Monday, November 3, 2014

The Best Time of the Year

The weirdest thing happens the day after Halloween. Suddenly you awaken with the need to feel Christmas! The spooky feeling of Halloween is gone!!!

We've hosted a Halloween party for the past several years. It was tough to not have that to do. We just don't have enough friends here to host a big party. So we watched Halloween 4 on TV and handed out candy! I got dressed as a scarecrow to hand out candy. It was nothing elaborate, but atleast it was fun. We decided to head to Container Park to see what they had going on. Fremont Street was having a block party beside it so we walked along it for a bit. It was crazy people watching. There were so many neat costumes!!! Container Park is made of storage containers turned into stores. We roamed around it as well. We finally settled in one place and just sat to watch people. It was weird without all of our friends, but we made the most of it. I'm in awe of how much Halloween has taken off in the world. Many people decorate their homes just like Christmas! It's really neat! When I was a reporter I loved to do the story at Halloween stores about all people were buying for their homes. It's insane what people spend! We spent $10 on just candy! And it almost wasn't enough!!!

Our friends, Sean and Karen asked us to be godparents of their baby girl, Guinevere Louise. She will be born in January. They called and got us both on the phone. I almost cried. I am just in awe that someone thinks we are special enough for such an honor. We try to lead good lives and we try to be as faithful as possible each day, but we fail just like anyone else. We were so touched. We are so very excited to be godparents and lead this child spiritually. I try to always be a good leader to my younger cousins, nieces and nephews. We are so very touched others see the light in us as well. We both have good hearts and work for the best in all people, but you never stop to look around and see if people are watching that. I have a tender heart and a tough exterior so you often wonder if people see that. We cannot wait to walk with Guinnie through life. Her parents became close to us so very quickly and were an answer from God for best friends in our lives. I prayed for a long time for friends like Nick's parents have and my parents have. We have many friends, but I always wanted couples that were very close to us to walk together through life. We have a few we can call that now, and Karen and Sean are such a blessing to us.

The wind is howling, the air is crisp and the windchimes beat against one another. Yes, Halloween is over. It's time for the best time of the year!!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween In The Air

Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. The air feels crisp, the decorations are scary and the world is having fun. After I got back from West Texas I felt so refreshed. Our friends Blake and Alicia stayed the night and we took them to our favorite spots. They loved the park and CJ's Italian Ice!

We had a fun night out on the Strip with our friends Matt and Jen this weekend. We don't go to the Strip much, but it was a great time! Saturday Nick and I got up early to scour yard sales. We bike around the neighborhood finding fun sales! We found one with a whole lot of cactus. We have been looking for some sort of plant to go on our balcony and in other areas. I sure hope I can atleast keep cactus alive... So we ventured out to meet the Levines at Chayos. Oooh yummy food! Of course, not typical Tex Mex, but fajitas are fajitas! We got to ride the High Roller... the biggest observation wheel! It goes really slow so it isn't too scary. I'm very afraid of heights so I wasn't too sure. We got cupcakes at Sprinkles to distract me from the height! Jen had tickets to see Matisyahu so we wandered over to Brooklyn Bowl after the High Roller. To say it wasn't our crowd might be an understatement! Matt and Nick were totally into people watching. The dude is more reggae than rap, but I was done after about two songs. We convinced the guys to go sit outside and just enjoy life away from it. We had such a great night laughing and talking. We met the Levines when we first visited in April and I was very against moving at that time so I wasn't too friendly. Jen said she thought I was not sarcastic and quiet so she didn't know if she would like me! Little did she know what she was really getting into!!! 

After Halloween it seems Christmas hits hard. I absolutely love Christmas time more than anything in the world. I am very excited to look for gifts and just enjoy the environment of it all. I doubt we will dress up for Halloween as we have friends coming in town and not sure what they will want to do. Maybe I can convince them to go to haunted houses?!! We usually have a Halloween party each year so we are a bit sad we just don't know enough people to have a big party. Maybe some brave kids will come by the house and we can give them candy?! The options are endless!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Canvas of West Texas

My mind is always writing. I write while I jog. I write while I sleep. I look to this blog and see I have not written anything on it in a month. Maybe I don't know what to say? Maybe we are just living in Las Vegas and figuring things out so there just isn't much to say. We basically do the same things each day like most. Maybe there is so much to say I just don't sit down and write it out.

