Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Summer 2016

Going through the pictures on my phone recently and loving the memories it triggered from Summer of 2016.  Thought I would share some of them here on the ol' blog. 

At the beginning of June, Lydia graduated from high school and we made the trip up to Dallas to celebrate!  Great day! Super proud of that girl! 

The rest of June was baseball, baseball, baseball and a little more baseball.  Chip made the high school summer baseball team and they played about four games a week.  His best buddy MJT also made the team!  They were super jazzed to be Dragon Baseball Players! This picture is right before the first game, when they were just regular baseball players.   

Then they got their Dragon gear!  Now it is official!  Dragon Summer baseball.  This means nothing in terms of making the official high school baseball team during the school year but it sure made for a fun start to summer. 

Playing on the high school field for the first time. 

How cute is this guy?  

He is pretty darn cute, if you ask me. 

Team Meeting.

Happy boys. 

Chip played a little third, lots of first and even pitched a little.  He walked approximately 197 times.  
Kid could not get a decent pitch to hit to save his life, but his on base percentage was excellent! 

Here he is making the throw from the hot corner.

Meeting on the mound.  Chip recounted some of these conversations with the coaches and they were not too far off from the Bull Durham movie!  Super funny! 

Loved cheering for these kids!  They played about 15 games or so in five weeks and held their own.  The coaches were awesome.  They had fun.  Got to know kids from the other middle schools.  
Great experience.   

Chisholm cheering squad!  They showed up for almost all the games.  

MJT and Chip with Coach Blake.  I have known Blake since he was knee high to a grass-hopper (which translates to when he was about seven years old…now he is a college kid, coaching high school freshman!  The boys really enjoyed playing for him!)

So that was summer baseball.  Big chunk of June! 

Harry worked this summer parking cars at the minor league baseball stadium, same as last year.  He was home a lot and it was so great to have him around for the summer! 

We also squeezed in a weekend trip to Houston for an autograph show and an Astros game. 

Big vacation was flying out to San Diego for the MLB All-Star game in July.  

FanFest was awesome! 

In San Diego, we stayed at this little hotel that had the smallest, slowest, smelliest, oldest elevator in the world.  It had one of those cages you had to open and close to get in.   Ugh!  We were on the seventh floor - and opted to take the stairs many times over the four nights we were there.  

Visited La Jolla, which is just a hop, skip and a tiny jump from San Diego.  The coastline is stunning.  
Sunsets aren't bad either. 

We participated in the MLB All-Star color run!  Nice headbands, right? 

Lots of good food eaten and man, did we enjoy the gorgeous weather.  
Look….a sweater in July!  YAY! 

Huge breakfast food at Brian's 24 Diner. It was attached to our hotel and we ate there a lot!  That is a fried egg on top of that mammoth stack of pancakes.  HOLY MOLY! 

La Jolla again for searching in the tide pools.  Such cool creatures to be seen. 

The water was crisp…but bearable! 

Boys in the nosebleed section for the home run derby. 

All-Star game! 

It was blazing hot until the sun went down and then we put on jackets! 

After the All-Star activities we cruised over the bridge for two nights at the beautiful Hotel del Coronado.  It was right on the beach and gorgeous! 

And, this picture should be a surprise to no one.  Someone in our family got sick on vacation?  
Well, of course they did.  Happens every time. 

On our first night on Coronado Island, Harry had a raging fever, shivering, aching, sore throat, headache, miserable.  I thought he might have the flu, so we found a Walgreens and kept him medicated every four hours like clockwork.  He rebounded the next day and felt decent as long as we kept up the medication.  Earlier in the week, Harry had also made a trip to the ER in San Diego, because he had a wicked bad pain in his side that would not quit.  He could not get comfortable and based on where the pain was located, we wanted to make sure it wasn't his appendix.  Turned out to be a pulled muscle.  Needless to say, his last couple days on this vacation were sub par.  

This is Harry the next morning feeling decent, but not great.  It was our last day of vacation and he was being a trooper. Chip was feeling great and let's document this as his first day of Pokemon hunting!  That kid was all over the beach catching all kinds of critters. 

Gold glitter covered the beaches on Coronado Island.  Super cool. 

