Thursday, June 30, 2011

Touring around the Panhandle

When my family comes to visit (and my dad joins the party) we like to go and see and do. :) My parents have always been good at taking day trips to historical places or interesting sights that are within a few hours of our home and their visit inspired us to go to a few of the attractions within an hour of our house that were FREE (love adventures that are free!).

But before we get to the adventures, here is a picture of three of my favorite little girls snuggling on the couch watching the Wonder Pets:
Aren't they cutie pies?

Our first stop on Monday, aka The-Day-Of-Adventure, was Groom Texas - home of the largest cross in the northern hemisphere. This cross is big, and I mean BIG. You can even see it from space!
The picture on the right gives some perspective - those statues around the base of the cross are almost lifelike in size! 
Lucy had fun chilling in her car seat and Laura and Anna got to run off some energy after sitting in the car for 30 minutes and before sitting in the car for another 30-40 minutes as we made our way to our next destination. They also had a neat "replica" of the EMPTY tomb at the cross (pictured above on the lower left).

Next stop: The Amarillo Zoo - which happens to be free on Mondays (very convenient for our family since our daddy/husband is a Pastor)
I had very low expectations of the zoo since I hadn't heard much about it but I was pleasantly surprised! There are a good number of animals there - including monkeys (top left), bears (the girls are looking at them in the top, middle picture) and a whole array of farm animals, donkey's included (upper right - poor donkey was "hot and tired" at least we hoped so).
There were also long horns (Top middle - Anna promptly tried to teach Lucy to "Hook'em!" haha), peacocks (lower left) and lions. I have never been so close to a lion in my life - so cool. The zoo also had buffalo, but they weren't looking that pretty - I guess it is molting season? We were so pleased with our little Amarillo Zoo, a perfect place to walk around for an hour and let Lucy learn while getting some energy out! :) 

By this time we were really hungry, so we went to Ruby Tequila's for lunch - best fajitas you will ever have. Ever.
Waiting on our table to get set up and playing "This little piggy..."

What a fun day! Full of everything I love: family, laughter and food (including Starbucks after lunch - 

We haven't seen everything the panhandle has to offer - Mom and Dad there is a really cool state park up here that I have heard is great to hike in, so come visit again soon (preferably when the weather is a bit cooler!)!!! We loved having you.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lucy's Birthday: Twelve Months

Part 3 of 3, this is the last installment of birthday posts.

A whole year has gone by and my baby girl has grown into a little girl full of spunk, energy and contagious happiness. I love this child. 

This month's accomplishments:

  • Kissing Noises, often made by a "fishy face" being released. :) 
  • First Word, "Ellie" it sounds a bit more like "Allie" but she says it more than mama and dada! She is also saying "dat" ("that") and pointing to what she wants/needs.
  • Whispering, when asked to speak quietly and whisper, Lu says, "habahaba" in a hushed tone. (Cutest thing ever.)
  • Drinking out of a Straw, this happened for the first time at Chipotle in Chicago - very appropriate. 
  • Down the Stair, I didn't even know she could do this, until one day she was in the living room when I had put her in the dining room - so I put her up on the step and she scooted her feet around and went down feet first. She can also dismount the couch now - meaning mom and dad don't have to watch her like a hawk when she is up there. 
  • All by Herself, Lu can get on her bike and put on her necklaces all by herself. What a big girl. 
  • "Hmmmm," when Lucy is hungry, or is really enjoying the food you have prepared for her she makes a "Hmmmmm" sound - I translate it as "Thanks for this amazing food!" or "I think it is time to eat."
And here is the monthly photo collage.

Well, this is the last installment of Lucy's monthly pictures (tears may or may not be coming to my eyes). I am going to have to figure out a new way of keeping track/sharing what she is learning and accomplishing. I keep a running list on my phone of fun things Lucy has done, so maybe I'll just keep posting that with less formal pictures.

I keep reminding myself, there will be monthly pictures to record again soon.... very soon. :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lucy's Birthday: The Big Day!

June 14th, 2011 arrived sooner than I anticipated. I think this last year has gone by faster than any other year of my life. But we got to spend the day celebrating our Lucy and the year we have been blessed with her in our lives. :) 

The day started with the customary birthday wake up song (a tradition started in my family when I was a little girl) - she loved it. :) 

(Note to audience: Brad and I had just gotten up ourselves, and had not taken the time to warm up our voices - that's why we sound terrible....)

We had a fun morning, spending time at home -I wanted Lu to get a good nap so she would be cheerful later in the day. I got to play games with my little sisters (love!) as we rested up for our fun afternoon. :) 

Lunch was grilled cheese and tomato soup (one of Lucy's favorites) and was fuel for our next activity. 


