S: T H E R O B E R T S O N S ' A D V E N T U R E S I N T E X A S
BC: Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends we choose. | - T e n n e s s e e W i l l i a m s
FC: T H E R O B E R T S O N S | A N D T H E I R A D V E N T U R E S I N T E X A S
1: It all began with two nosy neighbors curiously observing the guy who arrived on Sunflower Lane late one night, driving a purple VW bug and carrying with him nothing more than a laptop, a lime green comforter, and a cooler. A new neighbor had arrived on the lane, it seemed. Guarded from sight behind almost closed blinds and the darkness of a laundry room, the nosy neighbors whispered to each other on the phone. Do you think he's married? Does he seriously drive a purple bug? Do you think he's stealing our Internet? What if he pulls a Zima out of his cooler? He can't see us spying on him, can he? When the mysterious young fellow pulled a Miller Light out of his cooler shortly thereafter, some of the neighbors' initial concerns were assuaged. And, in the days that followed, as they caught a glimpse of a Michigan decal and learned that there was not only a wife, but a little boy too, and better still, that this wife was the one who drove the purple bug, the nosy neighbors decided that this new family just might fit in. And fit in, you did. That evening was the start to a lifelong friendship between three families. By the time you celebrated your first anniversary in Beaumont, our circle of friends had grown to four, and all of the kids on Sunflower Lane could fit together inside a box. Four years, two more families, nine more kids, and two tough good-byes later, your turn has come to bid Beaumont farewell. We treasure your friendship, the shared memories, and that we had the opportunity to live as we did, even though it now seems short lived, with our best friends only a door away. We wish you well as you begin your new adventure in Virginia, and we hope that you enjoy your book. | m i k e j e n n c h a r l i e & h e n r y | brad jenny emma & cooper Allen | brian jamie avery & brady Jones | craig celia natalie & jack Messer | matt karen anna ryan & ben Bordas | mark danae madison & hunter Chipley
2: S U N F L O W E R L A N E | Kids in the street. Babies in our arms. Beer in our hands.
3: A street like ours is rare. At the end of the day, when our kids are driving us crazy and we could all use some fresh air, we know that if we venture out to the street, there's a good possibility that friends will soon come pouring out. The kids will play. The moms will chat. My kids are driving me nuts. What are you guys doing for dinner? Do you want to come over? I need a beer, who wants one? Snacks will be shared, and eventually, one by one, the dads will come home. Inevitably, someone will end up in time-out and someone will scrape a knee, but everyone will leave in a better mood than when they arrived. Yes, a street like ours is rare.
5: m o r e m e m o r i e s O U T S I D E | w e a r e s o b l e s s e d . y o u a r e s o l o v e d .
6: Swimming Pool | f u n a t t h e | s u m m e r 2 0 0 9 - 2 0 1 0
7: We know you won't miss the long Texas summers that seem to last for half the year. Thanks to the Messers and the addition of their beautiful pool and outdoor kitchen in 2009, at least the last few weren't quite so difficult to bear. We all enjoyed having a new place to gather when the summer heat became too hot to handle. The kids (husbands included) have thoroughly enjoyed many afternoons spent jumping in, splashing, and shooting water guns with each other.
8: go blue! | m i c h i g a n f o o t b a l l i n t e x a s
10: easter 2010 | With our families spread all over the country, sharing holidays with friends happens all the time.
11: 4th of July | @at Riverfront Park | 2008 - 2009
12: pumpkins | When the air turns crisp (and even when it doesn't) and Halloween is near, we usually find ourselves gathered together in someone's garage to carve pumpkins together as a group. We share the messy job of scraping out the seeds, collectively pick which templates to carve, and do our best to keep our own and each others' kids from severing any major body parts with the carving tools. | carving
14: halloween | happy | Halloween is one of our favorite shared traditions. Gumbo, candy, a police barricade, and costumes for all.
16: f i v e y e a r s o f | christmas parties | 2 0 06 | 2 0 10 | While there are some holiday parties that you dread year after year, this has never been one of them. Gathering together each year to celebrate Christmas with good food, good friends, and good cheer has become a holiday tradition that we all look forward to. And the kids really dig the gift exchange. Thank you for hosting for so many years. It won't be the same without you.
17: 2 0 0 7 | 2 0 0 8 | 2 0 0 9
18: w e c e l e b r a t e | birthdays
19: From babies to big kids, at home or away, we all come together to celebrate birthdays. We are better about photographing our kids' celebrations, but we have enjoyed spending grown up birthdays together over the years, too. While we will miss having you here to celebrate the next round of parties with us, we are certain that you will find new friends to celebrate with in Virgina...at places other than Bounce Zone. | s e p t e m b e r ' 1 0
20: New Babies | w e w e l c o m e
21: During your time in Beaumont, we welcomed six new babies to the group - Cooper, Avery, Hunter, Henry, Brady, and Ben. And whether it was commiserating the woes of pregnancy, hosting a shower, visiting in the hospital, bringing over dinner, watching older siblings, or simply listening to each other in sleep deprived states, we have been there for each other for every new bundle of joy.
