Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Cody!!





It's hard to believe that our little Cody joined the family one year ago yesterday. It seems like only yesterday that Rachael woke me up at about 3 am and told me that her water broke (I honestly didn't believe her because we had been out dancing literally 2 or 3 hours before that to celebrate her dad's 50th birthday) and about 4 hours later, Cody was here. Since then he has grown into a happy, healthy little boy that has brought a lot of joy into our lives.

To celebrate his birthday, we went to the Grand Canyon! It is only about 4 hours from Las Vegas and Rachael had never been before so we decided to make a quick trip, leaving on Monday and returning yesterday. We all had fun playing in the snow (who knew the Grand Canyon was at like 6,500 feet!!) and admiring the beautiful scenery that surrounded us. We eventually made it home yesterday evening and had cake and ice cream, which Cody enjoyed.

Christmas in Vegas


We did Christmas in Vegas this year with my family, so we've been hanging out in the desert for the last week or so. Actually, we were supposed to be here last year, but Rachael was 8.9 months pregnant and the doctors frowned upon the idea of us traveling when we were so close to our due date. It has been a lot of fun thus far. Both my brother and sister and their families were here as well as my grandmother and uncle, so we had a full house for a few days. Connor is old enough now that he is starting to understand that Christmas time means opening lots of presents, so we had to constantly guard the chrstimas tree lest a brightly wrapped box became the casualty his eagerness. Cody was just happy to chew on the discarded paper! As you can see, Connor's favorite gift was the pirate set, complete with eye patch, so he was running around saying Argg and challenging everyone with his sword.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In Texas??


This has been a crazy year for Texas weather. We had the hurricane in September, then late last week, we had this! I don't know about the rest of the city, or even the rest of the family, but I was excited. I love the snow and, to me at least, it never really seems like Christmas without it. Unfortunately, the snow melted the next day, but it has been foggy, windy, and cold (well cold for Texas) this whole week and I've heard rumors that we might get some more. I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Long Overdue...







Wow, it has been way too long since I wrote anything. Top ten things we've done this past month:

1. Connor turned 3, had a small get together and took him golfing

2. Nutcracker Market with my Mom, shopping galore and tasting good treats

3. Saw the Twilight Movie with a bunch of girls from my ward, liked it.. not loved it, would see it again. Need to finish reading the partial draft of Midnight Sun.

4. Took family pictures and LOVE them, thanks Kelsey!!

5. Thanksgiving with my family, brothers in town, trip to the Houston temple, lots of golf, football and food.

6. Our 6th year Anniversary was November 30 and Tyler surprised me with a trip to San Antonio. We had Mexican food at Mi Tierra, listened to a piano dual where I told the waitress I wanted water and she said "Oh, whiskey and water?", went Country dancing, walked along the Riverwalk, shopped at the Outlet Malls in San Marcos, ate at Heinze's BBQ, and enjoyed having no kids for a day. Thanks Mom for watching the boys for me. Thanks Tyler for planning a great rendevous and for taking me dancing :) I have such a great husband and I'm so lucky to have him.

7. Went to the Nativity Exhibit at our church.

8. Basically finished my Christmas shopping at Shanta's house :)

9. Tyler lost his last softball game, but we're not too sad b/c the season was suppose to be over Oct 24.

10. Put up all our Christmas decorations and got our Christmas Tree. Yeah for the holidays! Did I mention that my Christmas cards are ready to be put in the mail tomorrow? December is always busy, but you have to be on top of things. Now I just need to get through the Ward Christmas Party this Saturday :)

Check out our family pictures... the boys did so good and you can't even tell that Connor has a black eye. Thank goodness for cover up!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Boating in November





Believe it or not, we did go boating the 1st day of November in Lake Houston and it was a blast. The water was chili and we didn't come across any snakes or alligators. Cody could barely move in the lifejacket, but he slept most of the time. Connor loved riding in the boat and would say "Daddy, you fell off". We both water skiied and after many attempts Tyler finally got the hang of it. I guess we need to go boating more often.

