Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Crazy Adventures....or Thank Goodness for Tender Mercies

Alright, most of ya'll know my habit for having adventures...pretty much everywhere I go. I guess it's a Higginbotham thing. Two weeks in a row playing basketball a month or so ago, I first sprained my thumb....twice (I kept playing after the initial injury and then proceeded to hurt it again which took me out until the next week, but not until I had a good couple of hours in of playing) and then the next week I'm playing under the basket trying to rebound against 6'4" guys when one of them caught me in the eye with his elbow and knocked my flat on my back. I was fine except for the black eye which developed over the next couple days (my first one) and a small cut on my lower lid on the outside. So what do I do? I stick a band-aid over the cut and keep playing. :D Here's a picture of how I looked, a bandaid directly under my right eye, my right hand wrapped up to protect my thumb and I wear an ankle brace while playing cuz I sprained my ankle about 1 1/2 years ago and I don't want to re-injure it. I'm running out of appendages on my right side to injure!! ;)

So that's a pre-cursor to this past weekend, which was Labor Day. And I don't sit around the house very well, so I was trying to plan some kind of activity but the problem was a lot of people were out of town for the holiday. After basketball last Tuesday night (injury free I might add) I was talking to a friend and we started talking about cliff jumping and how we both were wanting to go. So I suggest going to Jack's River Falls on the border of GA and Tennessee this weekend, either Sat or Mon. It's about 2-2 1/2 hours away and then you hike about an hour or two to the falls, but it's really pretty and fun to jump the cliffs there. I'd been there with another group a few years ago and have wanted to go back for a while. So, I start asking around to who might be interested. We decided to go Mon and it ended up being 4 of us. John, Matt, Jenna, and myself. We drove my car up there and made it to the trail without to many mishaps, just missed one turn, but we were only a few miles away, so not a big deal. It looked like it was going to be a fun adventure. Little did we know!!

We left Atlanta around 9:30ish, and stopped for a bathroom break at around 11:30 at a Hardee's. Matt got a burger, but none of the rest of us were hungry. Jenna had not eaten breakfast because she thought we were only going 10 minutes down the road to the Chattahoochee, not Jack's River. But she said she'd be fine as it was only a few hours before we'd be heading back. So we proceeded on.

We got up to the parking lot at the trail head about 12-12:30pm and started walking. It wasn't very long before I realized I'd forgotten my water, but decided it'd be ok as it was only a couple miles away. No one else had water either or any form of sustenance of the food variety. But then again, we were only going a couple miles down the trail (are you starting to see a pattern here?) So we start hiking and I'm getting teased about it being further than I said it was going to be, cuz I'm the only one that really knew where we were going, or thought I did. We come to a split in the trail and I proceed to turn to the right thinking that was the shorter path to the Falls.

About an hour later, I don't think we're going the right way anymore and am thinking we should have turned left instead of right, but I'm honestly not sure at all, and we have the option to keep going on or turn around and head back. We put it to a group vote and decide to keep going on. A couple hours later we finally see a sign that says Jack's River Trail one way and High Ridge Trail another way, so we think we're on the right path. (I'm a little discouraged at this point). We discuss which direction to take again and decide to say a prayer. And we're still thinking we're going to make it to the Falls.

Well, an hour or so later, we see another sign for the Penitentiary Branch going one way, but we keep following the main river thinking it'll lead us to the falls. We haven't passed any living soul before we made the wrong turn till now, though there were plenty of people starting out at the beginning of the trail with us and we passed a lot of people too. We finally passed a man hiking towards us and he informs us that the Falls are back the direction we came from but that if we kept going for about another hour (we're tired, but not too exhausted at this point, and I'm very frustrated with myself for pulling everyone into this, I'm seriously about to cry, and I'm praying....a lot!!!) we'll make it out to A parking lot, he's not and we're not sure if it's the parking lot where our car is, but we decide it can't be far away if it's not where we want to be. So we keep going.

