Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

We just got from a fantastic Memorial Day celebration at the lakehouse...and if you can believe it...I did not get my camera out one time. I must have been on a subconcious picture overload after my Boston trip. But, it was so great to hang out with family. Mendy's brother Ryder came and Ben's cousins the Pucketts. Their whole family was in town from St. Louis for a Memorial Day vaca in Texas....who wouldn't right!? Cheryl's sister, Suzanne, her husband, Jim, who Kinley calls Jimmy or Jim-Bo and their 4 girls, Gina and triplets Laura, Jessica, and Rebecca. The girls are just the most beautiful, sweet and fun girls ever. It is always so fun to see them and spend time with them. They all played with Kinley so much and made such an effort to get to know her. That is the key to this mom's heart. We don't see them very much and since we did Christmas with them this past year...we are not scheduled for Christmas with them until 2012. So, they were joking that Ty will already be almost a year and a half before they meet him if we don't come visit....craziness! We will have to make that happen.

Anyway, the weekend was relaxing and so fun and these are the only pics I got on my phone. Kinley was supporting freedom of dress in her own little Elton John look-alike outfit.
I hope you guys had a fantastic Memorial Day and got to relax with some family and celebrate such a wonderful holiday that commemorates all who fight and serve our country. I am so thankful for all sorts of freedoms that we have (even if it is crazy clothes).

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bart's Harvard Graduation

I am continuing on with the graduation posts with Bart's Harvard graduation! I just got back from a 3 day, 2 night trip to Boston/Cambridge with Mom, Dad, and Matt. Ben and Kinley stayed home and made it through with a lot of help from some very special babysitters....more on that in another post. It was really fun to get away for a few days and just be with my family. It was a very packed schedule of days with LOTS of graduation events. Definitely not something that Kinley could have done...so, I am glad she stayed home. I am just SO proud of Bart and Olivia and all they have accomplished in the last 2 years in Boston. I can't wait to see what they decide to do and where they decide to go next. I personally hope they stay in Boston for a little longer...not too long though...so that Ben and I can go back together to visit. Lots of pics coming at you and a little day by day itinerary of all the events.

Day 1 - Touring, Cocktail Reception, and Section I HBS Band
We got to town and took a little tour of Harvard and around Cambridge. We could NOT have asked for better weather. It was gorgeous, sunny and 75-80 every day. I can't hardly believe Olivia when she says it is never like that and that they were the most beautiful days all year so far. Where Bart and Olivia live is right near Harvard square and totally beautiful and quaint. I loved seeing the architecture and beautiful townhomes. I loved the river and the bridge over the river and seeing the boathouse and all the rowers. It is picturesque...especially on a beautiful day.
around cambridge
Picnik collage
We got to see a couple places from scenes in the movie "The Town" that they walk by every day. One is The Cambridge Savings Bank where they filmed the opening bank robbery scene and the second is the restaurant where they sit outside under the umbrellas and Ben Affleck keeps trying to hide Jeremy Renner's neck tatoo.
the town
Also, this was my first time touring Harvard. It is exactly what you would imagine it to look like. Beautiful, perfectly groomed, lots of landscaping and great buildings.
Picnik collage
The movie the Social Network has a quote about this statue: "As the plaque reads, this is John Harvard, founder of Harvard University in 1638. It's also called the Statue of Three Lies. What are the three lies? One; Harvard was founded in 1636, not 1638. Two; Harvard wasn't founded by John Harvard and three; that is not John Harvard. Who is it? A friend of the sculptor, Daniel Chester."
That night we had a cocktail reception to go to for Harvard Business School at a Boston hotel and dinner at Kingston Station where Olivia finally got to join us after a long work day!
cocktail reception and dinner
Late night after dinner we went to a concert at a local venue for a band that is made of people in Bart's HBS section. They are all brilliant people that are just in a band for fun on the side...such Harvard overachievers! They are really good too. It was fun.
the section I band concert
Day 2 - Class Day and Bart's Men's Group
This was a day dedicated solely to Bart's graduating HBS class. We went to Baker Lawn on the Business School campus and heard speakers from their class and former graduates that have done amazing things. Even Simmonds came to graduation too! Such a good service dog in training! Then there was the Oath Ceremony where Bart took an oath to be an honorable and integrity-filled business leader.
Class day
Oath Ceremony
After the Class Day events, we went to what was my favorite thing! Bart's men's group that he has been meeting with weekly for the last 2 years had a family meet and greet on campus. It basically is just a bunch of driven, smart HBS students that are all Christians and wanted to have Christian fellowship during their tenure at Harvard. It was so cool to see how the group started and what all they did and learned in the past 2 years. Each person would voluntarily lead a devotion each week and they just did life together. Almost all of them are married or have kids so there were lots of life events to go through together. Then we all laid hands on them and prayed for them and what is next in their life. I loved it....so cool!
Men's Group

