Friday, August 27, 2010

Thankful on a Thursday

15.) Christopher Martinez and those who serve in the Armed Forces
Yes, he looks like quite the goof-ball, and he is, but he is so much more. Yesterday, Chris was promoted to Aircraft Commander in the United States Air Force. I have so much respect for this man who has given so much of his time and effort to guarantee our freedom. I have seen first-hand how challenging it can be to give up months at a time with his wife, and to be stationed overseas during football season. So this week, I am giving special thanks to all the men, women, and their families- who serve without question so that I may be free. This mans entire career is a gift to us, and a day doesn't go by where I don't give thanks for the gift the Martinez family gives. You guys deserve those military discounts everywhere! You've earned them!

16.) Vacations with Layne
By this time next week, Layne will be on our way to the Excellence Playa Mujeres, which is about 20-30 minutes north of Cancun. We're going for a wedding over the Labor Day weekend, and have extended our vacation so that we're in Mexico from Friday-Wednesday. We'll have time for wedding events, and time to relax by ourselves. This may be our last trip out of the country for awhile, so we're both looking forward to living it up.

17.) Summer
My summer break didn't last for long, but I sure was thankful for my two week break. It was nice not to have to worry about reading assignments, homework, and project deadlines. I think we made good progress on some special projects, and the loft has become a lot more organized. All in all, it was a success.

18.) Summer Semester Grades
I believe in giving thanks for my grades, and giving thanks for the ability to focus and concentrate. Mind over matter can be a constant battle around here, so I give thanks for a God who is good, who is loving, and who is always by my side. Knowing those things alone gives me strength. I finished the semester with a 3.5 GPA, and finished three pre-reqs for the MBA program (Business Law, Marketing, and Financial and Managerial Accounting). The new semester just started, and I'm taking an MBA level Marketing class along with my Econ pre-req. I think it's going to be a good one.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sharon's Bachelorette Party!

You know- Sharon really hit the nail on the head when it came to her her bachelorette party. We didn't go out of town, we didn't do anything ridiculous (okay- maybe we did!), she was just surrounded by the people who love her and mean the most to her. That's what matters... and we definitely had a good time to show for it.

Sharon is a friend of Layne's from college. She dated his roommate for awhile, and then she and Layne were the only two to move to Dallas post Aggie Land. We've enjoyed her friendship, and I LOVE her husband-to-be. (They're a match made in heaven.) Layne and I are excited for them both, and are looking forward to being on the beach in Cancun, Mexico when we tie the knot next weekend!

We started the morning off right with mimosas!
Believe it or not, this is the first vineyard I've ever been to...
All of us got in the grape stomping pit for a picture!
I did this once, and am glad to get it off the bucket list. But NEVER again!
You can see by our faces, it was nasty!
Me and Julie Inman (who married Layne's college roomie Zach)
Wine Tasting #?? I've lost count.
Dinner was delicious. Carrie cooked Pioneer Women recipes!
It was a day-long affair with a bunch of amazing women, and I was so touched Sharon invited me to share in her special day. I really love Layne's friends from college, and am thrilled to be apart of such a special event. We leave next Friday for Mexico and I can't wait! It's going to be a blast...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Carnival Cruise: Cozumel, Mexico

I love Mexico. I'm not sure what it is about it, because I don't love the ocean and I can't stand sand. Maybe it's the way everyone relaxes, and lets the music take over. Whatever it is, is worked on our one day stop in Cozumel. Anything longer than a day would have definitely done us in!
Here's Sissy and her neighbors, Aunt Cindy and Aunt Ellie

Should I have been surprised when I heard my dad call out, "Hey Ellie, come ride the gator with me?" Not in my family. No, not at all.
And of course G-Baby and Markie knew how to start the day off right! First thing once we got off the boat, the boys found something to quench their throat.
Uncle Paul D. wasn't the only one who fell victim to the blue shot, whatever it was. Everyone did, and that even includes my momma Sue Sue. If I wouldn't have seen it with my own two eyes, I wouldn't have believed it!
Abby had a blast showing off her dance moves at Carlos and Charlie's along with everyone else. Shots! Shots! Shots!
Mr. Dale and my dad worked together when they got out of college many, many, years ago. Growing up we always celebrated the 4th of July with them, and this year was no different. Their kids Wendy and Greg were able to come, which was great since we love them, and it was nice see my dad still celebrating a friendship from so long ago.
And here's our little family picture from Mexico. We missed you Stephen, Rachel, Doody, Catherine, and Layne... but it was a wonderful trip nonetheless.

