Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Divine Design

Ross and I are in the process of making a couple big purchases. We decided a few months ago that we would put any gift money that I received from graduation towards a new couch a chair. The past couple of weeks we've been furniture hunting on the weekends and this weekend we finally found some things in which we approved. The furniture we currently have was kindly donated to us by someone who was getting rid of it. It was a little dirty and worn, but after using a little elbow grease we were able to get it into an acceptable state to use. We were very blessed by it and therefore didn't have to buy a couch and chair right when we got married. But we both had decided that it was about time to get something a little nicer and newer. After searching Rooms to Go, Ashley Furniture, and several other furniture stores and consignment shops, we finally found a couch we were happy with at Crate and Barrel. But before we finalized on it we wanted to find a chair. On our way home from church on Sunday, I spotted a beautiful chair out of the corner of my eye at Pottery Barn on Knox St. I had Ross pull the car over and we ran inside to check it out. It just so happened that the floor model of the chair was for sale. I was so excited so I ran (on foot) over to C & B and got a swatch of the couch that we liked. I was SO disappointed when I realized that they didn't match! So we thought it wasn't meant to be and went home. Then last night Ross had the brilliant idea that we should change our perspective on the couch since we really liked the chair. It was so comfortable and adorable. So today I went back to C & B to see what other color swatches they had of the couch model we liked...and lo and behold...there were a few more options. I was so excited and ran (on foot) back over to PB to see if the chair was still there and if the colors went together. I was so happy to see the chair still sitting in the window and the colors looked beautiful together. So I grabbed a saleswoman and made the deal! I'm so excited that we're going to have some fun splashes of color in our living room now! You can see pictures of our purchases below.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

God is with us...FEAR NOT!

I'm on the downhill slide of Vacation Bible School at our church. This week I've been hanging out with 40 three and four year olds from 9-1:30 at Crocodile Dock. The title of my post comes from the daily Bible point that we teach the kiddos. Whenever the hear the Bible point of the day...they scream "FEAR NOT". So those words are ingrained in my head for sure. It's been an adrenaline rush for me each day! I strongly believe that I am working with the best age group! Yes, the preschoolers can be wild at times, but they are so darn cute and sweet! There's nothing better than loving on little kids, teaching them, and getting them excited about God. My main job is to lead the snack shack and crafts for the preschool kiddos. That may sound like a boring job, but it's really cool because I get to incorporate the daily Bible story into the craft or snack. It gives the kids the repetition they need in a variety of contexts so it really sticks with them. When I'm not leading I still get to hang out with the kids during arrival and dismissal times when they sing songs and worship. I am a big fan of kid songs and these VBS songs are actually really good, so it's fun for me to get the songs stuck in my head (and just ask Ross--they are definitely stuck). :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

And they call the thing Rodeo!

Last night I had the chance to experience my first Texan Rodeo! Ross got some tickets through a Southwest promotion and we took our friends Molly and Andy with us to the World Famous Mesquite Rodeo. We had a great time watching bareback riding, steer wrestling and roping, barrel racing, and bull riding. I also learned of something called Mutton Bustin' which might be the cutest and funniest thing I've ever seen. You can see the picture below, but little kids are able to ride these huge sheep kind of like bull riding except with sheep that don't buck or spin. These cowboys open the gate and the sheep darts out carrying a little child on its back. The kid holds on for dear life and usually falls off face first into the mud after about 3 seconds. It is totally hilarious. Another neat part of the rodeo is the cowgirl trick riders. In this event these cowgirls ride really fast on their horses and do all sorts of acrobatic tricks and stunts. It's really exciting. I had a great time with Ross and the Parkers and definitely feel like all I need now is a cowboy hat and boots to feel like a true Texan. And because Ross and I wanted to keep the feeling going, we watched 8 seconds this evening. For those of you who don't know, it's the true story of Lane Frost, a world champion bullrider. It wouldn't win any awards for best movie, but it's a good story. Just make sure you have a box of kleenex handy!

Here you can see the kid face first in the mud. So funny!
Steer wrestling.
My favorite-bull riding. :)
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Soakin' up the sun.

We just returned on Monday evening from the Barry family vacation in Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama. This trip is a tradition for Ross's family, however this was my first time being a part of it. Gulf Shores holds many memories for the Barrys. This is the spot where his sister Stacy met her husband Jonathan about 8 years ago and this is the spot that they found out they were pregnant with their first child, Anika! It was fun for me to go to a place that Ross and his family hold so dear to their hearts. In the past, they've always stayed at a resort called Perdido Beach however with our growing family we needed to rent a condo to house all of us. So we stayed in a condo a few miles down the beach from Perdido. We basically spent our days soaking up the sun, reading, and playing in the sand and our evenings just hanging out together. As you can see below, I enjoyed reading "Dear John", a novel by Nicholas Sparks and hanging out with my 4 year old niece, Anika. She is the funniest and sweetest little girl and I love spending time with her! She and I watched "Annie" and "Sound of Music" on the 12 hour drive there and then sang the songs together the entire trip. If you know me, you know that I enjoyed every minute of that!

Ani running from the waves.

Ross made a little chair for us to sit in and let the waves hit us.
(It wasn't too long after this that he buried me from neck to ankles in sand.)

All the "kids". :)
(Ross, me, Stacy, Ani, Jonathan)

Now that Ross's and my "major" summer trips are completed, it's back to everyday life. For Ross that means back to work and for me....well that's yet to be determined. :) There's really not a "typical" day for me this summer as my life seems to be pretty random and unscheduled so far. However, I am LOVING summer vacation! Today I am going to visit a church in Flowermound to get some ideas for our church's vacation Bible School, Crocodile Rock. I'm helping out with the preschoolers and with decorating. We're going to take some pictures of how this church has everything set up and get some ideas from them and I believe they are going to let us have some of their props when they are finished with them, definitely a blessing!

