Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

This past weekend was our Ugly Christmas Sweater party. We had a great turnout and it was a blast. Even Gabby had a fun time, so much fun I think she is still recovering from the late night.

The best part to throwing an Ugly Sweater party is trying to figure out who had the best worst sweater or outfit. I love spending time with friends and enjoy just watching everyone else. We sang some Christmas Carols, which were led very well by a few of the finest dressed.

I believe my favorite part of Christmas is decorating the house. We are definitely going to make this party a yearly event. Check out the fun:
Drinks anyone!!
Such a cute couple
Will being well Will
Me and my Gabby girl
Gabby is ready to PARTY
Elf Michael
End Results for the evening.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I can't believe Thanksgiving has come and gone. It was a very business week and then some. Wednesday night Michael's best friend came into town, which of course meant that we were going to go out and have drinks. We went to a bar in Rogers after visiting with Zack's family. It was a late, fun night and a very early morning. Thursday morning we got up and drove to Fort Smith. I love spending time with my crazy family. It was Gabby's first Thanksgiving at my mom's house with 30 people. Gabby was a little concerned about the kiddos mostly the four year old boy. Too much movement for Gabby to take, but before the day was over Aden and Gabby were best friends!!! Who knew a little game of chase the doggie around the house could make Gabby so happy. It is amazing that I made it through the entire day without taking one photograph. We played a game with everyone and I watch Santa Paws with Aden. It was a great day with my whole family.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Washington, D.C.

Wow. I just have to start by saying Wow. First, Washington, D.C. or as the locals refer to it the District, is beautiful in the fall. I think they planned for the trees to look the way they do whenever they were planted. I was in the District for work, but I decided since I had never been to our country's capital before I must venture out of my hotel and wander.

I love traveling and I am never really bothered by going anywhere alone. It is always better to go somewhere with a friend or loved one, but I never seem to mind the silence and the ability to do whatever I want whenever I want. Since there are about a million things to do in DC I first had to figure out what was the most important. I decided the National Mall was the way to go. I could park and walk EVERYWHERE. At one end of the National Mall is the Lincoln Memorial and at the opposite end is the capital building. Cannot go wrong with this walk. Gorgeous city. I went all over the mall and it was perfect. The picture at the top is from the Koren War Memorial, the trees to me were just amazing.
Washington Monument
Washington Monument and Capital from the Lincoln Memorial

On my way out of town, literally, I decided there was one other site I could not miss. Arlington National Cemetery. Before catching my flight I dropped over to the cemetery, and wandered around. I did not have a lot of time, but I wanted to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns and the eternal flame at the grave of John F. Kennedy. Arlington Cemetery is huge and walking around alone was a little eerie, but if you only have a short time in the city it is a must.
Just beautiful

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I do, Now What?

I have been reading this book pictured above. I saw Giuliana and Bill Rancic one day on Television promoting this book, and for two reasons I bought the book; one I am newly married, and two I knew I would be traveling a lot and needed a new read. Four hours on a plane goes a lot faster whenever I am reading.

This book was a very fun and interesting read. I have to say I will be passing this book along to all my friends before or after they are married. They talk a lot about the top conversations all married couples have or will have at some point in their relationship, i.e. money, honesty, jealousy, joining two lives. There were many points in this book, as I was reading, where I felt like it was describing our entire relationship. Michael and I have dealt with a lot of subjects most couples wait decades before ever having to confront. We are stronger than ever for having to have those moments and discussions. So, for me it was almost a relief to read other YOUNG couples have had the same conversations. In this book, especially if you are an emotional type, you will laugh, you will cry and you will definitely think about your own relationship.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bridal Shower

Everyone who threw the shower with the Bride-to-be
This past weekend, Michael and I went down to Fort Smith. A friend from church is getting married in December and my mom, a few of her friends, and I threw her a shower. Rachel, the one getting married, and I have known each other for many years and our parents are all good friends. That is probably the best part about being part of a church family. The friends you meet always are in your life. Rachel is three years younger than me and we have spent many hours skiing the slopes of Colorado together. I just have to say from my own experience with having a church bridal shower thrown for me and now throwing one for someone else, the church family is the best. They always have the best stories of their own relationships and they don't ever seem shy to share, which gets entertaining.

I think Rachel had a good time on Sunday and I know she ended up with some great items that will get some good use. Whenever I am throwing a shower/party I always get cake at the same place, Rick's Bakery in Fayetteville. I picked up this gorgeous cake Saturday and it was fabulous on Sunday. I try and go to Rick's at least one a week for lunch. Yummy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Birthday!!!

Today is my Dad's 54th Birthday! Happy Birthday Old man....you are old in age only!! This past weekend I hosted a bridal shower for a friend of mine getting married in a month, and the shower was at my mom's house. It was a great great weekend. My brother was in town house hunting in Fort Smith, yay for him moving back!!! I think he has even found a house and put in an offer. I am so glad he was able to come home to house hunt and hang out for my Dad's birthday. The shower was Sunday, so Sunday night Michael, my parents, my brother and I all went out to try a new restaurant for Dad's birthday. We had tons of fun, good company, good food, and good memories.

