Monday, June 30, 2008

Menu Mondays

You scream, I scream, we all scream for...

Oh how I love a good southern breakfast in the mornings! Eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits, gravy, fruit, hotcakes (as we like to call 'em in the south), BRING IT ALL ON...I LOVE IT!!!! To me there's nothing unhealthy about any of these options. The more articles I read, the more I am convinced that people need to actually EAT breakfast in the mornings...for energy, to jump start our metabolisms, to make sure we don't eat SO much at lunch because we're starving by that point in the day...etc..etc..etc...what's that old saying? Eat like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunch and a pauper at dinner, now I surely didn't come up with that nifty saying but I couldn't agree more :)
As much as I love all of these things, I have an extra soft spot for pancakes, specifically buttermilk pancakes! Buttermilk pancakes are the KING of light, fluffy, rich and SA-VOR-Y!
So, put your carb counter on the back burner and hold on to your socks for my favorite version of Buttermilk Hotcakes.

Buttermilk Hotcakes

1 Egg
1 C. Buttermilk
2 T. Vegetable Oil
1 C. Flour
1 T. Sugar
1 t. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Baking Soda
1/2 t. Salt

Beat your egg, than add remaining ingredients in order listed above and stir. Heat your griddle to medium, then spread a few tabs of butter onto the top. Pour on your batter and flip when bubbly. Serve immediately with syrup... and eggs, bacon, sausage, gravy, biscuits, oh and fruit...let's not forget the fruit!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The kingdom belongs to such as these...

Little man has a new favorite song! He's been singing it around the house and when we let him chose his nightly song to sing after books and prayers...this is his new "go-to" tune!

Red and Yellow, Black and White....YOU are precious in His sight!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fun Fridays...My Favorite Things

What do you like to do when you have down time? As a Mom of 2 it seems like most of my quote-un-quote DOWN TIME is spent doing laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, mending, or DVRing for another day! And that's O.K. with me, because that's just the season of life I am in at the moment. However, whenever I do find a few minutes to myself I love a good book!
For as long as I can remember, I have had a love affair with books. As a toddler it was Cinderella. My Mom loves to tell the story of skipping a page one evening during story time and of course I noticed right away and stated,

" No Mommy, that's not what it says"....and then I proceeded to recite the entire page of text at the ripe old age of two.

In elementary school it was Beverly Cleary books. In junior high school I was delving into Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder series. In high school I did mostly assigned reading (as I remember there being plenty in that department) but I loved almost everything we read...To Kill A Mockingbird, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In the summers I was reading the John Grisham series for fun. As an adult I have enjoyed reading many authors: Vince Flynn, Mary Higgins Clark, Dan Brown, Patricia Cornwell and several others. Bible studies authored by Beth Moore, Gary Chapman, Max Lucado, and Emilie Barnes provided me with stability, understanding and kept my candle burning at various times throughout my life.

My Summer Reading
My love of books is something I hope to pass down to my kids as well and by the looks of things, its working. Cade moved from a budding bookie to a full bloom book worm!!! He also loves to look at books and to be read to. Both his nap time and bedtime routines include reading 2 stories! He's heard several of his books so much that HE reads them to US. His new love is reading to his sister. How my heart swells with happiness!

And Gracyn, well she likes to EAT books.
It's a start, right?!??

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I PLEDGE not to use it anymore

Something practical I found that I thought I'd share!
Dusting my furniture is something I actually enjoy doing, not with my vacuum attachment, but by HAND...yes I am a cleaning JUNKIE...but I hate how regular dusting sprays leave a film on my things so I made it a mission to find something new. I've tried almost everything on the market from Old English to my old stand-by Pledge and nothing really satisfied me and I honestly hated the smell they leave behind, SO I headed to the Internet about 4 months ago to find something organic to use instead.

I stumbled upon this EASY formula and have been using it ever since. It's a simple concoction really; olive oil, lemon juice and water! Go get your little spray bottle and here we go:

- Grab a lemon out of your fridge and squeeze the juice out of it. If you don't happen to have a lemon, then grab a container of lemon juice and pour out about four tablespoons into a small spray bottle. Mix the lemon juice with three tablespoons water and two teaspoons olive oil.
- Put the sprayer in the bottle and shake well. You now have an excellent home furniture polish! No streaking, no chemical smells, no CFC's for our ozone, no dolling over mucho dinero, and the ultimate finger prints!!! Give it a squirt and you'll be a believer!

