Wednesday, May 11, 2011

First Leg Complete

It is nearly midnight as I write this. Jim and I have an overnight lay over here in New York.

I have to say that we were a little nervous as we set out this morning. It stretches you when you get out of your comfort zones...and we are somewhere past the moon from our comfort zones today! (GRIN)

We have had such a smoothe day. Getting through the airport in Houston was a breeze. We were running almost an hour behind our goal time, and yet security took maybe 15 minutes. So we sat down for a leisurely lunch at Pappasito's before making our way to the gate. (had to get our Tex-Mex fix in before we left Texas!)

This was my first time to fly Jet Blue, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Plenty of leg room and easy access to restrooms, my top two concerns when flying.

We had a bit of a hike once we got our bags here in NY to make it to the airtrain. But other than making me wish I had packed less, it was all good. We grabbed a light bite to eat and now I am blogging while Jim watches a little basket ball.

I don't know when I will get to post again, but soon, I hope. I can't get my mobile to blogger to work right now, but I will try to get some pictures up on Facebook at least.

Love you, guys! We will talk with you soon!

Getting A Little Giddy!

Well, the bags are packed, the plans have been double checked (with a few surprises along the way) and it is time to begin the process of leaving.  As soon as I get up from here, it will be my turn in the shower and we will throw the bags in the truck and head out.  We have to be at the airport earlier than normal due to the handling of the firearms, but we would rather wait at the airport longer than to miss our flight by cutting it too close and running into problems.

Both of our bags are a little bit over the 50 pound mark, but we would rather pay for them being a little heavy than to take haul around another one.  It is just hard to pack safari gear and come in under 50 pounds.  I could have pulled it off if not for the boots and the coat! 

I struggled most with packing the overnight bag for our layover tonight and my carry on for the FIFTEEN hour flight tomorrow.  Josh laughed at everything I had (from gum to Tums to magazines to earplugs) but I tried to explain that is harder for people our age to travel without access to things than it is for him.  Plus, he is a pro at this long distance travel thing...having traveled to and from Africa every four weeks for several years!  We will see how much is in the bag on the trip home.

I am going to try to post while we are away, though it may only be a few pictures.  We will have to see how convenient the Internet access is once we get there.

Until then, please keep us in your prayers.  We are a little bit nervous about leaving for two weeks.  You know, there is the kids, the business, the garden, etcetera.  But, we look forward to this once in a lifetime adventure that awaits us.  Please pray for our safety and for the safety of our children while we are away.  Brianne, Brian and William will be holding down the fort while we are away.

Much love to you all!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Grace Gifts #140 - #152

140.  Sharing produce with a friend.
141.  Being surrounded by so much love this Mother's Day weekend.  (Yeah, I got a whole WEEKEND!)
142.  Spicy crawfish -- at a restaurant!!!
143.  Flash of yellow flitting from tree at the back door.  My first Western Tanager sighting!
144.  Hummingbird haven at our back door.
145.  Little zucchinis on the vine.
146.  Nearly mature jalapenos waiting to be picked.
147.  Watching Davin and Pib tussle over a dinosaur.  (Each one had an end in their mouth. HILARIOUS!)
148.  Italian lunch with Kelli, Brooke, Maddux and Meagan. 
149.  Beautiful serving pieces ready to shine at the next family gathering.
150.  Gardenias for my flower garden.  (Just like both my grandmother's had at their front doors!)
151.  Favorite perfume at the bottom of a silvery gift bag.
152.  Tiny cantaloupe plants unfurling from the soil.

I had an amazing Mother's Day Weekend, as I already mentioned above.  Kelli called to invite me to lunch of my choice on Thursday with her, her little ones and Meagan.  We had a delicious Italian lunch with lots of conversation and laughter.  They brought me a lovely card and a set of serving ware so that my platters would look even more lovely than before.

On Friday, Bri called to make sure I didn't get home before her.  She had been out shopping for me and had left her treasures on the kitchen table.  I walked in to find two gorgeous Gardenia plants ready for my flower garden.  I had made a few stops to find Gardenias lately without any luck.  Both Grandma Fulton and Grandma Jenkins had one at their front doors when I was growing up.  The scent takes me back!  She also had a beautiful cut floral arrangement waiting for me and a sweet, sweet letter.

