Thursday, July 26, 2012

She does NOT do themes!

That's what the eye-roll clearly indicated when Jeff pestered his not-so-baby-girl Emmy about her upcoming birthday, over and over.  How dare he even ask?  God love him, he's so stuck in the middle of an over-the-top girlfriend who ties ribbons around the napkins at every family get-together and has every serving piece on the market, and a daughter who is so simple and easy going, and blushes when all attention is on her.  Boy, have I got work to do!

Emmy's 14th birthday was Saturday, and I was so excited to be there for every minute of her special day!  Big brother picked her up that morning from spending the night at a girlfriends (ok, to be honest around noon....because apparently teenagers can actually sleep that long??) and J and I had this waiting in her room.....

Her old vanity had to go in a major way, and this one was just perfect.  I bedazzled the top just enough, and am crossing my fingers it stays this clean (YEAH right!).  She walked in, and to our delight, loved it!  Score!  She spent the next little while arranging her jewelry, makeup, etc. and then proudly showed us her new set up. 

On to the rest of the day.....I spent every minute of the day, cooking, decorating, and straightening up for our family birthday party that evening.  And it tickled me to no end that I had a teenager by my side the whole time.  New.territory.yall.  And on her birthday.  She helped me chop, and stir, and mix, and bake.  She helped me tie balloons, and hang lanterns, and set tables.  She even just sat at the bar and talked, and I listened...or I'd talk, and she'd listen.  Every day together, with the four of us, is really good now, but Emmy and I have had major walls up, which I completely understand.  It warms my heart to feel her taking those down, and letting me in her precious world.
When party time hits, it hits like a storm every time!  (And I totally snap out of "bonding mode!"  HA!)  It's game time!  Suddenly there are kids jumping on the trampoline, swimming in the pool, climbing up the slide, men on the grill, ladies in the kitchen, shoes, towels, bags, food everywhere.....dogs barking, cows mooing, horses running wild.....ok you get my point.....  And good gravy I wouldn't want it any other way!  In between Jeffrey and Adam manning our sliders on the grill (could they look any more like twins??) I catch a few winks as he passes through the kitchen, and I know I've done good. 

Kids are laughing and playing, appetizers are going down fast, and the birthday girl is on cloud 9.

I keep staring at these pictures of Emily.  I have so many over the past few years.  It's no lie that she would barely look at the camera, and then, hardly smile.  Now I can get her to give me a big teeth-y grin (which is something no one in the family would do).  Jeff will "smile with your teeth" now too, and they both have the most beautiful smiles.  And her eyes, oh my, like her daddy's, are incredible.  

And I dont have to say these things, I'm not her mama, or her daddy, so I only have to compliment when I want to.  I don't even have to blog about this if I'm being honest.  But she is beautiful.  Even if from the sidelines, I am loving watching her blossom into a young lady. 
For dinner Emmy requested burgers.  Of course I tried to kick up it up a notch as best as you can dress up burgers, so we had a bite-size sliders bar, with all the fixins'.  :)  I tried a Pioneer Woman baked bean recipe in my dutch oven Mimi gave me for Christmas, that I'm constantly looking for reasons to cook in, and it was a hit!
Again, could she be any cuter??  And Abigail certainly is crazy about her cousin.

For dessert we had a chocolate fondue bar, with fruits and pretzels and cookies and marshmellows....and Nana's poundcake for dippers!  Definitely the hit of the culinary evening (for kiddos and adults!)  We did have to take it outside though, in order to bribe the kids out of the pool....
After her fill of marshmellow....covered in fondue...dipped in sprinkles.....  she decided on a little cake with chocolate and sprinkles.  DUH!  This was about the time we started singing Happy Birthday, and her shy mode kicked in.
By the end of the night, the guests had gone home, everything was cleaned (sorta), we were all exhausted, and stretched out on deck.  My guys, his clowns, his girl, full bellies, and all smiles.  We make a great team, I have to admit, as crazy and awkward and slow it may seem at times.  I'm grateful for this four-man team we're becoming, because I can feel it becoming more silly and comfortable and normal....and real.

