Monday, May 31, 2010

Stars and Stripes

I'm so tired that I'm not sure I can make any sense... Today rounds up a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. I love sunshine and the rays made me quite happy this weekend. Tony and Mike came down so we could go on the boat all weekend... The first day the boys, Jana, Brittney, Blake & Melissa all hopped on... We had a blast jetting around all day. Jana, Britt and I chilled in the party cove area for quite a while then we all took turns skiing and kneeboarding. It was just such a wonderful time on the lake.

Sunday Sarah Cohen and I waited on the dock for about an hour... while we waited for the guys we were watching the firemen all around a young girl on a boat who has popped her hip out of place while tubing. She was screaming a lot... they gave her a shot to get her on the stretcher. Why were we waiting an hour? Finally got a call from Nick at the pier there was something wrong with the boat... Poor Cohen was so excited with her two wakeboards in hand.... So our day was not to be on the lake. Cohen and I decided we'd still make the most of it so we went to The Village pool party. It felt like we were at Spring Break. It was so crowded with fun music and dancing. We met up with two of Cohen's friends and hung with them the rest of the night just enjoying life at the pool.

So this morning I crammed a lot of sunshine in the day to make up for yesterday! I chilled at Nick's brother's pool and swam around with him for a while then picked Nick up and we went to Sarah (Cohen) and Richard's house. They have this house in the back of their main house called the Man Cave! It was so much fun! Their house is so modern and neat... I just love it... I am not that "modern" with my design... Their art is all strange and abstract and the floors are all tiled... It's a metro house built in the 60s... so Cohen. We watched TV and ate brisket over there until night... Too much fun!!!

I don't have any pictures because I am bad. I left my camera and we never took Jana's out for some reason.

I'm not too exciting, but I'm pretty sleepy! Since it's Memorial Day I must give props to my veterans. I am very proud that one of my grandfathers was a decorated war hero with a Bronze Star and two purple hearts. He was a true hero of WWII and he was so very proud of it. My other grandfather was a hero of the Navy in WWII. The troops are such brave people to leave their families and fight for our country. So much of the time I take for granted the stars and stripes, but they truly respect what we stand for and they know why our ancestors fought for our freedom. The job they do and the people they are should touch us Americans on a daily basis. My grandfathers raised my mom and dad to be the type of people that come from such a hero... They raised them with morals and beliefs they learned while in training to be men... this will reach into each generation. I am in utter amazement at what the men and women in our military today and yesterday do for our country while I sit back enjoying time at the lake and swimming in the bright sunshine. Now... that is what Memorial Day is about... I sometimes forget it isn't that bright sunshine, but it's about honor, pride and the stars and stripes of our American soldiers.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Our Trip To Bradenton Beach

I sat back in the sand and thought I was in paradise. This was my Heaven.

Nick and I flew to Ft. Myers to Bradenton Beach this past weekend for a little vacation. It was really my first big trip by myself. Sure in college you have New York, South Padre and Cabo... but, that was all funded by the parents and it was not just me on my own in a sense. Nick and I didn't have much of a schedule... we just went.

The first night we flew in pretty late so we ate at a little beach cafe. I had the calamari and Nick had a salad. We weren't impressed... but, that's okay. We were impressed by the sunset on the beach. That made it worthwhile. We took a long walk on the dark beach before bed.

We got up early Sunday morning and began our planning. We decided to rent segways and jet around downtown Bradenton Beach. Of course... we layed in the sun first!!! The segways were really neat. We played for about an hour on them and toured the beaches and went alongside the shops. That night we cooked our own dinner and sat on the beach to watch the sunset.

Monday we decided to get up and rent a jetski. We wanted to jetski in the ocean for some reason. We had such a fun time. It was wild with the waves and you could go really fast through the bright blue water. After that we made the trek back to our part of the beach and just chilled in the sunshine. We swam out to a sandbar and enjoyed the waves as well. I even got to bury Nick in the sand. I liked that! We were in the sun entirely too long... so we took a nap. That night we went out to eat at a nice restaurant on the beach to sit outside and enjoy some good seafood. It was amazing! We then went down the street to try some homemade ice cream. Yummy! Everything in this town was not chain and I loved that part of it. We then went down to the beach to watch the sunset for the last time. It was getting a bit chilly so after it sat and we talked for a while we went back to the room and watched TV because we are cool like that.

We were sure sunburnt that night. I could barely sleep. I woke up with my lips HUGE sunburned... hey, I have big lips. It has turned to tan by now... but, ouch.

