The Nutcracker


Four Nutcracker performances in one weekend.


And our little angel did wonderful! We are so proud of her.

Texas Ice

We had a nice four day weekend because of the cold freeze that hit Texas. Fortunately, our power stayed on (sorry to those who weren't so lucky) and we were able to get out every now and then for the occasional food run or cabin fever break. It's always such a pleasant surprise to see Texas covered in white and also to have the day off! I remember waking up and staring at the news ticker to see if my school district was closed. If it was, boisterous cheering and a quick run back into my bed covers would follow. If not, a ten minute debate with my parents trying to persuade them to let me stay home due to the "dangerous" conditions. So when I found out I had the day off from work, I did what any adult would do. I mumbled a "heck yea" and fell instantly back to sleep.

We've been so busy lately that it was nice to have mother nature force us to relax. We spent all weekend sleeping in, snuggling, and watching Homeland. I also got a lot of wedding planning done and am now halfway through the first Walking Dead compendium while Kyle invested hours on hours in Battlefield 4. Tomorrow the ice will be gone. I hope it'll actually snow in Texas this year. Fingers crossed.

A Minnie Mouse Birthday

Today is our little Emily's 5th birthday. We have been working on her present for the past few days and were so excited for her to see it finally. She stayed with her grandma overnight and when we picked her up, we told her there was a "birthday surprise" for her in her room. She ran upstairs and found her gift...a brand new bedroom set.


She was so excited, I couldn't get a good picture of her. :)


Afterwards, we got her dressed and ready for her Minnie Mouse party. Everyone dressed in red/white/black and put on Minnie and Mickey ears.


It was perfect and we're so grateful for everyone who came to celebrate our little girl's big day!

Minnie Mouse Cake by http://www.craftycakesbylinda.com

Pumpkin Patch


We grabbed some pumpkins to paint from the Pumpkin Patch and did some trick or treatin' at the museum. She was Rapunzel from Tangled, her "favorite."

Beavers Bend State Park


My favorite trips are the ones where you get to relax and enjoy the world's natural beauty. It was due time for some camping and Kyle planned the most amazing trip for the two of us. This time, we ventured out to Beavers Bend State Park in Oklahoma. The forecast looked pretty meek for the weekend so we were lucky when we got there, there was still a bit of sunshine left.


We immediately set up our cabin and picked out a few trails to conquer.


You don't see this in Texas too often. (Or do you? Let me know.)


My crazy wonderful mountain man. He, of course, made sure to do a few Big Foot knocks.


Just enjoying the view.


The next day, it rained. And it was gloomy. We took a walk around the dam and watched some of the fishermen.


Took some obligatory pictures.


Despite the rain and gloom, it was still a lot of fun exploring. And we were so lucky later that day. The sun decided to come out so we took it as a sign and decided to go canoeing.





And horseback riding.


So thankful for much needed trips like this and for unexpected sunshine.

Big Tex Returns


Big Tex is back y'all! If you're from Texas, you'd understand what a huge thing this is. Big Tex (a symbol of Texas and the State Fair) had burned down last year and left us Texans devastated. I know it sounds kind of silly but trust me when I say, "it's kind of a big deal." We met up with a few friends for some guilt-free gluttony.


And of course had to get the world famous Fletcher's corn dog. Delicious.


Emily also learned how to pilot her own "buffalo fighter" (and already with a passenger!). No biggie.


Tried the Fried Nutella. It was only ok.


Eating some Dippin' dots and checking each other's tongues to see what colors they were.


Looks like brown with a touch of orange.

Fossil Rim

Kyle planned a special trip to Fossil Rim for us this weekend. He used to go a lot as a child and wanted to share the experience with me and Emily. I was ridiculously excited. I'm kind of obsessed with animals. As you can see, Kyle packed our lunches.


Basically, you drive around and can see the animals from your car. You can purchase some food for the animals and use it to lure them toward you so you can pet them.


The emu was pretty frightening, I'm not going to lie.


These guys though, total dolls.


I was MOST excited about the giraffes. They did not disappoint.


There's also a petting station where you can pet and brush some of the animals.


Finally, the zebras. Thank you for posing for me, sweet zebras.

When in New Jersey

This weekend, Kyle and I went to New Jersey for his cousin's wedding. I've never been before and was pretty ecstatic yet anxious. His grandmother lives in the country so we were able to explore all their land and most importantly, meet the family. I was a nervous wreck when we got there but his family was so warm and welcoming, I felt completely at home.


The wedding itself was gorgeous. They had a rustic outside wedding on their parent's land. 


I've never lived in a small town before, so I was surprise to discover that everyone already knows each other and to find cute little shops like Jimmy's Custard stand (some of the most delicious frozen custard in the world).


On our last day, we went to visit the grave of Kyle's father. It was a really gloomy day but as we left the grave, a couple of deers walked by and stared at us. It was a pretty emotional moment.

The Proposal

BIG NEWS!!! I am engaged!!! I am officially going to marry my best friend and the love of my life. Even better, the proposal was absolutely perfect. I am still in complete and utter shock.

How it went down:

It all started after I came home from Colorado. Kyle and Emily had decorated our room with streamers, a "we miss you" sign, and a card promising fun plans for the rest of the week.

"Five days was too long without you. I have a lot of fun things planned for us the next couple of days. You're the coolest person in the world. Way cooler than me." (I may have made up the last two sentences.)

I came home Monday. Tuesday was a dinner with Kyle and Emily. Wednesday was a date at Sip-n-Doodle just the two of us. He had originally bought a Groupon for the BYOB painting place as a birthday gift for me, but we never had the chance to use it. Fast forward to Wednesday.

