2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 860 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Romans 2:12 – for Sara & Dustin

At my nieces wedding reception she requested that instead of signing just any book she wanted guests to sign her Bible.  She asked that everyone find their favorite Bible verse, highlight it and sign their name next to it.  In the future when she and her husband attend church or Bible study – they can take that Bible and be reminded of their friends and family and their very special day.  It’s a truly awesome concept – but let’s be honest, how many of us can come up with a Bible verse off the top of our heads?  Especially those of us who don’t exactly attend church regularly.

The first time I went over to the Bible I had a plan, John 3:16.  OK yes it’s cheesy, because everyone knows John 3:16 (the actual Bible verse, not the Keith Urban song).

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Of course…. Someone else had already highlighted that.  Ok, don’t panic.  1 Corinthians 13 – I have an old Home Interiors framed print of that verse, somewhere.  I do like it, it describes what love should be.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Yep that’s the one.  Except as I head back to the Bible to sign it the Bride’s sister joins me and I told her I finally knew which Bible verse and I proudly announced 1 Corinthians.  She stopped me, no that won’t work, because the bride always complains how that verse is over used in weddings.  OH COME ON!!  I get it, I don’t read the Bible enough… or usually ever unless there’s some news story where someone is twisting a Bible verse to mean something they want it to mean to prove their point on an issue and then I look up the verse.  And my guess is… had I flipped to 1 Corinthians 13 I would have found it highlighted by someone in the crowd.

My 3rd trip to the Bible was with my sister and fellow aunt of the Bride.  Now this is a sister who knows the Bible, cool maybe she can help me.  Nope.  She was having enough trouble remembering the verse she wanted to use.  She knew the words, but couldn’t remember the book or exact verse.  Luckily this Bible had an index in the back so she found it soon enough and highlighted her passage and went on about reception.  OH!! An index –how fortunate.  Psalms, I like a lot of the Psalms.  So I flipped though the Psalms and the index and finally just realized that this would take entirely more time and research than I had at the reception.

So when I got home I started looking up Bible verses.  Pinterest is not the best place to start but that’s where I started.  There are a LOT of Bible verses on Pinterest, with fancy art work and beautiful pictures.  Luckily I’m a writer and the journalistic instinct won’t just let me accept what I read. I have found that most people take a Bible verse, kind of quote it and turn it into art.  Because I looked up Bible quote after Bible quote that had been turned into beautiful art work, but wasn’t exactly how the verse actually was written.  Not just the old King James version but even the New International Version where the “thou’s” and “shall’s” have been replaced with modern pronouns.  So at first I was no better off than I was at the wedding.  Then I remembered one verse I loved as a kid.  It’s about Christmas and yes I wouldn’t know about it if it wasn’t for Linus VanPelt.

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I may not know the Bible but I know “It’s Christmas Charlie Brown.”

So I worked a little harder and I found this one, which I like.  Micah 6:8

Micah 6_8

And this one, which I have quoted in the past without realizing it’s a Bible verse. Matthew 6:34

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And now my “gift” to my niece.  After much research and an extensive search of Bible quotes…..this is now my favorite Bible quote.  Romans 12:2

romans 12_2

Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

I will highlight you’re Bible the next time I’m at your house and sign my name.  Bible study homework complete!

Comfort Zone

So on this first day of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, what should I blog about?  There’s a lot I could say or have an opinion about for sure.  But I keep going back to a question I was asked not too long ago – what’s your favorite picture?  I don’t even have to think about it.  Here’s my favorite picture of all time (and yes I took it):

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It reminds of a great evening with my family – even though there was nearly a knock down drag out fight to get everyone to the beach that night.  That probably makes it even better.

I have other favorites too:

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IMG_1057IMG_1659Teagan Baugh (14)cmas2009-3baby teagan3rd Birthday

Ok I could go on for days – and I didn’t even get into the ones with my mom or my sisters……Each one has a story behind it too.   That’s what I love about pictures they take you back to what was happening when the picture was taken.

So I’m just sitting here enjoying my pictures this first day of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  Why?  Because our family was one of the lucky ones.  And there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t remember that.  And when all the feelings of having a five-year old who had a brain tumor surface again this time of year this is my comfort zone.

