Better late than never

We’ve been up to our eyeballs in getting stuff ready for the move that I never acknowledged Father’s Day last week. Hope you had a good one, paps. Here’s some tidbits of my dad that you may (or may not) know already….

He’s a spender (our favorite memory is when he bought each of his four children their own large coke and large popcorn at a movie. my mom was furious at the expense.); he’s shy, but covers it up by being extra loud; he laughs from his belly; he likes to plan routes and to show you them on a map; he appreciates new experiences; he gets excited to travel; he will never let on that he doesn’t know something and, instead, will respond with “well, sure!” as if what was said were common knowledge; he jumps right into projects (apparently that’s where I get it); he won Div II basketball championship his junior in college; when on the phone, he doodles arrows over and over; he is dependable and sturdy; but one memory i distinctly have is when he allowed me to come home from college with my, ahem, extreme opinions and said that it was good for me to start forming my own beliefs, even though he disagreed with them. Or some version of that. I draw on that memory when I envision myself raising kids. I want them to think for themselves, but I want them to be able to defend their thoughts too. A belief weighs only as much as the foundation that supports it. So thanks, Dad… I hope you had a good Father’s Day!


We are moving to a town closer to R’s job. I’ve found a job at the local elementary school which allows me to use my Spanish degree as well as enjoy summers off. Can’t beat it.

That being said, we are moving this weekend into a itty-bitty apartment so I may be off-line for awhile. The new place is almost half of what we currently are living in. The good thing is that it’s forcing us to reduce our material possessions (garage sale!) and get creative with storage solutions. One idea that we are going forward with is the sleeping arrangement. Our queen bed will be sold and do you know what that leaves us with? A twin. My mom doesn’t think it can be done, but I want to try. At the very least it will be a good catalyst to exercise frequently, just so I can fit on it. Is this crazy? I think our mindset is that in order to achieve our goals for the next few years, we need to be uncomfortable (square footage, less household items — although this may make us more comfortable, sharing one car, sleeping in a twin bed without killing each other after the first week.) We’ll see how it goes. 
In the meantime, check out this great website for organizing and decorating small places. Some people are so clever. 

Shangri-Lloyds @ Tablerock

With my tailbone medication in hand (chilled white wine), we ventured off to a local’s home for his annual party. Shangri-Lloyds. I want this property. Not just because there is an entire wing set up dormitory style for guests, that you have a great view of the lake, or even the three levels of deck space. No, it was all the games.

There’s Lloyd in the yellow. He’s in his 70s and still rockin’ it.
Let’s go through them. Well, we’ve got a volleyball net set up, or how about a little game of frisbee golf?

Not your cup of tea? Alright, then let’s head over to the landing for the zip-line. I’ll hang out on the tire swing while you do that.

Want more? There’s some washers and if you walk a little ways up, you have a full basketball court. Also, a batting cage with it’s own pitching machine over there if you’re interested.

And we were, by golly. We did *everything*. It was a blast and my sweaty shirt showed it.

For dinner, we had pork that had been roasting underground since the night prior. It even had an apple in it’s mouth. I felt like we were seriously on vacation to get this type of treatment. Hawaii, maybe?

As the sun went down, the lights turned on. So did the volume. We enjoyed background music of a local band playing on the deck. In between, various people would stand up and sing a song a capella. I don’t know about you, but stuff like that makes me cringe. I have to look away and it takes my whole being to watch. It’s the seriousness of it all, I guess.

So I convinced my two buddies (R & N) to go on the zip-line with me so I could avoid making eye-contact with the next singer. There was a seat on the zip-line at one point, but we didn’t mind just hanging on.

After a few games of HORSE and hitting baseballs, we left the party a bit early to go swimming off the dock. We took turns jumping off and trying to get mid-air pics. It was utterly summer vacation in that moment. Being silly with a twinge of danger… Wasn’t that in all of our childhoods?

