October 13, 2018

South Africa Trip : Blog 3

Sunday, September 2

Chris' race day!! We left the farm at 4:15 am because the road from the farm to town was going to be closed at 5:00 for the race since it was the race course.  QLefty drove us and Ben there in his van, and the boys worked on getting prepped for the race.

The women had had great weather for their race the previous day, but the men didn't get as lucky. It was a little rainy all day long, with a constant drizzle. That made the bike course, especially, a little more dangerous as they were descending those massive hills at break neck speed.

QLefty and I gathered at the swim start and saw the boys off -- they went in waves of 10, every few seconds, to space it out in the water. When Chris went into the first waves, his goggles came off! Luckily, the went down around his neck and not into the water! He got them back on quickly and off he went! He had a solid swim leg with no issues, and Lefty was at the water to see him come out. He went quickly through transition one and I was there to see him start off on the bike course. He was looking strong!

Afterwards, QLefty and I walked a bit and then he had a meeting with a friend and I went to enjoy my free breakfast! It was delish, and the other spectators were so nice. Afterwards, I made my way down the shoreline to the viewing area to see Chris return on his bike -- I was able to get some good pics there. The bike course was extremely hilly and intense, so his legs were dead afterwards! I was so happy to see him off the bike and know that he was safe, with no bike crashes because of the wet roads. After a quick transition two, he took off on the run course. From my great viewing location, I was able to see him multiple times since the course was a loop. He had a great run, though it wasn't what he had hoped because of the large amounts of energy the bike course used. I was able to stand right at the finish line as he came zooming through the finish shoot, and he was so pumped to be finishing! He crossed that line as an IRONMAN CHAMPION!!! Only a select few can claim that, and he earned every bit of that title! So super proud of him! Chris knew that he wouldn't have a personal best on this course, and he raced it as his "victory lap" from the amazing effort that got him to that point. He was thrilled with the whole experience!

After the race, we all met up. Chris took his bike back to the bike transport tent, so they could get it packed up and sent back to the U.S. Then we had dinner on the Boardwalk, and Chris and Ben rehashed their races and told stories. It was so fun to hear about it all! What an amazing day!!!

October 07, 2018

South Africa Trip : Blog 2

Monday, August 27

We picked up our rental car -- a cute silver Kia SUV. Chris immediately went to get in the left side...whoops! Driving on the other side of the road and from the other side of the car was going to take some getting used to! We followed QLefty out to his family's farm, which was about a 30 minute drive down the shoreline into the country. One of the coolest things about this trip is that QLefty grew up in the very city the Championship race was being held...and his mom still lived there, on their family farm! Honestly, what are the chances of that?? QLefty needed to take care of a few things there, so he decided to travel there at the same time as us so he could also watch the race. This was such an amazing benefit!! He invited us to stay at the farm for our entire two week stay, and it allowed us to get the "living like locals" feel. AMAZING.

We arrived at Seaside Chalets and he showed us to our room...it was a quaint little space with a small kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. We got everything unpacked and then we all went for a quick dinner before we fell into bed, exhausted. The interesting thing about this place...everything shut down around 6:00 pm. There isn't much open at night. We did stop to get some groceries on the way back, then we slept for about 13 hours straight, and woke up feeling refreshed and ready to explore!

Tuesday, August 28

After having lunch at our chalet, we went to explore the farm. It was a very cool place, and it was all built by QLefty and his dad back in the day. We walked up to a lookout spot and were treated to a gorgeous view of the Seaside shoreline and Indian Ocean. Breathtaking! We also had our first experience with the wild monkeys! We heard them running on the roof, and when I opened the blinds at the chalet, one jumped down from the roof right in front of me! I MIGHT have said a very loud curse word in my surprise!! I also scared him, and he took off! There were about 15 wild monkeys there, and though they never got close to us, they were very, very curious about us.

That afternoon, we went into Port Elizabeth to get some necessities at a store similar to Walgreens and check out the lay of the land. On the way home, we had an amazing sushi dinner at Ocean Basket -- the thing about South Africa -- the food was incredibly cheap!! We ate like kings the whole two weeks!

Wednesday, August 29

We had some things to take care of on Wednesday -- we went back into town to the Boardwalk, so that Chris could check in for the race, get his race packet, pick up his bike from the bike transport, etc. The Boardwalk was the hub for all things race-related, and we were there multiple times throughout the week. When we got back to the chalet, Chris did a short ride on his bike to make sure everything was working properly, and then we went to a huge mall about 20 minutes away for dinner. We tried some traditional South African food there, and it was tasty! We walked around the mall a bit and then when we got back, QLefty came over and we all chatted for awhile over wine. It was a good day!

