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August 3, 2015

My Minions

#49 Tuesday 


Today I got to hang out with my sweet nieces. We brought the kiddie pool out and Elizabeth and I had fun playing with little water squirters. Afterward, we had hamburgers. My mom, Roxie, and I road on the golf cart while Keeper and Elizabeth raced us on foot. Of course, we stopped at Nonnie's house to get animal cookies (Keeper included). 

#50 Wednesday 


Mom and I were going shopping for my birthday when we received a call that UPS was there to deliver a package. I guess he didn't want to drive down our dirt road so my Nonnie met him in the neighborhood next over with her gator. I wonder how city people get their deliveries?

#51 Thursday 


In the morning my Nonnie and I ate our traditional breakfast at IHOP. In the afternoon, Elizabeth, Savannah, and I went to go watch the Minions movie while Roxie and her Mimi hung out.
Super cute movie, especially when you have an eight-year old giggling next to you.

 #52 Friday 


We had a full house for dinner. My sweet family came in to see me. We had prime rib, baked potato, salad, berry cobbler, and ice cream. In other words, we all wanted to go into a food coma afterwards. Except my nieces. They wanted to go swimming and keep eating. Oh, to be young again.

#53 Saturday 



My dad usually gets us breakfast tacos when we are in town because he knows how much we love them. It was extra special today because he cooked a special breakfast (and taught me how to make the edges of my pancakes crispy). It was so touching because it was done out of love and specifically for me. Definitely helped my journey back home.

#54 Sunday 


A donut shop opened in our town while I was a way. I know for the city slickers who read my blog, a new business opening isn't a big deal because it happens everyday. Well, for small town living it is a big deal because there aren't a whole lot of places to eat. Aaron saved me a blueberry donut and it was quite delicious.

#55 Monday 


Aaron and I cooked popcorn the old-fashioned way and used our butter olive oil we got from New Mexico.  It was very fun to hear Aaron give me a count for every kernel popped while I was working on the blog. "One, two, three!..."



July 27, 2015

Vacation part 3


#42 Tuesday


We said our "goodbyes" to Albuquerque (I am never confident when spelling that word) and headed toward Santa Fe. We took a shuttle from White Rock to the Bandelier National Monument where we explored Pueblo ruins. One of the coolest things we saw were the cave dwellings. The cliff was made of volcanic tuff so it was easy to carve homes into the cliffs. Such an indescribable feeling to be around that much history.

#43 Wednesday


On Wednesday, we explored the plaza of Santa Fe. There were so many shops and museums. We definitely didn't see all of it. Let's just call it a future goal. About once a month, Santa Fe hosts "music on the hill" where they invite a band to play. This picture is deceiving because we were not that close. We ate at a delicious Salvadoran restaurant and then my phone failed to give us proper directions. In fact, the only time it located us was when it informed us that we reached our destination. It took all the credit for my work of reading a map old school! Long story short, we were an hour late to the concert so we were way in the back by the porter potties. It was still fun, the band was a fun latino band and it was fun to watch all the little kids running around. 

#44 Thursday 


Now Aaron and I are planners. Both of our jobs required it. However, when we tried to be spontaneous and go white-water-rafting, all the spots were full until the next week. Instead we went to the art district. I am sure the people who were selling the art took one look at our twenty-something, tshirt and shorts cladded selves and said, well they aren't buying anything. We arrived earlier than some of the places were open (man, artsy types don't like to wake up early) so we missed some places. Actually we missed a lot of places because there are a ton of art galleries and we got our fill after seeing about half of them. 

We went to a roadhouse featured on Diners Drives-ins and Dives. Note to self, to recieve a $34 lobster, one must make reservations one week in advance. Afterward, we went back to the plaza where they were having a couple of bands playing. It was so fun to watch people dance. I mean, there were some adults who decided they didn't need no partner and just let the music flow through them (I am sure no substances aided in that decision). There were also street musicians on the sidewalk surrounding the plaza. When we went to "powder my nose" we saw a street magician who used Aaron's college ring in a magic trick


#45 Friday 


On our way back to Seagraves, we stopped in Santa Rosa to find a blue hole. The water was cold and clear. It was so clear, that underneath the step the built on the natural ledge looked like it was about five feet away, when it really about twenty. Keep that in mind when I say that because the pool is eighty-one feet deep, it looked black. I decided to go for it and jumped off a cliff into the black abyss, where scuba divers were doing their thing. I don't think I've ever swam so fast. It is rather unnerving to be swimming over something that deep and dark (and cold).