- Concoction courtesy of Anna Sattler at DIY Life

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Old Friends

We were lucky to visit with some old friends, The Simmons Family as they travelled across the country to their new post in Monterrey California. It was such a joy to see how their 2 children had grown! A.J. was just a baby and Vivica a toddler when we lived in NC, and now almost 2 years later A.J. is walking and talking and Vivica is a playful, spunky, energetic, and sweet hearted young lady! Steve and I enjoyed catching up with them over a plate of sour cream chicken enchiladas, pinto beans, saffron rice and rotel dip (of course we didn't pass up this opportunity to serve them a little Mexican food Texas Style) HA! A.J. was in heaven, as he is a fellow Thomas the Train Lover & Vivica shared in Cade's love of our beloved Power Wheels, Grave Digger! We look forward to seeing you guys again in 18 months when Alex finishes up his school there!

Philippians 1:3-6- "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Love You Guys!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Menu Monday

Okay all you crock pot lovers out there...pull that baby out and crank her up because have I got a super-duper, yummy & E-A-S-Y crock pot supper for you!
Personally, I fell in love with my crock pot early on in my marriage, like um

....the first year ....

while I was teaching Kindergarten and Steve was in dental school. Now don't get me wrong, I loved my job but some days I would come home worn out with absolutely no initiative to whip up a gourmet dinner for my new hubby! And of course, Steve would always come home starving because they'd been so busy with classes and study groups that he'd hardly had any time for lunch!! How much more simple and convenient can it be than to dump in some ingredients, cover it, turn it to low and Waa-Laa 8 hours later we'd have a hot, tender and delicious meal waiting for us!

BONUS, you ask?

It makes your house smell heavenly!!! So here's my crock pot version of a Southern favorite...Beef Tips!

Crock pot Beef Tips

1 1/2 Lbs. Beef Stew Meat (I buy the extra-trim for less work, and I HATE grizzle)

1 Can French Onion Soup

1 Can Diced Tomatoes, 15 oz.

1 Can Golden Mushroom Soup, undiluted

1/2 C. Sliced Onion, long and thin slices

6 oz. Sliced Fresh Mushrooms

A few twists of fresh ground pepper from your pepper mill

Combine all and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. When you're ready to serve, combine 1 T. cornstarch with just a little bit of water stirring well to incorporate. Pour into crockpot and stir allow it to thicken the gravy while you prepare your noodles or rice. We serve ours over No-Yolk Broad Egg Noodles, but you can always serve them over white rice too if you'd like. These are so yummy, you'll be drinkin' the gravy outta yer bowl!!!! Happy slurpin' :)

See I told ya I'd eventually get around to posting a supper recipe!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fun Fridays...My favorite Things


I'll just say that again, I L-U-U-U-U-V PORCH SWINGS! At every house we've owned since we've been married Steve has always assembled and hung a swing for me. I don't know WHY exactly I love them so much, but there is just something wonderful about them! They evoke a nostalgia in me, because enjoying one recalls the quiet of a FAR less complex era! To me, it's a comforting place that just epitomizes the word HOME.

It's the perfect place to end a long day, to sit and sing hymns to your daughter, to snuggle your son, to work out a disagreement with you hubby, to talk to God, to admire the beauty of my Lord's paintbrush, to be with your family, to sip a tall icy glass of lemonade, to just be quiet, and to listen to nature at night...I could go on and on. It just makes me just slow down I guess...And in today's world I know I need some place to go to slow down. I imagine that the porch preceded the kitchen as the place for us to come together. I suppose you can boil it down to this: I am a simple southern girl, I like simple southern things and the simple joy of a porch swing is something you really have to experience to understand...

My Favorite Place to Be

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Conversations with a 3 year old

Mommy- Okay, Cade we're all done cleaning the bathrooms, do you want to help me give Bentley (our dog) a bath?

Cade- Sure Mom, but why does he need a bath?

Mommy- Because he's stinky

Cade- Does he "yike" to be stinky?

Mommy- No, that's why we're giving him a bath...because he gets stinky from playing out in the yard too much

Cade- Will the "wader" wash off the stinky?