About an hour later, (I really don't know exactly how far apart all these were spaced, none of us had watches and we'd left our phones in the car, it just felt like an hour later) we stop for a break. Remember we have no food or water, though we have been drinking water from the river which we've crossed and re-crossed about 20 plus times (no exaggeration). We're talking and all of a sudden John goes berzerk, swatting at something and runs further up the trail, followed closely by Jenna, someone yells "BEES" and I feel a sting and start running, just not as far, cuz Matt had run the opposite direction. So I wait where I can see him cuz I'm not sure if he's allergic or not to bee stings, but he was just trying to see what riled them up and where the nest was, but he gets stung and again runs the opposite direction. I get stung again and turn and run to where John and Jenna are waiting. We're sitting there waiting and finally Matt comes up. We decide they had to have been yellow jackets as there were no stingers left and we all had atleast 4 0r 5 stings, but thank goodness no one was allergic to them though!

At this point we're all agreed that we definitely have to keep going the way we're going cuz we do not want to go through those yellow jackets again. And it's getting later and later of course. We go for a while longer and stop to pray again, for help to make it out and make it home that night, cuz we were thinking it could be a very real possibility that we could spend the night there. We only had a couple of towels with us and a flashlight that I had thrown in my backpack meaning to put it in my car, though I didn't know how long the batteries would last.

We decide that we can either keep going or head back the way we came, cuz we know we can get out that way, but we don't know how much further we're heading into the woods if we keep going. We decide to keep going anyway and about a half mile from there we see the trail head!!!!! Can I tell you how excited and grateful we were not to be in the woods anymore??? Except it wasn't our parking lot. We look at the map on the sign, which sucks by the way, make sure you have a good map of the area if you ever do go, cuz I couldn't tell where we were or where we needed to be, even though I can usually read maps well.

Where we had parked our car that morning, the road continued up the mountain so I figured if we walked downhill from where we were, we could get there. The road did go the other direction uphill, though I still don't know if that would have gotten us there any better. So we start walking. There were a truck and a silver car parked at the trailhead where we came out, but no one was around. It's getting near dusk at this point. And we're walking and walking and not getting anywhere. There's one T-intersection we come to where we can go straight or turn right, we turn right for a little while, but it doesn't look it was very heavily trafficked, so we turned around and went the other direction.

Everyone's exhausted, hungry, thirsty, and hurting at this point (or I was atleast, I'm assuming everyone else was too) and we just want to get to the car, praying that we'll come to something that we'll recognize so we know where we're going. I'm crying cuz I'm frustrated and angry at myself for bringing everyone down there and getting us lost and walking all over creation, but I keep walking cuz I know we have to. The sun's now down, and I've been in my hiking sandals without socks all day. And they work very well for short distance hiking and walking through water and what not, but they're not made for 8 hours of hiking, so they were rubbing and I could feel a blister forming, luckily I had specifically thrown socks in my backpack cuz last time I went I completely forgot them and I had to hike the trail barefoot cuz my tennis shoes gave me a blister on my heel. So we stopped so I could put on my socks and started walking again.

A couple minutes after this we see headlights!!! I can't tell you how exciting that was. The truck that had been parked at the trail head was being driven by a couple of men who had been hunting. They stopped and we told them we were lost and where we had parked. They looked a bit shocked and said "We know exactly where that is, you're about 17 miles exactly from your car." I about broke down at that point. They look somewhat resigned though and tell us to hop in the back of the truck, they'll give us a ride.. They were cousins who had been hunting and Lynn was driving Jason home. They ended up taking us to Jason's house cuz Lynn had to work at 4:30am and it was an hour and a half driving time to our car. They told us we had been better off turning around and walking back down the trail to our car rather than walking on the road, we were on the other side of the mountain! As soon as we hopped in the bed of the truck and started going, we immediately said a prayer of thanks for them stopping to get us. The clock on the truck said it was 8:40pm.

So we get to Jason's house and he must have called ahead to his wife, because as soon as we pull up she comes out with glasses of water (Bless Her!!!) for us and they invite us in asking if we want anything to eat. Allison, Jason's wife then proceeds to heat up some chicken alfredo for us and garlic bread and brings over cheese croissants and keeps asking us if we want diet coke or mtn dew or debbie cakes or anything. Jason does the same thing after he changes. Lynn talks to us for a little while before he leaves and tells us that he almost didn't take that way home tonight. Everyone once in a while he'll take the other way home and they had come up the way where they picked us up and were going to go home the other way, but decided to come back the same way instead. I know that was the Spirit guiding them to us!! Thank goodness for the tender mercies!

