Saturday, October 10, 2015

Catching Up... Surprise in Sedona

The old blog had to take a back seat to so many things this summer and fall.  Finally, I decided to take this rainy Saturday morning and catch it up. Sooooo... going back to July:

De is the master of surprises.  Small or large, it doesn't matter.  Our honeymoon to Ireland was a surprise.  There have been mornings when I got in the car and there would be a new CD playing.  Jewelry has long been one of my favorite surprises - hint hint - and he has great taste when it comes to surprising me with clothes.  This summer's surprise may have just topped the charts, though.

"Pack casual clothes for being outside" was the only set of instructions that I got.  With John and Julia at Fun in the Son in Hilton Head with their youth group, we were taking off.  J&J left the morning of July 13 and so did we.  In different directions.  We were headed to the airport, but I had no idea where we would land.

The ticket said, "Phoenix".  Really? Phoenix? Is it not hot enough in Georgia?  I won't lie. I was a little disappointed.  We landed in Phoenix and you can bet I was wondering if this was it.  Well, it wasn't.  We connected to Flagstaff and began the journey to Sedona.  Oh, Sedona.  Much better.

Our view from Sunset Chateau

I'm not sure how De found A Sunset Chateau, but there couldn't be a better place to stay in Sedona. Our complimentary breakfasts there were worth the price alone.

In the mornings, it was cool enough to eat outside - and since we were still on Eastern Daylight Time, we were up bright and early...

Pictures of the dining area inside...

While there, we did a lot of eating....we had a fabulous dinner at an Italian restaurant and several meals at area Mexican restaurants.  We ate at Dahl and Di Luca and their famous Elote Mexican restaurant.  Both were considerably yummy.

Outside Dahl and Di Luca

The first day there, we decided to hike.  Yes. we. did.  We hiked.  This is not an activity either of us gravitate to, but we really enjoyed it.  It was hot, but certainly not humid though, and I think we both would do it again.

The proof is in the selfie

We texted John and Julia that we were hiking in Arizona and I am sure that they thought the end of days was at hand.

One of our next days there, we took a Pink Jeep Tour of Sedona.  Our guide was really knowledgeable about the geography, geology and topography of the area.  Okay, this was interesting, but.... what I really enjoyed was hearing about the movies filmed there and the movie stars - like Lucille Ball and even Walt Disney who had homes there.  We went on their "Broken Arow" tour and when we came home, we watched the movie.  It stars Jimmy Stewart and is really a very good old western.

Maybe the best part of this trip was crossing off one of my bucket items: SEE THE GRAND CANYON.

We left Sedona early and drove the 2 hours to the southern rim of the Grand Canyon.  Like most other national parks, The Grand Canyon saw record breaking numbers of visitors this summer.  For this reason, we tried to get there early and we did - though barely early enough.  We arrived a little before 10AM and the car lines were already backing up.  We waited about 20 minutes to enter and then were lucky enough to find a parking place immediately.  I mean lucky.  We later read that during peak travel times, people were forced to turn back as the lines were so long and there was no parking available.

Such a fun trip, from Nelly Bly's Kaleidoscope Store in Jerome, Arizona to hiking Soldier's Pass to seeing the Grand Canyon, it was a real departure from our everyday routine.

If you look closely, you'll see the above picture is really De and me in kaleidoscope form!

Nelly Bly's: selling kaleidoscopes in Jerome, Arizona for 26 years

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fathers' Day

Like me, my own children are so blessed to have such a good Daddy, "De", who loves them, prays for them and provides for them.  It seems that our culture has all but taken the spot light off the importance of the Dad.  Trust me, we don't know what we'd do without ours and we thank God for him everyday.

