Dinner with Friends

On Saturday night I hosted a dinner with 7 girlfriends at my house. Yes, I have 3 els and another on the way. “How did you do it?” you ask. Well, I just made the decision to do it and forged ahead with the planning. And, I worked it out, thanks to wonderful Grand Els, and to me only have 1 El with me that evening.
Here’s how it happened. My Mister El was scheduled to be on a Men’s Retreat with 40 other guys from our church. And, I always have this desire to entertain and have friends over. But, I rarely do it. I really enjoy having family celebrations here at our house- holidays, life celebrations, birthdays, etc. The only thing I feel like I am missing that I would like to do, is have friends over more often and just because.
I decided that having the Mister out of town made this weekend a good choice for a girls dinner. I only have a dining table that will seat 8. So, I sent a message to 6 of my mom girlfriends with only 1 saying she would be out of town and not able to come. I was so surprised that almost everyone was able to make it. Each one of these women has 1 or more (some 3) little children. So, I have to thank their husbands for agreeing to take over for the night! So, with 5 friends confirming, that meant I had room for 2 more friends. The very next day one of my best friends from High School left me a voice mail and said that she and another one of my best friends from college were talking about me and my fourth baby. (They both live in Austin, btw) They wanted to do something special as we anticipate the arrival of this new little El. She said they wanted to come to Houston and do something girlie- maybe manis and pedis, dinner, anything I needed done around the house, etc. And then she said, they could come the first weekend in May. As soon as I heard this on the message, I knew it was MEANT TO BE. I quickly returned the call and voila!- our dinner date for 8 was set!
Everything else just fell into place. My out of town friends arrived early to settle in and help. And, they definitely helped a lot. We had Mary’s Greek Salad and Shrimp & Grits for dinner. My girlfriend, Haley did all the hard work with preparing the shrimp- thanks, Haley! And, my dear friend, Jen, was the salad master- putting it all together perfectly and to my exact specifications. I only realized the next day, that I forgot the feta. Oh well! It was still very scrumptious. Julie and Haley also picked up Sugar Babys cupcakes- 4 of them were red velvet- my favorite, with crowns on top with the number 4. They were so cute and so yummy. All of my other friends brought wine and one brought me non-alcoholic champagne and made me a very tasty drink.
I even had help with Trinity and cleaning the kitchen and loading the dishwasher. I think I will invite everyone over more often! 
It was the perfect, relaxing, girls dinner. There was really nothing exciting, but it was just what I needed. Great food and great conversation. I can’t wait to do it again. One day, I hope to have a larger table and dining room so I can invite more friends. The great thing about this night was I had 1 friend from growing up, 3 from college, and 3 that I’ve met since returning to Houston. It was a great way to get to know newer friends better, reconnect with the old ones (which is always easy- like we’ve never been apart) and introduce everyone to one another. What a treat!
Here we are post dinner at the table.
Trinity was in love with Haley!
And, she was in love with Julie, too!

Yes, We’ll Gather at the River!

It’s true. We know how to live well…on a shoestring budget! 🙂 Last weekend, we went on a mini-holiday to visit our friends Julie and Will at their place in New Braunfels. We had an AMAZING time. They live right on the guadalupe river. The boys loved playing in the water and we all enjoyed our time with friends. It was great.

This is their outdoor fireplace.

They have a sliding glass door that separates the outdoor-screened in porch from the inside of the house.

Part of our fun weekend included a party to celebrate Julie and Will’s wedding at the end of last year. We had a Couples’ Shower at Whitewater Amphitheater. We enjoyed food by Wahoo’s Fish Tacos (formerly one of our favorite LA hotspots), music by Seth Walker (very smooth style- check him out) and a fabulous atmosphere. After the party, Seth Walker opened for Jerry Jeff Walker. It was a super fun night! Thanks to Julie and Will!

Here’s Bakri and another view of the porch.

Angela and Moustapha enjoying the party.

Me, Miss Trinity, Julie and her baby bump!

Moustapha and Julie in the kitchen.

Me and Miss T on the porch.

Maddux playing by the river.

Trinity on the porch. Can you see her two bottom teeth?

Trinity, having a great time with Julie.

Julie with her Aunt, her momma and my momma. What a great looking group!

Moustapha and the boys had such a good time playing in the tubes in the river. The river and lakes are really low this year. So, that made for a less rowdy crowd on Saturday. That was good for us, but not so good for business. Hopefully we’ll get some rain soon.

Sweet Angela and Trinity. Angela has a baby daughter that is one month younger than Miss T. I think she was missing Meri that night!

Here is a view from Julie and Will’s porch. I’m not sure how they felt about a family of five moving in for the weekend. But, we had the best time and can’t wait to go back!

Julie Got Married Yesterday

At 7 o’clock last night, we all gathered around the computer. I was the first, along with Trinity, sleeping next to me on the couch. We logged on to the computer to watch Julie (in a live internet broadcast) marry Will at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Although, I was a little teary all day because I wasn’t going to be there in person. This was definitely the next-best-thing. So, we logged on at 5 minutes before the wedding and waited. Just after 7, the wedding started. It was a small ceremony- family only. Julie’s mom looked beautiful. Joey walked her down the aisle. And both of Julie’s nieces and her nephew were in the wedding. Will stood at the front with Cole (Julie’s nephew) and they played one song before Julie’s dad walked her down the aisle. She was breathtakingly beautiful, as we expected. Her dress was gorgeous- very classic, very Julie. My favorite part was the vows. When Julie said I take William to be my “husband” she smiled so bright and said husband in the cutest way a true texas girl can. It was adorable.

So, congratulations to the Happy Newlyweds. We hope that 2009 brings you joy and happiness like you’ve never imagined! We love you!!!!!!