Natalie gradutated! Hurray! We can't believe it!...Okay, we never really doubted that she would. She is a little smarty pants physics major. We were ever so happy to be in attendance, especially since the weather was not sweltering hot as is the normal tradition for UD's outdoor ceremony. The Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth spoke and made many nice references to the traditions of UD and in general the speakers were good. Sure the kiddos got restless and some of the grown-ups did too, but all in all it was nice as far as long ceremonies go.
This picture is mostly unrelated to the event, but I just thought they were cute.
"Super Dave", the long time UD Campus Safety Officer also thought Gus was pretty cute and wanted to take pictures of him. Mostly it was the fact that I had put him in his Groundhog onesie made by Angela Kersting.
And then we got up close for the important part of the show.
Because Natalie is just so special, she got to carry a flag in the front of the graduates.
Of course, Jimmy thought that was cool, but I figured after Aunt Nat walked by, he would not care about watching everyone else slowly walk out of their rows. No, I was very wrong. We had to sit and patiently watch every person leave. The grads at the end of the line didn't even look like they wanted to be there anymore, but Jimmy did. I actually think he just liked the band with all the trumpets playing on the balcony above, but after that long of a ceremony I am surprised he wasn't crying to go home or running amuck like a crazy person.
Our cute little graduate with her mama and papa.
And a smooch from her big brother.
And then the whole family attempted to get a picture and I will not go into anymore details about how difficult this was or the giant crisis it caused. I don't want to think about it anymore.
Congratulations Aunt Nat! You are all done.... Oh, wait, no you aren't. You are going to stay an extra year and get a BA in Philosophy just because. Have fun with that. We love you and all, but we won't be doing a second graduation for you.
One of the main reasons for our trip was that Zach's youngest sister Natalie was graduating. The night before the UD graduation there is always a Gala for the grads and their families. It is always a night of dancing and fun, but it holds a special meaning for Zach and I because it is the anniversary of the night we got engaged. Here we are back then:
And here we are these days.... we have both grown small children on our hips.
It was fun having the kids there, but well.... let's just say it was a little different than I was used to. Zach and I only got one dance in, but Jimmy was all about the band and dancing with me and his aunties. I wish I had gotten pictures because it was pretty cute. Well, I got some other cute ones at least.
And my dearest friend from college, Bess, graced us with her presence.
There were also lots of scary dinosaurs sneaking up on people.
And look, a whole family of pterodactyls...
We partied till the end but I had to retire to the hotel with the kids. Zach went with his sisters and Dad to an after-party which ended up being in his old apartment in his old room...weird.
Our first stop after getting off the airplane in Dallas was Club Schmitz, a long time University of Dallas hangout. I have to admit that in my time at UD I think I only went there twice, but I guess I am not the best representative of my school's drinking habits. As far as bars go, it is a pretty fun one. It is just a little hole-in-the-wall burger and beer joint with a shuffleboard table that makes it all the more fun.
Here is a picture of it from back in the day (it hasn't changed much):
We had a little UD reunion of sorts with all the people that still live in Dallas and a few that were also in from out of town. There was a great crowd and it was so fun to see people that I hadn't seen in so long. There were actually so many people that I didn't get to talk to nearly as many as I wanted. The time flew by and I was far more focused on conversation than pictures, but here are a few that are representative of the night:
Shuffle board was a big hit with the kids and hence nobody else got to play for most of the night. Despite a few banged fingers, this kept them happy for hours.
Zach and his old friend John were so proud to show off their adorable offspring.
There were plenty of little ones running about. Babies in bars is pretty much how we roll.
Gus was popular with the ladies and he even learned how to send text messages with his mouth.
I wish I could have gotten a group shot since there were so many people there, but then I would have had to be that annoying person... wait a second, I never mind being that annoying person for the sake of a picture. I actually just was having too much fun to stop and think about it.