Carnival Cruise: Meal Time

What's a cruise without food? I admit, it's nice to indulge in amazing food followed by amazing desserts. From breakfast to dinner to the 24 hour ice cream cones, it was definitely heaven.
One night we were so exhausted. This is the "kids" table, and we were knocked out after a hard day of partying in Mexico.
I wish all of the cousins could have gone on the cruise with us, but I was really excited to get to spend the quality time with the ones who were there. In the front are Ted and Katie. In the back in Megan, Greg, me, and Abby. I loved our quality time together- even doing calculus homework with Ted was a treat. Love you guys mucho!
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Carnival Cruise: At Sea

So, I was really spoiled this summer and was able to head back to New Orleans and hop aboard a Carnival Cruise with family and friends. We did this a few years ago when my Uncle Paul D and Aunt Cindy got married, and it was an amazing time. When I found out that Abby was going without Doody, I jumped at the chance to go too. When was the last time Abby and I had days to hang out with Layne and Doody around? I love our men, but I love good sister time too.

We had a great time at sea, and we had a great time in Mexico. Here's Mom and I hanging out in the shade. It's official- I have Reynolds skin. I am going to burn bad. So the best answer I came up with is the shade. Lucky for me mom and Uncle Paul D were flanking my sides. And of course we got primo seating- everyone else were just a few feet away catching rays.

Special shout out to my dad who participated in the Hairy Man Contest and has a nice, shiny, medal to prove it! You're moves were impressive dad and you made us proud. Did anyone buy the cruise video with it on film? I have got to get a copy of that to show my kids one day.
Aunt Cindy and I found our way to Bingo games. Of course we didn't win, but we sure had fun playing.
And wouldn't you know, the cruise casino had my very favorite slot machine ever... The Frog Prince. My grandparents took me to the casino to play the slot machines for my twenty-first birthday, and this was one of their favorites. As you can see, it's something special to several us, and we could often be found sitting at that one machine. I put $10 in when I started playing, and I took $10.14 out when I was done at the end of the weekend. That's what I call hours of free entertainment!
And of course, the views (and the desserts) were amazing. We didn't see any of the effects of the oil spill, but my parents did get to see what the offshore oilfield environment looked like. I was really excited for my parents to get to see where I worked and what it entailed, and it meant more to me than I thought it would.

I love being on the water. Working offshore got me in a rhythm of seeing the sunrise and sunset over the gulf, and there is something peaceful and relaxing about it. It was nice to have that feeling rush back over me. It was hard though, to look out upon the open water and think about the friends who have been lost at sea. Being there made the situation all the more real, and it definitely tugged at my heart.
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ALC Catamaran Cruise

Another event this summer was Layne's ALC Year End Catamaran cruise. I decided that for the sake of others, I would only post these two pictures. Let me put it this way... it was hot. So people found a way to stay cool.

We had a blast with Layne's classmates (as usual), and really enjoyed our sunset cruise on the lake. By the time we got off the boat, I cut Layne off. We headed home for a much needed night of rest.

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Brina's Birthday Dinner

I know, I know... Brina's birthday was well over a month ago. But I'm behind on blogging everything and am determined to share pictures and catch up. We had a wonderful night to celebrate Brina's Birthday in downtown McKinney. The Maywald's had parents night out, and while I love the minis it is always nice to spend time with just Christine and Chad. We tried out this great tapas restaurant, and just all snacked on an amazing variety of food. Unfortunately, my mind has blanked. Where were we?
And I was excited to get new pics of the adults in the fam.

