Memorial Weekend Success

There's something about Memorial Weekends always turning out to be better than expected. At least that's been the trend for the last four years, and this year was no exception.

We knew we were in for a good weekend the moment we arrived in Austin at the Salt Lick for dinner. We thought we stumbled upon a family reunion, at least that was John's assumption the moment we turned the corner after a desolate drive, in what seemed to be, the middle of nowhere. Texans don't mess around when it comes to BBQ, so it was no surprise they had the county sheriff out directing traffic into this place, a live band for entertainment, and some serious white trash going on in that joint.

Yes, I think that sealed the deal for knowing good times were ahead.

Then, it was off to San Antonio for the next three days, where, despite how much we ate, we probably all lost a good 10 lbs of water weight from sweating alone. I thought I'd experienced humidity in my east coast days, but I'd be wrong. I've NOW experienced what true humidity feels like.

And I'm not a fan.

We fit in as much as we could:
the Alamo...

test driving river boats...

checking out Lackland Air Force base, you know, just in case we ever find ourselves back in San Antonio paying back our dues...

being true tourists, hanging out on the River Walk...

and eating good food while we were at it...

then squeezing in a romantic moonlit riverboat tour...

and being seranaded by the mariachi band...

watching the men and their handy dandy skills in changing a flat tire,

and then witnessing them being even more manly, chilling in the middle of the ocean together...

and playing in the sand together...
Dental school has a way of bringing individuals close together, what can I say? One can only assume that all of those days spent in clinic and classes together does that to you.

Not documented: scoring great deals at the outlet mall, playing in massive waves at the beach and sun burns, despite using sunscreen...on me anyway. 

Poor John, I want to accuse him of being a little melodramatic, but when one thinks he can outsmart the sun, and the sun wins, I know it's not just a show he's putting on, when moving merely an inch causes him to groan out of severe pain.

Lesson learned. 
Hopefully this pain will give us a nice golden shimmer in a few days, not skin cancer, then it will all be worth it.

Other lessons learned from this trip:
We need to live in a big city,
I need to live close to great outlet malls,
and a king size bed needs to be in our near future!

And did I mention, San Antonio = awesome!


Minimizing the tabs

I don't know if any of you are like me, but as soon as I open up my computer and start browsing the web, before I know it, I have 50+ tabs open of all things I love, want to try, need to make, must own, and the list goes on and on.

I rarely shut down my computer, because hello, I need my tabs open. I've been mocked for how many tabs I have open at once. But I embrace what can be found online and thought nothing of it.

But then Pintrest came along, and saved me from the loss of great ideas, websites I admired, and images I couldn't get enough of, all because I closed a tab too soon. It's like all of internets goodness in one place. Minimal tabs needed. Amazing!

And it gets even better knowing that, not only can I share my internet finds, inspirations, dreams, etc. with others, they can share their goodness with me, too. That deserves another, amazing!

I know this whole Pintrest thing isn't new to most of you, but I only joined a few weeks ago, and I think I just found the next best thing next to cheese curds.

A few of my boards:

Do any of you use Pintrest? If not, you really should. And then you should share your inspirational finds with me. I'm really good at being inspired by others. 

Enjoy your Memorial Weekend. We're headed to San Antonio for ours, and we might just sneak in a little beach time, too, even if it means another two hours drive. That close to the beach, how do you not go? 

I'm not too sure when I found a love for escaping to Texas, but alas, Texas excites me these days. 

And I lied, the love instantly sprung the moment I moved to Oklahoma!


All is well in OKC

Well, we survived the outbreak that was tornadoes yesterday. I'm sure you're all well aware that OK is not on my top 10 list of places I'd like to live, but somehow, I've ended up here anyway thanks to a certain someone I call my husband.

One of the tornadoes that moved across the state yesterday
Thankfully, school makes it only temporary for us. However, why anyone chooses to live in a state that is known for producing "conditions perfect for tornadoes", is beyond me. Alas, I am summoned to living in such conditions for two more years, so two more years it will be.

Two more tornado seasons.
Two more hot/humid summers.
Two more cold winters.
Two more years of hoping we don't get taken out by a deadly twister.
Two more years of stress.

John and I left campus mid-afternoon yesterday, thanks to encouragement from the school to let us all go home early, fully expecting to go home, cuddle up, and keep our eyes glued to the news. But after better consideration of sitting at home, in an old house, with no storm shelter, no place to comfortably hide out just in case, we opted to go back to campus where storm shelters are available, and hunker down until the worst of it was over.

So hunker down we did.

And we weren't the only ones who had this idea in mind, either. Slowly but surely the Student Union began filling up with groups of people, individuals, families, cats, dogs, and the like. Poor Tobias, we just left him at home to fend for himself.

Thankfully, after watching tornado after tornado take out neighborhoods, streets, telephone poles, semis, etc., and hearing siren after siren go off, warning us tornadoes could be getting close, the storm passed by, leaving OKC basically untouched. I wish I could say the same for the surrounding areas.

