halloween and fingerpaints 09

IMG_3013Several days before Halloween we carved a jack-o-lantern. Elek attempted to help, however, he thought the pumpkin guts were nasty and wouldn’t touch it much. I think his favorite part was at the end when we got to take it out on the front porch and light it together. He enjoyed lighting it with me last week. I think next year we should carve 3 pumpkins and try to be a little more festive for Halloween. Elek will probably help us get in the spirit. We also managed to let Elek watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, which is essentially timeless.
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In this picture Elek is dressed as a clown in the clown suit I wore at Halloween when I was three years old. I thought the big bright red nose was a nice touch, though after the first time he wore it, we decided to put red makeup on his nose so he wouldn’t have to keep up with it. Last year unfortunately we didn’t get to trick-or-treat like we wanted to. This year we planned our route much more efficiently and we were able to trick-or-treat around a large block, visit my mom’s house, and make it to the cooper young neighborhood party for a few minutes.
IMG_3047The Friday night before Halloween we were lucky enough to be invited to the Donati’s annual kid friendly Halloween party. Diana dressed as a mobster’s woman who took the fall for him, went to jail, then broke out. I was that mobster. Kristen and Justin followed suit with the police officer and prisoner costumes. The food (and alcohol) was catered by Swanky’s Taco Shop and was very tasty! The next picture is of Elek finger painting with Mama at home.

IMG_3062There’s a few things I’d like to change about Halloween next year which include the following:

  1. Carve more pumpkins
  2. Decorate more with fake spiderwebs, lights, and maybe even fog
  3. Have an even better game plan about when we’re going to start trick-or-treating and where
  4. Maybe even have time to hand out more candy

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weekend in new orleans, la

CrowdedStreetDiana and I met Mike (my college roommate) and Camie (his wife) in New Orleans for Jared Barcenas and his wife, Ezgi’s, reception/celebration. Elek stayed with my mom (we owe her big) for the weekend and had apparently come down with the flu, though we thought it was a 24 hour virus or something of the sort after Diana took him to the doctor. We almost had to turn around halfway there. We left later than we thought we were going to, but we arrived in New Orleans at exactly the same time as Mike and Camie. No really. EXACTLY. We drove under their plane as it was landing. Sure enough Mike called me 2 minutes later and we went directly to the airport to pick them up.
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We had just enough time to drop by Target for a couple of things we needed and to get settled in the Biscuit Palace.

The first night we got ready and wandered around looking for a place to eat. We got some general directions for cajun food from a local shop keeper. Ralph and Kacoo’s was where we ended up eating. It looked just as good as any other place. It turned out to be sub par and I’m really upset we didn’t get a chance to try out Mr. B’s! After the disappointing meal, we walked to the party which was in a luxurious suite with a large balcony and an open bar. As you can see everyone there had a great time. We met some new people and celebrated Jared and Ezgi’s marriage.

AquariumAfter waking up and walking to Cafe du Monde (which we did make it back to), we decided we didn’t want to wait in a line that long. On the other side of Jackson Square there was another recommended restaurant called Stanley’s. Despite the almost equally as long wait, the food was amazing!

After that meal we HAD to walk off the food. With no real agenda, we walked up to the trolley station and hopped on. When the trolley came to the end of the line there was the aquarium, right in front of us. I’ve been before, but it had been a very long time. We decided to go in and luckily both Mike and I had our triple A cards with us for the discount. The aquarium is a must see if you’re ever in New Orleans.

CafeDuMondeAfterward, we got a transfer on another trolley and went back to Cafe du Monde where we ate some wonderful beignets and drank coffee (hot chocolate for me).

After a fun filled, touristy morning most of us took a nap with the exception of Diana who walked about 4 miles to get a sweater. What a great nap! We were all recharged and ready for the reception that night at a beautiful inside courtyard. The food was exactly what I love about New Orleans. Everything was perfect. The guests, the food, the dessert, the location. Later that night we went out on Bourbon Street again, but unfortunately that was the night that Diana woke up shivering. She had gotten the flu from Elek. I was sent out at 5AM in the French Quarter to find some place with Sprite and crackers. Luckily I didn’t come back empty handed. It took Diana about 6 days to recover from the flu thanks to Tamiflu. We drove back after breakfast at a 24 hour diner across the street from our hotel.

It was a wonderful weekend in New Orleans and I wish Jared and Ezgi the best! You can see more pictures from the festivities below.