Thursday, August 30

This day was one of our two Ironman volunteer experiences! We visited the Early Birds Daycare facility that had just opened about one week earlier and was funded by the Ironman Foundation. During the Ironman Expo earlier in the week, we helped pack backpacks for the children that were handed out during this visit. Now, to be transparent — most people know that I am not really a “kid” person…so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this experience. I can honestly say that I was incredibly moved by the entire day there!

When we arrived, we were met with the little toddlers singing a song for us! It was such a sweet sound. We all filed into the playground area where we each handed out a backpack to one of the children. Chris and I found two little girls and spent some time with them going through their goody bags. We helped them open their snacks and drinks, which they thoroughly enjoyed all at once until they were gone. Then we introduced them to their coloring books and crayons, and spent some time coloring with them. They really loved the sheets of stickers — they loved sticking them on their faces and bodies! Throughout the fun, we were taking selfies with the kiddies. It was joyous to see how enamored they were with their reflection in the camera phone. We finished off by spending some time pushing them on the swings and seeing their joy.

This daycare is providing these children with a safe place to spend their days, and they are getting food and skills that are necessary for their survival and their future. It was amazing to see how much the Ironman Foundation pours into this community and how appreciative the teachers and children are of everything. I loved spending a day in this environment and pouring into the sweet children.

When we returned to the Boardwalk afterwards, Chris wanted to do a practice swim in the Indian Ocean so that he could get a feel for the surf entering the swim course. The beach was beautiful, and it was pretty chilly water. Definitely wet-suit weather. It was a good thing he practiced, those waves were no joke!  From there, we went back up to the Boardwalk to watch the Parade of Nations -- similar to what you see during the Olympics, with athletes from every country walking with their flag. So many countries were represented at this championship race, it was amazing to see! Chris jumped into the USA group when they went by :) We then had a delicious lunch at the Boardwalk and then did a little shopping in the Ironman merchandise tent.

That evening, near the Boardwalk, we attended the Welcome Reception and had the honor of sitting at the Ironman Foundation VIP table! The food was so yummy, and the Welcome presentation was great too. Then there was the mandatory athlete briefing before we headed back to the chalet. We ended the evening with more wine and chatting with QLefty!

Friday, August 31

We slept in a bit and then after breakfast we went back up to the lookout spot. The monkeys followed us up there, and we were able to watch them all hanging out in the trees, eating fruit and frolicking. So cool. Then, QLefty drove us down the shore a bit so Chris could check out the bike course. Man, it was a very, very hilly course. Quite intense. Even in a van!

We headed back to the Boardwalk so that I could attend the VIP spectator briefing...the boys went to a nearby restaurant for some beers while I went on the 2 hour briefing. So glad that I went, it was very informative and we even did a walking tour of all the VIP spots where we could go during the race. Super helpful! This VIP experience was incredible!! I was so blessed to be part of it. There were great viewing locations on each leg, just for us. We were also given tickets to a free breakfast race morning, and there was a huge fancy tent at the finish line that also had food and champagne! After the briefing, I met up with the boys, and we all had dinner together before we went back and Chris worked on getting all of his race stuff prepared for race day.

Saturday, September 1

This was the day of the women's race! They separated the men and women races for the Championship, since there were so many athletes for each one. At the end of QLefty's driveway, we were able to park the car and watch all of the women come by on their bikes! It was so fun to see this part of the race, since I typically don't see much of it! Then we headed back into town so that Chris could do his bike drop off and gear bag drop off. We had dinner with another racer staying at the chalets named Ben, and then went back to get a good night's rest prior to the BIG DAY!

October 01, 2018

Catching Up

:: I know, I'm royally slacking in my posts about South Africa. I just can't seem to find the time or energy to set aside a pocket of time to write big posts. I've got my notes and my memories and those posts will come. I just don't know when :)

:: I must say, Chris and I are thoroughly enjoying the new rhythm we're in...Monday-Friday we work and live in our RV and do our normal life. Friday-Sunday we enjoy our favorite town in our own little house and do all the fun things. It's working out great :) Poppy loves it in Fred, and we are slowly working on the house. We now have some living room furniture and the dining room furniture. Still waiting on the couch, it should be delivered on Friday. It takes a lot of energy and money to furnish an entire house...so we are taking it slow. 