The reason my entire body aches:

Water, water, and more water. For the most part, it’s a good ache. It’s something that reminds me of how much fun we had out there. Saturday afternoon, we jumped into my Father-in-Law’s (RC) and his brother’s (M) boat for some tubing and cliff jumping at Table Rock Lake. You saw how the latter ended, but you didn’t see the story behind it. 
First, we went tubing for a bit. RC and I managed to stay on for a little while, until we did a turn that caused my entire body to skid the top of the water. The ironic part is that moments before, RC was telling me how his brother had learned how to waterski barefoot… and here I was, waterskiing with my whole body. Well, minus my hands as they would not let go of the handles despite my brain screaming that it would probably be for the best if I did. Nope, I just hung on, body skimming the water. Finally, I let go and almost had to have my bathing suit surgically removed. 

Then RC and his brother, M, took a stab at it. I enjoyed watching RC try to get onto the tube while still out in the water. (That was, until I later tried to do the same and regretted my loud laughs). But it still made us giggle looking at the tube standing straight up and imagining his face behind it. He did manage to get on it, by the way.

RC looked a bit worried giving control over the wheel to his sons. This could have been the perfect opportunity to get back at him for making them clean up their rooms growing up. At one point, RC motioned to slow down and N relayed to the driver (R) that they wanted to speed up. Ah, sweet revenge.

Later, it was N and R’s turn. And even when they taunted us to try and knock them off the tube, they still held on. 

When they discussed jumping off the cliff, my initial reaction was NOOOOO. My foot could slip, I’ll not jump far enough out, I’ll land in the only shallow part of the lake, I’ll…I’ll… And then I noticed N starting to crack. He had already jumped off the cliff a year ago, but that didn’t stop him from getting nervous the second time around. And with him having a nervous breakdown beside me, it made me calmer. Maybe I’m a bit competitive? If no one is freaking out, I’ll be the most freaked out. If someone is freaking out, I will be the least affected. Pretty annoying, I know.

So RC, R, N, & I trekked our way to the top, bypassing the ominous 25 ft sign where all the normal people were jumping off. 

We finally made it to the top, only to find N just staring over the edge. Every once in a while he would yell “Just calm down. Everybody, just calm down!!” (as we stared at him calmly). Then when I moved closer by him to peer over the edge, he would yell that “we are all getting too close to him and need to calm down!” It was hysterical, because he was really being serious.

When RC got up there, he tossed his lifejacket, looked at us and then flew off the side yelling “God hates cowards!” Just like that. Like he had done this a thousand times. Then N threw his lifejacket over and stood there. After five minutes, I tossed mine and jumped over before N’s mumblings would paralyze me. Once I hit the water, the pain rippled through my body causing me to try and stay under as long as I could. For some reason, it felt better to hold my breath. Thoughts ran through my mind: Why did I have to sit in mid-air as if I were playing chess in front of a fire? Will I ever be able to sit again? How will I play duck, duck, goose? Am I going to have to sleep on the wall like the Coneheads? Do I really have to swim back up for a breath?

When I finally did come up for air, I heard N’s splash and then R’s (who did it perfectly, of course). I wanted to stay in the water for the rest of the day and not have to use anything lower than my waist (I told myself to stay away from raisins the rest of the evening). I couldn’t even pull myself up into the boat, my arms were so shaky. So R and N had to literally haul me up as if they had just harpooned me in Japanese waters. It was embarrassing, but in those moments, you just don’t care. 

My butt hurts.

Luckily, that night we went to a party which allowed me to drink a few glasses of wine to ease the pain. And it worked. More on the party, later. For now, I’ve got to go find a donut to sit on.

Mountain Cruiser

Is it weird that I have a basket on my mountain bike? It’s an attempt to squelch any temptation to buy a beach cruiser. Even though I want one…. badly. I can’t seem to justify having three bikes in the house and we’re riding in a race this fall that requires a mountain bike. Be patient, Carolyn. 

I’ve never been a big bike rider before, but I’m starting to really appreciate it. Especially since it’s not running. I’ve got a lingering volleyball knee injury which causes discomfort, but probably the real reason I’m moving away from running is I’ve yet to buy an iPod (crowd collectively gasps..) It’ll happen soon, I’m just too too cheap at the moment. 