Once we felt safe enough to leave, we literally raced home, because HELLO, the season finale of The Biggest Loser was on, and seeing that this is the first season I've ever actually watched, I HAD to see the ending.

Only, we got home to realize that wouldn't be happening tonight, instead, all that was on TV was the aftermath of the storms. Instead, we listened to a tear inducing story of a mother whose son, ripped from her arms, has gone missing, and a day later, is still gone. Instead, we watched families arrive home to nothing more than a pile or rubble.

I feel sad for the state of Oklahoma today. For anyone who was affected by the tornadoes yesterday, and for the lives that will forever be changed because of what they now have to deal with.

For most, life is back to normal today. For some, they're so used to tornadoes that this probably means nothing much to them. In fact, I'm almost positive we were the only ones in our neighborhood who even thought to take cover yesterday. But for us, we rather veer on the side of overly cautious, rather than overly sorry.

This post has turned into something far more sentimental than I intended, when all I really wanted to say is, all is well in OKC for the Lovell's. Thank goodness for that.


Oklahoma City at its finest

After seeing what happened in Joplin, MO. the other day, not to mention the hundreds of other tornado outbreaks in the U.S. within the last few months, I feel VERY justified in saying that the map below doesn't make me feel very at ease with living in Oklahoma at the moment.

Neither did watching the movie "Twister" prior to moving here, and this is exactly why...

I mean, what's the likelihood of anything too serious really happening, right? But let's get real here,  I'm sure the people in Joplin said the same thing, and look what happened. It's sad. And scary. So we've gots to be prepared people!

This morning on our way into school/work, John and I discussed all possible worse case scenarios that could happen to us, say tornadoes really do hit down in OKC while we're still living here.

We came up with some pretty good worse case scenarios. And, if one can have a favorite, mine would have to have been, having a tornado demolish the dental school, thus requiring us to transfer to a new school, in a new state, preferably one on the west coast, in a city that starts with San and ends with Francisco.

Maybe the wheels in my head were spinning, thinking of the possibility of that actually happening, but I quickly pushed that thought aside and wiped the grin off of my face. Because like I said before, what's the likelihood of anything too serious really happening, right?


A penny saved is a penny earned

That is a motto I grew up hearing. My mom has always taught me the importance of saving money, but more importantly, never paying full price for anything. And I don't. At least, very rarely. And if I do, it's probably because I can't get the darn thing, whatever that 'thing' may be, off my mind. Sometimes I've just got to have that cute dress, or shoes, or shirt, or pants, or...but like I said, that's very rare. I think...

I'm not a cheapskate, even ask my husband. But I love me a good deal.

So, when my sister started talking to me about CVSing, and all this extreme couponing hoopla, I decided to give it a go. I'm usually a sucker for good discounts on clothes, shoes, and other non-essential items, but I'm now discovering that good deals on groceries and the like is probably a bit more practical.

I may not be the best at it, at least not yet anyway. I'd definitely consider myself a newbie at all of this stuff (does dumpster diving for coupon inserts qualify me as an intermediate couponer though?), as I'm still learning the ropes and whatnot, but surprisingly enough, I'm finding some steal of a deals. And I mean that in a literal sense of the term here.

This week I built up the courage and tried out my beginner level skills at the grocery store, and I walked away with all of this for a whopping $23!

Like I said, I'm still learning the ropes of this game of stealing, at least that's what I feel like it is. But it's stealing I feel ok about, and that's what matters here. Sadly enough, this whole game of what-deal-can-I-score-next, just made grocery shopping a whole new adventure for me.

Any "extreme' couponers out there? I'd love to know your trips and tricks to getting a good deal.


Snap, Crackle, Pop

Last night we fell asleep to the crackling sounds of lightening, answered by the boisterous booms of thunder. A lightning show was going on outside, and we were stuck right in the middle of it. I love me a good thunderstorm, so I slept soundly last night. Soundly so, that John's sleep walking didn't even wake me. Now that's saying something.

Too bad the storm didn't come yesterday morning, instead of late last night. Otherwise, maybe we could have kept our visitor's for a little while longer. We love having people come visit us, even if it's only for a night.

So much family stopping by our stomping grounds in the last few weeks has been rather nice. It kind of makes us miss living closer to family. We keep telling ourselves, someday, someday in the distant, very distant future, perhaps will live close to at least one member from either of our families. I like to think the odds should be pretty good, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for the one.

Anyone else driving across the country this summer? You're welcome to stop by and spend a night. We welcome any and all visitor's.


Take me out to the ball game

If camping and a baby shower weren't enough to keep us busy for one weekend, we decided to meet up with John's cousins and go to an Oklahoma City AAA baseball game, too.