On Saturday, Bri and Josh treated us to dinner out at Repka's.  It is way back in the middle of nowhere, but they have the most delicious boiled crawfish.  Good and spicy!  And if that wasn't enough, Meagan handed me another gift bag at dinner in which I found my favorite perfume!  I ran out a little over a month ago and just hadn't taken the time to go shopping for more.

On Sunday I was treated to a delicious home cooked lunch after church.  Brian and Will were the main chefs with a little bit of coaching from the Head Chef himself.  (My Hero can cook, y'all!)  And after lunch, miracle of miracles...I was given the power of the remote control!!! 

It was a great day!  It was a great weekend! 

I am blessed!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

To All The Women I Have Loved Before

Mother's Day...a day to express gratitude to the one who gave me life.  A day to thank her for not killing me during the teen aged years.  A day to appreciate that even today, from 500 miles away, she can tell within three seconds when I am having a bad day.

(Thanks, Mom!  I love you!)

In addition to my own mother, I have been blessed with a thoughtful stepmother and a sweet mother-in-law.  Both have been in my life for decades now, and I have forever been changed by the love and acceptance that they have each poured into my life.

(Special hugs and kisses sent to each of you.)

And of course, on this very special day I cannot help but to recall my Titus 2 grandmothers who taught me how to cook, how to love my family and how to look to God for every need.

(I still miss you both so very much!)

As much as I have learned from those who have gone before me, I have also learned a lot from those who are on this journey along with me. 

My little sister, Rosa, who is the most amazing mom to her three girls.  She loves with all that is within her.  I want to be like her when I "grow up"!  And my sister-in-love, Sharon, who truly knows how to make a house a home...always welcoming and comfortable.  Surrounded by men in her household, she is the absolute best "girl's weekend" partner around!

And while I consider the special mom's in my life, I have to brag a little on our two daughters who make mothering preschoolers look so easy.  I am so proud of them! 

Finally, as I think about all the women who have been instrumental in molding me into the wife and mother I have become,  I think of my aunts.  They have invested so much into my life and into the lives of my family, I doubt they even realize how much they have taught by example. 

I guess my point today is that I have realized just how blessed I am to have so many special women in my life.  Only one carried me in her womb...but each one has made an impact on the woman I have become. 

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of family!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Monsters & Zombies & ???'s

After world-renowned artist Maya Akhet is commissioned to create a painting for the lobby of a global-securities firm, she loses her head, gives up on her medication and outwits the corporation’s lawyers, before wreaking havoc in her studio with a sawed-off shotgun.

Sounds like a pretty good story for a play, huh?

That's what I thought when I first received my tickets to the Alley Theatre's World Premiere of "The Medusa Body".

Unfortunately, by the time Robin and I made it to the theater on Sunday night,
  • the name of the play had been changed to "The Monster At The Door"
  • the playwright had experienced a dream where all his characters were in Japan while Godzilla was attacking
  • and as a result, the whole thing was rewritten into a surreal story of: "Meteors are falling, Sirens are calling, and priceless works of art are disappearing from the global headquarters of Connor Fergueson and White, a securities firm with blood on its hands. In this darkly funny play, five very different people are drawn together as the world around them crumbles, and their dreams of health and prosperity are threatened by something terrifying, just outside their door."
  • oh, and White is no longer at the is just Connor & Fergueson
Even as the dramaturg instructed us about our cell phones being turned off and unwrapping our candies before the show began, he let us know that the play had changed even that very afternoon during rehearsals.

So, even though I think I would have preferred the first draft...I can't really say whether or not I would recommend it...because I am sure it has changed even since we saw it.

There is one part that kind of 'got to' me. I think it was a little worse than I had thought at first...because last night I dreamt that my whole family was being pursued by zombies! And I don't even watch those kinds of movies!!!!

If you would like to see The Monster At The Door by Pulitzer Prize winner Rajiv Joseph just go here to buy tickets.

