Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mother/Daughter Time

This past weekend I had the remarkable opportunity to be a chaperone for Youth Conference (which deserves a post all of it's own.) This year YC was held in Kirtland, Ohio. Naturally, I begged my mom and sisters to come up to see me. They were kind enough to oblige and met me Saturday afternoon. I was sooo wonderful to see them I almost cried when I gave my mom a "hello hug." Sometimes I just get really homesick and this short visit came at the perfect time.

I was able to drive back to the college dorms where the youth were staying with my family. We each picked our favorite song off the new Carried Underwood's CD and we all sang at the top of our lungs. SoOo much fun. We spent the afternoon trying to stay cool since it was so hot outside. The stake leaders invited them to the BBQ dinner that night so we were able to have dinner together. After dinner was the big quad stake dance for the youth. It was our CT stake plus three stakes from Ohio (one of which happened to be my home stake) so my 16 year old sister KT was a "legal" participant in the dance and was able to see a few friends from her stake.

Of course we had to have a photo shot. We had so much fun thinking of pictures to take and laughed almost the whole time... as you can probably tell. 

Katie and Liz hung out at the dance while my mom and I talked. I love talking to my mom. She is one of the few people who understand me 100%, see past my imperfections, listens to me without jumping to judge. I guess thats what moms do, but I feel like it's so much more than a typical mother/daughter relationship. It's more like she is my best friend who happens to be my mom. We are like kindred spirits, it wasn't a coincidence that we were put together to endure this life together, that I know for sure. I love her so much. Which is why when she said it was time for her to go I bawled my eyes out... for the rest of the night. I hate saying goodbye to my mom. But I was glad I had that time with her and my sisters. I can't wait till she comes to see me in 2 months. We are going to have so much fun!

I tried to pick KT up like I did Liz and they made me laugh so hard I dropped her and we both fell to the ground laughing. It was hilarious, I promise!

I love Elizabeth's face in this picture.

She is so gorgeous!
The girls dancing together away from the rest of the group.
 So Elizabeth is only 11 and shouldn't have been at the dance, but Katie wanted her to meet some of her friends from the stake so she took her over to introduce her to people. Then a slow song came on and naturally someone asked Katie to dance right away. As Elizabeth was leaving the dance floor a cute, barely 14,  teacher (from my ward) asked her to dance. She didn't know what to say and got embarrassed really fast. Katie saw the whole thing happen. Not wanting the boy from my ward to feel embarrassed she said she would dance with him and Liz danced with the boy Katie was dancing with. My mom and I saw her dancing illegally with someone and swopped in to document her first dance. lol. It was pretty funny, she thinks shes a guy magnet now... and in reality she totally will be ;-)

Weekend on the Jersey Shore

A few weekends ago we headed down to Long Beach Island, NJ for the weekend. It was one of my all time favorite weekend getaways EVER!!! For several reasons

1.) Beautiful beach house with plenty of space for everyone.

 2.) The house was a 3 minute walk from a beautiful beach

 3.) We were able to cuddle on the beach
 4.) We got to soak up plenty of rays, while talking and laughing about everything!


5.) Sand castle were built and people were buried.



6.) Photo shoots by the ocean


 7.) SOO much delicious food!

 8.) Late night games and delieria

 9.) Meals on the roof top deck

10.) Plenty of time to relax 

11.) The sighting of this beautiful "rainbow cloud (aka- circumhorisontal arch.)  

 We left for the shore on Friday night at MIDNIGHT! The YM fundraiser was that night so we had to stay around a lot later than we thought. The car trip down was pretty funny as all 4 of us were exhausted but we knew we needed to stay awake to get there safe. We even made a 2am trip to Wendys, it's been a long, long time since we have done something like that.

We got to the house and crashed. The house was beautiful and we all had our own room, which was nice. We thought we had rented another house that looked much different, and a lot less classy than this one. When the Jensen's got there (hours before we even left) they questioned if it was really the right house. After a few minutes reviewing email correspondence with the landlord they concluded ithad to be the right place. But all weekend the running joke was that someone was going to walk in and demand to know what we were doing in their beach home. Luckily that never happened.

Saturday morning I was so excited to be at the beach house that I only slept till 7:30. I went up to the roof top deck, did my nails, listened to music and called my mom all while watching the ocean. Once everyone else got up we went to breakfast at the number one place on trip advisor. After breakfast we changed right into our swimsuits and hit the beach. We spent all afternoon on the beach having so much fun.

We had planned to go out to dinner but when we saw we had a grill, and a roof top deck it was almost a no brainier to  go get some food to grill for dinner. Plus we had Ben there offering to cook for us. He is hands down one of the best cooks I've ever known so naturally we let him take over the preparation and grilling of the meat-- which turned out to be a great decision on our part.