So we finish drinking and eating and drinking and drinking. And then we load up in Jason's car and head to ours. It was probably around 9:40 at this point (it took a little while to get to Jason's house too). We drive and talk to Jason and he stops and gets gas first and Matt said that it's too bad we don't have our wallets cuz we could have paid for his gas, and Jason immediately, almost offended, says there's no way he would have let us, but then he did thank us for the offer. After he gets back in the car he asks if we're still hungry, he'd buy us a hamburger and Jenna (who remember hadn't eaten all day till we got to Jason's house) starts laughing cuz her and John were just saying how they were still hungry. So, Jason pulls around to Hardee's and buys Jenna an apple turnover and a coke. John doesn't want to take advantage of their generosity anymore so he keeps quiet, but Jason would have bought hima thick burger in an instant. They were our angels!!

We then keep driving to where our car is and finally get there, after spotting a raccoon and a copper head snake on the way! I have never been so excited to see my pretty Green Explorer, even though she was all muddy! We pile into the car and say another prayer of thanks and for safety to travel the rest of the way home and take off. I didn't trust myself to stay awake cuz night driving is not my strong suit anyway so John offered to drive. I knew I could stay awake enough to keep talking to him and keep him awake so I rode shotgun. So we get out of the park and on a regular road heading towards the highway that takes us to I-75 and John notices a car behind us seems to be getting on his tail so he speeds up and then the blue lights come on. It was a cop! :( Definitely the last thing we needed at this point. It was around 12:20am.

The officer comes up and gets John's license and said he had pulled us over because John was swerving and wanted to see make sure he wasn't drunk. We told him the short version of our story and how we had just started heading home to Atlanta. He was very nice, but then asked for the rest of our licenses, but Jenna didn't have hers cuz she'd forgotten her wallet. He then informed us that in the state of Tennessee (where we were), you're supposed to always have your license on you, even as a passenger, which in Georgia, you don't. But he got her name and birthdate and had to run a check to make sure we weren't wanted. That was kinda exciting. :) But of course we all cleared and he let us go. He did tell us that there were some good maps of the trails on Chattahoocheebicycling.com or something like that, and we could get them next time we came up.

After that there wasn't really much adventure, we just stop at the gas station to fill up and Taco Bell to get John some sustenance, but we made it home safely, though tired at 2am.

I tell you what though. We were definitely watched over yesterday. We're lucky that the worst thing that happened was some bee stings. We could easily have twisted an ankle crossing that river those 27 something times. We could have gotten cramps in our legs from dehydration and not been able to walk anymore. Poisonous snakes were around the area and we could have been bitten. Some crazy people could have found us instead of the awesome, amazing people who did. We could have ended up sleeping on the road or in the woods that night. And I can't think of what else could have happened. But I do know that I was never scared that we wouldn't make it out more or less in one piece. I knew the Lord was watching over us and I knew there was nothing to fear. We had the priesthood with us too and though we might not have made the best decisions that whole day we were trying our best to live the life the Lord wanted us to live and be the people He wanted us to be. Even when Lynn and Jason first pulled up, I had some thought that it could be someone with not so good intentions, but the Spirit was there saying it was ok. I thank God that He did watch over us yesterday and He sent those men to us to pick us up and take us into their home and feed us and take care of us as if we were their kin, though they'd hadn't known us but five minutes.

Oh, and by the way, I was thinking of going hiking this Sat at Jack's River Falls, anyone want to come? ;)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April Showers...

Wow...it's spring time again! I love this time of year. Ok, I love any time of year where the sun's out and it's over 69 degrees. But this time of year is so pretty and the flowers are blooming. My life has calmed down slightly and gotten back to my level of normalcy, i.e. slightly less craziness than previously, but way more craziness than your normal, average joe...or jane. I really don't know what happened to April. I remember starting with General Conference which was so good. I want to get the Ensign and read the talks again. And I remember ending with Stake Conference this past weekend, which was also really good. The whole middle part is a little fuzzy. Lots of parties.

We threw Jason Klomp a surprise birthday party for his 25th. His bday was on the 15th, so we were planning on having it on the 18th, however, before we could get the word out to key people, another pair of planners sent out an invite for someone else's birthday on that same day....sooooo, seeing as Jason's was a surprise and this other person's wasn't, we changed our day to the following Friday. The ruse was he was my "date" for a work party and was supposed to meet me at my place at 7:30pm.

