Sunday, July 24, 2011

Heading North

As if Seattle were not a respite enough from the heat of Texas, our vacation took us further north. On Saturday, July 16th, we boarded the Norwegian Star heading toward Alaska. Besides eating and sleeping excessively, we managed to get in some good quality time with J's entire family!
On day one, we rode the waves... took in the beautiful mountains... ate some yummy food that came in a minimum of three courses... played some games... went to a Newlywed Show... and relaxed.
Day two was our first stop: Ketchikan, Alaska. We shopped in some of the stores and went to a lumberjack show. After enjoying the hazy day in Alaska, we boarded the boat... ate another yummy meal fit for about four people and then went to the Dating Game Show. One of our friends, Mark, was the contestant who asked three single girls questions and then got to choose one of them for a special date later on in the week. It was quite fun and funny!

After Katchikan, we headed toward Juneau, Alaska. It was a really foggy day and SO cold! I wore four layers of clothes (a short sleeve shirt, a cardigan, a thick jacket, and then a rain jacket). After a while, I warmed up or I just forgot about being so cold because of the beautiful scenery around us. We took a bus to Mendenhall glacier and hiked until we got to a rushing waterfall right next to the glacier. It was BEAUTIFUL! After that, we took a tram up to the top of a mountain (which was quite terrifying for me because I have a fear of heights). After a little shopping, we boarded on the boat. We ate lunch while we watched the boat pull away from the dock and head towards Skagway.
In Skagway, we took a bus into Canada along the Chillkoot trail. It was very interesting to learn the history of the location... how thousands of people crossed that rough terrain in search of gold. I could not imagine the bravery that it took to go through that area without a vehicle and having to carry everything you owned on your back. We ate some BBQ chicken for lunch and then got to see some cute huskies who participate in the Iditarod race. We got to see them pull a sled... talk about strong animals! Afterward, we took a train on the way back and we went through mountains and across valleys. Sometimes, it was very scary because the valleys were so deep and the mountain dropped off right along the tracks, but the terrain was breathtaking!
Our final port was Prince Rupert. J's family decided to go on a whale watching tour, but J and I decided against it. It was a bit expensive and we were craving to spend some time alone together. We walked outside in Prince Rupert, stopped in the little shops, got some coffee from a cute place called Cowppuuccinos. We boarded the boat again in time for our dinner reservation at the tex-mex place on board, Endless Summer. I ate SO much! I ordered some mexican spring rolls, nachos, black bean soup, this amazing meat and veggie dish served hanging on a mace, and then some chocolate-cinnamon cake to wash it all down (no, I was not able to eat anywhere near all of this).

We spent another day at sea, but by this time, I had caught a cold. I did not really feel up to doing much of anything expect sleeping, eating, resting, and going to shows. I really enjoyed this cruise although I was very grateful to get off the boat and have some room to move and spread out. It was cramped quarters sharing a very small room with three other grown adults!
And here we are back in Seattle. It has been another day of relaxing. Yesterday, we took a hike along a trail in Redmond. Today, I got to take another walk and sit outside reading The Help. Generally, I like being really productive, but it has been a gift to just get to sit, take in the beauty of God's creation, and catch up on some reading.

Loving the little moments.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

catchin' up on summer!

Monday, July 4th: J and his mom worked SO hard to replace our sink. It ended up being a bigger task than I think was originally expected. I skipped out on all the hard work and visited the Mayberry's. I hope and pray that they will always be life long friends. It is a joy every time I get to see them even though our time together is sparse.

Tuesday, July 5th: Not too much going on... I have been addicted to reading. I read Pearl in the Sand- a retelling of the story of Rahab from the Bible- and Redeeming Love- a fictional story that parallels the story of Hosea. Both were beautiful books that I could not stand to put down. I love when I find a book that I love! I finished the evening relishing time with good friends.

Wednesday, July 6th: Running errands in Katy after a yummy breakfast with Ashley Hatchett at Chick Fil A. You can never go wrong when you start your day with Chick'n Minis!

Thursday, July 7th: I got to spend the day with Katie Cox and her sister at the Cypress Outlet Mall. I had no luck but lots of fun. I'd rather have it that way anyway given my frugal nature.

Friday, July 8th: Highlight of the day was a suite 12 reunion. I can't believe seven years ago, I was packing up my bags to head to HBU not knowing all the lovely ladies I was about to meet. All of us are now married and about half of my freshman suite have kids. My how time flies and lives change!

