Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Few More Pictures



Lots of Thanks!

We just wanted to say thank you so much to my dad for paying for Beth and I's tickets to France to see Louise get baptized...We definitely couldn't have gone without him and appreciate it so much. Thank you!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Uneventful Weekend

Beth and I didn't do much last weekend. Most people have big plans over holiday weekends. Not us. We worked with Sweet Leaf Tea on Saturday giving out samples at some different Whole Foods around Houston. Sunday and Monday we spent up in The Woodlands and went out to lunch with Beth's family for Janet's birthday. Our uneventful weekend was actually a lot of fun. And based on the way the weather turned out(rain everyday), I think we're glad we had no big plans.

This weekend we're getting crazy. Galveston here we come! Some family friends of Beth's parents are having people down to their house in Galveston and Beth and I have been invited. Since Galveston is only about 45 minutes from where we live, we are going to drive down there for the afternoon. Should be fun.

My family comes homes in a little over two weeks and I can't wait! It's going to be great seeing them this summer and knowing that when they leave in late August, I won't have to wait another year to see them again since we will all be together for 10 days in Italy in December.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Congrats to Stacy!

Big news for my family...Stacy just won the NCAA golf tournament! She shot an amazing 66 on Friday and won by 4 shots. Over the four day tournament, she played consistently well and was never out of the top 5. She played what she called the round of her life to win the tournament. Tony and I (and everyone else who knows Stacy) are so proud of her!

If you have a chance, check out ladybacks.com. It's the Arkansas Women's Athletics website and it has some video clips and articles about her.

Seeing Stacy grow up with all the trouble she went through with her scoliosis, struggling to feel like a normal kid...makes it even better to see that she's found her place and is able to do what she's so good at and loves. All the awards and recognition she's gotten along the way have just been icing on the cake for her because she's so happy to just be playing golf, period.

Congratulations Stacy!! I know this is just the beginning for her and can't wait to see how far the can go!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Back to Reality

After a wonderful 5 days in Paris, it's back to life as we know it. Back to work and all the normal things we do every day. This is always the worst part about going on a vacation. I never want to get back to working or doing dishes or laundry or any of that kind of stuff. It always takes me a few days to get out of the post-vacation funk and feel ready to get back to life. So right now, I'm feeling lazy and not wanting to do much of anything! I only have to work 3 days this week and I still can't manage to get myself ready for it. I think I'm just going through the motions right now. Hopefully this weekend will help me reorganize things at the apartment and feel like things are back to normal. When's the next vacation again?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Day 4



Beth enjoying her quiche during our mini picnic

Our view from our picnic

The shopping cart we "borrowed" to get our groceries home


Today has been good. We spent more time out in Paris, had a little picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower, and toured the Picasso Museum. Tonight's our last night in Paris and we will be having dinner with Andie, Etienne, and the kids.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Paris Day 3

Andie and Louise

The house in Normandy

Us and Gab

After riding the Metro


We are back from Normandy. The ride back wasn't nearly as difficult as the ride there. There were seven of us crammed into my sister and Etienne's van on the way out to Normandy last night. Needless to say, not fun. Today Beth and I took the train from Bernay, France back to Paris and although it was quicker and we had a lot more room, I think we may have overdone the champagne last nite and were feeling the effects. Oh well, we made it. Andie and everyone else are still out in Normandy and will be home late tonight. Since this is the case, Beth and I are spending the afternoon out in Paris checking out some more stuff. The weather is kind of nasty, but we're not complaining. It could always be worse. More pics to come soon.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Paris Day 2

My niece Louise

The crowd at the Eiffel Tower yesterday

The view from the apartment(not bad)


Things on day 2 are going well so far. It's 1.30 P.M. and we are headed to the baptism in a couple of hours. Beth and I took a walk with Gab earlier this morning. It wasn't much of a walk for him though since he liked us carrying him instead. We are staying tonight in Normandy at a house that my sister rented. It should be fun as it's always nice to get outside of Paris and enjoy some of the countryside. We are taking the train back to Paris tomorrow morning and will be spending tomorrow walking around Paris and checking out some of the sights. The weather has been good so far, although it did rain on us a little yesterday.

