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.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Texas Forever {Part 2}

The rest of the week in Texas was spent at THIS beautiful property!



Each morning, our team would wake up to a fully home-cooked breakfast, fresh donuts from the local donut shop and HUGE carafes of coffee {when our hostess found out I prefer iced coffee, she began to make extra and keep it in the fridge for me...talk about hospitality!}

After breakfast and a reflection on a Bible story or character, they'd take us out on the lake for all sorts of water sports! I learned to wake surf {!!} which I am pretty proud to say, since I'd never done anything like it {and there were quite a few others who couldn't do it!}

We had many, many hours of tubing: three tubes with at least seven people being whipped around, guys jumping from tube to tube...I would get thrown in to the lake and be laughing so hard that I swallowed, easily, a gallon of lake water each day. But someone did mention that they were never concerned that I was hurt because they could hear my laugh from the middle of the lake.

One afternoon, we took a duffy boat down river {past Nolan Ryan's property!} to a big tree with a rope swing and a platform at the top. This photo makes me look like I knew what I was doing...the actual event was considerably less graceful! On my second climb, I opted to jump from the platform up above, thinking it would hurt less than smacking in to the water on the rope. 

After lunch, naps {well, I took a nap while everyone else played volleyball} and more lake time, we'd have delicious BBQ for dinner, Blue Bell ice cream {often ice cream floats} and then settle in for a few card games before bed.

On our final morning, I was so sore from all of the tubing that I opted for some quiet reading and chatting instead of final runs behind the boat or on a jet ski. And really, with a spot like this, can you blame me?

We left early for the airport to give us time to stop for BBQ at City Market in Luling.

Oh. My. Goodness. This place was incredible.

They have a smoker {where they cook the meat} in the restaurant, so when we walked in, it smelled so much like Kenya that I almost burst in to tears!

The boys ordered for us and brought these giant pieces of butcher paper filled with ribs, brisket, sausages and pickles to the table. And then threw down three or four loaves of white bread and a half dozen bottles of BBQ sauce.


So. So. So. Delicious. We left Luling super full and happy...feeling like we'd had a pretty complete experience of Texas: Riggins, Blue Bell, boating and BBQ.