:: We've got a few things going on in October...one weekend, I am going to head to Waco with the girls for a Magnolia trip! I'll be going with Nadene, Lori and Angie and it should be lots of fun!! Then, the weekend after that, Chris and I are heading to Waco for him to compete in the half Ironman there! Our sweet friends from Joplin will both be competing and we can't wait to see them!!

:: I'll take my laptop to Fred this weekend, and try to get in an Africa blog!!

September 16, 2018

South Africa Trip : Blog 1

Ahhhh...I'm sitting here in our Fred house, with my Poppy laying right next to me...watching Big Bang Theory and waiting for Chris to get back from his Sunday run. It's been such a lovely weekend. We drove down on Friday and had dinner at Sozial Haus -- mmmm! Saturday, Chris did a bike ride and then we went to had our free glass of Grape Creek wine :) Afterwards, we did some shopping along Main and found some goodies! We found some beautiful ceramics to add to our little nook (see Instagram for pics!!). The nook is turning out very cute! After lunch at the Brewery, we spent a few hours at home with Poppy and the internet :) We finally decided on some furniture and made the purchases online!! We bought: a couch; an accent chair; a coffee table; and a living room rug. I posted the couch on Instagram, but you'll have to wait to see the rest! I want to get it all in and set up to make sure it all looks good together before showing it all :)

I wanted to start documenting our big South Africa trip -- it will take awhile for me to get it all down, but gotta start somewhere!

Saturday, August 25 / Sunday, August 26

We dropped Poppy off at Mimi's and said our goodbyes...then we drove to Dallas for our late night flight. We got through security just fine and waited for our flight. Everything was on time, and we took off for London! It was about a 9 hour flight and man that is a long time on a plane!!! We had lots of movies to watch and books to read. And we tried to snooze a bit too.

When we landed in London, we had about an 8 hour layover. Building in time to get out and back in through security, we figured we had a few hours to spend touring London. Prior to our trip, we purchased tickets for the Heathrow Express, which took us from the airport to Paddington Station. From there, we had tickets for a Big Bus London double decker bus tour that you can jump on/jump off of wherever you want. Big Sad Face -- we came out of Paddington Station to walk to Oliver Steakhouse to catch the tour bus...and it was POURING RAIN. Not just a nice mist, but POURING. We didn't really know where we were going, so we wandered around in the rain until we finally found it. Finally the bus arrived, and we got on. No one was on the top deck because of the rain, so that was sad. We proceeded to ride around London, peering at what we could through the rain soaked windows. We saw a little bit, but not much. We had plans to get off at one specific stop so that we could take a short walk to Buckingham Palace -- well, the bus didn't even stop!! Just drove right on by. I was so upset!! That was the one thing we wanted to see. Blah. So, we basically finished up the ride on the bus and got back off at Paddington Station.

It was NOT exactly what I had hoped for, sadly. We'll have to make another trip to London some day so that we can really experience it...in more than four hours!

Back at the station, we stopped for some coffee and then the restrooms...which, unfortunately, were PAY toilets and we didn't have any cash. So, we just got back on the Heathrow Express and made it back to the airport where we waited for our next flight, to Cape Town, South Africa.

The London airport was interesting...everyone sits together in a big holding room until gates are listed for your flight when it's time to start boarding. It was a big open room, kind of circular...surrounded on the perimeter with shops and restaurants. We ate at one of the restaurants and looked at the shops. There was a Cath Kidston shop and I was so excited! I have loved her stuff for years, but since it is a London based store I've never purchased anything. I loved everything in the store!!! I decided I would get a purse but would wait until we came back through on our journey home.

Our flight to Cape Town was slightly delayed...but then we got on and took off on our next long leg which was about 12 hours. Very very long time on a plane. When we landed, they let about 30 of us off first so we could try to make our connecting flight to Port Elizabeth...sadly, we had to get our luggage and recheck it, and by the time we did that it was too late...we had missed our flight. They were able to get us another flight about three hours later, so we hung out in the airport and met a nice guy named Jeff that we chatted with (he was also doing the race.)

The flight to Port Elizabeth was about an hour and a half, and then we were finally at our final destination!!! We were met there by QLefty!!!!!! So, next blog will take it from there :)

September 09, 2018

Back in the USA!

Well, we are home!! It felt so good to step food on US soil again. It just felt like home, coming into the Dallas airport yesterday.

: We had an AMAZING trip! If you followed along on Instagram or Facebook, you've seen the highlights! I'll work to get some blogs ready, about the experience! It was definitely the trip of a lifetime.