So as I’m sitting here surrounded by my best pictures, I’m listening to music (it’s easier to write when I can’t here “MOM!!” 15 times – I’m sure they are fine – I don’t smell smoke so they haven’t set the house on fire – yet).  And one of my favorite songs starts playing that fits the blog:

In My Life – The Beatles.

So now I’m playing all my favorite tunes…. Which I’m going to list for you also.  Take a few minutes on YouTube or iTunes and have a listen to my playlist.  No it’s not new music at all – well some have been re-done by new artists.  Several of my favorite songs were written and popular well before I was born.  It’s an eclectic mix…..

In My Life – The Beatles–  This started it off

Love Lifts Us Up – Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes — Who doesn’t love An Officer & A Gentleman?

A Pirate Looks at 40 – Jimmy Buffett —   “Occupational hazard is my occupation isn’t around”

Please Come To Boston – Kenny Chesney –Yes I know he didn’t sing it originally – but duh it’s Kenny Chesney

Let It Be – The Beatles — I love the Beatles

I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing – Aerosmith — It’s a Dave thing – technically not “our song” but our song

Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond — My first concert with my mom – and also Dave & I singing this at the top of our lungs in the truck early one morning.

Dancing Queen – ABBA — Teagan & I sing this (terribly) ever since she saw Mama Mia

Yellow Submarine – The Beatles — Dawson & sing this (also terribly) and he may not admit that anymore…..

Wanted Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi — My nephew rocks this out at karaoke

Rocky Top – John Denver — My sister attempts to kill me by making me “clog” when this song is played – it’s a long song to clog too

From This Moment – Shania Twain — This is Dawson’s song – I heard it on the way home from the hospital when he was a baby

Your Song – Elton John —-This is Teagan’s song – I heard it when she was a few days old

(Yes – they both hate their songs!)

And my number one favorite song of all time:

Imagine – John Lennon                                                                 Yeah……..

Minasoda

Ah …. the mini vacation.

Definition: Attempting to cram a full vacation into 3 days or less.

It’s a completely insane idea, however after travelling nearly every weekend in the Spring for soccer tournaments you get the feeling that you have the mini trip mastered.  So with all of our soccer trips securely under our belts we got out our suitcases (still full of mini toiletries from Spring) and loaded up in the trusty Trailblazer and set our GPS to the Mall of America.

The Mall of America was not the original destination.  The original dream was to actually make it to a beach.  However living in the state of Indiana the closest beach is 11 hours and 35 minutes away (by the way if you’re wondering Pensacola Beach, FL is the closest with Folly Beach, SC coming in a close second).  So one day of driving one day of beaching and one day of driving didn’t sound like a good use of time.  After the beach bubble was burst it became impossible for the family to agree on a destination so up until about 4 days before we left I wasn’t sure we were going anywhere.

The only thing I did in advance was book the dogs at the All Inclusive Puppy Dog Vacation Destination (Bam refuses to let me use the word Kennel).  The day we left I pulled up some hotels on the internet and told Dave to make a reservation while Dawson and I took the dogs to the aforementioned destination.  Then after arguing about driving through Chicago versus driving through Illinois via Champaign, IL and Normal, IL we left.

How to play the I-spy game on I-39 in Illinois – “I spy with my little eye something and the color is GREEN.”  You have your choice of grass, tree or corn.  For Finding Nemo fans – it’s like playing I spy with Dory in the ocean.  Then as we were approaching St Joseph I spotted a set of signs.  I can’t remember exactly what the rhyme was but it was something about getting robbed by thugs and ended with using a gun.  Dave, however, didn’t hear me say thugs, he thought I said bugs so when I got to the end about using a gun the look on his face was priceless.  He asked, “did you say BUGS?!?!”  Laughing hysterically I repeated THUGS.  Well we did have fun for the next 20 miles trying to imagine what size bugs required carrying a .40 caliber pistol.

We stopped at a gas station that had a Chester Fried Chicken attached to it – that advertised in its window “Taco Wednesday.”  Beyond the question of why Chester Fried Chicken was having a Taco anything, Teagan asked “Why Wednesday- haven’t they ever heard of Taco Tuesday?”  In my family our lives revolve largely around animated movies and their various components – for those of you not aware of Taco Tuesday it stems from The Lego Movie.  This stop also was where we realized there was not only a full moon but a blue moon.  Teagan also had one of her famous geography faux pas at the gas station where she declared how excited she was to be in Wisconsin to the clerk – we were still in Illinois – by a lot of miles.

