Polka Dots and Pineapple: Life of Family P

Blessed to be a blessing...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

a GRAND adventure

Two years ago today, Josh and I arrived in Charleston to call it our home after our whirlwind move from Kentucky.  We weren't sure where we would be living, so we were thankful to spend our first 30 days living in a hotel.  Josh started his job the next morning.  This info has nothing to do with the blog post other than I wanted to document and reminisce on the time because it truly was the start to the great adventure we are now living. :)

Last month I attended a work conference in Las Vegas, NV.  The conference was great - very informative and challenged me to think in new ways for my job.  I am so glad that I attended! However, I do not love the city of Las Vegas.  I had been three times prior and while glad I had seen and experienced that city to check it off the list, it's just not a destination I cared to revisit.  My precious husband had never been to LV before, so we knew this was the time.  But let's be honest, a week in LV is not an ideal vacation destination, so we decided to step it up a notch by flying out a couple days early and renting a car to road-trip it to the Grand Canyon.  This proved to be the best decision and highlight of our trip!  [Sidenote: We may have never before looked forward to a trip more than this one!  We were both giddy with excitement in the days and weeks leading up to our departure.  This is mainly due to the insanely crazy work schedule my dear husband is working.  I might share more on that later.]

We left Charleston early on the morning of Saturday, July 21.  Gaining three hours from time zone changes, we arrived in LV in time for lunch.  After many giggles, we loaded our luggage in a four-cyclinder convertible sports car (good thing it was just the two of us because the suitcases filled the car - ha!) and set the GPS to a local In-n-Out Burger where my husband checked an item off his bucket list since he'd always wanted to dine at this west coast fast food burger joint.

I made him pose for these pictures to capture the moment.  He does not always appreciate my camera in his face. :)

 (In his defense, this tray is holding our entire order - not just his meal!)

After lunch we hit the pavement for the start of our road trip to the Grand Canyon, which was over four hours away.  The scenic views were nice!

I had been to the Grand Canyon once with my family in high school.  I recall it being really awesome, but this trip I appreciated God's creation even more than I remembered!  It was absolutely breathtaking and we had the greatest time!
After our fun road trip, we finally arrived at the Grand Canyon!  We made reservations at a lodge inside the national park so that we would be right in the midst of it all.  It was worth every penny!  Once we arrived and  checked in, we hit the trails to see the sights of the canyon and sunset.  


We walked the trails for quite a while and then enjoyed a southwestern dinner at a restaurant in the park.  Later that evening when we were going to head back to our cabin, Josh noticed an elk in the grass not far from us.  We watched for a long time.  I attempted many photos but they didn't turn out well in the dark. [I've ordered a flash attachment for better range.]


 After only a few hours of sleep, our alarms woke us up so that we really hit the trails early and well before sunrise.  On our way to the canyon, we enjoyed watching more elk free-roaming through the park.

 We were pretty big fans of the wild elk! :)

We hiked the trails for miles and enjoyed the lovely sunrise!

Josh and I had the greatest time together!  Although we were only there for a very short time (15 hours total including sleeping, if I recall), we had the best time and now we're kind of addicted to National Parks and want to visit more! 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Alpha Gam Always

Today is Day 1 of Sorority Recruitment at the University of Kentucky.  I remember that jam-packed, overwhelming day like it was yesterday.  But it's been slightly longer than just a few days or few years since I experienced that pivotal moment.  In fact, it's been a decade.  Ten years, folks.  Ten. Whole. Years. since I woke up for my first morning living on Big Blue Nation's campus. 

I simply can't believe how fast the time has flown.  The memories made.  The season of life has come and gone, yet leaves many fond memories, cherished forever friendships, life lessons learned, and t-shirts.....yes, many many t-shirts.  Many of which I have hung on to because I simply can't let them go - after all, they were the staple of my college wardrobe.

Not only does the realization of ten years passing since this significant event in my life bring obvious reason for reflecting and reminiscing, I have smiled even more so knowing that a very special person is going through the same thing today.  You see, she was only 8 years old when I had this experience in the early 2000's.  And now the time has come for my beautiful, smart and talented first-cousin Allie!

Yes, I know, she's gorgeous!  And she's super sweet too!  There's no doubt in my mind how I would love for her to become my "sister" as well.  However, I'm not being forceful on that - after all, I want her to choose the best sorority for her (although I won't say I'm not wishfully hoping for a certain set of letters!).

I have probably been bugging the heck out of her with my frequent text messages checking in on the day....and I have also stalked her Facebook profile just in case I could catch a glimpse at any part of her experience - and she and her roomie are adorable in their dorm room (which happens to be at the same university, in the same dormitory, and on the same floor that I lived in)!  While Allie made these decisions for herself and some were by "chance," I simply can't help but thank God for this sweet divine moment that I'm feeling as I know just what Allie is feeling, thinking, and seeing at this very moment. :)

Seriously, I'm just beside myself with excitement for her!  Streams of tears (happy sentimental tears, that is) roll down my cheeks as I type this post.....so proud of Allie and her many accomplishments, excited that she's going through UK's recruitment week, knowing that her life will be changed forever in a matter of just a few days.  It's about all I can do not to jump in my car and drive to Lexington, KY and sit on her little twin bed in her shared dorm room and laugh with her and cry with her and ask her so many questions about her first days as a college student....all while trying to impart some wisdom from my own experience.

I also think how my own experience did not include text messaging (let alone a smartphone), no digital camera, nor Facebook.....goodness, the dorm wasn't even "wireless" - I remember how impressive the "ethernet" was compared to the slow speeds of my family's internet service in rural KY.  All this makes me laugh as I feel so old! 

My heart is swelling with excitement and thankfulness of my own experience and the start of Allie's collegiate years still to come! 

Gotta go.....just heard a text message come through! :)