: We got home around 9:00 last night, after visiting with Mimi a bit and picking up Poppy. Was sooo good to see our sweet girl, she was so excited! She didn't eat much over the two weeks we were gone, so now it's time to work hard on getting her back on a good schedule.

: I stayed awake on the whole 10 hour final flight yesterday so that I could go to bed at our normal local time. I was exhausted, and fell instantly to sleep at 10:30 last night. I got a good, solid 9 hours of sleep, and have felt pretty good today so far! Hopefully the jet lag won't be too bad.

: Today I tackled 5 loads of laundry and the grocery shopping. It feels good to have all of that done!

: Tomorrow, it is back to work!! Will feel a bit odd, after being gone two full weeks. We shall see what went on while I was out, and get acclimated again.

Hope you have a great week!!

August 12, 2018

Back & Forth

: Friday after work, we packed up the car with stuff and with Poppy, and then made the jaunt to Fred! This is becoming a very nice routine! When we got there, we set up shop and settled in.

: Saturday morning, Chris had a first! He went to help harvest grapes at one of the local vineyards! He left at 6:00 am, started working at 6:30, and was on his way home around 10:30. He had a blast!! He learned a lot, harvested a lot of grapes, and met some fun people. For his hard work volunteering, he got a "Harvest Crew" t-shirt, breakfast, and then later, a free glass of wine at Vintner's Hideaway. He really enjoyed the experience! While he was gone, I worked on getting things in order for our Africa trip plans and spent some good time with Poppy while watching Friends! :) After Vintner's Hideaway, we also got our free glass of wine at Grape Creek...of course! That evening, we got a text from our friend, John...he was in town visiting him mom (he grew up in Fred). We were able to meet for dinner at Pasta Bella and it was great to catch up! It's been a few years since we've seen him. We finished up with drinks at Lincoln Street. A very nice day, even with a little bit of rain.

: Sunday, Chris did a run and then we had lunch at Tubby's. After getting packed up and cleaning the house up, we got on the road to home.

: The week ahead should be fairly straight-forward. I was able to get all of the laundry done this evening, as well as the grocery shopping. So I am happy to say that I don't have to play catch up tomorrow after work. That is a good, good thing. Friday, we'll be back to Fred for one last weekend before our South Africa trip.

: I am waiting waiting waiting to cut my hair...it is soooo long right now. Longer than it has been since high school probably. I am so tired of it. I want to have my braid for our Africa trip though, so will be cutting it when we get back. I've enjoyed having it this long, but I've reached the point of IT'S GOTTA GO!!!

August 05, 2018

Anniversary #11

Hello! We are back in the trailerhood, getting things ready for the week ahead. But, we had a really nice weekend in our Fred!

Saturday was our 11th anniversary! My, the time is just flying by! We love spending our anniversary in Fred, because that is where we took our first trip together and where we held our wedding! It's special to us on so many levels.

Saturday, we slept in a bit and then Chris did his workout -- a bike trainer ride and short run. He's experiencing some tightness in his glute/hamstring, so say a little prayer for that please. We are getting so close to his race in South Africa, and we need him healthy and performing at 100%!!! While he did that, Poppy and I ate our breakfast and relaxed on the back porch. Then we had some fun!

: We looked at a few more antique stores -- didn't find anything.

: We visited a new place called Vintner's Hideaway -- they are off Main St, and have been open about 3 months. The two ladies that work there, Dana and Linda, were so great! It was a quiet afternoon there, so we had the place to ourselves for awhile...we tried all kinds of wines and chatted with them about all kinds of things. Dana helps harvest grapes, and Chris may join her next Saturday morning to do some as well! He is excited to experience that.

: From there, we went to Grape Creek, for our daily free glasses of wine :) Mmmm.

: That evening, we had dinner at Cabernet Grill -- so yummy! The servers had a Happy Anniversary card waiting for us, so sweet! I had the filet and Chris had the stuffed shrimp. We really enjoyed our celebration there.

: Afterwards, we tried a new little bar that serves craft cocktails...The Stable. It was cozy and quaint, so nice!

Sunday, we slept in again and after Chris ran we did a few things in town. I made a Walmart run, we found a big white pot for our front porch, and we had lunch at Sozial Haus. We are loving their pizza! Then, after our free glasses of wine at Grape Creek, we wrapped things up at the house and headed back to Abilene.

The week ahead...

: I'll be playing catch up with the grocery shopping and laundry...just turned in my order at Walmart and will do a pick up right after work. Then I need to stop at Kohl's for a few shirts for Africa, and then get our laundry done.