#46 Saturday 


Reunited and it feels so good! While we were on vacation, this baby substitute was with her grandma and grandpa. She was spoiled by being walked everyday so we decided to keep it up.

#47 Sunday 



Nope, that suitcase is not me being to lazy to unpack. It is me repacking. After doing all the laundry on Saturday, I had to repack because I am traveling to Round Rock to spend time with my family. I have to leave Aaron behind because the rest of the world doesn't get vacation days like teachers. Unless you are Samantha Brown. I wish I was Samantha Brown. 

#48





On my way home to see my folks, I stopped in Abilene to see my sweet friend, Kayla and her kiddos. I am so glad we got there at around 11:30 because that place fills up fast with young families! As Kayla put it, not a whole lot of places have playgrounds.

July 20, 2015

Summer Vacation part 2

#39 Saturday 


We packed up our tent and hit the road to Amarillo, our last spot before we headed to New Mexico. We can't take any trip without going to a zoo. When we parked our car, we noticed a handful of people were using metal detectors in this empty lot. I'm not sure what they were looking for but I bet it is buried treasure. 

The zoo was small but the animals were so active. The lions started roaring, like all three were just roaring together. I haven't seen lions do anything but yawn. Everywhere we went around the tiger exhibit, they followed and paced near us, so while the lions were roaring, we looked behind us and one of the tigers was pacing. Still wasn't as terrified as I was with tarantulas in Palo Duro Canyon.


After the zoo, we went to the famous "Big Texan" featured on "King of the Hill," "Man vs. Food," and "the Shaytards." If you aren't familiar with this, they have a challenge that if you eat a 72oz steak, you eat it for free. While we were there, we saw four people attempting it. One man was ten minutes from having to be done and he threw up. Fortunately, we were seated upstairs, so it didn't ruin our meal. The restaurant has such a cool ambiance. They have old Boardwalk type games- fortune teller, shoot-out, and love tester to name a few. Unless you have a problem with taxidermy or gluttony, it is definitely a place everyone needs to visit at least once.


We were then on our way out of Texas. Before we did that, we had to stop at the Cadillac ranch. This is a place I have been wanting to go for a while. It is a row of Cadillacs halfway buried and the visitors add spray paint. We added some art. Mine is the heart. Aaron added "ADH." I apologize for the foot picture but it was really muddy around the cars so my flip flops got stuck and my feet came out. 


We arrived at our destination! Aaron and I are doing a road trip so we get to experience a bunch of different places. Before we arrived to our destination for the night, we stopped at the coolest truck stop      called "Russell's". They had a legit old car museum and a chapel on top of other things you would expect to find at a truck stop. What a great find.

After another hour or so, we arrived in Tucumcari, NM. This is a town that was booming when Route 66 was the only way to travel. Once a bigger highway was built next to it, the town had way less visitors. This story sound familiar? How about the movie "Cars?" I don't think this town specifically inspired the plot but I do know the motel we stayed in inspired their motel in "Radiator Springs". We stayed in "The Blue Swallow Motel" which included our own garage next to our room. The decor was vintage and adorable and the owners were very accommodating. 

# 40 Sunday
 
Can you believe all of that was one day? Aren't we all glad I split this week into two blog posts?


Like I said before, we love zoos. When we arrived in Albuquerque the first place we went was the zoo. This zoo had a lot of animals we have never seen before. They also had a ton of babies (animals). The first animal we saw with a baby was a howler monkey. The mom saw us trying to look at her baby and I thought she would hide it. Instead she came right over to us and posed so we could best see the baby hanging off her belly. Here is the rest of the babies I can think of seeing: giraffe, hippo, elephant, crocodiles, and a chimpanzee. The zoo was like a labyrinth! The lady we got our tickets from failed to give us a map so we were just wandering along. The problem with that is we had to catch a train that went from the zoo to an aquarium/ botanical garden. We asked a kid working there how to catch the train to the aquarium. Despite his clear (vague) instructions, we missed the train. We finally figured out how to get there and  waited for about five minutes when we realized we were at the wrong train! (Thanks kid).  We were at the "African train." We had to be at the "Asian train." So, just like Bugs Bunny, we took a wrong turn in Albuquerque and ended up in Africa.

