Monday, April 21, 2014

Our Weekend in Texas::Story 5

You know how after the main event is over, you just want to be home and you start really missing your children? That's how it happened for me by Sunday morning. I didn't feel very well in the morning. The plan was to meet Josh and Sarah at the restaurant in the hotel they stayed at for brunch. The published time was 10am and I thought I could make it, but I ended up having to eat before we left. It was a good thing I did because as we were driving to the restaurant we found out the published itinerary was misprinted and the time for brunch was actually 11:00. It worked out because Brandi really wanted to check out the Super Target and I, after visiting Anthropologie, *needed* a maxi dress. Brunch was the only destination that we didn't have an actual GPS address for and we ended up getting lost and Jeremy and I entered the restaurant quite irritated with each other.

What also happened was that I talked to Mom in the Target parking lot and she was telling me how much fun the children were having (more on that in a bit) and I was crying. I would have hopped on a plane right then if I could have.

After brunch we went back to the wedding venue to help Josh and Sarah gather up the wedding decor they needed to take back to their house. While we waited for everyone else to arrive, Jeremy and I got to walk down to the beach and sit for a few minutes.
The saddest part of cleaning up was having to take apart the table bouquets! A lot of flowers were taken to a nursing facility in the area. At least we didn't have to throw all those fresh flowers away! After unloading the wedding stuff, the Heslop family spent a while visiting at Josh and Sarah's house. They opened their gifts. It was nice to visit in their home.

During the afternoon I received some pictures of our kiddos. They had gone swimming (which they are still talking about a week later), had pizza for lunch and ice cream from the Chesapeake Dairy for dessert, and Josiah was fishing. And this was just on Sunday! On Saturday they had spent hours playing in the dirt with Caleb and Gideon. I love watching my kids have fun. It's so very fun for me. I had hit a point in the trip where I felt like I was missing so much fun at home that I thought it would be more fun to be at home than where I was.
We left Josh and Sarah's at 4pm. Killed some time at Starbucks. Arrived at the car rental return at 6pm. Went through security, got to our concourse, ate a leisurely supper, changed into comfy night time flying clothes, found a place for Jeremy to plug in his phone and waited for our flight to start boarding at 8:05pm. We boarded at 8:20 and there were delays for whatever reason. We took off at 9:15pm (scheduled for 8:40pm). We arrived in Baltimore at 1am (only 20 minutes late) and then they had trouble attaching the jetway to the plane. We deboarded at 1:15am. We got a bus to long term parking said a quick good bye to Joel and Brandi and drove home. We arrived home at 4am. Once again I couldn't sleep in the car. I dozed off once and felt us go around a curve. I jolted awake because I was afraid Jeremy had fallen asleep and we were curving off the road! We made a beeline to bed and slept soundly until almost 11am.

And, finally, after 4 nights for them (and 2 nights for me! lol) we picked up our children and brought them home. They were all in their seats and I was one happy Mama.
Thankfully Jeremy stuck close to home last Monday. It made the transition a lot easier for me. I spent the next 4 days utterly exhausted, but I'm all back to normal now!

And that concludes the Texas story! =)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Our Weekend in Texas::Story 4

We've made it to the main event--the wedding of Josh and Sarah. Cameras were banned during the ceremony with the threat of fines if pictures were later discovered. lol. That policy was printed in the entertaining program handout. The ceremony itself was 10 minutes and consisted of awesome trumpet playing, I Corinthians 13 and vows. The guests were dismissed to order from food trucks (more on that later in this post) and Brandi and I hung out during pictures until we could sit down with the family.

Awesome picture I stole from facebook.
The flowers were stunning.
Ready and waiting...
Another pretty arrangement.
The reception area. Each table had a grouping of 3 small flower arrangements.

The Van Heslop family minus a few grandchildren.
The 3 sisters in law.
There was a lineup of 3 food trucks that offered a selection of various foods. Guests could walk up to any truck at any time as often as they wanted and order food. This was such a big city novelty for those of us from Maryland and West Virginia. The menus were as interesting as the trucks.

