{It's Family Tradition}

The McD's sort of have a thing for adventure, thrill, and excitement.  We have enjoyed many a roller coaster, sky coaster, ATVing and swimming in cenotes in Mexico, ziplining, ropes courses, pamper pole, among others.  For my 21st birthday, my parents gave me the gift of going tandem skydiving.  My mom went also, a adventure lover as well, and she would echo my feelings that it was incredible and unlike anything we had ever done before.  The rush of falling 2 miles is similar to riding a roller coaster, but only lasts about a minute (it feels longer), but then you also get to float down for another 8-10 minutes which is surreal.

Tori didn't get to go when Mom and I did it on my birthday because I don't think she was old enough.  If it wasn't that, it may also have been the fact that we went on a holiday weekend and it took a really long time since all the skydiving "family" were celebrating and there were a lot of people there.  Regardless, it didn't come as a surprise when my sister said she wanted to go skydiving for her 21st birthday.

We tried to go when she was home during Easter weekend, but the winds were too high, and with her weighing less than a piece of paper (I kid, I kid! - that was not the reason), they canceled all skydiving that day.  When Twink had to go back to school she decided to just wait until she was home fro the summer.  The big day rolled around this past weekend, so the McD gang drove out to Grenville, TX to the Skydive Lodge early Saturday morning.

It was a beautiful day for skydiving with blue skies and cotton candy clouds.  As Tori suited up in her skydiving suit, signing paperwork, and watching videos about what she was about to do, we met the tandem guy she was going to jump with who turned out to be the same guy that jumped with Mama McD and me 4 years earlier.  How fun!  We were definitely keeping it in the family! :)

It was pretty fun to watch my sister jump out of an airplane, and I was grateful to be there to cheer her on!

What's your take on skydiving?  Would you dare do it?

{Suit up, Twink!}

{"If you're a bird, I'm a bird!"}

{Tori and Bobby coming in for their landing!}

{She did it!  We're so excited for her!}

{Oh Heyyyy, So Artsyyyyy - Pinot's Palette Review}

Oh heyyyyy friends!

[Side Note:  "Ohhhh hey, soooooo whateveryyyy", came from my friend, and sorority sister, AJ.  Pictured here with Paige and me.  Basically, she puts "oh heyyyy" in front of everything, and "so fillintheblankyyyyyy" at the end of practically everything.  Naturally, almost every one has picked up on it from our sorority, to friends at Baylor that knew her, to her students now, etc.  Even my hubs uses it!  Hysterical.  She is a riot!]

I have been wanting to do a BYOB painting class for about a year now, and haven't found anyone to go with or haven't had the time.  Friday night Mama McD, seester, and I got a livingsocial deal for Pinot's Palette and went that night to paint the Enchanted Forest.

{Enchanted Forest}

Before the class started, Mom and I went to a cute little pizza place called Olivella's since a friend from work had recommended it, and it was around the corner from Pinot's.  They were voted "Best Pizza in Dallas", and uh yesssss I can see why.  Mom and I had the Black Truffle [house-made mozzarella, speck, mushrooms, truffle oil (yum!!!), black pepper - no sauce].  Y'all, it was possibly the best thing I have ever put in my mouth.  So, if you're looking for a new Dallas Pizza Place near White Rock Lake, Olivella's is a 10!  Don't believe me?  Read this article in the Dallas Observer where they rated it #40 in the "100 Favorite Dishes". #delicious

{Mama McD with our Black Truffle pizza}

After picking up our BYOB from the local beverage store, Seester met up with us for the class.  Well, actually she beat us because naturally Mom and I are hilarious - we should have our own show. ;)

I won't bore you with the details, but end with the class being a huge success!  I will say I had my doubts that I would be making my way home with some butt ugly, finger-paint-looking piece of junk.  Of the McDermid girls, Mama McD is probably the most artistic out of all of us (even though she'll say it's only because she took an Art Class in High School).  Mhmm... that's why.  NOT!  [Note:  When I was about 8, my mom held a week long art camp at our house during the summer where we made paper maché cats out of paper plates and bowls.  The woman is creative and gifted.]