I came to West Texas for almost a week to just have a little mini vacation. It's funny as living in Las Vegas, our new land feels like we are always on vacation. No, not because we spend frivolously and do new things each day. It is because we are in a new land finding things each day. It's strange as though you want to get back "home," yet in reality you are home. It still feels like vacation. It doesn't feel real that you live in another state. It seems the house is this vacation house with a beautiful view. I know one day it will feel like a reality, but for now here I am in some sort of vacation/home state of mind. Coming to West Texas always sends me into a different realm. Many memories hit me at once. It's all so wonderful, yet so very nostalgic.I enjoyed every moment while in Midland. I ran over to Big Spring on Thursday to spend a day in my hometown. It has changed so much. It's grown and there are so many new people there that going to Wal Mart isn't a social time anymore! I went to see old neighbors and catch up. I always check on my old house. It looks pretty much the same! Then I ran out to the cemetery to check on Mom's site and Sarah's and look around. I believe Sarah's dad visits every day so hers is decorated and so beautiful. Mom's is a bit sad, but she isn't really there so it doesn't bother me that much. I just like to look around and make sure it's all going well there still. I know they aren't there so it's very strange and surreal. I did say a few words to Sarah. I have never been shy about talking about my dreams. Mom and Sarah are there a lot. I thought seeing Sarah's grave would make me realize she is gone... as in my dreams she has usually faked her death. I still dream the same dream though. I know it is just how my mind works. I have come to peace with that...

So then I went to Stephanie's to visit the family. I gave the three boys some StubHub sunglasses! They were so excited! It was nice to just hang out and catch up. Then I went out to Chandra's so we could go watch Landry perform at halftime at the Big Spring powder puff game. It was so adorable!!! I went down to the field and found Kerry and Mrs. Tannehill. Mrs. Tannehill's son is the quarterback for the Miami Dolphins so it's always fun to hear their insight. He says it is so fun to play in the NFL. One of the other sons is the quarterback for the Big Spring Steers so I see his future is bright. Kerry is always one of my favorites to see, she is just an angel in my life. It was so fun to get to hang out with Chandra and her family. We always laugh a lot.

Back in Midland I enjoyed time with Dad and Brenda. We got mani/pedis, went to a play, ate too much, took a lot of walks with Chewy... the norm! The weather was outstanding! I love just talking and absorbing time with Dad and Brenda. During my time I did miss Nick, I must admit! He was all alone back at the house so I was just hoping he wouldn't go biking at midnight or climb a tree, boy things... In a perfect world we would all live close and get to see one another more often. I would love to live in West Texas! Maybe Lubbock as I don't know too much about Midland. It's very crowded right now! The feel of Texas is so special. Everyone is so kind and just in great spirits. I was very sad to leave, but knew it was time to get back to everyday life.

Life does feel like a blank canvas. It's weird not to have all of the colors splashed on the canvas in their perfect place. It's also beautiful at the same time. Brenda always reminds me God has a plan for everything. Every time I try to analyze that plan another color is splashed on my canvas. Here's to painting!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Texas Visit: Cake and Ice Cream All Swirled Together

Here I sit back in Las Vegas fresh from our trip to Texas. The air in Texas was crisp as we flew away. The air in Las Vegas was hot when we landed. It seems the few days we were there were so jam packed there weren't many free moments to sit and savor the environment my heart calls home. Hugs and love are the perfect recipe for any trip. We truly enjoyed our time and found ourselves feeling so blessed by friends and family.

We flew in on Wednesday. We were so excited to see a family friend as our flight attendant! She followed us to the house where we were also joined by good friends Brandon and Geoff. We ate and just chit chatted into the night. Thursday I woke up early to make a visit to my friend, Paige who just had a brand new baby boy. We hung out for about two hours on her couch just catching up and enjoying life with baby David. Let me say right now this trip was surrounded by babies and pregnant friends. It sure puts the pressure on me that time is a' ticking! They make it look so easy though, not sure I could make it look that easy! I left Paige and met my dear friend, Andrea at Taco Diner. We don't eat much mexican food here so it was a nice change, but it filled me up very quickly. We had a great time and went to get a Sprinkles cupcake after our meal! I got back to the Grays where Nick was hanging out and my friend, Melissa came to visit with baby Georgia. We had a great talk and just caught up. It was September 11, and we realized we were together on that horrible day 13 years before. In fact, it was on Melissa's TV where I walked in to see the disaster. After she left friends Corri, Jana, Stephanie and baby Abigail all came over. Abby was our entertainment! She is so cute and funny. Jim and Dianne had a blast with her taking her on walks with the dogs! It was just an overall great day with friends.

