Friday, December 9, 2011

50 - Day 2

I still don't have pictures for Day 2, but thought I should get this up anyways. I'll add pictures once Christmas is over and Carrie gets back in town to upload them for me...

On with the story...

Saturday afternoon we planned a barbecue at a park that all the grandkids could attend. I pulled up and looked at the pavilion to see someone who looked an awful lot like me. It was LISA! You know, Lisa, who lives in Hawaii now?! She flew in to surprise all of us! We had her go hide in the park with Oscar (the dog) and my nephew until Mom and Dad got there. It was great. We had Mom and Dad standing in between Evan and Elly, who were swinging. We were taking their pictures and had Lisa sneak up behind them. They were so surprised! Mom and I had actually called her earlier that day and she said she was at Costco, which she was, but in Albuquerque!

We had a great time at the park. We ate, we played Three Deep, which is a fun running/tag game. After dinner we headed home and Tina came over for a while. It was fun to stay up late with Lisa and Tina to hear stories from their childhood.

Sunday morning Lisa had to get back on a plane for Hawaii. Poor Lisa. She was in town for less than 24 hours, and had two horrendous travel days, but we were so glad she came! She knew she would have been too sad if she missed out.

Oh, and Sunday my Mom decided to wear the new necklace my dad gave her. She was running out the door to church and remembered she wanted to wear it, so Lisa grabbed it for her and she got in the car and put it in around her neck and my dad was going to fasten it when they got to church. But they were in such a hurry for the primary program, that they forgot. They searched and searched for that necklace but it never got found or turned in. So sad. SOOOO sad. However, watching my parents during the discovery that this necklace had been lost taught me something. Neither one got mad or yelled. Neither blamed the other. They just tried to work together to find it. It was sweet. And so sad.

It was a really great weekend. If it just wouldn't have been for that dang house robbery... and the necklace getting lost in the church parking lot, it would have been perrrrfect.

Congratulations, Mom and Dad, on 50 years together. You guys have made an awesome family and we think you're the best. Thanks for teaching us how to love by your examples.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

50 - Day 1

9-9-61 was a special day. It's the day my parents were married. On 9-9-11, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. For at least a year or two we've been trying to decide what to do for their 50th anniversary. Do we have a party, go on a cruise, go to a cabin, rent Puff Daddy's yacht, dinner at home, charter an airplane? Finally it just got too annoying and expensive sounding and we gave it up. We (the kids) decided that they would love a book full of pictures. (I knew because my mom said she wanted one). We decided to make it awesome by scanning all their old slides and including those pictures in the book instead of just recent family pictures. Ben suggested we write letters to all their old friends and have them write notes for the book, too. It was a lot of work. Carrie stole Mom and Dad's Christmas Card list so I could send out letters to their friends, then Carrie and Maddie scanned 20 reels of slides, and 26 boxes of slides, plus numerous photographs, and put the pics online so we could all go through and choose our favorite shots. Ben designed the book, I collected letters from friends, organized, edited pictures and did whatever Ben told me to do. Ben worked really hard. Including putting in one all-nighter at work the night before the book was due. The book came out awesome!

Wait, wait, wait, I've gotten ahead of myself. Unbeknown to my parents, Evan and I flew in Friday, 9/9, and Carrie came to pick us up at the airport. We ran a few errands and planned to surprise them at lunch, with my brother, Rob. On the way to lunch we ran by Carrie's house to grab something. On the way in the house she grabbed the book so I could see it. As I was opening the cover, she came back into the garage and said, "Suzy, I've been robbed!" I asked if she was sure. Like, could the dog have done this? She assured me that whomever did this had hands. Fair enough. I grabbed a huge wrench from the work bench so I could beat up the robber, and Carrie called 911. We walked in the house just long enough to see the mess of jewelry on her bed before we got the heebie jeebies. Carrie called Robert and told him what happened, he called our parents and told them to go to Carrie's house, too. So, instead of surprising them at the restaurant, I surprised them by jumping out from behind the bushes of the house that had just been robbed. They were very surprised. At first they thought it was a joke and that the house hadn't been robbed. But... it had.