Christine and Chad

The Birthday Girl Brina and Scott

Layne and I
Hope you had a wonderful birthday Sabrina! We're looking forward to celebrating many more in the future! And a special thanks to Scott for getting us all together.
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thankful on A Thursday

Here we are, and another week has flown by. It's time for Thankful on a Thursday, and I know I am so blessed. My cup is overflowing... let me share what I am extra thankful for this week!

11.) My friends are like my family, and my family are my friends.
This is a picture of two of my favorite people, Lauren "McQ" Martinez and Claire "Ma Rie" Poche'. Claire is my younger cousin and McQ is my sorority sister and college roommate. I cannot express how much these two women have shaped me into who I am today, or how thankful I am for their influence. McQ is a friend who has become a part of our family- Abby calls her for advice, and Gregory has already told me she's invited to his wedding. Our parents have become friends, and still take advantage off opportunities to spend time together when we're both in town. And while Claire is my younger cousin, we don't have to be friends. We don't have to be close as adults, but I am so thankful we are. And to top it off, McQ and Claire even share a special relationship with each other. I just makes life so nice.

12. My Nieces (Sorry Lucy- Doody's Black Lab- only the non-furry variety today)
Addison and Reece just light up our lives. They are Christine and Chad's girls, and they have our hearts in the palm of their hands. Addison definitely looks like Christine's side of the family (The Anderson side- Mrs. Carmen's family) and Reece looks just like a Maywald. We love playing with our little angels, seeing their art projects and work from school. I leave listening to Reece read me a book, or watching a classic Disney movie with a bowl of popcorn to share. I love seeing them grow up- it's amazing how much more comfortable they have become in the pool over the summer. And I CAN NOT BELIEVE Reece is starting 1st grade. When I met her in 2006, she had just turned three. She didn't really make much sense then, but boy has that changed. And Addison wasn't even around when I met Layne. The first time I met Christine, she was 8 months pregnant. I love, love, love, our minis... and hope there will be many more in the future. (No pressure Brina & Scott, Abby & Doody.... and definitely no pressure Steve Eaux or Gerald)

13. My Aimes
And I can call her "my Aimes," because I'm the only one that spells it like that. I don't know why I've never taken to the Ames everyone else has, but there is no point in switching now. It's ingrained. First, a very Happy Birthday wish to my Old Maid Aimes! (She's actually 3 months younger than I am, which is why I love to tease her about growing up. I don't think I'm going to like hitting 30 first!) Amy shared the most beautiful quote with me the other day. "Like branches of a tree we grow in different directions, but our roots remain as one." Most people can't understand what it's like to have a friend that was there the day you were born. We don't know life without each other. From selling girl scout cookies to tennis leagues, playing against each other for the playgrounds and grammar schools, to first kisses and drivers ed... the good, the bad, and everything in between... we've been there and done it. And while we've gone our own ways and done our own things, it's nice to know that what we have can never be taken away. It's too much of a part of who we are.
14. KRLD Restaurant Week
Last night Layne and I went on a date to Dallas Chop House. It's a steakhouse downtown in walking distance of our loft- and I surprised Layne with a reservation there for Restaurant Week. I love restaurant week! It allows us to try out some of the best restaurants in Dallas for a great deal. $35 will get you a three course meal at the restaurant of your choice, $7 of which goes to charity. It's fun to hear where other people are going, and I love how the food critic comes out in each of us. The Chop House was okay- definitely not a top five steakhouse in town. But it's our steakhouse, and we enjoyed walking over and strolling through downtown. It was a wonderful date night, and can wait to hear results from other friends.
15. The Junior League
I know I mentioned this earlier in the week, but I am so thankful to be apart of the league. I have already met amazing women, and I can't wait to get involved in the community. My next meeting is in September, and our guest speaker will be Collins Tuoy (sp?) from "The Blind Side." Sports and the Junior League? Who would have thought? This could be H-E-A-V-E-N.
That's it for Thankful on a Thursday this week. I hope your weekend is full of blessings that bring a smile on your face- and that you can find time to give thanks for those things too! XOXO!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Girls Trip III

