Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sisters. Sisters.

...there were never such devoted sisters.

This past week I've had the pleasure of hosting my little sister, Dana, here in Dallas. It was so nice to have her down here for a solid week. Since we're both on summer vacation we were able to just spend each day relaxing and doing whatever we wanted.

Dana and I have become best friends over the past few years. We talked about how it's so crazy that most of our lives we spent either fighting or ignoring each other. We shared a room and a bed growing up...so we were always close...physically...which led to a lot of bonding but also a lot of arguing over space and privacy. Then I went off to college and she started high school and we both had our own lives going on, and sadly, left each other out of them. We think that in the past few years we've both matured a lot and come to realize what an amazing bond we have through being sisters and sharing so many experiences growing up that no one really can understand but us. It's nice to finally be able to talk to each other and talk about our lives growing up and discover how each of us processed different experiences that we had.

We kept busy the entire week with fun activities. We saw 4 movies!!! (Two in the theater and two at home. ) Of course, we saw "My sister's keeper" and cried through the whole thing. We had both read the book as well so we were both thrown a loop by the movie's ending. It was a good movie, however extremely sad. The book was definitely better, but I think they did a great job with the movie. We also saw The Proposal (and Ross was able to join us for this one). It was a fun and lighthearted movie. Ryan Reynolds, Sandra Bullock, one of the Golden girls, and Oscar from The Office had me rolling with laughter at several points. Then at home we saw Gran Torino (amazing, but lots of bad language) and Crash (a great movie bringing up issues of racial stereotypes and racism). They are both 2 of my favorite movies and I would definitely recommend them.

The other big event that took place while Dana was here was THE YARDSALE! So, Ross and I decided that we wanted to have a yardsale with our friends Molly and Andy a while back to get rid of a little junk we had and a LOT of stuff they had. We were also able to sell a lot of Ross' parents and sister's things as well. A lot of work went into it, but overall I had a great time. It was so fun to make deals with people and finally at the end of the day let people fill up an entire bag for $1. I was surprised how busy we were! There were people at the sale non-stop from 6:45 am until just past 3pm!! Finally, we packed up the remaining items into a few boxes and bags and took it all to GoodWill. The sale was definitely a success. We got rid of a ton of stuff and made some extra cash.

This trip was extra special because Dana is going to be studying abroad in Italy in the Fall. She leaves September 1st and this was our 2nd to last visit with each other before she leaves. The next time she visits though is just a short visit for the Hillsong United concert in August. The same week I start work and just 5 days before she leaves for Italia. I don't even want to think about how much I'm going to miss her and how sad our goodbye will be. Ross always gets a little nervous and sensitive towards my feelings on the days that Dana and I have to say goodbye because Dana and I both get pretty teary-eyed. When I was getting ready to depart for Dallas after our wedding , people had to pull us apart. We were both bawling like crazy and wouldn't let go of each other. Then I cried the entire plane ride to Dallas and poor poor Ross had to sit there and console his new wife. I can only imagine what people were thinking. I was wearing this little tanktop that said "Just Married" and here I am crying my eyes out on a plane to Dallas. Pretty comical picture now that I think back on it, but at the time it was really not funny.

I am so blessed to have a sister that's also my best friend and I feel like God just keeps bringing us closer and closer to each other and for that I'm so thankful.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Deep in the Heart of Texas.

This weekend we traveled with our good friends Molly and Andy to Molly's hometown of Katy, TX to stay and visit with her parents. We had a sweet time of fun and fellowship and were so blessed by the Paulsen/Parker clan. One of the highlights of the trip for me was spending time loving on the dogs. Meet (from left to right) Bailey, Jonah, and Boots. Boots and Bailey belong to Molly and Andy and Jonah belongs to Mr. and Mrs. Paulsen. They were with us every minute of the trip and I enjoyed bonding with them as you can see in the pictures.

What's really on my mind to blog about is running...or lack thereof. It's officially been over a week since I put my feet to the beat and I'm so frustrated with myself. However, that frustration didn't get me out of the door once again this morning. What I need is determination...and that is hard to come by in the morning for me. I don't mind waking up, fixing Ross lunch, making good strong coffee, reading, computer time, etc...it's just the part where my body has to move and I have to sweat and my heart rate has to increase...that my mind just can't get in the mood for. Summers in TX are hard for running (IMO). My sister in IL just went for a mid-afternoon run yesterday and it was a mere 75 degrees out. How unfair is that? Well...it's time to stop basking in my pity party and get some determination. Tomorrow morning I will set out to run and I will keep going. There is talk of a 10K at the end of August now...so I have to get ready for that. Maybe I just need to wake up earlier...we all know that JOY comes in the morning!
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Come on feel the Illi-NOISE.