Back to the review.  We had a girl named Theresa, T, lead ours and she was fantastic!  She paints for a living, mostly oils and watercolors, but even with this acrylic paint she was excellent at explaining how to mix colors, what brushes to use, different techniques, and she would walk around and give us tips while we were painting which was so helpful.  Even though we all painted the same thing, everyone's looked different, and I absolutely loved that fact.  Each painting had personal touches which helped it's owners ideas shine through.  SUCH A BLAST.

The facility was clean and T and her assistant were readily available to help you in any way they could, whether it was more paint you needed, to any additional questions we had.  I even entered our livingsocial coupon wrong on their site and was going to get charged on my card instead, but the girl let me use her computer, enter my codes and refunded my card that night.  I was very impressed.  Make sure you let them know who you'd like to sit with in your group, otherwise you could end up sitting with total strangers, which would lead to a funny story... maybe.  Also, I would recommend checking for a coupon/groupon/livingsocial/etc because it's normally $45, (we paid $22), and that's not exactly cheap. That's really my only negative thing to say about the experience.

All in all, I highly recommend Pinot's Palette.  It was an absolute blast!  You can bring your own food and wine, though I recommend you eat before since there's not tons of time for more than a sip of your bev of choice often.  Whether it's a Girl's Night Out, Date Night (there were several people on dates when we were there, but they also have "Date Night" specific nights where you do a couple's painting), or a family night, this place is a great option for a night out!

Here are some pics from our night at Pinot's Palette:

{They wrote your name on the table at your seat.}

{McD girls ready to paint!}

 {Mama McD and Twink - Step 1: Paint your canvas black.}

{My canvas - Step 2: Add yellow, white, and some burnt orangey color our instructor kept referring to as "raw sienna".  #clearlynotanartmajor  Interesting:  That line was drawn using the reverse side of my paintbrush to use as my "horizon line".}

{Step 2: Mama McD & Seester adding their yellow, white and "raw sienna" backgrounds.}

{My canvas - Step 3: Add white yellow and "raw sienna" grasses in random chunks and then add red at the bottom of your leaves and in a few random pieces of grass at the horizon line and below.}

{My canvas - Step 4: Add dark blue to the bottom of your leaves covering the horizon line.}

{My canvas - Step 5: We mixed green, blue, and white to create this pretty turquoise and added it on top of the dark blue.  Then, we used the green and mixed a little darker green and added the rest of the grass.}

{Mom and her canvas - Step 5: Adding the turquoise and grass.}

{Seester and her canvas - Step 5: Adding the turquoise and grass.}

{My canvas - Step 6: Add grey trees.  Then we mixed a little darker grey and added some texture.}

{My canvas - Final step: Added the black bark on the tree, some red around the base of the trees, some turquoise sporadically in the grass.  Tori added a "carving" into her tree of her initials and the Texas A&M (gag!) logo, so I had to copy her and add hearts for mine and the husband's initials.}

{Mom's canvas - Final - so pretty!}

{Tori's canvas - Final - so pretty, too!}

{All three of the canvases.  I love that they are all so unique!}

{Restored Faith in Humanity}

Back in January, the besties and I traveled to see one of our sorority sisters tie the knot (hooray for Carly and Scott)!  After the wedding, having been reunited, a group of sorority sisters took a cab and went out on 6th Street to enjoy the night.  I had been under the weather a few days prior to the wedding, and still wasn't feeling 100% so I didn't partake too heavily in the spirits.  The only crummy thing about 6th street is having to constantly take your wallet out to get your ID, so I was trying to be very cognizant of taking my wallet out and putting it away.  There's nothing worse than losing something, at all, but especially in a crowded area.

{Besties - minus one!}

 {Hoot Hoot}

As the bars began to close we realized it was getting harder and harder to find a cab.  In fact, I'm fairly certain we stole a van cab from a group of guys, perhaps by accident (I cannot confirm nor deny *wink*).  Since there were about 8 of us, and none of us had a lot of cash, we were trying to pay per person, so we all had our credit cards out.  I think someone just ended up paying for the whole thing, and we all scrambled to get out of the cab, most of us from the floor since it was a cab meant for 4, so our taxi driver friend could head back to collect more 6th Street. goers.