The interstate in Wisconsin is a lot more scenic – jus sayin’.  And we decided if we ever need to move to Wisconsin for any reason Beloit is a good choice.  In Beloit first we passed the Frito Lay factory and then the Hormel Chili factory – what more do you need?  I mean other than a Philadelphia Cream Cheese factory – it’s a Sunday Football snack extravaganza wrapped up in one town!  When we went through Wisconsin Dells Dawson decided he was OK just to stop there – from the interstate you can see 3 separate massive indoor water park resorts.

So we made it to Minasoda (Teagan spelling – she actually gets A’s and B’s – maybe not a great testament to our education system) and to our hotel and Dave had done a fabulous job – it was a suite with extra room and each child had a bed.  YAY!!  We could see the Mall from our hotel.  YAY!! Our hotel was conveniently located at the end of runway 35 at Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport.  YIKES!! I mean like 1000 feet from the end of the runway.  It was kinda like being at home, just a lot more intense.  By the time the jets are over my house I can only see the FED EX or Delta – at the hotel I could see the people in the windows.  It was late afternoon so we decided to check out the Mall and take in a movie.

You arrive at this massive complex and turn into a parking garage.  In order not to lose your car you can text “PARK” to 78456 – I made those numbers up but you get the idea.  And then “bing” you get a text telling you that you parked in Wisconsin Orange North Wing Area J-PQ parking spots 452-675.  Yeah that should be helpful if we get turned around inside the Mall.

So inside was pretty intense.  It’s truly one of those things you have to see to believe.  It’s actually almost sensory overload.  There is an aquarium inside – like full on walk through a tunnel filled with sharks and sting ray aquarium.  There are no maps available of the mall – however by Day 2 Dawson had found an app for his phone and could type in a store type and it would tell him where the closest one was.  There are directories here and there but they always had a lot of people around them.

Eventually, after a 4 mile hike and 3 escalator mishaps we found the movie theater.  We watched Vacation – it only seemed fitting as the Griswolds are possibly the only other family in the world with travel mishaps like ours.  After the movie we ate dinner overlooking one of the 3 indoor roller coasters.  Teagan was dying to ride the roller coasters.

Day 2 at the Mall.  We started with the complimentary breakfast from our hotel.  The wonderful fabulous hotel (still conveniently located at the end of runway 35) was losing points rapidly after attempting to eat what they called eggs.  We started our day visiting the aquarium – and paid $7 extra for the “behind the scenes” tour so we got to walk around at the top of the open tanks – tanks holding hammer-head sharks and other miscellaneous killer sea creatures.  It was pretty cool.  And it was Dawson’s request that we do the Aquarium and the Moose Mountain Mini Golf all together as a family.  Teagan wanted to ride the roller coasters.  So we headed to the center of the mall which is a Nickelodeon Themed Amusement Park.

She got an all day wrist band and jumped in line for the 1st coaster she saw.  After that she decided she was ready to ride the big one – The Spongebob Squarepants Rockbottom Plunge.  It literally goes straight up and then straight down – and it scrapes the rafters of the 4th story.  Dawson went to get her at the end of the line and she was holding on to him as she came walking out because her legs were still shaking.  It didn’t really stop her though, although she didn’t get back on that one, she rode the others several times plus some other crazy scary rides.  I rode the swings.  Oh yeah and the ferris wheel.  I live in the fast lane.

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Lunch is nearly impossible inside the Mall.  The line for Chipotle was (no lie) 100 people deep.  After a short wait we did finally get to eat.  At the end of lunch the phone rang – it was our marvelous hotel calling to tell us we had left “some belongings” in the room.  Yes, we left all our belongings in the hotel because we are staying another night.  No – they told us – we had agreed to check out today.  No – we are staying another night.  Why would I have looked at the paperwork to check and make sure they had our check out date correct?  Oh that’s right because I had been in a car forever and my bladder was about to explode.  No problem, just charge us for another night.  No deal, they need that room for tonight.  Seriously???  The hotel with powdered eggs you can still taste the powder in, at the end of a fricking runway where the planes landing gear scrape the roof if they don’t get them up in time is completely booked and we can’t keep our super nice suite?  OK – so we will switch rooms.  Completely booked?  Yeah well you need to find one.  So Dave and Dawson (who had luckily remembered to text the parking location to his phone) went to the hotel to pack (i.e. throw everything in various bags) and switch rooms.  Which we almost didn’t get because one girl was slowly helping Dave and the other girl was selling rooms like an auctioneer in a cow barn.  Odd – originally you started off the conversation with me on the phone saying you had no rooms available.