I hope you are all enjoying the week! Much Love!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The city that doesn't sleep.

Last night, Ross and I returned from a weekend in the Big Apple! On Thursday afternoon, Ross and I flew to New York and met Mom, Dana, and Grandma Sue there. This was my second time and Ross's first time there. So what was so fun for me (besides experiencing it all myself) was to see Ross taking it all in for the first time.

We started our trip by taking a cab to our hotel which was located in the heart of Times Square and being on the 43rd floor looked right out onto all the bright lights and action. It is NOT an over-exaggeration to say the city never sleeps! The lights are totally bright the whole night and there is a continuous flow of people (of all ages) trekking the streets. It was not unusual to see a baby or toddler in a stroller or a couple of 85 year old women strolling the streets past midnight.

Ross and I taking in the sights of Times Square.

On Friday, we planned to take a city bus tour, so we could see all the parts of the city and hear some commentary on it, however it was in the low 60s/high 50s and raining the entire day! We didn't have much of a tour, but we sure did try. By the afternoon we were totally soaked and frozen! Ross and I couldn't stop laughing about it though because we knew how crazy we were for sitting on the top of a moving bus in the wind and cold rain. We made a stop in Little Italy to eat some lunch and then rode to the WTC site which sadly looked the same to me as when I viewed it in 2004. After making it back to the hotel, we changed clothes and headed out to see a musical called "Guys and Dolls". It's a love story about some New York gamblers and their "dolls" set in the late 1940s. It was a fun musical and we had a lot of laughs. Lauren Graham (from the Gilmore Girls) played Miss Adelaide, one of the main characters in the show. The original cast included Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando.

A memorial for the fallen heroes at St. Paul's chapel behind the WTC site. This place served as a refuge for the firefighters and rescue workers during the WTC tragedy.

On Saturday, we took a Subway to Central Park and had brunch in the famous Tavern on the Green. This place is written about in many Danielle Steele novels apparently (says my mother) and is frequented by many celebrities and big wigs. It is the highest grossing restaurant in the United States. That afternoon we saw "West Side Story". A Romeo and Juliet-esque performance set in New York in the 1950s. It's about the tragic love story between Tony (an anglo) and Maria (a recent immigrant from Puerto Rico). That night, Ross, Dana and I, took the subway back to Chinatown for some Dim Sim!! We found a restaurant called Shanghai Cuisine, that was well known for their amazing soup dumplings (seen in the picture below). So amazing and for a very good price! I loved Chinatown. :) After exploring there for awhile, we made our way back to Times Square to walk around and then just sat outside amidst all the action and took in the sights for awhile.

My lovely sister Dana and I outside of Tavern on the Green in Central Park.
Yummy dumplings from Shanghai Cuisine.

The billboard for one of the shows we saw.
On Sunday, we toured the NBC studios (very cool) and went to the Top of the Rock to view the city (amazing view). Then we hit up some NY shopping before hailing a cab to the airport for our departure. I also realized mid-morning I had lost my phone...wonderful! After retracing my steps, brainstrorming, searching the hotel room and having the hotel staff search the room as well I just knew it had fallen out of my purse and was gone! Miraculously, as I was boarding the plane, out of nowhere God, in his perfect timing, totally put a vision in my head of where it was and I immediately called my sister, who had not left for her flight yet, and she was able to find it! So praise the Lord for that!

Overall, New York is a fun and action packed place to visit. So many types of wonderful food to choose from (which is often my main concern) and tons of shows from which to choose! (I have to say on my next trip I have to see Billy Elliot!!!! I was overruled this time). So much to do that we probably didn't make it to half of the attractions and restaurants that were on my mental agenda. I think it's a great place to go for a short visit though because we were totally exhausted by Sunday! It's a city where you are on the go the entire time you're awake. The fast lifestyle is fun for me to experience for short periods of time, but I know I could never keep that going for long. That being said, I'm already planning my next trip there (in theory).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Let's get it started!

Since I've had some extra time on my hands this past couple of weeks I've been thinking about running again. Running is something that's on my mind quite a bit, however I'm not always acting on those thoughts. I have decided to get serious about it again though. About half-way through May I started jogging every few days just to get back into the swing of things. I'm still actually working out the kinks...the older and more out of shape you are, the harder it is to make a comeback! This really supports the notion that you need to ALWAYS stay active! Anyway, I am pushing past these setbacks. I definitely feel slower now, but I am not claiming that. I will push myself to get faster and stronger and I will be able to run an acceptable pace again!

One thing I've always loved about running is having a partner. I've had several partners in my day and I love bonding with people over our runs. It's a very social activity for me. Even though some runs it's difficult to talk...when it's super hot or cold or when you're pushing the pace, but there's always time for talking afterwards when we're walking or stretching.

This week my partner has been Molly. She has been great because she is very headstrong. When she sets her mind to something she will make it happen. For example, we had planned to run this morning however it was raining this morning so we cancelled. Molly, however, calls me at 2:00 and is ready to meet up for our run. Some might have said it was too hot, but Molly pushed me to do it anyway and it was well worth it. I think Molly is going to be a good summer running partner! :)

My current goal is to build a good base in the next couple of months. Really get consistent about running 4 or 5 times a week, work on getting my strength back, and improving my pace. Then around mid-August I'm going to get serious and start a solid training program for a 1/2 marathon in December. My last 1/2 wasn't that impressive and my training was extremely lacking, so I am ready for a comeback race.

I will try to occasionally keep you all updated with how things are going as a way to hold myself accountable and keep myself motivated. The race I'm thinking about is the White Rock 1/2 Marathon (runtherock.com). If any of you are planning on running that race let me know and we can do some long runs together later on!