Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring Football Game Tailgater BBQ

While I was attending to a bridal shower, the guys attended the spring scrimmage Duck football game.  We used that as our excuse to host a bbq.  Given we'd made some changes to our backyard, we thought we'd throw a wide net of invitation from family friends our age to college students.  God must have known that I would not make it if we had a ton of people over (I was so tired before the bbq even began), so it turned out to just be the Johnsons, Quigleys, Heather, Michael, Kyle, Kaela, and Becky.  Everyone was out of the house by 7:30 - at which time I IMMEDIATELY collapsed in bed, later on retrieving ice packs for the mounting headaches.  Note to self:  two parties in one day is too much!  (But, it seemed like such a good idea knowing I'd only be cleaning the house once!)

First up, some pictures of our side patio - having been decorated with some flowers purchased and potted this last week.  (It made me so happy to have the sunshine to do that).

Next up, a reveal of what our new back yard looks like.  I thought I'd put this picture up to remind you what our yard looked like (wasn't she pretty!) in February.

And, "Ta Da" - here's roughly the same angle of perspective as to what it looks like now:

That big light up there shines directly down on the court and leads to very little spill-over into the neighbors' yards. 

It's not put up right now, but that net hanging on our house wall can easily be put up with a pole that comes up from being stored in a shaft at half court.  And there you go - now it's a volleyball court.

To the left, is a ball bin that holds all the balls (and we feel like it was custom made to sit in that little corner) - and then the net on this side is called a "rebounder" so it is extra strong.  If you played baseball, you could pitch against it.  We use it to serve volleyballs against or just pass and set into it.  It's awesome...

And, we didn't get rid of the trampoline - though it did get itself a new net and poles.  The netting was "in construction" when this pic is taken.  Also, the pebble gravel we had before was replaced by wood chips, with a layer of landscaping material underneath, so Sydney is no longer able to dig.  During rain or shine, she comes in clean!!  (I am finding a lot more wood chips in my carpet, small price to pay, though!) 

Now, on to party #2 - the bridal shower formality was transformed into bbq casual.   (We had plenty of "fancy food" leftover too...the mantra of the evening was "EAT!, PLEASE EAT MORE!)


And, this sight....yes, this is what our dream was when we decided to go for it with this backyard remodel.  If it is not raining (and even sometimes when it its), the kids are out there.  Brayden's friends come by just to be able to play on it - and even our own kids often find themselves not arguing and playing together. 


Grillin' time...

This guy is Solomon, he's actually a couple of months younger than Brayden.  Crazy, huh?  We love this guy - he's always smiling (he was trying to follow directions in this picture to give a good pose...).  He is one very positive kid and we enjoy having him around.

Brayden can't be around Michael Chase very long without intentionally antagonizing him and ending up in a position like this...

This is us making plans for our next activity - Heather checking her calendar and me checking mine...

Upon looking at the calendar and realizing Kaela's birthday was on the upcoming Monday, we spontaneously decided to put a candle in one of the brownies and ambush Kaela as she came out of the restroom.  Heather was behind the camera at this point and Michael insisted on taking the lead in one of the worst renditions of "Happy Birthday" that I've heard in a while.

 Onto some side patio photo ops!

Since I don't think I've taken many pictures with her - I took this opportunity.  This is Becky, such an amazing young lady I am so blessed to spend time with on a regular basis.  She was my co-conspirator in putting the bridal shower together.

It was "awkward photo" time.  Michael and Heather are not a couple, FYI - more like siblings in their friendship. 

Everyone was gone by the time dusk came - but because of the snow collapsing our side patio gazebo (the second time that has happened), we had to put up a new one.  I think John did such a beautiful job with the lighting as well...

Woah, what a day. It was a very gratifying day, but so exhausting.  Unfortunately, that headache has kept me from doing anything substantial today, but I think that's okay!  It's been a cozy, kick-back day - time to recover!

Bobbi's Bridal Shower

About six weeks ago, my dear friend Becky asked if I would help her host a bridal shower for her best friend (and a good friend of mine) Bobbi.   I've known Bobbi since we started attending CCF.  Her boyfriend (for over five years) is a cheerleader for the Ducks.  It's been fun watching him over the years at the football games - particularly during the third quarter as they always stand below our section during that time.   She is such a sweetheart - so kind and lacking in any kind of "drama".  They have been such a "model couple" for everyone who knows them or is around them.  So mature, so thoughtful and respectful of each other - we are all overjoyed for them to finally tie the knot in a couple of weeks.

This has actually been a good diversion for me to have the week after returning to Eugene from Maui.  Knowing I'll be hosting the baby shower for Steph, this was kind of a blessing to also do so that I could double up on ideas and know what works and what doesn't.  We planned for a brunch and hoped to have it outside, however, it was just slightly too cool to make that happen (though we appreciated the sunshine!).  I think by August 4th - when we are hoping to make Steph's happen, it will be plenty warm enough!

This is the invitation we put together thanks to Vistaprint.  (My address was "retouched out" to be able to put it on the blog underneath the date and time, which accounts for it being slightly off-balance).

Bobbi's wedding colors are purple and gray.  How perfect it was to have these lilacs available (for free) just in time for the shower.  We have a tree of our own, but I've already taken the majority of blooms for my bouquets.  So, I stole these from Travis and Stephanie's side yard.  I barely made a dent in all that's in bloom there...

Here's some pics of the "spread":

This Almond Joy Bread was a new recipe I found on Pinterest.  If you like Almond Joy's - you will like this.  It's a little time intensive for a quick bread (involves a coconut glaze and chocolate ganache), but I was very impressed and considered it a huge success!

This is the only item I won't repeat - they are homemade sugar cookies, and I'm not thrilled with that recipe - a little dry.  I think I'd do this with brownies, cream cheese frosting and fruit on top of that next time.

The apple brie toasts were the last to be put together (we had an assembly line going to get those finished up) - so they weren't on the table.

Here's a glimpse of that assembly line featuring the help of Danielle, Becky, and Mikayla

Now, a picture with the Brie Toasts:

This was the only "party activity" that we had as Bobbi is not a fan of shower games.  (I'm not either, so that works for me!).  This requested guests to come up with ideas for date nights. 

The beverage table:

This is Bobbi, her sister Bethany (to the left), and her mom, Pam (to the right)

Present opening time: 

The gift I got for Bobbi - a huge container of Russian Tea as she is a fellow connoisseur =)

We ended the "official time" of the shower with hands joined in prayer for Bobbi

Then, folks moved outside - to chit chat, play some basketball, and take some photos with Bobbi.

This is Bobbi and Becky - best friends =)

Bobbi was wearing some significant heels - but even without, she's a tall gal.  Her future husband is very tall....always nice when it works out that way!