Nov 25, 2007

Nine'll do it

Originally uploaded by cheryl_lynn425.
For many many moons, there were 8 grandchildren on my dad's side of the family. My grandparents couldn't be happier to have 8 grandkids, 5 girls and 3 boys. Not a perfectly even split but since they had 4 sons, you gotta figure, more girls than boys in the grandkids evens it out some.

Few and far between were/are the times all us grandkids end up in the same room. Last time it happened was Thanksgiving 2004.

But we did it again this week - and now with 9 "kids." My oldest cousin, Robin, married Steve last Labor Day weekend and he's quickly been adopted as the long lost 9th grandchild. So yup, now its 9 kids, the baby being almost 16. We have long since banished the kids table tradition - I think that really went to the wayside when my oldest uncle, Jerry, was sent to the kids table a few years back. You just can't call a table with a 50-something year old man the kids table now can you?

On Thanksgiving, in her happiness to have all 9 of her grandbabies present, Grandma even stopped to say one day she'd have 16 grandbabies, once she marries all of us off. Whoa, Gram, slow down, hold your horses, lady, hold your horses.

Nov 18, 2007

I'll Give $100 to...

Originally uploaded by cheryl_lynn425.
the person who can show me a better Christmas decoration than Cowboy Claus.

Happily Ever After

Well folks, that's it. Brittany Magness is no longer; meet Brittany Chesnut, proud and happy wife of Ken Chesnut.

The wedding was just gorgeous. Not everything went exactly as planned - apparently the weather gods will do whatever they want despite your wishes. Thankfully there was a covered area that was gorgeous so nothing lost.

Ken's vows, which he wrote himself, were wonderful. He said he first fell in love with her smile, then her heart and then her family. Oh I melt again just thinking about it.

The best man's speech was outstanding. He first gave advice to Brittany: cook all Ken's favorite meals, let him do whatever he wants and encourage him to go out with his friends every night. All joking of course - "I know Ken loves you very much because he spent a ton of time writing this speech and your marital advice for me!" A nice little change to serious talking about how Ken had always been the best brother and he hoped he could one day be there for Ken the way Ken had been for him. Finally ended with advice for Ken, learn three little phrases "yes ma'am" "I'm sorry" and "OK buy it."

Brittany sure cut a rug on the dance floor! That bride was all over the place! I think she made back the wedding costs on the dollar dances.

Now they are off to Cancun to enjoy their first week as husband and wife.

In what seemed like an entirely new day, I went with a few folks from the bridal party to the bar at the hotel where they were staying. While waiting for my drink, I see across the bar Olga Campos (news anchor for ABC in Austin)! Olga has been very supportive of the Girl Scouts and so while I didn't really want to talk shop on a Saturday night when we were each out enjoying ourselves, I really needed to introduce myself. We email and talk on the phone regularly but had just never met in person. After confirming that it was her, and chatting with her husband, I met Olga who was incredibly nice. Networking moment of my year.

Nov 17, 2007

Rehearse: to practice, have a dry run, the rough draft

Yo y la bride
Originally uploaded by cheryl_lynn425.
And so they rehearsed. I did not go to the rehearsal as I have nothing to rehearse. Well that is a lie. But I stayed at home and practiced the following.

"Evening ma'am! Don't forget to sign their guest book." big grin
"Hi yall, the guest book is just to your right." big grin
"Oh aren't you the cutest thing in a tux under 4 feet. Make sure mommy signs the guest book from Kenny and Brittany." big grin

I think I have it down.

Brittany was great at the dinner. She gave a nice and somewhat serious speech thanking everyone, most especially her bridesmaids. Followed up by Ken who lightened the mood telling stories of his groomsmen and handing out booze.

It was after dinner that Brittany finally realized it - she was getting married tomorrow! I think she sat next to me for two hours saying "I am getting MARRIED tomorrow. WEIRD!"

No worries though, they'll go through with it. They are head over heels in love.

And she has a princess dress. Nothing would keep her outta that dress today.

Nov 16, 2007

And just like that - the week was over!

What a week! Work has been just crazy. We're putting together our program booklet, Possibilities, 122 pages of super cool Girl Scout activities from February through August. I received the proofs from the printer on Wednesday and had to have the edits and ideally all the photos (approximately 100 of them) back to him by today.

I feel like I've been studying for a final or something.

Reading and rereading and talking about the same 122 pages all day, every day. I am so glad to have sent it in! Now a week's break until the next round of edits.

Needless to say when date night came up yesterday, I didn't want to take the energy to study a new menu or even think of a new place to go to. Ross pointed out though that new places is what we do. And I like doing new places so I wanted to keep that going.

Oh Ross was great! He drove and even picked the place, Macaroni Grill over in the Arboretum. It was the perfect choice, Italian food (ie comfort food), a place I had actually never been despite that they are all over the place and in a good location for the other things we needed to do last night. Anyways the review of it is this: very nicely sized portions, yummy bruschetta but terrible house wine. I didn't even get to have my wine in a wine glass! They poured my wine, the house chardonnay, into a juice glass. I kid you not, it looked like I was drinking apple juice. And then they left the JUG O' WINE on the table for me in case I wanted more. Not only did I look like a broke college kid drinking wine from whatever glass she could find, but I looked like a lush with a whole jug of it in front of me.

Lucky for Macaroni Grill, the company and conversation were wonderful - as they always are on date night.

Off to Brittany's rehearsal dinner! Wish Ross was here to be my date but he's off being a big shot in Dallas for a work conference-meeting thing. It's a tough life being in love with such a hot shot.