Dave returned to the mall and we continued our adventures.  Here’s the take-away from the Mall of America.  If you think you have seen everything – you haven’t.  I kept ending up in an area I thought I had been in before but then realized I had not been there.  Oh yeah and there was a “suspicious package” outside the BW3’s at dinner time.  Luckily Mall Security and Bloomington Police had blocked off a section at least 12-15 feet from the suspicious brown paper bag left on a bench while a K9 came and started sniffing.  Pretty sure the dog just wanted some wings cuz he was way more interested in the BW3’s than the sack… but also just a note… had there been a bomb in the bag my guess is at least 300 people would have been injured because if there was a bomb in that size of paper bag the blast radius would have been well over 20 ft.  Yes I find it sad I know that.

Later that night we also found out in addition to the BW3 brown bag incident, there was also a real bomb threat at the Minneapolis St Paul airport with a bag that tested positive for explosive material but contained no actual bomb.  Yep the same airport that was 1000 feet from the super popular hotel with crappy eggs.  Well probably 2500 feet, runway 35 is pretty long.  Yep time to leave, thank God it’s a Mini Vacation.

On return to Indiana we paid the $15 tolls to go through Chicago and save 30 minutes and mind numbing endless cornfields.  However we stopped to see Dave’s sister and brother-in-law and spent about an hour and a half talking.  And my brother-in-laws mom made us some super great BLT’s with some kind of special bacon she bought in Michigan.  And I finally got to take my kids to an Oasis.  If you don’t know what a travel Oasis is, it is a gas station/fast food overpass on a toll road so you don’t have to pay to exit and pay to get back on.  Why I wanted to take my kids to one I don’t know, but I remember that was the big thrill of driving to Minnesota when I was little and I remember stopping with my mom, my grandma and my sister Kim at these – which in the 70’s were smoke-filled and had maybe a McDonald’s if you were lucky – usually a HoJo restaurant.  Now they have 5 different fast food options plus a Starbucks (I know you’re shocked) and you can buy cell phone accessories and there are charging stations for your phones and your cars.  My how things have changed!  Dawson was happy – the Michigan State women’s volleyball team bus also stopped there.

Sigh… we made it through another vacation.  Even a mini one comes with adventure.  I’m realizing that travel is dangerous – but I wouldn’t trade the memories (even the crazy ones) for anything!

PS – Dear Fairfield Inn and Suites in Bloomington MN – you suck!!  And your female manager is rude and oddly went from no rooms available to selling rooms left and right and sticking us in a room with a king bed and sleeper sofa.  Thanks – and you might try mixing the egg powder a little harder.

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#mashedpotatoes

Lauren Conrad has a “Friday Favorite” segment on her blog, so I figured if LC does that then maybe AB should do it too.  Problem:  it’s not Friday, it’s Saturday.  Oh well!  Also LC’s favorites tend to be things you can conveniently buy at a store that ironically also sells her clothing….hmmm… odd.

#mashedpotatoes – In typical pre-teen fashion, Teagan was totally devastated when her dad recently started an Instagram account.  This launched her into a rant that went like this “What are you gonna do on Instagram? What is an old guy going to do on Instagram – take pictures of your mashed potatoes and caption it #mashedpotatoes #oldguys #noteeth?”  End rant and cue stomping off.  The worst part is that in typical “bad parent/bad wife” fashion I managed to stifle the laughing fit for most of the rant when she got to the #mashedpotatoes part I lost it.  #comedianintraining

Waterboarding – I can assure everyone who reads this that there has NEVER been a cat in my house so this is purely fictional however I just wanted to illustrate the level of smart ass I deal with every day.  When asking my kids why there bathroom is so messy and why there is a ring in their tub when they don’t take baths?  Without even pausing to think Dawson answered “I’ve been waterboarding cats in there.”  I realize I created this with my non-stop sarcasm however I didn’t fully think through my actions before I created the monster – monster’s  – plural.

