Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I love you because

Today Jamie and I are celebrating our second wedding anniversary, and it feels like a good time to remember all the reasons that I love him. So, for my love:

I love you because...

  • we lay in bed and giggle together every night before we go to sleep
  • Elise loves you
  • we share the same values
  • you devote your time to educating and mentoring teenagers (what a job!)
  • you bring me cherry coke and chocolate chip cookie dough when I've had a rough day
  • you believe I can do things that I don't think I can do
  • you share in my successes and my failures
  • you will call my dad and invite him to the movies without me asking
  • you care about my feelings
  • I rarely cook and you never complain
  • you cook!
  • you are loyal, fair, and loving...but you don't let people push you around
  • we are a team
  • even though you think it's silly, you don't mind if I decorate the house for Halloween
  • you always ask me about my day
  • and most of all, because you are my best friend

Jamie and I were talking last night (in between putting Elise back into bed 3 times - ah, the simple joys in life!), and we both feel like we've been married a lot longer than 2 years. It feels like the time before we met is a whole separate lifetime away and I was a different person. I guess in a lot of ways that is true.

Barbara De Angelis, an author and expert on love & relationships, once said, "Marriage is not a noun; it's a verb. It isn't something you get. It's something you do. It's the way you love your partner everyday."

May we continue to love one another in a way that honors our marriage for many years to come. Love you!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jamie has a blog!

Jamie had to create a blog for one of his masters classes. I think he kind of had fun with it, and he says that he might actually start using it to blog! I'm excited! I hope he does. There is a link to it under my favorite blogs (on the right side of the page). Right now there isn't anything on it other than his assignment, but hopefully that will change soon.

Okay, love...the pressure is on! Heart you!

The Greatest Show on Earth

Several months ago my mom decided that she really wanted to take Elise to the circus this year. She bought tickets for her, dad, me, Jamie, and Elise to all go - and of course she got the best seats. So, yesterday we had our big trip the circus. Unfortunately we had to go without mom. My grandmother had emergency gall bladder surgery in Georgia, and since she was having a very tough time recovering, mom had to fly out to be with her. I felt so bad that she missed it since it was her idea to begin with and she paid for all the tickets. I promised her that I'd post a lot of pictures for her, so here they are:

Getting our feet back on the ground

We are finally getting settled back into our routine around here after baseball playoffs, Disney, Elise's birthday, the July 4th holiday, and Vegas. It's been a wild summer, and I can't believe that it's almost football time again. This will be Jamie's last week off before going back to work. He'll begin with freshman football camp next week and then go straight into 2-a-day workouts the week after that. He really never got any time off other than our trips. He's done a few camps (baseball & football) & also worked morning and night sessions of Mustang Athletic Camp all summer. I feel kind of bad that he didn't get a little more down time.

As depressing as it may be to come to the end of summer and our vacations - I am actually pretty glad to get back to normal. We had so many things planned and so much happening all summer that a ton of things around the house have been sliding. I've been doing a lot of straightening up, organizing, and cleaning the past week or so. Not to mention catching up on normal chores such as laundry & grocery shopping. I was so sick of grabbing fast food due to lack of time to shop and prepare proper meals!

Getting back into the habit of going to school everyday has been a little tough on Elise. For about 3-4 weeks she was barely attending, so her first full week back was rough. Poor Jamie had to pull her off his leg every morning when he dropped her off. I know it made him sad, but she really needed to get accustomed to going again.

Since this is Jamie's last week off, and he actually has nothing to do (camps all ended last week), he is planning to play golf a few times and spend one day with his dad doing a few projects around our house. It's just a regular work week for me...and that is kind of nice.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Viva Las Vegas!

We arrived home from our Vegas vacation yesterday. It was a pretty fun time in spite of the fact that I was battling a sinus infection and suffering from side effects of my antibiotics for the entire trip. Luckily I was able to take some naps and have a good time anyway. I had my moments where I felt pretty decent in between the times when I felt horrible.