Happy Birthday to Miss Emily Lauren Robinson.  I am so proud of who you are becoming, and everything you stand for.  I love that you are a daddy's girl, the feeling is mutual, and I hope you never grow out of it (so does he).  I never did, and I can tell you he will move mountains for that beautiful teeth-showing smile I love.  I can't wait for our next hangout session, quality time with you is precious.  Even if I like themed parties.  ;)

Now GO PUT A TOWEL ON!  You look like a women, for pete's sake!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Starfish in ATL

Everyone once in a while Jeff will up and decide at the last minute to run away for the weekend.  All pre-planned, organized vacations are courtesy of me, for sure, but his spur-of-the moment trips (though they may leave me flustered and running to The Blue Door for a must-have new dinner dress or two) are simply wonderful.  And sometimes just what we need.

Last Thursday, as we sat at our usual spot at the bar at Bonefish over a bowl of mussels recapping our exhausting weeks (we are such creatures of habits, our orders are placed as we walk sad)....Jeff informs me we will be going to Atlanta for the weekend, and to plan flip flops by day and heels by night. 

I do love that kind of plan!

Friday afternoon we snuck out of work, and dashed up to Atlanta where we checked into the best 5 Star hotel around (at least it gets my vote now!).... the Four Seasons!  I cannot say enough about this place, it was simply beautiful.  And the service was impecible--they waited on us hand and foot!  The executive chef even gave us a private tour of the kitchen and their very own veggie & herb garden and bee hives, after we raved over the brunch Saturday morning!

Jeff had made reservations for each night at places I'd never heard of, but was so excited to try.  I think he picked good ones, though I'm no fine dining expert, but both evenings were incredibly delicious!!  On Friday night, we ate at a wonderful Italian resturant called Veni Vidi Vici. 

I loved that when we walked out each night to either catch a cab or get our car from valet, the employee outside would check us out, ask where we were headed, and say "How about we take the hotel car?"  So we sported around town everywhere in a 5 week old Jaguar!  Apparently, we were looking fly!

**Side note:  Jeff vowed never again to bring his Nissan Titan with big boy tires to the Four Seasons, because between there and the restaurants ALL we saw were BMWs, Mercedes, a Maserati, Porsches, a Ferrari, and even a FISKER (I say that like I knew what it was before J told me....)!

Saturday was all about flip flops and boat shoes.  And the only day I took pictures with my real camera, and not my phone. 
Neither of us had been to the Georgia Aquarium, and with hopes the "initial newness" had worn off some, we ordered tickets online, and headed over.  WRONG.  It was packed, so we were quite thankful we thought ahead, slipped through the will call line, and eased inside amongst the crowd.

It was so nice to walk around the whole place, on no schedule, holding hands with my guy, not worrying about a single to-do list for once.  I just enjoyed the moment.  We walked around each exhibit like kids, with our noses to the glass, having so much fun. 
I love starfish, I think they are beautiful.  One of the things I have always found most fascinating is that they can regenerate an arm if broken off.  They can heal themselves.  I think that's what this trip was, I wasn't broken, but it just felt healing in a way.  Jeff and I can go to the ring with the best of them, and there's never been a time we didn't make up, but it's by far our biggest weakness---our stubbornness.  Neither of us like to admit the other could be right, or just "right-er" sometimes, and lose control of a conversation.  I know all of my friends are totally nodding their heads about my personality!  Well you throw this Italian drama queen in with a Southern-raised man 'o the house, and if you stick around long enough....  you'll see a good show! 