I am a Daddy's little girl, and forever will be. I am so fortunate to have a father who has always supported me in all of my crazy ventures, i.e. moving to Chicago. Told me how great I am at certain things and how I need to improve on others, his honesty is awesome. Even though we fight sometimes, I know deep down it is just because I am just like him (hard headed), and that makes me smile. I can't wait to for him to be around for 50 more years, so he can experience all the great things our family continues to offer. Love you Daddy!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Is it Christmas yet?

As most of you know, I can be very OCD at times. Michael and I are planning an Ugly Christmas Sweater party at our house. I am very excited about this party, mainly because next to Halloween I love Christmas. I love Christmas music, Christmas lights, Christmas decorations, and I love a white Christmas. As soon as the weather starts getting cold I look forward to one thing putting up my Christmas Tree.

I travel a lot, and I am lucky because I usually don't travel at all during the holiday months. When I started to travel for work, I wanted to collect something in order to remind me of all the fun and interesting places I get to go. I thought about collecting shot glasses, but really I don't drink that much and they would probably just sit in a cabinet and never be seen or used. I thought about collecting magnets, but the major problem with collecting magnets is that my refrigerator is stainless steal and who really wants 200 magnets sitting on the refrigerator. So, after a lot of thought I decided to start collecting Christmas ornaments, which in my house was a brilliant idea. I have traveled a lot this past year, so I am definitely looking forward to putting my tree up.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Love Fall

It is officially getting colder and the trees are changed or changing, and Halloween has come and gone. I really enjoy fall and some parts of winter. I love Halloween and carving pumpkins and watching all the adorable little children come to our house in their super cute costumes.

Michael and I went over to our friend's house the other evening to eat dinner and carve pumpkins. The ladies of the group were much more excited about the pumpkin carving than the boys who just wanted to watch the World Series. While over at their house we dress their daughter in her Halloween costume and took some pictures pre-pumpkin carving. Check out how cute this little one is.
Michael's and My pumpkins
Stella looking cute
The trees and campus are probably my favorite part of fall in Fayetteville. It seems to last a long time here. Fall starts at the beginning of October and last the whole month. The trees seem to take FOREVER to change, but it is always fun to see how they change on a daily basis. In Chicago fall last all of two weeks before it is too cold and the trees have no leaves. I truly missed the fall weather while living in Chicago, but I am grateful to be home and to wear cute clothes.
Halloween! Michael and I's favorite holiday. Dressing up and going to parties (which we didn't do because we went to the Arkansas Football game) and handing out candy. We have several very adorable kids come to the house. My favorite was a 9 year old dressed as Raggedy Anne and Michael's favorite was a 3 year old Indiana Jones, who I must say was pretty cute. Between now and next year we are going to work on Michael's excited face and making sure he makes a comment about all the kids at the door not just his favorite. Michael kept wanting me to hand out the candy; he said I was better with the kids.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Family Reunion

Mallard Side of the Lay Family
A few weekends ago, Michael and I traveled to southern Arkansas to attend the Lay Family Reunion. I was so excited about getting to see my extended family. The Lay family is my paternal grandmother's side of the family. The majority of the extended Lays live south of Little Rock. Most of my father's side lives south of Little Rock, and I don't believe Michael has ever traveled that far south. It was a whole new world. Cotton fields and two lane highways, in which my father reverted back to the years he drove a Camero and decided to drive 100mph on those two lane highways in his Tahoe.

I have a lot of good memories of driving to visit my family with my grandfather and my cousin. The last time I spent any amount of time down there I was 13 years old, and doing anything away from my parents at that age was fun. My great aunts and uncles all lives within about 20 miles of each other and we drove to visit each one and we did something special and fun at each one's house. To a 13 year old it was a great time; horseback riding and visiting cemetery. Yes, visiting cemeteries. Apparently we all need to know where our family is buried, according to my Great Uncle J.

It was great visiting with all of my extended family. The last time we had a family reunion I was 2 years old and pictures are the only memories I have of the day. I do know most of my extended family, mainly from attending our fair share of funerals throughout the years, so it was nice to get together for a happy occasion. It was wonderful to know everyone still looks the same. The reunion was held at my great grandmother's house (which has been remodeled) on the Lay family farm. Most surprising thing of the day was that I actually remembered how to get there, or at least a few random landmarks.

Hopefully it won't be 23 more years before we have another reunion.
My Dad and Great Uncle Alvie

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pineapple Express

While in Hawaii, we went to the Dole pineapple plantation. Now for those that know me, know how much I hate any fruit, but that did not stop me from enjoying the plantation. The day we went to the plantation was a super long and super enjoyable day. I think everyday in Hawaii is fun.