Last time Jamie and I were in Vegas it was very cold and we didn't venture out much. This time we made up for that! We went to all the Hilton properties, New York New York, Paris, The Venetian, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, MGM Grand, Hooters, Riviera, Caesar's Palace, Excalibur, The Luxor, The Rio, The Bellagio, Planet Hollywood, and The Sahara. We saw 2 shows: Penn & Teller and Cirque Du Soleil's O. And of course we did a little bit of gambling. Neither of us are huge gamblers, but we think it's fun from time to time. The shopping in Vegas is fabulous, and I'm a bit sad that I didn't feel better in order to really hit The Forum Shops in Caesar's a lot harder than I was able (but the fact that I wasn't able probably saved us some money!). We did see quite a bit of The Miracle Mile shops at Planet Hollywood. Candace and I hit the Lucky store there and got some jeans.

As is customary for all of our trips, we had dinner at Benihana's one evening. O was absolutely amazing! I loved it, and it was the highlight of the trip for me. I highly recommend it to anyone who travels to Vegas.

It was really fun to hang out with Candace and Jeremy again and to meet Jeff and Debbie. They're all great friends to travel with. I think Jeff is the only one who won money on the trip, but none of us lost very much.

After 2 back-to-back vacations, it is SO GOOD to be home. I have had my fill of traveling for a while now. We've been going non-stop since baseball play-offs began, so it is going to be nice to get back to normal now. I really do like to be busy, but it's been too much - even for me. As a matter of fact, other than to go grocery shopping, I may not leave the house again this weekend!

Pool party

We were invited to a pool party over the July 4th weekend, and it was a lot of fun! Elise got to play with her friend, Ethan, and we had some great hot dogs & hamburgers.

Mark, Ethan, Jamie, & Elise

Elise, Amber, & Ethan

Happy 4th Birthday to our Little Love

We celebrated Elise's 4th birthday about a week ago on the 4th of July. It's really hard to believe that my tiny, 5 lb. baby has turned into such a talkative little girl. Equally hard to believe is that around this time next year, I will be registering her for school. Just the thought makes me want to cry!

We had a strange combination of decorations at her party this year that included princesses, mermaids, and patriotic accents. We'd only been home from Disney for a week, so we just had a small family party that included just a few close friends. My grandmother flew in along with my cousin, so it was nice to have them along for the celebration.

Elise chose a mermaid cake, and it was pretty neat. It was made of cupcakes!

We did gifts, dinner, and cake, then took a walk over to the lake to feed the ducks. Elise rode her new scooter which was a gift from grandma & grandpa.

To cap off the evening, we watched the fireworks. As they were going, Elise said, "Those fireworks are for my birthday!"

Grandmother and Elise


Amber & Elise

Jeff, Cory, Eric, Elise, & Amber

Amber, Grandmother, Mary, Elise & Mom

Mom, Me, Amber, & Elise

Amber & Eric

Jamie & I

Eric, Jeff, Cory, Mary, & Elise playing blocks

Me, Eilse, and Amber waiting for the fireworks to start

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Disney Recap

Okay, I got it done! Before I recount our trip day by day, let me begin with some lessons learned.

  • A Disney vacation with 6 adults and 7 children, ranging in age from 17 months to 13 years is not a time for relaxation.
  • It rains in Florida every day in June. It's known as the rainy season.
  • When you cram 3 panchos into a back pack, it makes it really heavy.
  • Strollers are a godsend!
  • Carseats are really heavy and difficult to lug on and off an airplane.
  • When scheduling a vacation such as this, do not return on Sunday and expect to be at work Monday morning as a fully-functioning human being.
  • It's a good idea to pack a carry-on with at least one change of clothing in the event that your luggage is lost by the airline.

Now that we have that out of the way...here goes the recap!

