Sunday, March 28, 2010

Duck, duck, duck...boom!

Our sweet Bradley family: Ryan, Me, Kayden,Amanda, Brian,
Kiersi, Greg and Melody
Yesterday was our brother in-law Brian's 30th birthday and Amanda decided to throw him a surprise party. Brian loves to hunt so it was a camo theme. Everyone at the party was dressed in camo, black, green or something related and we decorated with plastic ducks and other fun hunting things. Melody even made a cake that looked like a duck on to but ironically the head of the duck fell off. Our little nieces were dressed in cute camo dresses but they had already changed into pj's when we took this family picture. Ryan and I had a great time at the party. Probably the best part was getting to play hide and go seek with Kiersi and Kayden. I love playing hide and go seek with little kids. There is always such suspense and giggles as you try to hide and be sneaky. We hid in Nana's closet but decided to turn the light on so no one would get scared. We hid behind Ryan's old bed but of course Kayden kept popping her head up to see if Ryan was coming so it wasn't really hiding. It was also fun when we were looking for Ryan... once he hid inside of the bathtub and we screamed when we pulled back the curtain, which is silly because I knew he was probably there but it still startled me!
Brian's duck cake... head still attached

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March 24, 2007

Have you ever wondered how you will meet the love of your life? Well here is the story of how I met mine....
3 years ago Ryan and I were put on the same mission trip team to go to Nashville, Tennessee for Spring Break 2007. From the moment I met Ryan, I was interested. He was funny and helpful and pretty cute! I remember telling a friend that I had met this "cute cowboy" the day after our first team meeting. I also got to know him better while we were making trips to Walmart and packing snack bags for the trip. Of course, you aren't supposed to think about all that when you're off on a mission trip. So I spent the week getting to know him as a friend. I remember him making the old ladies laugh at the nursing home in Nashville and how good he was with the boys and girls club that we helped with. But I had to wait until we got back to Denton to show him I was interested. The day after we got back from our trip Ryan and his roommates were having a barbecue and game day at their apartment. I remember going with friends and having so much fun. We played the mafia card game. We played volleyball. I got hit in the head with a basketball. The typical fun stuff. As the day was winding down Ryan walked me to my car and we stood there talking for over an hour. He was quite the charmer. Finally he asked me if I wanted to go to IHOP with him that night. And that is how we started dating. 3 years ago today.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Almost Sisters

On Wednesday I got to go down and take Brooke out to lunch. My mom has been a nanny for Brooke and her sister Blaire for 10 years and I have known her all her life. I love seeing Brooke and I would say that she is almost my sister, especially since we've both had the privilege of growing up along side my mom. When Brooke was little and I lived closer I used to baby-sit her and I would spend time over at the house when my mom was working. Now that I'm grown-up I have to schedule special lunch dates. I drove down yesterday and we decided to go eat at Corner Bakery. We both love Corner Bakery and we both got the new bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast panini (even though it was lunch). It is so amazing to see how Brooke is growing up. I remember the first Sunday that her parents brought her to church after she was born. I hope to always be a part of Brooke and her sister Blaire's lives.
After lunch we decided to go back to her house and play games for a bit. On the way home though we saw a dog in the middle of a busy neighborhood road. "We MUST rescue it!" I thought. This is what I do when I see lost dogs. Rescue them. My mom taught me to do that long ago and I always think about our old dog, Hannah, who was a master escape artist. If it were my lost dog I would want someone to save it from getting hit or picked up by the pound, so I will do the same. Especially if the dog comes up and is friendly. My own dear Cosby was rescued by my roommate from the haggard streets of Denton during a thunderstorm. Back to my story.... Brooke immediately recognized that the dog was her neighbor's dog Saddie. I called, "Come here Saddie" and the dog came right up, rolled over for me to pet her and then hopped in the car. Brooke and I walked over to the neighbors' to inform them of our heroic deed, but they weren't home. We knew that Brooke's family was going to be leaving to go out of town later that afternoon and that we had to find a way to get the dog home, but we weren't sure what to do. We already had the dog in my car! We decided to take it home and put her in the backyard at the Butler's for a second. We made a few unsuccessful phone calls to try to reach the owner. Finally we decided to see if the neighbors' gate was open and we could return the dog to her yard. We made a leash from a loose scarf and trotted down the street again. The gate was open, we put the dog in and then, to our relief, the neighbors pulled up in their driveway. Whew. I was glad to know that their beloved dog was home with the right people.