Friday was when the colder air hit. We took the dogs on walks and just enjoyed the air feeling more like Fall. One main difference in Dallas is the treeline. There are many trees lining the streets. Palm trees line the streets of Las Vegas. Nick and I got the house ready because we were having people over that night. They started to flow in about 5:30. Some of Nick's parents' friends, the Hickeys, the Krones, followed by Anna, Jenna, Libby, the McDaniels, Michele, Heather, Destinee, the Sznajders, Justin, Lindsey... so fun! Our best friends, Tony and Katie drove in from Houston as they were staying with us for Saturday's wedding. We stayed up talking until midnight! We had a really great time!!!

I only brought sleeveless dresses so the weather sure wasn't a match to my strapless navy blue dress for Saturday morning's wedding. Tony, Katie, Nick and I headed out to the lake to see Ashton get married. The wedding was beautiful and small. It was so neat because we were served omelets and french toast! We had a nice time catching up! We hurried back for the Texas Tech football game because we were watching over at Sean and Karen's. We were late so Angela, Jason, Cody, Kristy were already there! Kacie brought over baby Beau to hang out with us, too! Heather also dropped in! We didn't watch much of the game because we were all socializing way too much!!! We stayed until way after the game as the boys were outside and the girls were inside talking! We left about 9 to visit Matt's house and watch the Mayweather fight. We needed our dose of the boys! We got to see Geoff again, Tony, Matty and Jen! The fight wasn't that interesting, but atleast we got to hang out. Katie, Jen and I mainly just talked and ignored the fight. I'm not into boxing! Needless to say after this long day we were exhausted!!!

Sunday we had brunch with the parents and hit the road to catch our flight.... long story, but we drove with Katie and Tony to Houston and caught a flight back into Vegas. We love our friends so much. So very blessed are we. I am now planning a trip to go see my family and West Texas friends. I easily get homesick missing them! We are glad to be back in a daily routine, back with the cat and back to learning new things about our new world. I told Nick now maybe he understands why I love to go home when living away. It's a different type of medicine! I've lived away from West Texas for a long time so going home is like cake and ice cream all swirled together! The Fallish weather is said to hit tomorrow so maybe it will feel a bit more like football season than the desert!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Country Princess to Casino Queen

Enjoying our pool

My friend says I should make this blog all about being a transplant in a new place. Texas and Nevada are very different, yet the same. Maybe I will. We've been throwing around catchy names, too. It's quite interesting if you sit back as an outsider like me. Being in a new place is very strange. I feel like we are still in Dallas. I still talk to all of my friends and family the same. Nick jokes I've always been a better Facebook friend anyway! I am great at staying in touch. So it's not the distance. It's strange because it just is. You pinch yourself and wonder what the heck is going on some days. I pray a lot asking for guidance. People ask over and over how life is in Vegas... Well, it's life! We do a lot of outdoor activities. We are always riding our bikes, taking walks, sitting by the pool just chatting. Nick golfs a lot and sometimes he makes me drive the cart. We explore new areas and go shopping in the little shopping centers. We eat a lot of fruit because it's really fresh here. We go to church most Sundays, but we haven't gotten as involved as we would like at this point. We have a handful of friends, and hey, it's hard to meet new people even when you are as social as the two of us. Let's talk about stereotypes, that shall be this discussion.

While I do feel I am still in the same location, I am thrown back into my place when I tell people I am from Texas. Some say they think of guns and trucks. Others think we are cowboys. Another asked if we were all Baptists. I grew up in West Texas in a small town, but not tiny. My last location in Texas was a huge city. I don't know which I love better. I loved growing up in Big Spring. My family is in West Texas. It has my heart. Dallas is where most of our friends are, where Nick grew up, the world at your fingertips. I am very naive which can be both good and bad. I am very proud of my roots. All Texans aren't cowboys. We don't all own guns. We aren't all Baptists. Actually, I love these thoughts though. Many of my family and friends are farmers. Most do own guns. And well, we are actually many different denominations. I didn't own a pair of Cowboys boots until a few years ago... except the time I went through the Wrangler stage in 4th grade. To me Texans are friendly, loyal, predominately truck driving, great people..... just like the people of Las Vegas... with less trucks...