Dick & Jane – to celebrate Dawson’s epic failure of his Spanish final Dave and I found Dick and Jane Educational Snack cookies…. English & Spanish version.  Dawson did NOT see the humor in them.  Also moms of preschoolers….. DO NOT BUY THESE COOKIES!!  They taste so bad that Princess didn’t eat them!  Bam, of course, does not let taste get in the way.  In that moment of hilarity in the grocery store I should have read the side panel of the box.  Dick & Jane are real people (hopefully Dick is really Richard or Rick… but whatever) who because Jane is a teacher and Dick is allergic to nuts decided to make healthy organic educational cookies for kids.  Although anything healthy, organic or educational tends to spontaneously combust in my home – If you’re into that they sell them at Meijer or at dickandjanebakingcompany.com.  They also had the States & Capitals, good thing for Teagan we didn’t find them last year.

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Throwback Thursday – I took my daughter shopping Thursday to buy some shorts.  Shorts for a twelve-year-old are not easy to shop for as it seems the current fashion trend is for young girls to wear denim shorts shorter than Daisy Duke ever thought of.  I picked up one pair of shorts and honestly wondered if they were denim bikini bottoms.  All of that aside, while my daughter was in the fitting room desperately trying to make the really cool ones with cuts and rips in them seem longer by buying the next size up (she thinks I was never a teenager), I started looking around the Juniors section.  There were cool matching earring sets, cheap plastic bracelets, t-shirts with all the latest sayings and “in” things, cutesy backpacks that aren’t functional at all and of course pop music videos playing on a giant TV in the dressing area.  I suddenly missed being a teenager.  No real responsibility, thinking that the latest trendy thing was the coolest thing ever until the next trendy thing came along. And although I keep up with most of what’s happening in teenagerville – Teagan had to explain the shirt that said “on fleek.”  On fleek – the quality of being perfect or on point (Urban Dictionary).

Japanese Cherry Blossom – There’s nothing funny here.  I just like Bath & Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom.  I figured LC can tell you her favorite stuff so …. Still looking for endorsements.

Top 10 Songs – So here are my top 10 favorite songs that played on ITunes while I was writing this:

I’m Shipping Up to Boston – Dropkick Murphy’s

Free – Zac Brown Band

I’m a Believer – Neil Diamond

Just Give Me a Reason – Pink

Try – Pink

If You Know What I Mean – Neil Diamond

Imma Be – Black Eyed Peas

Let It Go – Idina Menzel

I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz

I Will Never Let You Know – Clare Bowen & Sam Palladio

Always Test Drive Your Formal Wear

So now that we have the epic weather event out of the way on this vacation………..

On to the wedding.  The BIG event that has brought all of us to this lovely South Carolina destination.

We woke up to the brides itinerary laying on the counter in the kitchen.  It really wasn’t horrible like some bride-zilla monster list of things to do like 7am pictures with our latte’s and hair curlers or anything ridiculous.  Step 1:  9:30 am go to the cottage and decorate for the reception.  Step 2:  After decorating the bridesmaids and bride get their hair done at the rental house.   Step 3: The aunts (that’s me) pickup the cupcakes at 330pm.  Step 4:  Wedding starts at 430.

There were a couple of other things like when the groomsmen had to be at the cottage and what time pictures were for them — and who else had to be where when etc.. but mostly the 4 steps above were the most important.  Factors that were not considered in these plans are as follows:  there are only 3 bathrooms in the rental house and 10 people plus a photographer who had to get ready, there are only 3 cars available and only one that grandma can get into easily, there is only one groomsman who had to be at the cottage earlier than anyone else — and he’s not old enough to drive, and the US is playing Germany in the World Cup.

Step 1 mostly went OK.  There were several tables that were in the wrong place and had to be moved.  And all of the chairs for the wedding had to be reorganized.  But our little bride had everything neatly organized in Rubbermaid totes with labels and a picture diagram of what each centerpiece was supposed to look like — all the way down to ziplock baggies with the exact number of rose petals and sparkly plastic diamonds for each table.  Did I mention she teaches 2nd grade?  I wanted stickers and blow pops when I finished a table and it looked exactly like the picture. I was disappointed when there were no rewards.  Whew! for 10am it sure seems a bit warm.  Oh it’s 89 degrees with 93% humidity…..and it’s 10am.  But it’s OK!! 2 days ago the weather forecast said there was an 80% chance of thunderstorms and here we are sunny… very sunny …. and HOT!  Step 1 was complete and mostly on time.  On to step 2 and getting the bride and bridesmaids hair and make up done.