Mommy- Uh-Huh, it will

Cade: Do I get stinky from playin' outside too much?

Mommy- Yes, sometimes you do...

Cade- Are you gonna wash off my stinky in the sink too?

Mommy- I might just do that Cade...

Ahhhhh, the musings of three year old boys! Here's a shot of my "water sprayer helper" as he likes to refer to himself and my CLEAN canine. Bentley looks THRILLED to be photographed!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Holy Weekend Batman

I had an awesome weekend in Dallas, but now that Monday (I was so tired that I didn't get around to posting this till Tuesday) has rolled around let me just say that:


My sister is getting married on July the 5th and this weekend my mother in law, a friend and I hosted a lingerie shower for her! We headed north to the Big D on Friday morning and luckily I did all my grocery shopping then! Friday night I prepped most of the dishes I was making so that on Saturday everything would be easy to just pop in the oven and warm. It was a late afternoon shower complete with pink champagne, spinach dip, caramelized onion dip, crab rangoons, phyllo wrapped smoked sausages, raspberry chipotle covered cream cheese, stuffed mushrooms, a cheese and grape platter, and lots of yummy cheesecake bites!!! Everyone had such a great time and it was so nice to just sit and visit with friends and family! Amanda received some really beautiful things, a few fun things, and one CrAzY item complete with it's own keys (use your imagination people!!). I am looking forward to her wedding in just 3 short weeks...God has brought an amazing man into her life and I know that through them and their marriage God will be glorified!!!

And just think sista', you got a whole new wardrobe in one afternoon! Well I take that back, I don't know if ALL of the items would qualify as actual clothing, but...I'll stop there because this site is family friendly :)
Our serving table with YUMMY food

My beautiful sister and I

All the fun gifts

On Sunday morning, my mother in law headed out bright and early on a girl's trip to Mexico so we took Steve's dad out to breakfast at Corner Bakery, which was super yummy! We don't have a Corner Bakery in our neck of the woods so it's always nice to visit some place we don't typically get to go. Then headed to my parent's house to have a Father's Day lunch with my Dad. We stuffed ourselves AGAIN with smoked brisket, beans, coleslaw, baked potatoes and homemade key lime pie! My Dad's favorite!

Gracyn had a tough time napping on Sunday because her teeth were hurting her, so my Dad was kind enough to run and pick her up some orajel. Thanks Papa! She slept like an angel after that. Then before we knew it, it was 5 o'clock and time to head south again. Luckily there was not much traffic on I-35 and we make it home by 7:15 pm. We whisked up some quick supper; ie: cereal and had everyone in jammies and in bed/crib by 8:15. Whew, what a whirlwind!

Since it IS Menu Monday, here's the recipe for one of the appetizers we served at the shower! I've made them several times and they're always gobbled right up! Enjoy

Sun-Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Appetizers

1 can Pillsbury Golden Layers Buttermilk Biscuits
1/2 C. Mayo
2 oz. Goat Cheese, crumbled
1/4 C. Oil Packed Sun-dried Tomatoes, chopped and well drained
1 t. Dried Onion Flakes
1 t. Pesto Seasoning, dried
1 T. Parmesan Cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Separate dough into 10 biscuits, then separate each into an even 2 layers, making a total of 20 rounds. Press into Pam sprayed mini muffin tin.

In a small bowl, mix mayo, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, onion flakes, and pesto seasoning. Spoon 1 1/2 t. into each dough lined cup. Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese and bake for 10-16 minutes, till golden. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Baracudas & B.B.Q

Monday night we were invited to our FIRST EVER arena foodball game! The Dominguez family had tickets to see the Cen-Tex Baracudas and invited us to come along! After meeting up at Clem Mikeska's for some B.B.Q. we headed over to the Expo center for some arena action. Can I just say that arena football is my new favorite sport!! It's fast paced, almost NO time-outs, hardly any penalty calls, AND is usually accompanied by some CrAzY announcer who roams around the stands calling plays and getting people to stand up and dance the macarena (or is that just here in Bell County?)
Anyhoo, the boys loved it and so did the parents! Jonathan broke it down for us during the intermissions (the kid's got rhythm) while Cade and Benjamin played back up with the hand clapping! We had so much fun that by half-time everyone under 4 foot was worn out, and we all headed home to hit the hay! On the way home, Cade announced more than 3X that "it was so much FUN" and that he "wuuuuved the Baracudas!" Thanks for thinking of us Dominguez Family, we look forward to terrorizing the world of arena football with you again soon!!!

