Monday, April 26, 2010

the great outdoors

When I say that our sidewalk project took months (MONTHS), I'm not lying. It was ongoing for the majority of our marriage. When I bought the house, the path off the back of the porch was paved with red flagstones, a weird rectangle of smaller grey concrete rectangles, more flagstones, and weeds. I hated this area. Didn't like the weeds. Didn't like the materials. Didn't like that it was HUGE.

Besides the shear amount of work I knew this project would be, it was delayed because I waffled on what I wanted in the flagstones' place. Hubby found great, grey, brick-sized pavers that I thought would go well with the house. And they were on sale. Woohoo!

Hubby dug out all the stones. We decided where we wanted the new path to be (helping us extend the garden and the lawn a little bit). And then the weather got bad. It rained. It was cold. It rained some more. This lasted for months. MONTHS. It slowly made me insane as we park the cars near this entrance to the porch. The entrance that was a giant mud pit. Hubby, trying to calm my insanity, tossed a few makeshift stepping stones down so that I wouldn't have to tightrope walk down the wooden edging to get to my car. You know, when wearing heels, dressed for work, and slightly off-balance with luggage.

So, praise tiny baby Jesus. Winter finally ended here and we were able to move forward. This was the first paving project for both of us. It was a lot. Of. Work. Moving dirt, leveling, creating edging, leveling, putting down weedcloth, tons of gravel, leveling, sand, leveling, bricks, leveling, more sand. Holy moly. So much prep work and everyone knows that's the least fun part of any project. I have to tell you, though, that making any progress on this project was thrilling. Even the layer of gravel was a huge improvement.



Turns out that some contractor bought out all the grey pavers that we had wanted to use. From all the local stores... So we ended up having to mix red and grey. At first I was disappointed because I hated that red flagstone so much. I think I just wanted nothing to be similar to it. After I started laying the pavers, though, I decided it looks better than it would have if it were all grey. I couldn't be happier with how this turned out. Sometimes we walk on it because it's there. We're not even going anywhere. It's like a stationary sidewalk. A stationary sidewalk of JOY.


Sigh... I lurve it. And it was a project we did together. And both of us survived! With our extra garden space, I've planted some peas and squash in addition to our 3 varieties of tomatoes, strawberries, and 2 kinds of peppers. The watermelon and cantaloupe are on the opposite side of the walk.


Those are pea teepees! And here are our tomatoes--heirloom, cherry, and just plain ol' tomatoes. All of them are producing!




We've done a lot of work in the beds lately. I've given up on a few plants just being dormant. The multiple freezes we had this winter killed a few things. Now only living things are in the ground and the few plants that haven't started blooming are on the verge. The lantana? No one told it that it almost didn't make it. It's happy as a clam.


I heart spring.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

i'm a model

So Hubby wanted to take some pics a few weeks back so that he could put one on a personal business card. I got to play photographer. This is his running-for-political-office shot.


And this is generally what things look like around here. That dog lurves her daddy.


See? She even smiles for the camera.


If only we could have found a baby or an old person for Hubby to pose with...

Maggie poses ok with me, too. And then tries to give kisses.


She's a good dog. I think we'll keep her.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

wedding wednesday: formal portraits

asfter the ceremony, we greeted a few guests before heading outside for some formal portraits. I was so happy that Hubby's grandmother could make the trip to the wedding. She turned 99 in January!


And some old friends I hadn't seen in too long. Even though they've both been married for years, I still yelled out their maiden name when I saw them. Aww, just looking at this picture makes me a little emotional. I wish I could have visited more with these lovely ladies during the reception. Stretched too thin...


Some traditional formals with his family and mine.



And a few more shots with our bridal party. This time we could mix the ladies with the men. I love this first one. Our photographer had always wanted to get a shot with the guys holding the bouquets and the ladies wearing their ties. Fun!


There are two similar shots like this one but I like this one in particular because the Best Man (back left) has his sneaky smirk going on. And one groomsman (back right) and his wife just had their first baby last week! A super cute little boy.


All my girls look so entertained in this one. Hubby doesn't look like he knows what to do with all those ladies at once. He's so cute.