It wasn't until the next morning, when we were at delicious Kerby Lane for brunch (duh... that's what the besties do), that I had the OH CRAP realization that I had lost my wallet.  Ugh, thinking about it now still gives me the same pit in my stomach that I had then.  Luckily, I have some of the world's best friends.  They bought me some brunch, toted me around to different places we had been like the hotel, the parking lot we had left from the night before, and helped me look, and then sat patiently as I called every taxi cab company in Austin. When I accepted the truth that it had to be sitting on the floor in the taxi cab we had been in that night, they sat patiently again.  Praise the LORD for great friends.

I had been sitting on the floor of the cab the night before, and I guess I had my wallet out sitting on my purse ready to pay for my portion of the fare.  When someone picked up the whole thing, I must have, in a hurry to get out of the way, ignored my wallet sitting on top of my purse in my lap, stood up and it fell in the corner on the floor.  In my defense, somewhat, it is a black wallet, and it was pretty dark, so I didn't even check anything.  I kick myself every time I think about not checking to make sure everyone grabbed everything too.  Oh well.
So, that's a lot of build up to get to the real point of the post, that yesterday I was messaging some friends on Facebook when I noticed a category next to "Inbox" that said "Other (6)".  Curiosity lead me to click that box, and I don't know how on earth Facebook filters what goes into that box, but the very last of the 6 unread messages was one from a gentleman saying, "I found your purse (it's one of those large wristlets from Coach I use as a wallet).  Please call me at..."  I googled the area code, thinking to myself, "anyone could just have chosen my name and random and said that", but the date and the area code both registered correctly the match the events 7 months before.

Y'all, my mind is completely blown.  I am amazed that in our day in age, someone would find my wallet, not immediately try to jack all of my stuff (well, maybe he did, but the fact that he tried to get it back to me makes me think more highly of him), and then take the time to look me up on Facebook to try and return it to me.  Furthermore, after speaking with him yesterday, he still has it and said he would send it to me today in the mail!  (Why that wasn't done in the first place, I have no idea, but still, this guy had the decently to let me know he found my wallet, so I can't complain.)  He also told me how badly he had felt when he found it because I had so much stuff in my wallet.  (Yes, that was an idiot move on my behalf to have so much in there, but lesson learned.)

All of that to say, I was blown away by the compassion someone took the time to show me.  In a world that believes you have to look out for yourself, it was refreshing that some people still do the right thing.  It also made me think of the last time I went out of my way to do something kind for a total stranger.  I know how much joy it brought me, even though I already went through the process to change everything.  I am so grateful that someone took the time to do that.

Have you gone out of your way lately to make someone's world a little brighter?  I know I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for little things I can do to spread, and choose, joy through serving one another.  That's what the LORD wants us to do anyway.  Serve His people and bring Him glory.

{Staying Current - The Passionate Employee}

In an effort to try to stay current, my husband suggested I should post my thoughts weekly about a current article/event.  So, I thought today I would give it a try.  I found this article on Fox News called Passion Key to Getting Ahead at Work.  It caught my eye because any who knows me knows I have a heart for the Non-Profit industry, and doing something meaningful in my career.  I was super excited to read this article because despite it being short, it hit all the points I believe in to be true.

The article begins with the premise that "when it comes to getting ahead at work, it might not be all about your job performance... your belief in the mission of your company could help you advance in your career."  A team of researchers from Brigham Young University, Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University and Washington University’s Olin Business School, set out to determine what makes an employee stand out in a company that is closely aligned with a specific mission.  They focused on "employees at a non-profit that focused on community outreach" and a "for-profit with an environmental orientation".

What they found was that, "individual employees who were more strongly aligned with the mission ended up being strong players in terms of influence over people."  Notice, they didn't mention anything about non-profit or for-profit being a factor here.  They simply said those who lined up with the mission ended up being stronger influences.  This doesn't come as a big surprise to me, having worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation (which I'll have to blog about at another time because they are awesome).  I noticed that the more aligned with the company's mission I was, the more excited and dedicated I was to serving in whatever capacity was needed.  It was also evident that my coworkers who were there for more than a paycheck did, in fact, seem to have more influence over those who were there just to do a job - what did they care what happened anyway?  Their job would remain the same and they would feel the same.

