After last year’s bummer of a birthday, I made sure I did some fun celebrating this year!

October started with National Donut Day, so you can bet we took advantage of that!  The boys and I went out for my favorite agnelotti at the Grille at Leon Springs and then froyo at UMix.

IMG_20161001_112200

PA113822

DSC_0024

Then Myk and I got away for a weekend!  On our first glamping trip, we were treated to most of the comforts of home, plus camp fires and amazing breakfasts at The Texas Bell Glampsite.  We decorated the space in pink lawn flamingos.  We spent time eating well, drinking amazing mixed drinks.  And we trekked to Fredericksburg for a hike up Enchanted Rock and a stop at Lone Star Candy Bar for fudge.

PA133848

PA143872

PA143906

PA143937

PA143942

PA143954

D3X_6828

D3X_6890

Then the boys and I enjoyed a birthday cake.  And took advantage of a Monday off from school.  A tour through Natural Bridge Caverns, the ropes course, and my first zipline!  Plus dinner with my parents at California Pizza Kitchen.  A fantastic way to round off all the fun!!!

IMG_20161016_204726

PA173989

PA174032

PA174067

PA174112

Comments 1 Comment »

The new school year started with a bang!  Both boys happy to ride their bikes to school.  Both having friends in their classes.

D3X_4544

I got to enjoy an afternoon with friends Emily and Lindsey at Allison’s baby shower.

IMG_20160820_202106

We got ten new baby chicks!

D3X_4754

We enjoyed an evening at the Kendall County Fair carnival.  And the boys won BIG in the photo competition!  Between them, there were two 2nd place ribbons, at least eight 1st place ribbons.  And Ben won a BEST OF SHOW!!!

P9043580

D3X_5000

We spent Labor Day with my mom… a long, hilly 10+ mile bike ride all along the Missions trail.

P9053630

Ben participated in his first 5K.  Finished in under 40 minutes… and immediately asked when he could do another one!

P9103646

P9103650

Evan and I joined my parents at Garner for a weekend.  Gorgeous weather and water.  Good food.  And their cute pups.

P9173689

P9173702

P9183757

I got Mom and friends Gary and Nancy to join me for The Mavericks concert.  Five hours of standing, but lots of singing and dancing.  Definitely one of my top five concerts!

IMG_20160924_012236

Lindsey and I took Allison out for pedicures, to pretty up her toes before the baby arrived.

P9273786

We enjoyed an evening at Balloonapalooza, getting to watch all of the hot air balloons on display.  And Ben and I got to go up in a tethered balloon!!!

DSC_0034

DSC_0129

P9303807

And then we got to visit brand-new baby Boston in the hospital!

D3X_6656

Comments No Comments »

The boys were gone for almost two weeks, on quite an adventure- Great Sands, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and Palo Duro Canyon!  They had a blast with their dad and grandparents… eating, camping, sight seeing, and photographing the sights!

DSCN7306

13709795_10201935349463401_1609347048794935444_n

DSCN7440

DSCN7739

During that time, I got tons of work done and celebrated From Scratch Farm’s 3rd anniversary with the chickens.  ;)

D3X_3274 SH

As soon as they were home, we were off on a tubing trip with our 4-H poultry group.  A cool trip down the river, rope-swinging, and snacks!

P7293196

IMG_20160729_201512

P7293234

And then it was time for more outings…

Evan was so happy to be back on his bike, we tried out a couple of trails in San Antonio.  The night on the Missions Reach, we had a chick-fil-a picnic dinner at Mission San Jose, rode all over the trails, and then stopped at LuLu’s Cafe for a famous 3-pound cinnamon roll!

IMG_20160730_201854

OI000001_005

IMG_20160730_211719

We got Lincoln to the vet, to learn more about caring for rabbits and what’s in store for us with a bunny in the house.

P8013287

Ben received news of his 4-H summer photo contest results.  From the three entries, he got two blue ribbons and a red!!!

OI000001

We made our last trip to Aquatica and Sea World.  Got in lots of swimming time and our first look at the new dolphin area.

P8033298

P8033303

P8033309

P8033312

We had a day of Menchie’s frozen yogurt and roller skating at The Rollercade.

P8093318

P8093322

Allison, Denise, and I celebrated Shutter-Happy’s 12th anniversary!

D3X_3628

And then we were off on our almost week-long adventure!  First, we stopped off at Henry’s Puffy Tacos, before meeting up with friends for a Missions game.  An exciting and fun game, that ended up in a loss in the two extra innings.  And then beautiful fireworks!

P8133329

P8133338

IMG_20160813_211541

Untitled-2

The next morning we were on the road to South Padre.  Day one, we were able to spend a few hours in the sand.  Day two and three, we got LOTS of beach time!  Jumping waves, building sandcastles, boogie boarding, swimming, searching for crabs, and playing with glow bracelets.  Day four, we got to visit with all of the residents at Sea Turtle, Inc, got to watch a sea turtle release, and hit the beach one last time.  Day five, it was time to pack up, take a quick swim, have an amazing lunch at Kings Inn, and then make it back to Boerne for Meet the Teacher night!  Whew!

P8143343

D3X_4241

P8153407

P8153386

P8163464

P8153395

P8153411

P8163444

P8173512

P8163490

P8153399

D3X_4255

D3X_4300

D3X_4320

P8183534

P8183540

The vacation was relaxing, fun, educational, awe-inspiring, delicious, and exhausting!  There was bonding and silliness!  Blessed to have the company of new friends and amazing weather!  Can’t wait for next year’s trip!!!

Comments No Comments »

We hit the ground running on summer fun even before summer started!

We celebrated Red Nose Day, From Scratch Farm hitting 10,000 followers on instagram, and The Love Letter Library’s The Great Love Drop!