Veronica, Skye, and I all went to Pali Lookout first thing in the morning. It was extremely windy up there. We actually didn't think it was all that bad at first but then we walked to a second (lower) level of Pali Lookout and I couldn't even push the stroller because the wind was so bad. It was beautiful from up there, I think Skye was a little concerned about the wind, but I can't really blame her.
the view
Top part of the lookout
Low hanging clouds
Notice my hair

After we left Pali Lookout, we decided to drive over to the Dole Plantation. Veronica really wanted to ride the Pineapple Express. When we first got to the plantation we had some lunch. Lets just say anything that could be made with pineapples was made with pineapples at the plantation. They have a few items made without pineapples, THANK GOODNESS. The plantation has a lot of things to do, they have the train, a maze, and even a koi pond. You could even feed the fish at the koi pond. Skye loved the watch the fish, but so did I! After lunch and a quick stop at the koi pond, we got on the pineapple express. We had fun on the train and Skye really liked the train ride, her face was priceless. I am definitely missing that little girl and her mommy. I wish they lived closer!
Koi Pond
Skye watching the fish
Only picture of the two of us!
Check out that face!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Back to the windy city. I will finish writing about Hawaii later this week, and I am already very very sad I am back to reality. I did miss Michael tons, but something about waking to the salt in the air and cool walks at night is really a bummer now that I am in Chicago.

Chicago is a fabulous city to go visit, and right now it is fall. It isn't even fall in Arkansas yet. The trees are beautiful and the air is crisp, and the hustle and bustle of the big city is definitely happening. Most people know that I like to take pictures. I am not a professional photographer, but I do enjoy capturing moments in my life and the lives of my friends and family. My friend, and former co-worker, asked that I help her with a project for her parents for Christmas. We were lucky that I was in Chicago on the perfect day this week. The fall colors are amazing and honestly the pictures look very good. I think her parents will be so excited to see them, whenever they get their present in a few months.

I will show the pictures after I work through all the touch ups. Tomorrow is a Better than Ezra concert. Sometimes work functions can be fun.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Honolulu Zoo

We took Schuylia to the Zoo, her very first time to go to the zoo. It was a very fun experience. Skye was fun to watch. I think most of the time she was too busy watching all the people walking around the park, but occasionally she liked certain animals. Her absolute favorite live animal was the Llama. I think the Llama wasn't too sure about her, because it was making funny noises, but that's why Schuylia loved it that much. We could make the noise later and it would send her into giggles. Her other favorite "animal" was this giant cow. She wanted to touch the cow and she would give a big smile every time. I just have to say watching kids at a zoo is probably the funnest thing ever, they are so in love with every animal.
Starting our day out right
Giant Turtles are cool
Checking out the Llama
Country girl at heart?
Group Shot
We have had many firsts with the baby this week, including going to the beach for the first time. First, she loves the water and the sand. She loves to splash in the water and eat the sand. I don't know what it is about kids and wanting to put sand in their mouths. One would think after tasting the sand, they wouldn't repeat the process 100 more times. I am pretty sure that somehow that sand tastes very good. I personally am not going to try and find out. We will just keep those little hands from going into the mouth. I was very excited that she liked the water, just means that we get to go to the beach more.
Happy to be in the water
Playing in the water with her momma
Riding the waves

Monday, October 4, 2010

Carnival on Base

Veronica and I took Schuylia to the joint base carnival that was occurring the other evening right out in there front yard. They had crafts, rides, and a band. Best part it was all FREE!! So, we ventured out to take Skye on her first carousel ride and play with the crafts. Skye was not a huge fan of the carousel, or she just did not really understand it. She rode with the same look on her face the entire time. We did make her daddy a present, or I should say Skye made her daddy a present. At the end of the carnival they had a laser show with music. It was really cool, and the best part was that we got to watch it from Veronica's front yard.
What is going on?
Making her daddy a star
I bought Skye a couple of really cute razorback outfits. Multiple reasons, one they are really cute, and two her daddy is a Vandy fan and so of course I have to provide a little influence, her momma did live in Arkansas for awhile. Skye really liked the first outfit we put her in with a Hog!
One more Hog fan in this world

North Shore

We took a trip along the coast up to the North Shore. It was crazy, with all the people. We went up there last year whenever Michael was here and it wasn't near as crazy. The waves were huge, the surfers were out, and so were all the surf sponsors. The waves were so bad that there was no getting in the water.

We did take Schuylia out of the car at one point and put her feet in the water. We found a beach with rocks right off the shore to break up the waves. Skye loved the water and the waves. She kept staring into the distance watching very intently. We had lunch in Haleiwa at a cute little place called Breakers. In honor of Michael we then walked over to this really good coffee shop and I had a mocha freeze, it is ice cream, mocha, and two shots of espresso. Yum Yum! After lunch, we took Skye for a walk along Haleiwa Beach Park and saw a sea turtle. It was huge. I was lucky and caught it on my camera.

Love walking on the beach.
Yay for Rocks
The water was a little cool
So windy
Checking out the Waves
Sea Turtles

About Us

My photo
Michael and I have been together since 2006. We met in college at the University of Arkansas and began our life together. We bought a house and moved to Fayetteville from the Chicagoland area in November 2009. We were married in 2010 and had our first child, a boy, in 2013. Our favorite thing to do together is travel and we have gotten the opportunity to go to lots of fun places. We are working, breathing, playful parents. Our fur baby and child are the center of our crazy life, but we wouldn't have it any other way.