We are a full week behind with Father's Day festivities because I have had the crud. (See Mother's Day - ugh -  this is becoming a trend.) Sadly for our De, this crud also caused me to cancel his birthday party on Monday.  So... I owe him big and plan to make up for it with a fun "themed" birthday party later in the week.  So... we'll do Father's Day, De's birthday, July 4, Julia's birthday, Nanny's birthday, John's birthday and 3 trips all within 4 weeks!  Hang on!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The update

Actions sometimes lag behind intentions.  Such has been the case this spring with updating the blog. Not that there weren't blog worthy events... first, the North Oconee High School Dance Recital was Wednesday, May 6.  Julia's class (also Mc's and S's class) performed several cute dances.  My favorite was to "Here Comes the Sun".  This picture shows the girls dressed for that dance.

Friday, May 8 was Healan Piano Studio's piano recital,  Julia sang a song from the movie, Anastasia.

Finally, Honors Night came around on May 12 and Julia was named one of the Freshmen Oconee Scholars.

We celebrated Mothers' Day several weeks after the actual day.  On May 14, I had a fever and felt terrible... so we just moved it to May 31.

For our Mothers' Day celebration, we added a new restaurant to our Eat Athens list.  We checked off Charlie Noble's on the east side with very high marks for their Sunday brunch.  It was so good, in fact, we went back the next Sunday for brunch.

After school was out, we started on our Summer Bucket List.  One thing that we all agreed would be fun was going to The Fox Theatre in Atlanta.  As luck would have it, one of our entire family's favorite movies was in the Coca Cola Summer Movie Series that is at The Fox every year.  Back to the Future was shown Saturday night, June 6.  John loves going to The Fox, the movies and out to eat.  I think that he enjoyed this as much as anyone.  It was great to see Back to the Future on its thirtieth anniversary - and better still since admission just for this night was set at 1985 prices!

Below is our group (minus De, the photographer) in front of one of the beautiful architectural features at The Fox.  If you are in Atlanta this summer, put a trip here on your list.  Only beware: as Mc and Julia found out, their AC works extremely well.  Bring a light sweater or jacket!

On John's list for the evening was dinner.  The movie got out kinda late and he was really hungry, so we slid into a parking space at the V and had old fashioned car hop service.  This was really, surprisingly fun.  I'm not as crazy about the Varsity as some of the other members of my family... particularly late at night... but the FO I had really hit the spot.  Everybody else enjoyed their meal and I was happy we had parked and eaten.  Inside, the lines were long and the outside service was actually fairly quick.  All in all, this was a great summer time evening and we crossed off a couple of things from our Summer To Do List.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

21... Again.

One of Julia's friends sent me a text that said, "Happy 21st Birthday, Miss Christa".  Too cute.  I've been 21.... several times now.  For my birthday, we celebrated early with the fam since the end of April is always inventory for De.  We went to The Melting Pot in Mid Town Atlanta for a birthday dinner.  We enjoyed all four courses and had a great time.  I will say that if you go, allow plenty of time.  Fondue takes a while!  Our reservations were for 7:30 and we left a little before 10:00!

... a haircut was what I wanted for my birthday - and he got one!

I think the kids enjoyed the entire experience, I certainly did.  This was a great way to celebrate being 21!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

April Showers

Our church celebrated everyone's birthday Sunday night.  Everybody, no matter what age, got a party - all on one night!  All guests sit at a table decorated for their birthday month.  I decorated - most appropriately -  April.  I had a great time at the party and felt special to have such a fun event so close to my real birthday.  In fact, I had two parties in the same weekend.  Awesome!

While learning to decorate cakes is on my bucket list, I'm not there yet.  Take the Cake in Winterville helped me out here with both a cake and matching strawberry cupcakes.

Favor bags with seed packets inside said "April Showers Bring May Flowers".  Kenneth made and hung a cloud and we used ribbon rhinestones as "rain".

One side of the cloud was sunny and one side was a little more ominous!

I felt that the table needed a little more color and it was Mama's idea to use strips of crepe paper for color.  That turned out to be a pretty and inexpensive solution .
I wish I had gotten pictures of the other tables.  I decorated early in the day and many of the months were not quite ready.  I thought all the tables looked great - maybe the best year ever.  The party is so much fun and it is something I really look forward to year after year.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

SAVL Championship

Friday night, April 17, Julia and I packed our tired little bodies into the wagon and drove over to Spartanburg for the final volleyball tournament of the year. Honestly, I was very tired - and it was raining very hard - and we left very late, so I really didn't have high expectations for the weekend.  But... what started out as something I dreaded turned out to be so much fun.