D3X_0227 copy

IMG_20160517_215910

P5292447

Then we joined my parents in Port A for a beach weekend.  Snuggles with the puppies, playing in the sand, jumping waves, swimming in the pool, and eating great food… made for a great road trip.

P5292462

P5292477

P5292487

P5292495

And then we celebrated Evan’s birthday with lots of birthday fun (he already got his own post about all that).  ;)

We enjoyed a morning at Main Event, with two games of bowling (where we all got spares and strikes!!!) and hours at the video games (thanks to a stranger passing an all-day game card to us!).

P6142579

P6142577

P6142584

The boys talked me into keeping one of the bunnies from the Easter portraits.  So we purchased a big cage and toys, began potty-training, and started getting him used to our family and Sophie.  (he has made himself right at home)

D3X_1282

D3X_2710

I got some quick portraits of the boys one night, for Nathan’s Father’s Day gift.

D3X_1542 copy

D3X_1559 copy

We had an amazing, wet, exhausting day at Aquatica.  We rode as many slides as we could.  Evan made us do the lazy river at least eight times.  We got to see the stingrays up close… and touch them!  And Evan jumped plenty of waves in the wave pool.

P6212622

P6212594

P6212605

P6212642

Sophie got to enjoy Take Your Dog to Work Day.

D3X_1823

We explored the Hill Country Science Mill.  All of the great exhibits that we played with last year.  Plus new outdoor stuff and a 3-D computer program.  And like last time, a delicious lunch at the Lady Bird Cafe.

P6292699

OI000001_003

P6292726

IMG_20160629_121537

A little red, white, and blue for the 4th of July!

D3X_2102

IMG_20160704_205640

Outings to Monster Mini Golf and Menchie’s… and lots of bike riding!

IMG_20160706_132430

IMG_20160707_204445

We spent a day spreading love around town.  Evan and I donned our FREE HUGS t-shirts, and then we dropped love letters everywhere.  It was fun to run to market days, the snowcone stand, Sonic, Tractor Supply, walmart, and HEB.  And I hope they were all found by the people that needed them most.

OI000017

OI000008_002

OI000015

Next, I got some portraits of the boys with their pets, for an upcoming Shutter-Happy event.

D3X_2501 copy

D3X_2563 copy

D3X_2610 copy

And then we made a road trip to Austin.  The boys were in heaven at the Texas Military Forces Museum!  They got a handful of pretty incredible pictures.  And I got to listen to Ben spout out SO many facts about weaponry and tanks!  After, we spent the day with Myk, wandering downtown, enjoying pizza, and exploring the capitol.

13641241_10210207002595775_504684503029987249_o

P7122860

P7122881

13613631_10210209451376993_5957334128127933291_o

Next, thing I knew, the boys were heading off on a BIG road trip with Nathan.  So I’ve spent the last week catching up on work, taking care of the yards, and having some fun with friends.

I really enjoyed spending a morning at the Pearl.  I walked around the farmers market and did some window shopping.  Then met up with friends for a delicious lunch at Green.  And then we celebrated National Ice Cream Day at Lick.  Mmmmmh!

OI000001_004

And last night was a blast!  Met up with some fellow instagrammers for SA Current’s big cocktail event.  Lots of loud 80’s music.  Some great food; LOTS of alcohol!  (even liquor-infused cupcakes and ice cream)

IMG_20160723_102216

Have lots of work to do over the next few days.  Then the boys come back… and we’ll be on to celebrating Part Two of summer!!!!!

D3X_0890

D3X_2293

Comments No Comments »

Over the past few months, it’s been a joy to watch old episodes of Garfield & Friends with Evan.  It’s fun to re-watch the cartoons I saw when I was young… and even more fun to listen to his giggles.  So when asked what kind of party he wanted for his birthday, it was no surprise that he wanted it to be Garfield-themed.

I found a vintage Garfield shirt and a stuffed Garfield on Amazon… and got to work.

He also let me know that all he wanted to do on his actual birthday was have a good burger.  Easy!

The morning of his day, I “flocked” the yard with flamingos and whipped up some bacon and our tradition of birthday cake pancakes.  The boys had a few hours to play, and then we headed into San Antonio.  Our first stop was Sam’s Burger Joint.  Three incredible burgers, some fried pickles, and some french fries!  Yum!!!  And then we stopped off at Bird Bakery for their beautiful and delicious cupcakes (lemon, chocolate/strawberry, red velvet, yum, and salted caramel).

D3X_1368

D3X_1358

IMG_20160610_133553

After, the boys spent the weekend with Nathan, at the annual Johnson/LaCrosse family reunion.

But before the weekend could end, we wrapped it up with his party at the lake.  Lots of his favorite people, lasagna made by Nathan, Papa John’s pizza, homemade cupcakes by me, custom Garfield cookies by Kelly’s Kookies, bright sunshine, wonderful breeze, and rockin’ presents…. not sure he could have loved the day more!

D3X_1397

D3X_1431

D3X_1455

A big THANK YOU to everyone for sending wishes, for attending the party, or for gifts!!!  You made his day!

Comments No Comments »

Time flies!  That’s what it comes down to!  So I’m trying to cram as much learning, work, fun, and adventure as I can into the days that I have with my boys.

Before I begin… a random hail photo.  ;)

D3X_6261

First up was the Cardboard Kids unveiling day, to support ChildSafe and raise awareness for child abuse.  The boys and I poured our hearts into transforming our plain pieces of cardboard into Knufflebunny and a soldier.  We put them on display and did our part to post on social media.  It sparked a very difficult talk on how horrible and neglectful people can be.  But it made the project all that more meaningful.