The day of, Jason was running late, which was fine, because we needed more time for people to get there. :) But he called me to tell me he was running late, and he wanted to know if it would be better just to meet me at the place we were having the work dinner. I, of course, insisted that he just come on down to my place. Here's the conversation as I remember it:

Jason: So where is this place, cuz if it's north of you, I can just meet you there.

Jenean: No, that's ok, it's like south of here, just come on down here, it's not that big of a deal.

Jason: Well, I can just shoot down 85 and still probably be fine.

Jenean: (Thinking quickly and fudging somewhat) No, just come on, it's fine. (GULP!!!)

Jason: Is it something that you can show up late to and be fine, or will everyone be staring if we walk in late?

Jenean: It'll be fine if we're late, besides, you know me, I love for everyone to be staring at me, especially if I have a cute guy on my arm. (Flippancy is what I was going for to throw him off the scent!) ;)

Jason: *Laughs* Thanks for the compliment. When does this start?

Jenean: Oh, around 8-8:30. (Why is he all of a sudden playing 20 questions?)

Jason: Ok, I'll be there then.

Jenean: (Whew, I think he bought it) Sounds good, just call me when you get close.

Jason: Alright, will do.

Yeah, he doesn't call. We're all finishing up stuff for the party, cutting up fruit, I'm finishing up the cake and about 8pm (about the time Jason should have been there), there's a knock on the door. Everyone sorta freezes, then they all jump into the living room area, and I walk to the door. Of course I can't look through the peep hole because it's too high up, I should have had one of the guys look for me, but I wasn't thinking quick enough. I still have my apron on, and I start to open the door really slowly and realize it, so I take it off at the same time. It's Jason at the door, and I start to make small talk. Jason told me later that he was noticing that I had the apron on, and he was thinking, "Why is she cooking? We're late, we have to go!" I open the door wider, without thinking that there are balloons and birthday decorations right inside where he can see, Jason's thinking, "Someone's having a party, but we have to go!" All of a sudden I realize about the decorations and as he comes inside, I yell "SURPRISE!" And everyone else jumps out and yells surprise too. It took a second for him to process, but then he gets it and I confess that there is no work dinner tonight. Project "Jason's Surprise Birthday Party" was a success. :D

Monday, March 30, 2009

Wedding Cake Adventures

Now on to this weekend. Ashley Graham and Brandon Johnson got married yesterday!!! And I did their cake! I started baking it last week and froze it, then frosted it Tues and Thurs nights (the bachelorette party was Wed night) and we were going down Friday night so it had to be done before then cuz the wedding was at 11am yesterday and the reception was at 1:30pm, down in Columbus, GA. So I ended up taking Friday off from work to decorate the cake.

Ash and I went through a few different designs before I came up with the final result (she didn't know what it was till she showed up at the reception). First she wanted a red and black polka-dot square cake that was like the one off "Because I Said So." But after being informed that red and black are the worst frosting colors because they turn everyone's mouth's that color, we nixed that idea, but we were thinking marzipan might work. Then she sent me a pic of a cake with stripes/ribbons on it, which would be easy enough cuz I could just frost it (which is really the hardest part) and then put the ribbons on. Then she saw a pic of a cake with a different design on each tier that she really liked, and she didn't want to be pulling ribbon of her cake when it came time to cut it. And we decided to do the top and bottom layer white frosting and the middle layer chocolate. Soooo.....the only thing that didn't change was the square cake.

So, I decided to do a wide chocolate frosting "ribbon" look on the bottom layer, with polka-dots and cornelli lace alternating design on each one, as if it was a design on a fabric ribbon. The middle layer I just did small polka-dots. Then the top layer, Mom actually ended up doing it all over with cornelli lace pattern. That was the layer everyone liked!! Mom actually helped me ton on the cake, thank goodness. She's so amazing!

Well, a couple adventures we had were that I ordered the wrong separator plates and they should have been a couple of inches bigger each. Then I added WAY too much cocoa trying to get the chocolate frosting dark brown. Then we got that fixed. Then I thought black food coloring would darken it up...sounds logical, right?? WRONG!!!! It made it this LIGHTER ugly gray color. So then I thought we might could salvage it by adding some brown food coloring...it helped....a little....a very little!!! So then, cuz we didn't use up all the chocolate frosting in this first attempt, we mixed the rest of the plain chocolate frosting with the "colored" chocolate frosting and it actually did make this really pretty dark brown that I was going for.

