Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rags to Riches....

Dear Catalonia,

It was fun while it lasted. The poolside chats, the 2 hour dinners, the poolside drink service, the lazy days spent sunbathing and reading, the sound of the Loj's best friend from Chicago talking to us incessantly (I think she wanted a t-shirt)...I had hoped it would never end. I'm not even sure how I've made it through the last 36 hours without a Miami Vice, guacamole and my afternoon Chocolate Lovers Crepe. I suppose it's possible to survive without it, but why would anyone want to??

You have also given me a new appreciation for well-lit hallways, running water and upgrades. I had severely underestimated those things but thanks to you I’m giving “thanks” where thanks is due!

You were good to us, Catalonia. I’ll never forget you.


Cast of Characters:
Liz/ The Loj- Director of Transportation: The DOT duties include transportation to/from Dallas and the airport, passport reminders, setting up transfers to/from airport to hotel and directions.

Laura/ L-Merc- Director of Food Services: DOFS duties include making dinner reservations each evening

Robyn/ Reams- Director of Wellness: The DOWs duties include, but are not limited to: sunscreen application and re-application, distributor of Imodium, and providing snacks during long, weary travel days (this duty could be perceived as a responsibility of the DOFS, but the DOW came prepared so realignment of that duty was necessary).

Allison A./ Lynch- Director of Spirit and Director of Interpretation/Communication: The DOS’s direct duty was t-shirt design and development. On site duties shifted to the DOI as it became critical that her Spanish skills be used. Her fluent tongue helped us negotiate that upgrade and also made sure that our baked potatoes came with butter and cheese.

Allison L./ Bradley- Director of Photography: Do you really need me to explain this one?

Me/ T-Rog- Director of Documentation: DOD duties include documentation of quotes and events as they took place. The DOD also works closely with the DOP to ensure accurate preservation of all events.

Our book swap the night before we left. The majority of them were the Loj's....

“Do you want to sit by the window? ‘Cause if you puke on me it’ll ruin my day.” Bradley to Lynch on our way to the airport at 4:40am

Room #1...aka "the dungeon". You can tell how we feel about it by the picture above. The picture below is how we felt immediately after we made our decision to upgrade....we decided to toast to that fantastic decision while our bags were being "relocated". :)

~ Bradley "It's only sixty dollars. I think I'll just tell James we just didn't feel safe."
~ Reams "I don't!!"

Room #2....

" It is astonishing what sixty dollars will get you! Rags to Riches!" ~Bradley


"I just don't think we're that high maintenance. I just don't!" ~ also Bradley....

These were taken at dinner each night. The dinners were amazing!

I love these next 2....our DOP was trying to get fancy and take artsy pictures. These pictures were taken about 5 seconds apart...oops!

"I'm pretty sure they're going to hand us one of these when we get to Heaven." ~ Lynch...stone cold serious.

Yes...the camera was on a timer....and yes, Bradley had flung herself into the pool a nano-second before the photo took. The things you have to do to be the DOP....

"You'll notice I'm in my workout clothes...not because I just LOVE to workout and even have to workout on vacation...although it made the director of wellness happy...but really I was getting in my 5 mile training walk! What you can't tell from this picture is that we were at the crepe/milkshake place....so I was rewarding myself with the lovely object shown about 4 photos above...

Special thanks to the Director of Spirit for our t-shirts...

I love y'all and had so much fun! I think this needs to be an annual trip...who's with me?? We should have no trouble talking our husbands into it ;)

“Does having snacks make me a better director of wellness?” ~ Reams

“Are y’all going to a CPA convention?” ~ the joker on the plane who read Reams’ “occupation” section of her customs form. We informed him that we most certainly were NOT!

“There are 2 guaranteed times I cry: 1. When a soldier comes home. 2. Extreme Makeover Home Edition. ‘Move that BUS!’ I’m done!” ~ Lynch

"Do you have Karaoke?" ~ Bradley

"No, but I can play the drums and you can sing." ~ The bartender
"Do you know Fancy by Reba?" ~ Bradley

Monday, June 29, 2009

What are the odds??