And by the way, neither one of us got it! I guess I am not as 'artsy fartsy' as my husband believes me to be!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

2011 Vegetable Garden Update #1

I can't believe that two months have already flown by since I first showed you our vegetable garden!  Last you saw, it was an empty plot.  Not any longer, my friends!

As a matter of fact, just last night, Jim and I were able to enjoy the first fruits of our Texas-sized vegetable garden.
We split one of these beauties.  I know it was only one bite each...but that small cherry tomato held all the hopes we have for the future of this garden...and it was D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S!!!!
And there are a lot more where that one came from!
These are our Bradleys...
...and these are the Arkansas Travelers.
Look at all these tomatoes!  In addition to the Cherrys, Bradleys and Arkansas Travelers, we also have Beefsteak and Orangehearts. 
Look how tall these babies are!

Of course, we didn't just plant tomatoes.  We also have...

Kentucky Wonder Green Beans
Purple Hull Peas  (early and late crops)


Eggplant, though they are looking a little peaked.

(those two tall stalks are the only ones that made on our first attempt, but we were much more successful with the replanting)

...and jalapenos that are just waiting to be made into some homemade salsa.

We also have carrots (only a few made), squash, cucumbers and cantaloupe, but they are still very young.

We are hoping that the garden survives our time away in South Africa.  Jim has done a good job of pampering it, so it is pretty spoiled when it comes to getting attention!  I have a feeling other people are going to get to taste the first fruits of the larger tomatoes while we are away...but that's okay.  I think we will have enough to share!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dyeing Eggs With Grammy

I have been fighting with Blogger for days trying to post these pictures. This is my last Easter post...but these are so cute, I had to keep trying until I could load all the pictures.

My mom called the week before Easter to let us know that she would be able to join us for the weekend after all. She had one request which sent shivers down my spine. She wanted to get the grandchildren together to dye eggs like she used to do with our kids.

I am not against dying Easter eggs, it is just that the idea of bowls of dye, two three year olds and a two year old in one room made me a little nervous! But Grammy was all for it.

Grammy giving instructions

Brooke is our family artist. She loves all things paint, color and marker...and sticker. She had some many colored eggs.

Maddux using the egg spinner. The best investment in egg dying paraphernalia yet!

Davin loved the egg spinner too, but he also had fun painting his eggs.

The mommys got in on the painting action too.

What a day we had...

...and what beautiful eggs we had on display at lunch on Easter.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Top 10 Easter Pictures

Blogger is being a bit tempermental today, so I will keep this as simple as I possibly can.

Here are my 10 Favorite Pictures from Easter. (There were others made, but not on my camera this is from the ones that I have. I will have to get the others from Meagan.)

#10: My boys being boys!

#9: Egg hunting with Maddux. Evidently it takes four adults to help Maddux find eggs. Actually he was so content with each egg he found that he had to be coaxed into looking for more.

#8: Kelli, Brooke and Maddux. All looking at the camera!

#7: The Goode Five in the kitchen. I love seeing them all together pitching in to get lunch on the table.

#6: Will and Hoss. He didn't pose for this picture, I just happened to catch it between takes of the wandering preschoolers. Even our pets try to sneak into the family pictures!

And because Blogger doesn't want to load more than five pictures on a page today, you will have to scroll down to the next post to catch pictures #5 through #1.

Top 10 Easter Pictures: Part II

#5: Our grandchildren. The best picture we got of the three of them all day!

#4: The Goode Five in their obligatory 'goofy' shot.

#3: Maddux and his egg. See, I told you he was happy with just one egg. He saw Uncle Brian carrying his eggs in his shirt, so of course Maddux had to try to do the same. He stuck this egg in every opening he could find...but it just wouldn't stay!

#2: Ready to go hunt eggs! Davin and Brooke were ready to go...but we had to wait on Maddux who had chocolate all over his face so his mommy took him back inside to clean up a little.

And my #1 favorite picture from Easter:

Our gorgeous children...all together once again! I love our kiddoes!

Hope y'all had a wonderful Easter filled with happy memories too!