Love and Food in the Big D

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Addie's First Christmas

Although our Christmas was spent at this hospital this year, we tried our best to make Addie's first Christmas memorable. We obviously realized she wouldn't remember a thing, but we still did our best to make the present opening process a fun one for her. When I get more pictures from the only working camera that went around that day, I'll post more pictures of Addie opening her gifts. :)

Sporting her "First Christmas" outfit..

Super smiley after her bath and a long hard day of opening Christmas presents.. :)

Quick blow to the gut.. :(

So... for all the good things that came my way this year, I wasn't too surprised when things took a turn down hill. Looking back now, I'm glad it was what it was, because in reality, it really could've been a whole lot worse.

Chad and I entered the holiday season with plans to spend Thanksgiving in the valley with the Maldonado clan and Christmas in California with the Kelley's. Little did we know then, that our plans were about to be changed. After spending a seemingly normal Thanksgiving with the family, we got a good scare on Friday morning when my dad had to be rushed to the hospital. Not really knowing what the issue was, he was essentially treated of his immediate problems then was released that following Wednesday. By Sunday afternoon, he was back, and this time, it was serious. Having low white blood cells, they ended up giving him a blood transfusion... that did nothing more than temporarily raise his cell count. By the following week, my dad had become the resident "House" episode. No one could figure out what was going on. He had symptoms unlike anything any of the specialists could resolve. They would fix one thing, another thing would go wrong. It was a constant waiting game as he underwent test after test, only to be cleared of one thing, while showing signs of something else. Talk about STRESS!! Poor Chad having to deal with Yvette the Emotional Wreck! What a first test of love and patience that was!! I felt so lucky to have him there to be my constant support and ever present shoulder to cry on as I had to deal with all this in Dallas while everyone was back home...

The scary shocker came when some of the doctors were fairly certain that all signs were pointing at the ever dreadful Leukemia. A quick hard blow to the gut that was. After a few weeks worth of testing and waiting... they finally said... "NO CANCER". Whew!! By this time, Christmas had fast approached and we were back in the valley, stuck in the hospital no less... BUT, at least all the cancer tests were negative!! A few days later, they finally isolated the problem in his gall bladder and went in to remove it. Apparently it was the worst gall bladder the surgeons had seen in years.. but that was it!! That's where the problems stemmed from.. and we couldn't have been more GRATEFUL and relieved. All is well and my dad is on the fast track to recovery!! Oh happy day!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

ICE! Exhibit @ the Gaylord

Because Chad had never been, I thought it would be fun for us to spend our Sunday afternoon at the ICE! Exhibit at the Gaylord Texan. I have to admit that I think this year’s was better than last. What a sight! I’m not sure exactly how much ice they use for these sculptures but I just couldn’t get over the attention to detail and amazing colors these artists put into their work. It was absolutely BREATHTAKING!!....and oh sooooooo COLD!! First thing they do is outfit you in these god forsaken ugly parka thingy’s that were about 3 inches thick and we STILL couldn’t feel our fingers and toes! It was insane…but really a memorable time. I can’t wait to go back next year to see what all they’ve added to their exhibit!

Smiley faces.. even though WE CAN'T FEEL THEM!!

Oh my goodness... it was sooooooo COLD!!!

Oh yes.. he's ALL MINE!!! hehehehe..

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chad's 32nd Birthday

In an effort to make Chad’s 32nd birthday special, I concocted a plan that involved sending him on a scavenger hunt around the house in search of his gifts. I think I enjoyed the whole experience much more than he did,(watching the confused look on his face as he read and RE-READ each clue)although he laughed his way through every hint I gave him.

FINALLY!!! The final clue led him to our guest bathroom where his pile of presents lay in the tub. :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Feast..

Breaking in their new house addition, (complete with new dining area, family room, play room for Addie and a RIDICULOUS new theater room) the Maldonado’s, Salinas’ and Kelley’s (Chad and I) ;) gathered for our annual Thanksgiving feast at my brother’s house. It didn’t take long to cozy up to the normal holiday routine of visiting friends, family, going to a sporting event of some sort, EATING and more EATING!! It was only the third visit for Chad to the valley, but by this time, there was no doubt that he had already become part of the family. It didn’t take long for him to be put to work either. Hahahaha… I guess when you’re a chef, it’s tough to leave “your work at work”.

Prepping for our Thanksgiving lunch!


Mama Maldonado doing her thing..

Tags, being a good big brother.. :)

RARRRRRRGGGGHHHH! Addie, trying to spook Tags.. :)

Sweet baby...