My sister recently moved to a new part of Paris and it's been great kind of exploring a new area. I must say, I'm a little jealous of my niece and nephew as they have a view of the Eiffel Tower from their bedroom window. Anyway, that's about it from here for now. More pictures to come.

Friday, May 18, 2007

We Made It!!!







Well, after 12 hours of traveling from Houston through Detroit and finally to Paris, we are here. Luckily, we had a 120 mph tailwind behind us from Detroit to Paris so the flight was only six and a half hours(by far the shortest flight I've ever had to Europe). Etienne and Gab picked us up at the airport and it was really good to see both of them. Below is a picture of Gab and Beth in the car on the way back from the airport.

After the short drive from the airport, we were met by Andie and Louise at their apartment. Before Beth and I headed out, we had some Chinese food from one of Andie's favorite Chinese places by their apartment. We started out our day in Paris by going to the Musee D'Orsay. I had never been there before and it was worth the trip. We got to see paintings by Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh to name a few. After that, we went by to check out the Eiffel Tower and of course had to get a crepe with nutella. Oh yeah, we also got to see all of the Arab guys who sell the cheap Eiffel Tower figurines at the bottom of the Tower, run from the police and one of them get arrested. Quite entertaining. It's still only 6 P.M. here, so we have a lot left to do today. We'll hopefully have more pics up soon.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Today's the Day!

To go a long with Tony's post from this morning...I'm so tired! This was my second day to get up at 5 am. I am actually not too tired right now, but I know I will be later on today. The plan for today is for Tony and I to work until 12, but Tony will probably leave earlier than that because he's not done packing. Am I surprised? I actually just finished my packing this morning and I'm so ready to go. We leave for the airport at 1 pm and our flight leaves at 4 pm. We're flying to Detroit first and then on to Paris.

We only have an hour layover in Detroit and Tony & I are kind of sad about it. When we flew to Detroit for my sister's LPGA golf tournament last summer, we found a place at the airport that had the best homemade potato chips with delicious dipping sauces. We're all about food, what can I say! But, I don't think we'll have time to go there this time. There's always July when we head up there again for the golf tournament.

Anyways, it is true that I actually ran 6 miles this morning. It was actually nice and cool and dark this morning. It's a lot easier running then than when it's 100 degrees and our path is all in the sun. So we were out there this morning with all the serious runners. It was definitely good to get it out of the way though.

Next time we write we'll be in Paris!!!!

We Leave for Paris Today!!!



It's finally here, Beth and I leave for Paris this afternoon and we can't wait. Somewhat of a ritual that I have started when I travel overseas is to run long distance the day I leave so that I don't feel so worthless just sitting on a plane for 10 hours straight and can hopefully be completely worn out so that I can sleep easily. So, going with the ritual I convinced Beth to wake up at 5 a.m. this morning to go running. I just walked in from a 12 mile run(Beth ran 6 of them with me) and needless to say I think I'm going to be worn out by the time we get on the plane.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

All Worrying is Over

It's official, Beth has a new hair dryer and straightener and yes, they have dual voltage for all of our traveling overseas. Thanks to a little tip from my Mom, we made a quick trip to Ulta tonight and Beth was able to find something to her liking. The worrying is over! Beth will have beautiful hair our entire trip and all trips to come!

Amazing

Most people when they apply for a job they send a resume. When Beth applies for a job she puts together the most amazing packet of cover letters, resumes, test scores, and teaching philosophies and there is only one word to described these packets, amazing...Beth put together 40 or so packets to send out to various schools in the Houston areas in hopes of finding a teaching position. She got a call this morning from a principal less than one day after he received her packet. Now I may have written about Beth and her lists and her organization and how I think it's funny and all, but the bottom line is, she took on this teaching thing head on and really went for it. I am so impressed and amazed by all she's done, including her 95% score on her test, that I can't wait to see what her teaching future brings her. I know she'll be an all-star!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Life on a Plane