After a delicious dinner of three different types of stake, chicken, bread, corn on the cob, veggie kabobs, and the best garlic mashed potatoes ever we played games and stayed up talking. Well some people did, some of us were to tired to do anything but go to bed. Unfortunately I was one of the lame ones who went to bed and missed all the fun and games.

Sunday morning I made breakfast and it was pretty dang good to if I do say so myself. Peach overnight french toast, quiche, fruit and whip cream. It was my mothers day gift to Camille :) 

After breakfast I spent another 5 hours on the beach. I know it is not the most reverent sunday activity ever but I did say my prayers while laying on the beach. I was praying that I would never have to leave ...

Unfortunately, reality struck and we had to say goodbye to our weekend paradise. But you better believe we will go back there again. What a great weekend. I couldn't think of a better place or company to spend a weekend with.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Thank God For Hometowns

I love Carrie Underwood! I was so excited when her new CD came out this week. I ran to Target to pick it up the other night. I even started unwrapping it the elevator on my way down to my car. When I got to my car I threw it into my CD player and set it to track 9 (I obviously already had scanned the track titles and knew I would love this song.) By the time I got down to the window to pay for parking I had tears streaming down my face and I looked like an idiot. I'm so ridiculously sentimental, but the lyrics really got to me. 

"Thank God for hometowns
First kisses and touchdowns
Thank God for the county lines that welcome you back in
When you were dying to get out
Thank God for Church pews
And all the faces that won’t forget you
And when you’re lost out in this crazy world
You got somewhere to go and get found
Thank God for hometowns
I always find another piece of me
Walking down these old familiar streets"

I love my Hometown. I see it as one of those quintessential midwestern towns. Time has changes it very little, and the people who live there like it that way. You can't go out in public without seeing someone you know (or know of.) With the towns population booming at a whooping 17,000 there is still lots of farm land. We also have plenty of corn stalks, 4H clubs, John Dear tractors, rolling hills, country music, hard working farmers, volunteer fireman, beautiful scenery and charming parks.  And of course what is a small town without some rednecks, pouffy hairdos and "Mornin' y'alls." 

This month is not a fun one. Mike is studying nonstop for his CFA test so I rarely see him. All the kids at school have spring fever which can make for long, draining days. I have several other things on my mind stressing me out and I just miss home. I wish I was there with my mom and sisters. Instead I'm here, sitting alone on the couch with nothing to do on a Friday night. So for no other reason than Carrie Underwood has pushed me to the brink of my homesickness.... here are some pictures of my hometown, New Philadelphia, Ohio. 

New Phila is located in the Northeastern part of the state making it an 8(ish) hour drive from CT (in decent traffic.) 
Like many towns in Ohio it's rolling hills make a beautiful fall backdrop.

I like to brag that we have one of the best community parks in the country. Tuscarawas Park houses our football stadium, baseball field, pond, town pool, outdoor amphitheater, batting cages, concession stand, several playgrounds and for $.75 you can have a ride on the carousel, roller coaster, flying swings, Ferris wheel and a few other kiddy rides. After that play 18 holes of putt-putt golf for $1.50 a person. Not a bad deal. (I sound like a sales person, sorry)

On Friday evenings in the fall I wish I was back here. Cheering on my old high school football team. Both my brothers played football on this field. Lots of good memories.

Like most teenagers I couldn't wait to get out of there and go to college. It was the last town I ever wanted to go back to. Now that I am a little more grown up and have lived away from home long enough -- there is no place I'd rather be more. Most of that probably has to do with the fact my family is there and it is a darling place to raise a family. Unfortunately, I don't think Ohio is in the cards for is. You have to go where the best employment opportunities are and for now that is CT. I will say this, after living within the same 5 block radius for the past 4 years I am ready for a change of scenery, and in a big way! 

For now though I'll just have to day dream of living in a small town in some rural area of the country -- Some where like New Philadelphia -- Some where like this Jason Michael Carroll song "Where I'm From" describes. This is really just like the town I am from and I hope our kids can say the same thing one day!

"I'm from the front pew of a wooden white church

The courthouse clock it still don't work
Where a man's word means everything
Where moms and dads were high school flings
Gave their children grandmothers maiden name
Yes it may not sound like much
But its where I'm from

Where the quarterback dates the homecoming queen
The truck's a ford and the tractor's green
And Amazing Grace is what we sing
Well there's a county fair every fall
And your friends are there no matter when you call
Yeah It may not sound like much but it's
Where I'm from"