We played in the beautiful Upward Bound facility just outside Spartanburg.  I cannot say enough nice things about the cleanliness and beauty of this place.  It was spotless despite the crowd, the tournament was well organized and conducted and the guests were made so comfortable and welcome. (Like if Disney World ran a Volleyball tournament.)

I loved how the Upward organization used Bible verses as decor throughout.

I especially love this one from Matthew...

We entered the tournament 3rd from the bottom.  We finished the tournament as the Number 3 team.  Not bad...

We enjoyed being with the families of the other team mates.  We ate together and went to the movies on Saturday - after our biggest win of the season. 

In fact, we had so much fun, I had to admit it was worth driving very late through very hard rain and barely sleeping to make it happen.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Prom 2015

Palm Sunday, Easter, Spring Break, Beach, Volleyball tournaments, Prom, school, work - a birthday - and two puppies. It's been a wild ride...

Beginning with prom... Julia and I were in South Carolina for an all weekend volleyball tournament the weekend of our high school's prom.  So... we left De trailing John and M and he got a few good pictures despite the rain.  M sent me some absolutely stunning pics as well that were taken at the home (garden) of a friend.

NOHS 2015 Junior Senior Prom, April 18, 2015

A limousin took the group to a catered dinner in Madison and then to the dance.  They had a great time and my prayers were answered as everyone arrived home safe and sound.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bye Bye, Winter

Spring is (hopefully) on its way, but this winter left us with some pretty good memories, too.  Club volleyball is going at full tilt and John is gainfully employed.  Good times.

January 31, we finally got to meet our puppies.  Less than a month after Baby A passed away, I began corresponding with an Airedale Terrier breeder in South Georgia.  His new litter was born on December 17 and they were available to be picked up the first week in February.  We got up really early on Saturday, January 31 and were in Americus, Georgia by 11:00 AM.  Look who we found waiting for us there...

Julia on "Puppy Day" at New Point Kennels in Plains, Georgia.
(The home of Jimmy Carter, Linus and Lucy)



Since I now work all. the. time. aaaaand we are playing club volleyball aaaand we need to start thinking seriously about college aaaaand De is contemplating an MBA, we thought this was a great time to get two puppies.  You know what?  It is.  They keep each other occupied and are precious in every way.  (Except the house training and the chewing - oh and waking up at 6AM ready to play every single day...)

Speaking of Club Volleyball... what's not to love about paying through the nose so that you can get up at 4:00 AM and drive to places like Spartanburg and Columbia, South Carolina and sit in a gym from 8:30 AM until 6 PM?  Actually, it is fun and the other parents are the best.  I have made good friends and have thoroughly enjoyed myself at the tournaments.  But.... I'm also thankful that De takes his turn at getting up at 4:00 for some of these all day destination tournaments! 

These pictures are from the JVA Music City Battle, Nashville, TN -  February 14 and 15.

Since I was spazzing over the weather in Nashville and driving across Mont Eagle in what promised to be  record breaking snowfall this past Valentine's Day, I failed to post any of these precious pictures.  Julia, Mama and I had gone to a Volleyball tournament in Nashville and were so afraid we would get stuck in the snow there.  While we were hatching plans, John and Mc were shining up for the high school's Sadie Hawkins Dance.  

How cute is this? (I know that you didn't miss the theme being carried all the way to Mc's T shirt - a detail that any blogger would just love)

Thanks to Dwayne Allen Studios for some of the pictures.
He is the Dad of one of John's buddies and one of the best photographers around.
And...thanks to Mc for sending them to me.  Otherwise, I would have gotten, "okay... I will.. later..."  

Since the kids are now older and seem to be out of the house more than they are in it, we've been exloring new past times as well.  We found something that we are really good at...

Can it get any better than that?