Anyway, I took the new basket out for ride to pick up some groceries and ended up stopping at garage sales along the way. Maybe if I quit going to garage sales I could justify an iPod (or three). Nah. I mean, take a look at those two chairs in the photo. Classic Eames style (one of my favorites). Got them for a buck each – no joke – and my mom reupholstered them. If I could only find an iPod at a garage sale…. now that would be perfect.

Camping Weekend

I met up with my family for a camping excursion last weekend. The first day started off nice… we had a good chicken dinner and some cold drinks. Then all hell broke loose. In the form of weather. My parents stayed in their RV while my sister A and her dog slept in one tent and R & me in another. If someone had told me that we were actually sleeping in a thundercloud, I would’ve believed them. It was very scary. I felt bad for my sister who is a self -admitted non-tent camper. We were afraid she’d never come back.

When we ate breakfast the next morning, we each had gone through waves of panic through the storm. My mom thought a tornado would go through, my dad swore he heard a mud slide happening, and I waffled between lightening striking a tree onto our tents if a flash flood didn’t hit us first.

The next day, we braved the muddy paths and hiked around the area. At one point while waiting for us outside the visitor center, my mom (in her sunglasses) had both the hiking stick and the dog beside her. She laughed at herself wondering if people that passed by thought she was blind.

3 blind mice
A says her dog looks down in shame b/c of the type of leash she has to wear.

Midway through our hike, we ended up at a pond that offered paddleboat rides. We buddied up and spent the next half hour paddling around looking at turtles’ heads popping up and avoiding going over the waterfall’s edge. R swears we wouldn’t have gone over, but I’d rather not confirm that.

We took a little rest at our campsite for lunch and staring at other campers, when we decided to go for a horseback ride.

My friend K will be happy to know that I am completely over my horse-riding phobia. R and I would even hold our horses back every once in awhile to try and get them to trot. That’s how far along I’ve come. If you don’t remember, while studying in Spain with my then roommate K (back in 2002), we took a horseback ride through the Andalucian mountains. Little did we know that our horses were the only two that didn’t like each other. So as we were gingerly walking on the veeeeeeery edge of the mountain’s path, my horse got all up in K’s horse’s business if you know what I mean. Well she didn’t like that very much and tried to buck at me. My horse did the only logical thing possible — she ran down the side of the mountain. I can still remember ducking under a tree branch and zig-zagging between boulders. K will back me up on that. Eventually she stopped and one of the guides had to run down (on foot) to lead us back up. You can see a pic of me on that horse here. I was all smiles, so you know it was a “before” photo.

After that experience, R and I went to Park City, UT for our honeymoon and I took my first step in conquering this fear. I was stiff, but the overall experience was enjoyable. I’m now to the point where I’d like to ride bareback behind William Wallace in an open field. (Can you tell I just watched Braveheart last night?)

A had her own scary horse story way back from Girl Scouts. She did a good job considering she hasn’t ridden since Girl Scouts, but I don’t think she’ll be riding again for awhile.

Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with a little steak and dominoes. Luckily the weather was not as bad Saturday night and we managed some good hours of sleep. It was so nice to be outside with my family all weekend. My type of outing.

Crevice walk

R and I had a good weekend outdoors. I start to get antsy if I don’t have my proper dosage of fresh air for the week. We met up with my family at Devil’s Den Park for camping, horseback riding, and hiking. Oh, we also were almost killed by a flash flood/ tornado/mud slide/lightening strike Friday night. But more on that later. I’m starting at the end of our weekend, where R and I went on a guided hike through the caverns & crevices of the park. I love the Arkansas parks. So much to do and (mostly) everything is free. This park is about 25 minutes away and my favorite so far. We’re excited to explore the many others in the state.

So we followed the park ranger to the Devil’s Den cave and listened to a few minutes of the history. This was his last tour as he was retiring, so we felt special celebrating this moment with him. 

After our lesson, we walked a bit further to a large crevice. I peered over the edge and caught my breath. The next thing we know, the ranger disappeared and was already down waiting for us to follow. This would be the first of 3 crevices we would explore in our 2.5 hour hike.

