Friday, January 24, 2014

Let's Review

Warning: You are entering a long blog post zone!

It's a new year so my blog needed a little change. Clean, simple, and blue (my favorite color). Ahhhh, that's better. I thought we could do a little reviewing today.

First up, a review of our date night back on the 10th of this month:

Me at Bolero
Sorry for the dark, camera phone photo, but it's all I got!

What we did: dinner and a movie
Where we ate: Bolero, a Spanish Tapas Bar
What we saw: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

On a scale of 1 to 10 (one being terrible and ten being the best ever):
Dinner: 6
The atmosphere was dark and swanky, but for a Friday night in downtown Oklahoma City, we expected it to be hopping. Maybe the low customer count had something to do with being recently post-Christmas and the weather was pretty frigid. However, it did make for a quiet, intimate meal. Ordering off a tapas menu is fun because you get to try lots of different things. My favorite item we tried was pan-fried artichoke hearts with a lemon-garlic aioli dipping sauce. Sweet heavens, it was good.  We also ate shrimp wrapped in crispy pancetta which was divine. Our other two dishes were so-so. And the meal was not especially cheap. This is why we gave it a 6. We'd go back again if we had a gift card. :)

The Movie: 9
All I have to saw is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was art. It was beautiful, funny, poignant and smart. I was totally swept away and would see it again in a heartbeat. The musical score was incredible (we bought the soundtrack when we got home). I particularly liked Of Monsters and Men. And I would like to go to Iceland in the near future. It is beautiful! (FYI, one of my college friends grew up on an American Air Force Base in Iceland and she would always go on and on about how wonderful the country was. I lost touch with her after we graduated, but I imagine that she moved back there because she loved it so much.) I thought Ben Stiller's character was both believable and lovable. You just rooted for him the whole movie. And I didn't guess the outcome of the film at all, which was a great surprise. My final thought? Go see it!

Next up for review, let's go back to the end of 2013, shall we? December 2013 proved to be one of the craziest, busiest months ever. The first weekend in December, we had an ice storm which crippled our city and cancelled school for three days. Of course months before this weekend, we had booked a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Dallas to celebrate our girls' 9th birthday. Travel on I-35 between OKC and Dallas was treacherous, so we had to cancel our trip much to our girls' dismay. Quickly, I came up with a Plan B for their birthday--a slumber party! So on the second weekend in December, we invited three of the girls' closest friends over to spend the night. We had games, pizza, cupcakes, movies and spooky storytelling. In other words, they had a blast. That same weekend, Hannah had a piano contest and we finished up our Christmas shopping. The third weekend in December, we celebrated Christmas with both my extended family here in Oklahoma City as well as our closest friends. We have a tradition with our friends of a "Goodwill Christmas"-- the challenge being every gift must come from the Goodwill store. Most of the time, the gifts are "questionable" but sometimes they are actually awesome. I got an ancient adding machine along with a book entitled "A Guide to the World Wide Web" with a copyright of 1997. It was a doozie.

First "snowstorm" of the winter. 

We made and decorated gingerbread cookies one of those icy cold nights.

Slumber Party Twister

Singing Happy Birthday

Lucas posing after his school Christmas Program

Hannah and Leah at my cousin Kathryn's house

Lucas lovin some foosball at Kathryn's!

Christmas itself was a quiet, calm event celebrated with just the five of us on the 24th. A simple Christmas Eve service, looking at Christmas lights and Mike reading the Christmas story from the book of Luke. It was perfect. Christmas Day was spent at my Dad and Sally's house. We are really just now making memories with them as they are finally settled in their new home and just celebrated their one year anniversary. It was a lovely sunny day spent playing games, eating good food, and just being together. 

Our favorite (crazy) Christmas house in Nichols Hills
Picture taken on Christmas Eve after our church service.
Christmas Eve at home. We came home and ate steaming bowls of chili, opened one Christmas gift (pajamas!) and listened to Mike read the Christmas Story before heading off to bed.

Our dog Roxie on Christmas Eve. 
She slept through the whole thing.

Christmas morning at Papa and Sally's house. Lucas was my dad's "helper elf" passing out the presents to everyone while we chowed down on my dad's famous whole wheat cinnamon rolls with browned butter frosting. I think I ate four.

Lucas and my dad playing with Lukey's new foosball table. 
My step-brother, Jimmy, is looking on.

Me modeling my new t-shirt and scarf that Mike got me for Christmas. Thunder colors, I might add which will be perfect because we are headed to another game on February 5th.

The final weekend in December took a sad and very unexpected turn, however. On Sunday, December 29th, Mike and the kids and I picked up his Aunt Nancy from the ER. She had been seen for dehydration after battling a stomach bug for a few days. We took her home that night and got her settled in for the evening. The next day, December 30th, Mike and I went to check on her and bring her the prescriptions we had filled for her that afternoon. Sadly, we found Nancy had passed away during the night. It was awful and traumatic. We called 9-1-1, stayed for police interviews, called and comforted Nancy's daughter, Ashley, and waited for the Medical Examiner to arrive. It was a long, difficult night with not much sleep. Mike's parents flew in the next day (Nancy was Mike's mom's only sister) and the rest of the week was a blur of cleaning, organizing, and preparing for a memorial service and reception. While Ashley did most of the work (and did it with amazing poise and grace I might add), it was quite the week both emotionally and physically. We dearly loved Nancy and will miss her very much. I am planning on writing a tribute to her (or a series of tributes) in the coming months with stories and pictures honoring her, so stay tuned for that.

Nancy's memorial service was really lovely.
She was a bright, colorful, full of life lady and we loved her.

Nancy in her modeling days. Wasn't she absolutely gorgeous!?
You can go to Ashley's blog to read Nancy's obituary.

And with that, I think I have caught everyone up to date on our life over the last month or two. Heading into 2014, I look forward to all the ups and downs it may bring. Life is truly and adventure. You never know what is just around the corner, so cherish each and every day.

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