HEEEYYY!! I'm back in the US and no longer have the option of crepes and ice cream between the hours of 5 and 10pm. Outside of the potentially hazardous encounter with our first rooming assignment, and my unfavorable bodily reaction to all food in Mexico, I had an AMAZING time with my friends and a post will be coming soon! But first, you all knew that I would have to make mention of the very ironic (and very sad) fact that Michael Jackson died while we were on Decade of Friendship. I mean, seriously....it was like it was written that we would all be together when he died.

For those that don't know us, we basically base our friendship on the fact that we learned the dance to "Beat It" during one of our (many) dance parties and we have since embarrassed ourselves at countless weddings, date parties, random bars and garden parties by busting out our version of the classic routine. Others laugh at us and we pretend they're laughing with us and that we're super cool.

I will also point out that we, with we being the 6 of us on the trip, received countless facebook messages, text messages and e-mails pointing out how fitting the timing was.....I'm just saying....what are the odds?? Might I point out the quote at the bottom of my last post....

"I'm just going to say that it is really fitting that Michael died while we are on Decade of Friendship. He knew we would all want to be together for support." ~ Lynch


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Decade of Friendship....Mexico or bust!

Growing up I had several moms. I had my real mom, of course, who I love beyond measure, but I also had her very best friends....the trusted inner circle to answer to. We grew up with their families, we spent holidays together and by all accounts they were (and still are) our extended family. I always watched my mom with her friends and I was in awe at the bond they had. They have known each other their whole lives and there are very few memories they don't share. They know each other's first boy friend, first kiss, first car....they shared rides to drill team and had sleepovers. They know and love each other's parents because they grew up abiding by all of their rules depending on whose house they were at for the day. They were in each other's weddings, they were the first to be called when mom found out she was expecting, they are the first to be called when our family has faced joy and they are the first to be called when our family faced trials and deeply hard times. It's a bond of friendship, love, loyalty, respect and family.

I've always thought this bond that my mom and her friends share is so rare. And honestly, it is. To think of the years and the events and the day-to-day living of their individual lives...it's tough to maintain such close friendships, but it was worth it to them, and so it continues.

10 years ago I left for college knowing not.one.person. at Texas A&M University. I had no idea that I would meet so many wonderful women that I am still close friends with today. God blessed me with amazing, God fearing, FUN, down to earth, laugh out loud, praying, teaching, CUTE friends and I just wonder what on earth I did to deserve that kind of blessing. I didn't just get one friend like that, but I got many. I like to think that we are building friendships to be like my mom and her friends. To know and love each other's children. That hopefully we will be able to raise our children together and allow them the joys of multiple mothers. :)

This week I am hyped to be going on a girl's trip with 5 of those amazing friends. This is our "Decade of Friendship"! We have been talking about this for years and the time has finally come! We plan on eating our weight in chips and guacamole, laying out until we all come back bronze babes (or they come back bronze babes....I will come back a red lobster), laughing until we surely cry, knowing even more about each other than we already do, apparently reading 5 books each (if you could only see the e-mail exchange with the number of books the Loj is bringing....there is NO way we will make the 50 lb. weight limit for our bags...), and having the time of our lives celebrating our friendship.

Now, this seemed totally deep, and I truly mean everything I have said, but if you only knew the Loj and Bradley, you would know just how much fun we have. My stories upon my return will not be quite so mushy and lovey, but filled with "No she di-int!" and plenty of pictures as blackmail! I love these girls!

Hey girls, wanna go to Mexico today?? Woo-hoo!! Decade of Friendship is finally here!!!
From Left to Right Below: Allison- AKA Bradley, me, Liz- AKA The Loj, Allison- AKA Lynch, Laura- AKA L-Merc and Robyn- AKA Reams.

"Has anyone looked on their website and noticed that there are 'THEME NIGHTS WITH COMPETITIONS AND PRIZES.' ???!!!!
Dear Lord, please let there be a karaoke theme night and let us do Beat It or Oops I Did It Again and win prizes. Thank you and Amen." ~ An actual group e-mail I received about 20 minutes ago from The Loj

Monday, June 22, 2009

Attitude of Gratitude...

I don't know about you, but I get called upon a lot to donate to different things. United Way, SPCA, March of Dimes, etc. I always want to help, and often times I do make small donations, but Dave and I have chosen to give the majority of our budgeted "gift money" to the Komen Foundation. You all know by now that is my passion. However, so many friends have supported me and my family that I really do try to give anytime I can. But for this very reason of understanding limitations, I always understand when someone doesn't participate in giving. I know that there are just so many options that you can only do so much and you must pick and choose. That is why I was BLOWN AWAY at the generosity of my friends and family when I simply asked for 6 swimsuits and wondered if I might have 2 others willing to join me. Boy did I underestimate my amazing friends and family and the way that God would use them to bless these girls!