Everyone thinks Las Vegas is full of sin and lights. People that live here don't hang out on the Strip. Oh, sometimes Nick and I will go for a show or play a slot, but it just isn't something people think of to do. It has a small town feel. It seems everyone I meet is a transplant like me. Many are from the East coast trying to find the sun. We see many people biking around town or even on their skateboards. Everyone seems to be all about going green. The homes all basically look the same, stucco with Spanish tile. The yards are beautiful full of gorgeous landscaping. At first I hated them because all I saw was rock. Now I see the palm trees and flowers. The Strip is like another country. It's exciting, but it's just a different realm. The people don't talk about it really. No one ever asks if we have been over there in a bit. I don't know if a lot of people are religious in this area. We started going to a church our friends told us about and we've enjoyed it so I guess that's all that matters to us.

So we are still trying to figure it all out. I guess you just go where God leads and try not to ask many questions! Though we are great at keeping in touch our hearts are very lonely for our family and friends. Talking on the phone is never enough! Nick is very blessed with guy friends that love to talk on the phone and text as many men don't do that. We are both raised that you go visit people you love and you never take friendships for granted. No matter how many friends we have in this new land we don't lose grasp of those in other lands. I've always held tightly to those I love and just made more room in my heart for others. So if we're talking stereotypes let's just say "from country princess to casino queen" - (thanks to Jen for the title!)... the adventure continues...

Biking to a park by our house
Labor Day Party
Loves to Grill
Mufasa is happy
Biking to a nearby neighborhood

Firepit time

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

First Visitors

 We had our first visitors to the desert last week. Dad and Brenda flew in for a week full of excitement. We worked so hard to get the house ready. It seems with a new house there is always something else that needs to be done! As you can see in the photos I tried to cut Nick's hair... I royally messed it up so the poor hair stylist had to basically buzz it! He says it actually feels great! Oh the things you do to get ready for visitors!

We were so excited to pick up the parents from the airport, show them around town and give them a tour of the house. The first night we got the new grill out and Nick whipped up some BBQ chicken. We all just chilled out and enjoyed dinner. Then we took them to CJ's by the house for frozen custard.

Thursday we jetted around town just shopping and showing the parents the area. I took them to Red Rock Harley Davidson since Brenda collects t-shirts from each Harley store... and we went to old downtown Las Vegas to pick up our show tickets and just walk around. I wanted to take Dad to Kount's Kustoms, but the line was so long and we didn't want to walk miles from the car. I like showing them the touristy things... staying away from the Strip to avoid the stereotype of Las Vegas. We don't live that life at all. I do enjoy a slot machine though!

That night we all went to the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater. It was very funny! Dad figured out the killer quicker than all of us. We had a blast! Afterwards we gambled for about 30 minutes, lost $10, ya know the drill... then walked up and down the old Las Vegas part of town. I like it better than the new part even! It's vintage and so neat. I don't like all of the people trying to sell me things though. It's crazy to think where we live is so quiet and serene. Miles away is this land of lights just waiting to entertain people.

Dad and Brenda with the actors
 We hit the Lake Mead Cruise on Friday. Oh man, it was beautiful. The water is a deep blue. They took us up to the Hoover Dam and gave us a history lesson along the way. It gave Nick and I the bug for a new boat. I grew up with a boat, and we've had one off and on through the years, but I think Nick wants to get one out here one day. It's just too gorgeous!

That night we took advantage of the pool. To me being in a pool doesn't make sense if it isn't hot! It did feel good in the water though... I must admit! We had a blast just floating around and talking. We later drove Dad and Brenda down the Strip at night to see the lights. It's just a whole different world! It's beautiful and full of life. The night air felt great, too! I sure didn't want the night to end.

Brenda made us a Christmas quilt!
Brenda playing in the waterfall
We had such a nice time with the parents. I was very sad to see them leave. We host Nick's parents this week so more excitement is to come! It's so wonderful to just be surrounded by love. We don't know many people yet so we feel very warm when wrapped in our loved ones' arms. I cannot say we have anything figured out here in another state. I keep thinking it's like in Cocktail when Tom Cruise finally gets everything perfect as a bartender flipping the glasses around... yep, it isn't like that. Step by step we go. It's like we are on an adventure, but we aren't sure how long the adventure will last or what is next around the corner. It's definitely difficult, but we are figuring it out along the way. Visits by our family and friends just put a smile on our face! We can say with confidence this new place is beautiful, we have one another and God has us here for some reason!

Friday, July 18, 2014

San Diego Anniversary

It seems as if our wedding day was yesterday. The emotions still reign fresh and everything feels the same, yet the world has been turning for an entire year. Marriage is tough. I never believed people about the first year of marriage, but it is work. Nick's mom always says anything worth fighting for is work. It's wonderful as well. We spent our first anniversary in San Diego. A year ago we thought we would go over to Hawaii and enjoy time there, but we are now living only a few hours from sunny California. We were both very excited at the thought of going to the zoo!!!

