Saturday, May 29, 2010

YMCA Champion City

This week was the culmination of a HUGE project that Layne has been working on for the past few months, called the YMCA Champion City project that he did with his Associate Leadership Class. I always love a reason to brag on my husband, but this was really something special. Layne's class was given a $30,000 grant, which they were able to tun into $100,000 and 1,500 of community service. The result: they completely renovated 6000 sq feet of the basement floor at the south side YMCA. Since Layne really led the project, he was asked to MC the event. Here is a pic of him scribbling some notes for his speech.
"Uncle Layne! Uncle Layne! I'm your biggest fan." (That's what I thought the coo's meant.)
I should mention now that our "niece" Ellyson is an amazing baby. And I'm not joking either. Crowds- no problem. Being passed around- no problem. High School marching band- a okay. She's one of the best babies I've been around, and is so stinking cute on top of that.
Layne did a great job in front of the camera, and the coverage on the evening news was great.

Here he is with a couple of his buddies, one who is from Louisiana and another who married a Louisiana girl too. Layne loves his LA connections.

And here is my hubbie's fan club, from near and far away. Behind is a beautiful mural Reel FX designed and they had the class paint by number onto the wall.
And what night would be complete without the You Are Special plate? My in-laws came in to town and surprised Layne, and Mrs. Carmen made several of Layne's favorites. Brina and Scott came over for some King's Ranch casserole, and it ended up being a great night in.

I'll have one more post about this with links to the media coverage from the event. But Honey, let me just say, I am SO proud of you. I had no idea how much went into this project. I knew you were working hard, but now I know what you were working for. You have provided an amazing, state of the art facility that these kids couldn't have afforded. You've given them space to learn, to grow, and to play in. You and your friends will have changed the lives of these kids, and I am so proud to be your wife. Volunteerism is important, and I'm glad you see the value in giving back.

My JLD Sponsor

Hello everyone. Meet Hillary. She is special. Not only is Hillary in Layne's Associate Leadership Class, she is the woman who sponsored me for the Junior League this year. I just meet her this week, and am looking forward to our lunch date to get to know her better. Hillary was really great when it came time for me to get my three sponsors. Like, 30 minutes after I made a call, she had all the paperwork and three signatures I needed done and delivered to the JLD. I really am so blessed. Layne continures to introduces me to people he networks with, and our social circle is constantly growing. It's going to be a fun summer!
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We Love You, Uncle Paul D!

Uncle Paul D is my mom's brother, number 2 of 5, and he loves us something special. So much so, that he had a special, perishable delivery made to Dallas, Texas. I love seafood, but little did I know I had married a man who loves it even more than I do. Check out my pile and Layne's. What you're looking at is some Louisiana style boiled shrimp. Layne peels faster than I do. So proud of my man.... it's the little things that make a marriage tick.

So Uncle Paul D- thank you for an AMAZING treat. The shrimp were delicious, and we truly enjoyed the moment. Your brought us back "home," and we didn't even have to go anywhere. WE LOVE YOU!
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Could it be?

Soooo..... June is going to be a crazy month. I'm studying for the GMAT, the summer semester is about to get underway, and we're moving out. Where to? So far, this is one of our (my) favorites- The Wilson Building downtown on the corner of Main and Ervay.

First, let me share a little about the building. It's actually listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and was inspired by the Paris Opera. The architectural details really bring the "feel" of another time to life. Parquet floors, original hardwood, and 13-20 foot ceilings really give the building an asthetic I love.

The unit Layne and I are interested in is the top unit on the 8th floor. The three curved windows, two on the right and four on the left would be ours. We'll keep you posted!
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Holy Cross Men

This past weekend was a very special one for my family, and even though Layne and I weren't able to attend, it is definitely something worth mentioning on my blog. This year my cousin Matthew graduated from Holy Cross High School.

Growing up in New Orleans, where you went to high school is a big deal. There are private schools, there are public schools, and then there is the Catholic School league. I chose where I wanted to go to high school. My mom and aunts went to the Academy of Holy Angels, but by the time I was old enough the school had closed. So I chose Mount Carmel..... and then all my cousins on the Reynolds side followed... Abby, Claire, Erin, and Katie. But that is nothing.