Once we got there, we had to speed through everything so we wouldn't miss the last train back. The aquarium was small but had a great variety of fish including Sharks, Stingrays, and Seahorses.
 
The botanical garden was lovely! It had beautiful sections such as a castle and oversized statues, an English garden, Japanese garden, a train garden, and a butterfly room. Like I said, lovely.

#41 Monday 

 
Today, we rode on the longest tram in the Western Hemisphere up to Sandia Peak. They have a restaurant up there and you can see where the ski lift is during the winter time but we just went hiking.  For some reason, I was more terrified hiking in Palo Duro Canyon with tarantulas than in the mountains with bears. Logic.

We had a picnic at the bottom of the mountain and then went into "Old Town," historic part of Albuquerque. A lot of beautiful art, music, and clothes. 

We ate at the Backyard Grill which is basically a fancy Mexican food restaurant. The food was fantastic. I definitely over-ate but oh my gosh I didn't regret it! On our way back to our car, we stopped into an interesting looking store. It was this olive oil/vinagarrette store and the sales lady gave us so many samples! Who knew olive oil came in other flavores? I ended up with a dark chocolate vinagarrette and a butter olive oil.  Who knows, I may actually cook!





July 18, 2015

Summer Vacation Part 1

This week so much has happened that I am doing the first part of the blog tonight. Look for the second part on Monday.

#35 Tuesday



We rotate weekly who hosts small group and today's home is filled with sweet animals (horses, corgis, and cats) and sweeter kids. I probably say this in every blog, but I absolutely love the support and comfort I feel from these great couples.

#36 Wednesday 



Because Aaron and I are going on vacation, Lucy gets to stay with her grandma and grandpa. I'm not going to lie, I was way too upset about leaving her. 

#37 Thursday 


Vacation day #1 and we headed toward Palo Duro Canyon in Canyon, TX to primitive camp for a couple of days. Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States and it is simply breath-taking. Our camp set-up included a fire pit, a place to hang our trash, and a picnic table with a pavilion. There were several other campers in the area which was fine by me. It was a lot easier to justify the various bumps in the night which were inevitably all the serial killers that ever existed. 

It took a month of convincing, but Aaron agreed to go zip lining over part of the canyon.  Another family went and they were super sweet. The mother and son did it while the father and daughter watched. The scariest part of zip-lining was getting up there! The bridge swung with every step you took; we finally figured walking on the middle board stabilized it.



# 38 Friday


Yesterday, Aaron faced his fear of heights by doing the zip-line. I faced my fear by hiking a trail with tarantulas. Of course, I knew there was a possibility of seeing them. I didn't know they existed in Texas until I was twenty. I think people were keeping that little factoid from me. I have always had an irrational fear when it came to spiders of any shape and size. Anyway, we were hiking a trail, admiring the beauty of God's creation and Aaron (dumbly) mentioned seeing a tarantula. Crazy Chelsea over- powered logic Chelsea and I spent the remainder of the trail shaking with my hands up to my chest making popping noises with my water bottle. The whole time. Just "click" "click" "click" the entire time we are walking. On our way back to the beginning  of the trail, I'm walking right behind Aaron holding on to his shirt and... we see a tarantula. Logic Chelsea, however quiet she is thinks "hey, this isn't so bad, he is just minding his own business, enjoying the trail. He kind of looks like the hand from The Addams family." Too bad embarrassing crazy Chelsea took over and I started crying and froze and acted like the spider was chasing us with a gun. Aaron heroically encouraged the over-legged over-sized monster off the path. 

