Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Grandpa's 80th Birthday

On July 7th, my mom's side of the family got together to throw my wonderful grandfather a surprise 80th birthday party.  We rented Heritage Park in Downtown Irving and braved the heat (and boy was it HOT) for an awesome time of celebration.  The party was in a small building there in the park that was the original Irving Public Library.  We invited around 120 of Grandpa's friends, family, and former employees and colleagues.  Almost all of them showed up, so it was a full house!

In case you don't know about my special relationship with my grandfather, here is a bit of background.  He was a coach and administrator all around Texas for many years.  He became the principal of an elementary school in Irving a couple of years before I was born.  I had the amazing experience of attending that school as a student.  Many of the party guests were the teachers who worked for him, which was so much fun!

I had a really great time planning the party.  We made sure that all of the food was themed around him.  We served cupcakes that had toppers on them with pictures throughout his years, white chocolate popcorn because of his love of movies, football decorated chocolate covered strawberries because of his years as a coach, golf ball cake balls because of his golf hobby, and chips and salsa because of his being from Jacksonville, Texas (the Tomato Capitol of the World and salsa also being a very popular food in Texas.)  My uncle Andy made an amazing video that looped during the party and he also brought some awesome memorabilia of grandpa's that we used for decor.

Overall, it was a smashing success!

The spread.  Next to each food item there was a framed explanation of why we chose to serve that food.
Some of the decorations- old letter jackets and football jerseys, a football for guests to sign, a football calendar from Plano High School, and an AWESOME banner courtesy of Waldrum Signs.
A few pictures taken before the party.  Setting up and the arrival of Grandpa and Grandma.
Teachers from Lively Elementary.  These people LOVE my grandpa!  The top right photo is Mrs. Sullivan, the former music teacher, entertaining the crowd with a song she wrote for the occasion.
And of course, Emily was there, too!  She and Lucas had to leave early to take a nap, though.
So much love, laughter and friendship!
Family who came to the party.  Grandpa's brother Charlie and all of Charlie's children and their families came to Dallas for the party.  Too bad Lucas and Emily were already gone for these pictures.
Grandpa and Grandma

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Eleven months!

It is basically impossible that next month I will be writing a blog post about our one year-old daughter.  Emily is eleven months old.  How did that even happen?  I remember when I went back to work, I thought the summer would never get here.  And now, the summer is halfway over and I'm writing an eleven month blog entry and planning a first birthday party.  This month has been one of the most fun months so far.  She is growing so much and seems like she masters a new skill every day.  Our lives are so much richer because of this little girl.  Month eleven highlights:

  • First bloody injury- This month, Emily has become much more curious and much more mobile.  A bad combination!  While I was baby proofing the living room, she fell and busted her lip.  I'm not sure exactly what she hit, because I wasn't watching her when it happened, but it was either on the floor or the small bit of fireplace that isn't covered.
  • Playing games- Emily has really started playing games this month.  She has learned to click her tongue and likes to play a "call and response" tongue clicking game when we are in the car.   She also has just become much more interactive with the dogs, playing with them.
  • Give me five- We learned give me five this month and she is really good at it!  We are working on clapping right now.
  • Standing alone- Emily still isn't standing alone very much, but she totally can.  Anytime she is standing up and holding a toy with both hands, she thinks she is holding on to something stable and will stand for quite awhile.  As soon as she realizes she's not holding on to something, she sits down immediately.
  • Affection- She has been much more affectionate this month, holding on, patting, and giving hugs and kisses.
  • Eating update- Right now, she is eating pretty much anything we put in front of her, although she much prefers eating with her hands than being spoon fed.
  • Walking with push toy- She has been practicing walking while holding on to her push toy and she does great!
  • Knees- Emily has learned how to sit on her knees and also walk on her knees.  She likes to walk on them while pushing the push toy. 
  • First words- I think we have some official first words.  She's been doing mamamama and dadadada for awhile, but now we have "Hi" with a wave and "ball."
  • Swimming lessons- We did mom and tot swimming lessons this past month and had alot of fun!  She is a little swimmer!
  • Climbing- With increased mobility, she has begun trying to climb.  She can get on top of the fireplace hearth pretty easily, which we obviously try to keep her from doing.
  • Biting- Now that she has so many teeth, she has started biting.  Not surprisingly, it is normally when she isn't getting her way about something.  Her little temper has also begun to show this month!
We are still right around 20 lbs and 30 inches.  Wearing size three diaper and moving into 12 month clothes, although most nine month still fit.  The jammies are always the problem.  She's just so tall!

Unfortunately, we don't have a carseat timeline this month. :(  Can you believe it?  It just didn't happen.  When we did her photoshoot, the carseat wasn't at our house, and right after we went and picked it up, I had some kind of weird allergic reaction and got sidetracked by that.  Next thing we knew, the moment to get the picture had passed.  Oh well.  We'll get one next month!

What to say little girl?  You are truly the love of our lives.  What would we do without you?  We love you more than you know.

Swimming lessons

Big girl seat

Walking...kind of!

Look at those teeth!

Re-fueling after swimming lessons

Super snazzy on the Fourth
First bloody boo-boo...and pretty eyes!

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Fourth of July

    Emily's first Fourth of July was a fabulous day!  Daddy had the day off, of course, so we got to spend the morning all playing together.  For lunch, we went to On the Border, which makes perfect sense for celebrating America's Independence Day.  I mean, if it wasn't for our independence from England, Texas might not have ever come about and without Texas, there would be no Tex-Mex.  I can rationalize anything.