Then we got them done and packed in enough time (thanks to my wonderful and extremely skillful dad) for me to meet Hillary and Mark Elton and David and Whitney Anderson to caravan down to Columbus, as we were staying with Hill's parents. I wanted to originally take the cake straight to the Stake Center and unload it there Friday night, and I'd just put it together when I got there on Saturday. But then I was informed that it would be an hour round trip to get there from the Swanson's house and that they would have room in their fridge for the cake. So I agreed to just take it there on Saturday. I didn't end up putting it in the fridge, cuz it was in the boxes and this was a 16", 12", and 8" cake....in other words...really, really big! So it went in the food storage room upstairs with me, to keep away from the grandkids and it had an ac unit in there I could crank down to keep it cool.

We got up Saturday morning and it's pouring rain! We get ready and load the cake in the car. I wanted to leave early to take the cake to the stake center again, but was informed that there was more than likely not going to be anyone there. So, I would just go there straight after the wedding. We make it to the wedding site, a cute little chapel in the woods. And we go in, in the pouring rain, through the mud. And it was so cute inside the building. Very nicely decorated. The wedding ceremony was very sweet and beautiful, and Ashley looked gorgeous!!

I leave the wedding site to go to the stake center to set up and assemble the cake and I'm following Hill to get back to the interstate. The last right turn I take to get on the road that'll take me to the interstate....I cut to close, and jump the curb...BIG TIME! I of course scream, immediately pull over and put my emergency flashers on and climb in the back to check on the cake, cuz though we packed it securely, that was a big jolt. The middle layer's ok, phew. Next I check the bottom layer. AHHHH, it's smashed into the corner of the box!! I jump out of the car and run around to the back, open the door and have to smash my fingers into the frosting (why it's a good reason to buy a separator plate a couple inches bigger than the cake you're putting on it) to move the cake away from the edge fo the box. I'm freaking out now and in a hurry to get to the stake center to see what I can do to salvage the cake. I then look at the top layer....YIKES!! It's smashed into the corner of the box too!! Just not as bad, and I can move that one away a little easier.

I jump back in the car and take off down the road, flying till I make it to the stake center. I run in, (it's still pouring rain) and recruit Taylor Burke to help me carry in the cakes. Jacob Terry's there, so he finds me a table I can work on, so as not to mess up the beautifully decorated cake table they have set up in the gym. They have no room in the kitchen with the other food, so I'm having to do the repair job right there! And it's 12:40pm and the reception starts at 1:30pm. I have no idea how I'm going to fix this cake either, it's smashed pretty bad. Though luckily there are two sides that look decent enough that I can do a quick fix job and turn those to the front. Ryan Smith was my amazing helper and found supplies for me and help me hide the bottom layer, which was the worst one damaged, with the tulle on the table and the roses we pilfaged from the other tables. In my opinion Ryan saved the cake. I don't think I could have gotten looking half as good without him! Thanks for marrying such a good man Heather!!

We set it up and assembled it and I put the border on, all as they're announcing Ashley and Brandon and saying the blessing on the food, yeah, talk about the center of attention!!! But it did turn out well, and looked really good after it was all over, and Ashley loved it, which is what mattered, and as long as you didn't look too closely at the back, you couldn't tell it'd been smashed...really.

But I had a good time and will definitely do it again if given the chance....though I won't drive all over Harris County (or whatever county it needs to go to) with the cake in my car for two days. I'm taking it straight from my house (or my folks house, wherever it happens to be finished at) to the reception site in one trip. Less, though I know it doesn't eliminate all, chance of anything happening to it the less time it's in the car.

But we stayed at the Swanson's all weekend, and ate like they do in the country, way too much of way too good food. I loved every minute of it and I'm going to be eating salads for every meal for two weeks to make up for it, but it was so worth it. But it was Hillary's niece's blessing today, so we stayed for that, then they bbq'd chicken and ribs for dinner. Mmmmmm, is all I can say for that, and we came on back home. I'm thoroughly exhausted and ready to get back to some semblence of normalcy! ;)

I'll post pics of the cakes when I get them...to add to my adventure, I didn't put my memory card back in my camera so I didn't get any pics on my camera from the reception. :(

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ward Activity - Pick a Dinner, Pick a Date!

