Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Let There Be Cake

One thing that a lot of people don't know about me (particularly with my lack of eating carbs for the past year) is that I have a serious weakness for red velvet cake. It is my absolutely favorite. And my mom always spoils me with one on my birthday. This year was certainly no exception.

For which I'm really grateful. ;-)

My parents came up the day after my birthday. With cake in hand. And said cake was pretty much devoured after a lovely lunch at Chuy's. There's just something about their creamy jalapeno ranch.

My girl took these pictures (and switched the camera to the way wrong setting, which would explain the quality) and she wanted nothing to do with being IN a photo. Tonto really didn't either, quite frankly, which is kind of obvious from his lack of smiling and cutoff T-shirt.

But my dad took this pic and, hopefully, it shows that at least one person was happy about the whole Mexican food/cake/birthday festivities.

And thus began my 35th year...thus far it appears it's going to be a wild and crazy ride. And I'm perfectly ok with that...because the alternatives aren't exactly attractive. :-)

Monday, July 22, 2013

They Say It's Your Birthday

Last Thursday I had lunch with these beauties and then checked out Taylor's handiwork from World Changers. It was a great way to kickoff my birthday festivities. :-)

After a 3-mile trek on the new city trail, we headed to a late movie where some of us saw Fast & Furious 6 while others saw The Purge. Said people thought it was HILARIOUS.

I was up bright and early on Friday to hit Camp Gladiator. Personally, I think you should burn triple calories when working out on your birthday. And because of the serious exertion, I finally decided to try Sonic's pretzel dogs. 

They. Are. Amazing.

After loading up on carb goodness, we hit Hawaiian Falls. Because who doesn't want to ring in their 35th year with some good ol' fun in the sun?

The beauties...

...and this guy made it a super relaxing time. Also, there were soooo many people there it just wasn't worth waiting in the lines when you can simply soak in a pool.

After dinner at Cici's (no, don't ask me why), we headed back to the movies for Grown Ups 2. It was so funny, y'all. Not deep or thought provoking, y'all, but funny.

And then it was time for frozen yogurt because, you know, BIRTHDAY.

It was a low key, fun, relaxing day. Just what the doctor ordered. And my parents were coming the next day so the fun was just getting started. :-)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lazy Summer Days

Summer days mean some people are lazy bums around the house...

...and taking selfies with my girl on the way to church...

...and slamming protein drinks in anticipation of a beach vacation...

...and Happy Hour Sonic drinks.

Summer days also means lots of walks on the new trail in town, trying out Camp Gladiator at 5:30am, late night movies, eating out because it's just too hot to cook, and a general slower pace.

It also means taking long weekends to lounge by the lake on one's birthday. Which is exactly what I'll be doing tomorrow.

Cheers to the weekend!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

She Prefers Offense

 After an incredibly full week at World Changers, we picked Taylor up about 11:30pm last Friday because she was headed to Baylor All Skills Volleyball Camp the next day. To be exact, she had to be in place and ready for drills no later than 9am. And all of her laundry had to be done and repacked. 

It was a grand time.

To be really truthful, Friday night was a breeze. The girl was absolutely wired and talked 90 miles a minute telling us about her grand adventure. I looooove it when she's in that kind of mood because I can find out more in five minutes than I do in a week sometimes.

That being said, Saturday morning was not good. Or ok. The person she thought she was rooming with ended up not attending camp, several of her friends moved up to Elite Camp (ie high school) and we had a major disagreement about packing.

There were tears and irrational statements and gnashing of teeth. 

And Taylor was pretty upset as well.

So I spent most of the weekend worried about my girl, beating myself up, and sending her texts in order to try to extract information. I even offered to pick her up Saturday night but she sent back "no, I'm fine."

That's when I knew the girl was back. And was just being hard headed. Like her mother. :-)

After being apart for so long, I was more than ready to see her on Monday afternoon. When I got there (as usual) it took me a while to find her because they're all dressed alike. And wearing knee pads. And playing volleyball. With their hair up.

It's a real life game of Where's Waldo.

And I thought for a minute she may have actually jumped ship.

But, alas, I did fid her.

Along with 150+ of her newest friends.

And, as any good Baylor campers do, they ended with a rousing Sic 'Em, Bears!