On our last night, I made reservations for a S'mores Fire Pit on the beach.  Doesn't that sound like a fun family activity to wrap up our great week?  Well, it was a shit show.  An absolute, roll on the floor, laughing till you pee your pants disaster!  You can't see it in this picture, but there were about 15 fire pits lit up for families of all sizes and our pit happened to be downwind.  Within minutes of sitting down, we were well under way with the s'more making when the smoke from the other pits starting waifing over our way.  Chips eyes started burning, he fell into his chair and it broke, I fell out of my chair trying to get up, the water bottles were hotter than the fire…every other family out there is laughing and enjoying the evening and it was like we were in a war zone re-enactment scene.  Chip was pouring water on his eyes, staggering into the fire because he was blind.  Hubby and Harry were cracking jokes and we were ruining everyone else's experience I am sure.  We can still just crack up thinking about that night. So, damn funny.     

Flying home.  Wedged between my boys.  Good times. 

Got back from vacation and immediately jumped right into high school football practice!   Chip also had explosion camp this summer, which is a six week strength and conditioning camp. For two hours a day they lifted weights and did running drills.  He hated it.  ALOT.  Every morning, he would play this great game of naming all the things he would rather be doing than going to explosion camp.  For instance, I would rather have my eardrum pierced by a giant nail and then hammer it into my brain with a sledgehammer and then have a two ton garbage truck run over my legs eighteen times than go to explosion camp.   He had some pretty interesting torture images…might be on a Stephen King level!  
It was painful, but he did it! 

During the summer, we also figured out that this old boy has a massive tumor growing on his liver.  He was dropping weight, having diarrhea, throwing up….but still super happy.  The vet did some tests to include an ultrasound and gave us the bad news.  So, Astro is home on Hospice Care, which includes some  anti-nausea meds and steroids which have stopped the diarrhea and throwing up and given him quite an appetite.  He is holding his own these days, but definitely moving slower, sleeping more…but still super happy.  As long as he is happy, not in pain and seems comfortable we will keep on loving him.  It will be a sad, sad day when we have to say good-bye to THE BEST DOG EVER.  

That was a much longer recap of our summer than I was expecting to write, but gets me all caught up.   And gives Bob and Lana something to read for a couple of days!  

Now, I need to get to work on my 60 Things To Do Before I am 60 List!  

Have an awesome day!    

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Bucket List Progress

In my quest to knock some things off of my bucket list before I turned fifty, I fell a tad short.   I only managed to do 27 of the 50, but firmly believe that without this list, I may not have done any of them.  For anyone who is curious, here is my list with the items I accomplished.

1. Get Baptized
2. Volunteer to feed the homeless
3. See the Giant Redwoods (August 2013)
4. Visit Colorado in the winter
5. Slow dance in a piano bar
6. Go to Alaska (July 18, 2011)
7. Write a letter to my children to read when I die
8. Ride a horse on the beach
9. See Mt. Rushmore
10. Take a vacation in an RV
11. See a whale in the ocean (July 17, 2011)
12. Drive through Maine in the fall (or summer!  July 2015)
13. Have a room in my home professionally decorated.
14. Make an apple pie, with a lattice top, completely from scratch. (Completed 7/5/10) 
15. Visit all 50 U.S. States (Remaining: Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin)
16. Work on a Habitat for Humanity house
17. Take my boys to Atlantis
18. Take a two week vacation in a little house on the beach.
19. Read Gone With the Wind. (Completed 8/17/10) 
20. Complete a Bible Study. (Completed 12/6/10)

