Quality Time With Friends

I spent a good portion of my vacation time with some of our closest friends in Tennessee. We played many many rounds of Settlers of Catan. (If you have not played this yet, you should!) We made lots of fires, roasted hotdogs, and even made smores. Once Settlers and camping in the living room got old we resorted to old favorites like Murder and Sardines. (Again, if you have not played these games, then get a group of friends together as fast as you can and start playing.)

We have an awesome group of friends who are up for almost any game or activity we suggest. I’ve got to say playing these games as a child is fun, but playing as adults (wine included) is even better!

Sometimes our silly games got old and I had to take a few breaks to snuggle with the animals. Wilmer the cat (formerly known as Wilma) is a giant cat who loves living in the wild, but comes in every night to snuggle up and be loved on by her his many adorers. The dog is Rorik, and he is GORGEOUS.

And, yes that's a chinchilla.
And, yes that’s a chinchilla.

When the pets were busy, I snuggled up and played with my favorite boy in Tennessee.

Miss him already
Miss him already

We took this handsome little devil to a place called Pump It Up. This is an enormous facility full of bounce houses. Of course, his favorite part was a machine that creates wind after you insert $2. The best part is that we never had to insert any money. He was happy to just stand in the little tunnel and spin around in circles. ALL of us were thoroughly exhausted by the time we left.

Wooo!
Wooo!

By the end of the week, Husband was antsy to get outside for a more adventurous game with our friends. His game of choice: paintball. Not just any paintball, but sniper paintball. Here’s how we play:

Someone (i.e. the boys) set up a course outside. The course has a starting area, a base, for the players (the criminals?) to hide behind, and leads up to a flag. One person is selected as the sniper (a lucky person…usually, almost always, a girl). The sniper is stationed near the flag, but not too close. The players/criminals goal is to capture the flag and bring it back to their base without getting shot. Only one person has to survive for the team to win. The sniper has exactly 12 paintballs to shoot with, so he/she cannot just shoot wildly.

Don't we look tough?
Don’t we look tough? …and very very layered
Spooky
Spooky
Sniper!
Sniper!

It is a scary game, but it is A LOT of fun. Plus, if you wear enough layers it does not hurt (very much) when you get shot.

And that is how I spent quality time with my BFF’s in Nashville. Cannot wait to go back!

Cheers!

Friend Pictures

As an adult, I find it very challenging to make new friends. I have moved around quite a bit since high school, and only made a handful of close friends. This may have a little bit to do with the fact that I am still incredibly close to a handful of my high school/hometown friends.

A couple of my best girlfriends have also moved away from home, and we all stay as close as we can through phone calls, emails, and Facebook. A few more of my best friends still live back home, which is great for me! Any trip I make to Texas, I spend as much time as possible with these beautiful ladies.

We all somehow found each other as teenagers and have never separated. I don’t know how I manage to surround myself with the wittiest, most beautiful, and thoughtful group of girls, but I am so grateful to have them in my life. We are soul mates, just as close as Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha, closer even.

We are all married now, half of us have children, and life seems to be moving faster than ever. So fast, that I am afraid we will forget all these rare moments we get to spend together. In order to capture this time in our lives we decided to take “Friend Pictures”.

It wasn’t east to find time over a holiday weekend for all of us to get together with a photographer, but we worked it out, and the pictures turned out better than we even imagined. Chris Roach was our photographer. He was very patient. We had temper tantrums, tears, wiggle worms, and frowns, and that was just the adults! Somehow, he managed to make us all look great!

We LOVE these pictures so much that we may turn this into an annual event.

Husband took his own set of pictures during the photo shoot to catch all the candid moments.

Nothing’s better than baby hugs.

Way TOO cute!
I cannot get enough of my friend’s adorable kids!
This was all of us trying to get the babies to smile and look at the camera.

Has anyone else ever taken Friend photos? A few people thought I was crazy for wanting to take these, but my friends are family, and if we take family photos, why not friend photos?

