Thursday, July 31, 2014

Heading Out

Wooo! I will soon be going to Chicago for the 2014 US Gymnastics Secret Classics and guess what? Mckayla Maroney will be there signing autographs! May just be the most exciting thing that has happened to me so far.

Predictions for the competion:
All Around: Simone Biles
Vault: MyKayla Skinner
Bars: Kyla Ross
Beam: Peyton Ernst if she hits
Floor: Simone Biles

I will also get to see Claire and that is quite exciting as well! I will update when I get home about my trip :)


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Bussiest Weekend There Ever Was

July 25th-July 27th

Friday: I worked 7-3 and then was picked up by Lilly. I was going to her apartment to spend the night as she was having her 20th birthday party. It. Was. Crazy. Lot's of illicit behavior that I'm not used to at all but I kept myself classy and had a good time. Until one of the guests passed out and had to spend the night too and ended throwing up about fifty times-no joke. I didn't sleep at all, give or take maybe thirty minutes.

Saturday: The next morning we watched a movie and then one of Lilly's friends drove me home and I had to get ready for El's fourth birthday party! M had already wrapped her gifts but we had to make some little appetizers to bring. We got to her house around 4:30, I've said it before but I'll say it again, El brings so much joy to my life and I'm so thankful for her. She is truly a magical little girl. She and her best friend were cracking all of the party guests up and we ate the best cupcakes in the world. El didn't want anyone singing to her, it was so funny. I got home so tired, seeing as I hadn't slept in 38 hours...

Sunday: After a nights sleep I woke up at nine o'clock and got ready for Church. The service was good as always. I was still tired when we got home so I tried to take a nap before going to babysit my favorite family. I'm a really bad napper, it has to be perfect conditions. I went to babysit at 6:30 and all was going well until right after I put the youngest to bed and there was a weather alert so down to the basement we went. I wanted to keep the news on the TV so the kids were really bored and riled up. It was a very rambunctious half hour to say the least. I got home before ten but had to get some stuff ready for work the next day.

Finally I have a few days to sleep in! And we are going to Chicago soon! I am pumped! I'm also going to try to be a better blogger, summer is busy!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Fun

I feel bad that I haven't been posting as much as usual but I always seem to lull during the summer. Too much going on! This year especially has been hard because I have been writing so much for my book (now working on book 2!) so I haven't had zest left for writing on here.

My sister M is nannying my cousin El this year again and I have a BLAST hanging out with them. For one thing, El is the best and most easy going child I've ever met. I love her to pieces and I can't wait to help her celebrate her fourth birthday this weekend! The three of us (and a lot of times E too) do so many fun things together. Today we went out for breakfast, playground hopped, saw a movie and hung out at home. I cannot wait until I can have my own kids, El just makes me so excited for motherhood :).

In other news, I got to see C last weekend at my cousins grad party. I missed her so much and was sad to say goodbye after just one day. But we are going to her 'hood in just over a week so I'll get to see her then and also attend the US GYMNASTICS SECRET CLASSIC. I'm soooooo excited!

More tomorrow!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Worst Day: One Year Later

Today is the anniversary of the worst day I've had in my life. Read the whole post for details but in a nutshell, my dad and three other almost drowned in the ocean while we were on vacation. It was without a doubt the scariest thing I've ever experienced and boy, I can't believe it's been a whole year.

What I was able to take from that day was that I'm not invincible, bad things can happen to me just like the people you see on the internet or the news. God says that suffering will happen and yet I am comforted that He is only good and uses all things for good. I think my family and I all have a deeper appreciation for the fragility of life and how blessed we are to just wake up each morning. For weeks after that day I would just look at my dad and be so happy that he was here. Now whenever I'm mad or frustrated with him I just the feeling I had when I honestly though he was dead or dying. I am so happy to have him and all of my family here with me because you never know what tomorrow brings.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Grace Takes NYC

So, my family and I just got back from a 4 day stay in the Big Apple, I have a lot to say about it so I'm narrowing it down to pros and cons.