The research also determined that "true believers are happier to be with the company and that often shines through".  I recognize this statement as ringing true because when I would speak to people inside and outside the organization, the pride that beamed from me for being an employee there was very evident.  That's something that not just any job can give you.  That is the feeling of being proud of what you do; that you're making a difference.  That made the job, as the article describes, "a vehicle to do something meaningful", even though I wasn't 100% satisfied with everything I was doing work-wise.

The last thing the article said that aligns with my thinking was that employees were likely to take a "pay cut to work for a company they believe[d] in" and that even though they were "making less money", they were "happier and more engaged in their work and organization".  I don't know how many times I have said this to my parents, my husband, my friends.  I would be willing to take a lower paying job if I was doing something I believed in and supported.  Trust me, I appreciate the value of earning a decent salary, and understand the need to manage finances appropriately.  I'm simply suggesting that money isn't the end all be all, and it shouldn't drive your reason for working (unless you're earning tons a day and have a flexible schedule so you can find other ways to do something to give back.

If you're going to spend the majority of your life at your job, I wholeheartedly believe it should be somewhere where you align with the mission.  We spend too many hours a day at our place of employment to not be, at least to some extent, fulfilled with your role in the organization.  I've heard it many times from people a little to a lot older than me, that say my generation is only concerned with being "fulfilled by their jobs and that's why they hop around.  Back in my day, we were loyal and stayed for the long haul."  While I do believe there is value in having longevity with a company and not jumping from company to company too frequently, I must disagree with the opinion that you have to stay somewhere even if you're not happy to prove loyalty.  I haven't owned my own company, or really even managed anyone, so this is all perception, but I would rather have employees that were passionate for the mission they supported, and that their loyalty would be demonstrated by their hard work and lack of turn over.  I also think that if employees are on-board with the mission, even if they aren't totally satisfied with the work they do, they will stay for the long haul because they believe what they're doing is making a difference, and if they stay they could get to their dream job within their "potential" dream company.

{True Dat}

{No Weekend Agenda - So Lovely!}

I love weekends.  Not that everyone doesn't like work, but let's be honest, weekends rock, unless you're ridiculously busy and don't get to rest.  This weekend was luckily not one of those, but one where we had no agenda and got to do exactly what we wanted.

Friday was date night with the handsome hubby.  We didn't get a picture, which I'm bummed about, but that's okay.  We ate at our new place, Urban Eatz which Lauren so kindly introduced me to last weekend. YUMMO.  To finish up date night, Ry and I went to see Monsters University and went to a 10:45 pm showing.  We must be getting older, or our work weeks caught up with us, because both of us were yawning as the previews were appearing on the screen.  At the end of the movie Ry said, "I don't think I've had to fight to stay awake during a movie in a long time!"  I have to agree.  I blame it on the busy work week.

Saturday Ry and I went skeet shooting with Papa McD.  I love shooting with Papa McD, and it was an extra treat that Ryan went too.  I was a pretty sour sport the first round, given that I shot TERRIBLY.  The second round I improved by at least 300% (not kidding), and had a much better attitude.  [Note to self: It helps if you use the bead at the end of your gun.  #duh]

Papa McD and Aunt Peggy had Tori and me over to their place for some steaks and potatoes.  YUM!  I haven't had a steak and potatoes in forever, and it was so good!  I guess I need to start preparing more meat and potato dinners!  I took the Border Collies over there so my aunt could meet Oakley Mae, and of course she had an accident in Dad's office.  Typical.  #puppyproblems  If anyone has any advice on potty training and disciplining our unruly puppy, please please please comment.  I know some of it is that she's a puppy, but she is hardly obedient.  Sigh.  However, she was also ADORABLE playing with some puppy toys, which took away my frustration at least a little bit. :)

Sunday rolled in and I actually got to nap for the first time in weeks!  Y'all, I love napping.  Seriously, it's one of the best things ever.  In college, I napped daily, but once I entered the real world those became few and far between.  Ry and I had softball Sunday night and we won!  I had a great hit and scored a run, too, which is never shabby.  I wish I could say I didn't raspberry up my legs this week, but alas, I did, even though I wore my slider.  [My husband would like you to know, he told me where to place it correctly on my leg, and I didn't think that felt right and raised it higher up my thigh, exposing my knee.  Naturally, having never wore one before, I was wrong.  That is all.]

