Saturday, September 21, 2013

That's-a-some Sadie Hawkins

And this would be Tony....

owner of Tony's world famous restaurant and pizzeria,

where you need to book reservations months in advance,

or like Lucy and her Sadie's date, slip Tony a little cash-o-la

and a table for two might just open up.

Junior waiter Figaro will show you to your seats.

Because when you're here, you're family.


With Italian opera playing in the background,
goblets of vintage grape juice on the table,
and made-to-order pizzas cooking in Lyle's outdoor oven,
this bring-your-date-home-for-dinner tradition

is nothing short of delizioso!

A toast of "buona salute" to Sadie Hawkins!  

(Tony shaved to eat-a-some pizza.)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Our Elder is heading to......

A great big city.

The 4th largest in the United States after New York, LA, and Chicago.

A place known for foods our son adores: barbecue

and Mexican. 

It's known for sunsets

and spaceships.


and agriculture.

It's an international city where over 20% of its citizens are foreign born,

and where some of the natives are.....


It's a state with undoubtedly more pride that any other state in the union,

assuming of course, that they decide to remain with the union.

Because it's a place that, like our son,
does not like to be messed with.

And so it seems perfect.

Ever since he read his call on Saturday evening, we couldn't imagine him serving anywhere else but the Texas, Houston Mission.

We're thrilled and so very proud.
(Almost as proud as Texans.)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Blessed Day for Cholita

The eighth birthday is a special one in the LDS church.  We believe that a child needs to be old enough to make the decision to be baptized and by age 8, they've reached the "age of accountability".  With each of my children, I've seen firsthand the truth and inspiration behind that doctrine.  At age 8, they just seem ready.

Cholita had been so excited for her special day.  She was wearing the same dress her older sisters had worn at their baptism.  Mr. XiXi was pretty excited for this day as well.

Cholita was happy to have some cousins in attendance.  We'll be attending this cousin's baptism next week!

Cholita decided on the program.  Her older brother and sister did a musical number, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing", she had dear friends give the closing prayer and a talk on the Holy Ghost, and asked XiXi to give the opening prayer and Rose to give the talk on baptism.  Rose wrote her talk herself and was practicing out in the hall before we started.  She did great and XiXi gave a sweet prayer asking that his sister "feel good about herself."

Cholita was baptized by her father. 

She was nervous right before, but after she came out of the water, dripping wet, she said, 
"I feel cold, but I feel so good!"

She changed into a beautiful "fancy" white dress afterward to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

It was especially wonderful that her older brother could participate in that ordinance. 

We so love this girl and pray that she'll always remember this day and how good she felt with her decision.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Two big kids, two little chicks

When Lyle asked XiXi the other day if he wanted to go with him to pick up chicks, I was grateful to know he was using the term very literally.  Baby chickens.

We started a couple of years ago with 8 chicks.  In our front room.  That was fun.  Then they were moved to a lighted box in the garage and somehow, one was stolen from the garage by some crafty animal and then we were down to 7.  Those 7 have served us well, but we've now had one more die of seemingly natural causes and another go missing.  And I didn't know this previously, but chickens don't lay eggs forever, so this is a long way of saying that there was a reason Lyle and XiXi, chick magnets that they are, needed to replenish our stock.

Our 7 new babies are: Baldy, Sandy, Blossom, Missy, Clarkson, a name I can't remember, and Agnes.  They're all new breeds to us--Auracana, Black Sex-linked, New Hampshire Red, and something else I can't remember, but I know it's a white breed.  It's one of those mornings.

But they're cute, I do know that.

And so are my big kids, who I don't take pictures of nearly enough.  As I look at my two oldest, I'm reminded of when Lucy was born and the doctor held her up for me to see.  My very first thought was, and I believe I even said it, "Didn't I already have that baby?"  Their newborn pictures are nearly identical.   When her big brother held her for the first time, he gave her a chubby toddler squeeze and said with great passion, "Oh, I've loved you from the day you were born."  And yes, he said that on the day she was born.

But I digress.  I was talking about chickens.  

Chickens who grow up and fly the coop even faster than kids.

But not much faster.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A New Chapter

This photo signifies a lot.  
For nineteen years+ I've had one child at home during at least half of the school day.
I've loved it, but it feels like it's time.
Today, our little Yi Man boarded a bus for a full day of first grade.
If he was apprehensive about it, he sure didn't show it.
He's been eagerly awaiting this day.
And I think I have too.
Still deciding.