So the weekend of the 21st was our ward activity, which I was in charge of. And I cannot seem to get ahead of the game on this calling. I'm just not able to get organized. So we did a date-dinner auction, without the auction part. And it was fun...I think. We had girls bring dinner/lunch for two and we had it at noon at Hammond Park. Then the guys were give numbers and we drew their numbers out of a hat and then they chose the dinner they wanted (without knowing which girls dinner they chose). We also had the girls write down 2 truths and a lie and put with their dinners so the guys could pick someone they might have something in common with and have a conversation starter.

Well.....we ended up having twice as many guys than girls show up, which also happened at the February activity, not quite twice, but definitely 3-2 odds, and I might have had more guys than girls at my January activity too, which was my first one. So we can see where my trend's going, and I'M not complaining about the odds, but I'm sure the guys aren't too happy about it. :) So, we ended up having each dinner get picked twice so that each girl was eating with 2 guys, and we had brought extra food for whoever forgot so there was plenty if the girl hadn't brought enough, but most girls had.

Matt Drake and Drew Metcalf picked mine, and they were great and awesome picnic companions. It was a cooler day, but nice and sunny. And then at the end, when we're all packing up, Matt comes running up with flowers!! Apparently some of the girls had been complaining about cooking for the activity, so he brought flowers for whoever was going to be his "date" which happened to be me. It totally made my day!! Seriously, one of the best guys in the ward. If there's any girl who doesn't believe me, send her my way, I'll have a talk with her and convince her one way or the other....ok, ok, I'm really not going to browbeat, but I'll definitly talk to her!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Moving and Greenwood Trip

A couple weeks after the Idaho trip, Mom and Dad moved into a new house (which we were in the process of packing and cleaning out stuff before the trip as well). Well, they'd been in the old house for 9 1/2 years, had 4 grown kids storing stuff there who didn't live there anymore, another teenage daughter, and my two grandfather's things who had passed away while they were living there and still hadn't had a chance to go through everything that was left from them. So needless to say, besides just the moving part, which is always fun (in case you couldn't tell, that was said with major sarcasm) there was the sorting to go through. And poor Mom was mostly on her own, cuz Dad had to focus on the business, seeing as that's paying the bills, and I worked full-time as well, not to mention my responsibilities in a million other areas, and Alyssa has a social calender more packed than all 4 of her older siblings combined, and everyone else lived too far away (though Alan was able to fly in for a week to help her before we went out to Idaho). But we had so many precious angels that came and helped soooo much with the moving and the packing and the sorting. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! So that all ended the weekend of the 15th.

Well, that weekend as well, was my dad's cousin's baby shower, up in Greenwood, SC....3 1/2 hours away. They'd been married 13/14 years and were just now pregnant with their first baby (they weren't sure if they could get pregnant before as she had had some health complications), which my grandma (who's almost 81) wanted to go to. Well, she CAN drive herself, but we DON'T like her to. And she had asked me earlier that week. Well, I had been asked to speak in church that Sunday as well. And I had responsibilities with my church calling as the activitie's co-chair that I needed to take care. But I rearranged everything and drove her up that weekend cuz I was the only one available to do it. I had a great time and it's beautiful up there and I love my great-aunt and uncle's place. And the shower was so cute. They had made a corsage out of a baby's paci and sock and bow. It was cute!!! I wish I had a pic of it, but I'm horrible and never take pics ever!! But I'll have to remember that whenever we do a baby shower up here. And they had baby dolls for table decorations. It really was cute.

The present grandma brought for Aimee. It's wrapped in cloth diapers and those are diaper safety pins holding it together. Isn't she the cutest??

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hailey's Blessing and AnnaLea's surprise bday party

Soooo much has happened in the past month or two. We went out to Idaho to visit Alan and Crystal and see Hailey for the first time the first of March. She was sooooo adorable, and so incredibly good. She was being passed around to all these strangers and mostly just slept, but didn't fuss much when she was awake. I love that little munchkin. And she loves music. Alyssa sang to her (she sings awesome) and Hailey was just watching her as she sang, she'd been a little fussy right before that, but there wasn't a peep out of her while Alyssa was singing. It was cool! And her blessing was that weekend, which is why we went out there. It was pretty awesome to watch my brother bless his daughter, I'll admit I teared up, and my mom cried a little too I think. ;)

What a cute family!!!