IMG_20160407_083100

Then, as always, we walked the Komen Race for the Cure.  (My 12th time)  We helped to raise money for breast cancer awareness, prevention, and treatment.  Got in our 5k walk (some of it in the rain).  And then headed over to my parents’, to love on their puppies.

P4092066

P4092075

P4092079

P4092089

We decided we wanted to try out the Poteet Strawberry Festival for the first time.  So we snagged Clayton and headed out for lots of rides and food.  I got to see JJ Heller perform.  Ben got to enjoy a bunch of chocolate covered strawberries.  And everyone came home exhausted.

P4102096

P4102129

P4102140

P4102185

To raise money for a few things on the new Fabra campus, the school held their first Walk-a-Thon.  We had beautiful weather.  The kids looked awesome in their fiesta colors.  Evan walked his goal of 30 laps.  The whole day ran smoothly.  And they raised a bunch of money!  Success!!!

D3X_7253_1

I attended my 8th Boerne Education Foundation Gala!  In tow were some usual favorites (Allison, Lindsey, and Emily).  But I also had new friends join our table.  Great food and company!  Raised lots of money!  But disappointed that the entertainment didn’t even get us out on the dance floor.

OI000010

Another project I wanted to get involved in was the FREE HUGS Project.  I let the boys watch some videos.  We talked.  More discussions on the state of the world, bullying, and being kind despite.  And Evan and I donned our shirts for school and an HEB run.  It was fun to see reactions and get some hugs throughout the day.

IMG_20160418_170029

The boys had a Friday off from school.   So we headed to La Grange and Brenham.  We got the official tour of The Jersey Barnyard.  We got to feed the goats, bottle-feed the baby calves, chat with the chickens, and see their milking facilities.  Ben even got to milk a cow!  Then we were off to Blue Bell for ice cream.  Then Buc-ee’s for dinner on the road back home.

P4222238

P4222244

P4222250

P4222264

P4222272

P4222273

Jill then tackled hosting our first-ever 4-H Chicken Fun day.  The kids got to show their chickens and their eggs.  There was a chicken costume contest.  And the kids had an egg race and egg toss.  Our Ms. O won First Place in her breed!  Our eggs won First place in that contest!  And the kids had a blast!

D3X_8309

D3X_8454

D3X_8460_1

D3X_8554

From Scratch Farm had a big week.  We were involved in four giveaways- San Antonio Magazine, The Brunette Farmer, My Day in Texas Ag, and Alamo City Moms Blog!  And we had a full-page feature in the Mother’s Day gift guide in the San Antonio Magazine!!!  So, so excited!

IMG_20160426_205623

In our red, white, and blue, Evan and I went to the polls to vote for the school bond.  We celebrate Cinco de Mayo with chicken nachos, guacamole, and cherry “margaritas”!  I’m enjoying all of our Voges Veggies weekly baskets.  And Sophie is enjoying her new chicken dog toy.

IMG_20160426_152917

D3X_9995

D3X_0084

D3X_0064

And then this weekend we did a little celebrating!  On Saturday we attended Mathieu’s and cousin Ashley’s wedding.  After a sweet ceremony by Jr’s pond, we headed to the Rifle Club for dinner and dancing.  Got to visit with lots of relatives.  Evan got to break dance to his heart’s content.  Ben devoured a bunch of chocolate covered strawberries.  And both boys did the wedding march with me!

13133388_1155063514514012_1475150259712738846_n

P5072277

13138994_1287366681278150_3020473003796362836_n

Then we headed to Port A for the night and the beach yesterday.  A little cloudy and cool.  But we still jumped a bunch of waves.  Ben boogie boarded.  And the boys did lots of digging and building in the sand.  After hours of play and showers, we met Angie for my Mother’s Day dinner.

P5082322

P5082367

P5082383

P5082411

P5082419

P5082430

All in all, the days are frustrating, awesome, tiresome, fulfilling, exhausting, and joyous.  The boys drive me crazy but are such great kids.  So very blessed and lucky to be their mom!

Comments No Comments »

It was a whirlwind of food, drinks, fun, a road trip… and even an agricultural assignment!

First up, Allison and I had a Shutter-Happy booth at the Outdoor Family Fair.  Although we got a little sunburned, we had a fantastic time.  And our photography game was a hit.  After, I was able to get Evan to his friend Mary’s birthday party.

IMG_20160305_094819

IMG_20160305_095127

Next thing I knew, it was time to get bunnies for Easter portraits and baby chicks for our flock.  So much cuteness!!!

D3X_5153

D3X_5684

National Employee Appreciation Day came about just as we hired a new employee.  So I took Sterling and Allison out to lunch… and grilled Sterling with all kinds of fun questions.

OI000002

During spring break I had an assignment for My Day in Texas Ag.  I got to take over their instagram account all week with posts all about farm-to-table happenings and our from-scratch recipes.

First stop was the Pearl Farmers Market with Lindsey!  We took in the sights and sounds, tried kombucha for the first time, purchased some goodies, and enjoyed ice cream at Lick (I had a scoop of beet & mint and honey & vanilla!).

D3X_5163

Then I spent some time in Lindsey’s garden, to get pictures of the girls at work for Voges Veggies.  I got to visit Jill’s, to get pictures of their chickens and to bake with her and Clayton.

I created all kinds of great dishes with goodies that Lindsey sent home with me.

And I made it to the nursery, for pictures in the greenhouses.

D3X_5797

My last day was with Myk and Marli.  At home, I made cocktails with fresh green apple juice and homemade rose water.  Out, we enjoyed an amazing meal at Whiskey Cake .  One of my cocktails was a lavender & lemon mix; the other was packed with pineapple.  We all shared fried green tomatoes.  We tried the salads, loved our entrees, and scarfed down the whiskey cake.  And then Myk ordered two sides!  Yumm-o!   Such a great day!!!