Back at the house Brook and I played a game called Looney Laundry. So fun. You are supposed to put your laundry game pieces in the laundry basket when you land on the right spaces. The goal is to be the 1st player to get rid of all your pieces. But sometimes, the laundry basket "burps" and spits out ALL of the pieces and the player who put the last piece in has to take ALL of the pieces and start all over. This happened to me 4 times!!! It happened to Brooke none. Perhaps the rigged the game. She won. Oh well, it was still a time of laughter so I didn't mind.

When I returned back to Denton, this was what I saw. My little Cosby waiting for me at the window. It melted my heart. See, this is what happens when you take the time to rescue dogs. And we lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Homemade Ice Cream

For the past couple of months I have been wanting to use my ice cream maker to make homemade ice cream. I had planned to do it over Spring Break. This past weekend I was starting to get excited and wanted to make it on Monday. So Monday I got out my ice cream cookbook and went to the store to get the ingredients. I enthusiastically started making it Monday evening. I put all the ingredients in the blender and made the mix. I put all the parts together for the ice cream maker. I poured the ingredients in. I turned the machine on. It went for a while and then I starte thinking, I wonder how the machine makes it get cold. Ryan starts to ask me if I need to add ice. Nope, I told him- not in the recipe. And then I started to look at the manual. Hmm, apparently I have to freeze the mixing bowl for 6-12 hours before adding ingredients. Oops. Sadly, I poured the mix back into a pitcher and stuck it in the fridge. I cleaned out the mixer bowl and placed it in the freezer. Tuesday morning I woke up and planned to try it again. The bowl is frozen. I pour the ingredients in. I turn it on. I know that sometimes homemade ice cream doesn't get that thick so I planned to let it churn for extra time. And by extra I mean about hours compared to the recommended 20 minutes. I cleaned the house and went about my day. Then I realized much later that it was liquid-ish. Okay... well I used my good friend Google to find out that if you churn for too long the ice cream maker gets warm and the ice cream melts again. 2nd oops. I put the ingredients back into the pitcher. Rewashed the mixer and refroze it. Today I was determined to try it again. And it worked! I am currently eating delicious orange dreamsicle sherbet. It turned out great! Soon I will try to make chocolate ice cream for Ryan.
My pink ice cream maker with my pink coffee pot and pink toaster. My sweet husband let me decorate the kitchen in pink to encourage my love for cooking. As long as I'm making him food, it doesn't matter to him what color my appliances are!
After my ice cream adventures yesterday I also made a peach raspberry tart. It was much easier and very tasty. I love cooking!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Weekend in Hughes Springs

Ryan and I on Joyce's back porch swing
This weekend Ryan and I traveled to east Texas to his hometown of Hughes Springs. Ryan grew up in Hughes Spring until his family moved away when he was 14. I love getting to drive through the beautiful pine woods and see all the places that are special to him. It's true that some of the places we drive by are really nothing impressive, but just seeing them helps me understand him better. Some places we always point out as we drive by are:

* The old house where a lady was murdered by a felon escaped from a train

* Kiddie Campus where Cindy left Greg when he was a kid

* His friend's house

* The many houses the Bradley family lived in over the years

* The house that his gymnastic teacher used to live and teach in

* Hughes Springs ISD school (the elementary, middle school, and high school are all right next to each other)

We left Friday afternoon as soon as I could get home and get packed. While driving we became hungry for home style cooking in a hurry, so of course we stopped at Grandy's in Greenville. I hardly ever eat at Grandy's but it is the one fast food place that I remember my mom actually taking me to frequently when I was a child. The place was packed on a Friday night. We were the 3rd table.

When we go to Hughes Springs Ryan and I always stay with Joyce. Joyce has a long history of friendship with the Bradley family and Ryan thinks of her as another grandmother. She lives in a home out in the country that is in the same exact spot as the log cabin she was born in. How many people can say that? Well we woke up at Joyce's Saturday morning and made a big pancake breakfast all together. Then Ryan and I went to do some shopping in downtown Hughes Springs. I love this store called Teel and Company. They have fun jewelry and things for the home. There was lots I wanted to buy, but didn't because I couldn't figure where I would put the things I wanted. Such discipline.