Halloween!






What a fun holiday! We love getting dressed up and eating candy. Connor doesn't know that I sneak the good chocolate from his trick or treat stash. Tyler and I are the Activities Chairmen in our ward and we helped throw a GREAT party. With a spider web ceiling, homemade rootbeer, fog machine, lots of booths to check out and a trunk or treat, no wonder so many people came. Our X-Men family costumes were a hit too, Tyler really is a good Wolverine. I'm Storm in case anyone was wondering. We missed Cyclopes and Rogue from our original cast :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

B-Y-ZOO


So every two years, BYU comes to play its inter-conference rival, TCU, here in Texas. As both Rachael and I are BYU grads, and we both loved going to the games in Provo, we were not going to miss the opportunity to watch our team play when the game was only 3 hours away in Ft. Worth. So we found a few friends that wanted to go, we all loaded up our kids, and we made the short trip to watch the #8 ranked Cougars take on the Horned Frogs. We had a great time too. The weather was beautiful (in the mid 60's), we had a great time with our friends and even saw some friends from Provo that we hadn't seen or spoken with in a couple of years, and just enjoyed being in a college atmosphere again. The only thing that would have made the night complete was if BYU had won the game! For those of you that weren't paying attention, the Cougs got a good Texas whoopin', losing 32-7. But it was fun regardless.

As the game was an evening game, we spent the night in Ft. Worth and on Friday we went to the Ft. Worth Zoo, which is actually one of the best zoos in the country. It was a lot of fun, especially with Connor. He loves animals and was literally running from one exhibit to another. Connor really wanted to see the hippos, so we went and...they were asleep in the water and you couldn't really see much. My favorite part however was in the eagle pen. At one point as we were all walking underneath the chicken wire enclosure, this huge eagle soared down from its perch and landed right above us. With it's wings spread wide and while staring down directly at us, it let out a loud scream. It was really neat, but I actually think it was trying to get to Cody and the other little kids because it kept following us!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Feast with the Beasts


Tyler and I spent Friday night at the Houston Zoo working an event for Fountains of Chocolate. For those of you who don't know, my mom is the owner. Being in the catering/wedding industry does have it's perks. Feast with the Beasts is a fun night for food sampling, live music, dancing and seeing animals. We were able to invite some friends to help out with the rush of people to the chocolate table. You can imagine how busy we were with chocolate covered strawberries being served. It was a blast even though Tyler didn't dance with me :(

Baby Shoes


I have been sewing these darling baby shoes to make extra money. It gives me something to do while Tyler is at class Monday and Wednesday nights. For more photos go to http://www.miajoie.etsy.com/

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure


Yesterday we did the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The Susan G. Komen foundation is one of the largest non-profit organizations dedicated to raising money for a variety of programs related to breast cancer research, prevention, and awareness. As many of you know, Rachael's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer a little over two years ago. She is now in remission, but because of her experience, our family still finds it important to support those that are leading the fight against breast cancer.
Our day started early, (about 6:30) as we made the 45 minute drive to downtown Houston. There we gathered with 32,000 other supporters to run in the 5k. It was really neat to see the community come together for such a great cause. I was even more touched to see all the survivors of breast cancer and to realize just how prevalent this disease really is (all the survivors got a special pink t-shirt, as you can see in the picture.) Our race started about 8:30 and both Rachael and I ran about 3/4 of the way (2.5 miles). While we didn't make it the entire distance, it was great. The best part though was getting to watch Rachael's mom run in the "Survivors Path", a lane marked out with pink ballons and dedicated to those that had beaten breast cancer. Anne did run the entire distance. She is an inspiration to us all.