We eventually left poor Carrie there alone to wait for the cops, so we could get Evan home for a nap. The cops finally got there two hours later and dusted for prints (found 1 poor quality print). She discovered that they mostly took her gold things and thank goodness were too dumb to realize the value of pearls. They also hadn't made it through ALL her drawers to find more valuable stuff (they did, however, take her portable hard-drive with all the images she had just scanned for two months), so we think we might have surprised them when we opened the garage door. They could have run out the back door or front door. Oh, the front door was kicked in, by the way. It was a beautiful brand new door, but now it's repaired and kick-proof. Apparently these dorks like to go on foot and grab small things. And you should always answer your door because they will knock pretending to be salesmen and then break in if you don't answer. AND the cop told Carrie that she's lucky she wasn't home, because sometimes they are so desperate they will come in even if you are home. Scum bags. Anyhow, I digress from the details of such a lovely day.

So, no lunch, but there were dinner plans at the Sandia Resort & Casino. By the time Carrie got her door fixed, and ready we were only a little late for our 5:30 reservation. It was nice because the restaurant wasn't busy. We had a great view of the mountain and had yummy food. Although, we all agreed the BEST thing was the Crème brûlée that the waitress gave Mom and Dad for free.

After dinner we went back to Mom and Dad's house. Maddie was on duty there taking care of Evan and awaiting the delivery of a wedding cake. Poor Maddie had to deal with a screaming Evan, who was crying because of the barking dogs, who were barking because of the door bell, which was rung by the cake baker. It was very frustrating for the poor girl, but she managed to give cake set-up instructions, put Evan to bed, and have the house look good by the time we got there. Zach, Aaron, and Brian were there, too, when we got home.

We took some photos, ate some wedding cake (which looked similar to the original wedding cake), and my Dad gave my Mom a beautiful necklace symbolizing their marriage. Then our part of the program started. Remember how Carrie worked a bazillion hours scanning slides? Robert made a slide show out of some of the pictures, so we watched that. Mom and Dad were excited that their pictures were now digital!

(I just told them a potty joke to get them to smile... you can see their surprise:)
Then, we gave them the present: The book. Ben was hoping for some tears, and some tears Ben got. (I'm sad he had to miss being there, since he did so much work). The book turned out beautifully. The hours and hours of work payed off. It was a beautiful tribute to two people who made a wonderful life for a wonderful family. I, for one, really enjoyed working on it because so many of the pictures were from before I was born. I was born when my oldest sister, Tina, was 19, so there was a lot of life I missed out on! I felt like I got to learn a lot about their life back then. I could see their struggles, their fun, their sacrifices, and how their life began. AND I got to see how hot my parents were when they had 3 kids and they were 24 year-old kids, themselves.

I realized that through 50 years of marriage there are a lot of ups and downs. A lot of people give up these days, but I'm so grateful my parents didn't give up. There were times when it was hard, but they stuck it out, and are so grateful that they did. And you know what? If they would have given up, guess who wouldn't be here? ME! Thank you, thank you, thank you Mom and Dad, for not giving up. I like being here. And I am so grateful that I was born into our family.

Day 2 coming up... as soon as Carrie uploads the pictures :)


Remember a month ago when it was Halloween? Well, it was so good, I wanted to make you wait for it. Friday night we went to a party at Ben's work. Lucas dressed as a pirate and Evan was Cupid. And they were both very cute. Ben's coworker got the only pics from that night. After the party we went to the church trunk or treat and Evan fell flat on his face immediately and got a fat lip. He and Ben went home shortly after. Lucas enjoyed sword fighting with some sort of monster and really enjoyed the candy. He and I stayed until the very end.

Saturday was Fall Fest at Lucas's school. Once again he wore his pirate outfit and played fun games for the afternoon. All the moms were so happy to have Fall Fest over with! It's a lot of work for the parents and is the biggest fund raiser of the year.

