Monday, September 19, 2011

They Got Me

I celebrated my twenty-fifth   twenty-eighth  thirty-mumble mumble birthday this weekend.

I am so blessed to have these two gorgeous (inside and out) ladies in my life:


They took me to Houston to see... ahem... Paula Deen. She was at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show. We were a little disappointed, because she... well... she didn't cook. Anything.


Her husband Michael was there, and he cooked, but she regaled us with stories of her summer and her family and friends, and they both made a few jokes (which, as Nikki said, everybody has read in various e-mails). It was entertaining, but it wasn't what we thought it was going to be. We really expected her to COOK. SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Or at least give out the recipe for what Michael cooked. Nada.

We fought our way through the crowds at Reliant, shopping for ourselves and early Christmas presents, and then headed out into the RAIN! Yes, it rained all weekend!!! Hallelujah and Thank You Jesus!!! Sweet, blessed RAIN! So that's why my hair was lacking in the volume department. As Paula says, southern girls like big hair, so it gets them closer to Jesus. Well, Jesus liked my hair at the beginning of the day, but once it rained, well, not so much.


After the show, we went to P.F. Chang's. It was YUM. EEE. I had never been, and probably will never go again, since Hubs is not a connoisseur of Asian cuisine. But we liked it. We split honey crisp chicken, dan dan noodles, almond and cashew chicken, fried rice, and fried green beans. Everything was delicious. I'm still thinking about those green beans. And, SCORE! I just remembered I have leftover fried rice and almond and cashew chicken in the fridge. I know what I'll be eating for lunch in a bit!


They stuck a candle in a raspberry cheesecake and sang to me. It was also quite yummy. We had so much fun. Mostly to and from Houston. It was nice to have six hours with two of my favorite people, to do nothing but talk. And honey, did we talk!

When I got home, I noticed a wrapped gift in the kitchen. Hubs went on and on about how well he did this year, and how I could open it if I wanted, but then I wouldn't have anything to open on my actual birthday. So I waited. But I asked him if he had: 1. wrapped my gift in an empty diaper box, and 2. if he had weighted the box. He pled the 5th on both questions. The only thing I could guess he might have gotten me was Pioneer Woman's book, but the box was way too big for that.

So Sunday we awoke to pouring rain (thank you, Jesus!) and he got my favorite donuts for breakfast. Cullen was bouncing off the walls, begging me to open my gift.

I got a case of diapers. With an old (but clean) bath towel stuffed inside. Along with actual diapers.



And Pioneer Woman's book. :)

So I was right on all counts! Because I know him so well, and he knew what I wanted. He said he went all over town, and it was the LAST ONE. The bookstore he bought it from showed that they didn't have any, but someone scrounged one up.

Later in the day, after the boys (and I!) napped, Hubs woke me up, telling me we had to go! Now! RIGHT NOW!

Apparently, the electric company is going to be running our electric line this week on our land (YAY!) and he had to go to his parents house, load the tractor, and drive it back to our place. At that point I stopped listening to all we had to get done, but I heard "Blah blah blah, WE HAVE TO GO! blah, blah, blah, DAYLIGHT IS BURNING! blah, blah, blah, SO MUCH WORK TO DO BEFORE NIGHTFALL! blah, blah, blah."



"I love this wall. You should all have a wall just like this one. Because this one is really great. So I will lean against it and gesture to it, because I love it so much."

I dressed in old jeans, a holey t-shirt, and giraffe-print rubber boots. It had rained quite a bit, and I knew the land was going to be soggy, so I thought it was a fairly appropriate outfit for a day of work outside in the muck. (I have NO IDEA what I'm doing in that picture, but I'm fairly certain I'm not scratching or adjusting anything.)

But I did turn thirty-mumble mumble yesterday, and didn't really want to feel completely UG on my birthday, so I put on a faceful of make-up, my new lipgloss and new perfume, and I fixed my hair. All the while, Hubs is telling me we have to go, and I'm just going to get sweaty and ruin my hair and make-up anyway, so what's the point?

The point is, at this stage in my life, it's either a faceful of make-up or a burlap sack. You take your pick.

My dad had called earlier in the day, to wish me a Happy Birthday, and said something about taking us to dinner. I had a freak-out moment, thinking we were going to be out working, and they were going to stop by the house to pick us up for dinner. So I called them to clarify. They didn't answer. So I called his cell. He said they were just outside, but weren't coming today.

So we loaded up and headed to Hub's parents' house.

When we rounded the curve, I saw a bunch of vehicles in their yard, which is really nothing new. I mean, between the two of them, they have SIX VEHICLES at that house. Not counting the tractor or 4 wheeler. And there is ALWAYS someone over for dinner. I looked at Hubs and said, "Who's here?"