Ice Cream Mania


A few weeks back, we ventured out to Brennam, Texas to visit the Blue Bell Ice Cream factory with some friends of ours. We had gotten wind of a crazy rumor that Blue Bell, which is the best ice cream you have ever had, was giving ice cream away on account that many of the stores affected by Hurricane Ike were unable to accept any cold produce and Blue Bell was running out of storage space. Needless to say, we were not disappointed. The tour was interesting, but the fun started when we got to the end of the tour and the guide annouced that we were free to try as much ice cream as we wanted, free of charge. So we ate...and ate...and ate. I think I personally had 3 or 4 bowls (small bowls) and I know that I saw some people in our group eat more than I did. It was a lot of fun, and a lot of really good ice cream.

Friday, September 19, 2008

We're back...sort of

It's good to finally be able to write this. I'm sure that some of you have been waiting patiently for word on how our family is doing in the aftermath of the hurricane, and in all honesty, we are fine. The hurricane was a neat and frightening experience, but one that I don't really want to live through again anytime soon.

As far as the hurricane goes, it hit our area around 1:30 in the morning and finally passed us around noon, so about 11 hours. There was a lot of rain and lots of wind, as you can imagine. I was awake most of the night, mostly because I was nervous. Like many of you, I've seen the footage of major hurricanes on the news, so each time a 100 mph gust of wind hit our house, I was worred our roof would go with it. Luckily that never happened, but it was a long night to say the least. I did manage to get some sleep, but about 5:30 I woke up because something didn't sound right. For several hours, the wind had been howling around us and the rain had been pounding on the windows, etc. but at that moment, everything was completely quiet. I got up from bed and went to the window and sure enough, there was no wind and the rain had let up to a very slow drizzle. It was then that I realized that the eye of the storm was right on top of us. It was a very neat experience, and to say it was surreal would be an understatement. Of course, the heavy wind and rain started again about an hour later and lasted for another 6 hours or so.

Once the storm passed, we decided to take a drive to see my in-laws house (they were out of town at the time) and the scene around us was scary. I've never seen so many trees, some of which had trunks to large to get your arms around, just snapped in half. The streets were literally littered with tree branches, leaves, etc. and in some areas, the roads were more of an obstacle course, as we had to weave around different obstructions. Unfortunately, we didn't take any pictures, but even then I don't think they would do the scene justice. What was even more impressive was to think that this was a catagory 2 hurricane, one of the weakest.

There has been some good from this hurricane however. We have seen the goodness of people in the worst of situations, we have finally met our neighbors after almost a year, and we have made strengthened some relationships within our ward, and we have learned the importance of food storage and emergency preparedness, as we have been without power for almost a week.

We know that many of you have been thinking of us and have kept us in your prayers, and for that we are grateful. We look forward to actually talking with you soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ike Watch: D-day

Today is the day!! In case you haven't been following the news still, the hurricane is forecast to make landfall sometime this evening. As you can imagine, we've been busy preparing our house, etc. We didn't board up our windows or anything like that, which you might think is crazy, but as I've discovered, the news only shows you what will make the hardest hitting impact. I think I've counted a dozen houses in our whole sub-division that have boards on their windows. Apparently, not many people think it's going to be that bad. I guess we'll have to see. We did move everything out of our backyard and into the garage though. I would hate for one of Connor's toys to come flying through the house if the winds get REAL bad. We also filled a bunch of old water bottles and stuck them in the freezer, with the intent that when we loose power, we can try and use those to keep some of our perishable food cold in coolers. Plus when it melts, we can always drink those.

As of right now, the weather has gotten cloudy and a small breeze has begun to blow; an ominous sign of things to come. It was kind of strange yesterday because the weather was beautiful. It was really sunny, warm, and just a gorgeous day all around. It was weird to think that there was a major storm 300 miles away and heading straight toward us because you never would have guessed it based on the weather. I guess I have some insight as to why the Galveston Hurricane in the early 1900's was so devastating.