D3X_5839

OI000004_001

Took Sophie in for a dental, in the middle of all of this.  Finally…. fresher breath!!!

D3X_5890

Next up was Jill’s birthday.  So we surprised her by planting a bunch of flamingos in her yard.

OI000008

OI000001_002

This past weekend was the coolest.

I picked up the boys from school on Thursday.  We headed straight for McKinney Falls State Park, where we joined my parents and their puppies for the night.

P3241674

P3241697

Good Friday was spent getting an amazing behind-the-scenes tour of Camp Swift from Lieutenant-Colonel Kost (a childhood friend of mine)!  Ben kind of got the experience of a lifetime and had all kinds of great questions answered.  In heaven!

DSCN6868

P3251776

12800355_10209294315779175_1789312980049826764_n

Then we headed to Marble Falls, to spend the night… and then rise and shine for the hot air balloon festival!  It was quiet, majestic, and beautiful!  About 20 balloons filled up for display.  About 15 of them lifted off and sailed across the sky.

P3251782

P3261786

P3261831

DSCN6906

P3261836

After, we hit Fredericksbug, to enjoy Wildseed Farms, Lone Star Candy Bar, and Alamo Springs Cafe.  Beautiful wildflowers, delicious fudge, and amazing burgers!  Couldn’t have topped the weekend off any better!!!

P3261837

DSCN6950

P3261840

Easter morning, I made brunch for us, Mom, Angie, and the pups.  Enjoyed the food, company, and cascarones!

D3X_5947

D3X_5949

D3X_5966

Wonderful few weeks!  But totally in need of a nap… or a cocktail!  ;)

Comments No Comments »

First, I toilet papered the house!

D3X_4801

Then Evan and I filled his room with balloons and decorated with crepe paper.  I cooked his favorite meal (canadian bacon french loaf)… and baked his requested dessert (cherry coke cake)!

D3X_4824

Then we had his party, complete with best friends, awesome cookies and cake, Nerf gun wars, and incredible gift cards for presents!

D3X_4845

D3X_4851

D3X_4896

D3X_4921

I’m certainly not ready to be old enough to be the mom of a teenager.  But I am blessed that he is an awesome one.  Although lazy about his schoolwork… he has turned out to be one quirky, funny, cool, polite, smart, adventurous, fun, talented, imaginative kid!  Love him!!!

Comments No Comments »

“Life ain’t always beautiful.  But it’s a beautiful ride.”  Just a line from a Gary Allen country song, that I have grown to love.  Especially now that life is such a crazy ride.

D3X_3588

My 2016 started off with a fairly last-minute trip to Houston.  Michelle had room at the inn.  And Cassie had a New Year’s Eve party we could tag along to.  Between the party, heading to the theater to watch Sisters, going out to lunch, and having a movie marathon from Michelle’s couch… the weekend was just what I needed.  Great conversations, food, drinks, and laughs!

OI000004_001

IMG_20160101_001634

But after I got back into the town from the trip, I quickly realized that I had messed up some important 4-H dates.  As I sat at my desk, catching up on e-mails and facebook, we were missing the poultry show.  And since Ben wasn’t there to show his broilers, he was also going to miss the chance to participate in the auction.  He would miss out on the fun.  I would miss his big smile.  The proud moment and $1000 were snatched right up from underneath us.  And I felt the busy mom guilt.

The boys then had a day off from school.  On a day that we happened to have two $100 Incredible Pizza gift cards burning a hole in my pocket.  It was so much fun, we ended up having lunch and dinner there!  ;)

IMAG1619

Another day off from school… and we decided to explore!  We packed a picnic lunch and headed out to Dripping Springs.  Our first stop was to see Hamilton Pool for the first time.  Easy hike and gorgeous scenery!  Then we explored Milton Reimer’s Ranch Park.  Much more of a rock climbing and cave exploring expedition that I had planned.  But very cool.

P1081231

P1081248

P1081251

Then I decided to start my year off right.  After a several-year hiatus, I went back to church.  I was teased a little.  But I was mostly welcomed back with open arms.

Pinewood Derby was next.  Fairly unorganized and chaotic.  And neither of the boys’ cars did well.  But they both loved their designs.  And Evan had a blast.

OI000003

Angie and I helped Mom celebrate her birthday.  Lunch at Chuy’s and treats at Coldstone Creamery.  And then I went back to their house… to meet Mom’s new puppy Libby!  Adorable!!!!!

IMAG1723

The next week was spent getting ready for the San Antonio Stockshow and Rodeo.  We sent in six of Ben’s best photographs.  And Evan baked up some zucchini bread and fudgy zucchini cookies.

D3X_4167

I finally got to have a girls’ night out.  For Galentine’s Day!  With some dear, old friends plus some new ones, we had a wonderful dinner (and moonshine!) at S’mashd and had a great time bowling (until midnight!) at Bowl & Barrel.  Finally got home at 1:00, up at 6:00 the next day!

OI000001

The stockshow and rodeo was amazing!  First, we found out that three of Ben’s photos won First Place ribbons!  And two of them also received BEST OF SHOW!!!  Not to be left out, Evan won a Third Place ribbon with his zucchini bread!  Then we roamed the grounds.  Wonderful educational booths, animals to pet, games to play, and empanadas and funnel cake to eat!  Plus, there was an awesome Lego interactive!  We got to create all kinds of art in the Lego tent.