: Kim and I are going to see Christopher Robbin on Wednesday, can't wait!!!

: We have VIPs, so another presentation.

: My heart is heavy, as we will be attending the funeral of our dear friend Jon on Wednesday morning. After six years of dealing with his skin cancer that went to his lungs and then his brain, it is a tragic loss of an amazing, God-loving man who we were so blessed to call our friend. It will be a rough morning, but I know we will be celebrating his life, and his reunion with Jesus!!

: The weekend will be spent back in Fred, with a side trip to San Antonio -- it is time to take Chris' bike to the transport service that will ship it over to South Africa!! Things are getting real!

July 29, 2018

So Productive!

It's getting to be pretty fun, splitting life between two homes...Abilene and Fredericksburg...a fifth wheel and a small house...the "work" zone and the "fun" zone!

Though, this weekend, we did a lot of work in the fun zone! It was super productive, and that was a good thing. We were able to accomplish most, but not all, of the things on our to-do list.

:: We painted two bathrooms...the hall bathroom had bright blue walls, so that one required a coat of primer and two additional coats. The master bathroom took two coats to cover the dark gray. We painted both the same color -- a pretty light gray. We are very happy with the results, but man...painting sucks! We are both so sore today...our hands, wrists, back, arms.

:: We changed out fixtures. In the hall bathroom, we changed out the towel ring, the toilet paper holder, and the faucet. We also added two hooks, for towels. In the master bathroom, we changed out the towel ring and added a hook. We still need to change out the toilet paper holder and faucet there.

:: Still to do, this coming weekend...the remaining fixtures listed above, and install a new blind in the master bathroom.

:: We didn't do too many fun things...it was a work weekend. We did have a quick dinner at Burger Burger on Saturday evening, and a quick lunch at Sozial Haus Sunday. We also got our free glasses of wine at Grape Creek before leaving town.

:: This coming weekend is our 11th anniversary!!! Whoop!! We'll be back in Fred, doing more work but also having some good fun to celebrate!

:: Also realized today...we leave for our Africa trip in under 30 days now!!!!!!! It will be here before we know it!

:: I hope you all have a great week ahead!!

July 22, 2018

Time in Fred

We've spent another fabulous weekend if Fredericksburg! It's so fun to have our very own house there -- we are loving it!

We left Friday after work and after Chris finished his swim...the three of us enjoyed a nice car ride together, and stopped at McDonalds for dinner. With Poppy, we had to eat in the car, but it all worked out. She did great again, and we love it!

When we got into town, Poppy had fun playing in the backyard and running through the house! It was good to see! We worked on getting our two new shelves put together. Well, mainly Chris did :) We got a wooden shelf unit for a little nook in the hall bathroom, and a metal over-the-toilet rack for the master bathroom. The master bath, especially, has very little storage or counter space. Both fit the spaces well and I was able to get the towels put up.

After a good night of sleep, we woke up and started our day in Fred! Chris did his run and I went to Hilda's for breakfast burritos. Then we got cleaned up headed to Trade Days. Trade Days happens every 3rd weekend of the month, and is a very large flea market. They have a very wide variety of things -- old, new, furniture, clothes, jewelry, decorations, you name it.

Since it was about 105 degrees, it was a tad miserable...we went through as quickly as possible. We found a few cute things for the house...a neat retro lamp, a funky yellow spring, and a few homemade pottery pieces. When I found out a teenage girl had made the pottery, I was very impressed!

Afterwards, we stopped at a new winery to check it out. Signor Vineyards was a very beautiful place, we really loved it! We'll definitely be going back. Then we stopped at Grape Creek for our free glass of wine and a cheese board, and the lovely music of our favorite guy Jeff Wood. A very nice afternoon.

After a stop to Walmart, we came home to Poppy for awhile. Then tried a new place for dinner - La Tequila Jalisco. It was a hopping place and very tasty! Then we settled in and watched a movie while looking at furniture options online. Still trying to figure out what we want to get -- it's a big decision, furnishing a whole house! We made some good progress in narrowing things down, so we are on our way.

Sunday, we had a lazy morning. Did a few house things. We will go to a few stores in town before we leave to pick up a few things, and then we'll travel back to Abilene to get ready for our work week.

Hope you all had a great weekend, too!

The week ahead...I'm not entirely sure what all it holds since I haven't looked at my calendar yet, but we are going to celebrate Aspen's 22nd birthday on Monday evening. She is going to cook for us. More on that to come!