I'm an Orkus/Reynolds, and the truth is that we bleed blue and gold. Although my paternal grandfather didn't go to high school, he has been initiated into the Holy Cross Hall of Fame. My Dad went to school there, along with his brothers Billy, Michael, and Jerry. And my cousins Phillip and Josh did too. But the picture above represents the Reynolds side of the family. My maternal grandfather graduated from Holy Cross in 1946. My mom married a HC man, and so did my Nan and Aunt Ellie. That was in the 70's. (Holy Cross is where my dad met my Uncle Scott Armstrong.) My mom's brother went to school there too. And then came the 90's. The four Armstrong boys went to Holy Cross, and Chad Huth did too. Stephen and Gregory, Paul and Ted Reynolds, and Jeff Poche' all graduated from Holy Cross, and now, another decade is complete. Matt Poche' graduated on Saturday.

And while I'm sad to see another generation come to an end, I'm interested to see the way the men I love give back to an institution who has defined who we are. And while our life is in Dallas, everyone should know... this is the biggest string pulling us back home. (Besides the people, of course!)

Congratulations Matthew! Congratulations Nan and Po! And a special thank you to my family, who sacrificed time and money to give us the education we had. There is a reason we value tradition... and it's because of you.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Byron Nelson, Day 2

This Sunday, Layne and I headed back out to the Byron Nelson, thanks to tickets from a company Layne does business with. We were in the skybox on the 17th hole, right behind the tee, with a great view of the entire hole. I had a great time socializing, and got to meet another couple whose husband is in the Associate Leadership Class with Layne. It was an awesome date day, and we ended it by heading over to Richardson to hang out with Ben Perez, his girl Gabby, and our good friend Dustin West. It was the end to a lovely weekend here in Dallas, and I walked away from it thankful for life Layne and I have made here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Under Contract

The best news of the week: We're under contract! While Layne and I are both a little sad to leave the house we made into our first home, we both know we're making the right decision to sell and we're looking forward to what comes next.

The crazy thing is that Layne and I both have a connection to the couple who are purchasing the house. Layne goes to a small group for men at the Catholic church around the corner with the new owner's dad, and I worked with his wife's sister at Merit. How crazy is that? Lauren has been over to the house for lunch and the panty party, and now her sister will live here.

The couple originally offered us 89% of our asking price, but Layne was strong throughout the negotiations, and we're walking away with 97% of what we asked for. We consider ourselves blessed. We bought the home two years ago and put no money down. With the help of my sister-in-law (an interior designer), we did some amazing renovations that have impressed everyone. All you have to do is walk into our kitchen and you'll fall in love. And while we won't walk away with a lot of money, we aren't losing any either. And in this economy, that says something.

Want to see more pictures of the final product? Check out our listing online:

Keep your fingers crossed and say your prayers that everything else goes well. The inspection was good, and the appraisal comes in on Tuesday. If everything works out, we close on JUNE 24th!

Pat Green... OMG!

I am so spoiled! Yesterday I was fortunate enough to get tickets to the Byron Nelson with my friends Gina and Melissa. Gina and I have been friends since I interned at Merit, and Melissa is someone Gina has worked with at another job whose company I enjoy as well. We had great tickets for the Chairman's box on the 17th fairway. It was a short hole, a Par 3, so we had a great view and a great time. Pappas Steakhouse catered the event, so for lunch we dined on salmon, steak, gulf shrimp, lobster bisque, green beans, and mac and cheese. Open bar all day long, and to top it off, there was a free Pat Green concert after. Layne and Gina's boyfriend Jeff met us out there when they got off of work, and we bumped into several friends throughout the day.

The Bryon Nelson was awesome, especially for the 16 year old junior from Jesuit who made his PGA debut this weekend (and made the cut!). When he got to the 17th hole, there were 3000+ people there to support him. It was unlike any golf match I've experienced before. Dallas went nuts for its hometown hero. But Pat Green, I mean, PAT GREEN! Yes he has gained some weight since I was back in college, but who hasn't. His Texas country singing and song writing hit home. It reminded me of his concerts at the Varsity and how much fun I had with my Zeta ladies jamming out to him. And when he played Babydoll live, I couldn't get J Todd on the phone quick enough. (It was our vacay anthem one year, and we still call each other every time we hear it on the radio.) The concert just took me back to another time, and reminded me of the great friendships I made in college and have held on to for a decade now. Love you Friend Face- I missed you last night.