He said he didn't know.

As we turned into their drive, I saw BALLOONS. Tied to the gate. As in, "THE PARTY'S HERE!"

And lots of familiar vehicles.

And my dad.

The big liar.

Which were the exact words I yelled when I got out of the truck.

I. Had. No. Clue. This was coming. Or I would NOT have worn old jeans, a holey t-shirt, and RUBBER. BOOTS. To my party. Giraffe-print or not.

Inside my boots, my toes were pretty dadgum cute, since I was trying to impress Paula the day before.

We didn't get too many shots of my chic outfit, but we did get about 493 pictures of my butt. With Hub's hand reaching for it. And my ta-tas. I had no idea until I got home and downloaded them all. He's a perpetual twelve year-old.

Once I got over my shock, we partied, and ate, and then they broke out the cakeS.


My sweet baby girl baked and decorated two cakes for me, and my stepmom made YUMMY key lime bars and my friend, Karon made YUMMY chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter filling.


"Happy birthday to MEEEEEE!"  


While I was busy being serenaded, Cullen sneaked closer...


AND BLEW OUT ALL MY CANDLES!!!

The little twerp.

My beautiful (and very stylish!) friend, Emily, re-lit them, and they sang to me all over again.

It's a tough job, but I took it on.


This time I got to actually blow them out allbymysay-ulf.


EVERYTHING was good.


Sooooooooo good.


Ahem. Tooooooooo good. :)


She enjoyed the fruits of her labor along with some homemade ice cream. I never got around to that. There was just so much to eat! And so many great people to hang out with.


Like these two.


Eli really enjoyed his cake, too!


Christian made me the sweetest. card. EVER. She also gave me a little figurine of a mother and daughter, sitting together, in white t-shirts and blue jeans. I love it. It reminds me of those faceless Willow Tree angels. Karon is an amazingly talented painter, and she's going to paint the hair to match mine and Christian's. The hair on the figures is just a little too dark.


See? Nice party outfit, huh? KLASSY. He is just sooooo lucky I did my hair and make-up. I think someone would be filing a missing person's report on him by now had I not.


Emily makes the best raspberry margaritas I've ever had. Well, actually, hers are the only raspberry margaritas I've ever had, but I can't imagine anyone making them better than hers. They're dangerous. Sinful. Soooooooooo goooooooood.


So she gave me some margarita glasses. She said she'd give me her recipe, but I told her I'd rather just have her come over and make some more! Because it's just not going to be fun to drink them without her.


My stepmom (and Dad, but he had no idea what "they" were giving me!) gave me a whole bunch of stuff I've really been needing lately, and she's the expert on, so I was SOOOOOO excited to see all that she filled that bag with.


And she can really fill a bag, let me tell you! Once I finish my big project, I'll post pictures and tell you what exactly she filled that bag with.


The last box I opened was a complete shock. COMPLETE. SHOCK.

I have been wanting a silhouette cutter forever, and have been telling Hubs for about five months that I'm going to order one, but just never get around to doing it.

Well.

He ordered it.

SHOCKED, I tell ya.

He had already given me the book I really wanted, so I thought that was it. And I was perfectly happy. Beyond happy. I had a new book that I've been wanting to read, I had an amazing surprise birthday party with sweet friends and treasured family, lots of very thoughtful and appreciated gifts, so I was set.

And he just took it one step further. I'm still so shocked that they all got me so completely. I really had no clue any of this was coming. I kept telling him last night how special and loved they all made me feel. I am just so blessed beyond words.


I have friends.


I have friends that are more like family.

I have the love of an amazing family.

I have it all.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The End of Summer

Our summer was long and lazy, which is just how I like it. We don't over-schedule, we don't go away for days or weeks at a time, and we generally don't have anywhere we have to be.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

There were a few weekends when we had two or three events, and that just makes this homebody twitch.

For the most part, it was staying up late, sleeping late, and playing hard.

This year we went out with a bang.

My mom visited from Nashville, and we made sure to get the most out of our time together.

We woke up at the crack of nine Sunday morning, and I made Belgian waffles and fruit smoothies for breakfast.

We took our time getting dressed, and hit the road, headed towards the Kemah Boardwalk. It's basically a year-round carnival, with lots of restaurants scattered among the games and rides.

Of course we stopped at Buc-ees on our way there. Got some beaver nuggets, some beef jerky, some fudge, a few cinnamon-roasted almonds. It was imperative that we get good, wholesome food in us to prepare us for the rigors of carnival rides.

And no trip to Buc-ees is complete without a few bags of toys for the kiddos.

We got to our hotel, but our Kemah tickets (part of our package) hadn't arrived yet, so we went down to the pool and walked around. The kids played a little golf.