Big thanks to my friends for being the best, and a very special thank you to Chris for capturing these moments for us!

Cheers!

Baby Butts and TexMex

Guess who stuffed themselves with 3 large Mexican meals in two days?! Aaaa the sweet (or spicy? taste of success. Mexican food in Texas is the best because everyone gets their own bowl of salsa in they refill your bowls with pitchers of salsa every 10 minutes. Husband would disagree, but I think no other state can compare to Texas’s TexMex.

My last few days in Texas were full of quality time spent with loved ones. Mom spoiled me with extra love one day by taking me to get a mani/pedi and my eyebrows waxed. Hmm, maybe she’s just concerned that I’m looking a little rough around the edges… Either way, it was nice to be so spoiled.

We went shopping in the cute little downtown areas around where my parents live, and I bought the cutest bracelet from Gaudie & Co. They’re called Lenny and Eva and they come in tons of styles. You can choose different sizes and colors in leather cuff, chains, or necklaces. Then you can choose an inspirational word of quote, and finally add charms. I really love the way these look when they are stacked, but I could only afford one during this trip. Perhaps Santa will bring more for Christmas???

I chose the word “breathe” because I so often need a reminder to do just that.

We also shopped at another awesome store called Down to Earth where everything (lotion, soaps, makeup, shaving bars, bath salts, body scrubs) is made from organic and local ingredients, and literally made in the room in the back of the small store. My mom bought some awesome delicious smelling gifts and goodies for herself and a few others. I scored a grapefruit soap bar that helps fight acne and other cool stuff like that.

a cute handmade crown from recycled pieces

I love shopping and getting presents, but the best times are still dominated by the babies! I know you didn’t get enough of the cute kids in my life, so here’s a few more photos of us having an awesome picnic day in the backyard – complete with a bouncy house and water slide. These are some lucky babies.

chasing bubbles!

gotta love those butt dimples!
Never gonna grow up

I have been telling Husband how much fun it is to have kids, and I was hoping that spending a play day with these babies would really pump him up about being a Dad (not that he’s about to be). My friends are in on the persuasion too, and were all ready to talk up the pleasures of being a parent.

Within minutes of visiting, one friend was peed on, I was pooped and peed on (there was a lot of naked babies in pools), one kid was bit, and another was crying. It was awesome.

 I was still having a blast, and we just reminded Husband that the play-date is just very realistic.

I am missing my own baby Belle, who is definitely getting spoiled by Zoey back in NYC. My parent’s dog has been my replacement cuddler this week.

Shhh! Don’t tell Belle!

Our last night at “home” we stayed up until the wee hours of the night playing Rook with my parents. Mom and I kicked butt (surprise, surprise).

Now, I am sitting on another stuffy plane, waiting for free coffee, and wishing they didn’t charge us to watch TV on the flight. Our week in Texas was great. A week wasn’t long enough to see everyone I wanted to visit, but I’m thankful for the qualities hours I had with some of my favorite people.

Farewell Lone Star State!

Cheers!

Texas Vacation and Baby Fever

I have two weeks off work before my full time hours start up again, and I am spending the first seven days in Southeast Texas visiting my family and friends. I grew up in this tiny southern area, and knew from the age of 10 that I wanted to move away when I grew up. There was also a piece of me that knew I did not really fit in here, I needed to get out, and “breakaway” as Kelly Clarkson would say. Even though, I have always wanted to see the world, meet tons of new people, and (cheesy as it may be) “spread my wings”, I still love and appreciate the place where I was raised.

Most of my family lives in the area, and some of my very best friends still live here with their families. One of the hardest things about being so far away from my friends is rarely getting to see their children. I guess I’ve gotten to that age where everyone I know is having kids, and I just desperately want their kids to know me.

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been writing a lot about babies. Most of my friends have babies, my sister is pregnant, I work with babies all day everyday… and if it isn’t obvious enough, I ‘ve got baby fever…BAD!