And, finally, we got a little alone time as a couple. You know, in front of the camera. My now trademark hip pop pose.



The candid shot that preceded the posed shot. I like this one better. It's the one I enlarged, framed, and hung in our stairs.


And then we were off to the reception!


I'm not sure what's next. Maybe reception details and DIY projects in action.
(All pics courtesy of Monique Montoya.)

Monday, April 12, 2010

life list: see professional tennis live

I'm pretty sure that everyone has things they would like to do in life. Things they want to accomplish or see or experience. I feel fairly strongly that people should write these things down. 1) A list helps you keep track of these items and brings them to the forefront of your mind. 2) Doesn't everyone like to cross things off lists? No? Is that just me? 3) It seemed like as soon as I made my list, I got some pretty incredible opportunities to mark things off of it. And 4), if you make your list public, odds are you have some pretty nice folks around you who will try to make things happen for you.

So last Friday, my SIL, The Brother, Hubby, and I went to see professional tennis live. Turns out that sometimes the pros actually come to our city. SIL found out about it and got us tickets. We saw one doubles and one singles match. Let me tell you, these folks can hit some balls. It was impressive. I'd totally go see it again.




Who are these people? Semi-finalists at the US Men's Clay Court Championship. Doubles were second-ranked Bob & Mike Bryan (USA). The defeated Nathan Healey (AUS) & Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) in two sets. The Bryans went on to win the tournament. Singles were newcomer Horacio Zeballos (ARG) who defeated #11 in the world Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) also in two sets.

Clay is a fun surface. You can actually see evidence of where the ball hit and folks can slide on it pretty easily. And you're pretty close to the action in tennis even if you were to have the worst seat in the house (which we did not). Overall, it was a fun night and concluded our sports week which started out with Opening Day 2010. Too bad the Astros can't win...


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

wedding wednesday: rings and kisses

You know, there were moments when the actual person who married us spoke. I've kind of missed all that here in the recaps. I can't remember if I mentioned it during the planning, but figuring out who would marry us was oddly easy for two people who didn't have a close personal relationship with a religious figure. When we were dating, we took a one-day marriage prep class. It wasn't taught from a religious perspective or through a church but it turned out that the male half of the couple who led it was actually a minister. We figured who better to perform the ceremony. Turns out, he's married lots of folks. He did a fantastic job with the ceremony and with being flexible enough to allow us our own vows and readings. Plus, he's tall! Makes for good pictures and no need for a stage.


When it was time for the rings, there were no accidents. No one dropped anything or put one on the wrong finger. As I mentioned before, I chose to wear my mother's rings. I don't know about you, but it seems like kids see a lot of their parents' hands. Her rings were always there even after my dad died. It's nice to look at my hand and be reminded of her every time.


The Hubby had a hard time finding a ring he liked. He wanted something that went with mine, was fairly traditional, but was unique. It's white gold like mine and is the same width as my two together. It has a brushed finish and instead of being flat or convex like most men's rings, his is concave. He'll tell you "like a hubcap." I just like how it looks on his finger.


Since we're talking rings, I'll jump ahead and show you a few shots taken at the reception. It's this kind of attention to detail that makes me love today's wedding photography.



So that was pretty much it for the ceremony. We were pronounced husband and wife (which resulted in one of my favorite shots of the day and reason enough to have a second shooter).


We were allowed to kiss (twice actually--first was too short for me) and were on our way.



How cute is our smiley minister up there? As for the recessional? One of the best songs ever from the artist we centered our honeymoon dates around.

This one of me is why you should genuinely like your photographer. She's like just another guest I'm happy to see. You know, the wedding guest who gives you the best photos ever.








I don't know about you, but I think everyone looked MUCH happier on their way back down the aisle. Up next? A few post-ceremony portraits.

(All pics by Monique Montoya.)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

happy easter

It's been a bit crazier around here the last few days. The amount of dogs who normally reside here has tripled. This is Tessa:


And her sister, Daisy:

Both of them are Maggie's doggie aunts.

And just because I'm so proud, I'm going to show you that the ranunculus are still blooming. In my yard. In Texas.

Happy Easter, everybody.