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brandon dill

brandondillBack when Diana and I set a date for our wedding, we knew we would have to get a wedding photographer. We had no idea where to start. We had a couple of leads from a few friends, but each one seemed too cookie-cutter. The examples we saw of these photographers were exactly like every other wedding photo I’ve ever seen. Bland. Fortunately for us, we happened to attend a party at the Dill’s residence on Lawrence Avenue. This was the first time we met the Dills and it was a pleasure. We found out that Brandon was a photographer after that first party and we looked at his website brandondillphotography.com. At the party, he had a cool mini-studio set up with a white backdrop and was taking snapshots of people. By the second party we asked him to be our photographer.

He took wonderful pictures at our wedding and since then we’ve become friends. While we don’t see each other as much as I’d like, the Dills are next on our “people to have over” list. Brandon is an intellectually stimulating, talented, and funny guy who is a pleasure to hang out with. He also managed to make an appearance on the blog Cute Boys Make me Nervous. We have seen the Dills at a couple of themed potlucks which were a lot of fun. You can see some of the recipes that were made at thehornofplenty.blogspot.com.

12We love our wedding pictures. Brandon was exactly what we were looking for and we didn’t even know it. I just want to say Thank you, Brandon Dill, for taking our wedding photos and hopefully we’ll be seeing you soon!

You can see most of our wedding pictures that he took here and here. Also here’s a gallery of some of our favorites, though it was really hard to pick.

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elek’s first wiffleball experience

IMG_2796For Elek’s birthday, Diana and I got him a whiffle bat and ball. The other day when the rain finally decided to take a break, we played together. He has done really well. He’s actually hit the ball many times, which means good hand eye coordination. I’m excited and can’t wait to get him involved in organized sports. I remember playing baseball, basketball, and soccer which I loved.

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teton trek opens at the memphis zoo

IMG_2803We went to the Teton Trek at the Zoo this past weekend and it was great! The walkway leading to the Teton Trek was large and well marked. I think it used to be the route the Tram took around.

The lodge was a monstrosity and smelled brand new (as it should). The cavernous inside had several informative movies running.
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There is a geyser modeled after “Old Faithful” in Yellowstone National Park that erupts frequently. While the Memphis Zoo’s version of Old Faithful is impressive, it’s just 1/5th of the size. This is going to make a great place for kids to play during the summer months in their swimming suits. There were already a couple of children who were taking advantage despite the cooler weather. I feel sorry for the inevitable child who happens to be over the middle of the jet of water when it launches upward.

During the time we were there (maybe 30 minutes), the geyser erupted twice.

IMG_2815In this exhibit the bears have the option to catch their own food in the stream. Spectators can see the many attempts of the bears through the plate glass window on the far side of this photo and from above on a bridge on the opposite side. I think this idea is fantastic so that the bears can keep/develop some of their skills while still being in captivity. I could see the large fish zipping past the younger bears in the clear water.
IMG_2804Pictured are the three bears who are already out of quarantine, two males and one female. There are an additional two young bears in quarantine.

As you keep walking around the loop clockwise, you cross over a beautiful waterfall on the way to the timber wolves’ area, which is separated from the bears by what appear to be tall, thick, steel poles. The wolves were somewhat playful and one of them was chewing up the fresh sod. They were pacing a lot perhaps because they were adjusting to their new environment.
IMG_2816On the other side of the walkway from the wolves’ area (east) is where the elk will be. They were not out while we were there. I’m not sure if they’re still in quarantine or if they just weren’t out at that time. Teton Trek is a wonderfully accurate addition to the Memphis Zoo. I can’t wait to go back when it’s a little more settled and the elk are out. Our son is going to have a blast there in the summer in his swim trunks!

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cooper young night out

IMG_2674Cooper Young Night Out was last Tuesday night despite all the rain. Brett and Sharon Ammons were hosting again this year for our block. Again the Cooper Young Night Out was sponsored by Target. The reason it was so late this year is because last year the weather was so hot that they decided to move it to a cooler date. It was much cooler this year and rainy and wet, but that didn’t stop us from having fun! Diana, Elek, and I showed up a little early to help with the preparations. The picture above is of the Huseriks’ arrival.

IMG_2677Brett fired up the grill and grilled hamburgers and hotdogs while we talked about the neighborhood and last year’s party. Everyone entered for a chance to win a new bicycle from Target. I think our odds were better this year than last since not as many people came probably due to the gloomy weather. Target also left us with some early Halloween candy, beach balls, and reusable Target shopping bags. As usual the boys played together in the ball pit, tent, and with all the other toys with minimal involvement from the adults.

IMG_2678I am hoping that next year the weather will be a bit more cooperative. This year everyone is really sick of the month long monsoon. Our family is also trying to become more involved so we can participate in more family oriented and neighborhood oriented events. Ever since Elek was born (3 years ago!), it has been one continuous metamorphosis from one lifestyle to another. Because of get togethers like these, Cooper Young is a wonderful neighborhood to live in especially if you have children.

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