We got there Friday and headed to La Jolla Beach. For us the water and the air was a bit too cold. The sand was hot beneath our feet, but the waters were way too cold. We sat on the beach and just watched all of the fearless surfers and crazy people in the waters. That night we walked to Little Italy to this little place Nick's family told us about. The portions were huge! It was truly authentic Italian.

This bottle is not ours, but it was above our table.

Saturday we headed for a day of fun at the Zoo. Wow, it was huge! The animals were so cool and we were just in awe the entire time. I think my favorite was the panda. Everything was cute, but I have to go with the exotic thing. I'll tell the story with pictures.

Santa's reindeer in their offseason!


Panda is cool. This was the mama!

These are related to giraffes.

All the koalas we saw were asleep!


This Tasmanian Devil was named Nick.

After the Zoo we were pretty beat. We went to George's to eat that night to view the sea. It was beautiful!!! After George's we headed down to the beach to see the seals. They were right there!!! I cannot believe it!

Sunday we went to visit Chris, Tara and Natalie. We all walked up to a little eatery. It's so funny because everything in Cali seems to be "crunchy granola.' Not much meat, all organic.. the way I love it! A kid skateboarded into the shop to eat! You don't see that in Texas much! We also walked a lot during our time there which I loved!!!

We did not have a our wedding cake so we settled on a Dairy Queen Cake blizzard!!! Ahhh a year of marital bliss... not always, but usually!!! It's been a wonderful time with my best friend!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fireworks n' Family

I've lived out of suitcases for almost two months. It's actually not so bad. I'll save the post about moving to Las Vegas for later. I must focus on the fun of the past week! I fly back to Las Vegas in the morning so it seems I'm "home" here and then I'll be "home" there! Last week I jetted off to San Antonio where I first go to spend time with Tiffany and her family. We got to visit and just hang out. Tiff, JC and the girls took me to dinner where we enjoyed live music then we went home to just chat. The next day Tiffany had to work so her mom came and got me and the girls and we went to the movies and to lunch... then to a goat farm! It was so cool!!! Linda took me shopping around that night for something to wear for family photos... then the next day (July 4) Dad and Brenda came to get me and we all said our goodbyes. It was a wonderful time!!!

Hailey & Aubrey


Alyssa and her family drove in from North Dakota, Steven and his family came in from Oklahoma and we all gathered downtown on the RiverWalk. Brenda's brothers and their families were able to join us as well! It was like a mini reunion. We walked around and showed Henry the Alamo... he is from Nigeria so this is all very new to him. We took family photos all dressed in our red, white and blue. My room had an amazing view of the fireworks so we all piled in there for the show. It was so much fun to have everyone together just laughing and talking. Saturday we crazily decided to go to Sea World. Dad stayed back and enjoyed time with other family members. Steven, Ashley, Rylie, Saige, Rex and I watched a bit of the beach show and noticed a little basketball thing next to it. Steven went first and won a mini basketball. I had to win one for the sisters, too! So I shot the 3 pointers with the men's basketballs and boo-ya, I won!!!! Then we stood in line forever to see Shamu. Shamu isn't as cool as when I was little. It's all too political and they don't get to ride them anymore blah blah. It was great, but different. By this time we were all so tired of waiting in lines and the crazy crowds. We decided it was time to get back. We gathered at the hotel where Brenda's brothers, Jay and Jimmy brought their entire families to meet us. This was a very special time to get everyone together. We all went on the RiverWalk to eat and just hung out for a bit longer at the rooftop pool.

There was a point when I looked at the crowd and just thanked God. I always say Dad and I got a second chance. God provided us with this lovely family. I'm so blessed to be a part of it.

When we got back we took Dad in for his angiogram. His stress tests showed some blockage on his heart. I wasn't too thrilled, but I wasn't worried. They did not find any blockage so he was free to go after two hours of sitting still. It was a scare for him for sure. I hate health issues and know we must fight them as we get older, but it's just a scary thing. I try to workout and eat healthy, but we just never really know what is lurking within us ready to harm us. Again, what a blessing that he was just fine and went through all of it for basically nothing... well, except peace of mind and a regimen to be a bit healthier which just might be worth all of it.

Ahhh so the suitcase travels back West. Then it will hit San Diego this weekend. Hey, I'm not complaining. This is an adventurous time. I miss Nick and the cat though. I will have to pack them in my suitcase next time.