July 15, 2018

Scrapbook Retreat Weekend!

What a fun weekend I had!

This was the scrapbook retreat weekend! It was held at Kim's house, and took place all day Saturday and all day Sunday. It was fun, and so productive!!

I got there on Saturday at 9:00 am. I got everything unpacked and then looked through 900 layouts that Kim finished up recently!!! That was good to look through, and she was so happy to have those all accomplished. She's worked very hard to get caught up and now she is!

Then I got to work! I had a list of things I wanted to work on.

1. Ironman 70.3 Texas -- the half triathlon from early April
2. A memorium album about Ocho
3. Ironman Texas - the full triathlon from late April

Since everything that I do is on my phone through the Project Life app, it gets a little tiring on my eyes and upper back/shoulders. But, I hooked up a blue tooth keyboard, and that made the journaling a lot easier!

I am happy to report that I finished #1 and #2 on my list above!! The 70.3 album was well underway when I arrived...I just needed to fine tune everything and do all of the journaling, which takes awhile. I had to do the Ocho album from scratch, so that included placing the photos, choosing the art cards, and doing all of the journaling. I got it all done, proofread it all, and loaded it up for ordering. Then hit Place Order on both! Can't wait to receive them both.

Chris and I were going to meet somewhere for dinner Saturday evening, but after we couldn't decide on a place, I told him Kim had made chicken spaghetti and he decided to just come over and join us since he loves that! It was so fun having him there, and he stayed for dinner until 10:00 and then we both went home. Earlier in the day, Mimi had come out to see him and they went to lunch at the local Mexican place -- they make great burgers and Mimi wanted to try one. They had a nice time together.

Sunday, I was back at Kim's around 9:00 again and had another full day or productivity. It was a good time with the girls -- we had a decent size group! Me, Kim, Allison, Pam, Paula, Terry, her daughter-in-law Leanna, and Roxanne. We talked and laughed and enjoy our time together.

Weekends like these are so nice! I don't have to worry about anything else and can just relax a bit and enjoy the hobby that I love.

Now, another week is about to begin...I'm getting my hair done on Tuesday...I have a VIP presentation on Wednesday...and we are back to Fredericksburg for the weekend in hopes of getting more accomplished. I hope you have a great week ahead!

July 10, 2018

Our Sweet Ocho

July 2 was a very tough day for us...we decided it was time to say goodbye to our Ocho. It was such a hard decision to make...how can a human being be expected to determine this kind of thing? It was gut-wrenching. Chris struggled with it. I struggled with it. But, Ocho's quality of life had greatly diminished, and he was doing a lot of stretching to relieve the pain and make more space inside his body, where the very large tumor was quickly growing. The bumps on the outside were growing very fast as well, and additional bumps were cropping up all over his little body. At night, he was no longer really sleeping...he would pace and whine, and we knew he was in pain. He hadn't played ball in over a month, and that was his very favorite thing.

Other times, he seemed ok...he had ok moments. But, his good days were behind him. We knew in our hearts that it was time, though selfishly, we really wanted to delay the decision for as long as possible.

I talked to the vet, and they were able to get us in at 2:15. Chris decided that he could not go with me to the vet, since he was taking it so hard already and couldn't bear to witness that. He took a few hours off that morning, and spent the time with Ocho. He was able to say his goodbyes in private, and then Ocho and I drove to the vet.

Along the ride, he stood up against the passenger door and looked out the window with a big happy smile on his face...it was such a good sight to see, and warmed our hearts. He enjoyed his last ride to see Dr. Bolt.

We had to wait about 30 minutes in the waiting room, and then about 15 minutes in the exam room. I won't go into more detail, but it was gut-wrenching. I sobbed uncontrollably for awhile. I pulled a chair over and sat holding Ocho's little paw, talking to him and crying and loving on him.

I left feeling so raw and drained. It was the hardest decision to make, and the hardest experience to witness. Now, we are left with a huge hole and it is so obvious he is gone. This little 7 pound dog made such an impact on our life and his absence is astounding. We are all trying to adjust.

Ocho was such a special dog to us...we have so many amazing memories with him and we just have to hold those close to our hearts and know that we made the best decision we could for him.

He'll always be a part of us.

July 08, 2018

Five Days in Fred!!

WOW. What a great 6 days we have had!!

:: Tuesday evening after work, we celebrated Chris' 44th birthday! We went to Perini Ranch and enjoyed a very nice meal together. Mimi and Aspen joined us, and he was able to have his favorite bread pudding! I gave him his gifts, too -- a 1.5 hour massage in Fredericksburg, and a 7-course meal experience there too!

