Where My Ladies At?

They’re all in Erlanger, KY, that’s where! This weekend I get to ditch my boys (:::tear::: for that though… I’m gonna miss my G) and head deep into the Midwest to meet up with my lifelong friends.

You see, every year, we pick a weekend – and typically there’s not a lot of choice, given Kelly gets one whopping weekend off a year – and travel to one of our houses to spend the weekend together. Last year, we met up in Des Moines. The year before that? Dallas. We set out to do this girls weekend after we all grew up, got married and scattered across the country. So far, we haven’t missed a year.

Earlier today, Brittny and Kelly made the trip to Jodi’s (she’s the Kentucky resident), and I’m about to pack a bag so I can hop a plane first thing tomorrow morning. And I am SO EXCITED, because in a few short hours, I get to see these girls:

And there will likely be some of this…

And there might be some of this…

But surely something like this couldn’t happen anywhere but Des Moines…

My biggest lingering question is…

… are we gonna tattoo something on her this year?

Who knows. All I DO know is, it’s going to be a fabulous time. No matter the place, no matter the weather, I’m going to be seeingĀ these faces in a matter of hours.

And I couldn’t be more excited. :)

Home from Home

And we’re BACK, ladies and gentlemen! Andy and I have driven 1500 miles, give or take, in the last week. We went back to Illinois for the Thanksgiving holiday. While we were there, Mom, Rose, Erin, Jodi and Kelly threw me what is surely a top contender for the cutest baby shower ever. I’ve uploaded pictures to my Photographs section, so you can go see. I have more pictures from our time with family, but I’m going to leave it at one album for tonight. I need some downtime!

Never Been More Excited to Stay Home

At work, we’ve been doing some collaboration with one of our companies in Mexico. About a month ago, I traveled out there to run a test at one of their plants with their scientists. I found out last week that it was time to go back. Not that I don’t love visiting our folks in Mexico, but I’ve been enjoying my traveling hiatus this month.

In fact, I was really resistant to going. It’s been over 100 degrees here in north Texas. Can you IMAGINE what it’s like near Mexico City? I don’t really want to. It’s not the only reason I didn’t want to go, but one of the many.

Well I got the good news yesterday. My team is leaving me behind this time for budgetary reasons. I am ecstatic!

So what’s new with us besides the bedroom furniture? A lot! I went to a girl’s weekend a couple of weeks ago. I still need to post pics of this. The girls in question are friends of mine, tenure spanning anywhere from 11-20 years. Jodi, Kelly, Brittny and I converged at Kelly’s house in Des Moines for three days of gossip, giggling, and general unruliness. This deserves its own post, so… moving along.

Last weekend, for the Fourth of July, Andy’s folks drove down in a rented RV on their way to Michael’s golf tournament in San Antonio. They overnighted on the street in front of our house, while Michael stayed upstairs in our guestroom. It was a quick overnight before they drove off again, bound for warmer weather. ::shudder::

To cap off the weekend, we got together with some friends for a going away party. One of my girlfriends from work recently accepted a 6-month rotational position in Belgrade. She’ll be doing almost exactly what she’s doing here in the states (which is exactly what I do here in the states), except she’ll be making products for Serbians. Interesting, no? Well, consequently, she and her husband are also budding home brewers, so they had a bona-fide brewfest, with four varieties of their very own beer. We grilled out, lounged by the pool, and had a generally fantastic time.

The Fischers come back this weekend with the home-on-wheels, and I will not forget to get out my camera this time.

The Girls’ Weekend

Well, the annual girls’ weekend has come and gone – officially putting an end to our crazy, crazy August. To recap briefly, The first weekend in August, we flew out to northern Illinois for Kylee’s wedding and back again in almost a 24-hour turn-around. Last weekend, we flew back to Illinois for Tony and Erin’s wedding. That trip was a little longer, but not much. This last week following the wedding, Andy and I had to break out a housework/chores schedule for ourselves so that we could clean the entire house to prepare for houseguests in four worknights. Friday – the girls arrived.

