Photo Friday: Brownies

Our Girl Scout troop advanced from Daisies to Brownies on Tuesday night with a great bridging ceremony. We’ve got such a fun and unique group of girls and awesome leaders! We’re looking forward to another great year as Brownies!

Here’s a few photos I got from Tuesday’s fun. Unfortunately Garen had to stay home with the littles since they had a cold (or allergies really bad), so I had to do my best with his camera. Luckily he’s pretty talented at editing. It’s pretty obvious I need some pointers but they turned out better than I would have done with my iPhone probably.

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.

Photo Friday: Pinewood Derby Prep 2018

It’s hard to believe that it’s already almost Pinewood Derby time again for Boy Scouts. Last weekend Will and Garen headed down to Hamilton to work with YaYa (my dad) on this year’s model. Dad is the most detailed oriented man I know when it comes to this. It’s such a good example for Will. He also was an Eagle Scout so that makes it even more special.

Plus, it’s a great opportunity for them to use all of Dad’s toys in his shop. Garen caught some good photos of the two. I love how Will sticks his tongue out when he is focused on what he’s doing. Pretty cute!

Happy Photo Friday!

Sweet Sunday: Anna’s Got Cookies

Anna has her cookies and has been selling them all weekend.

I’m a little partial but I think she’s the cutest Daisy ever. I mean, really how could you say no to this face?!?

We’ve really had such a fun time and got to enjoy a girls night together on Friday night since the boys and littles went to Hamilton to work on Will’s Pinewood Derby car.

Here’s her sales pitch:

This is her first year to sell cookies and I’m impressed that they have online sales available. If you’d like to buy from Anna, you can click here to have cookies shipped directly to you. How great is that?!?So now I’ve got Girl Scouts cookies in my house. Soooo tempting. Thank goodness I saved a few of my WW weekly points so I could eat quite a few this weekend. Totally worth it!

What’s Your Favorite Flavor?

Tomorrow morning, I’ll officially be a “cookie mom.”  You know, the crazy ladies dragging their little girls around selling those addicting little round morsels of joy???  For those of you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m speaking of the ever-popular Girl Scout Cookies.

That’s right, folks.  Cookie Season officially kicks off tomorrow.

And, glutten-for-punishment that I am, I will be braving one of the few freezing days here in Texas to go stand in line at the zoo to pick up these boxes of tastiness.

With that said, it will all be worth it when I have 2 cases of Thin Mints in the back of my Expedition. Yummy! Yes, I’ve already calculated the Weight Watchers points.

What’s your favorite flavor???

Celebrating Dad

As I started to write this in preparation for posting on Father’s Day, I saw this….
Looking at this screenshot, you might not even know what struck me as important. 

          Share your story here…

As I sat for a minute, pondering, I wondered how I’d never looked at that phrase before. I had intended to simply write a post about how great my Dad and Garen both are. 

However, after having this phrase jump out at me, I thought it would be great to take the advice and tell a story about each that displays a special memory of each. 


When Garen and I started dating, we both knew that we needed to wait a while and make sure things were serious enough to bring him into Will and Anna’s life. It took a while for us to get there- I honesty can’t remember how long- maybe 4 or 5 months. 

When we were ready to take that next step, we planned a trip to Fossil Rim with the kids. We met there and had a great time. Looking back now, Anna and Will were so little then. Garen immediately jumped in with them and even though he’d not been around a lot of young kids, he seemed to “just know” what to do. 

After Fossil Rim, we went to Loco Coyote for lunch. Although this place is AWESOME, it’s honestly not the easiest place to take kiddos. Little kids have a hard time sitting on the benches of adult sized picnic tables. He helped us eat lunch, was patient when they made a horrendous mess, and  held Anna when she was freezing cold while we waited forever for our food- all while the kids were overdue for a nap. 

From that moment on, he has treated Will and Anna as if they were his own. He jumped into to our crazy world without blinking twice and never looked back. 

Now, with the other two munchkins, our life is complete. But, I will never forget that wonderful day when a 37-year old bachelor jumped into my mommy-mobile with a 2- and 5- year old, not really knowing where that ride would take him. And we are all so fortunate for the trip it has been! 

Dad (AKA YaYa)

When I was in junior high, our youth group decided to take a group on a backpacking trip in Colorado. My dad is an Eagle Scout and loves the outdoors, so he volunteered to go with our group. The camp was on its first year of doing these backpacking trips, so there were some surprises and it was interesting with a group of junior high kids. 

Actually, interesting is probably putting it lightly. Here’s some of the more serious issues that came up:

  • A few of us got food poisoning from some of the food they provided us. Super fun in the woods!
  • The camp didn’t anticipate snow melting would make a normal  little stream a roaring rapid, requiring us to zip line our packs and any kids under 100 pounds. The rest of the group had to wade across hooked to a line. One of my friends slipped and would’ve drowned had my dad not gone in after him. It was really scary. I can vividly remember my dad as we got ready to cross in his shorts, white legs, and flip flops tied onto his feet. 
  • Not everyone was in great shape so a few of the kids could not carry all of their stuff after the first couple of days. Because of this, my dad ended up carrying a huge load. 

It was probably the most poorly organized backpacking trip ever but my dad pushed forward and stepped up to help out the poor counselors that didn’t have a clue what they were doing. Disaster as it was, for me it was an experience I will never forget and I will cherish those memories with my dad forever. 

Cheers to these two great men. I love them both and I’m so glad to have them in my life. 

Happy Father’s Day!