Our Cheering Section

Outside the arena...Benjamin lookin' cute, my kid showing
off his farmer's tan!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Menu Mondays

In true Becky form, I'm not going to start my "Menu Mondays" with a dinner how! There is plenty of time for those. Now a COOKIE recipe on the other hand....OH YEAH!!!!!!!!!!
Our current favorite cookie to make and most importantly EAT is called The Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie. Okay kids, you and I both know that any cookie recipe that starts with "the" has got to be good. I mean it's like a title for the actual cookie for heavens sakes! And boy oh boy, do these babies deserve to be recognized...this recipe only makes 12, that's correct ONE DOZEN cookies because you must use an ice cream scoop of dough per cookie! Do I look like I'm joking people? TWELVE, that's it!

You know what they say, "Everything's bigger in Texas" including our family's favorite chocolate peanut butter chip cookies! Now let's get started:

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

2 Sticks UNSALTED Butter, COLD & cubed

1 1/4 C. Sugar

2 Eggs

1/2 C. Quality Dark Cocoa Powder (Dutch)

2 1/2 C. All Purpose Flour, scant-that means easy people don't pack the stuff in!!!

1 t. Vanilla

1/4 t. Kosher Salt

1 t. Baking Powder

1 C. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1 Bag, Reeses Peanut Butter Chips

* 1/4 t. Baking Soda, maybe-- See IMPORTANT NOTE below

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheet pans with parchment paper. Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer until fluffy, now this will take awhile as the butter should be cold when you begin. So sit back grab a cup of milk and don't get antsy! It should lose it's grainy consistency before moving on. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well incorporated, then beat in vanilla & cocoa powder. Mix in flour, salt, and baking powder. Gently fold in remaining ingredients: 1 C. chocolate chips & one full bag of Reeses Peanut Butter Chips. Transfer dough to work surface and gently mix by hand to make sure even distribution of chips. Divide dough into 12, 4 oz. portions - roughly an ice cream scoop per cookie. Make sure you put only 6 cookies per cookie sheet and don't worry about them running because they won't! Bake for 16-18 minutes at 375 (depending on how raw'ish you like'em) We find that 17 minutes is about right for a set center, but still chewy! Allow to cool on parchment and store in air tight container. To refresh them simply nuke for 10 seconds and they are "out of the oven" warm and melty again!

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you don't live in a thriving metropolis like us and don't have regular access to William Sonoma (oh be still my heart) then you can substitute good 'ole Hershey's Cocoa for the Dutch Cocoa. Use the same amount, 1/2 C. Hershey's Cocoa, but you MUST ALSO ADD 1/4 t. Baking Soda to the dry ingredients in order for the cookies to turn out correctly.

Once they are cooled, pour yourself another glass of milk tell the kids that they're NOT quite cool enough yet, so they'll run off and play some more! Proceed by grabbing yourself the biggest, chocolaty, peanut butter chippiest cookie on the rack. Then bite...faint...bite again & faint!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

This weekend we celebrated our SEVEN year anniversary! Lucky #7. Looking back it doesn't seem like we've been married for seven seems like more, but not in a bad way, because HOW could we possibly have squeezed all that fun into just 7 years? Let's just get down to the nitty gritty here. We dated for 5 years before we married so we've been a BIG part of one another's lives for a whopping total of 12 years! When you put it like that, its kinda amazing...and to be quite frank there is not one single person who I'd rather have spent more of my time with than Steve.

So here's some things about us in 7's:

Seven places we've travelled:

1- Napa Valley

2- Cancun

3- Oahu, Maui & Kauai

4- Germany

5- France

6- Ixtapa

7- Italy

Seven T.V. Shows we both like:

1- C.S.I. Las Vegas

2- Without a Trace

3- Cold Case

4- Dancing with the Stars

5- Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives on Food Network

6- Everybody Loves Raymond

7- Seinfeld

Seven things we've accomplished as a couple:

1- Backpacked overseas together for 1 month & came home STILL on speaking terms

2- Biked Mt. Haleakala, 22 miles

3- Hiked to the top of Diamond Head, Oahu

4- Had our sweet Cade

5- Walked the beaches of Normandy

6- Purchased 2 homes together

7- Had our sweet Gracyn

Seven things we like to do in our spare time:

1- House Projects

2- Bake together

3- Go to the movies

4- Shop

5- Nap :)

6- Wait a minute...we have spare time???