My parents stayed at the local Hampton Inn, so we took advantage of the pool and dove in. Some of you will remember Lucy's first experience with swimming :} learning from our past, we took it slow and I got in with her. It took her about 15 minutes to get used to the water (during which, she was clinging to me like a baby monkey hangs on her mom!) but she eventually was comfortable enough to swim with papa for a bit :)

My friend Misty and her daughter Mya joined us too - so fun!

After a while in the pool, Lucy was shriveled up like a prune! :) 

Lucy and I headed home about 3 and while she took a quick nap I had a few minutes to frost the cake and cup cakes! :) 
I LOVE how they turned out! (And they tasted yummy too!)

Lucy awoke to her gift from Grammy, Papa, Uncle Sam and her little Aunts waiting for her in the living room - a little table and chair set! 
The table went perfectly with some of the food/dishes gifts that Lucy received from church friends! We are all ready for a tea party over at the Kidder house - come on over!

The menu for dinner: 
- Grilled Chicken (for Lucy - Steak for the rest of us)
- Strawberries
- Peas
- Roasted Potatoes
- Caesar Salad
- Chocolate Milk 

The "You are Special Today" plate I made at the Thanksgiving reunion worked great!!!

Next up: Opening presents! Lu got some super fun stuff! A baby stroller (which is nicer than her stroller!), baby care kit (complete with little potty, for when you decide it is time to potty train your baby doll), some great books and a few homemade crocheted stuffed animals (Thanks Aunt Becca!!!). (No pictures of this, sorry - we were all to distracted by fun toys.)

The long awaited cake smashing was the final event of the day, the finale if you will. 

Lucy, as I predicted, was pretty timid when it came to the cake smashing. She pointed to the cake (top row, middle picture) and got small bits of frosting which she tasted and exclaimed,  "Hmmmmmmmm!" making this mommy's heart proud. :) She would have kept eating frosting, but Brad helped her get to the good stuff - by stuffing her face in the cake and then helping Lu dig her hand in to get some chocolate.  Lucy made a bit of a mess, not nearly as bad as I thought she would, our Hippo chair was a little worse for wear but nothing that the washing machine couldn't fix. A quick bath was all Lucy needed to be back to her normal (not sticky) self. :)

The evening closed out with some stories read by Papa:

Happy Birthday Lucy, mommy and daddy don't know how much more of you we can handle. Our hearts burst with pride when you learn new things and our hearts melt when when you ask us to read more books ("Dat, dat") and cuddle next to us when we oblige. We love who you are. We pray Jesus is working in your heart, drawing you closer to him. Pursue him with everything you have, okay? We love you sweetheart.  

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fixin' Up Friday: Front Room Wall

Hello All,

We inturrupt the normal scheduled programing (Lucy's birthday) for a special post. Because 1) it is Friday and 2) I can not wait to share this with you!

I have been wanting to do a family gallery wall for some time, and always thought it would go in a hall way, but when we moved our love seat into the front room the wall above it was calling to me!

 Do you hear it? "Sarah! I'm so bare! Decorate me!!!!"

 So when I couldn't bear it any longer, I laid out an arrangement on the floor, you can see a little bit of it in the lower left, and figured out what I needed (mats, frames, pictures ect.)

I actually had all the frames I needed, a few needed some black spray paint to look cohesive with the others and I needed two mats (which a friend picked up for me in Amarillo) and a few black and white pictures (which I got really quickly thanks to Wal Mart 1 Hour Photo). All of this prep lead to:
 Ta Da! Our family gallery wall!

 We start on the top left, one of my favorite wedding pictures, then to the right and bottom if it are the most recient family pictures we have of my family (thanksgiving 2010) and Brad's family (just last month) respectively. My friend Amy Kruska gave me the "K" because she ended up with two - and I think it adds the perfect texture (with the ribbon) and personality to the wall. :) 

 On the other half of the arrangement we have a family picture, a neat scripture verse with "LOVE" letter pictures and Lucy's baby pictures (from 2 weeks old, taken by me). 

I love it!

It will be so fun to see how this gallery wall expands and evolves over the years - we already need an updated family picture and eventually there will be another baby to photograph.... I can't wait. 

Do you have a gallery wall in your home? Where is it? Has it changed over the years? Or is yours a recent addition to the family, like mine. :) 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lucy's Birthday: Open House

This is the first of three birthday posts! There is too much to share for just one :) so we will share the love. 

To celebrate Lucy's birthday with friends we decided to have an open house the Saturday before her birthday so that people could come and go as they pleased and we could visit and share some yummy food (aka: cookies). We handed out most of the invitations at church, but mailed invites to grandparents (we knew they wouldn't be able to come, but wanted to send them one them anyway).  