Back in April God really laid the Texas Baptist Children's Home on my heart and I remembered something my mom had told me. She had taken things to the home at Christmas and although they were VERY appreciative, they mentioned that everyone is so generous during the holidays, but they need things year-round. Mom had mentioned prom and the fact that prom dresses and getting hair and nails done is a luxury that these girls might not be afforded. If there is anything my girls can do, it's some hair, nails and makeup! So I called out to the home in early April knowing prom season was approaching and asking if we could help. At that time they did not have any "prom aged" girls, but they did have 6 girls, ages 6-10, in need of swimsuits! Swimsuits we can do! I drafted an e-mail to local friends and thought that if I got 2 people besides myself willing to help we could each get 2 swimsuits and there would be the 6 that our cabin of girls needed. The chain of e-mails that followed blew me away and I immediately saw needs being met.

Within 2 days I had promises of swimsuits, beach towels, beach bags, sunglasses, flip flops, etc. These girls would be outfitted from head to toe and they would have everything they could possibly need to make a fabulous trip to the pool!! It was truly amazing to see the way God used these women to make an impact on these little girls. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for their selfishness and generosity and all because they were asked. My friend Lindsay in Dallas even read about it on this blog and within 3 days I had a swimsuit and 2 pair of flip flops sitting in my mailbox. Overwhelmed.

Last Thursday mom and I put everything together and took it to the home. We left it for the girls because they had left on an impromptu vacation because someone had given them that opportunity. The house mom called me at 9:30am Saturday morning almost in tears because she got home and got the basket full of goodies and she just could not believe what these girls had received from you all! She, too, was expecting swimsuits and was just shocked at what she found! She said that on their mini "vacation" they had completely run out of sunscreen, and she was thinking about how she was going to need to get money to go buy sunscreen for all of the girls.....guess what was given by my good friend Liz....you guessed it....8 tubes of sunscreen!! That's another thing, originally there were 8 girls and 2 have been adopted!!! Praise God! So we were able to give them a few extras that they can share with another cabin, or save it in case they get new girls throughout the Summer. It all started with a need for a swimsuit, but I want to share with you what each girl got...
  • Swimsuit
  • Beach Towel
  • swimsuit cover-up
  • flip flops
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • goggles
  • water toy
  • beach bag
  • water bottle
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving to the Lord and to these girls. Matthew 6:21 says, "For where your treasure is there your heart will be also." Thank you for allowing us a glimpse of your heart. The heart of a cheerful giver.

Love you all!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fabulous Find Friday!

Oh my gosh...y'all are in for such a treat. I am so excited about this FFF and I can honestly say that I want EVERYTHING I post about today. Y'all know that I am a pretty conservative/classic dresser. I'm trying to punch it up a notch, but I always seem drawn to the solid colors, mostly black or brown, etc. Summer allows me to come out of my shell a little more, but we all know Winter leaves me kickin' it in my black turtleneck and boots. Because I'm pretty much a solids girl I try to find cute accessories to add a little color or "flare" to my outfits.....oh girlfriend....let me introduce you to flare!

I found these ADORABLE clutches on ETSY and I am in love. I haven't stopped thinking about them since and I have put together outfits in my head and justified needing just about every color/style! I'm sure Dave will just love the fact that I could spend a car payment on clutches, but whatever....without further ado....allow me to introduce you to the perfect bridesmaid gift, bridal gift, and without a doubt the perfect compliment to that little black dress you will be sporting to your Summer weddings.....

I LOVE these next 2 for the bride....I think the blue one is precious and adds a little color to a wedding gown. Perfect to throw your lipstick in for "touch-ups" at the reception and fun for her "something blue". If you want to keep it all in the family, the ivory one is gorgeous too and has the blue lining for a little "something blue"! (All of these clutches can be found with this ETSY seller)

And this is totally random, but while we're ETSYing...how adorable is this headband for your darling little girl??

"The only difference between us and the animals is our ability to accessorize!" ~ Clairee, Steel Magnolias