Day 3 - Actual graduation Day (I told you there were lots of events!)
Early in the morning was the all-Harvard graduation with all undergrad and graduate students. It was mad chaos to say the very least. We had 3 "seat" tickets and 2 "standing room only" tickets...but, that was really a joke. There are like 1/20th the number of seats as people with seat tickets. Me, mom and Olivia somehow managed to find a seat on the first step of the library in Harvard Yard. There was campus security and lots of area cops there to try to manage the crowd and we made a good friend of one of the cops right in front of us. We had good seats to see the processional (which itself lasted 1 1/2 hours) but, after that long of sitting on concrete...preggo me could not handle another 2 hours so, we ditched that event and picked up lunch to meet Bart at HBS for his last event.
Harvard graduation
Pictures before Bart walks
The last thing we did before I hopped a plane back home was see Bart's HBS graduation back on Baker Lawn. This is the event where he finally walks the stage and gets his diploma. It was great! There were 945 people in his graduating class and Bart was in Section I (of A - J) so pretty much right at the end...but, it was awesome to see him finally walk the stage after so much hard work!
We had a loud cheering section! Olivia was standing on a chair pretty close and had the opportunity to get great pics....but, this lady kept putting her hands up right in front of her....right when Bart walked across....whoever you are...I am a little angry.
Picnik collage
At least we got some great pics of him coming back around and of course after :)
Bart with diploma
Bart, we are SO proud of you and thrilled we could be there to see you graduate. Congrats! And we can't wait to come visit again!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Last day of Preschool and Teacher Appreciation Gifts

So, I can't believe it but, today was Kinley's last day of preschool for the year! I can't believe we have made it through a whole year of preschool already...wow...time has flown by! Kinley has absolutely LOVED school this year and I am pretty sure she will be in a total depression when she asks for school next week and we can't go! I don't think saying "we will go again in September" will make any sense to her! We had a mini photo sesh this morning to remember how big she has gotten this year!
This sweet angel has grown so much! I can't believe it!
Picnik collage
Picnik collage
I was looking for a good teacher appreciation gift online...and there are really not a ton of ideas out there. But, I was browsing through Lisa Storms and she did this whole week of teacher appreciation gifts and I LOVED these. Now, after seeing those...promptly LOWER your expectations of my gift. I used Lisa's adorable flag printouts and did my best with a Walmart shopping trip to only find 2 of these cups in the entire store. They are no where as cute as that picture but, I think the teachers loved them. I added a To/From ring of paper around the middle and loaded them up with the delicious Crystal Light Pure lemonade...hints the 'ade' flag...and Outback steakhouse gift cards.
I am really so thankful for Kinley's teachers this year. She absolutely loved them and talked about them all the time. I hope they liked the gifts! And just for fun...one more cute pic of Kinley holding her backpack.
Happy Summer!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Matt's Graduation - A New Aggie Alumni

First off, I want to say sorry for whatever has been going on with my blog lately...I think it is something with blogger. I know people have been having trouble leaving comments and my posts have been going off and back on and a lot of people wrote some really sweet comments about Ben for the last post but, they somehow got deleted...I don't know why. But, I am trying to figure it out. Hopefully, it won't continue to be a problem.

Anyway, back to our fantastic weekend in College Station!!! We went to see Matt graduate and it was a total blast. I always LOVE going back to College Station....it just brings back a peaceful feeling of comfort, relaxation, no worries and just fun college memories. It was extra-special because we had the ENTIRE mom's side of my family there. That is truly a big deal because that never happens anymore. Even Bart and Olivia got to come from Boston....Whoop! (I just had to) It is also special because every cousin and spouse on that side is an Aggie (except Ben and Brooke who is a future Aggie still in HS). It is just such a fun bond between all of us and we all LOVE going to College Station.