I spent the beginning of this week in my home state of Illinois. All of my family from Florida was visiting and so I felt it was a good opportunity to see as much family as possible in one visit. My cousins are a bit older than me and all have children and it's fun to see them all growing up. When I was younger I LOVED spending time with my cousins. I absolutely adored them and clung onto them every time we were together. I looked up to them like they hung the moon. Of course I still love spending time with them...I'm just not as clingy I suppose. However, I feel like now the roles are reversed with their kids. Now I'm the big cool cousin to them. My cousin Rob lives in Naples, FL with his wife Terry and their 4 kids (Brett, Kacie, Brian, and Courtney) and my cousin Ellen also lives in Naples with her son Bobby. You can see them all (minus Courtney) in the picture below posing with Abe Lincoln's family.

We all spent Monday in the state capital, Springfield and toured the new-ish Lincoln museum. It is very cool if you ever get a chance to visit. We saw his tomb as well. That night I drove back with them to Pittsfield and and after winning a game of dominoes (family tradition) I spent the night with my grandma at her farm.

On Tuesday, my grandma's best friend's husband, Don took me and a few others on a backroad tour of Pike County in his big truck. It was so fun to see all the land our family and Don's family owns. It is so lush and filled with green trees and crops and creeks. Something I've always loved about Illinois is seeing the lush green grass juxtaposed to the striking blue sky and cotton ball white clouds. The land there is SO beautiful. We also drove through the villages of Pearl and Nebo where my family originated, however the population there is dwindling so much and hardly anyone lives there now. It's really crazy to see an empty town. That evening we drove up to Mt. Sterling to visit some more cousins that I don't see that often either. My cousin Joanna and her husband Toby live there with their 2 sons, Jesse and Tanner (wild boys, but they don't make kids any cuter than them!). Jo and Toby own a hunting outfitters there. If you don't know, this area is world renowned for the massive amounts of deer. Toby is an entrepreneur with many enterprises. He does all kind of hunting/fishing and his newest endeavor is Aerial Bowfishing. Look it up sometime...it's the craziest thing I've ever seen. I also got to see Jo's brother, Cole and their parents, John and Cookie.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. I love spending time with my family. They are awesome.

In the foyer of the Lincoln Museum. (Bobby, Brian, Kacie, and Brett)
Bobby rubbing Abe's nose for luck.
Bobby and Courtney-little angels born only 8 days apart.
My grandma's barn overlooking the farm. This is the most beautful land you'll ever see.
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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fried Brains.

In the midst of furniture shopping, I thought it would be a good idea to post our current couch and chair on craigslist. I put the price just a little higher than I figured we'd get just to see what would happen. I really thought it would take awhile to sell them and if all else failed I was going to put them in our upcoming yardsale on the 25th. However, people seemed to be very interested in them. I had several emails inquiring about them, but I ended up selling to the first responder and she came by and picked up the goods today. Well, the story doesn't just end there. What I didn't take into account when trying to sell the old furniture was that our new couch won't be here for 8-10 weeks!!!! So, our living room is now EMPTY! And it will remain that way for about 2 months!! I obviously wasn't thinking clearly. In 2 months, we'll definitely have a furniture unveiling party for you all to attend....but in the meantime...DANCE PARTY at the Barrys!! We should totally buy a black light or a strobe light and a disco ball and have raves every weekend for the next 8-10 weeks. Who's in?

In other news, I've been working like a mad-woman over at my school to clean out my classroom. It's a total disaster and I have very high aspirations for what I want my classroom to be. Right now I'm cleaning out cabinets of randomness and trying to make sense of the whole place! I seriously have a ton of work to do, but I am so blessed to have an amazing husband who has offered to go help me out this weekend! I can't wait until I can post pictures of the finished product! School starts August 24th and staff training begins the week prior. I definitely have my work cut out for me in the mean time. (If I would show you a picture, you would understand, but I think I'll save the 'before' pictures to enhance the wow-factor later.

Lastly, as promised, I will update you on my running. This week I ran 3 days with Molly. We found a cooler route along White Rock Lake which is definitely helping and we're going at 7:30 instead of any later which seems to be helping as well. Right now we running between 3 and 4 miles with no intention of increasing our mileage too much for awhile. We're also deciding if we want to run a 1/2 marathon or not and if so should we do it in November (DRC 1/2) or December (White Rock Marathon). Any suggestions?