Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Chance!!

I could be blogging about Christmas parties and Christmas, but today I have this guy on my mind...

Backyard photoshoot attempt

Can you believe he'll be 4 years old tomorrow?! Here's a little slideshow I put together with his favorite song...



Oh, Chance, what a blessing you are!

Poor guy will always hear his Momma go on and on about how he was my only picture perfect delivery, the one I'd dreamt of, where the baby was born and placed on my chest, and never had to leave the room. The family came in later to hold him and we all prayed and thanked God for this incredible gift!

He's grown into quite the character. He's the perfect complement to his big brother, quick to share, and willing to learn. He is hilarious too! He has a great imagination and loves to make up stories. He's very laid back, not usually demanding, and quick to say he's sorry or to turn from being angry. He's friendly, often drumming up conversations with strangers, and is often heard saying "Hey, I've seen you before!!"

Last week he told me "When Charlie gets a spanking, that makes my heart sad." He is empathetic and loving (usually, ha!). He's also a bit introverted. When there's a big group, he often likes to break out onto his own for awhile. He loves school, and he loves his brothers. There's a sweetness about him that always makes me smile.

We love you, Chance. Happy Birthday, big boy!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

10 Year Anniversary

Last week, we embarked on a trip to San Francisco, CA for our 10th anniversary. The day before, Chuck's parents came in and learned the ropes of how things work around here, and did a beautiful job caring for the kids while we were gone. This is the first time we've had to have grandparents come here instead of the kids staying with them, because Charlie needed to be in school. I so appreciate their willingness to come and serve us like that. The kids loved it too!

Also, a big thank you to Nana & Big Daddy who took all 3 boys for the weekend in Austin, to give Grandma and Grandpa a break!

So, we flew out to San Fran, and here's what's so amazing to me...how the coast goes into mountains in no time! Wanna go to the beach? There it is. Want to go snow skiing? Just drive a little while... Crazy! This was Southern CA, by the way.
Anniversary Trip

While we were checking out the rental car, we decided to upgrade to a Mustang! At first the salesman said the daily price, which was like $10 more than what we'd planned, but then he offered a discount of $3 off. As I was saying "I don't know, that's still expensive..." Chuck was saying "We'll take it!" LOL It was chilly and overcast most of the time we were there, but it was still fun.

Then we checked into our incredibly charming hotel...
Anniversary Trip

Anniversary Trip

Which was a short walk from a street full of shops and restaurants. We spent the evening walking down to the Fisherman's Wharf. We had a snack at Fresh Fish Grill, and dinner at Scomo's, on the water. It was chilly, but not windy, so it was great!

The next morning we had breakfast at a place called "Judy's Cafe" where everything is made from scratch. This was Chuck's omelet.
Anniversary Trip

Then when drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, up Highway 1, and got out for awhile at Stinson Beach.
Anniversary Trip

It was actually pleasant despite the impending rain clouds.

We drove around a bit more, found a neat Lego store in Sausalito, and here's driving through a tunnel on the way back.
Anniversary Trip

That evening we got dressed up and went out to eat at a restaurant called Mamacita.
Anniversary Trip

And we had dessert from a bakery. Yum!!
Anniversary Trip

One thing I had forgotten about California is how good the produce is there!! We bought some fruit to eat in our room the first night, and it was still ripe 3 days later.

The next morning we met up with Alberto and Lisa, friends/ former coworker of Chuck. It was so fun to get to know them!! And we ate breakfast at a great little cafe called Pergamino's. I love breakfast foods, ya know?!
Anniversary Trip

Alberto and Chuck thumb wrestled for the bill. What Alberto didn't know is that Chuck has imposable thumbs (so, really, Chuck cheated, ha!).
Anniversary Trip

Then we headed up for the second phase of our trip: seeing the Stoppes. Steve and Rhonda Stoppe are/were big influences in our lives. They were the youth pastors at our church, where we became youth leaders while we were in college. They did our premarital counseling, Steve officiated our wedding, we bought their house when they moved to Californina, etc, etc. There's no good way to sum up what all they mean to us. I was psyched to get to see them. In fact that's why Chuck surprised me with this trip, because he knew how much I missed them.

On the way, there was a break in the clouds for about 20 minutes, so we figured out how to put the top down...
Anniversary Trip

Then we got up to their house, about 2 hours outside of San Fran. They live up in the "hills" (they're mountains if you ask me), with no cell phone signal, no internet, etc. It's like camping, only with electricity (my favorite!!). Chuck snapped this while we were hanging out. Oh, the memories this brings back, from my first few years outta high school, just chilling with the Stoppes...

Anniversary Trip

The next morning we went to their precious church (Steve's the pastor) in a little town called Patterson. This is Kayla, their youngest kid, (err young lady, now that she's in college! wow!) and her guy 'Stevan.
Anniversary Trip

After church we joined the Stoppes on a progressive dinner with their young marrieds. Many of them had babies, which made me miss my own! But it was SO fun.
Anniversary Trip

But by that afternoon, Chuck started running fever and not feeling well.
Anniversary Trip

It all went downhill from there.

That night he was up all night vomiting. We were supposed to fly out the next morning, but delayed it a day due to Chuck's illness. Poor guy just had to stay laid up all day. That evening, though, Rhonda showed me around on her ranch and to my amazement, there was an incredible canyon view. So we stopped to take pictures!