The cold air in the crevices was a welcome change to the humidity above. It felt like we were in some pre-historic setting, with the tall bluffs, cool air, and green moss. He advised us to use our hands as much as possible to grip and pull. It had been raining a lot over the weekend, so everything was more slippery than normal. I always enjoy a good hand dirtying, so I took every opportunity to touch it all. R tried to not use his hands at all and would try to find puddles of water to wash them off as soon as possible. That drove me nuts, just as I’m sure my dirty limbs drove him crazy too.
It’s hard to get a scope of how deep these went, but sometimes it felt like we slid down the sides forever. 

At one point to get out, we had to do a little maneuver. No big deal, until you have to actually turn around and face the large crowd behind you to do it. I had to go after both a 10 year old who just blip!, went up and over, as well as a guy who couldn’t quite get his right leg over the ledge. So the park ranger had to drag him up and pull him onto safe grounding. I figure if my efforts landed somewhere in between, it was a success. 

…biting my lip and following his directions.

After the tour, we followed along a trail for awhile. We found some waterfalls so R could wash his hands. It started raining and I was happy. I love that smell coupled with the bright green in the forest. We hardly got wet because of the tree canopies and so slowed down our walk to really take in everything through our senses. Good way to end the weekend. 

Homemade Laundry Soap

I’ve started making my own laundry soap.
I’ve also ordered tools online to make my own bath & dish soap, so this is my baby step toward that direction.
To be honest, I started making this because it gave me an excuse to go find antique jars in which to store the powders.
If you would like the recipe for this, please go to a blog I read called Down to Earth (listed to the right), but I will give you the link here.

Curls Gone Wild

J and T moved into their new home a few months ago and had their housewarming party last weekend. It was really nice. They had games for both kids and adults to play, but most of us just ate, drank, and chit-chatted.

Here’s our hostess. J. She’s a creative one in my life and I never ever feel like I can’t be my sometimes too day-dreamy self around her. We talk about traveling non-stop, but have yet to go on a (big) trip together. Something is in the works for next year, though. We’ll wait and see.

…with the mostest.
I want curly hair. Bad. But I don’t want to spend money on a perm, so I rolled my hair up the night before in spongy rollers like I was either 10 years old or 80. Take your pick. R would say 80 in looks and 10 in maturity. Had the worst sleep of my life due to said rollers and woke up to a frightening sight. I badgered R into giving me his “honest” opinion. (And when I say honest, I mean he better give me a compliment.) So when he lied and said that it looked scary, I glared at him.

I had texted J before getting to the party that I may look like a Glamourshot photo and to not be scared. So after she got a good laugh when I walked in, I started talking with B’s wife. She wore a big smile and asked whether I had dyed my hair a different color, clearly avoiding the fact that my curls were preventing me from moving through doorways. This, in turn, made me laugh.

…no, my hair has been brown for the past 28 years.
I made my rounds with the guests, but my favorite person to talk to was B’s son. He made me want to hug him, pinch his cheeks, high-five him, and tickle him all at the same time. He is such a mini-me of B, and made me giggle hard.

He was scared of my curls too. No smile.
The rest of the time was spent outdoors playing games. After washers, J pulled out some random (authentic) bowling pins from her garage. B & R tried their hand at juggling them.

Water balloons were next, and we all saw the outcome of that in the previous post.
Then followed some water gun vs hose fights along with a slip-n-slide. A must at any party.

Later in the evening, we sat around a fire and made smores. It was a beautiful evening.

The next day we hung out with R’s brother N. Went out to eat and watched Star Trek for the second time. Love that movie. Got a late start on the road and arrived even later then expected. We saw a storm a’brewin up ahead.

Then the next thing we know, hail is coming down with tornado alerts in the area.

But as soon as it came, it was gone again. And we were left with a little present, a rainbow. Is it just me, or is the pot o’ gold on this guy’s bumper?? Why didn’t we take down his tag?

I’m trying some new things at home and so far they are working out well. I’ll post with more info soon.

I’m not surprised.