Spending the rest of the day paranoid with every glance Aaron took, we finished it off by seeing the musical "Texas." This is an outdoor musical set up in the canyon. People are encouraged to sign in and say where they traveled from. The person who travels the farthest wins a little triangle and within the fifty years of showing this, they have never had someone from within the continental United States win the award. Before the show, they fed us barbecue, had a decedent of Quanaw Parker give us some information about the Cherokee, and had a live country band made up of members of the cast.The show has awesome special effects and set, greater music, and even greater dancing. The finale had me in tears and I was definitely a proud Texan by the end of it. (As if I wasn't already.)


July 13, 2015

It's Okay, I Make Lamb

#30 Wednesday
 

 

 
Merry Christmas! Oh, I'm a little early? All over the world, music ministers and their families get to experience Christmas for six months.
 
 
 
#31 Thursday
 


 

Aaron and I celebrated the passing of a quarter of my life by going to a museum at Texas Tech and eating Greek food. We were having such a good time at the museum that we didn't realize how long we had been there. Eating Greek food is a rare occurrence, meaning this is the first time I ever made Aaron eat it. We had a good time eating gyros and quoting every "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" line we could think of.

We then went to Joyland, an amusement park, and unfortunately I don't have any pictures of that. My phone was about to die and I didn't want to risk taking it with me on a lot of rides. The last time I went to Joyland was on a mission trip about ten years ago. It reminds me of a sedentary carnival. Our favorite rides were the water slides and we rode those several times. There was one waterslide where you road what looked like a cafeteria tray down a steep drop. Almost lost Aaron on that one.

#32 Friday

Aaron went to work. I didn't do anything. I was so exhausted by turning another year older I recovered by staring at a tube full of flashing lights and sound while trying to combine my molecules with a bigger, softer object.

#33 Saturday

 
I finally motivated myself to weed my herb garden. Half the battle was figuring out what was a weed and what was an herb. My nose was a great tool in that effort. The other half of the battle was it started raining big, fat, heavy, drops. I am so tired of weeds.
 
 
#33 Sunday 
 
 

Aaron's parents finished their cruise to Alaska and came to our church on Sunday. I am sorry this is a blurry picture. Although I am a twenty-something girl with a camera, I refuse to claim I am a photographer. After church we ate some pot-roast and looked at pictures from their trip. I think it is going to take twenty years of convincing my weak-stomached husband to go on a cruise.


#34 Monday
 
 
I could not go to sleep! No matter how still I laid, how comfortable I was,  and how tired I was, it just wasn't going to happen. So I gave up, and took important quizzes to determine what objects/ animals best represent me. Here is what I discovered: if I was a Disney cat, I would be Simba; based on my dessert preferences, my personality is traditional??; the Malcolm in the Middle brother I am is Jamie; and the "To Kill A Mockingbird" character I am is Scout Finch 

July 7, 2015

Horseshoes Are Dangerous

Day #22 Tuesday





We have had our third week of small group for young adults and I have been loving it. I love having a time of openness and vulnerability with couples I trust. We have been taking turns as to whose house hosts it and today's was Ashley's and Scott's. Their kids loved giving us a tour of their house and pets and we had a great time discussing "I Am A Church Member" by Thom Rainer.

Day #23 Wednesday


Aaron and I watched this really good movie called "The Secret of Roan Inish." It is an film from Ireland and has an Irish folklore feel.

#24 Thursday





My in-laws are going on an Alaskan cruise so we are cat-sitting for them. Barney is the most affectionate cat I have ever met. He isn't sure what to do with our dog who has no sense of boundaries.

#25 Friday



Volleyball is my favorite sport to play. We went to Lubbock to buy a tag for Barney (we are not going to lose someone elses cat) and we found this volleyball net for $20. I guess you get what you paid for because after about an hour of setting up, the first time the ball hit the net, the plastic poles cracked and fell. We still hit the volleyball back and forth until it got too dark to see. People were setting off fireworks so we had a ball (no pun intended).

#26 Saturday



We are going on a road trip that includes some camping in the next week or so and we wanted to test out our camping gear. In addition to adding things to our list of what we needed for the trip, we roasted hotdogs on our portable grill, ran through the sprinklers as we tested how waterproof the tent is,  mended the tent where it tore from the last windstorm, and listened to a station on Pandora that was made specifically for backyard grilling.

Later that night, we were invited to watch fireworks with Scott and Ashley's family. Scott's mom is our neighbor and they always celebrate fourth of July together so we didn't have to travel far to set off fireworks with them.