Anniversary Trip

Anniversary Trip

thank you self timer...
Anniversary Trip

My fave! This is my friend/mentor/almost-mom, Rhonda. :)
Anniversary Trip

Anyhow, we loaded up Tuesday with Chuck still not eating, but not feeling nauseous anymore, and we head to the airport. On the way there was a big accident which put us over an hour late to the airport, so we had to switch flights (again). I have to say, Southwest is so great with stuff like that! But finally, we got home. The kids were sleeping, which made me kinda sad (it was a school night), but it was so great to be home.

The next day Chuck still didn't feel well, and by that night we loaded up and took him to urgent care, only to find out he had strep. Poor guy!! He's been quarantined and recovering. He has really missed the boys, and today (Saturday) he finally got to come out and see them a bit.

Next up, the kids' Christmas parties...Then to get ready for Christmas!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Super Crazy Busy.

Emphasis on SUPER.

These are the best of times and the busiest of times.
Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving with my paternal side of the family, and then with Chuck's family. Here are a few highlights...
My grandfather passed on quite a few guns to the family. It's a tradition to have target practice at my aunt's ranch on Thanksgiving. This year my dad brought Chance's gun and both boys got to shoot.

Villareal Thanksgiving
We miss Grand-Pappy, so it was a bit sentimental!

Villareal Thanksgiving

Charlie even got to try a handgun (yikes! haha)...
Villareal Thanksgiving

This gun was LOUD. Modeled by my cousin Kayla...
Villareal Thanksgiving

As for me, I was hanging out inside with one my favorite people, Aunt Peggy.
Villareal Thanksgiving

The boys also got to ride miniature ponies.
Villareal Thanksgiving

And here are all the great grandsons on the Gator (or whatever they call it) that they enjoyed riding around on.
Villareal Thanksgiving

Grandmammy was keeping a puppy warm.
Villareal Thanksgiving

Which, then led to this...
Villareal Thanksgiving

While shooting this: (Grand mammy with 9 of her 10 kids)
Villareal Thanksgiving
Here's the full set.

Then we stayed at Meesh's house. Here's her youngest, Hendrix.
H bomb

And her oldest, Elijah, swinging with Chandler
at the park

Chuck caught this, which is one of my favorite photos!
at the park

We took the kids on a train in Cedar Park. Here's Melanie, Chuck's sister and her kids.
Cedar Park Railroad

And Chuck with Chandler on the train.
Cedar Park Railroad

Then we came home to Meesh's and the boys made gingerbread trains.
Gingerbread Train

We had a great time with the family in Austin. Here's that full set.

Then this weekend we traveled to my hometown area for my sister Randi's wedding to Dan. These two had been off and on for many years, and this last time we had decided that even if they break up again, we're officially adopting Dan. So we're glad they've officially tied the knot. :) They have a bright future ahead...

We got into town in time for the Bachelorette Party...
Bachelorette Party

My 2 (maternal half) sisters, not to be confused with my 2 (paternal half) sisters...
Bachelorette Party

Charlie was the ring-bearer. But when Randi first told him, he said he'd rather be a "Ring Tiger" instead. So she had him a "Ring tiger" shirt made.
Rehearsal & dinner

Then she gave him a Nintendo DS Legos Batman game (in the middle of dinner, thus the spaghetti on his face, ha!)...
Rehearsal & dinner

followed by this expression when we realized the DS was back in San Antonio...
Rehearsal & dinner

He still mustered the strength to thank Uncle Dan for the cool gift.
Rehearsal & dinner

And just for fun, here's Chuck at the rehearsal dinner.
Rehearsal & dinner

Also, while in town I got to meet up with my cousin Danielle...
Visiting with Danielle

And her daughter Kennedy...
Visiting with Danielle

And her son Drake. The kids loved having playmates for awhile.
Visiting with Danielle

The whole time we stayed at Uncle Mike's...
Visiting with Danielle

and Aunt Peggy's...
Visiting with Danielle

Thanks, y'all, for letting us invade! And thanks for coming by, Danielle!!
Here are all those photos.

So, on to the wedding. Here's Randi getting ready...hair is done, and she's got my pearls on. It meant so much to me that she wore those!
Bridal Preparations

And make-up...
Gettin' Ready

Here's our handsome ring tiger...
Pre Wedding

Pre Wedding

Chance and I snuck back to see the bride just before the ceremony...
Pre Wedding

The ceremony was so beautiful! Charlie did a great job!! I love this pic, where he's leaning over to see what all the cheering was for...
Wedding

Which is why this one is so funny:
The Wedding

And here's a formal portrait of the whole family...
The Wedding

And one Chuck caught of Dan and Randi at the reception:
The Reception

And I love this one too:
The Reception

We all danced to "Twist and Shout"
The Reception

Charlie cracked everyone up with his break dancing and robot dancing skills. Hilarious! Then he tried to catch the garter. Unlike most weddings, all the guys TRIED to catch the garter and the women were not so much interested... ha!

The Reception

Chandler also had some moves...
The Reception

But mainly, he kept trying to drink everyone's drinks on the table. This became a problem when the beer keg became available. Ha!!

Congratulations, Randi & Dan!! We are so excited for you, and for the future God has prepared for you! Thanks for letting us be a part of your special day!! We love you!

Here's the full nearly 140 photos of this wedding.

Thus ends this post. Now to get the house ready for yet another trip. Next up, a long weekend in San Francisco CA for Chuck and I...