We're leaving for Paris in three days and it got me thinking about being stuck on an airplane for 10 hours and all the things that really annoy me. Here are a few. First of all, crying babies annoy me. Kids are great(I have a niece and newphew).....not when they're crying. I know that sometimes parents can't do anything about it and kids just cry, but that doesn't make it any better when I'm trying to watch a movie or sleep in peace. Second, I can't stand people who try to dominate the area around them. You're in seat 22C for a reason. Do you want to know why? That's your space! Stay out of mine. As well, just because you bought a ticket doesn't mean you can throw your junk in every overhead compartment on the plane. Third, it's an airplane, not a five star restaurant. Don't order the most complicated meal known to mankind. You have two options, beef or pasta....pick one! Finally, if it's not an emergency, don't hit the "flight attendant assitance button." Whatever you need, it's just not that important. Thinking of these things makes me excited to get on a plane on Thursday. I can't wait to see what it will bring me this time.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I Ran 7.25 Miles Today in 90 Degree Heat......

it didn't feel good.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Crazy?

I feel I have to respond to that last post Tony wrote! He makes me sound like a crazy person. Actually I laughed when I read it because it is kind of true.

Here's my defense: There are a lot of things to do before you go on a trip. Most of what I'm feeling overwhelmed about is getting all my teaching applications and portfolios done before we leave. That is something that he doesn't have to worry about. The other things I'm stressing about are cleaning the apartment because according to Carol (my mom) you don't want to come home to a dirty house (Mom - if you read this, you know you say that!)and doing laundry for 2 people is also something that Tony's not worried about either. So bascially if I didn't have "all these things to do" Tony's life would suffer too. Actually he probably doesn't care, but I do.

The hair situation is not worrying me this trip, like Tony said. I have had some bad experiences using the dumb outlet/voltage adapter and I'm over it. That's why I'm going to buy European stuff. Burnt hair is not fun to deal with. I was surprised that Tony did not mention that I've been reminding him at least once a week for the past 4 months or more that I need to buy a hair dryer as soon as we get to France! Sad, but true. I'm sorry, I would like to look cute and have normal hair on vacation! Is that too much to ask?

Crunch Time

We are officially leaving for Paris in less than a week. And after being with Beth for two previous international trips, I now consider this period of time "crunch time." It's the time when Beth starts to have "so many" things to do that she wonders aloud "how will I get it all done?" For me, this is the time where I kind of go into auto-pilot. Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the fact that I'm about to be on vacation. If you ask Beth about what I'm talking about, I think she'll agree. Personally I enjoy watching Beth during this time. Because she always gets everything done and with enough time left to relax a little. It's the stress involved at the beginning that is quite entertaining.

Luckily, one of Beth's stresses from previous trips has been resolved. She no longer has to worry about adaptors for her hair dryer and straightener and what she's going to do to insure beautiful hair the entire trip. She solved that problem our first trip to Paris last year when she fried both of them while not realizing the voltage differences. I can't say I can blame her though because I didn't know about the different voltages either and I've traveled to Europe many times.

Beth's plan this time around: buy a European hair dryer and straightener.

I hope this works. Maybe crunch time will be easier this time around.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Lunchtime Stroll

My First Excursion

It was August of 1999. I was getting ready to start my sophomore year of college. In my previous 19 years I had been many places, but nothing could have prepared me for my first overseas voyage. My family had just recently moved to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and I was going over to see them for the first time.....Needless to say, I was a little nervous.

I arrived at the airport extra early since they say that you should be there earlier for international flights. I've come to find out this is a lie. I think it's just an extra attempt to make you sit around the airport longer and spend more money on Hot Tamales and gossip magazines in the gift shop.

They finally called for my flight to start boarding and I remember getting on the plane thinking, "this is the coolest plane I've ever been on." It had 3 rows across of three seats each. Each seat had it's own tv. I sat down and the flight attendants started passing out water and orange juice. During the flight, they passed out ice cream bars and candy(on top of the two meals we got). Life was good.

As the captain told us to prepare for landing, I remember looking out the window and seeing London, thinking to myself "I can't believe I'm on the other side of the Atlantic. I'm in London, England!"