Third Coast Steak Sandwiches

Menu Items:
El Guapo Sandwich - Salsa Roja Chilaquiles, Crema, Queso Fresco, Cilantro, Ribeye Steak
Beef Tenderloin and Veggies with brown rice and chimichurri sauce
Diner Chips - Homemade kettle chips topped with maple aoili, cheddat cheese, hashbrowns, bacon and a fried egg.


Menu Items:
Lamb Burgers with greens, tomato, red onion, dijon aioli, cucumber and olive tapenade
Shiner Pulled Pork BBQ Sliders with crispy onions
Mac and Cheese bites with cilantro ranch dipping sauce
Sweet Potato Fries with srirachi mayo
French Toast Bites with almond granola and maple syrup

The Waffle Bus

Menu Items:
Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Waffles with spicy mayo or ancho chile honey butter
Waffle Burger with cheese and spicy mayo
Cheeseburger Fryders - sliders with waffle fries for buns and spicy mayo
Chicken Fryders - sliders with waffle fries for buns and your choice of spicy mayo or ancho chile honey butter
Nutella & Banana Waffle
Waffle Fries

Kona Ice

Mini Sno Cone truck!

This is the table where the Heslop family selected drinks from. You see at the right end of the table is water, tea and lemonade. At the other end of the table was cherry limeade another fruity drink and wines. While our husbands waited for food at the food trucks, Brandi and I picked up drinks. Brandi thought Joel would like cherry limeade and I thought it looked good too, but I wanted to know just HOW cherry it tasted. So I filled a cup and tasted it. My first thought was that there was soda in the cherry limeade. My second thought was that that was some super strong soda...and my eyes got big and I started laughing. My first ever taste of an alcoholic beverage. AND I'M PREGNANT!!! It was the tiniest of sips. Just the irony. How naive of us to think the whole table would be non-alcoholic!! lol.

At 10pm Josh and Sarah left the reception through a walkway of sparklers. We left shortly after they did. It had been another big day and we were tired.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Our Weekend in Texas::Story 3

I slept well, in fact so well that my growing baby did not wake me up to use the bathroom. The baby did, however, wake me up for breakfast. Karen had just stashed away from food for us when I appeared for breakfast and Jeremy wasn't too far behind me. I had finished eating when I was told about Texas waffles. I HAD to have one, at least for a picture.  Apparently Texas waffles are only a novelty for us tourists...because you can buy Texas waffle makers at any store. Texans are very proud of Texas. It was nice to sit and visit and catch up with Van and Karen a bit.
So this is day...but the wedding is not until 6:30pm. We all had brunch/lunch with Josh and the guys spent the afternoon hanging out at Josh's house. Brandi and I took the car and set out with the GPS, a plan and a firm fear of Houston traffic in our hearts! Houston traffic turned out to be in our favor. We were in slow traffic for 2 miles going in and had no traffic coming out of Houston. We obeyed the GPS and had no problems finding where we wanted to go.
Our ultimate destination was Sprinkles, a cupcake shop. (It's the pink building in the picture below.) We didn't know until we arrived that there was an Apple store right beside Sprinkles. We did know that there was Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Kate Spade, J. Crew, and Crate and Barrel in the area. We found a great parking a parking lot...and set out.
Being Brandi and I, we, of course, saved Sprinkles for last. This little area of town is unlike anything we have here on the Eastern Shore. We just window shopped and soaked it up. We also loved seeing flowers and greenery.
Anthropologie is always amazing. I had only been in mall stores. The stand alone store was doubly amazing.
How cute is this? If only my Grandma would have know how much she could have sold embroidered hand towels for!!
We tried on a few outfits. I fell in love with that maxi dress, but I did not buy it.
Kate Spade. Oh my goodness. I've never seen so much eye candy in one place. It positively amazes me that people walk in these stores planning to buy things! You can see us in the mirror in the picture below in the fitting area of Kate Spade. Chandeliers in each fitting room--it was outrageous.
And finally, Sprinkles Cupcakes. Such a cute little shop.
We picked our cupcake and took it down the street to Starbucks to eat with sweet tea. My cupcake was chocolate marshmallow. It was yummy!
It was a perfect afternoon.