OI000005_1

OI000001_1

OI000004

OI000001_001

OI000006

IMAG1759

We had another 4-H poultry meeting.  Would have been an uneventful night…. except we “won” the door prize of two baby chicks!!!  They have quickly been named Oreo and Nilla Wafer.  But I still need to find out if we can trade Oreo (a rooster) for a female (which we’ll probably still name Oreo).  ;)

D3X_4347

Everybody was excited about the Graffiti Run!  Got up early, donned the sparkling white t-shirts, and made our way to the race.  Before long we were walking, dancing, and getting pummelled by the colored powders.  It took a good shower and lots of nose-blowing before all the color was gone.  But we had a blast!

P2211324

P2211388

P2211495

P2211554

P2211568

P2211584

After a crazy, busy week of meetings, errands, and interviews… I had a booth at the Hill Country Home & Garden Show.  It was a ton of work, my feet hurt, and I didn’t sell nearly enough for it to have been worth my time.  But I met some great people.  And I thought my booth was adorable!

P2271628

And somewhere in all of this, we celebrated Hug Day, Carrot Cake Day (by enjoying amazing carrot cake pancakes), Random Acts of Kindness Day (by leaving more love notes around town), and Margarita Day (with a free margarita from Bermann Lumber)!

12744010_10208961428977213_8634182262607798_n

P2221616

So now I sit here trying to catch up on e-mails, make my to-do list, start the shopping list, come up with great ways to celebrate Ben’s 13th birthday this week, and collect my thoughts on the upcoming hectic weekend.  Trying to reflect and get centered.  Because… here we go again!

D3X_4274

Comments No Comments »

Sure, I wrote a letter to Santa, along with the boys.  I asked for nice, firm, comfortable king pillows.  Plus world peace.  But I also made a mental list of words I wanted from the Christmas season.  Time – heart – memories – joy – laughter.  No presents.

So I started the process with giving Evan a t-shirt that expresses his heart, that I knew he’d love (Joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart).  And made sure he knew the song.  :)

D3X_2692

Next was our Christmas portrait.  We got dressed up, gathered up Sophie, and *tried* to gather up some of the chickens.  Set up the camera, light, and tripod.  And the result was cute and colorful.

D3X_2720 SH

Ben and I enjoyed watching the town’s Christmas parade, as Nathan and Evan walked along with the cub scout’s float.  And Ben had his Christmas band concert.

Then was our traditional trip to Devine Acres, for their Pancakes with Santa event.  Delicious breakfast, a great picture with Santa, lots of fun throughout the ranch, and Ben cutting down our Christmas tree!  And on the way home from Devine, I surprised them with a stop at Chick-fil-a for lunch and their delicious chocolate peppermint milkshakes!

IMG_8602

PC121157

PC121165

PC121174

PC121179

PC121188

PC121194

We got the Christmas tree set up and decorated right away!

D3X_2936

Since the tree was up, we were finally in the mood to do our Christmas baking.  I made my favorite gingerbread cookies and a bunch of caramel sauce.  Ben made peppermint fudge.  Evan chocolate-dipped and decorated a bunch of pretzel rods.  While they were at school one day, I delivered to a bunch of family and friends.  And Evan helped me deliver to our neighbors when he got home.  Hope everyone felt the love that went into them…. and enjoyed every bite!

12410516_492811630926245_905615583806633949_n

And next thing I knew, the boys were out of school.

One day of their Christmas break, I took them to Sea World.  We were able to watch three of the shows, enjoy all the Christmas lights, play on the playground.  And Ben got Evan and I on the Steel Eel for the first time!  During the ride, I couldn’t tell if Evan was okay or terrified.  But after it was over, he told us it was awesome!

IMAG1538

The next day I visited with Evan about The Love Letter Library, and showed him all of the cards that I purchased from their website.  Asked him to watch me… and then jump on board.  I snuck a “you are radiant” note into the shopping bag of one of my sweetest customers (I knew she was coming in to buy t-shirts).  The next note said “let your light shine,” and I placed it in one of the egg cartons that my weekly lady was going to purchase from me.  And then we needed to pick up Ben from the library.  So Evan and I took two “enjoy the journey” cards inside.  It was hilarious to see Evan in stealth mode, sneaking around, trying to find places to hide them.  I found the cookbook section, and placed my card there.  Evan decided to place his in the teen room.  And then we decided to carry on the project the following day.

Untitled-4

Untitled-3

This was our day to play tourist.  Our first stop was the San Juan Mission.  We toured the grounds and found a place to leave a “your heart matters” note.  Then I let the boys bike and scooter all over the mission trails.  After a picnic lunch, we headed to Mi Tierra for some leche quemada (for Granmom) and to leave another note.  This note said “love where you are planted,” and we left it on the bakery counter.  Our last stop was The Pearl and riverwalk.  We left a “let love surround you” note at Lick, where we stopped for delicious ice cream.  We snapped a quick pic at the “i love tacos so much” graffiti wall.  Then I let them bike and scooter all over the grounds and trails.  And we just happened to catch the bats as they emerged from under the overpass!  When we finally got home, we cozied up on the couch to watch The Polar Express.

Untitled-2

Untitled-1

IMAG1563

IMAG1557

IMAG1581

While the boys were with Nathan and Andersons for Christmas Eve, I was miserable.  Out of nowhere, I came down with a headache, queasiness, fever, and chills.  Napped, headed to the Urgent Care Clinic, asked for prayers, and waited.  SO thankful that I started feeling better that night.

Santa stuffed our big stocking with some surprises.  A few great games, a cute mug set, a huge sticker collection, some funny dinner plates, candies and gum for the boys… and a t-shirt for me.

And then we packed up, dropped Sophie off with Angie, and left town with Granmom and Papa, to the Christmas vacation that I planned.  We got to Galveston just before sundown, with plenty of time to enjoy the evening on the porch swing and laugh through tears as we played Lay It or Break It.  And my mom served up a Mexican-themed Christmas dinner.

