Monday, July 28, 2014

There's Something About The Ocean

There are so many great things about working with some of your best friends, but sharing days off is at the top of my list. Sharing days off means never having to convince someone to take a day off work to come to the beach with me. {Mondays are my day off, so this convincing thing has happened a lot.}

This summer, my friends and I have had a standing date with the beach...


It's been so fun to watch the kids build {and very quickly destroy} sandcastles and bury one another{'s moms--since they're not quite old enough to sit still long enough to be buried themselves}



But, by far, it has been the most fun to watch the kids learn to love the ocean. 

I love the ocean. Love it. I want to be in the ocean from the moment we arrive at the beach until the moment we leave...love it. The three minutes it takes for sunscreen to dry feels like an eternity to me.

Deacon has been growing to love it too...it's definitely taken a little convincing, but last week, we were out in the water for a long time for a three-year old.


All smiles--even after a surprise dunking...

which his brother absolutely hated.

Hopefully, as you're reading this, you're coming from {or heading to} the beach yourself.
If you're not...you can rest assured that I am. And I'm enjoying it enough for the both of us.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Must Be The Way My Heart Is Fluttering Inside

I've been on the hunt for some new prints for my house. I keep finding myself adding posters of bugs and butterflies to my shopping carts.

Here are a few I'm considering...

Evidently, this is actually a thing. 




Also, I made a Spotify playlist of country songs that were super popular my Junior and Senior year of High School...so the title of this post comes from one of those songs. Anyone recognize it?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vegas Vacation

My mom is the oldest of five girls; her youngest sister was in kindergarten when I was born. Needless to say, I kinda grew up with my aunts...the sixth sister in many ways.

They carried me around, dressed me in their clothes {and heels and feathery earrings} and photographed and filmed lots of dance parties. My aunts are so incredibly hilarious, fun, and thoughtful.

In June, I got an email from my aunt Gina {#2 of the 5} asking if my friends and I would be interested in three free nights stay at Caesar's Palace and two free tickets to see New Kids on the Block. She knows that my first concert {in 4th grade} was NKOTB...so, I believe my exact reply to her email was "Uh, hell yeah!"

And so, we hopped in a car and drove to Vegas for the most inexpensive three days any of us had ever spent in that crazy city. 




^^^ Our friend Logan had just turned 21, so it was her first real Vegas experience. She'd never played a slot machine or had a drink in a casino. 

^^^ Friday night, my aunt flew home and Jolene {my roommate} drove in...and the mix of rest and play continued. We slept like twelve hours in a super dark and cold hotel room and then headed down to the pool.


^^^ That afternoon, as we headed out to do some shopping, we ran in to the future versions of ourselves! Obviously, we had to line up for a photo! The stranger that took the picture snapped about 50 and the progression is hilarious--you can practically see the resemblance in each pair as they look around and make faces through the snapshots.

^^^ We ate Secret Pizza in Caesar's Palace--twice. We were really trying for cheap yet delicious...and this place just hit the spot!

^^^ You guys. New Kids on the Block?! Amazing. It took me a few songs to stop giggling at the idea that it was a bunch of men in their early- to mid- 40s dancing and crotch-grabbing...but once they started "The Right Stuff" I was in.

^^^ Es didn't really know any New Kids songs, but she was such a great friend to go with me...she quickly fell in love with Joey McIntyre.


^^^ In addition to their songs, they played some great covers including I'll Be There, Careless Whisper, Hot in Herre, and Faith.


^^^ Several times throughout the show, the guys came running through the crowd. We were at the end of our row, so Es moved as quickly as she could toward the aisle to get a shot of her new crush: Joey.

^^^ After the show, we met up with Jolene and Logan, who had been waiting for us back at the hotel

^^^ Logan was a little defeated by having lost $20 on the Airplane! slot machines. We gave her one hour {and another $20} to break even before heading up to bed. I googled the casinos that had Airplane! but found a site that was out of date. She happily settled for a Titanic machine, calling Celine her hero, and won all of her money back! When the machine started to play "My Heart Will Go On" while ringing up her winnings, Logan burst in to tears with joy and excitement.

^^^ To finish off our hotel experience, we put on some cooling masks {around 1am} and Es struck her best "Hangin' Tough" pose...since she'd recently become a New Kids fan.

^^^ I left Vegas much fancier than I was when I arrived

^^^ What better way to start a 5 hour drive home than with some Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee and Chocolate Munchkins?! Come on DD--come to CA!


^^^ Logan jumped out of her skin when this coal miner began moving and talking to her during our bathroom stop

Part of Make July As Great As June was to visit Bass Pro Shops. I'd never been. Imagine my excitement when I realized it was on our way home from Vegas!! These girls were so gracious to spend 20 minutes wandering the aisles with me.
^^^ Does Does Doe
^^^ Posing for photos in a child's hat, in front of a bunch of kids not posing in hats is super cool.
^^^ Es made a little pit stop in the woods.


^^^ Enjoying the wildlife

^^^One last photo...complete with a "Hangin' Tough" Es, of course.

Thanks for the amazingly fun, relaxing and inexpensive {!!!} weekend, Gina! Next time you'll have to stay the whole time!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Swing With Me

About a week ago, as I drove in to work, I noticed two tree swings on the property between our church and the Care Facility next door. After lunch, I asked a coworker and our boss' daughter {who was in the office working on Vacation Bible School prep} to walk over and check them out!

I was a little skeptical of their durability at first, but once we got going--and it was obvious they would hold--it was so fun!


I'm pretty sure I'll be taking regular 'swing breaks' from work each day...feel free to swing on by and join me. {Get it?!}

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

God Done Shed His Grace On Thee

you should probably press play on this before you scroll through the rest of this post...for this was the theme song of our fourth. {and quite possibly for all of the fourth of julys ever until the end of time, if i have my way.} it plays in the most patriotic of sandlot scenes, and my friend chris played it while we rode bikes down to the park for fireworks {and i cried because, come on--riding bikes with friends after a day of pool time and ice cream--that's like the best day for an eight year old and that's really how i want to measure all my days, don't you?} he played it again during the firework show and you can bet i cried that time too, but so did cheryl, so i didn't feel nearly as silly in that moment as i did while wiping tears from my face with one hand and holding the handlebars with the other.
















in fact, i am a little teary-eyed as i listen to the song and write this...words i've heard {and sung in dozens of choirs over the years} seem a million times more moving with his passion and soul behind them. o beautiful for heroes proved, in liberating strife, who more than self, their country loved and mercy more than life. i mean, well done, ray...well done.