And, after all the tears and gnashing of teeth, the worrying and second guessing, and the stress and anxiety, it would appear the girl straight up turned it on as soon as I walked out the door.

Because guess who walked away with the offensive player award?

And, let me tell you, she was pretty proud of herself. 

But not nearly as proud as her mother was...

Also, I should perhaps start realizing just how tough my girl is. :-)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

She's Changing the World

Last week my girl went to World Changers with a group of friends from her youth group. This was her first foray in the the mission trip arena (of any type) and I wasn't all that certain how she would feel about the actual WORK. There was no doubt, however, that she would have fun with her friends and looooove helping people.

That's just who she is. Heart as big as Texas. And, no, she did not get the selflessness from me. 

Just keepin' it real.

Anyway, the good news is that World Changers was in Waco so she wasn't all that far from home. So when she and her pal desperately needed air mattresses after the first night of sleeping on the hard floor, we were able to come to the rescue.

This was after only one day of working, y'all. And they looked R-O-U-G-H. And spent. And tired. But most definitely determined. Love. These. Kids.

As it turned out, Taylor spent the entire week painting a house. Judging from the ruined clothes she brought home, she is not the neatest painter in the world. But she had a great time, met new friends, grew in more ways than I probably know, and did indeed finish painting said house.

The other plus to her having been so close to home is that we can actually see her handiwork. Which is exactly what we'll be doing this weekend. :-)

To say I'm proud of this girl is no surprise. I say it repeatedly. But the sweet and giving attitude she had about the whole project made my heart swell. Again, she didn't get it from me. 

But I'm so glad she got it from Him.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Maybe it's the fact that my girl is away this week doing a mission project. Or maybe it's knowing that she'll soon be an eighth grader. Perhaps I'm just nostalgic. Or the book I just finished about Southern family traditions has made me emotional.

Whatever the case, the fact remains that I've been doing a lot of thinking about tradition lately. Specifically where my girl is concerned. 

I once heard it said that we only have 18 years to turn children into adults we're not afraid to unleash on the world. And maybe I'm the only one who found that quite overwhelming. Or maybe not. Either way, it was sort of a watershed moment.

During the mundane tasks of each day, it's so easy (for me anyway) to become entrenched in monotony, negativity and a list of tasks that absolutely must be accomplished. Yes, there are many moments when I wonder why it appears I am the absolute worst parent in the world (according to someone with whom I live :-). But there are other moments where I see glimpses - through the teenager facade - of my amazing, kindhearted girl who has a heart for people that is bigger than Texas.

Moments when she doesn't seem to have much to say to me fade from my memory when she spends 45 minutes talking non-stop about any and everything going on in her 7th grade circle at the moment. Or when we visit our favorite pizza joint and she agrees to take a pic with the Herbie car. The same way she did when she was a little girl.

And when she insists I take the same pic before leaving said pizza restaurant, I thank my lucky stars and oblige. Those are the moments - and traditions - that keep this mama moving forward in even the most difficult days. Or weeks. And sometimes even months.

And we all need those moments, right?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Festivities on the Fourth

So last Thursday was the 4th of July, which happens to be one of my favorite non-major holidays. I'm not really sure why that's the case because most people know my aversion to heat and sweating. However, there's something about patriotism, fireworks and the Belton parade that make it one of my fav times of the summer.

And because my dad scoped out the perfect (aka shady) spot for parade watching years ago, the whole sweating thing isn't unbearable. 

So we sipped iced Starbucks lattes, munched on whatever we wanted (because it's a holiday - obviously!) and watched the very long and festive parade.



And this absolutely CRACKED ME UP.

You know there were horses. I mean, y'all, it was a PARADE.

Clearly the need to dress for holiday occasions runs in the genes, friends.

Later that evening - after Tonto and I saw "The Lone Ranger," which is an AMAZING flick - we headed downtown for some music, fireworks and to hang out with some friends.

We saw some folks that we hadn't seen in years, hung out with the girls and visited with some of their friends, and got ready for the fireworks show.

Said fireworks show had some technical glitches but, at the end of the day, there were still fireworks. And it was free so how can you complain? :-)

And, yes, there was an obligatory photo.

Clearly it was a very full and festive Fourth!