Our entire Saturday was spent at Moody Gardens.  Our first stop was IceLand, a beautiful ice sculpture display in a 9-degree tent.  It was too cold for Ben (who chose to wore shorts), but the rest of us had a blast during the tour, especially enjoying the ice slides.  The rainforest pyramid was amazing.  While there were a few animals that had to be behind glass or netting, everything else was available for us to study.  The plant life was impressive.  And the butterflies, monkeys, parrots, sloths, and ibises were so much fun.  The boys had fun in the discovery pyramid, at the speed exhibit.  The 4-D submarine expedition was hilarious.  Ben enjoyed the ropes course.  And the tour of their Christmas lights was nothing short of beautiful and impressive.

D3X_2995

D3X_3003

D3X_3048

D3X_3061

Got back to the beach house with just enough time for me to cook dinner… and for us to enjoy a game of Would You Rather (which was a great game for Santa to bring the boys at this age!).

Yesterday morning we walked the beach.  Enjoyed the beautiful weather and the sea.  And the boys jumped on board when I started writing messages in the sand.  We totally “graffitied” a little stretch of coastline with “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Holidays,” “Feliz Navidad,” “JOY,” palm trees, presents, snow men, Christmas trees, etc.  Was so much fun to watch them draw in the sand (to spread a little joy to everyone else walking the beach)!

D3X_3085_001

Yes, I was terribly sick one day.  Yes, there was some fighting, bossing around, and whining throughout the weeks.  But all in all, my mission was complete.  Time – heart – memories – joy – laughter…..

Comments No Comments »

It’s been three months since I’ve written.  It’s been three months of intense work, parenting, emotions…. life.

It started with a fun trip to Sugar Land.  Friends Michelle and Alex kept us busy the whole weekend.  A night out for drinks.  Alex’s baseball game.  Hung out with Michelle’s parents, as they hosted us at their house.  We got to go out to dinner with friends Cassie, Patrick, and Conor.  And before we headed back to Boerne, the boys and I took a detour to tour the USS Texas.  Even squeezed in two Buc-ee’s stops (there and back).  ;)

IMAG1262

FB_IMG_1443929567152_1_1_1

OI000001_001

The following weekend was the last battle reenactment at the Nimitz, for a couple of years.  So Nathan got the boys out to Fredericksburg for the show.  And Ben was chosen from the audience to help teach everyone about soldiers’ clothing and equipment!

2015-10-11 11_22_50

Next up was my birthday.  41, no big deal.  But I got some crushing news around this time.  And not a single friend came around to celebrate my day.  So it was a really rough week.

But totally thankful for the boys and my mom, who made time.  Went out to dinner with Ben and Evan one night.  My favorite place- The Grille at Leon Springs.  Delicious pizzas and ravioli!  Then topped off with snow cones.  My mom took me out to lunch one afternoon.  And then I baked myself a huge chocolate and caramel cake.

IMAG1290

D3X_0064

Then I had a pretty insane couple of weeks with From Scratch Farm.  It was like everyone ganged up on me… and brought wonderful business to my door!  :)  My Texas Market (an online artisan gift membership) wanted to include our pumpkin spice body scrub in their harvest-themed boxes.  The Feathered Nest (a new shop in Salado) wanted to carry all of our body products in their store.  Alamo City Moms Blog had another mom’s night out event AND the Boerne Handmade Market came up again, where I rented booths and got to sell our products to the shoppers.  So to get ready for these, I had to order a ton of new jars, wash all of them, make all the products, and label everything.  It was exhausting and glorious work!

OI000001_002

10675734_480257478848327_7392133632572562325_n

1981840_482554591951949_1274180572837002470_n

In the process of getting our products to Salado, I offered free personal delivery (just like I’ve done for the other shops).  So Angie and I drove up, got the products set up in a cute display on an old dresser, grabbed some goodies at the local candy shop, had a great lunch, and toured the capital as we drove back through Austin.

IMAG1363

I also got a quick visit with one of the GoTEXAN representatives.  Lots of information on their benefits and what opportunities we should be looking out for.

D3X_1377

And as Christmas portrait season began to pick up for Shutter-Happy, I decided to do some photography for From Scratch Farm.  Got lots of locals to model with products (even Miss San Antonio and the Berges Fest court!).  And including a couple of our favorite people.

D3X_0472 copy

D3X_0603 copy

D3X_0630 copy

Next up was the band getting to play at one of the middle school football games.  The stands were packed!  Between the players, the band, and the Super Squad performance, there were lots of fans!

OI000001 _1_

We celebrated Tilly’s Nest’s Hug-a-Chicken Day.  Gave a few of our favorite girls a squeeze.  And treats.

D3X_1098

D3X_1170

Knowing that the boys would be with Nathan for Thanksgiving, I decided to spend a special meal with them and my parents at the Band Booster’s annual fundraising turkey dinner.  Despite the cold drizzle, the food was delicious; the silent auction had a great turnout; the kids had a blast with all of the carnival games!  (Evan won a football in the auction in addition to prizes at every game that he played.)

IMAG1446

Right after the dinner, Ben and I strapped on our running shoes… and completed the virtual Aid the Silent 5k.  It was his first!  He did really well (I think I actually slowed him down).  And he said it was fun, that we should do it again.

IMAG1447

Thanks to some sells through his band fundraiser, Ben earned a free Spurs ticket.  So we headed to a game with my mom.  Way up in the nose-bleed section.  But it was a great game.  (It was a win)  The boys had a blast dancing to the music.  And Ben won a shirt from the t-shirt cannon.