So a special shout out and thank you to Gina and Layne for hooking us up with the tickets. Good friends, good food, good athletic event, good music, and open bar... does a Friday get any better than that?
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pride and Prejudice

Have I mentioned before that Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) is one of my favorite books of all time? I hated it the first time around, but when Abby had to read it in high school I gave it a second chance and fell in love.

I enjoy re-reading the book, and while I enjoy the movie with Kiera Knightly, the BBC six hour mini-series is the bomb. And while I know that should be enough, it isn't. When I was in college, a guy I was dating bought me my first Pride and Prejudice sequel. Jane Austen didn't write one, but there are hundreds of authors who have tried. And if your lucky, you'll stumble across a good one.

I went to the library this week to return some books and stock up for this week, and you'll never believe what I found. A sequel. A new sequel... hot off the press.

Jane Austen started her novel with the statement, "Any man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife." But this author has taken the novel to a whole new world.... "A married man in possession of a dark fortune must be in want of an eternal wife..."

That's right, today I'm starting a new novel titled Mr.Darcy, Vampyre and I think it's going to be great. Once I get back from my junior league meeting, I'm diving in. Yay for summer reading! I loved it as a kid, and still do today.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mystery Shopper

I owe my in-laws a special thank you for introducing me to a great way to make some money on the side... mystery shopping.

One day I was on the phone with my father-in-law, and he was telling me about this company he was doing some mystery shopping for. So I went to the website, and by the time I got through the FAQ and answers I realized that this is the gig for me.

Every Sonic I go to, they give me $5 to spend and $6 for my pocket. Tomorrow I'm getting auto insurance quotes, and they're going to pay me $45. It's an awesome way to pick up some pocket change, and I highly recommend it to my family and friends.

Here's the link:
Look into it. Hopefully you'll be able to pick up a job or two in your spare time. These days, every penny helps.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Love Mondays

At least I love a Monday when I wake up to the call of our realtor. Another offer on the house! Now if I can just wait till the hubs gets home tonight to talk about it!

Today, and tomorrow, and the next day (you get the point) I'll be studying for the GMAT. I'd like to really push myself to take it before my summer courses get started.

That's another exciting development in life. This summer I'm going back to school full-time at the University of North Texas. I'll be taking Business Law, Marketing, Accounting, and Finance... all 5000 level graduate courses. I'll be honest- I'm a little nervous after getting back in the classroom after so long, but as one of my classmates reminded me last week- we used to make fun of business majors. (Business and engineering were housed in the same building at LSU, and a lot of buddies that couldn't cut it in statics class switched over.) No hating- my dad and my brother both have/are getting accounting degrees, and now I'm going to jump in the mix. What does this entail? Well I have 5 classes on top of the regular MBA program. I'm taking four this summer. I also need 2 letters of recommendation, an essay, my resume, transcripts, the GMAT... it's alot of work. And my due date is the first week of July!

Other tid-bits I'm looking forward to is my first ever Junior League meeting on Thursday, Pat Green live at the Byron Nelson on Friday night, our friend Sharon's and Brandon's housewarming party... and I'm hoping to get tickets through the hubs for the Byron Nelson Sunday. I'll let you know how that goes.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

NoLA Highlights

So we were in New Orleans for a long weekend. We drove in on a Friday and the services were Monday. Layne caught a plane to St. Louis, MO on Tuesday morning for work, so I decided to hang out in town until the following Monday. Gregory was getting his senior ring from LSU, and after sitting through my ceremony as well as Stephen's and Abby's, it looked like none of us could be there. That was just unacceptable in my book- so I stayed in town. Here are the highlights of the week:

1.) Dinner with my high school girls! Cristin Nunez, Melissa Eilers, Corrie Keel, Jill Willoughby and I had a great night out. After a long dinner, we went back to Corrie's and just caught up. I had a wonderful time- I used to each lunch with these girls everyday! We missed you, Olano and Claudia and wanted you to be there as well. Next summer will be my ten year reunion. I can't believe how much time has flown by since our days in khaki, brown and white plaid.

2.) I had a personal shopper. You think I'm joking, but I'm not. Over the two week period I was in town I think my mom took me shopping 5 days. And I'm not complaining. I now have an extensive wardrobe for all kinds of summer events. She even found a bathing suit I love on super sale that looks great on. SueSue is a mini miracle worker. Thank you mom for your hard work and super sale shopping. I feel great about myself, and a big part of that is because the closet wars have ended. You are too good to me.