R and I went to Topeka last weekend for our friend’s housewarming party. This photo encapsulates what my friends have to put up with.
  • New hairstyle = awkward conversations regarding everything about me except my hair. I try my hand at self-deprecation, but end up liking to watch them writhe in pain as they look me over.
  • The refusal to change out of a shirt soaked by a water balloon, thus making it seem to all new-comers to the party that I have been sweating profusely.
  • The underarm stain confirming that I sweat profusely.
  • In an attempt to reduce extra inches on my upper arm, hold in a way that enlarges my elbow to twice the size of my head. And I’ve got a big head, my friends.
  • When given the task of making queso, somehow drop dangling jewelry into it. When someone almost chokes on it later in the evening, I mutter “Who made that dip? What a loser” and then look at someone accusingly.
All in all a good weekend. More to come.

3 years….

R and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary on Wednesday. Some people say it flew by, but we don’t think it did. And we don’t mean that in a bad way at all. We have been busy stretching, growing and molding ourselves. And with two strong-willed and loud people, that can be difficult. This past year has been the turning point, though… where we have started to put our focus on God more and each other less, thus slipping into a role better suited for each other. We haven’t changed our personalities or have tried to smother our quirkiness. We’re still strong-willed sometimes and loud most times, but now there’s another layer to us. One that has enriched the rest of our being. We continue to cultivate that layer, gently watering the seeds to flower into the type of spouses we’d like to become, but we’ve already seen small changes.
Good changes.
So on wed night, we spent the majority of  it snipping off those flowers conversationally, putting them in our hair, and admiring each other’s beautiful journey.
One of my fellow bloggers went through her wedding day and so I thought I’d do the same. No one probably knows this because I try to hide it well, but, sometimes I don’t like attention on me. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I’m sure we’re all that way. To be specific, I don’t like when it’s required to pay attention to me. I’d prefer to slip into the background and then pop out into the light every once in awhile. So, unlike most brides I’m sure, I was not entirely comfortable on this day. Not nervous about getting married, just nervous about eyes looking at me. 

So I took a deep breath, and braved a smile….

We had an early wedding because our reception was going to be at a park in the afternoon. I also wanted it to be small (less eyes.) So after our two-minute ceremony — no, you think I’m kidding. One of R’s friends showed up 5 minutes late and it was already over — we went back to the hotel to change into some sundresses and shorts. 

My maid-of-honor and sister, L. This photo made us laugh out loud for about 10 minutes straight. We love how it looks like she’s about to go tumbling down the stairs. My other sister, A, was my bridesmaid
R’s brother was his best man. We were thoroughly impressed with his speech. L’s was really good too, she referenced a memory and at one point held her finger in the air, just like how we wewers girls do. But N’s surprised us. We for sure thought he would go funny and maybe a bit brash, but no. He was all serious and heartfelt. 

I swear, there’s nothing like going bra-less and wearing flip-flops at your reception.

So we had our reception at the park. R was insistent that if we invite kids that they have a place to play. If we had had it a hotel, for instance, he wanted to hire a lifeguard to watch them all swim… or something like that. We found a place that had a wood deck, lots of space, and a little playground next to it. We were pleased. The weather was also beautiful. Breezy, sunny, and mild. 
I launched my bouquet like I thought it was a grenade. Maybe it was, because my bro-in-law’s (now) ex-girlfriend ended up catching it.

Why am I in a fourth position plie? 
We not only wanted a playground for kids to play, but also games for the kids-at-heart.

Some football…

Some water balloons…
And, of course, a whiffle ball game going. That was R’s dream for some reason.
P.S. Bruce Snell was the photographer for my wedding. We’ve kept in touch through his current blog. Swell guy and fantastic photographer. His blog is listed on the right. He actually just shot the wedding of a guy with whom I used to work. Check it out if you get a chance. You’ll be impressed, guaranteed. 

Tortillas – check!

I’m enjoying finding foods that I can make at home to cut down on those weird sounding ingredients found on the package while also saving some serious money. This time it was tortillas. Three ingredients were used total and all from items I already had in the kitchen, plus that’s one more item I don’t have to put on my grocery list. I’m no longer afraid of bread. If it doesn’t come out perfect, I can now isolate what may have gone wrong and tweak it the next time.  

For instance, these were a wee bit thick for my liking. Which is awesome, b/c the batch already made 12 anyway. That means more tortillas next time around. Joy!