We took lots of time to celebrate these 3 May graduates! How good looking are these boys!?
We all hung out on Friday night at Matt's house until late...Kinley and I didn't even go to bed until 11:30! But, she was having a BLAST and loved every minute of it. She loves hanging with her sweet uncles. They were trying to get her to smile by tickling her leg....which worked. Then they tried it on Olivia. Haha!
Picnik collage
The picture above of Kinley hugging a stuffed otter is hilarious to me and just one of the treasures to be found at Uncle Matt-Matt's house. It is truly the picture of a college boys house...but, 100 times worse. Seriously if the city came in and inspected it would be condemned. Only college boys could live there. I wish I had more pics of this house. As an example...This is what they call storage....
And just another room mate....
We had a family toast to the graduates (minus preggo me) and had a great night.
Picnik collage
Here is a group pic.
Then early Saturday morning Matt walked the stage at Reed Arena. The graduation ceremonies at A&M are huge and his was just one of like 10 that weekend. Matt had a string of long accolades that they said before they announced his name. He is pretty much a genius and graduated with a 4.0 and the only Finance major with University Honors. It's kinda ridiculous. We were so proud!
We took LOTS of pics with the graduate.
Picnik collage
And a big family pic before we had to part ways again.
It was so much fun! I am lucky again next week and get to go to Bart's Harvard graduation. I can't wait! Yay for all the graduates!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

no more school....let's party!

Tonight is Ben's very LAST final for college! I can't even begin to describe for you how proud of my husband I am. He has worked so hard and so diligently to finish school. He has worked full time the entire time and been a full-time husband and dad also. It has been time-consuming and frustrating at times but, I am so very proud of how hard he has worked. Not everyone takes the road he did after high school but, I would not trade the years we spent together traveling the country while he played professional baseball. When that came to an end and he decided not to continue to pursue that childhood dream....he set out to finish school every day, at night until he finished. I really do feel like the sky is the limit for Ben. He is stubborn and WILL set out to accomplish whatever he puts his mind to. I am excited for his school to end and to be home more to spend more time with me and Kinley and baby Ty. But, I do not want this milestone to end without letting him know VERY proud of him we are.

So, we are having a party!
I got super excited to make the invites again. (I am a little obsessed.) We knew we wanted to have fajitas and margaritas because that is Ben's fav...so, I went with the Mexican theme. I think they turned out pretty good.
I decided to add some black cardstock to the back to make it look a little more "manly" before mailing them.
A few inspirations for Ben's party....
Picnik collage
We can't wait to party!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day - Put on your lipstick

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there. I am so beyond thankful to have such wonderful examples of all types of mothers....mom...mom-in-law...grandmoms...great-grandmoms. It is such a blessing to learn and grow from knowing so many wonderful women. The most true and consistent quality between them all is an absolute love and devotion to their kids and family centered around faith in Jesus Christ. I am so fortunate in that and I am not unaware of how astounding it is. I hope to live by the example of those who have come before me as a mom. I got to see many today and I am so lucky for that! We saw Mom, Momma Gay and Inie all at Mom & Dad's after church today. It is rare but so much fun to have all my grandparents (Kinley's great-grandparents) at the same place.

Bull & Inie
Pepa & Momma Gay
They requested specifically a picture of all of them together. It was so cute...as soon as they knew they were going to have pictures taken both Momma Gay and Inie were scrambling through their purses to get their lipstick on. When Inie couldn't find hers because she had just switched out her purse...dont you hate that....Momma Gay let her borrow some of hers. It was so cute. I think there is a generational gap here...I don't even think to reach for lipstick before a picture. They would not think of taking a picture without re-applying and they both looked put together and beautiful. I hope I am married over 60 years and look this good when I am 86...which they all are.
Here we add in Mom, Dad, and Kinley....
Ben and I made it in a pic too...4 generations.
But, for all I am thankful for...my child is my number one treasure of being a mom. This was just one fun occurrence with Kinley today...maybe scrambling through a purse to get your lipstick on just skipped me.
Kinley, you are the light of my life and my best friend. I praise Jesus every day for entrusting you to us. I am humbled and so thankful. I love you!