Excitement filled the air last Thursday as we anticipated the arrival of Travis' parents, YaYa and Papa! While Papa stopped by during a business trip to our area in December, we hadn't seen YaYa since Thanksgiving. The girls were eager to show off their new skills and abilities for their grandparents.
YaYa was excited to give the girls the gifts she brought - new dress up clothes! YaYa sure knows how to make little girls beam with delight. Merryn was so enthused she put on the earrings, shoes, gloves, hat, and tiara immediately and pranced around like she was royalty. Josie dazzled in a sparkly tiara and pink feather boa.
Somewhere there's a formerly hot pink chicken shivering in the cold - she's welcome to come retrieve her feathers from our family room floor.
Boy oh boy did our smiling sweeties have fun with that little costume party. YaYa's knack for picking out gifts turned our gleeful girls into glamorous beauty pageant queens! Move over Miss America, you've got competition!
On Friday we relaxed at the house, spending quality time together as a family.
Later that day, Dad and Papa left to go set up for the big Chili Cook Off!
This photo about sums it up - Josie wants a gentle hug goodbye while Merryn prefers to mark the departure with a wild round of wrestling Dad.
Saturday was the big day: our 4th Annual Chili Cook Off. It benefits a local organization that offers incredible programs for kids with special needs. Our theme this year was "Josie's Diner":
Several local restaurants competed so it was especially funny when our "customers" would ask us where "Josie's Diner" is located, as if we represented a real diner here in town.
But who can blame them? With the help of YaYa, Papa, and some really kind-hearted and creative friends, we delivered a convincing diner experience complete with an elaborately decked out booth and Travis' award-winning chili! Delicious!
Well, it was delicious...until we ran out...two hours before the event ended. While Travis prepared the amount recommended by the guidelines, the event turned out to be so popular that many teams ran out. This is where it gets funny. Unwilling to disappoint our wonderful "customers" who had spent their hard-earned money to support our favorite local charity, a Plan B was immediately concocted.
Travis ran over to the concession stand and purchased several jumbo cans of whatever chili they had on hand. As it was poured into the roaster, we realized our "back-up chili" looked about as appetizing as cat puke. That's when Plan C was implemented. Our innovative friend, Tom, ran out and bought some tomato sauce and proceeded to dump it into the back-up chili, hoping for a more authentic look. Instead we turned the back-up chili into watered-down, PINK cat puke. Yummy! Needless to say, we didn't place in the competition this year but we sure had fun in the process.
Here are some more cute photos from our weekend with YaYa and Papa:
Josie realized her ambition to be a jeweler...or perhaps a barber.
Merryn appreciated Papa's willingness to shield her from the pounce of a hungry dog, who was desperately trying to steal her Cheerios. While Papa empathized with Merryn's distress at the notion of sharing her cereal, the rest of us found this scenario extremely entertaining.
Merryn introduced YaYa to some of her favorite literature.
Oh and this one is just for bragging purposes. Go Josie, go!
All in all, it was a wonderful weekend! Special thanks to Tom, Helena, Brian, and Amy - what an awesome chili cook-off team! Much gratitude to YaYa, Mama Hop, and Grammie Deb for donating terrific items for the silent auction. We'd like to send our heartfelt appreciation to everyone who came out to support us this year. And much love goes out to YaYa and Papa who made the weekend even more fun and memorable!