If you look carefully you can see Joyce's house through the trees.
What a beautiful sunset.
We went back to Joyce's and that afternoon Ryan parents, Bruce and Cindy, stopped by. They happened to be passing through and it was fun to get to see them. We sat around and played games for a few hours. Bruce and I were partners and won at Pegs and Jokers. I secretly think Joyce and the Bradley's made this game up, but I love playing it. We also played Russian Rummy and Monopoly Deal. I think it is absolutely wonderful that we can sit around with the Bradley's and play games for such a long time. So many families are too busy to enjoy time like this. Oh how I love to play games. Even when I lose......

Saturday night, we all went out to eat at Catfish Village. They have the best all you can eat fried catfish. We ate and ate and ate. I think Ryan had 11 in all! We always go eat catfish when we stay with Joyce. After dinner we came home, the Bradleys left, and we watched an old movie called Izzie and Moe about 2 old men who become prohibition agents during the 1920's. It was such a good old fashioned movie. Finally Joyce went to bed and we were left to entertain ourselves.

The guest room where Ryan and I stay has lots of old hats. We decided to play dress up. Why not take advantage of fun hats? Let me mention at this point how much I absolutely adore my husband. He is so funny and will do anything that he thinks will make me laugh.

I love that we can play around and be goofy. This is how I know that he is my soul mate.

On Sunday we headed home after church. Thanks for a wonderful weekend, Joyce! This picture was taken on Spring Break 2 years ago, but we pretty much look the same :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Music of the Night

Last night, Ryan and I got to enjoy a wonderful date night, courtesy of my generous Uncle Paul. We started our date with dinner at Capital Grille. We have only eaten here once before, on our anniversary. We had delicious Filet Minon, lobster mac-n-cheese, and mashed potatoes. It was one of those moments when you don't want to get full because that will mean you have to stop eating. I wish I could make steak like this for us at home, but since we only have a George Foreman grill, I don't think it would turn out that well.
Here is Ryan as we waited for the car. Yes, we looked like tourist or something taking silly pictures. After dinner we went to see Phantom of the Opera at Fair Park. Ryan has always loved the music and had never seen the stage version. I went once 10 years ago with my mom and knew it would be amazing. My favorite 2 parts of the musical are when the chandelier rises and the beginning (and then drops later on) and when the Phantom and Christine are going down to the depths of his hideaway. The stage was filled with smoke and lit with lots of glowing lights. Before the show we had hoped that secretly they would need us to fill in and go on stage and sing, but ironically that didn't ever happen. Maybe if they had heard us singing in the car before.

I am very thankful that my Uncle Paul was able to offer us this fun gift. I appreciate his generosity and love. I am also thankful that God matched me to a husband who loves musicals. Not every husband does and it is a blessing to know that there are at least some shows that he will see with me and keep a smile on his face.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Bunch of Shenanigans

Ryan, Cooper, and Doug (all friends since high school, before they had crazy wives.)
Friday night Ryan and I drove down to Rockwall to go bowling at Shenanigans. We were celebrating his friend Cooper's birthday. Cooper's family had rented out a lounge area at Shenanigans for all his family and friends to come bowling. I must say that compared to the 1980's bowling alley with an old broken disco ball that Ryan and I usually go to, this place was pretty posh. They had big couches and a waitress came and took your food order. I bowled a decent score... 94. It's all in my approach. I get a lot of momentum approaching the lane. Then I completely stop. I line up my arm and ball by doing 3 complete practices. On the 3rd try I let go of the ball and throw it is hard as I can. Works like a charm. I usually hit at least 6 pins each time. If you would like me to give you a lesson, let me know. Happy Birthday, Cooper!
The pro picks out his ball.
Winds up the arm....
Hahaha, this picture shows my true talent. Check out that form.
My bowling partner for life.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oh, children.

Every teacher has unique students. You know, the ones that aren't necessarily bad, just different. The ones that might drive you a bit crazy but you really care about. The ones who sincerely apologize when they know they have misbehaved. The ones who try so hard to stop talking, yet seem to have never ending comments flowing from within them. I have many. Today, one of my little friends was supposed to be doing a Social Studies station with a group. This was our conversation:
Student (who thinks I'm not listening or watching): Let's do this! starts making action noises and flailing his arms around
Me (who of course is watching) : Let's not.....
Student: laughs hysterically Let's not and say we did!

This of course made me laugh because it was just such clever timing. Oh, children.