Saturday, July 26, 2014

Anniversary Restaurant Hopping

Today was a special day for Bryan and I. It's was our 8 year anniversary! I still can't believe that I was lucky enough to get to marry my very best friend for time and all eternity EIGHT years ago! Sometimes it feels like we have been together forever, but on days like today it seems like it was just yesterday that we were flirting and passing notes in high school. Ah, the good ol' days. That was back before we had kids, and "big boy jobs", and constant household chores, and all the other crazy things that we have today. Luckily, we have amazing parents who are willing to watch the kids, Saturdays that are job free, and the ability to lock the front door and pretend that everything is pretty and clean inside. Which means we get to go on crazy fun dates and reconnect like we did in the good 'ol days!

This year we decided to do something we've never done before and go restaurant hopping. I've got to say, it's a lot of fun! So, here's how it works... You pick one restaurant to have your appetizer, one restaurant for your entree, and one for your dessert. Easy, right?! Well, for two people who are super indecisive and never want to put the other person out, this task was a little daunting. So, we decided to let fate decide. We made a list of all the restaurants we like, cut it into strips, folded them up, and picked at random. Here's what we ended up with:
Outback, Palio's, & Friday's
 Stop number one was Outback Steakhouse. We haven't been here in YEARS so it was fun to visit an old favorite. I have to admit that it was a little hard to ONLY order an appetizer with all of the steak around me. Bryan kept me strong though and, in the end, I'm glad we stuck to the plan.
  Our second stop was Palio's. Can I just say, YUMMM! Bryan has never been here so it was his first experience with this amazing Pizza place. We ordered the BBQ Chicken Pizza to share. Even with it being as delicious as it was, we still took home half the pizza. 
 Our final restaurant was TGI Friday's. When we pulled this one for dessert I was a little bummed because I've never ordered dessert from Friday's before, and I was kinda hoping to pull BJ's (Pazookie anyone?!) or Braums. We sat down and looked over the dessert menu and picked two different desserts. I got some Oreo, Fudge, Ice Cream dessert, and Bryan ordered their Brownie and Ice Cream dessert. Sorry, I don't remember what either of them were called. I do have to say, Bryan was nice enough to share a few bites of his and OH. MY. GOSH. It was so rich, and so yummy. I don't know how he finished it, but it was WAY better than my oreo dessert! And the Oreo one was pretty tasty itself. 
 In the end we both agreed that it was a really fun date. We'll definitely do it again, but we'll probably go about picking our restaurants a little bit differently. The BEST part of the whole date was being able to be alone with each other for so long and not having to take anyone to the bathroom, or tie a shoe, or break up any fights. It was pure-alone-couple time. 
Thomas S Monson said to "Choose your love; love your choice", and I absolutely do! Happy Anniversary babe!

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Year in a Post... Almost

I can't believe it has been almost a YEAR since I've even looked at this blog. It's the closest thing I have to a journal so I wanted to give a re-cap before I jumped back into blogging. Are you ready? Here we go...

Hailey was born on September 23, 2013 at 4:00pm. She weighed in at 8lbs 6oz, and was 20.5 inches.