I got off the plane and soon realized that my flight from London to Saudi Arabia was actually leaving out of Heathrow(on the other side of London from where I landed at Gatwick Airport). I had to catch a bus that would take me between airports. The problem was I didn't have a clue where to begin looking for the place to catch the bus. It was at this moment that my guardian angel appeared. He was about 5' 9", 300 pounds wearing denim overalls. Not to mention the thick Southern accent and six gold chains hanging around his neck. Okay, probably not what you would consider a guardian angel, but he turned out to be. We struck up a conversation and quickly realized that he too was from Oklahoma and worked in Saudi Arabia. He was on his way back after a three week vacation. He helped me find where to catch the bus and helped me navigate my way around Heathrow Airport(the world's busiest).

The flight to Saudi Arabia was fine. I actually flew into Bahrain(an island in the Persian Gulf) and then drove over the King Fahd Causeway to Saudi Arabia. When I got off the plane, everyone was speaking Arabic and I didn't have a clue what to do. My guardian angel helped me out again and before I knew it, I was picking up my bags from baggage claim. I walked through the doors of baggage claim and there was my family waiting for me. What a relief. 24 hours and thousands of miles later, I had arrived. As we walked out of the airport to the car, my glasses fogged up and I could feel the heat immediately. It was 8 o'clock at night and still 100 degrees. Welcome to the Middle East.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Words of Wisdom

I've been running consistently now for the past seven years. In those seven years I've seen a lot of different things while out on my runs. During my lunchtime run today I thought of a few words of wisdom that I would love to pass on to anyone who is either a current runner or thinking about taking up running. In no particular order:

1) spandex doesn't look good on anyone
2) guys, if you're twenty pounds overweight, put a shirt on
3) along with number two, if you have more hair on your chest than a golden retriever, put a shirt on
4) if you're only running 3 miles, you don't need a water bottle belt around your waist, i promise you two things, you won't die of dehydration, and running in Houston is not like running in the sahara desert
5) if you're walking on a running path with your family of 12, please get out of the way when runners get close, us runners don't like to stop our run so we can get through a crowd the size of China
6) smile and say hi when you pass by others.......it might actually feel good.
7) babies are cute, but not when they're blocking my running path, while you're pushing them in a stroller
8) running while holding weights in your hands is not like killing two birds with one stone, they aren't going to make your arms toned while you lose inches off your waist. good thought, bad follow through.
9) if the reason you want to take up running is so you can buy some "cute" running stuff, don't worry about it.

Our Special Visitor

Some things go together. Some things don't. In reference to the latter, dogs and apartments don't go together. How do I know this? Because Beth and I have taken on the role of dogsitter for her parents' dog Abby when they go to some of Stacy's golf tournaments.....The fact of the matter is, we love watching Abby. It gives us someone to play with and to entertain us. The problem is we don't have a backyard....or a yard at all for that matter. And poor Abby must stay inside all of the time except for when we take her out. Needless to say when we take Abby outside she goes crazy. I personally have been dragged across our apartment complex numerous times by Abby because she is so excited to finally be outside. Because of our experiences with Abby, I have a hard time understanding why so many of our neighbors have these huge hundred pound dogs living in their small one bedroom apartments with them. Lucky for us, Abby is a small dog and not necessarily an outside dog and doesn't need to be outside all of the time. But if she was, I think it would be really unfair to make her stay couped up inside all day in a tiny apartment. Beth and I would love to have a dog, but know that it's just not feasible in an apartment. Abby's short stays with us are great, but then she gets to go back home to her big backyard. That being said, we get to go pick up our favorite little visitor tonite. And I can't wait. Abby is staying with us for the next five days while Beth's parents watch Stacy play at regionals. I can only imagine how many times I'm going to be dragged around the apartment complex this time around. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The List Maker

Tony and my family can probably attest to this...when I get ready to go on a trip, I make a ton of lists. I can't help it. I have been doing this for as long as I can remember. For example, when my family lived in South Carolina (10 years ago), we would go to Myrtle Beach every summer. I can remember making a list of every single little thing I needed to pack for my trip, down to which items go in my suitcase and which items go in my backpack (or carry on bag these days).