"After all, you can't truly be happy if you've never known pain. You can't truly feel joy if you've never felt heartbreak. You can't really know what it's like to be filled unless you've been empty." -Kelly Cutrone

I saw this quote on facebook this week. Heather Huth sent it to Amy Armstrong, and it made my heart break... because it's true. If I could, I would have done anything to take the pain away from both of them. Two of my closest friends, two of my oldest friends... I hate that they have to carry around the baggage that they do. No one should lose a sibling so early in life. But the truth is that by the time someone is in their late twenties, almost all of us have something we're carrying around. I just consider myself lucky to have them there. Without saying words, those two know exactly what to say and do to bring a smile on my face. Our last girls trip was to Fort Lauderdale in April, but we're due again. It's been a tough spring/summer. So what do we have slated for the Fall? NEW YORK CITY! I know I can't take away their hurt, just like they can't deal with mine for me.... but just being together makes all the difference.

(Thank GOD Layne understands that!)

Life is Good. So good...

There is no way I will be able to blog about this weekend without sounding like a giddy little school girl, but I guess that is what happens when your heart is filled with joy.

For years now, I have prayed for a group of friends to call my own- not that Layne and I didn't have amazing friends before, because we do... but they weren't my own. There wasn't anyone I connected with on a "girl crush" level. No girlfriend that I could not only talk to everyday, but see as well. No one can replace the relationships I've established in my life to date, but I have wanted something more for so long. And I finally found it. It's crazy how life works. Layne's college roommate for 3 years is his best bud, Nick Holmes. Nick dated Sharon for a few years in college, and Sharon and Layne were the only two to move to Dallas post college. Now Sharon is getting married in September, and Layne and I are looking forward to the destination wedding at the Excellence Playa Mujeres.

Throughout all these wedding activities, I met a girl named Arundel Belll, who Sharon met through the Junior League. More on that in a bit. Arundel is the friend I spent so long praying for. Layne and I met her at a shower for Sharon and Brandon. I watched Layne and Arundel talk for 45 minutes before I interrupted them. When she walked away, Layne told me he just met the most interesting person he has ever met. I didn't believe him, but now I understand why. Arundel and I couldn't be more different, but I love our friendship. We both accept and cherish each other for who we are. No need to put on a face or fake a smile, no judgement. Next to Layne, Arundel was my biggest supporter when it came to school. She never failed to call and see how a big project or test went. When I'm not feeling like myself, she is there. What she doesn't understand, she figures out. And when I need an outfit, she is the first one to help me get it organized. It is such an incredibly blessing, and she has just as amazing of a relationship with Layne. I love hearing them laugh and cut up together.

Through Arundel, we've made some great friends. Alti and Bella live across the street from us in the Dallas Power & Light Building. Alti is best friends with Kevin who married Liz who is best friends with Arundel from childhood. We have walked into an amazing group of friends who we mesh so well with. We're constantly doing impromptu dinners during the week, and I'm amazed at how many people can get comfy in our tiny loft.

And on top of that, my Junior League provisional year has officially started. I went on an overnight retreat on Saturday/Sunday, and it was the most fun I have had in Dallas in years. The whole event was all based on getting to know people- and I had a blast. It was so easy to be myself, and it felt so good to be accepted for just being me. I met several girls who are going to be volunteering with me at the Museum of Nature and Science later this year. (I signed up to put on an event called Reptile Week. I bet you can't wait for more details about that!) I know this organization is right for me. I love the people, I love service aspect, and I love that I'm going to grow into a better person as a result of it all. Tonight I have a provisional meeting, and then I'm going out for dinner and drinks with some new girlfriends I met this weekend.

What can I say? Life is good, and I thank God for that everyday. The sun doesn't always shine. Sometimes you have to dance in the rain and hold on to hope like it's all you have left. But the clouds have passed over us right now, and we're living it up as much as we can. It's amazing what you can find at the end of the rainbow.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thankful on A Thursday

I have come to love Thursdays now. I look forward to sharing and giving thanks for all of the blessings in my life- large and small. This week is no different.

