Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cute Creativity

Oliver using his "banana phone" today at lunch. His end of the conversation was:

Oliver: Hello. Luh lou. Bye Bye. (Translation: Hello. Love you. Bye Bye.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Beck Family Reunion

We got back a few days ago from our 2nd big trip of the summer and I'm finally feeling together enough to post about it! This time, we traveled up to the Utah/Wyoming border to visit with my Dad's side of the family. Since Thanksgiving, I've been working with my Great-Aunt Jean to plan this reunion and I'm happy to say it came together really well and had 75ish people attending!

We left last Wednesday to fly up to Salt Lake City... with a layover in Phoenix... a long day of travel! But we all enjoyed the evening spent in Salt Lake at my Aunt Darla's house. Oliver especially loved having other kids to play with - and older kids at that. He had spent the time traveling continually asking when we were going to be at "Joshies House" (my cousin - Darla's son). Josh and his siblings were so sweet to my kids and they just loved every minute they spent there... I think it helped too that we were no longer in an airport!

The next morning, we got up and had a yummy breakfast at Darla's before heading out on the 3 hour drive to the Beck Ranch in Northern Utah. The trip was amazing as the kids slept for the first 2 hours until we stopped for lunch. Then they happily sat in their seats as we all sang along to songs from Matt's iPod for the last hour. What a fun family time together - I love it when we are all in good spirits and can just have fun together. I also really enjoyed feeling like a real family. Not that I don't normally, I just feel it even more so whenever I'm around people that I grew up with and am used to being a kid around. But this trip, I was no longer a kid, but a wife and mommy and that really made me feel old - but not in a bad way. In a happy-to-be-in-this-stage-of-life-with-a-family-of-my-own way :)

We arrived at the Ranch and headed up to the "Picnic Grounds" which is a campground area on my family's land. The local familes had pulled their camper trailers up there for us out-of-towners to stay in so we enjoyed some time just exploring the area and relaxing.

Father and son

Oliver striking a pose - and without any prompting from me. I'm just glad I had the camera there to capture his cuteness.

Thursday night we had a big meal at the picnic grounds and enjoyed getting to see family we hadn't seen in a while. That night was not the best night's sleep I've ever gotten as I decided to sleep with Gabriella to keep her on a bed... but turns out, she is a bed hog. We made different sleeping arrangements the next night... with her on a bed we made for her on the floor. Mucho better! It was actually pretty cool at night - in the low 50s and upper 40s - but beautiful during the day with 70 degree temperatures. Much better than what it's like in Dallas right now.

Oliver on one of the cool mornings

Friday we had another yummy meal with family and Matt enjoyed hiking through the wilderness with some of the men in my family while I stayed back and chatted with people while the kids napped. We snuck away that afternoon to my cousin Cory's house to get showered and bathe our kids after the two very dirty days we had spent camping. I felt WAY better after that. I don't like feeling dirty! That evening the Beck Family joined the Briggs Family who was also having a reunion that weekend for a huge cookout/potluck and barn dance. The Briggs family is close to us because my great-aunt married into it. So Oliver and Gabby once again got to enjoy the outdoors, being held by aunts and uncles and cousins (and of course Meme and Peepee - my parents). Matt and I actually got to revert back to our country-western dancing days in college as there was music and dancing after dinner. So we tore it up on the dance floor and showed off some of our moves, which I am proud to say were pretty good! I was way impressed with my partner and all of the moves he remembered!

Saturday was another full day - Matt went rafting with about half of the group and I hung back with the kids and visited with my mom, Aunt Natty and Uncle Matt, and others who were around. We went into the little town of Manila, Utah for lunch and ice cream and then visited with my Aunt Carol until everyone got back from rafting. Then it was dinner and off to the local church building in McKinnon, Wyoming for the big Saturday night finale - a Little Girls Beauty Pageant and Family Talent Show. Gabriella competed as the youngest member of the Beauty Pageant and was the cutest one out there - in my humble opinion. But miraculously - everyone who participated tied in the judges scoring! It truly was a miracle with everyone taking home a crown, ribbon and bag of goodies :)

Mommy showing off Gabriella during the "evening wear" portion of the beauty pageant

It was a fun trip, but also a tiring one and we were definitely glad to be home after our 12 hour travel day on Sunday! But we made a lot of fun memories - and that is what it is all about!

Click here to see more pictures from our trip!

Click here to see a video of Gabriella in the Beauty Pageant

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gabriella's New Pose

Gabriella has been cracking us up lately with her new pose... she likes to lie on her side like she is doing leg lifts or is a model. Funny girl...

