Team Hensley

Team Hensley

Sunday, February 27, 2011


As most of you are aware, the Jones family makes a big fat deal out of birthdays. Dad, Lydia, Trevor, and I knew we had to do something big for Mom's 50th, which was February 8. Lots of scheming went on during the month of January (Dad and I drove Lyddie and Trev crazy with all of our details and lists!) and on February 5, we threw her a pretty lovely surprise party.

We held the party at the Atrium Inn, which is only a couple of miles from their house. About 50 people showed up, most friends of hers from church. Here's everyone gathered before she arrived.

To my absolute delight, no one spilled the beans! She was completely surprised. As it turns out, my father is a very sneaky man. He made a fake invitation to his secretary's husband's retirement party to get her there. Then, of course, complained all week about having to go for good measure.

She happily greeted everyone. Here she is saying hello to one of her best friends, Barbara. Isn't Barbara the cutest?

Smother had no idea that I was there. I had flown in on Friday and stayed with Lydia to get last minute preparations taken care of (and to eat chips and queso). When she came in, I was hidden in the back. As she made her way through the crowd, I hid behind their pastor. When she went to hug him, he stepped away to reveal me. Surprise again!

Joe, who is a really fabulous human, put together an amazing slide show filled with pictures of her throughout the years. Then there were speeches. My dad told the story of how they started dating on his 21st birthday when she was instructed by his mom to "keep him out of trouble". She's now been keeping him out of trouble for 30 years. The old softie teared up a bit telling her how much she means to him and how incredibly blessed he is to be her husband. Awww! Many other people stood up to tell her how much she meant to them. She really is a very special person to so many people. I felt so proud to be her daughter.

Her friend, Paul, deejayed. He was awesome. My mother listens exclusively to Christian music and Rod Stewart (weird combo, huh?), but Paul did a great job playing tunes that everyone likes. We bought the food and cake from HEB; the popcorn machine came from Dad's work.

She had some help with the candles. 50 is a lot to blow out!

Family shot, missing Nate. Unfortunately, he didn't get to come because of school. :(

Isn't she the most adorable birthday girl ever?

***All of the pictures above were taken by the amazing Sarah Brooke Lyons. She took our engagement and wedding photos also. As you can see, she is seriously so, so good. Also, she's a wonderful cook, an amazing bff to my sister, and a really great mom. And I'm totally in love with her blog:****

Unfortunately, the weather prevented some out of town family from getting to the party. They were missed.

Here's a picture at the end of the party. Those balloons later ended up in their neighbor's car. Ha!

The birthdaying did not end with the party. I stayed in Schertz until Wednesday, so that I could be there for her actual birthday. On her birthday, Dad, Mom and I ate a very delicious breakfast, went flea market shopping and embarked on an African Adventure at the IMAX. Dad bought her a "Another year of Fabulous" sash to wear at her party. She wore it EVERYWHERE the whole week.

We then met up with Lydia, Trevor, and KC (Trev's sweetie) at Papa Dante's which makes delicious Italian food and looks like it could be a mobster hang-out. Emily, who has been a family friend for years, shares a birthday with Mom so she joined us for dinner. Mom even let her wear the sash for a couple of hours!

Here's to another 50 years!

Monday, February 14, 2011

birthday boy.


Since everyday in the Hensley household is Valentine's Day, we take February 14 off to celebrate the birth of Nathan E. Hensley, the cutest, smartest, funniest boy I know.

We began the day with biscuits and gravy. Breakfast in bed is becoming a birthday tradition in our house. Then there were presents in bed, too!

Nate (covered up for modesty) and his loudmouth cat:

I bought Nate a blazer, a couple of shirts, and a sweater. He got several very nice (and very generous!) cards from family, a package from his Momma and Steve filled new pants and shoes and other goodies (and the most comfy pajamas for me!). Probably his best birthday pressie was a video of Owen singing happy birthday. So cute!

Showing off his new clothes:

After breakfast and presents, we went to the Field Museum. It happens to be free every second Monday of the month. A birthday miracle!

Bird Nerd!:

Here are some more artistic shots with Nate's cool phone app:

We had Indian food for dinner at Rajun Cajun, our favorite little Hyde Park spot.

After dinner, we met up with some friends at an old school bowling alley. Luckily, Nate knows how to keep score manually. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures because I was too busy winning. :) Well, Nate won the first game; I won the second game. Nobody bowled well.

Then we came home and had cake. I attempted one of Nate's favorites, Boston Cream Pie. My baking skills could use some improvement, but you can't go too wrong with tons of sugar, cream and chocolate. And a cute puppy candle, of course.

Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day. I know I did. I just can't get enough of that guy! XOXO.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lake Michigan.

So, even though our mamas told us to stay inside, we just had to check out Lake Michigan (sorry, Smother and Candy!). Nate met me after work and we took a leisurely (and cold!) stroll by the lake. It was so beautiful. A few years back I went to White Sands, New Mexico with two of my best girlfriends. Frozen, snow-covered Lake Michigan reminded me a lot of that--just the blue sky and then stark whiteness as far as you can see.

Nate found some ice gems.

Here are some snaps taken with his fancy phone.

Soon the snow will turn to nasty, dirty slush so we really have to enjoy it while it's still pretty!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


As you should already know, a massive winter storm has battered a large chunk of the US. The storm reached from Texas to somewhere North of Texas. Canada, let's say. Because Chicago is between Texas and Canada, we also got hit with the storm. It was, according to one source, the third largest winter storm to hit Chicago. Ever.
We got at least 17 inches of snow, with 50+mph winds and--allegedly--25-30 foot waves coming off the lake (I find this hard to believe. The lake is frozen).
This is a photo of what it usually looks like outside of our living room window:
If it were a clearer day, you would be able to see all of downtown.
Here is a picture taken from the same place as the blizzard got started:
And this isn't even the real blizzard. This is just "heavy snow." The actual blizzard hit last night, and raged till 11 this morning.

In the middle of it all, I got a text from my friend Charlie asking if he could sleep at our place. (He always seems to want to come over when I'm making chili.)He had gone outside to have a smoke and locked himself out of his apartment. During a blizzard. He came over and slept on our blow-up bed.

The next day, after the storm stopped, Randi, Charlie, and I trekked to his apartment.

The pictures don't necessarily do it justice, but the snow was pretty deep in most places. Sometimes it looks like the snow is only shin-high, but that's because the snow is so dense that it will support your weight. There were some places where it was obvious that we were walking on top of at least a foot of snow.

Here I am in our parking lot:

This is our street...somewhere:

Oh, so we got to Charlie's apartment on foot, and I got his door open with a gift card from my wallet. Randi was very impressed.

A picture of the lake, frozen:

Randi in her parka:
Oh yeah! U Chicago closed down for the day (tomorrow too!), but Randi had to go to work. Apparently, her boss 1) doesn't care about the well-being of her employees, and 2) thinks that running a full coffee shop crew to serve the exactly 5 customers that would maybe show up is a good business strategy. In other words, she's an idiot.
Randi got up at 5:30am, got dressed, and headed out to begin her long walk to work. (Yes, walk! There's no other way to get there in a blizzard.) She got about half a block away when she realized that walking to work would be physically impossible. So she came home.
Later, she talked to her boss, who said, "Maybe trying to open the store today wasn't such a good idea."
Randi will have to work tomorrow. She will be walking. Wah!