We had a really nice time on the beach. I truly love the beach. God's creations are everywhere. The water, the sand, the sun... Truly breathtaking.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sunshine Update

So much is going on in the world that each little thing doesn't seem quite important to write about so I am here to shuffle it all into an update.

Life has been pretty neato lately. Nothing insane. Just the same.

Nick and I are flying to Florida this weekend for a little vacation! We are so excited! We don't really have plans... We will just go and figure it out along the way. I just want to enjoy the beach mainly. Stick me on a beach and I am happy as a lark!!! If it rains we will enjoy our time inside and shop!!!

Chandra is giving birth to my "niece" Landry Michelle tomorrow!!! She is so excited and I am just elated for she and Michael. More to come on that... I am quite sure!

Today is ten years since I graduated high school. Wow. I could write an entire blog on this one. Life in ten years is just insane. We go through so much in that time. We just grow up so much. But, that day seriously seems like yesterday. I can remember so many details of it! My Dad wrote me an e-mail that day telling me to look around at my class because after Graduation you become sand in the wind. He was correct. I am close to my best friends, of course, but so many just blow to so many different places on different journeys.

We are working on our Memorial Day plans. Nick thinks so many people want to go out on the boat he will have to split it into three days of boatdom. Okay... fine with me! He has even rationed who I can and cannot invite... because if you put it in my hands I invite the entire world trying to be kind! Then for June the weekends I do not work are already booked...

I am flying home June 11th... I haven't been to West Texas since Christmas. I am desperately homesick. Seriously. I am going to rent a car and drive over to Big Spring to visit Chandra and the new baby, see a few old friends and visit the cemetery. My dreams about Sarah must need closure. I need to see it and know she is gone in order to maybe... just maybe... stop the nightmares. And visit Mom's grave. I hate not going to West Texas for long periods of time! Nick is being serious about us possibly moving to Lubbock in a year or two. I think I'm on board totally.

Then the next weekend we are floating the river in New Braunfels. I am missing my family reunion for it. That makes me a little sick, but I have done the pros and cons over and over again. I was truly happy on the last river trip and I liked that feeling. Being with my extended family at the reunion is a feeling of total love, but I'm stuck in the middle of the teenagers and the old people so it's also strange at times.

We will round it out with a big trip to Horseshoe Bay for Blair and Lauren's wedding. I'm reading it so I'm excited... but, more excited to see two of my friends since childhood get married!!!

There is my update. Nothing crazy. Just happy for the sunshine!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Am A Steel Magnolia

I hadn't thought about Mother's Day much ... until it seemed the world threw it at my face. It was always just another day. Sometimes I take the high road and toast to my pseudo moms and sometimes I just don't. I bought cards today for Grandmommy, Dianne and Brenda. They treat me like a daughter. But, I'm not really their daughters and I know where their love truly lies. They love me, but not like a real daughter. They just can't. I hadn't thought much about it until it slowly trickled closer to the day. Brittney asked Jana and I, "So, what are you doing for Mother's Day? Oh... oops... Sorry, Julie." It was okay. It always happens. Grandmommy says, "I was going to send you a devotional about Mother's Day, but Mike (my uncle and mom's brother) said it was throwing it in your face." No, Grandmommy, it's fine. Church is about Mother's Day Sunday. Dad says maybe I should do my own thing. UGH UGH UGH. I just want to be normal.

I go through the pictures trying to remember memories... but, the same pictures are there. I have shown them thousands of times. People get tired of them and probably want more from me. There are so many days in the year when people who lose those close to them can grieve... It's true... And you think time fades it? Oh, yes, in a sense... but, loss is always there. I'm annoyed because I cannot remember as much as I wish I could. I was nineteen... my gosh... way too young to understand. Mother's Day was our day... because I was a spoiled little teeny brat that didn't know how to show love except on her day. I took her to a shrimp dinner when Dad was working after church. I remember that for a few years. I wrote her poems for a few years. I remember loving her enough on that day. Do we ever truly love enough though?

Life is so quick. It really is. I looked at the calendar today in awe thinking how I stood there the past few months tearing off the months like it was just yesterday each time. Everything is just yesterday.