:: Then, we loaded up the car and got on the road to Fredericksburg. We had things planned for Wednesday morning, so we wanted to wake up in town. We witnessed, no exaggeration, at least 50 deer on the side of the road (and probably 4 in-the-road close calls). It was a very tense drive and we were not fans. We took Poppy with us this trip, and we were excited to see how she did. The longest car ride she's ever done is about 15 minutes, so the 2.25 hour drive would be new to her. She did great, and laid in my lap the whole way. We were so proud of her!! We pulled into Fred around 1:30 and made a beeline to bed!

:: Wednesday was the 4th of July and we had a very fun day!! We met Don (our realtor) and his family on Main Street for the big 4th parade, and that was so much fun! Loved it!! Then we had a glass of wine at Grape Creek on Main...the perf of being a member at this winery is you get a free glass of wine (each) every day!! We were really able to enjoy that perk this week! That evening, we met them all at their church to watch the big fireworks show. A great holiday!

:: Thursday, we relaxed and did things around the house...lots of trips to Walmart...groceries at HEB...

:: Friday, Chris enjoyed his massage in the morning. That evening, we met Don and all for Art Walk on Main, which happens the first Friday of every month. We went to a handful of art galleries and enjoyed free wine and snacks at each. Fun! Then Chris and I went to Vaudeville, a restaurant on Main. They have what is called "V Supper Club", and you can choose. 4-course or a 7-course chef's tasting experience. I gifted Chris with the 7-course, and he was also able to do the wine pairing with each course. The food was so amazing!! We had 4 different waiters, and each course was unique and very tasty. It took 2.5 hours to get through the whole meal. We were so stuffed when we left there! It was definitely a successful gift experience!! We finished the evening at one of our normal bars, and then headed home.

:: Saturday, we met new friends at Grape Creek's winery and then ventured out on our own -- we went to a handful of other wineries and enjoyed our day together. That evening, we tried a new restaurant -- Pasta Bella. It was very tasty. We had an early evening and watched a movie.

:: Sunday, we tried out the church that Don goes to, and it was a very nice service. We were glad that we went. Then we got things settled at the house and drove home. Poppy did great again, on the ride!! She'll be coming with us on all future trips.

In amongst all of those fun things, we did a lot of things on the house -- switched out knobs in the kitchen, put cabinet liners in all the cabinets, cleaned, Chris cut the grass, we made about 6 trips to Walmart, we picked out stuff for the bathrooms, we spent an hour at the internet provider company getting internet set up at the house, we had two more mattresses delivered, we did internet searches for furniture, we shopped some antique stores, we let Poppy explore her new back yard (she looooooved that!!!), we enjoyed the porch swing, etc!! It was very productive.

Now, we are back to the Trailerhood preparing for a CRAZY week ahead -- the second most crazy week of the year. All of our sales people will be in for the whole week for meetings, and we'll have our summer company party (the Dig Gig) on Wednesday. Chris' company is having a meeting all day Monday, and then a dinner that evening. Busy week ahead. I'll also have to do some catchup after being off Thursday/Friday.

Later this week, I'll be back to tell the story about our Ocho...we had to say our goodbyes and we are quite heartbroken...

July 01, 2018

Fred Weekend

We spent the weekend at our new house!

Saturday morning, we left bright and early and made the 2.5 hour drive to Fredericksburg to get our keys and check out our new house! Our realtor, Don, had left the keys there for us, and when we walked in, there was a bottle of Grape Creek wine and a congrats balloon waiting for us!! So sweet of him.

We walked around and checked out everything there...overall, it's a great structure. We have some things we'd like to update/change, and we had some cleaning to do. We had a mattress delivered, and we were able to see how comfy that was, too.

We had lunch at Sozial Haus, then shopped the Main Street shops for any finds for our house. We left empty handed. Then, we headed to Grape Creek and 4.0 for some wine and relaxation. We decided on August E's sushi for dinner (sooooo yummy) and then we made a 10:00 p.m. run to Walmart for a long list of things for the house.

Sunday, after a very good night of sleep, we had a late breakfast at a new place and then headed back home to work. Chris did some stuff outside and in the garage, and I did some cleaning inside. And we made lists...lists of things to fix, to change, to buy, etc. Lots and lots to do.

But you know what? We are super excited to be owners in Fred!! We're looking forward to getting it all put together.

Know what else?? Our house is about 1300-1400 square feet, and it feels like a mansion to us!!! After living in the 5th wheel, this little house feels super roomy! It's all about perspective.