21. Run another 1/2 marathon (and enjoy it!) (Completed 2/21/16)
22. Anonymously pay for the meal of a young service man in a restaurant. (Completed 12/4/10) 
23. Journal for a solid year. (Completed)
24. Visit a winery and learn something about the beverage I enjoy so much (Completed 5/21/16)
25. Make a t-shirt quilt for my children
26. Make homemade ice cream with an old crank machine. (Completed 9/4/10)
27. Take an art class (painting, ceramics, glass blowing, needle point) (Completed 2/3/11) 
28. Go berry picking and make a cobbler
29. Visit one of those tropical hotels where the rooms are huts over the water with glass floors.
30. Try a spin class. (Completed 4/14/12)
31. See a Broadway production in New York City. (Completed 4/19/14)
32. Grow my fingernails long enough to get a manicure. (Completed 9/12/10) 
33. Take a cruise (July 16, 2011)
34. Do Yoga (June 2012)
35. Tailgate at an Alabama football game with my boys
36. Take a dance class (Jazzercise - March 2014)
37. Implement a No TV Game Night every Tuesday night for a year.
38. Write a family update every three or four months to send to our elderly family friends that do not have computers.
39. Provide Christmas for a family in need (Completed 12/12/11)
40. Make a beautiful birthday cake.
41. Volunteer to spend time with someone in a nursing home. (Completed 3/30/11)
42. Learn to play tennis
43. Get caught up on my filing. (Completed 1/21/11) 
44. Get a legal Last Will and Testament in place. (Completed 9/24/15)
45. Swim in the world's largest swimming pool (San Alfonso del Mar. Algarrobo, Chile)
46. Talk less and listen more.
47. Take a nap in hammock by the sea (or lake).
48. Drive the entire Pacific Coast Highway.
49. Visit an Art Museum (Completed 6/25/11)
50. Print this list out and hang it where I can see it daily! (Completed 6/29/10)

I am going to revisit, revamp this list and set some new goals for a 60 Things To Do Before I Am 60 list.   Won't you join me?  What do you want to do in the next ten years?

Monday, August 29, 2016


I turned fifty this summer.  The Big 5-0!   50!   F-I-F-T-Y!!  Five Zero! 
That is shocking to me.  I was just seven, waiting on the curb for my mom to bring home my baby brother for heaven's sake!  How the hell am I fifty?  

Obviously, the days, months, years and decades have flown by as they tend to do when you are going about the business of living.  I am so grateful for my life and the people in it, but fifty just seems like a serious threshold into REAL adulthood.  I can vividly remember how terrified I was when I figured out my mom was 33 years old….I thought she had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.  I thought she was so OLD!  Funny, how time gives you such a different perspective!  I am happy to report that Lana is still kicking and luckily I blew past 33 many, many moons ago with no grave and no banana peels underfoot!  Whew! 

So how did I celebrate this major milestone? 

On my birthday, the boys took me out to PF Chang's for a lovely birthday dinner.  We had all the courses…including the Great Wall of Chocolate!  Celebrating fifty years deserves some chocolate! 

I did not want a party or get together, much to the demise of some of my pals.  I really wanted some me time.  Some time to reflect, rest, relax, count my blessings and refresh myself for the next fifty years.  And boy, did Hubby deliver!  I got three nights at the amazing Lake Austin Spa and Resort.  All by myself. Complete with haircut, massage and facial.  It was an amazing weekend and could not have been more perfect for me. 

Heading to the resort!  Took a selfie all crooked so you maybe get dizzy before you notice the lines at the corners of my eyes or the age spots all over the damn place!  Look quickly at my big smile and move on.  Quickly.  

It was about a 35 minute drive from my house and I checked in around 1:30 in the afternoon. 

The front porch of Room 4!  My home away from home for a few days. 

The view from my porch. 

Cute little willow branch window with a view to my neighbors porch. 

King size bed with gobs and gobs of pillows! 

Coffee Maker!  Oh yeah! 

Waiting in my room was a gift from Callie and the girls.  They know me well!  

The bathroom was stunning. 

Deep soaker tub!  HEAVEN! 

My private secluded back patio - complete with gentle fountain and comfy chairs. 

The first afternoon, I grabbed a big ice cold hibiscus tea and parked myself on this little pier to read for a while. 

It was glorious.  

One of three books that I read in my three days away.  This one is awesome!  Loved it so much.  Sat on that little dock and laughed out loud! 

When the sun got a little warm, I sashayed (I don't know what that is, but I walked really, really slow savoring the peace….maybe that is ambling?) up to the super comfortable chairs by the pool.  

Had the place to myself for a while.  Took a dip.  Did a little floating.  

Got back to my room and had another surprise from the girls.  A huge fruit basket!  Pulled out a perfect plum and enjoyed it right away! 

Next, I went to a cooking class where the resort chef demonstrated how to make paella!  It was packed with seafood and we all got to sample his delicious work. 

Later, I headed up to the spa for my hair appointment.  The scenery was beautiful.  
Very quiet and restful.  Lots of folks walking around in their robes. 

Passed this hammock on the way and made a note to climb into that bad boy at some point! 