Thanks for all of your concern. I've spoken to several of you on the phone, as well as through email, and comments on the blog. We'll keep you updated, although it might be several days before you hear from us again. I imagine we'll lose power, and I'm almost certain that the cell phone towers are going to get blown down too, and we don't have a land line. I'll do my best to keep everyone up to date.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ike Watch

For those of you who haven't been following the news at all lately, Houston is officially on hurricane watch as Hurricane Ike churns in the gulf. I've got to be honest that this is a completely new experience for me, having grown up in the desert. Part of me is nervous; yet another part of me, the naive part of me, is kind of excited. I know that sounds pretty stupid, I mean who actually wants to experience things like hurricanes or tornados, but it's true. There is something kind of exciting about the unknown.

Anyway, life here has kind of been put on hold as everyone waits to see exactly what the hurricane is going to do. People everywhere are talking about it, and every where you go, there are flashing signs that read "Hurricane forming in the gulf. Fill your gas tanks." As if we really needed to be reminded.

As far as our plans are concerned, Rachael and I have not talked about evacuation. Humble, where we are located, is about 80 miles or so from the coast, so I don't think we need to worry about flooding. I am worried about wind damage however. We live in an area that has a lot of trees, and my neighbor has a large tree in his back yard that, if it decides to go down, there is nothing between it and my roof. I guess we'll see.

We'll definitely keep you updated as things unfold. I am providing a link to a weather page that I have been using to track the hurricane, just in case you get bored and want to see the action unfold for yourself. It's actually a neat web it is totally interactive, so you can use it to see the historical track of Ike, as well as projected paths based on different computer models. Enjoy, and we'll talk again soon. http://www.stormpulse.com/fullscreen/current

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Missing in Action

So I realized that we've done ONE blog this month and August is almost over. Yeah...we have no excuses. So having admitted it, I figured I'd just do a review of the month and promise to try and do better in the future.

August has been pretty busy for our family. If you hadn't heard, I decided to go back to school and get my MBA (I was accepted toRice University). Well, I started the first week of the month and have been going to class two nights a week ever since, which makes for some VERY long days (usually out the door by 5:30 am and in by 11:00 pm or later). I think it is safe to say that Rachael isn't a huge fan of my schedule, as she is with the kids all day on Mondays and Wednesdays. Luckily though, I married a trooper and she has been very supportive of my decision, despite the fact that we don't really see each other that much anymore.

In addition to school, work, and the normal family business, we were also in charge of the ward activity a week ago. So while I was at work and school, Rachael was busy making phone calls, shopping, and basically planning the whole activity. We decided, along with our committee, to do a game night, and it actually turned out really well. We had 6 different tables where people could play a variety of games, as well as a chalk board for pictionary and a charades station. For the young kids, we had a movie room, and of course we had a nursery for the REALLY little kids. It was a good time, although I spent the entire activity in the nursery. I think that was Rachael's way of punishing me for being gone so much!!! It actually wasn't that bad...but nobody let the bishopric know that or I might end up there permanently. :)

video

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Highs and Lows of Our Family Vacation

Well, the family vacation has come and gone. It's always amazing to me how fast these vacations go by. We planned this vacation back in January and have been looking forward to it ever since, and just like that, the 10 days are gone and we are back at home. So, as the memories are still fresh in my head, I want to give a quick run down of our vacation, give you the highs and the lows, and share a few pictures too.

So our first destination was Las Vegas to visit my family, which was great. My whole family lives in Las Vegas, so we got to see everyone: my mom and dad, Ben and his wife Trina, and Summer and Matt, and their son Beck, whom I hadn't seen in over a year. They all seem to be doing great, especially Beck. I don't think I've ever seen a kid with as much energy as he has. Summer pointed out to us that he runs every where he goes, and as I watched him the last 10 days, I think I agree. There were somedays that I got tired just watching him run around. He is a good kid though. Some of the highlights of the trip were: went and saw Dark Knight (great movie), went to dinner at Claim Jumper with some old high school friends, went to Bonnie Springs, which is an old western town outside of Vegas.

