Monday, April 20, 2009

Gabrielle's 1st Birthday!

Front door complete with name, mailbox, and pickett fence. it is!!! The "girly fort" I made for Gabrielle's 1st birthday! It goes over a cardtable. It was a big hit with all the kids so I'm thrilled to know that she will get several years of fun out of this. I think Mom and Dad were happy as well - they realized just how easy it will be to set up AND put away and store!

Our day was truly wonderful and blessed. We went to Thomas and Lindsay's house for the party. Our hearts were so filled with joy as we witnessed the love for Thomas, Lindsay and Gabrielle through the many, many family and friends that joined in their celebration! Gabrielle had all her aunts, 3 of her cousins from the McCulla side as well as the grandparents and one great grandmother. And from the Duran side, she had Great Aunt Jenny, Great Uncle David, Aunt Rachel, cousins Christina and, of course, Grandpa Ric and Nani Jane. Thanks so much for coming and celebrating! As you can see from the pictures - fun was had by all and Thomas and Lindsay were so welcoming and threw a great party! It is so much fun (and a true blessing) to see your children healthy and happy. It was also a lot of fun going to the party having done minimal work! Enjoy the pictures..........

Pretty flowers

Notice the two dogs - just like Costco and Macy, their black and chocolate labs

Yes, the 10 apples can be "picked" and placed in the basket below

Peek-a-boo....hello everyone!

Grandpa Ric and Papa McCulla

Grandpa Ric

Papa McCulla

Great Grandma Dora McCulla

Cousin Christina Duran & Aunt Rachel

My 1st birthday
Opening gifts
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you......
I think I want the pink one


Enough of this "dainty" stuff - give me that cake!

That's better - yummo

Ahhhhhhhhh.....there's nothing like a milk chaser!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter, 2009

We had a most blessed Triduum and Easter. We started with Holy Thursday Mass celebrating the institution of the priesthood, service, and the Eucharist. Of course, Good Friday next with THE most incredible proclamation of the Passion - completely sung by our music ministers with our own Daniel humbling proclaiming the part of Jesus. It absolutely brought tears to the eyes of many. Then Saturday night we participated in the Easter Vigil - one of my most favorite Masses of the year. Although it's much longer than regular Sunday Mass, it overflows with Sacrament, ritual, and tradition. A total emcompassing of what church is. Again, we're just so proud of Daniel and all the liturgy staff and musicians at our parish. I'm not sure the experience that you are enveloped with can be found anywhere else. How blessed we are to have this kind of community right in our own backyard. Sunday morning my family gathered at my sister Bobbi's home for our traditional Easter brunch. Thanks Bobbi for hosting all these many years. It's always wonderful and I know that Mark and you work very hard. It shows and is greatly appreciated. Love ya bunches. We were especially blessed this year. Jenny is doing so well after her breast cancer surgery that she was there and looking absolutely fantastic. Also, we warmly welcome Emily Kempe into our Catholic faith. Emily was received into the church Saturday night at the Newman Center. Thanks Em for reminding us just how important (and alive) our faith is. It's not what we do - it's who we are! Later that afternoon, the Duran Clan traveled to the McCulla home (Gabrielle's other grandparents - Thomas' in-laws) and joined them for Easter dinner - and what a feast it was. It was especially nice because Daniel was finally done with work and was able to join us as well. So, we had all the "little chicks" gathered in the nest. How I have so come to treasure and cherish these moments. Of course, the McCulla family was most gracious, welcomed us warmly, and stuffed us to the gills. It was great being with them again. It had been a very long time, several surgeries (Rachel, Ric, Dusty, etc.) since we'd been able to get together with them. Thanks for being such good in-laws to Thomas and friends to us. We all got home around 7 p.m.ish and promptly fell into bed. A good, very good weekend all around!

Easter basket from Nani Jane & Grandpa Ric

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Our New Kitchen - Have a blessed Holy Week

Well, it's finally done - every last detail. Well, except we just today decided on the hardware for the cabinet and drawer pulls so Ric will install them over the next couple of weeks. He's worked SO long and SO hard that he truly deserves time off. Thankfully, the next three weekends are just for "play". Of course, next weekend is Easter, the following weekend is Gabrielle's 1st birthday (where did the time go?) and the following weekend Ric and his small men's faith sharing group is going to take a well deserved long weekend in Alpine. The wives are going to spend the weekend in Prescott - YIPPEE!!! I can only imagine the "stories" that will come from that weekend!!!! I want to publicly acknowledge some very special people who helped us out tremendously (donated their time and talents). I don't think we could have done this enormous project without you. Matt & Cindy Vandiver, Mark & Lila Wiemann, Jim Roe, John Huppenthal, Sheila Adamo, and my wonderful children Daniel and Rachel. Of course, there were also a few "paid" workers I want to acknowledge as well: Matthew Barnhart, Dean Lapa, Bob (the plumber), and Lance Hollyfield. My dear daycare families - thank you for your patience throughout the process - organized mess/kaos and all!

So, this next Saturday night right after the Holy Easter Vigil, we are holding our traditional late night party to celebrate Jesus' resurrection AND to inaugurate the kitchen. It will be our "grand opening" so to speak!

Enjoy the pictures, Happy Easter (early) and will post pictures of Gabrielle's 1st birthday after the 19th! Wait until you see the "gift" Nani Jane made for her - about 60 man hours later, it is complete! You'll just have to wait until she opens it!

At long last (3 months) we (mostly Ric) has completely renovated our 30 year old kitchen. He has worked non-stop and tirelessly since the middle of January to bring to life our vision of an updated kitchen. Here are some pictures of what it looks like!

Lots of working space and storage space. Notice - no lower cabinets - that's because we put in all deep drawers with full extension hardware - I LOVE IT!!! No more digging to the recesses of the abyss to find a pot, pan, or cookie sheet.

The side bar - Ric was thinking of me. He added an electrical outlet at the side bar so that we would be able to use this shelf top when entertaining for such things as a crockpot, coffe pot (if we needed to move it from the bar so that we had room for the blender at the wine bar)!

Good shot of the new light fixtures - got rid of that old ugly ceiling light and replaced it with these beautiful recessed cans. Also got rid of that ugly light above the sink.

Notice the arches over the sink and walkway to the back room - Ric did an awesome job constructing these to mimic the profile of the upper cabinets.

The Wine & Coffee Bar and pantry. Also note the small, narrow cabinet - that's for all my cookie sheets and trays - love all the storage I have (and YES, there is room to grow - I did NOT use up every inch of space available)!