Nov 11, 2007


On Wednesday this week the high is 91. Austin, Texas, I wish I could protest but currently the weather for Brittany's wedding is also looking good. I will not protest for fear of ruining her day. However, come November 18, once the wedding is over, I demand it never again in 2007 breach 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don't believe it either? Seriously, visit and you'll see for yourself.

For the love of all things Holy, Ninety-one in November. In Boston I knew July days that weren't this hot. I have my AC on! In November! REALLY!?

Dear Weather Gods,

Please do not mistake this for a snow request. It is just a request that you turn off the sauna and let my city enjoy a day without sweating. No need to turn on the fan or the AC, just off with the sauna!

Again, snow not required or requested.


one down, two to go (almost)

My dear friend Zach from high school dates an amazing gal, Mandi. Mandi's been around for so long now and is so great that often I forget she didn't go to high school with me. I lump her (in the best way) in with the group labeled "high school friends." Fortunately for her she also knows all our stories from high school and can therefore play it off like she did go to good ole CLHS.

Well Mandi is graduating on DECEMBER 15!! I called her today about attending the Chrismukkah party but she has to walk across that fancy stage and get her degree, which I suppose is a decent excuse for not being able to attend my little party.

Mandi graduating marks the first of my closest "high school friends" to graduate college. Zach will be shortly in May and I think Jerry will also be in May. Way to go Mandi on starting the trend. You make us so very proud!

And more importantly, once she is done with school she will have fewer excuses for not coming to see me. (Of course I have no excuses for not going to see her - and Zach I suppose - yet I have not made it to G-Island this fall. Shoot, must get on that.)

Nov 9, 2007

La Casa Chapala

This date night thing is great. I'm loving it. Ross even says he enjoys our date night ritual. LOVE IT.

Tonight we went to Casa Chapala which catered the Girl Scout Hey Chica event last weekend. It was such a good tacky Mexican place! They make the salsa at your table, which for the record is a way fun thing. And the margaritas are enormous and delicious. For a little hole in the wall in a strip mall, they do OK I'd say. Oh and they make their fajitas with mushrooms. I'm very much a fan of that and wish more places did it. For atmosphere and tacky Mexican decorations, I give them a 9, right on par with Don Picos in Clear Lake. Food, we say an 8-8.5 (the mushrooms pushed it to an 8.5 for me).


Nov 6, 2007

Only 48 Days and 7 Hours To Go!

Originally uploaded by cheryl_lynn425.
I couldn't help myself I tell you. It was like some jolly candy cane eating song singing elf possessed me!

I went to Target and bought Christmas kitchen match the Christmas table cloth I bought over the weekend. Then at Hobby Lobby I bought the goodies necessary for a holiday flower display. I came home, put on my Country Christmas CD, opened the windows and turned on the fan in an effort to make the place cold enough for a sweatshirt and then I did it - I put up my very first Christmas decoration of 2007.

God, it felt good.

Nov 4, 2007

Meet Haila's Li'l Pumpkin

Haila sent me a pic of little Miss Kassidy! Ain't she just sweet as pie...pumpkin pie!

Now back to my pumpkin (bread) and the Pats-Colts game. Go Pats!

Cheryl & Ross: Professional Restaurant Try-ers

To say we are "pro restaurant critics" or "Austin's food know-alls" might be going a little over the top. But Professional Restaurant Try-ers is definitely accurate.

Last Friday Ross took me to Bess, a cute bistro downtown that is owned by actress and Austin local, Sandra Bullock. For a Friday at 8, the wait wasn't too bad (about 35 minutes) and since its located next door to Little Woodrow's, a small bar chain we both like, we were able to relax next door with some well priced beverages. Anyway, we both really enjoyed Bess. My inner romantic was satisfied by the outdoor dining with white Christmas lights in the trees. My cosmopolitan was yummy and Ross-the-former-bartender was wow-ed by their super cool bar appliances. Yes, appliances. The avocado dip appetizer was delicious. We each enjoyed our meals too, mine of chicken and asparagus, his of... pot pie (maybe? I don't totally remember).

Then on Wednesday Ross craved some cheap Chinese take out and who doesn't love Chinese take out. Well the take out story is a depressing one but suffice it to say we shall never again be patrons of Panda Express.

This Friday we went to Artz Rib House on South Lamar. Once inside you would have never known that you were actually still in the city. I definitely felt like I was in no-wheres-ville Texas with the red plaid table cloths, live music and uber-casual staff. With the exception of being out of chicken, it was a great little BBQ joint. Ross loved his ribs and my cheddar cheeseburger was as solid as it gets (though I must admit, Tookies in Seabrook still makes a better burger). The potato salad and lemonade were my fav food wise. I hold that the atmosphere is what you really go to Artz for. We gave it a 7.5 out of 10 for food and 8 on atmosphere.

Now I know what you're thinking - come on Cheryl! Only three reviews!? Some Professional Restaurant Try-er you are!! Well hold your horses folks. Friday is date night and we'll be going someplace else new. I'll report back our findings.

Nov 1, 2007

How Very Nice to Meet You Kassidy

Yesterday Kassidy Evan Yates entered the world as one happy 7 pound 20 inch baby! Mama Haila called up to the office and shared the good news. Shannon gave me a call, since I'd already left, and I just kept driving straight to the hospital.

No pictures yet but as soon as I do, don't worry, I will share.

If I am this anxious to share pictures of Haila's baby, just imagine how I'll be with my day. In the far future.