We drove back to the hotel with just about an hour to rest before it was time to be at the wedding--exactly how we planned it.

Next story will be the wedding!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Our Weekend in Texas::Story 2

After a quick 45 minute nap and a (much needed) shower, it was time for the wedding rehearsal luncheon. It was held on the patio of a Greek restaurant. I had never had a full Greek meal. It was a fun location and the food was really good. I was a bit surprised that the wind was chilly and I had goosebumps!

After lunch we arrived at Carothers Gardens for the wedding rehearsal. It is a lovely venue with a short walk to a beach on Galveston Bay. Brandi and I were not involved in the rehearsal so we enjoyed the beach for a few minutes. After rehearsal we went to Josh and Sarah's house to load up all of the wedding decorations and then unloaded them at the venue. 

One of the things that was loaded in Van and Karen's car were heavy glass end tables. They laid the back seat down and put the tables on top. When Van unloaded the tables he realized that his trumpet (he played the processional and recessional for the wedding) was under the seat (and the tables) in a soft case. He opened the case to find that the metal had been bent from the weight of the tables and the valves could not move. It was devastating. The locals started calling people and posting on facebook to try to find a trumpet. The next morning Van told us the rest of the story... He was walking around the garden, very sad, and asking the Lord what he should do. He googled something and found a brass restoration place in Houston. He called the guy (half an hour before the store closed). The guy doesn't normally pass out advice, but he told Van to hold the bell of the trumpet against his chest and pull the tubes apart, therefore, bending the metal back in shape. Van tried it and, sure enough, one valve started moving and he pulled some more and soon all 3 valves were working. He started playing and Karen heard it from inside the building and knew beyond a doubt it was Van's trumpet. No one could believe it. The story gave us all goosebumps when we heard it...especially those of us who know that Van has been practicing for A YEAR to be ready to play for this wedding.
We could have hung out with Sarah's parents and family for the evening, but the 4 of us were done--especially Brandi and I. So back to the hotel we went for another rest, but, of course, I couldn't really sleep. It was soon time for supper and the 4 of us (Joel, Brandi, Jeremy and I) used our phone resources to decide on a place to eat. We had some specific food requirements and we ended up at this place.
And when we went in it looked like this--
Not exactly what we had in mind, but apparently all of us were too tired (awake for about 18 hours by now) to suggest we try again. So we sat down, a little self conscious about our attire (until later when others were seated who were all dressed casually), and ordered a simple meal considering the restaurant. Jeremy enjoyed a steak. Brandi had a salad and Joel and I had the last 2 burgers in the kitchen. Those were some high quality burgers! haha.

While we were eating Joel and Brandi remembered Blue Bunny ice cream that you can pretty much only get in Texas. On our way back to the hotel we stopped at a grocery store to pick some up. I was a *little* emotional by this point so Jeremy and Joel were acting completely ridiculous to diffuse the emotions. So embarrassing....but they are SO brothers!
Brandi and I ironed our husbands wedding clothes while they went out for some brother time with Josh and the best man. 22 hours after we woke up that morning Brandi and I went to bed. The guys got back to the hotel at 12:30am which with the time change was exactly 24 hours since they had slept. Let me tell you--I am not made for all nighters. Pregnant or not.

We did not set the alarm clock. I did not care if we missed breakfast. Actually I did because I asked my mother-in-law to save us food if she didn't see us by the time breakfast was put away.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Our Weekend in Texas::Story 1

I can find the motivation to write a story at a time so there will be multiple posts this week about our trip to Houston for Jeremy's brother's wedding. The stories will be in chronological order.