Today was the day I started my lists for Paris. I think I am so excited to start making my lists because it means a trip is approaching! There are so many things to do I just have to write them all down or I'm going to forget! (A little dramatic, huh?) But it really does help me stay organized and not forget anything.

Poor Tony is now in on the list making. At lunch today we sat on the couch and started making 2 lists. One for things we need to do before we go to France. This list includes trivial tasks like buying travel sized toiletries to the big tasks like cleaning the apartment. I can't wait to start crossing things off this list! The other is a list of items that we will both need on the trip like books, iPod, computer, etc. Don't worry before this week is up, I'll have a third list of all my personal things to pack...clothes, shoes, etc.

Getting ready for a trip is so much fun!

A Long Time Coming

I have a tendency to start reading a book and either a) never finishing it or b) finishing it so long after I started it that I don't remember what the book was about. In the case of The Tipping Point, I would say that "b" would be the closest answer. I started reading the book, which I enjoyed thoroughly, last April when Beth and I were sitting in the airport in Treviso, Italy with nothing else to do. After reading the book while in Italy, London, and Paris, I came back to the States with less than a hundred pages left. That's when the book basically got thrown to the side and all but forgotten about. Luckily Beth kept asking me when I was going to finish it and I can finally say that after spending over a year in the process of reading it, I have finished The Tipping Point. Don't let my lack of efficiency in reading it detour you. It was a very good book. You should check it out.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

95 Percent!!

Just a quick note for those who are wondering...I passed my teaching test! I did so much bettter than I thought I would. I got a 285 out of 300, which is basically 95%! I'm so excited and am hoping that this will help me in getting a teaching job soon. Just wanted to post a quick note letting everyone know!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

My Travel Buddy

I was thinking today about how excited I am to be going to Paris in a couple of weeks. I started thinking about how this will be my third international trip with Beth in only the past 13 months. Pretty crazy considering Beth had never really been out of the country before until last April. This got me thinking about some great memories that her and I have shared in our travels and I figured I would share them with everyone else. Where should I begin?

How about the time we had to wake up in London at 3 a.m. to walk to the bus station to catch a bus that would take us to the airport to catch a 6:30 a.m. flight to Venice. Once in Venice(which was actually Treviso, a city outside of Venice) we had to catch a bus to the center of the city which took an hour. After getting to the center of Venice, we had to catch a water taxi to St. Mark's Square(with seven stops in between). We finally arrived at St. Mark's Square where we had to drag our luggage across the pigeon-infested square to find our hotel. Needless to say from the time we woke up at 3 a.m. until the time we got to our hotel which was around 12:30 p.m. we had pretty much used every ounce of energy we had. The journey wasn't fun, but the destination made up for it.

What about the first night we arrived in Paris and Beth tried to use her hair straightener and instead of straightening her hair, she burned her hair and ruined her straightener in the process. That was pretty funny. Although Beth wasn't too excited.

We could talk about the time Beth left her wallet at Starbucks in the middle of Turkey!!! That was quite an adventure driving an hour back out of our way to retrieve the wallet that luckily the nice Turkish workers at Starbucks had picked up and were holding onto.

Standing on top of the Eiffel Tower as the sun was setting is a great memory I have with Beth. I try to forget about the fact that I had to go to the bathroom so badly that I was contemplating going off the side of the Tower. Luckily there was a bathroom at the top.

Then I have a few quick funny memories from our travels:
Walking across London trying to find Cade's flat as I was dragging my broken bag across the uneven sidewalks.

Escaping the crazy woman hotel owner in Turgutreis, Turkey.

Getting trapped in a swarm of people in the middle of Buckingham Palace and not having anywhere to go.

Being at a bar in Paris late at night and starving. They weren't serving food so we bought a bag of chips from them.

Getting ice cream every night in Istanbul and eating it with plastic spoons.

Halikarnas.......the club!!! (look it up online)

Wrecking the scooter in Bodrum, Turkey! Ha ha!

Welp, those are just a few memories that I have. Hopefully our trip in two weeks will bring many more!

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