As we draw close to the end of July, I can't help but get excited thinking there are only 41 days til our 1st Anniversary.  Time has seriously flown by, but in a good way of course.  I have been brainstorming creative "paper" anniversary gifts.  I think I've found one I am pretty excited about, but am definitely open to any creative ideas.  Have an awesome idea or heard about a good one?  Holla atcha girl.

{Collie Class: Things the Border Collies are Teaching Me - Things Happens}

I always imagined having my own furbaby would mean lots of teaching on my end; potty training, frisbee catching lessons, learning to use a leash, tricks galore, you name it!  I never would have guessed how much I would learn from these sweet, little balls of fur.  This should be interesting.

Having Border Collies is what I imagine having toddlers, or children for that matter, is like.  They are angels one moment, and demons the next... (I mean, psych, they're always angels - can't ruin our willing puppy sitters by a not-so-glowing post about the BCs!)  *Wink wink*  There's pretty much one thing you need to know about border collies, that is, that they are fireballs of energy!  For the quick paced, gogogo person like myself, this is excellent, but for those few moments where I just want to unwind and relax, think again!  Well, I take that back.  Back in the days before Oakley Mae, sweet angel Jetta Belle would totally mellow out when she could tell husband and I were, but those days are far behind us now it seems.  Which brings me to today's lesson from the collies:  S**t happens.  Literally.

[Now if I've already lost you because of the foul, foul language I've just used, my deepest apologies and I don't often swear, but this sentiment is just so fitting for this lesson.  But, if you're bold enough to have ventured past this for-lack-of-a-better-word-choice, keep on keepin' on brave ones.]

This week has been really rough for sweet Oakley Mae.  Homegirl has not been able to get her accidents under control, and well, we've been at odds this week. You can ask Seester frand... I asked her if she "wanted a puppy last night; answers to the name Oakley Mae." #momfail

One look, or lick, from that sweet girl usually helps me to forget the terrible mess, but then, oh yes, I'm right back to cleaning it up and fuming (in the other sense) unlike the wonderful mound of poo she has left fuming for me.  Sometimes it's "a river of pee and a mountain of poo" as Mama McD once deemed it upon first watching JB baby several months ago, if we're lucky.

Where am I going with this, other than describing the unpleasant sights and aromas that have been frequenting the Newly Nabors household this week, you might be asking?  Well, it's pretty simple.  Things happen whether we want them to or not.  I can a) whine, moan, and stomp around like a 6 year old while I clean up the lovely mess from puppy Goose, then proceed to ignore her for the rest of the evening, or I can b) accept that adorable sad puppy apology that usually is complete with a puppy kiss, forgive her, and move on.

While I wish I could say I've been forgiving and forgetting a little more easily than I have been, I am definitely striving to do that moving forward, and I think acknowledging it is a good first step.  Being disappointed puts you on the nowhere train to unhappy land quickly, and I've frequented that venue too often lately.  What do I have as a souvenir?  Oh, that's right... nothing.  While accepting the good ole' Serenity Prayer is a lot easier said than done, I have definitely noticed that when I don't sweat the small stuff, or big stuff for that matter, the disappointments of life aren't so bad, especially if you take the time to think of all the things your grateful for.  Like the fact that I have a LORD that sent his Son to die for me.  Yep... pretty much trumps all, but I'll continue... a wonderful husband, two loyal, darling, border collies, a supportive family and family-in-law, good friends, a college education, a job, and the list goes on and on.

So, sweet Oakley Mae, Goose, Little Bit, Munchkin, I promise to not let your "accidents" get the best of me, to remember you're a blessing and have always been part of our plan, and to work harder with you on potty training.  Thanks for being a sweet girl and part of the Nabors family.  We love you so much!