This is where things started to fall apart a little bit.  Luckily the people left behind at the house during Step 1 had figured out that they needed to get ready early rather than late.  Leaving the 3 bathrooms for the mother of the bride, the photographer, the aunts, the bride and a bridesmaid.  Yeah you do the math, it didn’t work out very well.  Meanwhile back in the living room the World Cup was going on.  For many families this wouldn’t be a problem.  However this involves my family and one member in particular that lives breathes and dies all things soccer.  And over the course of the vacation he has managed to suck everyone else into the soccer frenzy know as the World Cup.  There was yelling and gasps and words (lots of words) and we only had 15 minutes (half time) to dress him in his tuxedo.

When the aunts left (that’s me & my sister) to get the cupcakes slightly behind the 3:00 pm for a 3:30pm pick up time – there was still 2 bridesmaids who needed their hair done.  Keeping my fingers crossed we headed for the cupcakes – not being from South Carolina and relying solely on SIRI to guide us.  It was when I sat down in the passenger seat I realized the importance of test driving your formal wear.  When I had gone with B to one of her gown fittings the seamstress had her sit down, kneel, bend over, and other various positions that you don’t think about when you buy this giant dress with 20+ yards of satin and taffeta and tulle.  I even thought to myself at the time WOW that’s a GREAT idea because so many times you see brides who can’t sit down.  But when I purchased my absolutely lovely dress to wear to this wedding did I do any of those things? No – because I was so excited to find a dress that wasn’t part of the new clingy style that shows off  all your curves (not every curve really needs to show)- that I didn’t care.  So when I sat down in my sisters Tahoe I was a little miffed at the fact that the whole top of my dress gaped open in multiple spots revealing my not so fancy comfort-casual light blue Jockey bra.

Onward to the cupcakes, I will find a safety-pin (or 12) later!  The cupcake place had the order ready.  I saw it sitting on the counter  – at least I assumed the 60 cupcakes decorated in purple and white were for the wedding I was going to and not some other random Thursday wedding also with purple and white as their colors.  So I went to the counter and said I’m here to pick up the wedding cupcakes.  The blank and panicked look I got back was not encouraging.  She started flipping frantically through a three-ring binder – back and forth back and forth.  SIGH.  As politely as I’m capable of being in high heels and a dress that only fits while standing up I spelled the last name for her – slowly.  Again with the flipping, then a look of relief as she located the paper she was looking for.  Then another blank stare.  I was actually biting my lip at this point because the overwhelming need to yell “CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP THIS GIRL GET US OUR CUPCAKES!!” was taking over every fiber of my being.  I’m not an impatient person exactly but when something as simple as this seems to overwhelm someone I get irritated – easily.  Add to that the time limit and high heels and the heat index approaching 101 degrees – did I mention the high heels?  I finally somewhat politely asked, “is there a problem?”  With this she timidly went and got someone else to help her – I guess the fact that she had to ring them up in the cash register was an issue because “wedding cupcakes” are a different rate than “everyday cupcakes.”  There was some rocket science involved I’m sure but we finally got checked out and she even helped us out to the car – which was very nice of her considering I was still trying desperately to make the top of my dress stay in one place and carrying 5 boxes of cupcakes complicated that.

At 405 pm we came sliding in sideways – because SIRI was not very forthcoming in her directions and we ended up going the wrong direction at one point.  The car full of bridesmaids came sliding in sideways right behind us. The average temperature at this point was 95 degrees with 97% humidity.  Did I mention it’s an outdoor wedding?  After dutifully setting up the cupcakes  I went on a quest to find a safety-pin.  Earlier during Step 1 we had an entire box of safety pins because we had to pin the table runners to the table cloths.  That box of pins had however been buried in a flurry of bride and bridesmaids and flower girls frantically flying in the bridal room and attempting to get dressed.  Oh well.  I’ll cross my arms or something.

Finally at about 440 the wedding began.  By this time most of the guests were melting like popsicles.  Which was kind of a good thing as the sweat was making the top of my dress stick to me.  But when we were all asked to stand as the bride entered the whole back of my dress stuck to my ass.  A few tugs and shakes and it mostly fell into place.  The seamstress should probably add that to her list of “tests” but I’m not quite sure how you simulate profuse sweating.  Luckily the minister was also sweating profusely so the ceremony ran along quickly.  I think it had to because the sweat was dripping in his eyes and he couldn’t read very well.

