Satisfied American Girl customer

Lauren and American Girl shopping

Right after Lauren’s 6th birthday party, Jackie, Jennifer, Lauren, Avery, and I went to the American Girl store in Dallas. Lauren has been saving her money for the new girl, Grace, and with people knowing that she wanted Grace, she also received gift money to use to purchase this doll.

Two excited girls!

Two excited girls!

Here are some photos from the shopping experience.

Lauren and Avery walking to the store

Lauren and Avery walking to the store

Giving Grace a hug in the box

Giving Grace a hug in the box

Paying for Grace with cash

Paying for Grace with cash

Satisfied American Girl customer

Satisfied American Girl customer

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Lauren looking at her cake

Lauren’s 6th birthday party

The "big 6th birthday"

The “big 6th birthday”

On Saturday, January 31st, Lauren had her 6th birthday party, which was a week plus ahead of her actual birthday. With everyone’s schedule the way it was, this date was a good time to have her party, and what a party it was.

The theme for the party was art, and the guests had a chance to paint whatever they wanted on a blank canvas. All in all, this was a fun party and the kids had a great time without making too much of a mess.

Lauren painting

Lauren painting

Jackson painting

Jackson painting

Before the party started, I got Lauren to pose for me. Here are several of those photos. They are just stunning.

Lauren posing

Lauren posing

Lauren clowning around

Lauren clowning around

Lauren looking at presents

Lauren looking at presents

Lauren at the table

Lauren at the table

Jack at the party

Jack at the party

Opening presents

Opening presents

"Happy Birthday to Lauren"

“Happy Birthday to Lauren”

Jennifer and Lauren spying the food

Lauren’s tea party

_MG_6516Lauren just loves tea parties, and as her grandfather, I get the chance to participate in these quite often. In the fall of 2014, Jennifer, Lauren, Jackie, and I went to a restaurant in Plano to have a tea party one Saturday morning.

I am posting photos from this event, most of which are us just hamming it up. These parties allow all of us to have some semblance of formality, but most important, some time together for all of us to act both grown up and childlike at the same time.

More tea parties will be in the future, and I am happy to be invited to each one of them.

Lauren telling Jennifer something

Lauren telling Jennifer something

Lauren very excited about the tea party

Lauren very excited about the tea party

Jennifer and Lauren

Jennifer and Lauren

The food arrives

The food arrives

Jennifer and Lauren spying the food

Jennifer and Lauren spying the food

Jeff, Lauren, and Jackie

Jeff, Lauren, and Jackie

Face off between Lauren and Papa J

Face off between Lauren and Papa J

Big kisses after the tea party

Big kisses after the tea party

Lauren and Papa J

Lauren and Papa J

Big hugs for Mama J

Big hugs for Mama J

Laughs for all

Laughs for all

 

Jackson and his Weber Performer

Jackson’s best birthday gift ever!

Jackson and his Weber Performer

Jackson and his Weber Performer

For some time now, Jackson has wanted a barbecue grill. He has been fascinated with grills and smokers from a young age, and requested a grill out of the blue several years ago.

Jackson turned 9, and it just seemed like it was the right time for him to get a grill. What started out to be a simple Weber grill turned into a Weber Performer so that he would have a side table to use when he cooked.

We purchased the grill from Amazon and had it shipped to Jackson’s house. At his birthday party, it was the last gift he received. He just jumped up and down in excitement.

Jackson getting the surprise of a Weber Performer

Jackson getting the surprise of a Weber Performer

What joy!

What joy!

After the party, Jackson, Papa J, and Thomas began the process of putting the grill together. We tried to let Jackson put as much of it together as he could so he could learn about getting gifts where there was “some assembly required.” He did pretty well on putting his grill together.

Jackson opening the box

Jackson opening the box

Jackson unpacking the grill

Jackson unpacking the grill

Papa J and Jackson looking at the instructions

Papa J and Jackson looking at the instructions

Jackson using tools

Jackson using tools

Jackson working on a leg

Jackson working on a leg

Jackson and Thomas assembling the legs

Jackson and Thomas assembling the legs

Jackson putting the lid on his grill

Jackson putting the lid on his grill

Mama J, Papa J, and Jackson with his Weber Performer

Mama J, Papa J, and Jackson with his Weber Performer

Jackson cooked some chicken wings for a New Year’s Eve celebration and did a great job with them. We look forward to many more great meals prepared by him in the future!

