Photo Friday: Easter at the Blowin’ O

We celebrated Easter with the Odom side of the family on the Saturday before Easter.  The kids had a great time getting to play and explore the Blowin’ O, what we affectionately call Aunt Karen and Uncle Lee Roy’s place out by Aleman, TX, which is right outside of Hamilton.  It was Granny and Grandad’s house first and they bought it while they were still living in Fort Worth back in the 70’s.  They lived there still while I was still young and we had many, many Easter egg hunts in the yard and field.

Actually, we hunted Easter eggs until we were married.  That was the rule.  It may sound cheesy but a bunch of high school kids running around looking for the prize egg was pretty fun.  Good memories.  And I’m so glad my kids are getting to make the same memories with their cousins as well.  It’s even more special that Grandad gets to watch his great grandkids enjoy the hunt now!

It’s Photo Friday, so I’m sharing just a few of the photos Garen took.  You can see a few more on Garen Graves Photography’s blog.  Happy Photo Friday!

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My Dad turns 60

Growing up, and even in the recent past, my mom has told me, “You are just like your Dad….”

Man, what a compliment.

My Dad is one of my heroes.  It’s no secret that I adore him.  I’m proud of his accomplishments throughout his career, but I’m even more proud of the man he is personally.  Here’s a few things that I love about him:

He takes things as they come.  He has more patience than any person I have ever met….even Garen and that’s saying a lot.  He’s generous and truly believes in doing what’s right, even if it’s not the popular thing to do.  He’s got faith in what he believes in, even when others around him may doubt.  He loves my mom, his soulmate, with all his heart.  He taught me to get up early and to become a lover of all things breakfast-related.  He treats everyone with respect….and I truly mean everyone.  He can and will talk to anyone.  He is so very smart but also has common sense, which doesn’t always come packaged.  He loves a great debate.  He is passionate about whatever he sets his mind to.  He is a perfectionist and he goes further than measuring twice to cut once.  He can rock a sweater or turtleneck like nobody else I know.  He always wants to find better, more efficient ways to do things.  When he gets on a kick- whether it’s making bread, buying classic wool shirts on Ebay, or designing a custom anchoring system- he focuses in and perfects each process.  He admits when he’s wrong, quickly apologizes, and, on the flip side, also forgives quickly.  I believe him when he says he can fix anything but a broken heart.  And he can build just about anything too.  He believes in good shoes.  He’s an Eagle Scout.  He loves to read, listen to books, go to classes, and is a true life-long learner.  He is not afraid of change.  He’s hilarious and can find a way to make almost anyone laugh….or at least shake their head and grin.  He is an excellent friend to many.  And he truly is an amazing father and now also a wonderful YaYa to five grandkids and four grand-fur-babies, plus a grand-cat.

I could go on and on.  Really.

I’m sure, if you know him, you’d be able to add a few things too.

If you’re reading this, Happy 60th Birthday, Dad.  I hope you know how much I love you and how proud I am to be your daughter, employee, & friend.  I’m so glad for my kids to get to call you YaYa.  

To everyone else– enjoy the photos.  There’s nothing like looking at old photos to provide a bit of entertainment.  Genes run strong in our family, both on the Odom (Dad) and Bottlinger (Mom) sides, right?!?  Most of these photos were from the slideshow that Joe put together for Dad’s 50th surprise party that we pulled off, plus a few since then.  Yes, Mom, that means that I have found the video.  Hallelujah!

The above photo is from Mom and Dad’s 60th Birthday trip.  They climbed Machu Picchu.  Yes, I know they’re awesome!

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Thanks also to Joe for putting the man hours into getting these photos together.

Hippity Hop-pity, Easter’s on It’s Way: Easter Bunny Garden with Peeps

My Mom always sang us the “Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail” song around this time. And, between her and Grammy, we were sure to have plenty of candy, including Peeps! I honestly don’t think you can have Easter without these sugary, marshmallowy, packages of cuteness.

Yesterday, I needed to make a run for some labels at Dollar Tree and, as I expected, the Easter section sucked me in. Have I ever told you that I’m in love with the Dollar Tree? So many wonderful things only priced at a dollar. I got some extra-fun goodies for Easter baskets so it was a successful trip, especially since I managed to get the labels, which is what I made the trip for.

I also bought some peeps and some gummy carrots. I have been waiting on an opportune time to make “dirt cups” with pudding and some crushed up brownies I had leftover in the freezer for a while. The moment I saw the peeps next to the carrots, I knew it was the perfect time to put these gardens together for the kiddos.

Easter Bunny Garden with PeepsAnna was super excited and helpful with our fun little project. Thank goodness it was an easy one…. although we did have quite a bit of “dirt” on the floor.

We made the chocolate pudding together and processed the brownies. Anna got to scoop the “dirt” (processed brownies crumbs) into the bottom and top of the dishes. Then she got to top the garden off with a gummy carrot and a Peep.  You can use processed Oreos too but I needed to use the brownies and they were tastier than the Oreos I’ve used for this in the past.

