's big 4-0 was approaching so we decided that we would throw a big party to celebrate! Since Louis shares a birthday with Steve and is 10 years older, he'd be turning 50! The party planning began this summer, and everything came together wonderfully! We invited friends and family, and God couldn't have given us a more beautiful day and night. Since watching college football is a must to live in the south, we had the Auburn game playing inside, and the Alabama game on the big screen outside. It worked out perfectly!!


To make it easier on us, we catered the dinner from a Mexican place, and bought tons of beer and wine. I worked hard creating a couple of playlists for the ipod so we could have just the right vibe, and thanks to Steve's cousin, Vann, we had awesome speakers jamming all night long (well, until the cops came around 10:00 and asked us to turn it off). Since our 48 guests were just starting to rev things up and dance, we moved the party inside. With many people crowded in the house, dancing
....that is when a table got broken.






Shortly thereafter, the candle in the bathroom had a very large flame (don't ask me why), so someone blew it out and the smoke from it was so bad the smoke detector went off.

It was a crazy night, and the kids were up for most of it. Thankfully they took very long naps, so they were able stay up late and enjoy it. I guess all of the excitement tuckered them out because when we finally put them to bed, they slept through the very loud music downstairs.
Of course they awoke bright early yesterday, so it was back to normal for all of us....cleaning up the mess and recovering from all the fun! We certainly had a big time and brought Steve and Louis happily into their next decades. We've heard from several of the guests, and I think everyone had fun, so mission accomplished! Happy 40th Steve, and happy 50th Louis! I love you both!




Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy 40th Birthday Steve!

Happy 40th Birthday Steve! Thankfully you turn 40 before me, so I have time to get used to the idea that we are "middle-aged" before next summer when I will join you. We are celebrating Steve's 40th with plenty of football watching during the day, and a party tonight with friends!

Since Steve and his oldest brother, Louis, share the same birthday we decided to have a joint birthday party to celebrate their milestone birthdays...40 and 50!! We've invited friends and family, and it should be a good time! We have a projector that is going to be hooked up to our cable box and a large screen so everyone can watch football. Then we're having dinner catered by a local Mexican joint, two large speakers and an ipod filled with fun tunes from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s, and of course....plenty of beer and wine! With the temperatures only reaching the low 80s and a forecast of full sun all day long, it is hard to ask for anything more!

It should be a perfect day for Steve's birthday (which he deserves)! Steve, I want you to know how much the kids and I love you. We appreciate all that you do for us....fixing things around the house, grilling the perfect steak, rocking the kids to sleep, trimming Spencer's nails (he doesn't love it, but I sure do), taking the kids to the library to choose the perfect books and movies, working so hard at your job to provide us all of the nice things in life and so much more.

I hope your next 40+ years are even better and more memorable than your last forty, and that we are blessed with health, happiness and plenty of laughter! We love you!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pres & His Buddy

The temperatures this past week have been gorgeous, providing us wonderful fall weather! This has been perfect because I had yardwork to get done. However, I feel guilty about always making Preston play in the backyard all by himself, or run errands with me on the days where he doesn't go to school. So today, with another beautiful forecast, I took Pres and a buddy to the zoo.









Sadly, this is Preston's first playdate which didn't involve his sister (and he had a BLAST). Preston and his friend, Luke, have been in the same class for the past two years. He's a little doll, and the two of them ran all over the zoo checking out the animals. The primary reason we went to the zoo is because our lions welcomed 5 cubs in May, and they are finally out in the exhibit.


The five little cubs were the cutest little things (well they are not so little anymore...they average 40lbs). Since we got there when they first opened, it was feeding time, and they were all gnawing on their own shank bone.

I loved watching them interact with each other and watching their mommy protectively walk around and keep an eye on each of them. The boys were bored after a few minutes, but I kept pointing something new out in the exhibit to keep their interest a bit longer. It will be fun to watch these lions grow over the next few years, since they will remain at our zoo for at least another 2 years.



Here's a photo of my little cub roaring...