{"Sorry Mom, I didn't mean to."}

{The Cute Dispute: Gremlin Dogs}

I'd like to begin by saying my husband and sister are dream crushers, and thus you can thank them for this new series (maybe... if i like it.)  In an effort to spread my wings away from my personal happenings and write some opinions about things so said dreamcrushers will accept the legitimacy of my BLOG, here you have "The Cute Dispute".

When asking for ideas of things to write on, my friend Jose told me to write about Gremlin dogs aka French Bulldogs.  Now, I'm finding it hard to take a very distinct stance on whether or not these furbabies are really cute, but we'll see what I convince myself of after this post.  Meet Ellie, Jose's sweet Gremlin dog, the inspiration!

{Ellie, the cute and sweet Gremlin dog}

Exhibit A: The French Bulldog (I'll be calling them Gremlin dogs, so get on board.)

Quick Facts (Thanks Wikipedia!):
  • Nickname: Frenchies ... or Gremlin Dogs
  • First bread by lace makers in England then France when displaced by the Industrial Revolution
  • Combination of Old English Bulldog, Pug, and an unknown terrior
  • Typically playful and affectionate
  • Loyal, loving nature makes them a wonderful companion dog
  • (Supposedly) intelligent breed, however willful, stubborn nature can make them more challenging to train
  • Require patience, repetition and early socialization
I would just like to start and say, I have never had little dogs, only large cats, and thus I don't particularly care for little dogs, but this one might be growing on me.

Evaluation of the Facts:
(Possible points: 1 per statement)
  • Gremlin dogs are good companion dogs.  This is excellent, as you wouldn't want a dog that was so independent they didn't need you. (1 point)
  • Gremlin dogs have fairly minimal exercise needs, but do require at least daily walks.  This point almost completely lost me, because the Nabors love active dogs (case and point:  The Border Collie Babies). (1/2 point)
  • Gremlin dogs are a flat-faced breed and cannot live outdoors. Their bulk and their compromised breathing system makes it impossible for them to regulate their temperature efficiently.  Precaution must be taken when exercising/playing in hot or humid weather as Gremlin dogs are prone to heat strokes.  Okay, so you can't hate on a dog because of it's genetic make up, but I'm not going to lie, it is a wonderful thing being able to let the girls run around in the backyard, at the lake, anywhere, all day long.  Sorry little Gremlin dog, but you must be out of your element in Texas. (Minus 1/2 point)
  • Gremlin dogs are top heavy, and therefore have trouble swimming.  This one loses points with me.  We are a lake family, and having swimming dogs is just the icing on the cake.  However, not having to dry off another dog is definitely a plus.  (1/2 point)
  • Gremlin dogs rarely bark.  If they do it's often to draw attention, to point out that it needs something or just because it is not happy.  Jetta Belle is not a big barker, and I appreciate that.  Full point, Gremlin! (1 point)
  • Gremlin dogs are affection with their owners, and children.  Females tend to be protective over children.  Pluses all around.  Gremlin you win the family friendly award. (1 point)
  • Gremlin dogs can easily live with other breeds when proper introductions are done.  Turns out Gremlins are pretty friendly.  (1 point)
  • Gremlin dogs are pretty healthy, but can have a spew of health issues in their backs and joints due to being from a dwarf lineage.  Meh.... (1/2 point)
Total Points: 5 out of 8 possible points -  Well done little Gremlin!

Cute Factor Points:
(Possible Points: 1 per statement)
  • Gremlin dogs can rock an outfit. (4 points)

  • Gremlin dogs are CUTE puppies! (1 point)
  • Gremlin dogs get along well with others. (1 point)
  • Babies love Gremlin dogs. (1 point)

  • Celebrities love Gremlin dogs. (4 points)

  • Gremlin dogs love Border Collies! (1.5 points because I make the rules and can do that)

  • Total Points: 13.5 out of 13

    Total Points: 18.5 points out of 21 total possible points

    Okay little Gremlin, it's official.  You're:

    Don't agree?  Cast your vote to the right or leave a comment below.

    {Nabors Letters}

    Today I want to take a page out of {Today's Letters} book.  (If you need a heartwarming, love and joy-filled read, this is it!)

