Russ, Shalae, & Kids

Friday, February 19, 2016

January 2016

We started the month (and the year!) off at the Cactus Bowl, where ASU played and sadly lost! It was fun being with our whole family though. We tried out a new place to eat beforehand (Stufrageous)... 

Warning: there are lots of random pictures of Abby in this post. She's at such a funny age right now and every day I'm surprised about how smart she is... here she has propped up my old phone to watch you tube on it while relaxing at her little table.

Sophie and Abby hanging out under an umbrella at Noah's basketball practice :)

This was Abby's first time to be in charge of family home evening. She gladly put everything to use that Suzanne had given us in our "family home evening kit" for Christmas. Abby loves to pass out props for singing time, be the leader, and then tell everyone "thank you for singing" or "great singing" as she collects the props afterward. She also likes to tell us to hold our starts or animals or whatever it is we're holding "up high"!

This really was the best gift from Aunt Suzy. Abby LOVES it and we all love watching her be our music leader!

Abby's first french braid!

What a righteous 2 year old, reading scriptures!

I met up with my good friend Emily one day for lunch and we were dressed just alike so we had to get a picture!

I've made some big goals for myself this year and so far I have kept up with each of them. They include spiritual matters as well as becoming more physically fit. I follow the fitness plan outlined by Kayla Itsines and on several days a week, my front room becomes a gym!

We had a fun relief society activity in January, like the show "Chopped". We divided into 3 groups and each group went to a different home, where we were given ingredients that we didn't know about ahead of time... and then had 20 minutes to make first an appetizer and then later a dessert with our ingredients. The bishopric members were our judges and it was pretty entertaining to watch them taste our food! Here is Brother Wells, Bishop Smith, and Brother Ounjian. 

For Riggs' birthday on January 14th, we met at the cemetery and talked about him, celebrated his life, and then sent off 17 balloons since that would be his age this year. Afterward, we all went out to dinner together for pizza!

A few days after his birthday was the first (annual) Gibby Bowl. The Gibbons family invited a bunch of Riggs' friends to play in a flag football tournament and also served us all lunch. I had fun putting together the "GIBBY BOWL" banner and it will be fun to do this every year to celebrate Riggs' life. Noah also got to play in the tournament and did awesome! His team won!!

Out to lunch with my mom and sisters for Alisse's birthday! We went to Zupas :)

Abby's pretending she's on the phone in this picture. After riding her bike around the house, in her pajamas! haha

Some days, she has the best bed head ever!

In mid-January I got to go to California with my mom, sisters, cousins, and Aunt Alma - to stay at her beachhouse for the weekend. We didn't go there with any specific plans so it was a great, relaxing weekend! We did some group beach workouts, lots of shopping, and of course eating! 

On our last night of the trip, each family performed a little skit... 
From the Goodman family: Alma and Krista were the Spartan cheerleaders and personalized their cheers to our family and funny memories we have together...

Our family performed a customized version of "we're sisters" and we all dressed up as Grandma Riggs and her sisters. In order - I'm Jessie, Auburn is Alice, Alisse is Grandma, my mom is Edna, and Suzanne is Ruth!

From the Palmer family: Amy, Sara, Cherise, Mia, and Becky performed a new version of "I will Survive" and also changed the words to be all about our family. It was so fun!!

While we were away on our girls' trip, Bryan and Russ took the kids out riding in the desert. They all had fun and I enjoyed seeing this group selfie while I was missing them at home!

I can't ever resist taking pictures of Abby when she sleeps...

A week after my California trip, I got to leave again for a trip to Texas with Russ. He gave me round trip plane tickets to and from Dallas, with the plan to explore that area and especially Waco where the tv show "Fixer Upper" takes place. I was so excited to have alone time with Russ and to do some celebrity and/or landmark sightings!
We flew into Dallas Friday night and headed to Waco first thing Saturday morning. I was so excited to see some landmarks that I recognized from tv...

The Silos!!

There was a line around the building to get in. Later we found out that it had been the most busy day there. People were in town for all sorts of reasons like a Baylor ball game, a youth ministry weekend, a marathon...

Magnolia Flour coming soon! It will be fun to see this place on tv and know that I was there as it was being renovated :)

I took this picture because I liked the view of the building... and didn't realize until afterward that Joanna's mom (Mrs. Stevens) was in my picture! This was as close as I got to a celebrity sighting so it was fun for me!

We walked around the (very crowded) store and then went over to the food trucks to get some lunch. Every food truck was running out of food - that's how unexpectedly crowded this place was!

My cute husband! I loved every second I got to spend with him uninterrupted :)

We had to take a picture of our feet at the entrance of the store!

I got brave enough to ask Mrs. Stevens for a picture with her and she was so sweet! She asked where I was from and told me her youngest daughter used to live in Arizona. She also thanked us for coming :)

We stopped by Harp Design's little shop and also got to see the owner's home which is right next door to his shop. His house is one of the homes from "Fixer Upper"!

We also stopped by the old Magnolia store but this was all there was to it.

We found the "Magnolia House" - a bed and breakfast that was also a fixer upper renovation - in the town of McGregor, very close to Waco.

The Alico building as seen on the show :) I was such a tourist taking pictures like this!

We spent the night in a town close to Waco and had this cute Texas-shaped waffle for breakfast before starting our day.

I won't go into detail about how Russ and I (mostly Russ) was able to find the address of the Gaines' home, but we verified it was their address by seeing an aerial view of their ranch on Google Maps! haha. We set out on Sunday morning to see their house and it was surprisingly right off the highway and not hidden at all. There was a white fence around the property which made it hard to take a decent picture, but I had Russ drive back and forth in front of it three times! I was wishing Chip and Joanna would have pulled out during our stalking time... but they never did!

After finding Chip and Joanna's house, we decided to head toward Kileen, TX to Russ's old elementary school. He knew the name of the school and was able to find the address. On our way there, Russ tried to get ahold of both of his parents to get the address of the house they lived in but neither answered his call. Russ lived there during his 1st and 2nd grade years, so it's been about 35 years since he was there. 

Martin Walker Elementary
 Russ's dad ended up calling him back while we were at the school and told him that he didn't remember the address or street name where they lived, but he knew it was south of the school. So once we left the school, we headed south and Russ came upon this street... the name didn't sound familiar but it looked familiar to him.

Next thing we know, Russ pulled up in front of his old house and knew this was it. Nothing has changed about it and this was the most exciting part of the trip for Russ!

On the way to Kileen (Copperas Cove really), Russ told me about what he remembered of that house and his school and his friends. He told me about the friends from next door and across the street - Kevin Mickan and the Snyder brothers. It was amazing to see the name "Mickan" still on the mailbox! The next day, we were looking at facebook and google - searching for Kevin Mickan - and we saw that he passed away a few years ago. Pretty sad.

We spent Sunday night in Dallas and most of the day on Monday there also, before flying home. The only thing worth taking a picture of that day was Sean & Catherine Lowe's house (they are from the Bachelor).

Suzanne stayed at home with the kids and they loved it. She sent me these cute pictures of the kids while we were away...