We stayed in Vegas for about 4 days and then flew to Wyoming to see my grandparents/aunts and uncles that live there. That was a good trip for the most part. Two things happened that kind of put a damper on that leg of the trip. First, on the way up to Wyoming, both Rachael and I got sick. I'll spare all the details, but suffice it to say that Rachael was throwing up on the plane, and I was throwing up on the 2 hour drive from the airport to my grandparents house. Luckily my mom came with us so she could drive (my sister came but she was sick too!) The other was that my grandpa died on Monday, July 28, which was the day after we got into town. It wasn't sudden or unexpected. He had suffered a stroke a week or two earlier and had been in the hospital ever since, but it was still sad to see him go. I did get to see him one last time though. Rachael and I, my mom, and Summer went to the hospital and spent about an hour at his bed side. He never opened his eyes and I'm pretty confident he had no idea we were there, but I did get to see his face and for that I'm extremely grateful. I'm reminded of a talk Elder Bednar gave in General Conference about "tender mercies of the Lord." This was a tender mercy. For an hour after we left, he was gone. He was 86, and I'm going to miss him.

As you can imagine, that put a damper on the rest of our vacation as we assisted my grandma making funeral plans. We did have some fun though. We got to see my other grandparents farm and visit with my cousins, aunts and uncles. We also headed up the mountains towards Yellowstone, although we didn't actually go into the park. The scenery is beautiful up there and I really miss not having mountains here in Houston.
Overall, the vacation was great and I'm sad that it's over, but such is life. I guess I just get to look forward to the next one!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Festivities of Friday the Fourth

Ahh, the 4th of July. Is there any holiday that is really more fun than America's birthday? I mean if you think about it, is there any other holiday where people get together and have parades, BBQ's, and then after all the eating and socializing is done, proceed to blow things up? I can't think of one. On a more serious note though, is there another holiday that we as a society take for granted more than the 4th of July? At one point last night, as I listened to our national anthem, I caught myself reflecting on just how lucky I am to be an American. The 4th isn't about the fireworks, the BBQ's, or the parades, although that is what it has become to most of us. It is, and should be, about the celebration of our freedom; that we recognize and appreciate that no other people in the history of the world has had the same freedoms that we have. Do we really appreciate all that we have? Since I'm on my soapbox...make sure you vote this year. It's one of our greatest priviledges, and it's frustrating to hear that about half of us don't care enough to participate.

Ok...I've said my peace on that. So yesterday was actually pretty fun. This has been our second 4th of July in Houston, and while we still miss getting together with the Parkinson's in Provo and going to the Freedom Festival Parade, we still managed to have fun. We spent part of the morning swimming in one of the many community pools nearby. Rachael and the boys are frequent swimmers, and Connor is actually getting really good at it. He's fearless too, which is both a good and a bad thing. At this particular pool, there is a pretty decent sized water slide. Well, Connor went down this slide all by himself probably a dozen times. Here's the video...along with a few other pictures.






video

That evening we went over to Kingwood Country Club, where Rachael works, and went to their carnival. It was a lot of fun, although Connor was being grumpy for the better part of it. I'm not sure why he was grumpy, I mean we were outside, there was one of those bouncy slide things, and even Clutch, the Houston Rockets mascot, came was was passing out shirts, etc. to all the kids. The only way we could calm him down was to jump in a golf cart and drive around the golf course for like 20 minutes looking for animals. He's a funny boy. Luckily, we saw some ducks, storks, and two baby racoons, which was really neat.