Wednesdays are my half days at work so as usual, I came home and Facebook stalked some of my friends (I'm looking at you, Andy Nguyen). While scrolling through some pictures, I received a message from Kyle.

"Getting off work early, see you soon."

If anyone knows Kyle, this is already strange since he's never on Facebook. I wait for him for what feels like ten years as I am still jet-lagged and have the hanger (= hunger + anger). He comes home and we head out to search for food, the hanger increasing each minute my stomach is not appeased.

"Where do you want to eat?" Kyle says lovingly and innocently.
"I don't know. You choose." Flames slowly emerge around me.
"How about The Great Outdoors?" Kyle smiles.
"Fine." Horns begin to grow out of my head.

We stop at The Great Outdoors and I order a meatball sub, hardly speaking to Kyle. We return to the car, and I take two bites of my sandwich. I had a sandwich for lunch and did not want one now. I was not happy.

"What's wrong?" Kyle genuinely cares.
"I didn't even want a sandwich!" I blurt out with meatball and sauce dripping down my face. Kyle remains calm, too calm. I continue to act like a child.
"Let's have a good day today, okay?" Another smile from Kyle. (Poor guy)
"Fine."

We enter Sip-n-doodle and the teacher tells us to each choose a picture to paint. I decide on a simple flower print and Kyle declares that he will paint the Tardis from one of my favorite shows, Doctor Who.

We put on our aprons (stylish, I know) and sit down. We joke and take silly pictures of each other (the hanger subsided by this point) as groups of women (and only women) come in and sit down. One woman, we'll call her Jane, actually stops in front of us, points to Kyle, and exclaims "WOAH! A man! There's a man in here!" I guess it's an anomaly in these parts.

We start painting, and I am in the zone! I'm mixing my colors, feeling the brushes, and making art on my canvas board.

At one point, Kyle turns to me and tells me he wants to write me a message on his painting. I think nothing of it. He is always doing cute/quirky/strange/sweet things like that. He moves to a seat facing away from me and writes his message. "What are you doing?" shouts Jane's mom as she scoots next to him. After reading the message, she giggles and I decide it's something silly.

 

When I finish, I set my painting back on the easel.

"Do you want to read the message?" Kyle says with a large grin.
"Sure." I say.

He moves closer and turns his painting toward me.

Tami, will you marry me?

I read it at least three times in my head only able to mutter, "what?"

I am speechless, overjoyed, borderline crying. There are so many emotions going through me, I can barely think. He asks smiling, "is that a yes?" I shake my head violently and whisper "yes." He gets down on one knee and pulls out a small box, opens it, and shows me my dream ring. Simple and classic. So me.


He puts it on my finger. We look up. There are women surrounding us, heads pressed against windows and snapping our photo on their phones. I see scrunchy faces and some tears.
I am the happiest woman in the world.

Kyle's Version

"I liked it so I put a ring on it."

When in Colorado

Colorado! Finally! I've been wanting to visit ever since my best friend showed me pictures of the beautiful mountains and scenery.

We took an early flight into Denver on Friday. When we arrived, we were starving so Bill quickly yelped popular local restaurants and stumbled upon this gem: Spices Cafe. If I could, I would eat here all the time. Actually, there was a man in front of the restaurant who proclaimed something along the lines of "this is the best place ever! I eat here all the time! You should too!" I agree, man who slightly startled us out-of-towners.


The rest of the day was spent exploring downtown Denver and I must say, I fell in love quick.


I am a sucker for lights and loved the old town atmosphere.


We stopped to get some coffee and dessert at The Market. The Milky Way latte is a must. The chocolate cake was ridiculously good.


My body was grateful that we shared the cake. My heart was not.


Oh, Denver.


One of my favorite landmarks, the big blue bear at the convention center.


The next day, we woke up early and drove to Colorado Springs.


We spent the whole day hiking, taking photos, posing outrageously for the photos, and just enjoying the beauty of the Garden of the Gods.


It rained/sprinkled sporadically throughout the day, so we were able to get some pretty cool shots of the clouds over the mountains.


See that cliff on the left? We actually climbed that.


After hiking, we drove to the Cave of the Winds for some good ole cave exploration.


I really love this quote. The person who funded the cave tours requested that a part of his favorite poem be written inside. That night, after a bad case of the hanger and aimless searching for a local place to eat, my friends and I ended up at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. It may not be local to Denver, but it sure does make my tummy happy.


Sunday morning, we went white water rafting in...honestly, I have no idea where we were. There was an odd number of people so our instructor told me not to paddle. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't participate, but later the instructor said I could "ride the bull." Basically, I stood at the front of the raft, held on to the rope, and tried not to fall as the raft hit the waves. It was so much fun!

Just me and some of my favorite people. :)


For dinner, we went to Freshcraft, which is known for its delicious bar food and craft beers. I had a burger with green chiles, a sweet corn marmalade, and avocados on top. It was pretty scrumptious.


Downtown as the sun was setting. I love the glow of the lights against the background.


Umm...we may have went back to Cheesecake Factory after dinner. I know. We're ridiculous.


We really didn't have a plan for Monday, our last day there. When we woke up, the weather looked promising so we decided to drive back up to Colorado Springs to see the waterfalls. By the time we got there, it was raining pretty hard (just our luck, of course). We stopped at Agia Sophia (a small coffee shop/book store) for lunch and waited for the rain to pass.


The waterfall at North Cheyenne Canon Park. Some of the cute little hummingbirds flying around.


Some more beautiful scenery, as expected from Colorado.


Before heading to the airport, we made a spontaneous but necessary last stop at Skoops for some homemade ice cream.


Goodbye, Colorado! I already miss you!