Day One - The Flight & Disney's Hollywood Studios

The flight over to Florida went really well (at first). Elise was a happy camper, and the flight was really smooth. But our good fortune came to a fairly ubrupt end when we got to baggage claim, only to discover that Jamie's suitcase was nowhere to be found. This happened to me once before the last time we went to Vegas. My bag was located immediately and put on the very next flight to Houston and we had it back the same day. So, I wasn't too overly alarmed right at first. Jamie was understandably upset, but we just assumed we'd have the bag later that evening or the next morning. So, we proceeded to the area where we were to catch the shuttle bus to take us to pick up our rental car. One hour and a half later, we finally got the bus. Strike Two. Let me tell you, it was a rough start to the trip, and we were a little concerned at how this boded for the rest of the week. The luggage never did show up and still is lost at this very moment. But everything else did improve, luckily. We checked into our suite and had a beautiful room with a view. That evening we met up with the rest of the crew. Candace & Jeremy brought their kids (Porter, Keaton, and Reese) and Todd & Marcy came along with their little ones (Hailey, Logan, and Hagan). We had a great meal and went to the light show at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Day Two - Breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table

This was a definite highlight. We spent half a day at The Magic Kingdom, and Elise finally got to go to Cinderella's Castle! She's been talking about this for months, and let me tell you - it was worth the wait. Breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table was fabulous. We were greeted by Cinderella first, and we also got to meet Belle, Jasmine, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. Plus the food was amazing as well as the service. After breakfast, we met up with Angie & Marcos and their kiddos and Maggie & Ryan and their 2 kids. It was so wonderful to see them! The kids rode the carousel, Dumbo, and the teacups. Unfortunately we had to cut things short in order to go shopping for clothes for Jamie. Luckily there was a great outlet mall next to our resort. Once our shopping trip was over, we headed back for swimming and met up with Candace, Jeremy, Marcy, and Todd and all the kids at the pool.

Day Three - Magic Kingdom & Lunch with Pooh at Crystal Palace

Magic Kingdom is really the best park for little kids, so we spent another full day there. This time everyone was along for the fun. The guys were able to ride some adult rides together while us girls took the little kids on some more suitable rides for them. We hit all the famous rides, including Pirates of the Caribbean, It's a Small World, the Teacups, etc. Lunch was really good at The Crystal Palace too. Elise was a bit skittish around the characters, but she did warm up to them enough for us to get a few cute pictures.

Day Four - Animal Kingdom & Lots of Rain

Animal Kingdom was my favorite park by far. Each area of the park was made to look like a different region of the world, and they did an amazing job with it. It's a gorgeous park! We went to a really cool Lion King show and did the safari ride. The rain set in around late afternoon, and it never did blow over. Normally after about an hour, it would clear up, but not on this day. We made the best of it, though.

Day Five - Rest!

We took a day off from the parks to hang out at the resort. After a few days in a row of hitting Disney, it was a much-needed break. Jamie got a massage, and we enjoyed laying by the pool, swimming, and a nap. It was great! We had planned to go back up to Magic Kingdom in the evening for the light parade and fireworks, but rain prevented us from doing so. Plan B turned out great, and our whole gang headed to Benihana's for dinner. YUM!

Day Six - Disney's Hollywood Studios (again) & The Hoop Dee Doo Revue

We were back at Hollywood Studios (Jamie's favorite park) to check out more attractions and rides, since we'd only seen the show during our previous visit. They have a really cool Toy Story ride that is in 3D that we all enjoyed. We also took Elise to see a Playhouse Disney show and Little Mermaid show. Those were both really great. They had a few great roller coasters that the guys enjoyed too. Later in the evening we went to a fun dinner show called the Hoop Dee Doo Revue - and Marcy even got pulled on stage to be a part of the act!

Day Seven - More rest, parade, and fireworks

Our last day was supposed to be spent at Typhoon Lagoon (a Disney water park). However, we were exhausted, so Jamie and I stayed behind with Elise to rest. We were able to spend one more day around the resort. Elise got to feed the fish, turtles, and ducks & check out the playground. And of course there was swimming. That evening we went back to Magic Kingdom to catch the parade and fireworks that we had missed earlier in the week. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful trip.

All in all, we had a really great time. We are still trying to recover, but it was worth it. I hope Elise will have some fun memories of her first family vacation.

It might be hopeless...

I am still trying to find the time to sit and do a post about Disney. Meanwhile, July 4th and Elise's birthday are upon us, and I am now even further behind! I am going to try to sit down tomorrow and get caught up.