    After lunch, Emmy and I had swimming lessons, so we dropped Daddy off at Mimi and Papa's, who just happen to live next door to our swim teachers.  After swim, we headed home for the afternoon where Emily took a wonderful nap while I cooked and got ready for our July 4th/Walker family birthday party.  After the princess woke up, we loaded up the car to head out for the party and it wouldn't start.  (Fortunately, we found out later, it was just the battery.)  Quick change of cars and we were on our way.

    We had a great time with the family, celebrating the Fourth as well as a few important birthdays.  Emily had great fun playing with her cousin Grayer and swinging outside.  Before we went home, we stopped for a quick photo op with our little firecracker. 

    Happy Birthday, America!

    Peeking around Mimi's hair

    Such a happy girl

    I think these two girls kind of like each other.

    Playing with cousin Grayer

    Loving life!

    Our little family

    Papa, Emily, and Mimi

    Emmy and Mawmaw, the birthday girl

    Sunday, July 15, 2012

    Father's Day

    I know this post is a bit late, but I've had good intentions to write it.  We were on vacation on Father's Day and since we've been back, life has been a whirlwind of swimming lessons, new babies, and transitioning to stay-at-home mom life.  But now, here we are.  Happy Father's Day to two of the greatest men in Emily's life!

    I don't even know where to start with Lucas.  He has been the most amazing daddy any child could ask for.  From day one he has loved that little girl with all that he is and he demonstrates that love every day.  He is always so willing to do anything I need him to do to help with her and never ever complains.  Emily loves her daddy SO much and gets incredibly excited every day when he gets home from work.  He has fallen into fatherhood so naturally that you'd think he's been a daddy for a long time.  I am so incredibly blessed to have Lucas for a husband and the father of my children.  He is such a wonderful friend, partner, encourager, provider, and daddy.  I love you, Lucas, and Emmy does, too!

    First time to hold Emily

    Checking each other out

    Emmy and Daddy at Easter

    This year on Father's Day, we were lucky enough to get to spend it on the beach with both Daddy and Papa!  Emmy has also been blessed with the most amazing Papa.  It has been so fun to watch my daddy become a grandfather.  That little girl has absolutely wrapped her Papa around her finger and I am quite sure he is a lost cause.  I am so thankful that Emily has been blessed with such a wonderful grandfather! 

    Ready to head to the sand

    With Daddy and Papa at the beach

    Way too early for pictures!

    We love you Daddy and Papa!

    Friday, July 13, 2012


    Just four days after returning home from Ohio, we packed up Papa and Mimi's Highlander and were off like a herd of turtles to gorgeous Destin, Florida.  With little bit being almost ten months old- and extremely active- at the time, we didn't think we'd make it to Florida in one day.  Instead of leaving early in the morning, we left mid-day and spent the night in Lafayette, LA.  She did great armed with a Backyardigans-filled iPad, lots of snacks, and an entertaining Mimi.  After a night in Louisiana, we were up early the next morning and hit the road for our final destination.

    We'd never been to the beach for longer than a couple of days, but we were looking for a longer getaway than that.  Not being sure if a whole week would be too long, we went with five nights.  (In retrospect, a week would not be too long!)  When booking the condo, my only real requirement was that it was right on the beach.  It is too difficult with a baby to have to pack up and walk a long way with all the beach necessities.  I found an excellent condo in Miramar Beach, just barely east of Destin.  It was absolutely perfect.  Far enough outside of Destin to not be too congested and a first floor unit where we could walk out of our patio doors to the pool and the stairs that lead to the sand.  We will definitely stay there again and would recommend it to anyone!

    One really great thing about our condo was that it came with beach service- beach umbrellas and lounge chairs.  We'd get down to the sand early each morning to stake our claim on chairs and enjoy the gorgeous view and perfect breezes.  Emily had so much fun!  The first day she wasn't sure about the sand, but by day two, she was loving it.  She especially loved eating it!  The weather was amazing and we spent most of our time on the beach.  We had two meals a day at the condo and ate out for the third.  Destin has some really fun restaurants.  Our favorites were The Back Porch, Hard Rock Cafe, and Cheeseburger in Paradise.

    After a fun five days, we reluctantly packed back up and headed home.  We decided to try to do it all in one day and we made it home around 8:30 pm.  Emily was such a trooper!  Our next trip will definitely be a one day voyage.  We can't wait to go back to Destin!  Hopefully next year!

    I LOVE the beach!

    The view from our porch

    Heaven on Earth

    Emmy and Mommy in matching dresses at Fudpucker's

    Emmy with Papa.  I love this picture.

    Playing with the stroller Papa bought for her at Cracker Barrel

    The girls!

    Mimi and Emmy

    Look at those eyelashes!  This girl was a busy bee in the sand.

    Soaking up the sun with Daddy

    Sleepy Girl

    Yummy carrots at the Hard Rock Cafe

    Papa and Mimi at The Back Porch

    Our family of three

    Loving the Mardi Gras beads from Mimi and Papa's night out

    Yeah, I'm cute.

    Such a refined lady in her wide brimmed hat

    Papa and Mimi at Baytowne Wharf

    Yup.  This is the best one we got.

    My favorite people