Monday, October 31, 2011

A College Station Weekend

Happy Halloween from Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf!

Okay, so this is last year, but we're not doing anything particularly exciting this year, so we're just going to re-use this photo, mmkay? 

I'm super excited to get trick-or-treaters at our house for the first time tonight. I'm irrationally worried that we didn't buy enough candy. Is it creepy to take a photo of the first trick-or-treaters that come to our house? Probably. 


We spent the weekend in College Station, and I SO enjoyed it. I had a rough week last week, so it was super nice to just get away for the weekend. It couldn't have come at a better time!

I was in a Catholic sorority in college, and they invited the alumni back for Initiation on Friday and an alumni tailgate on Saturday (see last year's here). It was so fun to catch up with some of my friends from college and get to meet the younger girls who have recently joined. It's such an amazing group of young women, and I just felt so blessed to be able to come back and share a weekend with them.

At Initiation with one of the other alumni girls, Lynette, and our advisor, Sarah. So much fun!

Coming back for Initiation was just wonderful. It did my heart good to see so many young women sharing their faith and using their time in college to foster genuine friendships and grow spiritually rather than, you know, focusing on other "college life" things that aren't as positive. There was so much beauty there that night, and I just felt humbled to be a part of it. I just love those girls.

Fightin' Texas Aggie Tailgating!!

We got to eat at my favorite College Station restaurants, hang out on Northgate, and watch the Aggies play some football (although... what a disappointing game!!). We went to church at St. Mary's on Sunday, which I absolutely loved. It'll be a long time before I find another church that I love like that one.

With some of the other alumni girls... it's so fun to see everyone getting married and hear about everyone's jobs and such. We're all becoming grown ups! So weird!

We finally got to meet Amy's (you might remember her from the wedding, she was a bridesmaid) boyfriend! I approve. :)

I should've taken more photos, but I was just too busy basking in the joy of being back in College Station, spending quality time with old friends, and enjoying the beautiful weather! Sometimes life gets in the way of photos. Haha!

I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween and eat some yummy candy!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Backyard Phase One: Complete!

Whew. We're finally pretty much done with Phase One of the big backyard project! After we created the flower beds, it was time to get some plants in the ground!

We bought the azaleas and crotons at Home Depot a few weeks ago while they were on sale...

Waiting to be planted!

Everything else came from a local store called Houston Garden Center. Their prices ebb and flow with the seasons (full price in the spring, when most people are planting), so in the fall almost everything is 70% off. This was the biggest reason why we decided to do the backyard now rather than wait!

Shopping for our crape myrtle!

so pretty!

70% off!!

Here's what we ended up getting:
3 Leland cypress trees (just $3 each!)
1 Dallas Red Crape Myrtle tree (just $30!)
4 Buford holly shrubs ($5 each)
4 bottlebrush plants ($6 each)
2 variegated privets ($5 each)
2 honeysuckle bushes (at least, that's what we think they are - they were unmarked) ($5 each)
1 yaupon holly tree ($90)
4 crotons [from Home Depot] ($5 each)
6 encore azaleas (four pink and two white) [from Home Depot] ($7 each)

... all for around $250!!

Without further ado, here are the pretty flower beds!

First, the corner bed:

We ended up buying 4 buford holly bushes and 4 bottle brush plants. We alternated on each side (holly, bottle brush, holly, bottle brush). They're not in their blooming season right now, but when they are the holly will get little red berries and the bottle brushes will get gorgeous red flowers that look like, well... bottle brushes! In the spring we'll add some flowers in front of the bushes.

Crape Myrtle!

Buford Holly!

Bottle Brush!

Now for the azalea bed:

The Plan


We deviated from the plan a bit for this bed and added in the Leland cypress trees. They were just $3, and I wanted something a little taller to go in between the windows on the house. I love them!

Two pink azaleas, then a baby Leland cypress, then the white azaleas, then the second cypress tree, then more pink azaleas!

I just love these. Baby trees are so, so cute!

White azaleas

Pink azaleas! These went crazy blooming after we planted them - I think they like being out of their pots!

And now the far bed:

The Plan

Starting from the left side: Honeysuckle, croton, honeysuckle, yaupon holly tree, 3 crotons, baby Leland cypress, 2 variegated privets!

We love this tree! It wasn't marked at the garden center, but we're pretty sure it's a yaupon holly. Haha. 

Maybe one of you plant-smart people can confirm that's what it is? Haha. 

We planted two of these to the left of the tree. Jeff thinks they're honeysuckles, but we're not sure (Houston Garden Center isn't great at marking their plants... haha). They have lovely orange flowers, and I think they'll start climbing up the fence kind of like a vine. We'll see!

See? Pretty orange flowers!

I love the colorful crotons!!

The smallest of the baby Leland cypresses! This guy is my absolute favorite. He kind of reminds me of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. :)

We planted two varigated privets in front of the phone box. The phone box is a light green color, so we picked a light green plant so it would camouflage a bit... haha.

Variegated Privet

We still need to add some flowers to the front of the far bed as well, but that will wait until the spring. 

Here's another few photos of the backyard:

Pretty azaleas!

SO much better than all that grass before!

crape myrtle blooms

white azalea!

pink azalea!

So, what do you think? We're really happy with it!! Hopefully we can get all these new plants to make it through the winter without dying. We have quite a while before it will get anywhere near freezing here in Texas, but when it does - we'll be out there bundling them up in blankets!!

And just because baby trees are so cute, here's one more photo of my little guy:


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Backyard Bumblebees

The backyard project has definitely been hard work, but sometimes it's really nice to just be outside and enjoy nature a bit. Jeff hasn't mowed the backyard in a while (he's been too focused on planting, adjusting sprinkler heads, etc.), so these pretty patches of light purple flower weeds have popped up:

I know they're weeds, but I kind of love them. They're just really dainty and pretty.

I even picked some to put in my kate spade vases in the piano room:

We were outside finishing up Phase One of our backyard project last night, and I noticed that a bunch of little bumblebees were busy pollinating the little purple flowers. It was amazing to me because from a few feet away you can't even tell they're there, but when you get up close to the flowers, you can see them buzzing away! 

I followed one bee around the yard for a while, and it was just so interesting to see him go from flower to flower. Sometimes a gust of wind would come and he would get blown away, but he would just land wherever the wind took him and continue pollinating those flowers. Sometimes he'd stay on one flower for quite a while, and other times he would land on one and then jump back up right away. Maybe there are good flowers and bad flowers? I'm actually pretty afraid of bees, but these ones were so occupied with the flowers that they didn't seem to even know I was there. Plus, they're kind of fuzzy and cute up close!

I was wishing I had a better camera to take close-up photos, but the macro setting on my Canon point-and-shoot did pretty well:

Isn't that amazing?! I thought it was so interesting to just watch those bees. Even the smallest of God's creatures are unique and intricately made!