Monday, Lucas decided to wear his Storm Trooper costume. Drew was also some sort of Storm Trooper. Neither one is an actual Storm Trooper, but there are so many kinds that I just have to call them Storm Troopers. Oh, and Ben was Mr. T.

Surprisingly, Evan had a great time on Halloween. He rode in the wagon with Miles, but wanted to get out and go inside every house. He made it into one, but luckily they were our neighbors across the street. Evan threw a fit at the end of the night and finally Ben figured out that the poor kid only wanted a sucker. Just a sucker.

We have about 4 pieces of candy left. I threw a couple away yesterday. I think the rest will be gone by the weekend.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Nine years ago this happened. Look how soft and smooth our skin was.
But look how much cooler we are now!

And no, I can't find a single picture of us together from this year. Lame, right?
I think a family photo shoot is in order in a major way. MAJOR!

Happy Anniversary, Baby! I love you

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Hi, Please vote. Pleeeaaaase.
And then tell your cool friends to vote. Don't tell your uncool friends.



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Love Sac Jumping!

I taught Evan a fun new hobbie yesterday. It kept him busy for a long time!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Lucas goes to year round school, which means we get a two week Fall Break = Awesome! Not only is it awesome to be off school for two weeks, but it's super-awesome that it's during a great time of year for travel!
My sister, Lisa, is living in Hawaii for a year, so we took advantage of our break by heading to The Big Island to visit. Lisa got the week off of work, and my mom was able to fly standby on USAir so we had just enough people for an awesome adventure.
Our main goals on the trip were to a)survive the flight, b) build sandcastles, c) see sea turtles, d) see volcanos.
Lucas was a perfect gentleman on the plane and Evan wasn't as bad as he could have been. Fire didn't expel from his mouth, his head never spun in circles, and he didn't poop!
We got into Kona at 2:00pm (7pm Austin time). The airport was all outside. It was so weird, but the benefit was that we got to feel the warm Hawaiian breeze and look at beautiful flowers while we waited for our luggage.
That night we were pretty chill. We headed to Lisa's for nap time, since it was the kid's real bed time, and then we had a very special dinner of Costco pizza (in the tour books it says Costco is the place to eat because it's so much cheaper than anywhere else... silly? yes. Delicious? yes.) and then we played at a beach for a few minutes. We were in normal clothes and of course both boys were soaked by the time we left.

DAY 1, Monday: Lucas woke up at 3:45am. I was also having a hard time sleeping so I got up with him and made him a bean burrito for breakfast (totally normal). I didn't know where Lisa had the cereal and he loves burritos, so it was a win. Evan woke up at 5:00. The boys cuddled on the couch and watched Word World on my phone. Eventually we took them to a park.
For breakfast we headed to a great little restaurant with the best view ever. The food was really good, too. Then we went to Place of Refuge. This is a sacred place to Hawaiians, so you're not allowed to swim there. Both boys were devastated that they could only look at the water, especially Evan. He would swim in stagnant, mosquito-infested water if you would let him. We walked around for 30 minutes or so, found a bazillion noni trees (and took a couple samples), and Lucas obtained his first Hawaiian souvenir coloring book, thanks to Lisa.
After lunch and a nap we headed to Kahalu'u Beach, which is one of the best snorkeling beaches on the island. Right off the bat we saw a couple few sea turtles in the water. Lucas was a little freaked out at first, but eventually got close to them. We also swam around with goggles and saw some pretty fish by the rocks. Lucas and Lisa also built a sand castle. The sand was really course salt and pepper sand. Oh, and then my swimsuit coverup got stolen and we saw an amazing sunset.
After that we headed to dinner. Kona kind of shuts down at about 8:00, so we were the only ones in a Mexican restaurant. Mexican food in Hawaii? Yes. And it was pretty good. And there was a parrot who talked to us. And I had to wear a towel since my coverup got stolen.