7- Watch Throwdown with Bobby Flay

Seven Ways God has blessed us:

1- Awesome Families

2- Amazing Friends

3- Jobs we like

4- Healthy and Happy Kids

5- A safe 4 year Army tenure

6- A church that feels like a home

7- Finding each other

Seven of my favorite things about Steve:
#1 I love the way he seeks to know more about Christ and the Bible and challenges me to do the same
#2 I love how optimistic he is, Steve always, always, always sees the good in everyone and in every situation
#3 I love the way he does voice impressions that make me laugh till I cry...seriously hysterical!
#4 I love the way he gets excited when I think of yet another home project for him to work on

#5 I love the way he lets me do all the planning for our trips AND make out an itinerary :)

#6 I love how he always asks me where I want to go eat instead of picking himself, he is so good at putting me first

#7 I love how he provides and works so hard for his family & how he can rough house with Cade and yet be so tender with Gracyn...there are so many more things that I could list here about the man I love but suffice it to say that he is still, after 12 years my favorite person to be with and my best friend. My favorite part of the day is when I hear that garage door at 5:30 pm and then hear my son say "Mommy, Daddy's home!"

This year he planned an awesome night out for us at a restaurant called Cheeves. My sister and her fiance were down this weekend for a wedding that he was participating in and volunteered to watch the kiddos for us so we were footloose and fancy free for the night! WOO-HOO Thanks Manda & Cody!! When they seated us guess what was waiting for me at our table? A HUGE bouquet of roses that he had sent to the restaurant! Yes, at that moment I think every guy in the restaurant hated him and every girl wanted those beautiful roses at her was so very sweet. We feasted on a cajun crawfish appetizer, lobster bisque & french onion soup, steaks and creamed spinach. We were so stuffed that we ordered their cheesecake romanoff to go! It was fun to sit down and rehash the evening with Amanda and Cody over that delicious dessert. Thanks for a wonderful evening baby and I am looking forward to 7 X 7 more years together! I can't imagine what the good Lord has in store for us in the future, but I can't wait to continue the journey with you by my side!

Enjoying Texas Land & Cattle, March 1999

Nine Years Later at Cheeves, June 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008

FUN Friday

Drum roll ALL of you who voted #1 is CADE and photo #2 is GRACYN. Good job everyone, ya'll sure know my munchkins. Is it not amazing though how much they DO favor one another?!? It looks like the same baby almost, in the first pose he's not smiling and in the second she is.
I decided today that when I write a Friday post I would pick something around my house that I Reeeeeally LOVE, to share!!! Today I decided to share my feet's favorite summer time accessory, besides a pedicure of course, REEF flip flops!

Now I know, I know they ARE more expensive than say of the mill Old Navy flip flops, BUT they are so worth it!!! I too trudged around MANY summers in $5.00 Old Navy thongs for years & years, but my feet were always stiff, sore and worn out after wearing them all day long and honestly girls....who needs that? Reefs on the other hand are super comfy, actually have an arch support and come in black which matches every one's summer wardrobe! I have worn them ALL DAY for several days in a row with no aches and pains what-so-ever people! I'm beginning to realize that in the flip-flops department you get what you pay for! And hey they show off that great pedicure you paid $20 bucks to get! Reefs.....go forth and get ya some before they're all bought up by the zillions of people who read this blog! HA!! May your feet have a merry summer :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

And In The Pink Corner...