    Dear Husband, you are a strong man.  Thank you for loving me through my tears, my fears, the unknowns, adventures and day-to-day.  You are the best.  Dear Seester, yesterday you watched The Hunger Games with me after multiple requests from me, cleaned up dog hurl and accidents, ate marinara sauce and Happy Tracks, and I love having you live with us.  #welcometotheNaborsHood  Dear Daddy, I am so proud of you.  Thank you for being so brave and open to change.  Dear Mama, thank you for laughter, movies, pounce, and inviting us to your new home.  It is cozy and I love it.  Dear Mama & Papa Nabors, thank you for flowers and encouragement.  I am so lucky to have you both.  Dear Border Collies, I'm sorry I upset your tummies with Frosty Paws.  I thought I was giving you a treat.  #momfail  Thank you for loving me and being my furbabies anyway.  #maybewellstickwithbones  Dear Owl Scentsational, thank you for your delicious Ginger Peach scent engulfing my pod (and coincidentally the whole row).  Dear LORD, thank you for hope and a future.  Thank you for sending your Son for me.  Dear Sinful Colors 24/7 Nail Polish, thank you for being $1.47 and awesome.  Dear Ryan, I love you.  Thank you for almost 6 wonderful years.  I'm looking forward to granting Jaime's wish with you tonight. :)

    What are you thankful for today?

    {Fireworks, Freedom, & Love}

    Happy 4th of July! (well... 12th of July now...)  I hope that you got some sweet time to celebrate our fine country, took in some beautiful fireworks, spent time by any body of water (pools included), enjoying the loveliness of a break in the middle of the week or a long vacation if you're like us, and spent time with people you love most.  The Newly Nabors certainly did!

    My office closed early, (thanks work!), to let us enjoy the holidays which was great for me because I had a lot to accomplish before my sweet husband came home.  Mama Nabors always tells me not to bring something, but I don't want to be a bad guest and show up without anything the weekend she was hosting us and so many other family members.  I got my two workouts in with the trainer (even with the short week -- I'll pat myself on the back for that one!), and headed straight to the grocery store to get the ingredients for {Buckeye Balls} and Chocolate Covered Strawberries.  I got S'Mores stuff too since I've been craving them!  Someone posted a picture of some they had at their wedding, and I looked them up to see how hard they were to make, and surprisingly they weren't hard at all, even for the sometimes baking challenged like myself.  They were delicious and took no time at all to make.  I say that, and I didn't really have time to make chocolate the way they recommended, but used the chocolate you can melt in the microwave, and that worked pretty well too.  Next time, I'd like to be able to do the chocolate on the stove as per the recipe's recommendation.
    {These, my fine friends, are Buckeye Balls.  Powdered sugar, peanut butter and chocolate nuggets of heaven.}

    About the time I got done letting the Buckeye Balls get cold in the refrigerator and was finishing up my last few Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Ryan arrived home and was of course readyreadyready to go to the Lakehouse (as were the Border Collie Babies).  I negotiated with him that I could get ready if he would dip the Buckeye Balls in chocolate, I could get ready and we could leave sooner.  To my disbelief, he agreed and we were loaded up and ready to go in no time.

    {The girls love loading into the car and going places, especially the Lakehouse!}

    When we arrived that night, the cute little granddaughter from next door was back and she greeted us warmly and told us all about what she had been doing.  She's a talker for sure, and gosh is she adorable!
    4th of July morning was alive and well at 7:00 am when the Border Collie Babies tried to get us up.  I took them out to the restroom and forced them to sleep for another hour, much to their discontent (I know, we're not up for Parents of the Year).  At 8 am, with the other pups being awake downstairs, I got up with the BCBs who could NOT contain their excitement and rushed eagerly outside and into the lake for a morning swim and then playtime with the other pups.