Anna’s last job was to lick the bowl. I wish I’d taken a picture of her chocolate-covered face because it was adorable and disgusting at the same time!

Easter Bunny Garden with PeepsEveryone except Kate dug into their cup o’ dirt (She oddly enough doesn’t really like sweets much. It’s mind boggling that she’s mine!). Kate actually spit it out and said “Yuck, dirt!”

Even Garen enjoyed them. Ok, maybe not the Peep or the gummy carrot but he quickly ate the rest of it. The smiles and laughs made it all worth the time…and honestly, this was a pretty easy dessert/craft project. That’s the best of both worlds!

Enjoy!!!

This post is all my own opinions.  I’m not getting a kick-back from Peeps or Dollar Tree.  I just happen to be a satisfied customer.  

Dashboard Randomness: Sunrises and Bluebonnets

Today I had a golf tournament for one of the regional associations I’m part of in San Antonio. Usually, when I go to San Antonio I will drive down the night before but I have been on the go so much lately I decided to just wake up early and drive this morning. And, boy, did four o’clock a.m. come early?!?

However, I really enjoyed drive. I got the opportunity to be let my mind wander and through anything and everything. No music. No audiobook audiobook. No podcast. No phone calls.

Just me and the open road, a beautiful sunrise, and miles and miles of beautiful bluebonnets.

The 130 loop around Austin is absolutely gorgeous right now. That might not seem like a logical place to go look at bluebonnets but there are miles of them in the huge median between the north and sound sides of the tollway.

Add to that, this afternoon I got to play golf on a beautiful course with some awesome customers, who made it a blast!

The only thing that would be better would be to be at home tucking my kiddos in tonight because I sure do miss them (and Garen too)! I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too, right?!? Thank goodness for FaceTime!

Sweet Saturday: Daughter Day

A few weeks ago Anna and I enjoyed a day just one on one. We got our nails and toenails done- both in red. Then, after her beauty sleep, I took her to get her hair done.

I felt like the coolest Mom ever (even though I know lots of other moms do this on a more normal basis) It was pretty fun and special for us to have some one-on-one time together. And, honestly, not having to argue with her about how I did her hair was worth EVERY PENNY!

Plus, she looked so pretty. And grown up, which makes me a bit sad that time seems to be flying by. Such is life though!

And this guy just had a birthday. Isn’t he handsome? How lucky am I?!?

Photo Friday: Mr. Chairman, My Dad

My dad doesn’t often read this. And it’s a good thing because he’s a very humble man and may not approve of me bragging on him so much. However, I’m going to brag about him anyway.

Last night he was “inaugurated” as the Chairman (equivalent of President) of the Mason Contractors of America (MCAA). He’s been on the board now for 6 years and will now serve as Chairman for two additional years.

I’m so proud of him and my mom, who supports him every step of the way. They made up the “p” and the “s” of P and S Masonry, a masonry contractor in Central Texas established in 1987. They’ve both been advocates for the masonry and construction industry for the 30+ years they’ve been in business. I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with them both in the masonry business and now on the equipment company, Spec Rents, which they established to provide increased safety and productivity to contractors across Texas.

I couldn’t have asked for better mentors and I’m so excited that he now has the opportunity to help continue to promote masonry across the country.

Congratulations to my Dad, Paul Odom, Chairman of MCAA, and to my mom, Susie, the First Lady of Masonry.

With that said Photo Friday consists of photos from the MCAA World of Masonry in Las Vegas. They’re all iPhone photos and none taken by Garen so they many not the best but they captured the moments!

It doesn’t matter how many times I attend the World of Concrete/World of Masonry… I think I’ll always be in awe at the sheer awesomeness of the cool construction products and equipment there is available.  Yes, I’m guilty of being a masonry/construction geek!Pre-banquet photo.  Em, Brian, and I flew out yesterday just to attend the closing banquet and hear Dad make his first speech as Chairman.  Garen was already out there since Oldcastle is a big player in the industry too. It was a great surprise for Dad because he didn’t know we were coming!Here he is: Mr. Chairman. It’s official since it was in the banquet booklet!I’m so proud of this guy!

Here he is with Mike Sutter, the outgoing Chairman of MCAA.  Dad’s had such a great time being his “wingman” over the years!

You can’t forget the First Ladies, Mom (Susie) and Colleen.  Behind every great man is a great woman.  They’ve had such a great two years traveling together.

Before boarding this morning we enjoyed a quick breakfast together as a family, minus Garen who flew American.

Did I mention that the banquet last night was at Fogo de Chao??? I’m pretty sure I ate about 3 lbs of delicious meat and had about 10 of those addicting cheese rolls soooooo I may not lose any weight this week. Totally worth it! And I was glad that I wore my stretch tent dress for the occasion.

It was a fast, furious, and fun trip and I’m so glad I got to go. We’ve got a big weekend with Anna’s dress rehearsal for the Talent Show tonight and the Pinewood Derby tomorrow. Stay tuned next week since I’m sure Garen will get some great photos.