 Brad helped with the invitations, I found one I liked online, and we he modified it using PhotoShop at church.  I was/am thrilled with how they turned out. :)

The morning of the open house, Lucy got to see her pom-pom garland for the first time:

 She loved it! :) One of the "new" things she is doing is putting her hand over her mouth (like she is shocked or bashful) when she is excited. It melted my heart when she did this new trick when she saw her banner for the first time. :) Mamma's hard work was ALL worth it.

I tried to manipulate Lucy's schedule for the day so she would be rested and cheerful for her party (since I scheduled it during the same time as her afternoon nap - good thinking). Thankfully it worked. I put Lu back down in her crib after she had her morning milk and she slept til 10!!! Success! I put her back down at noon and woke her up 5 minutes before party-time. :) Since she slept so well during the morning/early afternoon - I had time to decorate and get the house ready (and make up the last of the cookies).

 Not many changes outside, other than a balloon (thanks Carol!) and a fun colored rug.

I moved three dining room chairs into the front room, to add extra seating, and on the hall closet there - I added a fun activity for guests:
Pictures of Brad and I at 1 year - there was a pink marker hanging from the door knob and guests had fun voting. I won. By a land slide. 23-6! (and 4 of Brad's votes were from a 4 year old... hehehe) I thought, after the fact that it would have been fun to compare birth pictures AND 1 year pictures (Brad would have won the birth comparison contest), and some people suggested that a picture of Lucy would have been nice to help with the comparison too. (So if you choose to do this idea - there are the things I would/will change next time)

The dining room was cleared of chairs and decorated in "Lucy colors" (pink, grey, green and white).

The pom-pom banner up close - it turned out SO WELL! (A giveaway is coming soon that will help YOU, yes - YOU, make one of your own!)

The side of the refrigerator was turned into a gallery wall - showcasing Lucy's monthly pictures. This was a crowded area during the party - perhaps my 2nd favorite decoration (my 1st favorite is the pom-pom banner!) Both the banner and this picture display are still up - I don't want to EVER take them down. :) 

Lucy's quilt was the table runner of choice - all of the party colors are in it - and it provided a nice backdrop to cookies, veggies and dip and chips and dip. :) I shopped my house for the centerpiece - the apothecary jar came from the Master bedroom and the hollow yarn balls are left over from church's Easter brunch, they are mixed with a few twine balls. The lantern hasn't found a home here yet, but I have had it since High School and was happy to pull it out again. I've had the green cross for the same amount of time - but it usually lives in Lucy's room. :) (I love shopping my house! It is so inexpensive!)

Elephant sugar cookies were the star of the show. :) Some of the teenage boys who came to the party commented on how morbid it was for Lucy to be eating elephants when she loved them so much.... lol.... I thought that was funny. The elephant cookies made me happy, so I made them - not thinking about the implications. They tasted yummy yummy! 

The other side of the centerpiece. Baby Ellie and Edward, some of Lucy and I's favorite books (which just happened to match the party colors) and a cute little owl (no vignette is complete without at least ONE bird) I bought at Hob Lob earlier this year, he usually lives on a shelf (with the green cross) in Lucy's room. 

The buffet got some pretties too! It would be a shame to have left it out. 

No party, even if it is for a boy, is complete without flowers. Brad picked these ones out at Sams - such a good man - they opened up beautifully and smelled so good!

This side of the buffet was graced with thrift store finds - my white candle sticks and the pretty white bowl I found when my sister Becca visited earlier this year - paired with some candles (thanks Mom K!) and a few more yarn balls. :)

All I did in the living room was raise the screen, move some chairs, put out coasters (for guest's beverages) and put a special picture frame on the red trunk:
I love this frame. It helps you focus on Lucy's different facial expressions - I've stared at it for hours.

The birthday girl approved of the decorations! Yippee!

Lucy's "friends" started arriving and she had no problem with convincing them it was a good idea to share food with her. I think she ate 5 oreos! Oh well, you are only 1 once. :)

She tried ranch dip for the first time - loved it. 

It makes me so happy to see a bunch of people in my living room...
...especially when they are visiting. :)

My sweet girl, and Oreo remains. :)

We opened a few gifts when friends were still at our house, but decided to wait on the majority of them. I would much rather people visit during a party than focus on one thing (opening gifts) for 20 minutes. Some people really wanted to see Lu open their gifts (a few of Lucy's little friends were SO excited to see Lu play with the toys they picked out for her) and she was all too happy to oblige. :) 

It was SUCH a fun afternoon. I forget how much I get an emotional high from having a TON of people over to my house (I'm weird, I know...). Plus my friend Misty helped clean up - so once we had an empty house, there wasn't that much to do! A great way to end a great afternoon. :) 

A big THANK YOU to all our friends who stopped by! We so enjoyed seeing you - thank you for coming and celebrating our Lucy's birthday with us. :)