 

Jeff, Lauren, and Jackie

Lauren has first recital

Lauren had her first recital tonight in Garland. We enjoyed it immensely as only grandparents and parents can. She did quite well and was especially excited to receive flowers afterwards.

We made it to an ice cream shop in Plano to celebrate the big event. When Jennifer would have a dance recital, we would go to Swensen’s in College Station to celebrate.  This is how memories are made, finding ways to celebrate these important events in our lives through simple tasks such as sharing ice cream together.

Lauren Larriviere

Lauren’s dance shoes

When Jennifer was growing up, she took dance lessons all the way through school. In fact, even after high school, she continued to work for Ella Trumpfeller at Dance Centre in College Station so dancing is something that she loved to do. Jennifer wondered if she ever had a daughter whether dance would be a part of her future. Well, Lauren came along three years ago, and dance is a part of the very present.

Lauren has talked about dance for some time, and Jennifer decided to sign her up this fall. She knew that there was only one place to get her first dance shoes and that would be from Ella. Jennifer and Lauren came to College Station over the Labor Day weekend to get her outfitted. Of course, Mama J and Papa J had to tag along, Papa J to provide photographic documentation and Mama J to pay for everything as a gift to Lauren from us.

I should have recorded some of this in video because once Lauren put on her new tap shoes, she just could not stop dancing!  She was lovely in her new outfits and with her ballet and tap shoes. Mama J and Papa J look forward to going to her recitals and remembering fondly the times we watched her mother dance so many numbers at Rudder Theatre and in competition around the state.

Group photo

Visit with Nolan Ryan at the Texas Rangers’ game

When the Texas Rangers’ schedule was released, I checked to see if the Arizona Diamondbacks were going to be playing in Arlington this season.  I found that they were playing in June and quickly put the games on my calendar so we could see about going to see Nolan Ryan and Don Baylor of the D’backs.  I have known Nolan since the 1990s when the Nolan Ryan Beef Program was first established, and I met Don last year when we provided bones for the D’Backs to bone their bats with.

I called Charlie Bradbury, CEO of Nolan Ryan Beef, to see if he could get us a meeting with Nolan.  Charlie came through and we had the opportunity to met up with him before the game. Upon arrival at the Ballpark in Arlington, Jonathan, Kaci, and Jack, Thomas, Ray and Clayton, and I were escorted to a small room near the Media Interview room to await Nolan to show up.  After about 10 minutes are so, Nolan, his security person, and her personal assistant came into the room, visited with us, had multiple photos taken, and signed a few autographs.  I told him that I was there to visit Don Baylor, too, and told him about the boning bat story.  Nolan said that early in his career there were bones laying around in the clubhouse and dugout for the hitters to rub their bats with, but that he had not seen this in recent years.  Charlie had visited with Nolan about boning bats last year and he said that the life of a bat was too short for someone to take great interest in it.  Nolan stated that someone like Josh Hamilton went through about four bats a game by usually breaking them (Josh lost the handle on one bat at our game when it slipped from his hands and went into the stands!). By the way, Nolan was very interested in Jack and spent a lot of time talking to and about him.  I guess you can tell he is a grandfather!

Jackson, Jackie, and Lauren

Jackie, the spinning wheel, and the grandkids

Jackie has gotten into weaving and spinning (that is the subject of another post later), and she brought her spinning wheel to Plano for the first time.  Jackson and Lauren were excited to see it in action and to try their hand at it.  Mama J and her grandkids had a great time playing with the spinning wheel!

Jack

Visit with Jack

Jackie and I had the opportunity to visit Jack (and, of course, his parents) this week.  It has been some time since we have seen him so it was great to get to hold him and see him for this brief time.  He is growing and developing more of a personality.  It will be fun watching him grow up and being a part of it.

Here are some photos of Jack.