Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Break Adventures

I mentioned in my last post that we just got back from a nice little vacation to North (and South) Carolina over Spring Break. I thought I would give a few more details of our adventures and post some pictures (of course)!

So last week was Spring Break...which really, for a grad student, doesn't typically translate to much. But fortunately the timing worked out and my advisors were kind enough to let me disappear for a couple of days. I had been running my 60 hour 'round-the-clock experiment the week before, and finished it up the first Saturday of Spring Break week. I had already released the Better Half the afternoon before (Friday) to go down to Longview, Texas, to visit a buddy of his and have some guy time for a few days (he definitely doesn't get enough of that). After my 5K and finishing up that experiment on Saturday, I spent the remainder of the weekend  relaxing with my 4-legged children who were feeling very neglected, enjoying the rainy weather and getting somewhat caught up on all that recorded TV on my DVR that I don't have time for. It was nice :)

I got a little bit of work done Monday and Tuesday, and then got to leave for North Carolina on Wednesday morning! I got up dark and early to finish some last minute packing and take the puppies to the kennel to live in doggie jail for a few days while mommy and daddy went on vacation. They were so sad. But I must say...I am really excited about the new place I found to keep them while we are away! Normally I really hate having to board the dogs...they are super spoiled (to say that least), and I always feel really bad leaving them in a nasty kennel. I also always worry that they are not going to get enough attention or exercise and I am going to have to take them on a 5 mile run when I get home from a vacation just to burn off all that pent up energy. But a couple weeks before we left, I happened to find a great kennel just a few minutes away from my house! It was nice, with large kennels (with small dog runs attached so they had room to move around), and there was a large fenced-in play area that they got individual playtime in during the day. The dogs seemed to be in really good spirits when we picked them up on Sunday...and the completely crashed the moment we got home and slept all evening and all night! It only took Koda about a day to get over his separation anxiety, which I'm pretty sure was a record (yes, my 60 lb. Pit Bull has emotional issues...haha). Anyways...I digress!

Since Walter was already in Texas with the car, he drove to Dallas early Wednesday morning and I flew out of Arkansas and met up with him at the airport. We flew to Raleigh, where we were greeted by the other half of my heart (Jesse) and then we headed to Fayetteville, NC, for a couple of days! Jesse's husband is currently stationed at Ft. Bragg, so we got to see the post...which to me was huge. Patrick (a.k.a. Patty) is very busy with training, but we did manage to get to spend most of Wednesday evening and part of Thursday evening with both of them, which was nice. Walter enjoyed having a dude to talk to while me and Jesse got all caught up :) Jesse also took us to work out at the Crossfit gym on post, and my butt was hating me for it for the next two days. Then she took us on a little road trip to Myrtle Beach, SC, on Friday! Patty had to work (duty calls...), so he didn't get to go with us :( But we had a great time! 

We got there, and of course the first stop was food. And since we were at the beach, what better food to get than sushi? So thanks to Yelp, we found this place :)

The service was a little slow, and since we sat on the patio, I had (unknowingly) already gotten a little bit of a sunburn before we ever got to the beach...

But the food was still delicious!
We could see the ocean from the restaurant, so we drove a few blocks down the street and found a place to park and walked down to the beach!

Myrtle Beach

I am used to the west coast, so coming to the east coast is a nice treat. I had only been to the east coast once before, on my senior trip the summer after I graduated high school...which oddly enough was also at Myrtle Beach! I love that the water is warmer and there is little to no seaweed! Walter was kinda a baby and thought the water was cold...

so he had me worried because I am a weenie when it comes to cold! But when I went out there, all I could say was, "If you think this is cold, you are going to hate the Pacific ocean..." It was perfect! We played in the water for a bit and then laid out and got some sun :)

Here are a few more pictures:
Us rockin' our fancy shades ;)
The other half of my heart and me. I just love her :)
 We had such a great time! Jesse is truly one of my very best friends. We are two kindred spirits, and it is nice to have someone that really understands you :)

After the beach, we drove to a little town called Clinton, NC, to meet up with my Little Stevie for the rest of our time in North Carolina! Jesse dropped us off and went home to her hubby, and Walter and I spent some quality time with Little and Baby Little (Easton, Stevie's beautiful little boy). I did not get a picture, but we stopped at this little diner called Kaleel's City Grill for was amazing. Then we drove to Goldsboro, NC, where Stevie lives at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (no really, that's what it's called). Unfortunately Mr. Little (Chris) was on TDY for the Air Force while we were visiting, so we didn't get to see him. But we spent the rest of Friday and all day Saturday hanging out with Stevie and the Little man and it was so nice to sit and relax. I'm pretty sure all we did was watch TV and eat. It was fantastic. haha. We got to finally give Easton his birthday presents (his 1st birthday was January 10th!) he is modeling one of his new shirts:
How can you not love those faces? :)
He absolutely adored Walter and it was precious. Walter was pretty fond of Baby Little too. Oh, and I'm thoroughly convinced that I want boys when we finally decide have children. haha. 

