Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Texas Trip: Part 2

We left Dallas Saturday night and drove to my Aunt Lea's house in Abilene. On Sunday morning, we went to church at Westgate, where Darby and I attended for four years. It was wonderful to see everyone again. Darby and I have so many fond memories of Westgate.

After church, we went to lunch with the Ashlocks (our preacher, his wife, and their two kids). Darby and I absolutely love Rodney and Laura, and it was so great to catch up with them. We were close with the Ashlocks' daughter, Bonnie, when we were at Westgate. She's now going into her junior year of high school and is so beautiful and mature. It was fun to see how much she had grown up. All of the kids we knew had grown so much. It was crazy.

Rodney Ashlock, just before performing our wedding

The hostesses at my bridal shower at Westgate: Connie McSherry, Jackie Lee, Sherry Gumm, me, Laura Ashlock, Laura Carroll. I got to see most of these lovely ladies at church on Sunday.

After lunch, Rodney took us on a tour of the new welcome center at ACU. It was beautiful! And, I got to see several people that I had worked with in Student Life and other various on-campus jobs I had as a student. Seeing all of the new students brought back so many good memories. I, of course, got mistaken for an in-coming freshman. Sigh...

Sunday afternoon, I had a chance to chat with my good friend Laura for several hours. It's the longest time we've had face-to-face since I moved, but it still wasn't enough. We could talk for days and probably never run out of things to say. I'm so blessed to have her as a friend. We just "get" each other. I really wish we lived in the same town.

Right before going back to Waco, we went to dinner with my aunt, uncle, and cousin Robert. I had no idea Rob was going to be in town, so that was a fun surprise. He's moving to New York to go to school in a couple of weeks, and I'm so excited for him. My aunt Lea has always been so generous with letting us stay at her house. (Darby stayed with her many weekends when I was a freshman at ACU.)

It was a crazy 24 hours, but totally worth it. I get so nostalgic when we go back to Abilene. I used to think that I would never want to live there. But now that we've been gone a couple of years, I think I would really enjoy moving back there. I don't know if it's a case of "the grass is always greener" or "you don't know what you've got till it's gone." I know things would be quite different if we lived there and weren't in college. But, it really is a special place. Everyone is connected to everyone somehow, and there are so many Christians! (There are probably more churches of Christ in Abilene than there are churches total in Champaign-Urbana.) Of course there are negatives, as well, but I really get a "warm, fuzzy" feeling when we go back to visit. I just wish it were closer to anything else, so we'd have more excuses to go out there.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Texas Trip: Part One

We flew down to Texas late Wednesday night. Darby's parents picked us up from DFW, and we drove to Waco. On Thursday, we went to our favorite used bookstore, ate out twice, and went to see Toy Story 3 (sooo cute!). Hannah came in Thursday night, so we went over to my parents' house to chat and play games. On Friday, Debby took us to see the recently-opened mammoth fossil site in Waco. It was pretty cool. All of our families ate lunch together, and then Darby and I headed up to Dallas.

We spent the night with my Grandma Katherine and Aunt Katina. Grandma made us a wonderful meal, as usual. On Saturday, we went to the wedding of a good friend of mine from ACU, Carolyn. She married a wonderful guy named Josh. It was a sweet ceremony, and, of course, she looked gorgeous. It was so fun to see all of the Fat Tuesday girls (minus Kalyn, who we all missed terribly!).

Emerald, Brittany, Carolyn, Erin, Me

Darby and Me

Afterwards, we all (minus Carolyn and Josh, of course) went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner. Yum! Em's daughter, Lily, who's 9 months old, joined us. She is such a little cutie! And so good-natured. She let everyone hold her and play with her and hardly fussed at all.

Lily and Darby

It was so good to see my Fat Tuesday girls. It's getting harder and harder to find time to see each other, what with grad school, jobs, babies, and out-of-state moves. But I hope we always make time to catch up. It's so fun to hear about everyone's lives and see how well everyone is doing. And if the reunion involves cheesecake, then all the better. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010


I had a wonderful 25th birthday weekend. On Saturday night, we had a few of our friends over for pizza, cake, and games. I baked the cake and Darby frosted it. It was a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, garnished with Reese's. Darby really liked it, but the taste didn't live up to my expectations. It looked pretty, though!

Darby hard at work. He did an excellent job. He's a much better decorator than I am.

The finished product

We played Catch Phrase and had a wonderful time laughing and talking for hours. We are very blessed to have these friends. We're all in our mid-20s, have been married between one and three years, and are childless. Of course, we enjoy being friends with people who are older, younger, single, parents, etc. But there's something special about spending time with people who are in the same life stage.

The beautiful flowers Katy arranged for me.