I had a personal policy. Jeremy and I would not fly on the same flight without our children. This would protect our children from being orphans should the plane go down. You can see my level of trust with flying! Jeremy quotes statistics to me all the time...I know...flying is "safer" than driving. We had hoped to take the children (and my Mom) with us to the wedding, but it just wasn't a realistic option for an event packed weekend. So Thursday evening we dropped our children off to my parents for 4 nights. Aliza left me notes during the day before we left the house. She really cried when we left. It's ok...I cried too.
"I never want another mom." "Mom I love you."
Jeremy and I crawled in bed at 9:30pm and set the alarm for 1:20am to head to Baltimore for the airport. We arrived at 4am for our 5:45am flight. At this point we were remarking how responsible we have become in our old age to arrive for a flight within the recommended time. Joel and Brandi arrived at the same time in extended stay parking and we took the bus to the terminal. As we approached the security line, I realized I did not have my wristlet with me (my purse for the weekend). It contained my ID, check card, phone and camera. It was in the console of our car--parked in extended parking. Jeremy and I headed down to baggage claim to catch a bus back to extended stay parking. We were the only ones on the bus and I told the driver what we were doing. She told us to get off at the first stop, run to our car and meet her back at our stop #14. It worked out perfectly and we were headed back to the terminal for the 2nd time. My husband is so laid back. He did not say or insinuate with body language that he was upset or annoyed with me. I deserved at least a profound eye roll and a guilt trip! We met Joel and Brandi at the gate and started boarding at 5:05am.

I did not do a good job of taking care of pregnant me that morning. I did not want to start eating at 2am! So I fought being hungry until 7am when we could buy breakfast in the plane. That was a bad idea. I was very uncomfortable during the flight to Houston. I survived and we saw the sun rise.
We arrived in Houston, bright and early, at 8:00am! I had totally counted on being able to sleep in the car and plane. None of us slept at all. We all must have been tired. It took us a bit to figure out how to get to the rental car area. We got our car and headed straight to the nearest Starbucks for much needed caffeine and food. Joel thought the Wings restaurant looked good and we all kindof scratched our heads for a minute as to why it wasn't was not even 10am yet! Starbucks was perfect and we made the drive to our hotel.

I was the driver at this point. We were on a 2 lane road with cement blocks on the right side. I was in the right lane, minding my own business when a Tahoe crossed the middle line beside us. I swerved in the shoulder, remembering just in time the cement blocks beside me. All was well...but there were a few people saying Thank you Jesus in our car!

We arrived to the hotel a little before 11. Jeremy's parents were at the same hotel and they met us in the lobby. Jeremy and Joel went to the counter and asked if we could possibly check in early. There was no questions or hesitation--we were checked in upon arrival! I had prayed for this small favor. I desperately wanted a nap, a shower and a moment to myself before rehearsal lunch scheduled for 12:30pm that day.

That covers the first 12 hours of what I call a "double day."

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Recently in School...

I've been looking around my house recently and getting really frustrated with myself that I'm not "keeping up" with housework beyond the normal tidying up, cooking meals, laundry and washing dishes. After a few days of putting myself down I remembered that, in fact, I educate my children at home and that takes additional time, focus and preparation which means that something has else has to give. I'm sure every home school mom faces this and what gives is different for each mom. For me, it is "extra" housework. The bright side is that summer is coming and I'll be working on this house...I hope!

We've been working hard in school and really keeping at it. I want summer vacation! At this point in time I am not even remotely interested in a year round school year. Nope. I want to work hard, get it done and take a nice long break. I have our end date on the calendar!

Aliza did a science unit that produced much anguish and tears. She learned about body systems. Particularly the circulatory and the respiratory system, she could not handle. Just the word "blood or blood vessel" sent her into a dither. The unit activity was a body map showing the different systems. When Josiah and Anna also wanted their bodies traced, Aliza became the teacher and everyone completed the project with no drama.
It was pretty cool to see Aliza step into the teacher role.
Josiah made some pine cone bird feeders.
And this is a penguin. Use your imagination! Josiah was learning about arctic climates. He completed the sentence "If I lived in the Arctic I would...". with ...."mine for gold." I guess maybe that would work in Alaska.
We also finished our spring semester of co-op. We attended the family night presentation. The older kids learned how to use Power Point and they gave presentations. After the program we went to Dairy Queen. This was the first time we took the children to Dairy Queen. It's in the direction opposite of home. Josiah LOVED his ice cream cone.
Aliza wasn't so sure she would like the ice cream. What is wrong with this child?? haha. But the picture of a smoothie on the menu caught her eye and she really liked it.
Tomorrow I hit the 12 week mark of pregnancy. Is that really possible? I'm just hungry and tired. I can't complain at all. Now to see how long I can stay out of maternity clothes. So far my jeans still fit. I think I made it to 16 weeks the first time and it's been a bit shorter each time after that.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Joy Dare::March