But if you do hang around, you'll also see more love than I ever thought possible in my life.  You'll see him look at me across the room as if no one else is there, and make me blush.  You'll see him reach out his hand as I walk by his chair passing through rooms, just to have our hands graze one another.  You'll see him in the kitchen with me, every single time, to wash each dish as it lands in the sink.  You'll see him steal a kiss, and then hug his not-so-baby "baby gurl" and throw a wink my way knowing he can love us both, and in the same room together, both his girls, happy, love him back. 

The best part is that for all those things that can be seen, so many more can only be felt.  As always, there is room to grow, and I know our relationship is getting better each year.  There are moments when all I can think of is a calendar, or my ovaries, or my family, or home renovations, to be honest.  :)  But then I have days or weekends like this, when I am reminded just how simple and nice it is to feel loved. 

This is prior to "our driver" taking us to Bones for dinner.
Anyway, I suppose I wasn't expecting to say all that, but yall know me, and it's my blog.  And my point is, I guess this weekend was like a starfish kind of weekend.  We regenerated, at least I did.  Though I do like a high-heel date night, Jeff certainly knows this is not what is ever needed to make me happy, and it's not something we do often either.  We could've gone to the butterfly garden at Callaway--it was this alone time, holding hands, regenerating....rejuvenating.....that reminds me in the midst of my scheduling, and planning, and toe-tapping, I am just plain ol' in love.  Always have been. 

We came home on Sunday and in the fields of Jeff's farm are blooming acres of these sunflowers.  It was such a peaceful and welcome homecoming. 

It was an amazing weekend, to be spoiled rotten by my guy.  I won't lie for a minute about that!  But I know I'm high cotton when I can go from the Four Seasons in a Jaguar sipping martinis to riding a Kubota through a sunflower field with a cooler of beer on the back.....and still be told I'm beautiful.  Just like that starfish.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July Lake Days

The 4th of July week was spent skipping out on work and spending lazy days on the lake as much as possible! 

 My sweet friend Lauren and I packed up one afternoon, willing the sun to come out, and headed out to Lake Harding, to spend the evening watching the fireworks with the Warners.
Chrissie, Lauren, and I being escorted by her husband the captain toward the fireworks!

The Warner munchkins were there too, which I can never get enough of, and kept us entertained the whole time....clearly....  :)

That weekend I headed to the Atlanta airport to pick my sister up who was flying in from California.  She's such a world traveler, and had been visiting a friend for two weeks, ahhh...what a life!  We had such fun having a little girl talk on the way to Oxford to spend the weekend with the 'rents, I can't get enough of this chick.

Saturday was spend motorboatin' with Capt'n Daddy and Mama on the pontoon on Logan Martin, having an absolutely lazy and perfect day.

 I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate America than with my family, friends, good food, drinks, and this amazing sunset all week!

Friday, July 20, 2012

June Showers - Part 2!

The last weekend in June I had the honor of helping to celebrate one of my best friends Casey, who is about to have a sweet baby boy Charlie in September!!  Casey has prayed for this blessing, and other than being the dad-gum cutest mother on earth, she will no doubt be one of the best too!  I cannot wait to meet this little man (that we FINALLY named!!).  :)

We had the shower at Leah's super cute home in Homewood, the best food from Ashley Mac's catered, and some yummy beverages (for the preggers, and non-preggers in the crowd :). 

Casey's friends and family filled the house, until I didn't think we could get one more in there, showing her just how much she, Blake, and little Charlie are loved to pieces!  And I couldn't agree more!

Casey, I cannot wait to meet your little man (LL, hehe) and for you to become a little mama!  Charlie has no idea how blessed he is already!  Love you, friend!

Monday, July 16, 2012

June Showers - Part 1

One of my dearest friends in Columbus, Brandi, is having a baby girl in September.  This has been a long road for her and her husband Capp, and I cannot think of two more deserving people for Baby Parker to be blessed with as parents. 