The whole labor and delivery were SUPER easy. I mean, I didn't even ask for the epidural until the last minute. And once I did get it, it was only a few minutes until it was time to start pushing. And even that went way fast. Dr.Mos didn't even have time to get into the room before Hailey was born. Yep, that's right, Hailey was delivered with only Bryan, myself, and a nurse in the room. 
 A few weeks after she was born we had Katie come over and take some newborn pictures for us.
 I LOVED these ones with Bryan.
 Mine didn't turn out too bad either, if I don't say so myself. 
 But these black and whites were so sweet that I almost couldn't believe they were of my baby!
 It couldn't be all about Hailey all the time though. Bryan and I made sure we did lots of special things with Michelle and Tina too. In early October he took the girls out for a Princess inspired Daddy Daughter Date.
 As it grew closer to Halloween we took a family trip to the pumpkin patch. It was so fun for everyone! We played games, jumped in bounce houses.....
 the girls found their way through the hay maze, holding hands the whole time. And, eventually, we picked out the perfect pumpkin to take home.
On Halloween morning we carved up the pumpkin to a very scary "Jack"-o-lantern.
That night Hailey sat in the car with me to pass out candy during trunk-or-treat. She was even dressed up in Michelle's old jack-o-lantern costume.
Michelle went as a candy corn witch, and Tina was her favorite character, Mini Mouse!
 Before we knew it, it was time to bless Hailey. Bryan did an amazing job giving her a name and a blessing in our ward (Melissa) with my Dad, Ben, and Daniel standing in with him.
   Last year Jessica helped our family start a new tradition of taking family photos. We coordinated our outfits, met up with Katie, and got some really great pictures!
 This was a copycat shot from one she took last year. It was just Michelle and Tina swinging their boots, but this year we were able to get Hailey's little Uggs in there too!
 Some of the best shots Katie got that day were unposed and unplanned, but being the great photographer she is, she was ready with her camera and was shooting away!
 The girls were throwing rocks at each other playing so nicely in this picture. ;)
This tree was just too perfect for my little girls to climb on! 

Like I said, some of the best pics were VERY candid shots!
 Even Bryan and I got some barft in-love pics!
 Hailey could not have been a better baby during all the craziness that is our family pictures!
 I love all of my girls very much, but Hailey was, by far, my best and sweetest baby.
 I think she may have rubbed off onto her sisters because ever since she came along they have been the best of friends!
 Before we knew it Christmas time was here and the Holidays were coming to an end.
 It was around this time that Hailey had developed a pretty good routine of sleeping through the night and taking three good naps during the day. This was great for me because it meant that I had hope for surviving by myself once Bryan had to go back to work.
 There were a few days at the beginning of January where it was actually nice enough that we got to go outside and play while Bryan bar-b-qued. 

The beautiful weather didn't last long though, and we were soon bundling up to go play in the ice!

With Bryan back at work it made his day at home with us extra special. We REALLY love the days he gets to work from home now!
 I also decided that is was about time to get back to preschool with Michelle. I am so proud of what a smart little girls she is. She learns and pick up on things so quickly! It kills me that she is going to be off to Kindergarten this year though.  
 I am excited for her to make lots of new friends once she does start school. She had a heartbreaking goodbye with one of her best friends when her family moved away to California.
 I'm not sure how it happened, but Bryan and I finally worked up the courage to go out by ourselves! We had a hot date and loved it so much that we decided to try and start doing it more often.
 For the longest time whenever we would put Hailey on her tummy she would just find her thumb and nod off to sleep. One day she decided that she didn't want to sleep anymore and figured out how to life her head right off the ground. Ever since then she has been growing and developing way faster than I ever thought she would! 
 Speaking of growing fast. Michelle really scares me sometimes. Every now and then I'll look over at her and find this beautiful girl sitting there and wonder, "where is my little girl? when did she grow up?"
 No matter how many changes we were dealing with the one thing that remained the same was Hailey's smile. She has the smiliest little baby I have ever seen. Happy all the time, no matter what.
 We got a little bit more snow and a lot of more ice, but the girls didn't seem to care which one it was as long as they got to play in it, and have hot chocolate after.
 Did I mention that Jessica was pregnant? Well, she was! Lucky for me that meant that I got to go out on a girls day to get some super relaxing pedicures. Cami even got to come this time!
 Remember how I said that Hailey had just started lifting her head? A few weeks later she was lifting her whole top half! The girl was unstoppable. When she wanted to sit up- BAM- she did it!
 Jess has never liked baby showers, or really any kind of party that focused on her, but we decided that we didn't care what she wanted. So we threw he a surprise baby shower. 
 No games or fuss. Just her family, a few gifts, and some yummy cake!
 As February started to end the weather started to calm down too. We took advantage of it and took Michelle out to learn to ride her bike.... Bryan took the "teach by example" approach. 
 We also became one of the many families who just couldn't "Let it Go" and were obsessed with everything Frozen. We even made a special trip on the day it came out to go buy the blu ray.
The month of March was pretty much all about Daniel and Marianella. Only a few month off of his mission and he was already getting hitched! Yep, my baby brother was getting MARRIED!!
 I was so happy for him. I even put together his open house here in Texas. (He was married and had a reception in Arizona.)
 We wanted to keep it simple, but... well, I was in charge.
 I wanted to be sure Daniel and Marianelle were the focus, not the cake, or the music, or even the gifts. So I put up a lot of pictures from their wedding in Arizona and even blew some up to hang on the walls.
 I think it turned out pretty good. 
 April was here before we knew it and we were more than happy to go to a few of Clayton's baseball games.
 As a Thank you Daniel and Marianelle bought Bryan, Michelle, Tina and I tickets to Disney on Ice. They stayed home with Hailey and babysat for us.