We also had to take a trip to Target to pick up a few things, and Baby Little got his very first bean bag chair :)
Can we buy this? Please? :)
I just love that kid :) And his momma. And I miss them like crazy! Stevie was a trooper and drove us to the airport at like 4am...we flew back to Dallas and drove the car made for a long day. I was a big fat loser and didn't get any pictures with my Little :( 

The trip was definitely not long enough, and I miss all of them more than words. But it was so nice to get away for a bit and get to visit some of the people that I love dearly! And it didn't hurt my feelings that, thanks to airline miles, I paid a total of $12.50 for both of our plane tickets to go out there :D 

Happy Spring! I know we didn't have much of a winter, but I am glad it is finally Spring and the trees are blooming again. Kinda like vacations, it makes things feel fresh....which was just what I needed :) 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Long time no post...

My life has been a little chaotic lately. I haven't been all. I thought I would give you a little update on what is new in the wonderful world of Lauren (and Walter) :)

  • We are officially less than 8 weeks away from our beach wedding in Cozumel! We actually leave to go down there exactly 7 weeks from this coming Thursday. When we started planning it over a year ago, it seemed forever away...and now that we are approaching the big day, it seems like these last couple of months have flown by. I couldn't be more excited though. I am planning on posting an update on how the wedding plans are going within the next week, so stay tuned!
  • I successfully defended my PhD proposal almost exactly 1 month ago, which means I am officially a PhD candidate, and also means I am one step closer to graduating! It is so nice to have that load off. I have been busy in the lab and it has been nice to get away from the computer/writing and do some research. This is how I feel most of the time: 

...but this is sometimes what it really looks like:

Yep. That's a sleeping my office floor. Last week I was running a 60 hour experiment that I had to monitor every four hours. Which translates into practically living in my office, so the sleeping bag (and the foam mattress topper) were absolute necessities. The joys of trying to become a rocket scientist...don't act like you're not jealous... ;)
  • On that note...7.5 weeks until the wedding also means about 7 weeks of school (6 weeks of classes, 1 week of finals...Walter is ecstatic!), which also means about 9 weeks until we return to the lovely Ridgecrest, California, for "Internship: The Sequel"...get excited. We are working on trying to get Walter an internship out there so he doesn't die from boredom and leave me forever. Say a little prayer for us :) The good news is, we are incredibly blessed with a great house to stay in this summer, thanks to Kristin - a coworker friend of mine that I met while I was there last summer that is renting one of their houses to us! We already have a Budget truck rental booked for the week of the move. Now if only I could get motivated to start on some of the packing... :P
  • Spring Break was last week, and after my week of sleeping on my office floor, we got a nice treat and got to go visit some of my friends that live in North Carolina for a few days. We left Wednesday and got back yesterday. I got to visit the other half of my heart (a.k.a my dear friend Jesse who is one of my bridesmaids in the wedding) and her husband for a couple of days. We went to the beach :) And I also got to go visit my amazing Little Stevie and her gorgeous baby boy, Easton (a.k.a "Baby Little"). Unfortunately Mr. Little was on TDY for the Air Force, so we didn't get to see him, but we had a great time and a much needed vacation! That's all I'm going to say about it for now because it deserves a blog post all it's own :)
  • Wow. I just realized by looking back at old blog posts that it really has been FOREVER since I've updated. I quit P90X. I didn't enjoy it, and decided to switch back to Insanity about a month ago. I started week 4 as of this morning. I am actually repeating week 4 this week to make up for the fact that I only did the workouts 2 of the 6 days last week since I was in North Carolina for the rest of the week. This means I have 5 weeks left after this one, which will mean I will have time to finish the complete 60 days about a week before the wedding! :) 

  • I have also ran a couple of races since my last post! I actually ran my first 5K of the season last weekend! My sister and I have done the St. Patrick's Day 5K in Tulsa together for the past 3 years. We get to dress up in all green and run 3.1 miles. It's a good time. One of these years I am going to remember to take a "before" picture instead of an "after" picture where I just ran 3 miles and look disgusting. One of these years :) On an exciting note, I finished in 27:25, which just so happens to be my personal record for a 5K. I was pretty excited considering I hadn't ran pretty much since the Freakin' Eurekan 15K Trail Race back in February...which I also don't think I ever posted about. But let's just say was really cold, my knee was killing me after about mile 4...I would have completely stopped running after mile 6 if it weren't for the fact that I was on a trail and the only way out was to finish it. haha...I may never do a trail race again actually. But it was still a good time...I had fun with my friend Christie, we got free soup after it was over, and they gave me some really awesome running socks that I would've never bought for myself (too expensive) all in all it was a good time! :) Here's my sister and I after the 5K:
  • I have been a complete slacker on my New Year's Resolution by the way. We were doing so well at first...but then school got crazy and our slow cooker died. Bad combination. I have, however, been sticking to making menus. We have just had a lot of repeats of things that we tried earlier in the year and liked. haha. But I added something new this week...hopefully it turns out well and I can post a yummy recipe again soon!

Well, I think that is a pretty decent update for now. I am really hoping to get back into the swing of things and post at least a little more regularly. We'll see... Last week was really good for both of us...gave us a nice break and a bit of a fresh start. It feels good, and I am hoping to regain a little bit of control in my life and conquer the chaos. Happy Monday!