Along with a handful of other friends here, they have seen me through the lowest points of my adult life, and have made me smile and given me such encouragement.   Along with Lisa and Aimee, Capp and Brandi rushed to my side to even help me finish painting my old house so I could have it in tip top shape in order to sell it, when I needed to close an old chapter.  They have made me laugh and given me some of the funniest, and most memorable moments here as well, and I cherish so many fun times with them. 
So when the Lord finally decided, in His own time (doesn't it always work that way?), that these wonderful people will be parents again, I was so honored to host a couples shower with some wonderful friends to celebrate Baby Parker and her super cool parents!  Big brother Cale has been spoiled on his own long enough, time to make room for the Hetts-Party of Four!
We hosted the party on a Saturday evening at Amy Norris' family farm in the most beautiful cabin, lakeside.  The weather, food, drinks, and friends could not have been more perfect.
Oh, the dreaded pom-poms....but we made them work!!

 I love all these onesies Hadley made for Parker!  I wonder how many she'll go through in a day!?
This signature drink was definitely a party hit!

I'd say we were all smiles to be surrounded by this glowing mother-to-be, and so honored to be her friend.  I know I'm definitely a better person for it.  Brandi, I am so happy for you, and cannot wait to meet this sweet baby in a few short weeks!!  Love you, friend!

Tori's Wish!

Some wish kids just melt your heart.  Well that's not true, they all do.  But some just have these big smiles, and give such innocent hugs, and have amazing families, that truly become a part of your own lives.  And you just know you will be friends with them long after your "Make-A-Wish" duties are done.  The Svensons are one of those families.

Tori is a diva, there's no question about that.  She's got all the sass and hip-popping and eye-batting for the making of a true beauty queen.  In fact, she was, and is still, in all the beauty pageants across Georgia she can enter (sans the crazy pageant mom).  Actually, she was in a pageant raising money for her friend Maddie who had a brain tumor.....the very day her doctor called her parents and diagnosed her with medullablastoma, a very rare brain tumor she ironically had herself.  That was a year ago in April.  She's had surgery, radiation, and now 10 months of chemotherapy. 

All while still popping that hip, and giving her best smile.  :)

When I met Tori, she was positively sure what her wish was.  While watching her favorite Disney show, a new commercial had come on, describing this amazing Disney Resort called Aulani in Hawaii.  And she just had to go!  She wanted to see the lazy river, and the dolphins, and the palm trees, and maybe even catch a glimpse of Mickey!

So we scheduled a luau in her honor to send her off in style, and to announce to this sweet baby girl that her wish had been granted!

Jeff's house made the perfect location for a poolside luau, he's even got palm trees by the pool!  (We kind of disregarded the farmlife just over the fence :)  Actually, when Tori and her big brother Hunter discovered the Kubota, they took off in the field for an hour to torture the cows!  HA!

Jeff and Tori's dad Todd manned the grill, and our amazing Hawaiin-style feast (and hotdogs), while us girls enjoys our sun and margaritas.

Tori left the following weekend on her adventure, and I was so thankful for the pictures Tori's mom posted along their way!   Here's Tori on her way to the ATL airport!  Could she be any cuter??

Whoops!  After their first full day on the island....looks like the Hawaii sun got the best of them!  Penny promised it wasnt as bad as it looked....I dont know about that?!

And in true Disney wish-granting fashion, this sweet angel did get a dance with her Mickey Mouse, as well as some loving from other characters too!

When they returned home from their amazing trip, Tori and Penny had to hang back in Atlanta for the next week at Egleston for what was a very grueling LAST round of chemo ever.  When we they returned to Columbus, we wanted to make sure everyone in town knew it too!  Around the hospital, she had adopted the phrase "No Mo' Chemo, Tori!" and so friends and family made a couple of banners for her yard to welcome her..... Of course Jeff being in the contruction business (and not so much in the painting poster business) decided on this instead.  :)  I don't think they could miss it considering it's 20ft by should've seen it at night, NO ONE was sleeping with this thing light up!