7.) I'm thankful for a family that is musically inclined, and that my family's passion has been passed on to me.
Tonight I'm off to the theater to see DCI 2010: Big, Loud & Live 7. DCI (drum corps international) is a group of professional marching bands that travel throughout the season performing across the country, and then culminates in a World Championship. The music is amazing. Their movements are precise. It's technical, challenging, and a pleasure to watch. We were fortunate to see several corps perform when we were kids, and I'm excited about tonight. I may be flying solo in Dallas, but it's fun to know my family will be watching the same thing at the same time as me.

8.) I love College Football live.
Seriously- it's a half and hour of heaven everyday. Today, Texas A&M received some serious praise- the best passing attack in the Big 12. And everyone agreed, Texas A&M will beat OU at Kyle Field this year, marking the rise of the Mike Sherman era at A&M. I'll be honest, it gave me goosebumps. I feel like good things are in store for our Aggies, and we're getting pumped. And while there are lots of things to be said about LSU, that may be better on another post. :)

9.) I am thankful for our Doody.I know I have a seriously case of oldest child syndrome. I always have. And as a result, I'm a little mother hen. I always want to make sure my siblings are okay. Their happiness is so important to me. I want them to celebrate life, to live and love to the fullest. Their joy is my joy- and that is what I love about family. So to see my sister with Dustin, well... it's one of the most beautiful things in the whole world. Dustin is an amazing man. His character is upstanding. Gregory said it best- the world needs more men like Doody. I love Doody like I love my brothers. I love the way he loves my sister, and I love the way he loves our family. I am SO thankful for our Doody. There is no one else I'd rather have for a brother -in-law. St.Bernard Fire Department is lucky to have a man like you.

10.) The Camellia Grill It's rare that we stumble across such a significant place in New Orleans that Layne hasn't experienced. Even though we've only been together four years, Layne has done an amazing job of checking out New Orleans like a local would. So when we landed 1:30 later than planned and options for dinner were limited, Camellia Grill came to mind. And once we figured Layne was a first timer, it was a must. Abby met us there around 11pm, and we let Layne enjoy the fine dining experience.When Camellia Grill re-opened after Hurricane Katrina, it became a special symbol of the rebirth and rebuilding of the city. It reminded me of another little thing I love about home, the community, and it was the perfect welcome home.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lookig forward to August in Texas

I am done complaining about how hot it is in Dallas, Texas. Yes, the temperature often rises above 100 degrees. Yes, you are going to get a sunburn if you stand in the sun. It's hot. It's uncomfortable. But it is bearable- just find some shade.

New Orleans gave me an attitude adjustment. You walk outside, your glasses fog up. You immediately begin to sweat. And it doesn't stop. It'll be 10pm and you are still sweating just like it was 3pm. In the sun or in the shade, it doesn't matter. The humidity is everywhere.

Don't get me wrong, I love Nola, and I accept it for steam bath that it is. But it sure did make me happy to come back to Dallas in August.... 100+degree weather and all.

Zach's 30th Party Boat

What better way to start the summer than a day on Lake Travis with your best friends from college? We couldn't think of one- which is why me made a Saturday day trip to Austin just six days before we moved out of the house. Layne's college roommate Zach Inman turned 30, and his wife Julie threw a surprise party boat celebration!

Layne and the Birthday Boy, all grown up!

We grabbed a bite to eat at Carlos and Charlie's on the water, and then got back in the car for the ride back home. He caught a good nap, and I caught up with friends on the phone. It was a good time, and it was great to see that group of friends. We don't get together often enough.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

McGlothin Family Nest

Thankful on a Thursday is back again, and this week it down to the basics.

6.)Going Home to New Orleans

One of the best feelings in the world is waking up in the morning on a day I am going "home." Although Dallas is where Layne and I choose to be, New Orleans will always represent home in some way, because home is where the heart is. And in case you haven't noticed- a big piece of both of our hearts is there.