Untitled-1

I created a new baseball jersey for From Scratch Farm.  And we took a cute sweatshirt design from zulily, to create another new From Scratch Farm t-shirt.  Love them!

D3X_2187

D3X_2226

I took the boys to our annual South Texas Maize trip.  At first Ben griped about being too old.  But we had a blast.  BIG slides, apple cannons, jumping pillows, corn maze, pig races, kettle corn, and funnel cake!  All on a gorgeous day!

DSCN6194

DSCN6217

DSCN6237

DSCN6246

Next thing I knew, it was time for the 4-H broiler project again.  We set up the trough, turned on the heat lamps, and then picked up the 25 sweet baby chicks.

D3X_2528

For Thanksgiving, I baked a delicious apple cake.  Frosted with a caramel buttercream.  Drizzled with caramel.  And Mom and Dad had me over for lots of great turkey day food.

IMAG1467

And then I hosted Small Business Saturday at the shop.  Served up peppermint fudge, honey cupcakes, and spice cookies in a “dessert lounge.”  And sold a bunch of products throughout the day.  Was lots of fun meeting some new people… especially a couple of facebook/instagram followers.

D3X_2652_1

And through all of this, I was trying to keep the house and laundry clean, get homework done, get through portrait sessions, cook great dinners, coordinate Red Ribbon Week clothes, and more.  I was barely hanging on.  Felt like I was barely enough.  But when Evan handed me an assignment that he did at school, complete with a drawing of me and a statement that said I was “osom,” my heart burst.  He’s been watching.  And I have been enough for him.  (maybe enough for Ben too)

Comments 2 Comments »

Life is different.  Selling our home, scrambling to find new places to live, splitting up our belongings, parting ways, sharing the kids, finding new routines for ourselves.  Each part, full of every emotion.  But I’m so proud of Nathan and I, and the boys, for how we’re handling things and trying our damnedest to consider everyone’s feelings and needs.

My life settled into a home smack between work and Ben’s middle school.  (yay!)

D3X_9393

And Nathan ended up back in our old neighborhood.  This gave us the choice of keeping Evan at Curington or changing him to Fabra.  In the end, he wanted to be by Ben.  So, I get to walk him to and from his new school every day… and he is meeting lots of new friends.  None of them really know he is repeating 1st grade this year.  And that may be turning out to be a great thing for him.

D3X_8488

D3X_8517

Ben became an official middle schooler.  Had to figure out buildings, schedule, and a locker!

IMAG1172-20150904-080824583

We settled into routines.  And Ben took on a new chore- mowing!

D3X_7678

Ms. O (one of our newest babies) began laying!  And I happened to be there, to watch the very first one!

IMAG1158

I embarked on a photography project like nothing I’ve ever done before.  (The SuperMOM Project)  And to gear up for it, I photographed a bunch of my favorite moms.  And Ben photographed me!  ;)

D3X_6603 SHfinal

D3X_6812 SHfinal

D3X_6917 SHfinal

D3X_7420 SHfinal

D3X_7461 SHfinal

D3X_7591 SH final

D3X_7627 SH final

D3X_8558 SHfinal

D3X_9059 SHfinal

Myk invited me to Austin’s Gay Pride weekend.  That was a first!!!  Lots of bar-hopping and a big parade.  And then we tubed the Comal the next day.  (was just so happy to finally wear the t-shirts I bought!)

OI000001_1_001

OI000004_1

OI000006_1_1

IMAG1165

OI000003

Somewhere in all of this, we got us girls and the kids together for Allison’s birthday at Dog & Pony.  And then we girls celebrated Lindsey’s birthday at The Dienger Trading Company.  Even though Emily and Lindsey no longer work with Allison and I, it is SO good to still have the friendships that we have!

IMG_20150903_143605

I hosted my first dinner party here at the new house.  Something I hope to keep a monthly or every-other-month activity- Friends & Family Friday.  This time, I made it a fiesta theme, and asked everyone to bring Mexican food.  I made beef and cheese enchiladas, creamy chicken and avocado enchiladas, and tres leches cake.  Ben made m&m cookies.  And guests brought everything from rice, chips and *Chuy’s* creamy jalapeno dip, tamales, tortilla soup, beans, quesadillas, and even margaritas (one batch made with their own homemade prickly pear syrup!!!).  Had a wonderful time.  Such a great night!

OI000001

And last, I let Ben have his first sleepover with friends Clayton and the two Coopers.  ;)  Wasn’t sure what to expect with four 12-year-olds in the house.  But I was really pleased… and a little bit overjoyed over how things went.  The afternoon started right after school, with a very LOUD game of hide-and-seek throughout the entire house.  After dinner of pizza (delivery) and homemade cookies, they rode scooters for almost two hours.  We had a blast playing several tournaments of spoons.  And then they settled into bed with fresh-popped bacon caramel corn and a few episodes of Dr. Who.  This morning’s breakfast was chocolate muffins (that friend Clayton helped me bake), sausage, and leftover pizza.  Then they spent hours playing hide-and-seek and riding scooters again.  It was hilarious to watch whatever game they were playing, where they had to step on pillows and blankets to get around (because the floor was made of lava!!!).  And now they’re playing xbox until parents pick them up.  Hope they all had a great time.  It was so fun for me to watch!  :)

IMAG1223

Lots of praying, a few mistakes, lots of fun, and tons of grace…

Comments 28 Comments »

Exhausted, thrilled, and SO proud!!!

It’s been months of preparation, two intense weeks of really taking care of the final touches… and then it was time for the fair!!!

D3X_6685

11924288_464770623730346_4387492359002283131_n

10628337_465124830361592_7760206927394268360_n

10610525_465455873661821_3178351282636538192_n

The boys both submitted photography, Ben entered two Lego creations, Even entered a little Lego chicken and a bird house, I spent an entire day baking (to enter four sweets), and we entered four of our eleven chickens.