With Mom it isn't like I would save her now. Life is how God planned and if one thing was out of whack it would switch our whole lives. If she was alive I would be so afraid of losing her that I would never leave her side. No way to live. Maybe one day I would have realized she was my best friend instead of my mother. People sometimes don't understand my love for my grandmother, my dad, my family... they will one day. I want to put Grandmommy in this box and make her live forever and just talk to her and love on her. But, you know what, I know more than anything she wants to go to Heaven with Grandaddy Bill and Mom. I know that. My Dad has this second chance at life that God gave him with our family and I desperately want it to be this big happy family because it's what we all need in life. I can't be with him every day all day and that's best for both of us. I'm surprised at my strength sometimes that I let go. We all have to live our own lives. In "Steel Magnolias" Shelby says she'd rather live thirty minutes of wonderful than a life of nothingness. It's so true. I always live so scared... stepping out of the box could mean pain. But, days pass so quickly... we must step out and live.

I've done this slideshow below over and over. This time I changed the music to music about strength. When we face days that make us remember those we loved and loss we must look back at the journey and see how far we have come... Sometimes I flash back to that young nineteen year old I was standing there when I got the news... and I am in utter awe that I was able to make it... But, you know what, God didn't ask. He didn't stop the world for me. Mom lost her dad at a younger age than I am right now... and she kept going. She cried a lot... because that is how she handled pain. I don't cry a lot. I write. I walk. I live.

Dad faces another year without his mother and she was over eighty when she passed. Any age feels loss. Any age will remember those years she loved us so much. Any age will remember the times as we grew old she was right there. Mothers are just that special. I do thank God for those in my life that step in and handle me. They don't even know what they truly are in my heart, but I do. I will never take anyone like that for granted again. Some of us learn the hard way.

And... speaking of my "Steel Magnolias" quotes... This below explains so many times over the past nine years when thinking of Mom... except it's me instead of Sally Field talking about her daughter. I could always jog to Texas and back... but, Mom was always fighting something physical with her bad stomach problems. So me.

M'Lynn: [crying] I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine.
M'Lynn: I'm fine! I can jog all the way to Texas and back, but my daughter can't! She never could! Oh God! I am so mad I don't know what to do! I wanna know why! I wanna know *why*! Oh *God* I wanna know *why*? *Why*? Lord, I wish I could understand! I don't think I can take this! I-I don't think I can take this! I-I just wanna *hit* somebody 'til they feel as bad as I do! I just wanna hit something! I wanna hit it hard!

The journey. Live it. Love it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wedding Weekend

May 1 held a lot of activity. Chandra's baby shower. Lauren's couples shower. Nick's birthday. Keilly's wedding. Paige's wedding. No, I didn't attend all of them. I did make it to the two weddings. Surprise surprise. It's me. Professional wedding attendee.

I was in Paige & Danny's house party so I had to be there before the other weddings... This wedding was in Coppell... I got there to find my beautiful baby girl, Paige standing in the room. She looked radiant and perfect. I met Paige when she was a little seventeen year old freshman at Texas Tech when she joined KD. She has always been my little sister. I got to greet with another sorority sister, Stephanie Sinclair Tate. We had a really nice time. I got to see one of my favorite people in the world, Jessica Grogean... Then... after the ceremony... I was flying off to another wedding in Flower Mound.

I missed Keilly & Matt's actual wedding, but I made it for the party! Nick was in the wedding so he got to do all of those activities. It was so beautiful and huge... Nick's parents were there, many of our friends as well as many of my younger KD sisters that are close to Keilly. They were all a lot wilder than me in college, but they were and are always so much fun! Janay and I were always pretty close though... I got to hang out with her and her baby boy, Knox for a lot of the night. I hav etold the story before, but Nick and I sat Keilly and Matt up in a way... He met her through my Facebook! I never thought she'd fall for it and I told him she would think he was a crazy stalker, but he knew from the moment they began to talk that she was perfect for him! It was so wonderful and such an amazing night!!!

Presenting Mrs. Paige Maher and her hubby, Danny

Presenting Mrs. Keilly Milantoni and her hubby, Matthew

Keilly Shelton & Matt Milantoni the night before they are united! We had the rehearsal dinner at Ferraris in Grapevine. It was so nice and such amazing food!!!

Rehearsal Dinner. Blake, Kelsey, Daniel, Jon, Nick & Josh

Janay and Knox. Janay and I were good friends in college... this girl is an amazing mother and sweet young lady!!!

KD Ladies at the wedding: Corrina Salazar, Megan Sturdivant, Katey Voelkel, Kendal Cram, Janay Gaddy & her son, Knox, Felicity Judd & Cassie Cone

Our present to the Milantonis: Texas Rustic Metal Art made and designed this for Matt & Keilly!!!