DAY 2, Tuesday: Ben and I took the kids out exploring. We went to a little park first and then walked to the waterfront from there. We found a row of bazillion dollar houses next to the rocky coast. It was beautiful. There were little tide pools where Lucas could find cool shells, crabs, and sea urchins. Lucas was a little nervous walking around there with the waves pounding against the rocks (he gets that from me... and common sense), and he would have breaks where he would go build a sand castle. At one point Lucas yelled, "Help me!" and he was crying. We looked over and he was holding his spoon (our "shovel") out and he had a sea urchin on it that he couldn't get off. With his vast animal knowledge he knows what's good to touch and what's bad to touch. Ben went to rescue him and we continued on our adventure.
That afternoon we headed 20 miles up the coast to a really pretty beach. Evan threw rocks in the water and Lucas built sand castles. I sat holding Evan for a long time and my bum was killing that night from the rough sand. Good times, though :). For dinner we went to a strip mall by the resorts and had a pretty disgusting meal. My mom got nachos and and put what we assumed was pico de gallo on them. Instead it was the lomi lomi salmon that came with Ben's traditional Hawaiian meal (which was pretty not good). We learned a valuable lesson that you should eat in a well lit area, and you should also ask questions when they give you 5 different toppings for 3 different meals. And also that you shouldn't order the "lunch plate," which is designed to give surfers enough carbs and meat to last the day surfing. Ugh.

Wednesday, Day 3: ROAD TRIP!!! We took the Saddleback road over the island to Hilo to see the waterfalls. Hilo is on the wet side of the island, Kona is the "dry" side. We saw Rainbow Falls first. It was beautiful and we got to hike around the jungle a little. There were great Banyan trees... and Evan and I got eaten alive by mosquitoes.
Next we went to Boiling Pots and Pe'e Pe'e Falls. Ben, Lucas and I took a little hike to get a good view of the waterfall. And the Pots were not boiling that day, but it was still pretty.
We took a little drive through town and stopped at a pretty park, then headed to Volcano National Park.
It was cold up there! Lucas was very interested in the park rangers presentation and listened intently. We got to see some steam vents, a the huge crater, a lava tube in the rain forest and then once it got dark we went to the museum where you have the best view of the crater and you can actually see it glowing red! So cool. What was not cool was that Evan got sick and threw up twice while we were there. Poor baby.
For our drive home we went around the island back to Kona. It took three hours and we were exhausted. Ben drove 90% of the way. And Evan threw up again. Fun times!

DAY 4, Thursday: We were exhausted! By now Evan had developed a croupy cough, but his tummy was better. I think he may have had an allergic reaction to all the bug bites at the waterfalls, but who knows. So, now we just had to deal with coughing and screaming. Lisa and I headed out at about 5:30 to see if we could get into her office so she could look at his ears to see if he had an ear infection. It wasn't unlocked yet, so we went to a drug store and bought some medicine and then to the Farmers Market for a couple papayas.
Later we all went back to the Farmers Market for lots of papaya, mangoes, lychee (which weren't good ones at all), bananas, and dragon fruit. YUM. We could get 8 papayas for $2. Mangoes were 2/$1. Apparently the papaya season is year-round, so the price is low. We went back every day to replenish our papaya account.

DAY 5, Friday: We saved the best beach for last. Hapuna Beach is consistently rated one of the best beaches in the world! We got there in the morning before it got too hot. I was immediately taken by the amazing view. The water was a beautiful crystal-clear blue and the white sand was powder soft. Lucas had a blast playing in the sand. We threw on our goggles again and headed to some rocks to see the fish. It was so cool! We saw so many different kinds of fish and didn't even get attacked by a shark.

DAY 6, Saturday: Lisa really wanted us to do something fun with Lucas on Saturday. Something he would remember. We considered going in a submarine, a party boat/snorkeling adventure, but decided we could kayak Kealakekua Bay to Captain Cook's monument. We managed to fit Lucas between us in a two person kayak. He was a little nervous at first, but once we got out on the water he wanted to jump in! He and Ben went swimming for a few minutes. The water was really deep there, so you couldn't see any fish, BUT there were 7 dolphins swimming around, so that was very cool. Once we got to the other side of the bay there was a huge coral reef. We saw a lot of pretty fish there. Ben got scratched by some coral, but lived through it.
When we got back to the dock, Lucas wanted to jump off into the clear water, just like the local kids. He did it a few times and loved it.