22: crawfish boil | 2 0 0 8 - 2 0 1 0 | t h e a n n u a l
23: Crawfish. Cold beer. Good friends. Late nights. These are some of the recurring themes of our crawfish boils through the years. Every spring, we gather around the giant pot, we watch the kids play, and we pity the few crawfish, with fates far worse than the rest, who become the chosen pets for the day. Then we eat and we eat and we eat.
24: San Francisco | m a y 2 0 0 9 | g i r l s ' w e e k e n d g e t a w a y | It started out as an idea, discussed together over drinks one night as we gathered in someone's kitchen. A girl's trip. We picked a destination and a date, and a few months later, we packed our bags, kissed our kids and husbands goodbye, and jetted off to the west coast.
25: l u n c h i n u n i o n s t a t i on t r o l l e y r i d e s a l c a t r a z f i s h e r m a n ' s w h a r f | p i e r 3 9 s h o p p i n g l o m b a r d s t r e e t g o l d e n g a t e b r i d g e h o t e l r e x
26: n a p a v a l l e y m u i r w o o d s s a u s a l i t o | road trip
27: After two days of shopping, riding trolleys, and seeing the sights in San Francisco, on day three, we rented a car and set out for wine country. We toured the Robert Mondavi winery and lunched at V. Sattui. We saw the giant redwoods in John Muir Woods and stopped for ice cream in the charming town of Sausalito. We eventually made our way back in to the city, but not before first making a trip across the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge. | M A Y 2 0 0 9
28: We celebrated Mike completing his MBA and Jenn ending her streak of single parenting every other weekend with dinner at Tokyo followed by bowling. Even with three of the five girls pregnant, we still knew how to celebrate! Congrats, Mike! | w e c e l e b r a t e | mike's graduation
29: j u l y 2 0 0 9
30: H E N R Y | 2 | w e | celebrate
31: h e n r y ' s s h o w e r b e a u m o n t , t e x a s s e p t e m b e r 2 6 , 2 0 0 9
32: T H E G I R L S
33: Good girlfriends can be hard to come by after college and marriage. Girls you can count on. Girls you can be yourself around. Girls to which you have nothing to prove. We lucked out in Beaumont, finding not only six families that meshed well, but also six women whose personalities clicked and who perhaps would have been friends regardless of the husbands and kids getting along so well. That our book club failed without discussing even the first chapter, trumped by food and wine and good conversation, fairly accurately sums up our friendship. We will miss having you nearby, but this is not good-bye!
34: t h e g u y s . | When it comes to the guys, of course there are not nearly as many pictures. And there is definitely not a single one of them lined up together, arm in arm, smiling at the camera. There won't be any mushy words about friendship either. Regardless, our guys have a good time together. Whether its playing Wii, chasing kids, or shooting the breeze over a beer, they get along great, and they will miss having Mike around.
36: charlie and his pals
38: H E N R Y | & h i s m a n y a d m i r e r s
40: b r a d j e n n y e m m a & c o o p e r | The Allens
41: Dear Mike, Jenn, Charlie, and Henry, We will never forget spying on the new neighbor across the street, a guy driving a purple VW Bug with a cooler and a comforter in hand. Who was this guy, was he gay? It was not until the next week that we learned that a wife and son (whew!) would be coming along as well. Then came the University of Michigan stickers on the cars and we knew that we were going to like you guys. Little did we know that you were going to be our best friends with an open door to your home at all times. There are so many memories in the 4 years we lived there together - driveway parties, afternoon beers, birthday parties, Easter dinners, Christmas parties, shopping trips to Houston, babies, U of M football games, pedicures, swimming, late nights talking, impromptu dart matches, playing the Wii, and drinking beers. Charlie, you have been a great friend to Emma and Cooper and they cannot wait for you to move to Virginia, play with all your trains, and explore this new area together. Henry, we know you are such a sweet boy and look forward to many more years of watching you grow up. You guys are amazing, lifelong friends with hearts of gold. You were always there for us during the good times and the bad. Not only are you great friends, but you are part of our family. Remember us talking about how we were a package deal when it came to moving with ExxonMobil, little did we know that our dream would come true. We cannot wait to take the next step of our adventure together in Virginia! We love you all very much! Love, Brad, Jenny, Emma, and Cooper
42: m a t t k a r e n a n n a r y a n & b e n | The Bordases
43: Dear Jenn, Mike, Charlie and Henry, When we first moved to Beaumont, Matt and I couldn’t wait to move out, back to our life in Houston. Now, we love it here and consider Beaumont our home. This change of heart is not because of the city itself (although, I do like that you can get anywhere in 10 minutes), but it is because of the people we have met here and now consider family. You, Robertsons, are a part of our family here. We will miss our impromptu play dates, chaotic family dinners, and adult nights out with you. We have had so many laughs together and never ever lack for conversation! Jenn, we can still have our hour long phone conversations about nothing, but it won’t be after having spent the most of day together. (Now, just think of how long we could talk!) We are excited about the future in store for you in Virginia. Even though we will be far apart for now, I am sure we will have many more laughs and make many more memories in the years to come. We will miss you all, dear friends! With Love, Karen, Matt, Anna, Ryan and Ben