First, we found out about all of the ribbons we won!  Ben got four first place, a second, and a third for his photography.  He got a first place ribbon for his Lego USS Missouri.  And he got second place for his Lego army tank.  Evan won second place with his bird house and a third place for his Lego creation.  And for his photography, he got three first place ribbons, a second place, and a third place.  And one of his images won BEST OF SHOW!!!  (oh my gosh!)  And then I got two first places, a second, and a third for my baking.  And my cinnamon rolls won BEST OF SHOW!!!  (wow!)

D3X_8778

D3X_8793

D3X_8796

Next up was the parade.

D3X_8698

D3X_8657

D3X_8667

11998948_10205532701092261_7401409520229303127_n

And then the rest of the weekend was spent in the barn.  We hung out with friends, gathered eggs, visited with everyone about our chickens and 4-H. and got our birds ready for judging.

D3X_8708

The first big announcement was that our teenager hen (Fudge) won first place out of all of the hens under 1 year.  Evan was beaming!  He was so proud!  He kept claiming it was because he washed her feet that morning.  ;)  But I’m sure it’s because she’s beautiful, we bathed her, we feed her wonderful organic food and veggies, she gets lots of free-ranging time, etc.

Next thing we knew, she had won a Champion ribbon and a bag of Happy Hen Treats.  Yay!

And then she won GRAND CHAMPION out of all of the chickens in the show!!!  So Evan walked away with another big ribbon… and a HUGE belt buckle!!!  (time to buy the boy a belt)  ;)

D3X_8751

11953274_10205539343618320_4083966218027027790_n_001

D3X_8769

Comments 22 Comments »

I booked this vacation way back in April.  Was totally looking forward to it.  And then I went and busted my tailbone (the morning we were leaving), as I slid down half of my staircase.  I spent several minutes on the floor, writhing in pain and crying.  I crawled back up the stairs, into my bed.  Then spent an hour trying to calm down, letting advil kick in a little, and trying to figure out my next move.

The condo’s management and Nathan were so understanding and thoughtful.  I could shift the vacation over one or two days, if I wanted.  And Nathan took the boys for the whole day so that I could rest and make decisions.

So, we headed out the next day.  Five hours of driving.  And we got there just before dinner time.  So we unpacked, cooked dinner, and then took dinner and sand toys down to the water.  We ate; I laid down on a beach towel; the boys jumped into the waves.  And we didn’t head back to the condo until it was dark.

P8180779

P8180736

Day two, we played in the sand all morning.  During the heat of the day, we stopped in a bunch of gift shops and enjoyed the frozen yogurt shop.  Then we hit the pool… and then jumped waves until dark.

P8180747

P8180795

P8180791

Day three was just a repeat of the previous.  Sand, sun, waves, frozen yogurt.  And we had a blast adding onto a sand castle that someone left behind.

P8190833

P8180785

And day four was packing up to leave, heading out of town, stopping at King’s Inn for an incredible lunch, and then making it back to Boerne with only an hour to spare before Fabra’s Meet the Teacher night!

IMAG1148

Despite the pain (and not always being able to enjoy the beach like I usually do), it was a fabulous trip!!!  Beautiful weather, sand, and water.

Comments 8 Comments »

Gone in a flash!  But so much fun!!!

This cool haircut happened!

20150627_151008

And then Ben went off to Scout camp!

20150628_062449

So Evan and I had a super-fun date to the new DoSeum and Sam’s Burger Joint!  Explorations in wind, movement, mirrors, gears, pulleys, light, sound, colors, magnets, shapes, video, community, water, bubbles, geography, robotics, and more!  Had a blast!  And the burgers at dinner were so delicious, it took us a while to get around to their incredible fries.

P6290628

P6290630

P6290633

P6290639

P6290642

P6290646

IMG_20150629_204012

Then I found out that I won Best of the Best again!  Another year of being voted Kendall County’s best photographer!!!

D3X_6559

Had some fun creating Shutter-Happy’s first temporary tattoos.  ;)

D3X_6820

We had a fun day at Fiesta Texas with friends Marli, Robert, Lillian, and Joseph.  All of us hopped on a roller coaster together.  All (but Evan) conquered any fear of heights on the big swings.  We got wet on a boat ride.  And while Marli let the littles enjoy the kids area, Robert and I took Ben on his first ride on the Superman coaster.  Loved it!!!

P7200655

P7200656

P7200666

P7200699

The boys worked with me at From Scratch Farm a few days.

D3X_7881

Sophie enjoyed our sunflower patch.

IMAG0922

We had the best day in Orange Grove, for a get-together at Jr’s.  He served up just about everything that you can possibly bar-b-q.  We all brought wonderful side dishes.  Geraldine made her famour Big Red ice cream.  Got to visit with almost all of my Goetzel cousins.  And we spent a few hours swimming in the pond.  (Although Ben didn’t swim much.  Most of his time was swinging on the rope!)

OI000008

Just like last summer, we got together with friends Mandy, Mary, Marli, Robert, Lillian, and Joseph for roller skating.  Although friends didn’t make it as long as we did, Ben, Evan, and I had a blast skating for four hours!!!

P8110005

P8110016

P8110024 copy

P8110025

P8110029

And before everyone started wrapping up their summer, our 4-H chicken club squeezed in one last cool field trip.  The Randall Burkey Company (who makes our hens’ favorite Happy Hen Treats) served us lunch, gave us a glimpse into their business, gave us tours of their two warehouses, and gave all the kids free t-shirts!

IMG_20150812_135827

Comments 14 Comments »