I'm also very happy that the last owners left the porch swing on the back porch...yay!!

So...we are back home now and will work for two days. Then we are going to enjoy 5 days down in our new house, working on it some more! We'll be there for the 4th of July, and we are excited for the fireworks show there. It's always soooo good!

Tuesday is Chris' 44th birthday! We'll be having dinner at Perini Ranch so he can have his favorite bread pudding to celebrate!

June 20, 2018

Dreams Coming True

I'm here today with exciting news!!!

If you know Chris and I at all, you surely know that our very favorite place is Fredericksburg, Texas! We went there, fifteen years ago, on our first trip together as a couple. We got married there, almost eleven years ago. We've visited many, many times beyond that. We've been there so much that we often feel like locals.

Well, we are now officially locals!! We just bought a cute little house there! We closed on it yesterday!

For years, we have talked about owning something there in town. After downsizing to the townhouse last year, we found ourselves in a situation to actually make this long-time dream come true. Crazy stuff! So, we began to look for something to buy.

In our price range, houses for sale are kind of rare there. The real estate market in insane...it's a very booming market. We found one very adorable house that we loved, and put a contract on...but that one wasn't accepted. We came home that weekend feeling very glum.

Our realtor, Don, didn't give up though! We went back a second weekend and looked at four other houses with him. One of them was very well-kept, and most of the house had been updated/remodeled. It was move-in ready, which is what we wanted. We don't want to go to Fredericksburg and spend all of our time working to get it ready to live in. We have other fun things to do while we are there...like wineries!

We decided to put an offer in on that house, and it was accepted! The inspection came up with only very minor things, and the appraisal came in at higher than what we paid. Everything went very smoothly with the entire process, and we were able to do a remote close here from Abilene yesterday.

It's hard to believe, but we own a second home!!!!

We are planning to spend five days there around the 4th of July...so we'll have some good time in the house and can begin to get things going there. We have a full house to furnish and decorate...as you know, we sold a lot of our belongings when we downsized, and everything else is being used at the townhouse. So, we get to start from scratch. It's a weird feeling, to decorate like that! I'm excited to see how it goes.

Looking forward to meeting up with Don to get our keys and then getting into our vacation home!!!! Stay tuned to my Instagram, as I, of course, will be posting before and after photos as we go along!!

June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day

Today, we celebrate all the dads and special men in the world, and I sure have a lot to celebrate! Some are no longer here to hug, and I sure do miss them...my dad, my step-dad, and my grandpa, Joe.  I'm sending virtual hugs to m grandpa, Al, my mom's hubby, Randy, and my Clarence...love you all so much!

And, of course, my amazing hubby!!! There is no one I'd rather do this life with...thank you for all you do for our family!

Our weekend has been very low-key...Friday evening, after Chris swam a very long swim, we met at Jason's Deli for a delicious salad bar dinner. Saturday, Chris had another long workout and I went to Kohl's for a few things and then stopped at the Natural Food store. That evening, we went to the Flea Market (it is the third weekend of every month), but there was not much there at all. It was a little sad. So, we nixed that idea, and then later went out to dinner at a new (to us) Mexican restaurant in a little town of Winters. It's about 20 minutes away, in the opposite direction of Abilene. It takes us about 20 minutes to get to Abilene, too, so we decided it was worth a try. It was ok, but we still like the little whole in the wall Mexican place in our tiny town the best. So, we probably won't be going back there.

Sunday, after Chris runs for 90 minutes, we are going to meet Mimi, Aspen, and Geordon at Sharon's BBQ for a Father's Day lunch. Before then, I am doing laundry and going to our little grocery store in town. I am also looking forward to my weekly call with my grandma, in the two o'clock hour :)

Update on our Ocho -- it's day by day. We've had to give him pain pills the past few days, so we think the tumor inside is growing and making things very uncomfortable in his abdomen. The growth inside is pushing out the bumps on his side, starting to make it a little difficult for him to walk since those are on his hip and it's very tight there. Neither of us has ever had to "make the call" in a situation like this...and it's very hard to know when the right time will be. It doesn't feel like it's time yet, but we feel that it may be close.

The week ahead -- Chris is having dinner with his boss on Tuesday evening; Chris has a business trip to New Mexico Wednesday/Thursday; Friday, we are off work in the afternoon and are driving to Lubbock to help our friends from Joplin, MO, work a booth at the Buffalo Springs 70.3 Half Ironman Expo. Here's to a good week!