Weighing in at 15 lbs. & 13 ozs. at a height of 25 inches is our six month old...Gracyn Avery Alaniz a.k.a. Munchkie! We visited the doctor today for her 6 month check up and she is as healthy as can be and is in the 50th percentile for both weight and height. After receiving a dose of Tylenol, she endured 3 vaccinations and a dose of liquid meds for prevention of rotavirus. Needless to say, she only cried for about 10 seconds until I picked her up off the table and then stopped immediately AND hasn't been out of sorts the rest of the day!! THANK YOU LORD :)

Two words to describe her: joyfully happy! Gracyn is full of pure joy! Seriously...she loves to smile and laugh and is SO content just to "be". She does all the things six month olds do: rolling over everywhere, up on all 4's rocking back and forth, blowing raspberries with her lips, eating new foods, and doing her "happy" scream and yet it's hard to believe six months ago we were meeting her for the first time at the hospital! She actually likes to ride in her carseat and has a smile for everyone she sees...especially her big bro CADE. Her new fave foods include bananas, carrots and squash! Miss Gracyn does tend to be a messy eater though because she likes to suck on her two middle fingers between bites! HA! She falls asleep easily, on her own, in her crib for 3 daytime naps and continues to amaze us with her 12 hour marathon night sleeping. She also switches easily between nursing and taking a bottle from Mommy or Daddy if we are out and about. Gracyn loves to entertain herself on her play mat or chew on toys while roosting in her high chair like a little Queen. I am sure she will pay us back for all this easy stuff the day she turns 16!

My Ouchies!

Don't worry...I'm doin' great!
Now in the BLUE CORNER we have:

At a solid 37.5 pounds he's 100% pure All American, Texas bred, fun-lovin', bug-catchin', Grave Digger drivin', meat and potato eatin', blankie lovin', game playin', baseball hittin', training wheel bike ridin', "wuv you" sayin', picture paintin', apple juice drinkin', plant waterin', dish loadin', car crashin', train conductin', Diego watchin', Lemonade popsicle lickin'...


And we love all these things about him and more .

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The First of Many

Our sweet baby girl spoke her very first words yesterday morning sitting in her high chair! She has been really listening to our voices and watching our mouths A LOT lately and sure enough


materialized yesterday from her precious lips. I found myself a little teary-eyed as I recorded this special moment down in her baby book! Time passes so quickly (can I get an AMEN), and I know that the next time I turn around I will probably be recording her first sentence!!! Oh my heavens, tissue please!! I pray that I will savor these moments, that they would be engraved on my heart to remember for as long as I live...How blessed am I that our Lord would find me capable to care for not one, but now two of his most precious little ones. My cup runneth over...

May I choose daily to use my words to bring HIM glory and honor.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Two Peas in a Pod

Steve and I really think that Cade and Gracyn favor each other quite a bit at this just the LOOKS category because in the personality category they are night and day...and I think the following pictures might sway all of you the same way!

SO, who is who?
Let us hear from you...drop your vote in the comments section and we'll revel the answer on my Friday post!!!

Picture #1

Picture #2

Monday, June 2, 2008

57 Years Young

What a weekend! We actually pulled off a great surprise dinner for Steve's Dad's 57th birthday this year!!! And that is a feat because he is not an easy man to surprise, let me tell you...he always seems to be in the know about everything...

So here's the set up!

We headed to Dallas on Friday morning early to spend the day with Nani and Papa! We played, napped, ate YUMMY I'Fratelli pizza, and visited the day away!

Steve made reservations at Bucca Di Beppo for all of us, but Orlando (Steve's Dad) was only told that Steve's younger brother Phillip and Orlando's parents would be joining them for a birthday we got our crew there early, (A first for us in about 4 years) check in, get to the table and wait. Cade kept running over to the corner to check to see if Grandpop was coming. I told him that when Grandpop came in we were all going to say, "Surprise...Happy Birthday." He promptly informed me that he didn't need everyone to say it, he could say it by himself thank you very much! He reminded me that he was "free and a half" years old and that "free and a half" year olds don't need help saying that. Awh...3 year's the new 2 you know. Anyhow, they arrive just as scheduled and SURPRISE!!! We pulled it off. As you can see he was overjoyed or is that a little overwhelmed...

We spent the rest of the weekend at the Alaniz's home and had a great time swimming, grilling, and hanging out all the Alaniz Crew, Mom & Dad, and Amanda & Cody. Gracyn got to spend LOTS of time with her precious Gigi and Pops (great-grandparents)! She loved every minute of it. Thanks to everyone for making the trip over to see us!

Happy 57th Orlando, we hope you have many many more...AND...we GOTCHA'