Saturday, July 9th: A fun day at Splashway with Addie, Savannah, and my mom! It was hot but the water was cool... That evening, we all went back to EC and ate pizza and hung out together.

Sunday, July 10th: I went to church at FBCEC and went to an older adults Sunday school class. I felt like I was at a cowboy church. One of the older cowboy men lead the study and it was neat hearing his perspective from his personal life experiences. I also got some good time reconnecting with people from FBCEC. We finished with a yummy lunch at Whataburger, but then I had to leave to take Addie back... she had to get ready for the circus and I had to get ready for JW.

Monday, July 11th: I went to drop Yasmeen off at the doctor's, run last minutes errands, pack, and visit friends before leaving Texas for a month.

Tuesday, July 12th: "We're leavin' on a jet plane..." Actually, we hopped on a 737 bound for Seattle. We ate some Buffalo Wild Wings at the airport, had a layover in Las Vegas, landed in Seattle around midnight Texas time and finally drifted off to sleep around 2 AM.

typical airport picture

The rest of the week was spend with J's family. We went to Sky High, hung out, took walks, went to Marymoor Park and watched the Wizard of Oz, ate at Pickle Time, played with sparklers, made s'mores, packed for an Alaskan cruise, did a little shopping, and rested a lot! It was a nice change of pace after a very busy June and beginning of July.
sparkler fun
Finally, on Saturday, July 16th, J and I, along with his whole extended family plus some, loaded our 20-something pieces of luggage in the downstairs foyer of Amy and Eric's house to head out for Alaska!

summer lovin' had me a blast

back to blogging summer adventures (it is catch up time)... i was so successful at the beginning of the summer and then about half way through, i lost my momentum.

Monday, June 27th: J and I met with the Hargis family. We originally met Kirby and Jane when we were students at HBU. He worked in the student life department when we were RAs. Our paths seem to cross every so often and every time they do, it has been a blessing. Most recently, my fifth grade students were touring their junior high and I ran into her there; I knew she was a teacher but didn't know that one day my students would get the pleasure of having her as a teacher! We had lunch with that lovely couple and then headed to Waxahachie, TX for Camp 220. We had a wonderful time of reconnecting with old friends we met through HBU REC Team and had a wonderful night of worship.

Tuesday, June 28th and Wednesday, June 29th: We were at Camp 220 and were on the intercessory crew. We walked around campus praying that God would lay on our hearts what He would have us to pray. I have not prayed that frequently in quite some time and it was refreshing and life-giving. It is an indescribable moment when you just know that you have heard from the Lord or when you recognize His presence. I have learned a lot about that this year... I have learned to sense the Spirit... it has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my entire life.

On Wednesday, we headed back to the house and spent the night at home. We were going to straight to El Campo, but the deep sea fishing trip that my dad planned for the guys in the family got canceled due to bad weather. While I wished that trip could have happened, I was grateful for get home and get to sleep in my bed again.

Thursday, June 30th: I dropped J off at my brother's house and they went to meet my dad at Lake Bastrop to spend the day fishing. I met with Mercedes and we had a good time catching up on life. After that, I headed to El Campo and met my family for a yummy dinner.

Friday, July 1st: After spending the night in EC, we headed to FBCEC to talk with my childhood pastor about future plans. It was such an encouraging conversation, and I am grateful for being part of that family in EC. After that we headed back to the land of sugar. J picked up a friend and went to meet his family in Port O'Connor for more fishing and fun. I decided to skip that fun and have fun of my own. I went a visited a Pakistani friend. We shared a delicious meal together and just hung out for a few hours.

Saturday, July 2nd: J was still town and would be until Sunday. Fortunately, I had a day planned spending time with people that I love! I went shopping with my mom at Katy Mills Mall. I love mother-daughter time! Following that, I went to a birthday party celebrating Avery Taylor... she is such a great friend who I don't get to see enough. I got home late and like usual when Justin is out of town, I had trouble sleeping. Around midnight, I heard someone messing with the door and I started to panic. What are you supposed to do when you think someone is breaking in?!? Fortunately, it was Justin. What a wonderful surprise!

The month of June was spent reconnecting with friends and making lots of wonderful memories! I LOVE SUMMER!