44: m a r k d a n a e m a d i s o n & h u n t e r | The Chipleys
45: To Mike, Jenn, Charlie and Henry, It is with unselfish and loving hearts that we try to write this...but we are failing miserably. We know moving is part of our Exxon way, but it is just so hard when those you live near happen to become your friends...and then your family. We love you all so very much. We feel so blessed to have you in our lives. Mike, we will always have fond memories of playing Wii. We'll always rember our driveway parties and lighting fireworks. We'll especially remember your almost too small Yoshi costume. And, of course, your passion for all things Michigan. You are a great Daddy, husband and friend. Jenn, you are one of the most compassionate, generous and kind women we know. You have always been there for us. We cherish your friendship to the fullest and feel so fortunate God has given us each other. You make us laugh non-stop. Are always up for a good time. Are a great mommy, wife and unconditional friend. We will miss our impromptu family dinners. Our late night convos. But I will always look forward to your hysterical Facebook updates. Charlie-bug, you are so loved. It has warmed my heart from day one, the special friendship we have had! Who knew a 4, 5, then 6 year old could boost a grown woman's confidence by saying she was pretty? You are a charmer. Thank you for being such a fun, kind friend to Madison and Hunter. We have had so much fun in the backyard, playing trains and hotwheels, and watching movies. We love you with all of our hearts. Dear little Henry, how you have brought so much joy into our lives! It has been amazing to watch you grow so much and so quickly this past year! You have such a sweet little spirit. You are sensitive and kind. Your special affinity for Mr. Mark has touched our hearts. We cheered at your first steps! You are growing into such a big boy! We love you all dearly and look forward to a long friendship. Here's to moving near each other again soon! Love, The Chipleys
46: b r i a n j a m i e a v e r y & b r a d y | The Joneses
47: Mike, Jenn, Charlie, and Henry, When friends move away, there is always the fear, and in many cases, the probability, of losing touch. There is the fear of growing apart. There is the fear that the friends who leave will become too busy, too distant, and too consumed with starting their new life to keep up with old friends. But, luckily for us, we know better. We said good-bye to shared evenings on the driveway, impromptu dinners, afternoon beers, and seeing each other on a daily basis more than a year ago. Oh, how we miss those things and the countless other conversations, unannounced drop-ins that lasted for hours, political debates, and driveway masterpieces by Charlie that were such an integral part of our life on Sunflower Lane. Despite these things no longer being regular occurrences, our friendship has endured. We made it through one move, and with phone calls, e-mails, texts, and Facebook, of course, to keep us connected, we are confident that we will make it through another. We are so excited for you guys as you begin your new adventure in Virginia! Sure, moving is stressful and chaotic and a ton of work, but it is the way of life we have chosen, and it is exciting. Hopefully, one day soon, this way of life will mean that we will live near each other again. Thank you for the memories. Thank you for being such great friends to us. Thank you for sharing your kids with us, and thank you for loving ours. Love, Brian, Jamie, Avery, and Brady
48: c r a i g c e l i a n a t a l i e & j a c k | The Messers
49: Dear Mike, Jenn, Charlie and Henry, I will never forget meeting you for the first time out on your driveway, Jack was just a tiny baby and you took him out of his infant carrier and he fell asleep in your arms. I knew then that we would become friends and no matter where you guys live we will always remain friends for life. I have cherished all the memories that we have made over the last five years and hope to make more even though we will no longer be living next to each other. Just a few of my favorites are Mike eating crawfish until he was green in the face, just the four kids at the time playing in the box, beer pong on your dining room table and our many impromptu driveway parties just to name a few. I have loved every minute of watching all of our children grow up together over the last five years. They have celebrated birthdays, milestones and all have grown many more inches taller then we would have liked. We have added many new additions to the Sunflower Lane Gang and have watched sadly as some of you have moved off to experience the next adventure in your lives. We will miss Charlie's chalk drawings in the driveway and not seeing Henry grow up to be a big boy. And we will be sad that Michael Phelps will no longer grace us with his presence in our pool. I love you Jenn like a sister and we will miss you guys more than you know. We are not going to say good-by but only see you later. Good luck with this next exciting chapter in your lives. Love You Much, Craig, Celia, Natalie and Jack
50: Good luck as you begin your new adventure in Virginia!