Since a certain sister of mine has been neglectful of her blog, I figured I'd better do a little post about Finn's 4th Birthday. That is right, sister: this is a guilt trip... well, not really. We actually just had a lot of fun and I had cute pictures I wanted to share.
I think this picture pretty much sums it up:
But here are a few more highlights just because.
It wouldn't be Finn's special day if chocolate milk wasn't present.
And this guy just sort of crawled around the yard a lot. I can't stop him these days.
Jimmy even sported his Darth Vader t-shirt because "He is Finny's favorite."
This is the same reason we made him a card with Darth Vader on the front, but we had to put R2D2 on the back because that is Jimmy's favorite. He hasn't even seen the movie, but I suppose he chose this as his favorite because he likes to play with the R2D2 toy at the Burch's and he has a weird love of robots.
Good times had by all. But my sister and I still really want to make these.
I think it was my grandmother that instilled in me a deep love of front porches. Here is the house she grew up in:
I don't know if this picture does the porch justice. I never saw it, but she used to describe it to me and tell me how wonderful it was. It was a wrap-around porch, which in my opinion is the coolest kind. It is not the fact that they are visually appealing that really makes me love them: it is what they stand for. The idea of sitting out where you can see your neighbors passing by while you sit and relax with your family (think "Summer Magic" with Hayley Mills). I have always wanted one and while our house does not actually have one, it does have a little covered-patio-area that I have now deemed our front porch. I was nervous about putting out chairs because I thought they might be stolen (since our baby swing was), but we decided it was worth it to us to be able to sit out there, and it is not like the chairs are extremely valuable anyway. What I really want is a porch swing, but we don't really have a good place to hang one. My grandmother also loved Aidirondack chairs, so it does at least feel like on ode to her. We have been sitting outside in the evenings and even some early mornings, and we love it.
We desperately need to plant something new along our walkway since what used to be there died in a freeze (we do get those in Phoenix, believe it or not). Good thing they were thorny and we wanted to get rid of them anyway. Thankfully the roses survived. Now, I just need to learn to properly trim them.
It also gives us a chance to actually remember to water the plants we do have out front.
Jimmy has been big on practicing his photography, so there have been more than the usual amount of pictures of me lately.
We haven't exactly made new neighborhood friends, but maybe some day. For now I will just make believe I live in a friendly small town like in "Dandelion Wine" by Ray Bradbury (one of my new favorite books). At least I have my own cute family to keep me company on my new front porch.
This is a special little present to myself. I am actually eating both of them right now while I write about them. I should be prepping for my class tomorrow, but that would ruin the fun of eating these late at night when my children are sleeping. I actually was dreaming about doing this during Lent because that is when I found out about the new Jimmy Fallon flavor. However, mostly due to this little battle I saw one night, I had to get both kinds and eat them side by side as if the are best friends. After all, I love Steven Colbert very much, too, and I have been neglectful in trying his flavor. I love Ben and Jerry's and all, but it is just too expensive for the small amount you seem to get and I am, after all, a cheapskate. I guess I got spoiled when I worked at a resort in Vermont one summer and could have it for free all the time. If I saw their Oatmeal Cookie flavor in the stores, I may splurge more often. If you want my opinion on these two, here it is: they are not all that different. Both are vanilla base (Jimmy's is Vanilla Bean) and they have a Carmel Swirl through it (Jimmy's is salty) and they both have chocolate covered goodies inside. Colbert's is waffle cone which is classic and delicious and allows me to eat out of the carton and still have the joy of the cone. Jimmy's is potato chip. I know, kinda weird, but it is pretty good. Though, I keep eating it and concentrating really hard on whether it is actually good, or whether I just want it to be. I mean. I like potato chips, and I like ice cream, and love Jimmy Fallon, so it should all add up... but it is a little weird. I am intrigued enough to keep going back for more bites, but I think Colbert wins this contest. Jimmy Fallon still wins in cuteness. Now if I could just stay up late enough to eat this while I watch their shows...