And she's out. lol..

Letting their Thanksgiving Gorgefest settle in, in the new Theater Room

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lazy Sunday evening..

Being utterly and completely POOPED after our glorious mini vacation to Fredricksburg, we used the rest of our Sunday evening to relax with our pup Macie Blue. She’s growing up so FAST!!

Macie and Chad having Daddy/Daughter time... :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fredricksburg Weekend..

In the months leading up to our engagement and in order to throw me off about when Chad's proposal would actually take place, he cleverly led me to believe that he was planning a very "Special Weekend Trip" that would ultimately lead to a very special "gift" of sorts. :) After all, this particular weekend was exactly ONE year to the day we had picked for our upcoming wedding. Lol.. I know, I know... I didn't even have a ring on my finger before this...yet we already had a date set. I think it's safe to say that my relationship with Chad has been a little NON-ordinary since the start... but I'd finally found the love of my life, why on earth would I slow down now??!! :)

After Chad proposed (the weekend before this) he finally told me where we were going. He had lined up a beautiful little cottage in the cute little town of fredricksburg. We headed out of town early Friday and came back to Dtown Sunday. Needless to say it was a relaxing and very memorable getaway celebrating our recent engagement!!

I must say that Chad did a GREAT job picking this place... It was sooooo incredibly quaint and charming!! We are definitely coming back next year. :)

Saturday morning began with the BEST home cooked breakfast you could ever get on a trip. Our inn keepers treated us with a gourmet breakfast each morning of our stay and it was absolutely amazing! Even my future HUSBAND, the CHEF was impressed! :) What a way to start the morning!
Our tour around Fredricksburg included a stop at Becker Vineyards where we fell in love with some of the tastiest Texas wines we've had so far! Chad ended up doing a wine dinner with them a few months after this trip. It was a huge success! :)

Sitting on the Becker Vineyards patio enjoying our yummy wine selections!

The grape vines were kinda sparse at this time.. but they were still beautiful!

Becker Vineyards, Fredricksburg Texas

Lavender fields at the Becker Vineyards..

Not sure which vineyard this is, but they had a funny "Port-a-Potty" exhibit thing where local artists did their thing being creative. It was pretty funny I must say. :)

You can't really see it, but the door of this thing says.. "Sitting Pretty" hehehe..

My love.. being silly..

Yup, thats right.. this is the inside of one of the PortaPotty's... :)

Sunday, November 09, 2008


To be quite honest, I've kinda stalled on writing this particular blog. Not because I didn't want to (quite the contrary actually) but because I couldn't seem to find words fitting for all that I felt about this day. I knew an engagement was coming..heck we even had a wedding DATE picked out by this time... so in reality, I shouldn't have been very surprised about my proposal... but the truth was, it hit me upside the head like nothing ever had before. And I loved every minute of it! :)

It had taken a few weeks of planning (on Chad's part) for this particular day to work itself out. He had gotten a coworker of mine (Gary Morgan) involved by plotting a masquerade of sorts. He told me he wanted us to take pictures together to send to his family back home for Christmas. Sounding like a good idea, I suggested that we get Gary involved to keep from having the extra expense of a "real" photographer. Who knew that this whole time I was aiding in my very own proposal! lol..

Finally finding a day that worked for everyone, we began this particular Sunday morning by meeting up with Gary at the Belmont Hotel. We had heard this was a great place to get pictures of the downtown skyline. :) Starting our whirlwind tour, we made our way to places we had been on our first date, places unique to Dtown and your standard places with picturesque backgrounds. Towards the end of the afternoon, we found our way to the farmers market. We toured the area, and found ourselves amongst rows of beautiful red, pink and white flowers. Squatting down for pictures... I was too involved in trying to keep myself balanced to notice that Chad had begun to reach into his pocket. Turning to Gary he said, "Keep going Gary..." Not really understanding what was going on, it took me a second to realize that Chad had pivoted around and was already on HIS KNEE!! It took a few seconds to realize that his eyes were watering and his hand was clasped around the most BEAUTIFUL diamond solitaire ring I'd ever SEEN!! After a couple of happy "SHUT UP CHAD"s.. he finally asked me to be HIS BRIDE!!!. :)

Belmont Hotel

Downtown Dallas

Farmers Market Sign
He has the ring in his hand!!


I had dreamt of this day my entire life... and right here, kneeling in front of me, was the most perfect man I could've ever hoped to spend the rest of my life with.... I'm in HEAVEN!! Now starts the fun stuff.. :)