This was a super last-minute trip, to the point where Mom wasn't sure whether to mail my birthday card or hand it to me. Ha. Sorry, Mom. But it wasn't really indecision; more like a lack of time to make a decision. Brian and I had a lot going on leading up to Labor Day weekend: Brian had just started a new job and was spending a lot of overtime there even in the first week. He spent his remaining waking hours studying our budget and spending trends. I was busy with a couple big work projects, and all my free time was spent on homework for this certification I'm trying to get. We were also looking into flights to MN that turned out to be prohibitively expensive. Our only two sources of relaxation were walking Sasha and watching the US Open (btw, how fun is professional tennis??).
The eclipse wasn't a big deal until suddenly it was. And that was about 15 minutes beforehand. Alexandria and I went out for some iced coffee around 2, and on our way back to the building we saw several of our coworkers gathering on the market square across the street. Not to be left out of the fun, she and I joined the ever-growing crowd. What's fun is that some people actually came prepared: Alexandria brought paper with holes punched in it, another person brought a FedEx box with a similar eclipse-viewing contraption, and a few people even brought official eclipse sunglasses (which they kindly passed around).
While off-roading the beautiful Virginia mountain trails we came across a fire tower with a stunning view!! What an adventure. <3
Happy 4th of July! Brian, Tony and I spent the extended holiday weekend visiting Mom and Dad in Indiana. We grilled out every evening, got some yard work done, and then had some fun! And what is more patriotic than exercising our 2nd amendment right on Independence Day? Mom and Dad are active members at their local gun club and they took the three of us to the outdoor range twice during our visit. Besides, Brian and I wanted to break in our G19. :)
This is just a quick shout-out to our good friends Christine and Edgar. They invited us and some other really sweet friends to their house for a BBQ. Everybody had a great time. Edgar made us some world-class ribs, sausage, and pulled pork on the Big Green Egg, and Christine worked equally hard prepping the house. ;) After lunch we thought about playing a board game, but the kids convinced us to spend the afternoon outside while they shrieked and giggled on the slip-n-slide. It was a good call. Those kids played hard, and it was adorable. I especially liked Esteban's excitement at getting rocket launched down the slide, even though it usually meant careening off the edge. Haha. Boys will be boys. As a side note, Ali and Scarlett are almost the same age – Ali just turned 7 and Scarlett is 6.5… how crazy is their height difference?!
Happy birthday, Maura! We had so much fun spending the day with you.
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.