Michelle loved it. Tina loved it. WE ALL LOVED IT!!! It was so much fun and, I'm not going to lie, I even cried a little bit because it was so great to see my girls so happy!
   One morning, while Bryan was mowing the front yard we found baby BUNNIES!
 Like they do every year, the girls had a lot of fun dying easter eggs. We even made our own dye this year, but, to be honest, I think paying a buck for the PAAS dye is worth it.
 The animals and the flowers weren't the only things they grew up this spring. Hailey went through a huge growth spurt and grew right out of her swing.
 Michelle had her first dentist appointment and did GREAT! We found out that she had a few teeth that needed to be pulled :(, but she was a champ about it. I was so very proud of her!
 Hailey decided that her favorite person in the world was her big sister. She will take Michelle over Bryan and I anyday! The love between these two is precious. 
 Soon the sun was blaring and it was time to put on some swim suits and get wet! 
 Hailey started teething and learning to pull herself up at right about the same time. While this was really exciting, it was also really bad news for a lot of my baskets and furniture. Lol!
 Tina had been in a "I'm going to be crabby all the time phase" pretty much since her second birthday. I am VERY happy to say that she is finally starting to grow out of it and get back to the super sweet girl we all know and love.
 Every Sunday the family gets together and heads down to Plano to have dinner together and swim in Grandma and Pa's pool. 
 Tina even discovered the joys of "laying out". We love the sun!
 Michelle had an Art themed party for her 5th Birthday. She's getting so big, it's killing me!
 Hailey is obsessed with Cooper. Every time they are together she tried to crawl all over him.
 And, really, can you blame her? He's pretty much adorable.
 One of Michelle's most favorite things to do is to play dress up. She loves being a princess. Dressing up as all of the different Disney Princesses has become a daily activity in our house.
 The Fourth of July was a lot of fun! We went swimming, ate bar-b-que, watched fire-works, and had a full day of family fun! 
The Jones family gave Michelle a butterfly kit for her birthday. The girls loved being able to see them go from caterpillars to chrysalis' to butterflies. 
 We have had a surprising number of rainy days this summer. Without fail, every time it rains, the girls find a good reason to NEED to go play in it.
 We've started school shopping to get Michelle ready to go to Kindergarten. 
 Tina will do almost anything that Michelle wants to do. If Michelle is doing preschool, Tina wants to do it too. If Michelle is playing dress up, Tina wants to dress up too.
 We took a trip to the Perot Museum in Dallas and had a great time! The girls especially loved seeing all the dinosaurs and hands-on exhibits.

Eventually, it was time to take our butterflies outside and say good bye!
 The butterflies were beautiful and we were sad to see them go, but know that they will be much happier outside than in their little habitat inside our house.
 Bryan is more than thrilled with the face that Hailey finds his games extremely entertaining. I'm not nearly as happy about it as he is, but I'm not going to complain about having a little more free time. ;) 
 Grandma Neva turned 96 this year! 
 We all went to her house to play and celebrate with her.
Lots more has happened this past year, but these pics give a pretty good overview, and I'm pretty sure this entry is one of the longest I've ever done. I do want to start keeping some kind of journal again, and this blog is a great way to do it. I'm going to try and set a goal of one post a week. Hopefully I'll be able to do more than that, but life around here gets pretty crazy. So, for now... well, let's just try to be realistic. :)