I'm not sure when exactly it started, but Brian and I have created a loose tradition of going out to eat for date night once a week. The warm weather probably has something to do with it. We try to go to places with outdoor seating to take full advantage of our summer nights. It's been a great way to reconnect at the end of a long day or week. It provides a great excuse to slow down, set down our electronics, and interact with the people in our community. Or just each other, if that's what we want. :) This particular night we grabbed quesadillas from California Tortilla. As we sat outside enjoying our food, fireworks started going off. They were coming from the nearby town center. Dusk had settled by the time we finished eating, so Brian put the top down on the convertible and we went on an impulsive drive toward the source. It was so fun to see the fireworks from inside the car. A bunch of people were pulled over on the side of the road to watch, and the town center parking lot was nearly maxed out. We squeezed in and enjoyed being part of fun – even though we had no idea what we were celebrating! Haha.
Don't blink! Our trip to Florida was 53 hours long – including flights. Our goal for this trip was to decide (once and for all) if West Coast FL was a viable long-term plan for us or not. The two of us kept going back and forth about the pros and cons; we took FL off the table and put it back on several times without having any weighted deciding factor. By visiting, we would be able to see industry opportunities, look at neighborhoods in our budget range, and see what traffic and locals were really like.
Too much happened over the weekend for just one post! Even if it was simply various forms of vacationing. :) Here's part 2.
The Smith family continued celebrating Christina's graduation by traveling down to Panama City Beach for a weekend of sun, sand, and water. And artisan coffee. And really good Mexican food. Most of us made it down to celebrate with Christina: Conor drove down from Greenville; Sarah, Elena, Bill and Maura flew in from Maryland; and Brian and I flew over from Virginia. We were only missing Samuel, Matthew, and Kristen. I love spending time with family. With siblings growing up and graduating college and moving away, I realize more and more how precious these short days are together. Time doesn't stand still for anyone. And yet we have this unchanging promise: God is good.
In what seems like the blink of an eye, Christina graduated from Samford University. I'm sure to her it did not seem like the blink of an eye. She worked incredibly hard all four years in order to to walk across the stage last Friday and receive her diploma. This summer will be one of further studying – she's going to prepare for the CPA exam, just like Conor is doing right now. Christina, we love you and wish all God's best for you. Your accomplishments makes us proud, but even so, we are blessed to call you ours simply because of who you are.
I took sailing lessons with my hubby! And I didn't fall overboard! Keeping those standards high. :) While this was my first time sailing, Brian was already quite comfortable on sailboats. I'm glad there was an instructional class before we climbed aboard, but even so, I only memorized a little bit of the crazy lingo. I was able to keep track of "Starboard" and "Port" because at the class Brian and our instructor chatted about the origins of the words. Back in the day, the Vikings put the steering oar on the right side of the boat because they were right-handed. That was called "steoboard". Since the steering oar was on the right side of the boat, they would tie up at the wharf on the opposite side. So the "port" side faced the port. Tricky huh?
Sunday dawned with beautiful weather, and Brian and I took full advantage. We met up with Brian's cousin Cathleen and her husband Mike for the annual Annapolis boat show. There were so many beautiful sailboats, and we got to go on board and tour whichever ones we wanted. Brian told me all about the different boats as we walked by them. I know significantly less than him, but at least now I can say I've been on a luxury catamaran! :) I now understand why those are Brian's favorite. They are laid out so perfectly for a weekend getaway to the islands. As Brian, Mike, Cathleen and I sat on a swinging recliner, the sales rep told us we could go in together and rent that catamaran for an evening event or party. How fun! And impractical. ;) But I do like the idea of it. I hope somebody kept her card…
Saturday started bright and early with a 7am workout at the Jefferson Memorial – led by none other than: Revelation Wellness instructor Christina! I stayed at her house the night before to cut down on morning drive time, but she and I were still up at 6am. I think it was especially hard to get up because we were up until midnight watching Despicable Me with friends and then preparing the workout playlist. Worth it? Yes. Anyway, the class was great! We got in our running, kickboxing, stair lunges, push-ups, and squats. Christina talked to us about the elements, and how we can be reminded of God in our daily lives. By the end, I was sweaty, sore, and encouraged in my faith.
This was the event I was most looking forward to while Mom and Dad visited. It was also the most expensive – ha! But definitely worth it. Brian and I took Mom and Dad to the Nats game, and there we met up with Bill, Maura, Samuel, Elena and Sarah. It made me so excited to have them all together again. I think the last time (and really, only time) Brian's parents and my parents saw each other was at our wedding nearly three years ago. So much has happened since then! We did a lot of rearranging seats throughout the game in order to give everyone a chance to chat with each other. Most of the time was spent talking; I'm not even sure if anyone followed the game! Well, other than Samuel, who took some impressive photos (see below). Can I also just say – my husband is such a character! I really love spending days like this with him. He makes everything fun.
Both my parents love walking around botanical gardens. I can understand why – sights, smells, sounds and textures abound in places like the National Conservatory. We made a priority of getting downtown to see it. God's creativity was overwhelmingly evident as we wandered through the living museum of beautiful and exotic plants from around the world. I especially loved exploring the tropics. Did you know – George Washington is the one who had the idea of a national botanic garden in order to teach people the importance of plants.