There were 4 baby girls blessed that Sunday. It was kinda wild. One of them was Jimmy Johnson's daughter.....ok, ok, not THE Jimmy Johnson, #48 Lowe's car Nascar driver (yes, this shows how much of a redneck I am), but he later got up to bear his testimony and introduced himself as Jimmy Johnson. Dad was tickled!

While we were there, we also had a surprise 30th birthday party for AnnaLea on Sunday evening. She turned 30 on the 17th, but since we were all going to be out there then, we planned it for that weekend. It was awesome, she didn't suspect a thing. Mom and I came up with the idea to have people write her a letter with a memory or something they love about her, and we were trying to get 30 of them, for 30 days of letters, but we didn't quite get there, but that's ok, it still was good. But Alyssa was writing hers at Alan's apartment Saturday night, and had just hit the print button (and her letter had AnnaLea's name in big bright letters across the top) when AnnaLea walked into the room, and I tried to subtly walk her back out to the main room, but she was trying to talk to Alyssa, so Alyssa just dived to hug her round the neck and dragged her out of the room. AnnaLea was suspicious after that, and was asking about her, while I very calmly and as seriously as I could, told her it was nothing and don't worry about it. It took a minute or two, but she atleast let it go enough to not push it, but then I think she forgot about it. So thanks to an awesome decoy named Lindsey Borg, we were able to keep her away from the place where we were having a luncheon after the blessing on Sunday in order to decorate with tons of St. Paddy's Day stuff. She was shocked....she didn't even know who we were yelling "Happy Birthday" too when she walked into the room. It was great!!

Here's AnnaLea in part of her birthday present...don't you think the hat works for her???

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I'm an Aunt!!! Finally!!!

Ok, this is only 2 weeks late!! I'm finally an aunt!! Alan & Crystal had a beautiful baby girl on Jan 9th at 11:20pm. 6lbs even, 18 1/2 inches. They named her Hailey Marie. Isn't that pretty?? And...she's a redhead!! :) They sent me a pic text at 6am, my time, on Sat morning. It's probably a good thing they live in Idaho because Sat was also the day of Ash W/T's ring ceremony and reception (they had the temple ceremony on Friday), which wouldn't have been a big deal, except I was a bridesmaid and NEEDED to be there. So, I wasn't torn on whether to go see my new niece or fulfill my bridesmaid duties. Good thing too, cuz I would have gone to see my niece! Alan, Crystal, and baby Hailey are doing well, thank goodness, besides lack of sleep of course!

And of course I have to say that Ashley's wedding/reception was beautiful. She was beautiful and happy, I was so happy for her! Life's so good sometimes, and that weekend was great!

Isn't she so beautiful?? (P.S. Heather Smith was the photographer, isn't she just amazing?)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Official Intro to Blog World

So yes....I have finally entered the world of blogging. Though knowing me, it will probably be very sporadic and random when I do post. So do not plan on following this for an update. :)

The biggest news I have is I'm going to be an aunt in a week (or maybe even less!!). My niece (Alan and Crystal's daughter) is due to be born on Jan. 15. They have yet to decide on a name, though they have a couple of options, they won't have a definite until she's born. Sad news is that they are living in Idaho. :( So I won't see her until the first weekend of March when I go out there for her baby blessing (pray for good ticket prices!). I am way excited to see this little darling. I'm just bummed that she'll be in Idaho for the first 6 months of her life (as it stands now, Alan and Crystal are moving to ATL after her contract ends in June).

The next big news is this weekend is one of my very good friends weddings!! (There's even more story behind that, but maybe for another time. I am extremely excited for them!! If you've ever met Ashley W, you know how amazing and wonderful she is and how she's definitely one of the most deserving people ever of the greatest happiness possible. And if Jacob (her fiance) doesn't make her that happy, he definitely does his very best! I love them, they are great!! This will also mark the 3rd out of 4 weddings that have been in process since July among the Atlanta division of my close group of friends. Ash G will finish up the process at the end of March with the last of these whirlwind weddings. It's kinda crazy how 4 of the 5 original people in our little group here all will be married within less than a year of each other. And all 4 of them have married (or will marry) such amazing people that have become friends with us all, it's awesome. I definitely recognize that I'm lucky to have such good friends and that they marry such great people that we still stay as close as ever after they get into these relationships, it doesn't always happen this way.

Alright kids, stay out of trouble and don't do anything I would....er....wouldn't do! :)