After my haircut, it was time to wander over to the dining room where I enjoyed the first of many exquisite meals.  Every plate was gorgeous, delightful and delicious.  And, I think supremely healthy.  You could choose anything from the menu that struck your fancy.  I found out on my last day, if you are struggling with which dessert to pick they will bring you all three!  

Dessert this evening was a rhubarb crumble or something like that.  Hot and delicious!  Oh, and there is gourmet coffee 24/7!   Solid! 

After dinner, there was some daylight left so I strolled over to the hammock and read more of my book.  I was a reading machine!    Swinging in a hammock by the river.  Bliss.  Slept like a rock. 

The next morning, I was up and at 'em early for my kayaking excursion. 

But first some breakfast and coffee!  Breakfast in the dining room overlooking the water.  I kayaked with a group of about 10 folks - mostly ladies.  We were out for about an hour and 15 minutes.  Gorgeous scenery and great arm workout.  AND, the fifty year old did not fall out of her boat!  Hooray!  

Spent a little time on the back patio reading. 

Back to the pool.  

Lunch was fish tacos.  And a little bit of some yummy yogurt! 

Then I went to a god awful workout class that damn near killed me.  The instructor guy was from Australia and reeled you in with his cute accent and winning personality.  Then he turned into some damn boot camp drill sergeant that I wanted to throat punch.  I thought it was going to be a bosu ball stretching class or something - but it was circuit training with burpees, pushups, jump squats, pushing this damn towel across the floor in a bear crawl.  If you stopped or fell off something everyone in the class had to do 10 burpees.  I could hardly do one burpee!  Thankfully, everyone was in pretty good shape and we only got the penalty burpees once…and no, it wasn't my fault.  Although, the sweetheart instructor must have looked the other way many, many times when I stopped to wipe the sweat from my face, curse him and contemplate how embarrassing it would be to bolt from the class all together!  Let's not forget I kayaked for an hour and change this morning.  Arms already worked out!  

I survived.   BARELY.  

I immediately went for a swim right after in hopes that I could loosen up the lactic acid that was certain to be accumulating in my muscles!  

Then I took a nap.  

A nap. 

In the afternoon.  

What is it, my birthday?  

Oh yea! It is!  

Dinner was this glorious piece of fish on some kind of cauliflower brilliance.  It had lobster weaved in there somewhere!  AMAZING! 

After dinner, I meandered up to the spa for my massage.  I was scheduled for a two hour Tour of Texas scrub and massage.   After that class, I needed it. 

This is the waiting room where you wait for your treatment.  Beautiful. 

My massage was remarkable.  Fabulous.  All the wonderful words.  

It was late when I was done.  I was practically drunk on relaxation.  

The moon was gorgeous and I was profoundly grateful for the beautiful day I had experienced! 

The next day, I could barely walk.  So, so sore from that dang class!  I woke up and first words out of my mouth were "Big mistake.  Huge mistake.  Huge."

I got loosened up a bit after coffee and breakfast and jumped back into my bathing suit for a swim before my morning facial. 

Look at this gorgeous lane pool in this barn.  Stunning. 

My facial was awesome and this did wonders with this old gal.  

Nice break with more hibiscus tea.  I was a fluid drinking fool all weekend.  Totally hydrated for the first time in maybe ever! 

Next up, was a boat ride down the river.  

I took a few pictures of the garden and grounds while waiting for the captain. 

Beautiful day for a boat ride.  It was a nice cruise and got to see some magnificent homes.

Got back from the boat ride in time for another cooking class.  

We made macaroons!  Picture does not do justice to how wonderful this cookie was.  Lemon with raspberry filling.  So light.  So exquisite.  

Afternoon was spent reading on the porch, enjoying the view.  

Dinner was this beautiful plate of beef.  I can't even.  YUMMY!   This was the last night when I could not decide between the three dessert options and the little waitress brought me all three!  I tried them all and  they were all delicious!  Glad I didn't have to pick just one. 

Then my final and most favorite class of the weekend.  Water coloring! 

We painted cards.  The teacher was great!  Totally laid back and we got to use these cool watercolor pens that were filled with water.  It was just the best.  

I loved every moment (well, except those few moments in exercise hell!) of my birthday weekend.  
It could not have been more perfect!  

Maybe I can come back for my 60th!