A Surprise Engagement and A Happy Birthday

My baby brother is getting married!  Yep.  I'm not sure if or when I ever thought it would happen but it is.  And we are all SO EXCITED.  

He told us a few weeks ago and asked us to be part of the big day. Of course we agreed.  He planned the proposal at Eden Garden and then a family surprise party at The Red Bar in Grayton Beach. We were thrilled to be included and had a hard time keeping the big secret in Dallas

As always, I had lots of help packing.  There was a milestone on this one. Eli and Beckett actually packed a few things.  I gave them a plastic ziplock bag to fill with bath toys.  They actually did it.  They also found their toothbrushes, put them in the cases, and got them in the suitcases.  (please ignore the mess in my closet, just keeping it real around here :-)

packing his toys in his back pack
The boys have been flying since they were little but recently I found this book at the library.  They love it.  We read it every night leading up to the trip.  It worked great for this trip.  So many things in the book, they remembered.  In the book, the little boy sits down with his mommy and they share a treat.   As soon as we sat down Eli said, "I'm ready for my treats!"
Bus ride at IAH 

negotiating an upgrade with daddy

Asking for "a jeep"
The house that my dad rented for all of us to stay in was amazing.  I have always always wanted to stay right in Grayton.  Every time we go to 30a we always frequent the Red Bar and we always see the quaint beach cottages, people out riding bikes, waving from their porches and enjoying the community.  It is such a slice of beach heaven.  

The McDonald House

We got in so so late on Friday night.  The boys went straight down to bed but even though it was after midnight they were up bright and early Saturday morning.  As usual we packed it as full as we could.  Beach time, pool time (the house had one), craft time, family time, lunch time, and nap time.

Yes, he wore Captain America to the beach
This is what teenagers do at the beach 

crafting centerpieces 

crafting place cards
headed to the Red Bar
And then it was party time!  Mom and I went early to help set up but it flew by so quickly and the next thing I knew, they were there. I know JB's photographer got tons of great pictures.  Between the kids, the organizing, and everything else I am lucky that I got the few that I did.  It was a great dinner.  I think all the of the family from both sides had a great time getting to know each other.  I LOVED hearing Madison tell the story of how the proposal went at Eden Garden. I hope to see the video one day :-)

Getting married!!!


Madison's cousin and very best friend

Looking forward to lots of fun with them

Thanking everyone for coming

Mommy's little men at the Red Bar
Ma with the happy couple


Both Tori (her cousin) and myself had the same idea and brought dessert.  I found amazing cupcakes that my grandmother brought over form Pensacola and I hand crafted the toppers.  I have to say that this is the first time that I actually designed the toppers without buying them off Etsy!  Tori got the most incredible cake that had a ring box on top in fondant with beautiful magnolia blossoms.  It was so Madison and elegant.

In one of those "Luann" moments, I totally forgot to give them my gift at the party.  I had it made on Etsy and it was for everyone to sign.  Which worked out fine because the fancy expensive pen I got at Michael's didn't write and this gave everyone more time to think about what to put.  My family signed it and sent it with Madison for her family to sign.  My parents are going to have it framed for them and they can have it in their new home together.

The day my brother got engaged was also Justin's birthday.  2 days before we left I get a phone call from Justin.  "What do you think about me shaving my head." Well, I said. I think you will look like an idiot but it your hair so whatever.  Then he said, "You won't be mad?" And I said "No, I mean whatever you want to do.  "Good" he replied. "I already did it!"  What kind of crisis is my hubby having?  Vegan, athletic, and now shaving his head???  What is 50 going to be like?  Ok. Enough about that but needless to say everyone was SHOCKED when he showed up at the beach.  I can certainly say that life is an adventure with him around. You really never know what might happen next.

Beckett loved his singing card from my parents

Eli's card

Beckett's card

Modeling his new Lululemon from the Robert's family
After the party for JB, we wanted to go out and celebrate Justin's birthday.  We had the idea to ride our bikes from Grayton to Seaside on the bike path so we didn't have to drive.  Ha!  Not a "bright" idea.  Literally.  We quickly found out that the path was pitch black dark.  We made the 3 miles but it was hysterical.  We would have to wait until a car was coming and then peddle as fast as we could while we had headlights and then stop.  You literally could not see your hand in front of your face.  Needless to say, the bikes stayed overnight in Seaside and we hitched a ride with friends home.

Happy 32nd Birthday Justin!
On Sunday we spent the morning with my family and squeezed in some great 30a moments.  A ride down 30a on the bikes.  Much more fun in the daylight.  A walk to the coolest coffee shop ever.  Sweetest memory - I was sitting inside the coffee shop with Ma, Dave, and Phyllis and the boys were on the front porch with Dad and the other "big kids."  Through the glass I watched them sitting on a bench eating cookies in their super hero costumes.  They would turn and look at me through the glass and wave. Totally content and totally independently happy to sharing the morning with their family. Beach time. Pool time.  Shopping in Seaside.  Eli got his first ride in Ma's convertible and a ride in Uncle Bubba's jeep.  

Madison caught a nap on the front porch

And so did the sweet Eli

Fell asleep riding in Ma's cool car

Beckett teaching Ma to "play games" 
Uncle Bubba's Jeep
After lunch we headed to Crestview to spend the night with Justin's parents.  It worked out great because we got to spend time with them, Nana & PaPa, and also be closer to the airport for our early AM flight.  The boys loved celebrating dad's birthday or should I say eating cake!  Justin's mom made the MOST AMAZING cake I have ever put in my mouth.  A french butter cream with raspberry puree filling. Fresh and all from scratch.  I want some now.  Ok, wiping drool off the keyboard!

sweet little dinner partners

Helping daddy open presents

GPS running watch

That's a lot of candles

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Beckett this is my cake!

Drinking milk and snuggling PaPa
And then the next thing we knew it was 4am and we were up and in the car headed to the airport.  The boys did so great on the early morning flight.  Eli fell asleep at take off and slept 1/2 way and Beckett fell asleep when we landed and were back on the runway.  Daddy treated the boys to donut as soon as we landed and we were back home by 9am that morning.

We may have had a lot of fun, but didn't have a lot of sleep and boy was our family tired.  After lunch, the boys went down so easy for nap and then I laid down to take a "short nap too".  Or ENTIRE household slept almost 4 hours.  Whew.  Party life it tough stuff.

Coming home exhausted, cranky from traveling, and a suitcase full of dirty clothes, sometimes makes you wonder if it was all worth it.  Monday night I got the sweetest text from Madison that assured us it all was.

I will never be able to thank you enough for everything that you did to make this weekend happen. It was absolutely wonderful! I am so blessed to become apart of the family and to be able to call you my sister. I love you and can't wait to see you, Justin, and the boys again! 

God has certainly blessed our family with close relationships and lots of great memories.  His goodness doesn't stop there.  He is GROWING our family adding even more blessings.   I am looking forward to creating new memories and lots of fun with my new sister and sister in Christ. 

The Riley's 

The Riley FamilyComment