1235. Children so excited to play when they wake up
1236. Jeremy preached a good sermon
1237. Listening to part of the Matt Redman Live concert on the radio
1238. Josiah recovered well from knocking out a front tooth
1239. Birthday dinner and dessert with Aliza
1240. Anna brushing and styling my hair saying, "I promise this won't hurt, honey."
1241. When there is a lot of blood, siblings realize how much they love each other.

1242. We all enjoyed watching Frozen
1243. Successful day of celebrating Aliza
1244. Giving my time
1245. A quick visit from Mom
1246. All children in bed without injury!
1247. Talking with a friend who personally understands thyroid issues
1248. Jeremy has work
1249. So excited that my brother's family is going to homeschool next year
1250. Functioning lights in the bathroom
1251. Loud, but certainly happy and healthy, children
1252. Josiah and Anna becoming good playmates
1253. House ready for company
1254. Doughnut delivery by Grandpa
1255. Cleaning helpers
1256. In-laws that pitch in a help when they visit
1257. Happy birthday party kids
1258. Social meal after church
1259. My mother-in-law to help make Jeremy's birthday meal
1260. Mid 30s
1261. Christians standing strong while facing persecution and death
1262. Light after supper so children could play outside
1263. Hints of spring coming
1264. Josiah doing well on a phonics test
1265. A glorious 70 degree day
1266. The first walk of spring
1267. Working together on their Lego sticker books
1268. Successful new recipe
1269. I wasn't sure if I should spend money on page protectors and Chrissy offered some extras to me
1270. Dinner and time to reconnect with friends
1271. Some time to myself that I hadn't planned on
1272. Aliza being motivated to do schoolwork
1273. Sweet tea
1274. Everyone's help to take care of our huge load of recycling
1275. Flying kites
1276. Intentionally slowing down just cause it's the weekend
1277. A husband who shares the weekend work load
1278. This is the day the Lord has make I will {choose to} rejoice and be glad in it.
1279. Josiah had a cooperative spirit with reading today
1280. Janell found a great deal and picked up a dress for Aliza that fits her really well
1281. Feeling like the day was staring at me after an unrestful night, but taking it on in the Lord's strength
1282. Watching new found faith grow
1283. Extra time to share and visit at CBS
1284. A busy day that went really smoothly
1285. Seeing Aliza's full jazz routine
1286. Free Rita's Italian Ice to celebrate spring's arrival
1287. Book It pizza for supper
1288. Outside play
1289. Finished Friday schoolwork so we have a school-free weekend
1290. Fun exercise in Health co-op class
1291. Attending Faith Filled Women Conference
1292. Sitting at table talking with Jeremy after lunch
1293. Homemade popsicles
1294. Children asleep early
1295. A bit of one-on-one time with Josiah
1296. Heavy snow accenting every branch
1297. Sharing extra stuff
1298. Aliza's burn wasn't any worse
1299. Hospitality gets the house reasonably clean
1300. Blinding sunlight reflected off the snow
1301. Only required to face one moment at a time
1302. First glimpse of our baby
1303. Josiah so proud of how he rearranged his room
1304. All 3 so enthusiastic about coloring "their number" for our facebook pregnancy announcement
1305. Listening to Josiah chatter at bedtime
1306. Afternoon at Mom's that included a nap
1307. Anna singing with Great Gramma
1308. Hearing spring peepers (frogs) tonight
1309. Time to scrapbook
1310. Jeremy has motivated, hard working employees
1311. All of us snuggled together in the corner of the couch
1312. Lots of rain is turning the grass green
1313. Watching the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics tonight and Aliza cried
1314. Working together on a science project--the oldest teaching the youngest
1315. Nice enough to play outside for a little while
1316. "Hang out" phone call with my Mom while we are both taking care of children