Our ticket included a free hat (pictured below), a Taco Bell voucher for $6.00, and the courtesy of seeing my "home" team, the SLC Bee's play, all for a whopping $6.25. Clearly they're in need of boosting sales around here.
Thank goodness we could help them out.

I love me some baseball, even if it's the minor league. 
Thanks Kristen and Travis for joining us, we had a blast! 


The Joy of Camping

I didn't grow up in a family that enjoys camping. I appreciated that.
Yet, I was forced to go to girls camp. Hence the dislike of the activity.
I much rather sleep in my own bed.

I enjoy sitting around a bonfire talking with friends.
I love smores.
I enjoy being out in nature...in the right circumstances.

Being married to a man who loves a good camp out means I get to experience things I'm not particularly fond of. It's a give/take relationship. I go camping. He is obligated to take me to the nutcracker every year starting now. It's a win win I suppose.

To "celebrate"-I use that term loosely here-finishing second year, the worst/hardest year, so glad that's behind us, the guys thought camping sounded like the best de-stressing outlet they could come up with. I had other ideas in mind. But, camping it was. So, I did my best to go with a smile on my face. Although, someone may tell you otherwise.

Although I may not love camping, there are a few things that make it a little more enjoyable for me.

1. Sleeping in a nicely made air mattress with a lake front view...

2. Watching John, ever so proudly, hang up his hammock to lounge around on, only to realize sometimes square knots are trickier to tie than one would think...

3. Chillaxing around the camp fire with friends on a brisk spring night...

4. Pretty views...

5. Eating heart-attack inducing foods...
 6. And having good friends around who make the idea of camping a whole lot better...

7. And lest I forget, watching John and his creativity in roasting marshmallows...

So, all in all, is camping a bad as I like to make it out to be. No! Would I care if I ever went camping again? Probably not. But I can't start giving in to camping so easily just yet, who knows what he'll try to succor me into next.


Expect the Unexpected

I felt like a local here in Oklahoma this weekend. Not only did my parents come out to visit us, but my sisters and her little boy came out, too. Half of my family under MY roof, IN Oklahoma. Yeah, that's something I never thought would happen.

It was so nice to have family come out and visit us, spoil us, and basically take care of me for the entire weekend since John's nose was buried in his books studying for finals...oh, and taking care of securing our money since some dirt bag decided to break into our account and steal our hard earned money. I love honest people!

Our weekend in review, via pictures:

I'm sure getting to see one of their grandsons while they were here was the highlight of the trip.
With a face like that, it was definitely one of my highlights:

My parents being the avid runners that they are decided we needed to run in a race while they were here. Sure, why not, right? A 5k in my book is no big deal, but somehow my dad and I found ourselves running slower than usual. We'll blame it on the deadly wind that is Oklahoma.

The wind didn't slower her down though. My mom got first place in her age group! Ladies in the 55-59 year old age group better watch out when she's around.

Free massages after the race. Yes please!  That should be my reasoning right there to run more races instead of logging my miles in at the gym:

Later we headed off to the National Cowboy Museum, one of the few "treasures" of OKC. Surprise surprise, the cowboy museum was a lot cooler than I thought it would be:

John Wayne...one of the few cowboy's names I actually recognized.

They cater to the kids and let you ride pretend horses. Clearly I thought it was pretty cool.

And they even let you play dress up!

Next, we headed over to the Oklahoma City Memorial. I remember when the bombing happened in 1995. I think that was the first time I ever heard of Oklahoma City. How crazy it is that now I live here.

I'm so glad my mom didn't want to spend Mother's Day alone and decided to make the trek out to the great state of Oklahoma to visit me. I need this lady around, and my family in general for that matter.

Love them!


The Civility Experiement

Kindness has always been something I've had to work at. I guess you can say that about anything. Patience. Love. Respect. Tolerance. Compassion. You get the picture. They're all things most of us have to work for. But for me, kindness has been my struggle. And something I have to work extra hard at. I have too much sass in me, and it's not always a good thing.

I often times wonder, as a female species, the species that is supposed to be patience, kind, loving, full of charity blah blah blah, why it's something I never felt like I was good at. Hello?! Is it hard to be nice, of course not. Wasn't I supposed to be born with these innate qualities? So, why the struggle? Because I'm human. A human who isn't very teachable most of the time.

One would think that after 25 years of being taught valuable lesson after lesson, I'd be a kindness pro by now. Unfortunately, I'm still in the minor league, waiting to advance and go big. It seems like every 28 days or so, I'm back at home plate, striking out time and time again. It's a rather lovely time of the month around our house. Thank goodness life doesn't have a three strikes your out rule. I would have been out years ago.

I love this video. I love it's message. I love that lately, I've been on the receiving end of others kindness. And I'll tell you what, when I'm not always deserving of that kindness, it's like a slap in the face and really does make me want to be kinder to everyone around. So, here's a little pick me up to get you through your Wednesday. Cliche or not, kindness really does go a long way.