A Visit From Grammy

Gabriella and Grammy aka "Meme" - that's how Oliver pronounces it

I know it has been a while since I've written - but we have been very busy. We were so glad to welcome my mom up here weekend before last just to visit with us and play with the kids. We didn't do much, just enjoyed each others company. Those visits are sometimes the best kind. She got to join us in a couple celebrations though - Father's Day for Matt and our 6th Anniversary, which both happened to be the same day this year - Sunday, June 15th. She watched the kids for us while we went out to Dave & Buster's for our anniversary. We enjoyed pretending to be kids again playing skee-ball, shooting baskets, and bad guys in a war gunning game.

The kids really enjoyed having her here, and we did too! We love you Meme!

Me and my sweetie on our 6th Anniversary

Daddy with his kiddos on Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Of Course Not...

The kids were up early... I knew they wouldn't sleep in! :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tonight's Word: Impulsive

So tonight started out like basically any night at the Dillard household... Daddy comes home, we play for a bit and then have dinner together. But tonight, I was feeling like shopping and Matt agreed to come along with the kids and make it a family outing. I've been wanting a new rug for the living room to cover up the dirty carpet and help disguise some of the messes my kids make on our very light-colored carpet. I had found a rug I liked on the IKEA website during nap time today so we made plans to head up to Frisco. As we were turning into the parking lot of IKEA, we notice all of the cars filing in to the Dr. Pepper Ballpark right next door - home of the Frisco Rough Riders, the Texas Rangers AA team. So Matt looks at me and says "let's go!" I think for a second and decide, sure, why not! The weather today has been BEAUTIFUL after a few storms blew through this afternoon... a quick glance at the temperature gauge in our car shows me it is 72 degrees outside... PERFECT! We were so excited about the prospect of being impulsive. Some things that went through my head however:
  • Do we have enough diapers?
  • What are we going to sit on?
  • What about bedtimes?
  • It's a little cool when the wind is blowing and we are all in shorts...
BUT HECK! We were being impulsive, so I let it all go.

Now all of you parents of young children out there know that the word impulsive is not a commonly used word anymore. Gone are the days of last minute anything. But it doesn't always have to be that way as we proved to ourselves tonight.

So we still trek through IKEA, a little more quickly than we otherwise would have, picking up not only the rug, but a blanket to lay out on the grass at the game too :) We told Oliver about the game a little earlier than we should have because he was chanting "baseball game" for the last 5 minutes we were in the store. But we finally made it out... only to realize as we loaded the car that since we were being impulsive we did not have any cash for parking. So I drive across the street to where the parking attendant is standing to ask him how much it was for parking and if he knew where there was an ATM. He looks at me and smiles and says, "That's alright - just go ahead on in." Wow - this impulsive stuff really pays off! Matt said he was glad I was driving because it didn't hurt our case at all that I was a girl and I was hot. What a sweet husband I have!

So we load up the double stroller and make our way to the box office, talking the whole time about how proud we are for being impulsive. As the ticket agent is swiping my credit card to pay for the tickets, two guys in business clothes walk by saying "Four free tickets." Grrr! Our whole evening could have been free... but oh well, lawn seats aren't that expensive anyway. But we were so close to having our whole impulsive night for free.

So off we go into the park, two very proud parents and two very happy children. We find a great seat in the outfield sitting on our blanket from IKEA. I head off to the gift shop to buy some t-shirts for the family to commemorate the night because we didn't even have our camera because we were so impulsive, hence why there are no pictures to go along with this post.
But for those of my neighbors reading this post, we will all be wearing our new shirts at neighbor dinner tomorrow night to show them off! So we all change into our new shirts, and enjoy sitting out in the nice weather with the kids. Oliver was a little scared at first of the huge Jumbo-Tron right behind where we were sitting. He spent the first 15 minutes of the game burying his head into Matt or my shoulder whenever he noticed the huge screen. Pretty sweet. He eventually got over it though and throughly enjoyed running around with another 3 year old sitting in the lawn. There were not many of us out there this evening, so our family got to be up on the Jumbo-Tron 3 times tonight. So fun! Oliver was really excited to be on TV... one time with Matt during the "Silly Face" shoot. Matt was sticking out his tongue and making a noise and Oliver kept reliving that throughout the evening. Gabby and I got to be on too although I couldn't figure out which way to face to be on the camera quick enough to show much except the back of my head as I stared at myself on the Jumbo-Tron :)

The Rough Riders were playing the Midland Rockhounds and Oliver thought the picture of the Rockhound up on the screen looked like Scooby-Doo so he got excited every time they put up a player's bio from the other team. He enjoyed clapping and yelling - copying everything the man next to us on the grass was yelling. Fortunately, he was not drunk and yelling obscenities or anything! Gabriella really enjoyed just being outside, rolling around on the blanket and watching all of the kids running around. Matt enjoyed the baseball and seeing the Texas Rangers prospects out on the field. I enjoyed shopping in the gift shop! And we all enjoyed a fun night together as a family! What a perfect, impulsive evening.