Kelly, Jodi and I have been friends since we were 8 years old. You know how friends you make in adulthood delight in finding out about what you were like as a kid? Well, your childhood friends witnessed it with front-row seats. When you’ve lived life play-by-play with somebody – much like with a spouse, I imagine – you naturally interact so that you are augmenting strengths and complementing weaknesses in each other. Makes for a very laid back and fulfilling weekend.

This is the second-annual get-together. The first year I flew to Atlanta to visit Jodi. This year, the girls came to Dallas. They got to see where I work, see our house and meet the “kids”. Andy, of course, has known these girls almost as long. The original intention was for him to keep as scarce as possible while they were here, but Friday night it just didn’t make any sense for him to duck out. We were all having such a great time together. Plus, all we really did was go out to have some fabulous Tex-Mex cuisine.

Saturday, we girls broke out on our own. We had brunch outside at our favorite brunch establishment, Breadwinners; then we hit the shops. After some serious accessorizing, we came home, changed into our finest cowgirl attire (did you see my MASSIVE earrings?!), and headed out to the Fort Worth Stockyards – a must stop for some serious cowboy, yipee-kay-aye culture. I have to imagine coming all the way to Texas without seeing any of your stereotypical Texas sites would be akin to going all the way to Scotland and never seeing a single kilt or bagpipes.

Fort Worth was a blast. First stop was the H3 Saloon, with the ever-so-famous saddle barstools, for their Buffalo Butt beer. Then we moseyed around the Stockyards shops, some of which have been a Fort Worth institution for many years. Like Leddy’s Boots, which are all gorgeous, hand-made boots, completely custom-fit to the wearer, and all run around $1500 a pair. We had dinner at Cattlemen’s steakhouse, then moved along to the rodeo.

Our rodeo ticket stubs got us into Billy Bob’s – World’s Largest Honky Tonk – for free. This was the highlight of our trip. The dance floor at Billy Bob’s was packed. There was live music all night, and this included a Josh Graicin concert, which started at about 11:00 pm. We tried our hand at the Texas two-step and found that we were able to fake it pretty well. At one point a couple walked up with another gentlemen and said, “Excuse me ladies, but our friend here is from England, and he wanted to get his picture taken with some real Texas cowgirls before we went home.” Okay, so it was screaming “pick-up line”, but the guy was British, so we took a picture. These three stuck around and we had a blast with them. The couple turned out to be from the Chicagoland area. In fact, the girl lived half a block from Kelly (unknowingly, of course) in Plano (Illinois). Isn’t that crazy?! They were neighbors, but they met in Texas. We ended up staying until closing time, then drove the hour home. We actually stayed up a little bit before going to bed around 4 am.

I had to put the girls on a plane this morning. Hard to say good-bye after such a short time together. This weekend just really confirms that, even though Kelly lives in Iowa and Jodi lives in Kentucky – we need to make sure we continue to find a way to meet up on a regular basis. Plans are already in the works…

So that was our weekend in a nutshell. Andy had a few adventures of his own on Saturday, but it falls beyond the scope of this entry. And of course, I’ll post pictures of the weekend – that is, once I get the photo CD’s from everybody!

Kylee’s Wedding

This weekend, Andy and I flew to Illinois and back in an 18-hour period. Why? Because my college roommate married her high school sweetheart on Saturday. :) This girl was my rock in college. Truly and honestly, she is the sweetest girl I have ever known, and possibly will ever know in my lifetime. When you live with someone, for better or worse, you learn who they are. There gets to be a time when a person has to let down their guard. Not to mention you witness first hand excitement, exhaustion, stress, etc. So yes, Kylee is good down to her very core, and she has always been there when I needed her.

So OF COURSE we went to her wedding this weekend – deep in the heart of rural Illinois. It was a surprisingly large wedding. (They ran out of seats in the sanctuary!) Andy and I got a coveted aisle seat. When Kylee saw us during her walk down the aisle, she waved. Then, as she and her new husband were releasing their guests from the pews after the ceremony, the already-teary bride burst into a fresh set of tears as she greeted us. “I can’t believe you’re HERE,” she said. That made it well worth the trip.

We took some pictures, and you can find them here. Enjoy!