But overall things went well.  The dinner was amazing and filled with a lot of down home southern low country cooking.  And the rain held off until later in the evening which was nice because there was a rainbow.  How many couples get a rainbow on their wedding day?  And eventually I found a safety-pin – a little too late as most everyone had caught a glimpse of my comfy blue bra at that point.

Best wishes B and Logan!!  Despite the heat it was a beautiful wedding… with cupcakes, lots of cupcakes.

And in all honestly I hope I didn’t terrify the girl at the cupcake counter.  But I think I might have.  Oops.

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284 steps to the beach

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Either the stuff they say about global warming is true, or some kind of weird thing has happened to my skin over the past 20ish years.  Maybe we really did kill the ozone with all that Aqua Net in the 80’s.  I don’t know why but I NEVER used to get sunburned.  When I was a little kid I could be out in the sun all day and not even my nose or cheeks would turn pink.  The only time I ever remember getting burned was when I was 14 or 15 and we visited my sister when she lived in Colorado.  We went to a water park and we were obviously a mile closer to the sun and my nose burned just a little bit.  But that was it.  Now…… if I don’t go out with SPF 30 I burn.  Now that I’m thinking about it, the change happened not too long after Dawson was born.  We were in Florida and I basically got sun poisoning which was combined with an allergic reaction to the lotion I was putting on it.  Good times!!  Anyway — enough history.

So the basic idea here is that on Tuesday we all decided to enjoy a relaxing day at the beach.  Our house is 284 steps from the beach according to its owner.  So we sprayed ourselves with Coppertone and headed to the beach.  Maybe it was the sprayer or the wind direction and velocity or just pure bad karma, but all of us got sprayed unevenly.  And the best part is, none of us knew it until way later in the day, and continued to mis-spray all day.  So we all have odd lines and stripes of burns and basically look like we were wearing some kind of Lady Gaga designed swim suits.  One part of my burn in particular looks like I specifically designed one of my blob cartoons in the middle of it.  It’s a cute little white spot with a head and amorphous body right in the middle of a giant sea of red skin.  HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN???

But before we found out about the sun burns we were still enjoying a nice fun day – partially overcast even – at the beach.  284 steps to the beach and for fun I turned on the pedometer on my phone to count them.  But then I forgot and left my pedometer on all day.  About 130 we decided we were hungry and decided to take 284 steps back home for lunch.  As we arrived in the back of the house Dawson had decided to go meet us at the beach and walked out the front door.  284 steps back to the beach to find out he’s ok with playing soccer in the sand until we get back.  284 steps back to eat lunch.  This is where it starts to get good, keep up with the math.  As we’re eating lunch Dave gets an alert on his phone that says there is a tornado warning for Hendricks County.  Odd.  But hey we’re in South Carolina… whoo hoo… it’s beach day.  284 steps back to the beach and (oops!) we both left our phones at the house.  We were having fun – then my sister gets out of the ocean and checks her phone and she says there’s a tornado in Plainfield.  Of course there is.  And the two phones that would have the most information on them are 284 steps away.

So I took off for the house – supplied with the incorrect information from my sisters co-worker who “knows a cop” in Plainfield – that the area by the police station was damaged.  284 steps back to the house to find out that there was only one or two pages on Dave’s phones for runs and the one that was “structural collapse” which would be what they would use for damage from a tornado was at the other end of town.  But I’m still frantically searching for the weather channel on our TV – yelling at the TV the whole time.  My niece and her fiancé walked in as I was yelling at the TV – just returning from getting their marriage license and not knowing what was going on.  So my string of cuss words was making very little sense to them.  But a few texts later we found out everything near us was fine and our neighbors said the house was fine.

284 steps back to the beach, plus 4 more beach accesses down as we had moved to meet up with my nieces fiancé’s family.  Another hour or so at the beach and back we went to the house to get ready for dinner.  Now I did walk a few blocks from where we parked to get to the restaurant and back, but no further than the house to the beach.  When we got home I remembered, oh yeah I turned on the pedometer so I checked it.  4.01 miles later the 284 steps to the beach seems irrelevant.  And that total was 568 steps short (from the trip after lunch and back).

It always seems that when we travel there is an epic weather event — either near us or back home.  Glad this vacation didn’t disappoint.

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