My high-schooler headed to early-morning seminary before the camera ever made it off the shelf, 
but I was more than ready to capture my 7th grader on her first day.
In typical middle schooler fashion, she wasn't thrilled with my photo-taking, 
but looked adorable none-the-less.

These two were so darn cute.
Cholita helped XiXi get his backpack all zipped and gave him lots of advice and 
words of encouragement. 

Not that he necessarily needed it.  He was ready to roll.

XiXi really wanted a Monster University t-shirt for his first day, but despite our valiant quest, we couldn't find one in his size.  He opted instead for this "Dark" Vader t-shirt.  He's never even seen the movie, but I think the fact that Vader is out trick or treating sold him on it.  
That and the especially important consideration for XiXi--
it has a stretchy neck and could easily fit over his head.

Because of district boundary changes, this was Cholita's first day at a new school too.  I will very much miss the uniforms she wore at the last school, but she's loving her fashion independence.

First grade and second grade, with classrooms right across the hall from each other. 
I love that they're at the same school together again, and they do too.

It was a rainy morning at the bus stop, but it didn't dampen their enthusiasm.

And just to keep me on my toes, lest I relax too much with the new schedule,
the 11th grader called and asked if I could drop off the summer homework she'd left in the printer.
It may be a new chapter, but yep, I'm still needed.

And speaking of new chapters, our oldest, Bruder, has turned in his paperwork to serve a mission for the LDS church.  His call should be coming any day now.  We have no idea where in the world he'll serve, but we're so proud of his decision to dedicate 2 years to the Lord.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Eight is Great!

But seriously, Cholita eight?
Wasn't she a toddler like last month?

For her birthday dinner, she asked if we could eat at Red Robin.  
We thought about it, but with a family of 7, that's rather pricey. 
I asked her if we could create our own Red Robin at home?  
She seemed reluctant so I promised her that we'd do great burgers. 
We'd put up little tables in our backyard like a restaurant.   
I could even be the waitress.  
As I pried a bit more, I learned that what she really wanted at Red Robin 
wasn't the food or the ambiance or the wait staff, what she really wanted was to use the quarters she'd been saving to do the claw machine in the little Red Robin arcade in the waiting area.  
Ahh, mystery solved.

Well, it just so happened that a friend of ours from church, and one of Cholita's all-time favorite people, wanted to take her out for her birthday today and when she heard about Cholita's birthday wish, she was kind enough to take her to the Red Robin arcade to burn through some quarters.

Having done that, Cholita was quite excited about our home-version of Red Robin. 

Lyle was the cook and I was the hostess and the waitress (we're a bit short-handed). 
I showed Cholita and XiXi to a table for two and another rather rowdy party to their table for three.  
On our menu, we had several burgers to choose from: 
the Banzai Burger with pineapple and special sauce, the Bleu Ribbon Burger with bleu cheese and fried onion strings, the Royal Robin Burger, and the Keep it Simple Burger.  
All of the meals came with an appetizer of onion rings with dipping sauce and strawberry milkshakes.

Even with just 2 tables, I was hoppin'.
Thankfully this table was very patient.

This table, not so much.
Lyle ran between the grill and the kitchen, busy keeping everyone's order straight.

You may not know that Red Robin is now offering corn on the cob, but in this particular location, in the beginning of September, every meal must feature corn on the cob.

Still stuffed from our Red Robin feast, we decided to wait on cake and get to the present-opening.  Cholita's big sister, Lucy, worked so hard making clothes for Cholita's doll Rosalie.
I was so very impressed.  There were jackets she'd made out of old jeans, coats, dresses, three pairs of shoes, scarves.... 

.....and she even knitted her a sweater!
Rosalie made out like a bandit.

A big hug for big sister was definitely in order. 

And hugs for everybody else too.  
XiXi used his very own money ($2.25) to buy her some ballon rockets, Rose bought her a notebook and lotions and candy, Bruder got her a pocket knife of her very own (it's been on her list for a LONG time), and Mom and Dad gave her another item from her list: a Snow White dress. 
Is it just me, or does it strike anyone else as a great combination on a girl's wish list: 
princess dress and potential weapon?
It really sums up Cholita quite well.

With Snow White now in the room,
Bruder took on the role of the old hag tempting the lovely princess with a poisoned apple.
Wisely, Snow White said she wasn't in the mood for fruit,

and opted for the birthday cake instead.

Good call.
We love you sweet and sassy 8 year-old!