    Family arrived throughout the morning, and we spent the day playing on the boat, floating, riding the new paddle board, jet skiing, and lots of eating and drinking.  It was heavenly.  Even Jetta and Oakley got in on the lake fun as people toted them around on the paddle board (I have a pic, but I promised I wouldn't post it), and as they swam from the shore to us to be held (especially Oakley Mae) in the water, and chased water from the water guns.  Oakley will swim out and just let you hold her while you stand in the water.  Jetta Belle will tolerate that, but only for so long.  Not going to lie, it's pretty adorable watching two border collies swimming towards you or just around.  One of Mama Nabors' dogs, Gabi, will swim too.  {Sidenote: When we were at the lake last weekend, Mama Nabors, Ryan and I went out on the jetskis and Gabi and Jetta swam out following us.  We had to coax them back the shore and make sure they stayed before we could leave!  Silly water dogs!}

    The evening concluded with some beautiful fireworks!  At the lake there isn't one big show that anyone puts on, but rather EVERYONE puts on their own show for everyone else.  When I first experienced this at the lake, I was kind of disappointed that there's not some massive fireworks show, but I have come to love this new tradition of setting off our own fireworks, sitting by the lake and watching them explode over the water so much more than any fireworks show I've ever seen.  So simply beautiful and AWESOME.  Plus, it's extra cool to have them literally exploding over my head.  I tried to post a video, but I couldn't.  Check out my {Instagram} to see my videos from the 4th.  There's a video of my personal firework of choice, The Frog Prince.  Don't let it's silly, childish demeanor make you doubt it's awesomeness.  I stumbled onto this beaut 3 years ago.  #boom

    Sweet husband and I both took off Friday and lounged at the lake (best decision ever), and made it a very long weekend for the two of us and the babies.
    [Brag Moment:  Ryan and I must have passed some sort of virus around because Friday evening I was in rough shape.  My stomach hurt so badly, my body ached and I couldn't figure out what was going on.  My sweet, sweet husband stayed up with me and took care of me... above and beyond, y'all.  I know he's not one to boast about that sort of thing, but I am constantly reminded how blessed I am to have him as mine, and how much he must really love me to take such good care of me.]

    Saturday, one of my sweet friends from middle school through college and beyond got married to her sweetheart in The Woodlands.  I had never been there before, but as we made the trip there and explored a little I was surprised by how cute it was really being in the woods.  Alison was in my wedding back in September, and I was honored to support her on and Austin on their special day.  She looked so beautiful and so happy.  They are both ordained ministers now (also super proud of her for accomplishing that!), and they will be joining us in the Big D!  So happy to have them to share life with.
    Since getting married, weddings make me feel such different emotions.  I was happy for those getting married before, but after being up there, having said my vows to my husband, sharing communion together, proclaiming promises of commitment and faithfulness and to serve the LORD in front of so many, weddings remind me of that special day, the commitment Ryan and I made to one another and the LORD, and those radical feelings flood my heart all over again. LoveLoveLove!

    {Husband & Wife!}

    {So happy for these sweet Revs!}

    {Wining, dining, dancing, and celebrating with this hunk.}

    At one of Alison's showers earlier this summer, I met {Whitney}, a fellow Baylor Bear and border collie owner.  She is super fun and I found her really easy to talk to.  Alison asked us to hand out programs at her wedding so we got to hang out again then, and Ryan and I ended hanging out with her and her fiance, Lance, at the reception.  [Small World Alert:  Ryan and Lance somewhat recognized each other, both Baylor Bears this was to be expected, but it turns out they had been in a Business class group project together.  As they were shaking hands and introducing themselves they had that funny look in their eye like, "Do we know each other?"  Lance said, "I think we had a class together", to which Ryan exclaimed, "Yeah, Vitalicious?", and that connected all the dots.  They were a blast to hang out with, and since they're in D Town too, we want to meet up with them!  HOORAY for more couple friends!

    {Me, the Bride, and Whitney}

    The same day in sunny California, our sweet friends {Ben & Holly} were also tying the knot.  I have known Ben since kindergarten and we were bummed to not be able to celebrate with them.  We can't wait for them to get back home and to hear all about their gorgeous wedding and honeymoon.  We are so grateful for them and excited for them to begin this new phase of life as husband and wife.  It is such a fun change!

    We headed back to the lake the next morning and lounged there all day until it was time to go home.  The result of the trip was a well rested Ryan and Taylor, worn out puppies, full hearts and stomachs, and lots of great fun and memories.  Can't wait to see what next year's 4th of July holds!

    The aftermath of a successful weekend according to Jetta Belle.

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