We ended up leaving in the 4th inning as the kids were both getting tired. They transitioned easily to bed and here's hoping that the later bedtime means they'll sleep in later in the morning. They won't, but here's hoping!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My big/little boy

A little file I created using the new scrapbooking software I got at Half Price Books today... some thoughts on my little boy who is getting so big!

(you can click on the image to see it bigger!)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The rest of our vacation

My last post told about the fun weekend we spent at my sister's wedding. There are still 7 more days of my vacation to talk about! So after the wedding festivities ended, we drove in a caravan of 6 cars filled with my Dad's family toward the Fulshear Beck Homestead. There, we proceeded to spend 3 days with 30+ people under one roof! Suffice it to say it was a wild time. We counted 20 people in their pool at one time. There was lots of swimming, basketball playing, volleyball games, trampoline jumping, shooting pool, and eating! Gabriella had her first dip in a swimming pool and was not a fan - it did not last for long. But she sure did look cute in her bathing suit and matching sun hat!

Oliver and Aunt "Beg-Beg" jumping on the Texas-sized "shoopaline" aka trampoline

We went to the Rain forest Cafe for lunch one day - a reservation for 24 - where Oliver got completely freaked out by all of the life-like animals way too close for comfort. His biggest run-in was with a very large snake near the entrance. If you ask him, he will show you exactly how his tongue moved in and out in a menacing manner. He also was not a big fan of the simulated thunderstorms that occurred periodically throughout the meal. Although all of this was traumatizing at the time, if you ask him about it today - he will say "Fun at rain forest."

We also had time that week to help my sister Megan prepare for her wedding... picking out bridesmaid dresses, helping her get her bridal portraits taken, and attending the first of two scheduled Bachelorette parties! I won't post a picture here of her bridal portraits for fear of Travis seeing them, but believe me - they were BEAUTIFUL! I also had the opportunity to meet up with my high school buddy Stacey and her 3 week old daughter Kate. It was fun to catch up and impart some of my "mommy wisdom" on her.

The Dillards with Stacey and Kate at one of Oliver's favorite places - McDonalds. I love Gabriella's face in this picture!

The weekend wrapped up with yet another wedding reception for my sister Natalie and her new husband Matt. We welcomed them home from their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic with a reception in Houston for those who didn't make it to Austin for the wedding. It was another fun evening of seeing old friends and once again, celebrating the newlyweds. Good times!

Mr. and Mrs. Bachop

Mommy and Ella at the reception

Aunt Emmy cuddling little Gabby

And of course, Little Man

We had a great trip but are glad to be back home and no longer living out of a suitcase. Although, I think Oliver would rather live at "Mimi and Peepee's House" where he is king!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Our first big trip of the summer

My summer is going to be a busy one. I have two sisters getting married, a family reunion in Utah and my 10 year high school reunion. There's also of course family coming to town, various baseball games with Matt's family, other trips with friends, etc. Phew! It should be fun!

So our first big trip of the summer came last weekend. My sister Natalie got married on Saturday, May 24th just north of Austin. It was a fun weekend full of family, friends, and fun! We drove down to Austin early Friday morning for me to get there in time for a bridesmaids luncheon. The kids did great on the trip but were definitely ready to get out of the car. We had some time after that to visit with my grandmother and my mom's two sisters who had flown in for the wedding. Then it was off to the hotel and the rehearsal and dinner. Quite a long night just with all of that. But of course, whenever my Dad's family all gets together, there is always a big party! We stayed up until 1am in the hotel lobby talking and laughing and telling fun stories. It was a great time to catch up with everyone and a really fun evening.

Then of course Saturday morning was filled with wedding day preparations (hair, makeup, etc.) , picture time before the ceremony, and then the big event. Natalie was feeling pretty relaxed and ready to go after a long time planning for the day! Everything turned out perfectly. She had planned it all so well and it was such a fun night of celebration. Oliver was the ring bearer and actually made it down the aisle... twirling his little ring pillow like a steering wheel :) Below are some snapshots from the weekend. When the official photographer's pictures come in, I'll make sure and post those too. I'll be posting more in the next few days about the week I spent in Houston following the wedding!

The Bride - My next youngest sister Natalie

My very cute ring bearer son and me!

The Bridesmaids - my sister Emily, me and my sister Megan

Oliver and Daddy

A glimpse into the crazy after-party. This is my sisters, and cousins and me all jumping in the air at the same time. I think there was a lot of noise involved. However, when we started making human pyramids, I guess some unhappy guest called us in and the management shut us down. It was midnight after all. But it was fun to feel like a kid again just for a few minutes!

Here is a link to some more pics if you are interested: Click here!