As for the rest of the evening, when Connor did finally settle down, we had a lot of fun. The country club offered a BBQ buffet of chicken, briscket, and hot dogs, as well as apple cobbler and cookies. Rachael and I ate our fair share, but Connor and Cody shared a hamburger bun. The highlight of the evening was of course the fireworks, which started a little after 9 pm, and which were pretty nice. That concluded our evenings festivities, except for the drive home which unfortunately took way to long as we had to battle every other joe schmo for a place on the highway

.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Working from home

I know a lot of you probably read the title of this post, looked at the date it was posted, rolled your eyes and thought to yourself, "Gee...wasn't that convenient. Working from home on the Thursday before a 3 day weekend." Admit it, you're thinking it. I know you are because that's exactly what I would be thinking if the roles were reversed. Well, it's true. I did work from home on the Thursday before the 4th, but to ease your troubled minds, it wasn't because I wanted too necessarily. I DID have a doctors appointment this morning, and it just so happened that Thursday, July 3rd was the earliest that they could schedule me. I know...too bad for me :).

So about working from home. I've done it before a couple of times before and I really like it. I honestly feel like I get a lot more accomplished through out the day than if I'm just stuck at my desk. My work, in general is pretty easy to do, so when I'm in the office I always seem to finish my work early and then have to find other things to do to fill my time. At home however, when I finish my work early, I can play with my boys, help Rachael around the house, or just take an hour break and go to the gym. I guess what it boils down too is that when I work from home, I'm always doing something, which is nice.

Friday, June 27, 2008

My week of lonliness



So this is a little late, but at the first of the month, Rachael and the boys went to Utah to see our cousin Heather get married. It just so happened that the wedding took place during my busiest week of the month at work, so I was unable to attend; which meant that I was home by myself for about a week... and might I add that I was sick for three of those days and had no one home to take care of me. The wedding was great even though Rachael missed the family dance party b/c she had to put the boys to bed. Not to mention that it was VERY chili up Provo Canyon at the reception which was outdoors. I don't think she packed any jackets for the boys, that crazy Utah weather. Photos: 1 - the boys fast asleep on the airplane ride to Utah, 2 - boys and their 2nd cousin Lincoln, 3 - Rachael and Liz at the reception.

Kung Fu and Blogging...A Perfect Friday

Today was the perfect Friday. We took the boys to see Kunfu Panda this afternoon, which was a lot of fun. This marks the first time that we've attempted to take both of the boys to the movies at the same time, and they did really well. We were a little worried about Cody because he's been kind of sick lately and I managed to forget his pacifier in the car, but he didn't seem to need it and was reasonably well behaved. He fell asleep for part of the movie and sat pretty quiet when he wasn't sleeping. Connor was of course enthralled and, being a typical boy, came home and tried out some of his new Kung Fu moves on his mom. She wasn't too thrilled about that, but I got a kick out of it. (No pun intended)

Once we got home we decided that we'd better work on our blog. We've recently recieved a lot blog addresses from friends and family and, to be completely honest, ours just wasn't cutting it; so you'll notice some changes I'm sure. Remember, we're still pretty new to this blogging stuff, so I consider it a work in progress.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The only one


The only picture we have of our little family. At least it is a good one. We need to start taking more photos together.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Well, here it is. For all of you that have been nagging us for the past year or so to start a blog, this is for you! Rachael and I actually created this site back in October, but with the new house, new baby, and semi-new job there were a lot of things that took priority over the blog. Fortunately things have kind of settled so we figured we finally had time for this.
As you can see, our family is growing. Cody turned four months at the end of April and is keeping up with Connor's weight/height at that age. Cody is a really happy baby for the most part, except when he's hungry, tired, or when he's left alone with his dad! But I guess that's probably the norm for most babies. He's a really cute kid, but of course we're biased.
Connor is our little wild man. He runs around
constantly and refuses to let himself, or anyone else, sit still. He has warmed up to Cody really well and has been a big help to mom. He has learned to throw away Cody's dirty diapers, put in his pacifier, and has even shared an animal cracker or two when Cody was crying! He's a good boy.
Well, that's all from Houston for now. Until next time....