Happy Father’s Day!!!

In honor of Father’s Day I wanted to take some time today to share some pictures of some of my favorite memories with my dad. Bonus–you get to see some old goofy pictures of me too!

My dad loves barbecuing, sports cars, and the Dallas Cowboys. He’s the kind of guy who…really isn’t super into tools and building things, but has spent countless hours putting together toys for me and my siblings–and recently, for Ziya! Remember the toy kitchen that took him 6 hours???!!! He’s the one who sat through all the Disney movies that we wanted to go see because that was NOT my mom’s idea of fun!

My dad has rarely missed a volleyball game, basketball game, piano recital, art show, talent show, or any other school program that involved me or any of my siblings, even though I sucked at sports and I’m sure our early piano recitals were…interesting. He’s always there to show support no matter what! Likewise, he’s at every family event–even though my mom’s side of the family is mostly women–and he’s sometimes the ONLY guy in attendance. Between he and my mom, my dad is the “softy”, and he’s the one that we would always go to when mommy said “no.”

One of the things my mom has told me that she loves about my dad (besides his dance moves…[cringe]), is his consistency and stability. If my dad says he’s going to do something–he does it–no excuses. From the smallest of things, like mounting my TV on the wall, to the really important things, like being an extra support system for my daughter. He’s always been someone we can depend on. So I think I can handle some embarrassing dad-dancing every now and then as a trade off!

My dad is kind of quiet–so sometimes I’m not really sure what he’s thinking… But what I do know for sure about my dad is that he puts our family first–every day in every way. Even when he has to sacrifice his time, energy, money, gas, jacket, sleep, or peace and quiet…he does it without a single complaint. His love for his family is proven through his meaningful actions every day.

When you’re little, you just think it’s a given. You imagine everyone’s dad to be like your awesome dad. But now that I have a daughter of my own, I have a whole new appreciation for my dad and who he’s been for our family. I’m lucky to have him as my dad and Ziya is lucky to have him as her “Pa-Pa”!

Happy Father’s Day to all of the great dads out there!

What Moms REALLY Want – By My Mom!

Hey y’all!  Chef Toni here, hijacking Raven’s blog today. Mother’s Day is next weekend and I know some of you are scratching your heads about what to get your mama. Let me give you some perspective, from a mom’s point of view.  When it comes to Mother’s Day, I’m an expert. After all, I’ve birthed four babies and I’ve lived through 35 Mother’s Days!!! By the way, that’s me, my mom, and my grandmother holding my first-born, baby Ashleigh in the picture above.

Me & Baby Raven
I think I speak for most moms when I say the first thing we want in LIFE is for YOU, our precious offspring, to be healthy, happy, and productive. After that, we’d like a little peace. When you were little, it was peace and quiet–now, it’s just PEACE. We’ve cherished your gifts through the years—handmade cards with drawings of stick figures, flowers and hearts, clay and paper mache’ masterpieces… and later, the carefully selected, sweet, and inexpensive trinkets from the dollar store. HOWEVER, if you’re old enough to read this, you may want to think about upgrading your treats for mom on Mother’s Day.
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SXSW with Icing

I had an incredible time hanging out with the crew from Icing at SXSW in March.  If you don’t already know, SXSW (South by Southwest) is a 10-day interactive, media, film, and music festival that takes place in Austin, Texas every March.  I met up with Lacey Claire (@thelaceyclaire) from ANTM 2015 and we stayed in the cutest Austin-style house for the weekend.

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