Husband and I know our life right now is not conducive to baby-having:  I won’t have insurance until September, our apartment is only 400 square feet, and we still don’t know where we want to live next year.  It’s just not the best time to get pregnant. KNOWING all of these facts can keep us from having a baby, but it cannot keep us me from WANTING one.

I am ready. As much as I love being an independent, free, and successful working-woman, I would give it all up to stay at home with a baby in a heartbeat. More than anything, I want to have a Husband Jr. I can raise, teach, read to, cuddle, play in the yard, finger paint with, and make grilled cheeses with, and more! I dream about making Halloween costumes, braiding hair, catching fire flies, being the best homeroom mom, president of the PTO, and most fun soccer mom ever.

This dream however is not in the cards for us anytime too soon. So, instead of adoring my own kids, I’ll spoil the other beautiful babies in my life. If I have to use my Mom’s frequent flier miles to travel to Texas to do that, then that’s just what I’ll have to do.  (Thanks Mom!)

Yesterday, my parents barbequed and invited a few friends over for lunch. I had the greatest time visiting and playing in the hot summer sun.

I still have the rest of the week to enjoy these cuties, PLUS a couple more cuties I haven’t even visited yet! It’s going to be a great week here in Texas!

Cheers Y’all!

I Texas TN

Before and after our trip to Hilton Head, Husband and I got to spend a day in Nashville. I LOVE Nashville, probably more than any other city. If you haven’t been, you are seriously missing out on the most perfect city. Nashville offers everything other big cities have to offer…amazing restaurants, super fun nightlife, tons of shopping, a beautiful skyline, and lots of silly touristy stops and must-see attractions.

If you drive just a few miles outside of Nashville you will find beautiful hills, mountains, rivers, caves, and lakes! There is just SO much to do, and all of Tennessee is so beautiful! Not to mention, most of Husband’s family and lots of our good friends live there. I don’t think we visit Tennessee often enough.

So, when we do get the opportunity to be in Middle Tennessee we try to make the most of our limited time.

This most recent trip we spent time with some of our best friends, ate at a couple cheap Tex-Mex favorite, and played with our favorite family cats.

I love spending time with our friends, but I may love spending time with our friend’s babies even more. I absolutely hate being so far away from my friends’ kids. They grow up so fast, and I miss seeing them meet their milestones. Also, I am afraid they won’t remember me considering I only see them all a few times a year.

This is why I made sure to spend every second possible with one of the cutest babies in Tennessee…handsome Parker. We ate watermelon together, and each got juice all over our clothes. I dressed him in the coolest accessories, and tried to make him stop licking Zoey’s feet. I even taught him to use the water hose and how to squirt Husband with it. After play time we took Parker to eat Mexican food and I fed him my cheese enchiladas. Then, I allowed him to crawl over the table and shower himself with the salt and pepper shakers…because what kid can forget that? It was a very successful day. Next time I’ll have to teach him how to drink coffee and order at Starbucks. I am really passionate about imparting my wisdom upon our future leaders.

Our last night in Nashville, we got a group of friends together at a new gym called Jump Sky High. The gym is a 40,000 square facility with hundreds of trampolines on the floors and walls. They have trampoline courts meant for tons of jumping and tumbling, a trampoline filled dodge-ball area, and a trampoline court ending in a huge foam pit.

We jumped and flipped around for an hour. It was a blast! We all tried stunts we haven’t pulled in years and took turns flying off a rope swing and flipping into the foam pit. I felt like I was 14 years old again.

We weren’t supposed to have cameras or phones so this is the best pic I have….We are on the dodge ball court and I’m making a “cobra” pose, don’t ask.

Now, 2 days later, I feel like I’m 54. I am so incredibly sore!!! Not to mention the trampoline burns from my numerous falls. Don’t get me wrong, I’d do it all again. I’ll just buy some IcyHot ahead of time.

Nashville, you never disappoint, hope to see you soon!

Cheers!