Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Outer Banks

We went on a little vacation last week to the Outer Banks in North Carolina with some of Glenn's family. We stayed in this house just a couple blocks from the beach. With March being the "off-season" and splitting the house rental three ways this place was quite affordable. Everyone had their own bedroom and bathroom and a big family room by the kitchen made for some great game playing and great food, which is no surprise when Makechnies are in the house.
The house even came equipped with a foosball table so of course, there were several tournaments.We played lots of Speed and Chutes and Ladders. But I think my favorite memory in the house is probably watching "The Bachelor" finale with Amy, my sister-in-law, and Arthur, my father-in-law. It was absolutely hilarious watching for Arthur's reactions to this ridiculous scenario we were watching. He would comment with us on their relationships and the reality of it all and then the next morning he said, "Ladies, I've been thinking about it all night. I kept waking up and thinking about the show and I have to tell you...I think he chose the wrong girl." It was SO funny.
I'll be honest, being from out West, I wasn't exactly sure what the OBX were all about. Apparently it's one of the big vacation spots in the East, and we sure found out why. The beach was gorgeous. Morning runs along the beach were so wonderful.
While Glenn and I had a blast, we wish that little man had been a bit more pleasant. He began the week with a bad cough and got hit with a stomach bug one night that had him up all night screaming and swallowing hard, determined not to throw up. Poor kiddo. He was pretty ornery all week which just made us mad! We get to see our family so infrequently that we really hoped he would be sweet and play! But no such luck.
Tate and Grandpa Arthur.
Tate admiring his only boy cousin Nelson. Nelson was really the only one who consistently got any love from Tate.One afternoon we drove down to Roanoake and had a nice little walk. Tate found some sticks which made him smile. Briefly.
Tate and Uncle Ian, recently returned from his mission in Denver!
And there was a lively game of capture the flag.Another afternoon we went down to Kitty Hawk where the Wright Brothers achieved the first successful flights in 1903. They had a museum, a little movie, and a cool monument up on a hill.The crew, resting from the walk up the hill.Paige and Tate chasing some geese in the field.Tate and the monument.It's kind of hard to see in the picture, but those four markers (three up close and one far away to the right) are marking the distance of the first four flights of the Wright Brothers. The first one was only 12 seconds. This was probably my favorite outing. It was really cool to be in the field where the first manned airplanes flew. There was a cool sense of history in the place.Tate and Glenn in front of the light house in Corolla.Feeling under the weather + time change + new people and places = many, many melt downs.Fortunately, some of the meltdowns ended like this...which helps a little bit.The last day we were there we had wonderful weather. Not quite warm enough to convince me to get in the water, but we had a great time on the beach. Tate found a stick that he decided was a fishing pole and walked around the beach catching fish. Apparently we need to take the poor kid fishing.
The Gregor and Amy Makechnies asked me to take their family pictures. I do have a very nice camera now, but I quickly learned that I have a lot to learn about taking family pics. There were entire chunks of pictures that I looked at afterward that I wish I had paid more attention to and changed just a couple small things and they would have turned out great. Oh well. I learned a lot and I think we still got some good ones. Poor little miss Paige was having none of it. The sun was in her eyes and she was fed up quickly. We got some smiles eventually even from miss Paige.
It's hard not to get at least a few good ones with such a beautiful family in the shot!
The last night Tate finally warmed up and was himself a little more. Running around giggling and wanting to wrestle and hug his cousins. Silly boy. Why couldn't he have figured out how wonderful they all are just a few days earlier?
We had tons of fun exploring another lovely part of the country with some fantastic people. The word "leisure" was the word of the trip and the perfect description of our experience. Calm, relaxing, leisurely. Perfect. Thanks for inviting us Makechnies!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A visit from Auntie Mallo

We've had a very fun few days around here spending time with this gal.
Auntie Mallo came to visit for a few quick days during her spring break from Utah State. We had a blast, obviously. On Monday we hit up the Houston Rodeo. It was quite the event! We got a sitter for little man and spent most of the day down at the fair grounds. There was so much to do and it was a really fun glimpse at extreme Texas culture. We browsed some funny booths. And by browsed I mean, we tried on everything, laughed really hard, and took a million pictures.We visited a little petting zoo where we met some goats, sheep, little pigs, deer, llamas, and kangaroos. "Why hello! Are you a deer? Yes you are!"
We realized after looking back at our pictures how silly we probably looked being the only people in the petting zoo over 3 feet tall and thrilled to touch a deer. Oh well.
Then there was the food. We'd told Mal all about the crazy things these Texans fry at their fairs so we had to try a few! The three of us shared fried oreos, cheesecake, and cookie dough. The cookie dough was the winner. Yum. I'd like to say we worked out as much as we ate this week but that is simply not true. We did work out, but I don't know that any amount of working out is going to undo fried cookie dough. Worth it.
Then we went to the rodeo. It was spectacular. Such a good show. The bulls were a favorite. They were the biggest, meanest bulls I've ever seen and Mal and I screamed...a lot. After the rodeo they moved a stage into the middle of the arena, Tim McGraw gave a concert and we again, screamed...a lot. I feel like she and I become heightened versions of ourselves when we're together. It's so fun. The concert was awesome. Tim played a great balance of new and old songs and we did not leave disappointed!
Day 2 we took a little slower. We hit the gym, watched a movie then went shopping at an enormous mall down town.
Then yesterday we went to the zoo. It was a blast to show Auntie Mallo the zoo. It's one of our favorite places and Tate loved having her there. He kept running from place to place with a big smile on his face.We even stopped to feed the giraffes. That was awesome! Today Tate's talking about how he fed the giraffes some salad. Loved it. And we saw their new 5 day old baby giraffe. It was very cute.
Our last hurrah with Mallo was a quick trip to Kemah. We couldn't resist the sting ray aquarium. We bought these gross little dead fish to feed to the sting rays. We were, as I said, even more nervous and jumpy because we were together, and that made Tate nervous too. Poor boy. It was fun and a little scary being so close to so many sting rays. Some of those mammas were really big!They were very friendly and excited to be fed and petted. We liked the petting much more than the feeding. We got splashed quite a bit and left pretty wet and smelling like fish. Delish.
Then we went for a little walk along the boardwalk. It was so beautiful. Tate couldn't be happier with the ocean, boats (he called them pirate ships), and seagulls to look at AND things to climb on. What could be better? A train ride with Daddy of course.We ate dinner at a yummy little Greek place. It was a great few days.
It's so nice to share where we live and what we do with people who come to visit. I love having visitors. It's great how it seems to make me more proud of the place that I live and the life that I live when I get to share it and talk it up for a few days with a visitor.
I sure love my sister. She's one of those people who make you feel better about yourself just by being around you. She's always positive and happy and she's great fun to talk to. As my mom put it today, "you just never know what's going to come out of her mouth next!" Which is completely true. It's a blast.
Some favorite moments:
-Staying up really late and talking.
- Watching movie scenes that made us laugh over and over until we were in pain from laughing so hard.
- A half gallon of Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Ice cream. See what I mean? No amount of exercise could keep up with us.
- Women's fringed shawls.
- Watching her tickle Tate until he almost couldn't breath because he was laughing so hard.
- So much screaming during the sting ray feeding. So much.
We love you Mal. Thanks for coming to visit!!