3.) My husband is really a part of my family. It may sound silly, but I don't get the impression that Layne was spending the weekend with "my" family. It really has become his family too. To see how easily he fits right in is something beautiful that I really appreciate. I couldn't have married a better man.

4.) More family time! I think I have some of the best aunts and uncles out there. Every time we go back to New Orleans... and I mean every single time... they make an effort to get as many Reynolds together as possible. We are so lucky.

5.) I had a slumber party with Stephen's girlfriend Rachel at their new house. Stephen had a major camp in Laurence, Kansas and was out of town or the weekend, and I didn't want Rachel to have the heebie jeebies. I'm glad we had the extra quality time and I got to know her better.

6.) Gregory got held up. I know, crazy, but he did. And if being held up at gun point wasn't enough, they took a shot at him. And while part of me laughs at how ridiculous the situation was, a bigger part of me is devastated that my brother has to deal with those emotions.

7.) For the first time in a long time, I got to celebrate my birthday dinner with the whole family! Mom, Dad, Layne, Stephen, Rachel, Abby, Doody, and Gregory.... I am so spoiled....

8.) My mom, Nan, and I went to lunch with one of Granny's best friends. It was such a wonderful time. Just being with her reminds me of my Granny, and hearing her share stories about my grandparents when they were younger, close to my age... it was hilarious.

I walked away from the month of April, saddened by the loss of Chad and hurting for my friend Heather, my second friend from childhood to lose a brother. But at the same time, I can count my blessings. And those blessings are what we hold onto to get through the tough times in life. I have hope for a brighter tomorrow, and am willing to dance in the rain with my family and friends until the sun starts to show from behind the clouds.

Everything in life is manageable as long as you choose hope.

RIP Chad Michael Huth

Where do I begin a blog like this? A little over a week after I got back to Dallas, my family received some devastating news. Chad, our friend since childhood, was murdered while hanging out in his own home. I don't even want to focus on the details of what happened, because murder.... it's unlike anything I've dealt with before. God help the five men who took Chad from us, but more importantly, I pray God gives my family and community the strength they need to get out of bed each morning.

This is Chad. In twenty-plus years we've known the Huth Family, I have never gotten into an argument with him. He is absolutely the most laid back person I know. This is a pic of him and his adorable nephew Ian.
Chad and Greg at Mardi Gras This Year

Everyone in NoLA has a nickname. G-Baby, Question Mark....
Chad was known as Chizzle
Just Enjoying the Simple Things in Life

From Left to Right:
Chad, Heather, Ashley, Ian & Keith Leblanc, Aunt Mel & Uncle Glenn
Christmas with the Kids
Chad- We'll miss you. It won't be the same without you. I'll never forget you. And I look forward to the days when Amy, Heather and I sit down and laugh at memories of our time with you fondly. I don't understand why the Lord took you from us, but I believe you're in a better place now. Watch over us... and Rest In Peace.

Fort Lauderdale with the Ladies

Please excuse my absence from the blog. The month of April was one of the craziest months I've had in a long time, and it's taken me half of May to get adjusted back here in Dallas. So where did I leave off? GIRLS TRIP!

I left Dallas on a Tuesday and drove into New Orleans. Heather and I flew out on Wednesday night. Megan drove south from U of F in Gainesville. Amy pretended not to know us since her co-workers didn't know we were tagging along. (Don't worry, the boss knew.)
What better way to start off the trip that margaritas on the beach?

Amy and Heather
We found the best hole in the wall for lunch one day, called The Bearded Clam. The food was decent, the beer was cheap, and the people gazing was hilarious.

Me and Megan

I literally waited for forty-five minutes, but it was well worth it to play the $.01 machines at The Hard Rock Casino. I didn't win, but I was thrilled to go play in the bonus rounds a few times. I know my Granny was smiling at that.

Our last night was spent just relaxing in the hot tub.
The weekend was awesome. I laughed, and man was it good to laugh together. We don't see each other often enough, and this was a much needed break. I owe a special thanks to Aimes for getting everything together, and to Layne for just letting me run off. I love that you understand the important things in life.
To Korey, Tina, Abby, Ashley, Gretchen, The Strain Girls:
The picture above is for you. Heather was having a drink in your name since you couldn't be there with us. While we had a blast, it wasn't perfect without all of you there.
and P.S.- Megan may end up on the mean side of the table. She's got a side we didn't know before our weekend together, and I liked it!