#27 Sunday



We had a family picnic after church and it was a great success. I loved seeing all the kids playing and I even attempted playing horseshoes. And by playing horseshoes, I mean throwing horseshoes at peoples' heads because I have no aim.

#28 Monday

I didn't take any pictures. I didn't even put my blog up yesterday.

#29 Tuesday





We hosted small group at our house again. It is a great excuse to clean my house and my dog is a great babysitter!


June 29, 2015

Thou Canst Not Stir a Flower Without Troubling a Star

#15 Tuesday 


After a crazy first day of VBS, the second day went rather smooth! I was really excited about the curriculum this year. The first day talked about Jesus and His ultimate sacrifice for us. The rest of the week's bible stories focused on the book of Daniel, but it all related back to Jesus. I think the kids really responded to it!

#16 Wednesday





Here is a recipe for peanut butter cookies that just takes four ingredients. I used three because I lacked chocolate chips. Peanut butter cookies are a great comfort food for my dad so I try to bake them for him when I am home. I am sure he wouldn't mind testing these out for me.


#17 Thursday 





Traditionally, on Thursdays after morning rally, we talk to the third through sixth grade students about becoming a Christian. Aaron got the privilege of doing that and he did an awesome job. He did a great job of presenting the facts clearly and personally without trying to convince the kids. I am quite smitten with that man. :)

We also have parent night on Thursdays. Each group performs a song they learned during VBS and then we provide a dinner afterward. We added an "open house" element so parents could look around the church and see the different activities the kids were involved in. I think the response was great! I loved seeing the community at our church! 

#18 Friday 




Can I just say VBS is a very exhausting week? I am still recovering. I absolutely love this posed picture of everyone "sleeping!" I am sure a lot of them went home and did just that!

#19 Saturday



After clean-up on Friday, Aaron and I did nothing but relax. On Saturday, we went to Lubbock. I got my pedicure, Aaron got his haircut. We went shopping and saw "Jurassic World" in IMAX.

#20 Sunday

I think crock pot meals are a good metaphor for how Sunday afternoons should go: slow and fulfilling. 

#21 Monday



I love when I find a book I can't put down, which is pretty much any Madeline L'Engle book. I love the worlds she creates and I want to be friends/part of the family of the main characters. Her books are intelligent, yet easily accessible. Today, I got to spend my first day of vacation going on a trip to Antarctica. 

June 22, 2015

Is It Summer, Yet?

Vacation bible school is so exhausting! WHY DID I GIVE UP CAFFEINE?

Day#8 Tuesday

We had our second day of decorating for VBS and it all came together! (whew)  Everyone say a quick prayer for our tree houses to not fall down. However cool they turned out, they are not the most steady of structures.

Day #9 Wednesday





I apologize for my lack of effort in taking decent photos this week...
My assistant director for VBS did a great session of how to lead children to Christ.

Day #10 Thursday




Aaron and I took a quick trip to Lubbock and I obviously had to get giant inflatable boxing gloves!

Day #11 Friday


For the last day of summer school, we played some fun review games. We played a modified version of "Jackpot" with the beach ball. I would call out a vocabulary word and a number of points and if the student caught it and could accurately describe the vocabulary word, they would get those points. I then printed out short comprehension passages and split the class into four groups. The group that showed testing strategies/ the right answers got to have five tries to hit the ball into one of the goals with a putter (I learned what a putter was the night before)

Day #12 Saturday




We had our pool party for VBS registration at the pool and it was a big hit! The party started when the pool closed for the day, so some kids saw what we were doing and decided to stay.

Day #13 Sunday

Crockpot meals are made for Sunday. I threw some ribs in the crock pot Saturday night. When we got home from church, Aaron grilled corn and I cut up some watermelon. After we had a last minute get-together with my in-laws, we grilled steaks and had some of their home-grown green beans.

So, you know, I ate light today.

Day #14 Monday


Being the first VBS I ever lead, I just knew everything was going to run smoothly. I mean, I put enough prep work in, right? Well, after twenty minutes of everything go wrong*, it did run smoothly. So, there.

 *everyone just ignore those twenty minutes

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