Don't let the stance fool you.

I really think he's found his calling.

At the tender age of four, he just has that special "something."

I really think he's headed for a gold jacket one of these days.

His swing is just so.... so... pure. So raw.

This little guy was pretty good, too.

He didn't get the memo that cowbabies shouldn't squat with their spurs on.


Probably wouldn't matter, even if he did get the memo. He's not really what you'd call a rule-follower.


As evidenced by the fact that he didn't bother too much with using the club to bump the ball into the hole.

He found it was much faster to just use his hands.

She's really the only one that looks like she belongs out there.

But then again, she spent some time on the course with my dad this summer. He's a retired instructor.


They really wanted in the pool, but a cool front swept in, dropping the temperature to a balmy 87 degrees.

And Christian forgot her swimsuit.

So they climbed up on the rock waterfall and tolerated me taking a few pictures.

He's such a silly little boy.

And he's growing up too fast.

He's getting more handsome with every passing day.

This face makes my heart hurt. But in a good way.

They're all wearing new cowboy boots here. I bought FOUR pairs this week. All three of my babies had outgrown theirs, and I found a pair for me at a price that was almost free, really. Cullen and Cavan wear cowboy boots every. single. day. Cavvie even wears his with shorts. (Ugh. I pick my battles. Boots and shorts is not one of them.)

This was the only shot where all three of them looked relatively normal. Unfortunately, they weren't all looking at the camera.

So we tried again. But Cullen doesn't really appreciate his sister grabbing his head.

See?

(He reminds me of my Gramma here. I don't really understand why. Oh. Wait. It's coming back to me. That's the face she used to make when my brother and I were driving her CRAZY. It's the face that usually accompanied her yelling "EHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" And then saying we weren't allowed to visit at the same time anymore. Good times.)

Hubs was trying to clean Christian's face...

And Cavvie took advantage of his Daddy's distraction to try to touch the lamp that I had just told the other two not to touch.

Right about this time, the hotel manager came out to the pool and gave us our Kemah tickets... so we headed there. We figured it was probably time to get the heck outta there, before we got escorted out. And not in a good way.

First thing the kids wanted to do was ride the carousel.

While we were in line, Cullen dragged my mom to one of the nearby games.



It was that "strong-man" game. The one where you hit the hammer as hard as you can on the platform and see how high you can make the ball fly up.

He loved that game! Unfortunately, he can wear his daddy's wedding band as a bracelet, so we weren't expecting much.

I was shocked that he won something! They gave him a stuffed dolphin. Mom said he told the lady, "I don't want an animal."

So mom told him to take it anyway, and maybe he could give it to someone.

So he (very sweetly) asked her if he could give it to Stister. Mom, of course, told him he could. (Made. My heart. MELT.)

Cullen ran over to Christian and held up the prize he had won for her. And she told him, "No thanks!"

But Cavvie wanted it, and he carried that thing around with him for the rest of the night. He now sleeps with his fishy. Which is kind of weird, but a lot of things about him are weird.

This is where Cullen sat during the carousel ride. He was perfectly content to sit on a bench and spin in circles from there. We were among the first on the ride, and the kids immediately headed to the second floor. Which was the right choice. You could really see the whole park from up there.

Christian rode the ostrich,

While Cavan chose a horse. Kind of appropriate, considering he's wearing spurs. There is nothing cuter than a wild, rough little boy in wranglers, cowboy boots, and spurs.

This is my mom and Cullen waiting for Hubs, Christian, Cavan and me to get off the ferris wheel. We tried to force encourage Cullen to ride it with us, but he wouldn't do it.

In total honesty, he. FUH-REAKED. OUT. It was like trying to stuff an octopus into a pair of pantyhose.

I'm guessing here. I haven't actually tried stuffing an octopus into a pair of pantyhose. But I bet my experience with Cullen and the ferris wheel comes pretty dang close.
Her's so preeety.



And Hubs apparently believes the camera will steal his soul if he cracks a smile. I now understand why people that meet him think he's so serious.

Hi Cullen! Hi Mom!


This is while we were standing in line, waiting to ride the train. Cullen was so tired. He asked Mom to hold him, and then just layed his sweet little head on her shoulder. I almost yanked him away from her, but thought that might be a little rude. Not that it wasn't rude of her to take MY BABY. But whatever.

After this, Hubs took the chillins to the car to watch a movie, while Mom and I rode the scary rides.

But first we stopped and got frozen margaritas.

That were 3 feet tall.

For REAL.

It was liquid courage.

It worked. We rode them all. And the liquid courage stayed down, even while the rides threw us all around, so I think everybody won.

I can't remember the last time I laughed so much.

And not just because I drank 36 inches of frozen margarita.