Let's start with the positives:
  1. Layout: I really liked getting to know the city and figuring out how to get places based on street numbers. By the end of the trip I saying, "We have to take the E train to 50th and 8th and then it's just two block to our hotel." 
  2. Celebrity Sightings: Now, I didn't see anyone too famous but I did meet and get a picture with Sophia Lucia (extremely well known dancer-look her up, she's amazing!) and Ginger the weather lady from Good Morning America. It's pretty exciting to know there is always a possibility of running into someone famous!
  3. Broadway: My mom and M saw Les Miserable and E, my dad and I saw Phantom of the Opera. We all LOVED our respective shows. It is definitely cool to have so many amazing productions right at your finger tips. 
  4. Central Park:  We didn't get to spend a whole lot of time there but it's really amazing to see. It's so big and nicely laid out, a whole park right in the middle of the city! While we were there we got to see the statue of Balto and listen to a free outdoor concert. We also took the bus down there from Good Morning America to their summer concert series and saw Keith Urban perform!
  1. Cleanliness: Now, I didn't think it was awfully dirty or anything but there was a bit more litter than I'm used to seeing and a lot of ominous looking puddles with trash in them. Also, bad smells from garbage seemed to waft at me every other block or so. 
  2. Unfriendly Locals: I have NEVER been so rudely bumped in to as I was in NYC. Everywhere else I've been you apologize after hitting into someone, especially if they're apologizing to you when it wasn't even their fault! Not one person said they were sorry after hitting me and no one even responded when I apologized when it wasn't even my fault. Furthermore, I didn't like the rushed, crowd mentality and the fact that you couldn't even stop to catch your breath before someone scowled or bumped into you. Granted, we did meet some nice local folks when we stopped to pet their dog but they were certainly the minority. 
  3. Walking: Now, I can withstand a good bit of walking but I've never walked so much in my life as I did in NYC. I felt like 90% of the time we were walking place and 10% of the time we were actually doing things. My feet ached so badly by the end of the day that I really wanted to cry. 
  4. Too Much: To me, the whole city was too big, too much concrete, too noisy, too crowded. I couldn't even understand how anyone would want to live there. It was almost like an alternate universe. I need grass and trees and open space, I give credit to anyone who can live in a city like that. 
  5. Shopping Disappointment: I know it sounds ridiculous to say but I was so let down by the shopping in the city. Everything was either too expensive or shady knock offs. The big department stores were cool to see but just over the top. 
Final Thoughts
I guess to me, New York sort of stands for everything that America shouldn't want to be known for. The crazy consumerism where a simple dress is hundreds of dollars, the unfriendliness toward outsiders. The city felt like a way to cram as much as possible in one place by building up instead of out, yes it makes for cool tall buildings but it also leads to overcrowdednes. There were good parts of it and I think everyone should experience NYC at least once in their lifetime but for me, that was enough!


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fourth of July Present, Fourth of July Past

The fourth of July was never really a favorite holiday of mine, mainly because we never really did anything to celebrate it so it was usually just another day and maybe we'd catch some fireworks. My first memorable 4th was when I was 12. I got a short notice invite to my cousins house and decided to go. Claire and her sister were there as well as my two boy cousins. We played rock band and watched youtube videos and made some sort of ridiculous movie outside involving a carrot made out of duck tape. Later on Claire and I went to a little picnic area in the middle of the cul-de-sac where there were rocks instead of grass. We had a competition to see who could pick up the most rocks with their toes. Claire won but I still insist that it was because her feet are bigger ;)

After we ate and ran around the backyard we got sent to this sort of run down grocery store to buy something, can't remember what, we rode bikes there but there wasn't one for me so I hitched onto the pegs on the back of Claire's. I remember having so much fun riding like that but also being afraid that I'd hurt myself since I'd just had surgery about 7 weeks ago. At the store we found this ridiculous prepackaged hamburger in a box and had the bright idea to send it to our other cousin who is a vegetarian as a practical joke. When we got back we put it in a manilla envelope and addressed it and everything, I don't know if it ever got sent!

When it was dark we all walked to go see fireworks. Claire had a pretty traumatizing experience with them as a kid so we didn't get to close but enjoyed them from afar. On the way back her dad gave me a piggy back ride because I was getting tired or possibly just being lazy :)

Fast forward to 2014 and we had a great holiday as well. As I get older I am appreciating more and more that I have such a close extended family that truly love and care about me. We had several of my dads cousins over to our house as well as a family friend and her little boy. We talked, ate and enjoyed the mild weather. After dark my sisters and I went out to do some sparklers, our own little firework show.

Maybe I'll never have as great an Independence Day as I did when I was 12 but I can come pretty close. I'm hoping that in 15-20 years I can spend it on Claire's plantation, after all it is her favorite holiday!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pool Days

Ever since I was little, I have LOVED the water. I'm not a great swimmer and I don't do well with cold but swimming is something I've always loved-or even just floating around. We have a pool in our backyard and I am more and more thankful for it each year. Last summer was a bit of a bust because the weather kind of sucked and I didn't get to swim often but I did make up for it on vacation. This year, so far, there have been a lot more nice days. In fact, the past four have been hot and sunny-perfect for a day in the pool.

E and I like to have "Inner-tube Wars" where we crouch on top of our floats and try to knock the other off, slightly violent but a lot of fun! Another thing I love is just being under water, there's something so peaceful about it. I wish I had gills!

We'll be going on our vacation soon and our hotel has a pool so I'm hoping to do some serious swimming in the deeper water and take advantage of the extra space.

Oh how I love pool days!