DAY 7, Sunday: We went by the temple in the morning. It was really pretty. We kind of kept it low key that day. Our flight left at 10:45 pm. Our kids were exhausted and security was a nightmare, but we made it to the plane and both kids slept most of the way back to Arizona. My mom continued on to ABQ and we stayed with Ben's parents for a night. Evan slept practically all day until 4:00 (still sick), I went to the dentist, and then we had a fun night with the cool AZ cousins and Ben's parents.

On Tuesday I headed to ABQ and Ben headed to Austin. Lucas and I were sick in ABQ most of the time. My ear is STILL a little clogged from that sickness. We had fun, though. We went to the last day of the Balloon Fiesta due to bad weather and our illnesses, but at least we got to go.

All in all we had a pretty freakin fantastic Fall Break! Thanks Lisa for hosting. It was awesome. And thanks to Ben's parents for all the rides to/from the airport, and I'd like to give a shout out to my Dad who had to stay home with the dog, and to my mom for making the trek with us. Until our next adventure....
You can see the rest of the pictures here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Party

We had Lucas's birthday party on Labor Day at a super-cool splash park. After all, you can't have a Summer birthday party outside in Austin, unless there's water involved. Well, at least that would have been the case the day before. Labor Day just so happened to be the first day in 80 days, that the temperature was below 100 degrees. The poor children had to play in the water in 90 degree weather. Their blue lips quivered as they sat tightly wrapped in their damp towels eating their cake. Poor kids. There was a slight breeze to make it even worse. Really, the weather would have been perfect for a day at the park, but oh well.

Despite the frigid temps, the kids had lots of fun, and Lucas had a wonderful time. The added bonus was that he got to eat chips and drink soda. For food I decided to bring pulled pork in the crock pot and make sandwiches. I made cookies and cream cupcakes - vanilla or chocolate cupcakes with smashed Oreos in them, with the best frosting I've ever made. It was just a cream cheese frosting with smashed Oreos mixed in. YUM. I could eat it plain. Lucas, however, ran away after we sang to him and left his cupcake for me. Apparently playing in the water was even better than the best frosting on Earth.

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Thanks to all our friends who made the trek all the way up North for the festivities. Lucas had a great time and was so happy his friends could join him running around like a wild beast.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday, Lucas!

Today Lucas turned FIVE years old. F-i-v-e! We knew Ben was going to be at work late tonight, so we decided to have an early morning birthday party. Ben and I walked downstairs with Lucas and he was so surprised when he saw the decorations. Then we sang Happy Birthday to him and he loved it. He was so excited to get to open a couple presents first thing in the morning, too! We got him an awesome Batman set with a Batmobile, 2 Batmans, Robin and 3 bad guys. Then he got a safari animal set we found online. He agreed not to open the boxes until we got home from school.

After I dropped Lucas off I made cupcakes to take to his class, ran errands, and took a folder to Ben at work. At 3:00 Evan and I surprised Lucas in his classroom with cupcakes with dinosaurs on them. The kids were really excited.
After school Lucas had a great time playing with his new toys. Sadly, the head fell off the hippo and the arm came off the Safari man within 10 minutes. Tears ensued. We'll be returning that toy set for sure!

For dinner Lucas requested Taco Bell and I was just fine with that! We ran and picked up some tacos and then a few friends came to help me sing Happy Birthday for a third time today. Then the Hollands stopped by and Lucas made them sing to him, too, in order for them to receive some cake.
The cake was chocolate with white chocolate whipped cream filling w/ strawberries and raspberries. Batman was made out of chocolate frosting. I tried making black frosting and it looked too disgusting. Lucas was pleased with his cake regardless.

While I was busy decorating the cake, the boys did a great job taking care of themselves. Here is Lucas with his Batmobile, and Evan after feeding himself his yogurt so I could clean up.

I'm so thankful that 5 years ago my life changed forever when a teeny little man appeared in my arms. I love you, Lucas. Happy Birthday!