On Sunday, my actual birthday, Darby took me out to lunch at Olive Garden. And I enjoyed birthday phone calls and cards from many friends and family. It was a wonderful birthday weekend. And Darby and I get to celebrate both our birthdays with our parents when we're at home this week, so the fun isn't over yet!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We had a great time with my parents this weekend. They got in on Thursday afternoon. On Friday morning, Dad and Darby took the train to Chicago for the Blues Festival. I had to work, so Mom and I drove up later that evening. We got pizza at Pizzeria Uno (meh) and then walked down to the lake. Mom and I put our feet in the water but immediately regretted it when we had to walk back to our hotel in wet, sandy sandals. :)

On Saturday morning, we got up and ate breakfast at the West Egg Cafe. I had strawberry banana pancakes...yum! While the guys went and listened to more blues, Mom took me shopping! We went to an outlet mall that had an Ann Taylor Factory Store, so I was in heaven. I don't know at what point you're too old for your mom to buy you clothes, but I'm glad I'm not there yet!

For my dad's 50th birthday a few weeks ago, I gave him a certificate for a homemade birthday dinner. I gave him several choices for entree, sides, and dessert, and he could pick his favorites. So on Sunday I made the meal. He chose prosciutto and fontina-stuffed chicken, bacon-wrapped grean beans, grilled corn (which actually ended up being oven-roasted because I ran out of propane), and cherry-o cream cheese pie. I forgot to take a picture of the meal, but here's Mom and Dad eating their pie.

I was sad that I didn't get to be at home to celebrate my dad's 50th birthday, so I was glad we could do something while he was here. I feel so blessed to have such wonderful parents who take time to visit (and pay for everything when they do) and to have a wonderful husband who gets along with family (sometimes better than I do!).

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Little fun, big fun

I cannot believe it's already June! It seriously feels like 2010 just started. This summer has been so fun already. Even though Darby and I both work every day, it feels like we have a lot more free time. It's nice to be able to do stuff in the evenings without Darby having to worry about homework. We're enjoying the small pleasures of summer:
  • Grilling (hot dogs, corn on the cob, chicken, s'mores)
  • Eating at Custard Cup (although, really this is a whenever they're open thing, not a summer thing, but we do sit outside in the summer!)
  • Watching the church softball team
  • Tuesday night game nights with the Basyes and the Jumpers. Now that LOST is over (don't even get me started on the finale), the group of us that used to watch together gets together to hang out.
  • Taking walks. A couple of weeks ago, we walked to the farmer's market and back (about a 4-mile round trip). There are few things that give me more satisfaction than walking somewhere. I enjoy walking anyway, but when you have a specific destination, it's even better.

And, we have quite a few big things to look forward to this summer as well:

  • My parents are coming up tomorrow and we're going to Chicago for the weekend. Dad and Darby are going to the Blues Festival, and Mom and I are going to shop. Woo-hoo!
  • At the end of June, Darby and I are going to Texas for my friend Carolyn's wedding. While we're down there, we're going to see as many friends and family as possible. Should be fun!
  • On the 4th of July weekend, we're going to St. Petersburg, FL, with our friends from ACU, Dylan and Andrea. We've rented a beach house, and I'm so pumped! If there's oil on the beach, oh well. We'll still have fun hanging out, eating at restaurants, etc.
  • In August, Darby is a groomsman in his friend Ben's wedding in Hot Springs, AR. They've rented a lakehouse for all the attendants and spouses to stay in for the weekend. Nice!

And, of course, I have a real summer for the first time in a long time. My last day of full-time work is next Friday. I've made a list of projects I'd like to get done during my free time. Hopefully, this will keep me motivated not to spend all day watching TV. It will be nice to have a break before I start school in the fall. I have a feeling it's going to be a teensy bit difficult for me to get back in the swing of things after several years of no studying. But, I'm super excited!

P. S. Thanks for the advice on my last post. I knew you guys would come through. I forgot to mention that I do wear Olay moisturizer with SPF 15 every day. I'm all about the sun protection. The general consenus seems to be that makeup is the only way to brighten skin. I might try some bronzer. We'll see. Darby is not a fan of make-up, and while I don't think he has the ultimate say over how I look, I do try to respect his preferences. He's only really seen me wear fairly heavy makeup (prom, weddings, etc.), though, so I think he might be surprised by how natural makeup can look. I'll start slowly. ;)

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Beauty Advice

Ok, as most of you know, I'm not much of a "product" girl. I don't wear makeup, use only a blowdryer and round brush on my hair, and can be ready in 20 minutes if I don't eat breakfast. But lately, I've been thinking I might need to add to my regimen. It seems that 25 might be the age when your skin starts to go downhill. Or maybe that's just me? I have been noticing a lot of wrinkles on my forehead and an especially deep crease between my eyes (from squinting). Darby says I'm crazy, but I swear, they were not there two years ago. Of course, I still get mistaken for a high-schooler quite often, so they must not be that noticeable.

But, besides the wrinkles, my skin has just seemed dull, for lack of a better word. I drink a lot of water, so I don't think that's the problem, although I do have very dry skin naturally. Do any of you have recommendations for moisturizers, exfoliators, masks, etc? I'm still hoping to avoid make-up for a while longer. But maybe there are some skincare products I should try? Help, please!