Ben’s Nursery

We bought our first house when I was seven months pregnant.  I don’t necessarily recommend this, but with our lease ending March 31st and the baby’s due date at April 2nd, it was the best choice for us.  I’m so thankful that we were able to move in and make it feel like home before Ben was born.  Getting his nursery ready was so much fun, and I mentioned awhile ago that I would share some pictures.  So, here is a little tour…

I’m not a huge theme person, but I started sort of jokingly referring to this as “global baby chic”.  We have a lot of different colors, too.  There are touches of navy and lighter gray/blue, and I love the rug with green, orange, brown, robin’s egg blue and tan.  I wanted his nursery to feel cozy and colorful—a place where he can rest well and play hard and let his imagination run wild.

IMG_0369

IMG_0375

It’s really special to me that we are using the crib my dad built when my parents were expecting me.  My two younger siblings used it, too.  We decided that my dad would paint the top part white to modernize it for the next generation.  It’s got tons of storage, and it’s just so beautiful.  Ben has been sleeping very well in the crib for about two months.  We have several cute fitted sheets with animals in lieu of a full crib set.  This one is my favorite.

IMG_0391

We also have this little rocker that was mine.  My hope is that this will become a favorite reading spot for Ben when he’s a bit older.

IMG_0377

I got this little bookshelf for my tiny garage apartment when I was in grad school.  I’m not sure if Target still carries it, but I might like to get one or two more.  I love to see it full of children’s books now!  We have some in English and Spanish.

IMG_0368

The dresser was the last item purchased.  We went to several secondhand and discount places but didn’t have any luck, and so we found ourselves making the trek to IKEA when I was basically ready to give birth at any moment.  This ended up being just the right size.  Worth it.

My sister, the artist, painted this beautiful mirror for Ben.  He loves to look at it while we’re changing him.  His eyes get really big.  🙂

IMG_0393

We got a glider and decided that we’d rather use it in the living room.

IMG_0387

I have included links below if you’re interested.  Thanks for coming on the tour, friends!

*Please note that, in addition to reused or homemade pieces, we used gift cards and bought discontinued and sale items, etc.  I don’t think we paid full price for anything.

Dresser: IKEA

Window hanging (similar):  World Market

Spanish prints:  Etsy

Crib: Made by Dad circa 1984

Bookshelf:  Target

Rocker:  Passed down from me

Lamp:  World Market (discontinued)

Laundry hamper:  Target

Glider:  (similar) Buy Buy Baby

Rug:  (similar) World Market

Painted Mirror:  Made by Aunt Katie

Advertisements

Firenze, My Favorite City in Italy

Today I continue on with my recap of our trip to Italy.  I want to remember this trip for forever, and this is how I’m documenting.  🙂  I’ve leave the scrapbooking to the craftier ladies among us.

From Venice, we took the train to Florence.  Train travel is the way to go!  We loved it.  It’s so much more laid back than flying, and you get to see the beautiful scenery along the way.  I wish I could travel around the U.S. this way, too.  Car trips are not my favorite, but we end up taking a LOT of them.  (Texas, why you so big?)IMG_0155

Anyway, first let me tell you about our accommodations in Florence.  We did quite a bit of research for the trip and really liked each place that we stayed.  For Florence, we choose a B&B at a convent.  Yes, with actual nuns living there and running it.  None of them spoke a word of English, but they had such pleasant smiles.  IMG_0434I emailed before we left for our trip and asked if married couples were allowed.  They replied that all are welcome, and we booked a double room.  The B&B was just a couple of blocks from the Duomo and walking distance to all the major areas we wanted to visit.  IMG_5167Perfect!

The inside was also very beautiful and even had a nice garden in the courtyard.  When we got to our room upstairs, we were greeted by two twin beds on opposite walls.  We just burst into laughter.  Quite a second honeymoon.  🙂  I guess we should have known.

The beautiful garden at the convent where we stayed

The beautiful garden at the convent where we stayed

Florence was the city where we focused on art the most.  The city itself is a work of art–sprawling red rooftops with a backdrop of luscious green mountains.  Florence feels cleaner and slower-paced to me than other urban areas in Italy.  It has a nice vibe and every angle is a great photo op.  We reserved advanced tickets for the Uffizi and the Accademia (no lines = happy Kara).  We spent the middle of our day in each gallery for two of the days we were there.  The Uffizi is magnificent architecturally, not to mention the artwork inside.  IMG_0229 IMG_0242I was proud of Husband for recognizing The Birth of Venus from his Art History class in college.  I ate a chocolate muffin on the second floor deck while we enjoyed a cool breeze.  The museum is not air conditioned, so it gets a bit toasty.  We spent a lovely evening exploring the area around the Ponte Vecchio, a famous bridge with shops built into it.  We arrived just in time for these sunset views.  Wowzer.  10487297_10100213266145277_1942890574031790349_n IMG_0246 IMG_0286It was as dreamy and romantic as it looks.

The Accademia the next day was awe-inspiring.  It amazes me how sculptors took the time to craft the details of the clothes and capture facial expressions.  It’s hard for me to imagine having the patience to meticulously create something that elaborate.  Of course, the highlight was The David.  IMG_0322The way he is placed in the gallery is perfect, because he’s on a tall platform right under a skylight.  The sun streams through and highlights every beautiful angle of Michelangelo’s masterpiece.  I loved what the description said about the statue.

“David is represented in a meditative pose following his victory over Goliath according to an unusual iconographic interpretation in which the young hero is not portrayed in his traditional pose of triumph with one foot on the severed head of the defeated giant.  His sling is also barely visible as though to emphasize how David owed his victory not to brutal force but to his intellect and to his innocence.”

In Florence, we enjoyed some of the best food of the entire trip.  IMG_5240This was my favorite pizza.  IMG_5282 IMG_5283The simplicity and freshness of the flavors…pure magic.  I love the Italians’ cooking philosophy.  They don’t get too fussy with a lot of ingredients.  (More on this later when I recap our food tour in Rome.)  I sadly didn’t get a picture of my favorite gelato.  It was consumed whilst speed walking across Ponte Vecchio and back to the B&B to catch a taxi to the train station.  It was strawberry (Fragola–a favorite Italian word of mine) and coconut—a dynamite combo, as it turns out.

Our last full day in Florence, we climbed the massive, narrow staircase to the top of the Duomo and looked out over the city.  Having already done this once, I was a bit torn on whether or not I wanted to go for it again.  The line was long, it was a hot day, and we could climb the neighboring tower with no waiting and be almost as high.  But Bryan was determined, and who was I to stand in his way?  So, we waited, and up we went.  It was worth it.  🙂  IMG_0363 IMG_0373 IMG_0395I love this city, and exploring it with my Love meant the world to me.  Ciao, Firenze.  I hope we’ll be back someday.

The City of Water

Without further ado…Venice!  The canals of Venice make it unique among the beautiful, ancient cities of Italy.  At night, the water reflects the city lights, and it’s pure magic.  IMG_0035 IMG_0039 IMG_0032We arrived around sunset and had just enough time to find our hotel, settle in and freshen up before heading out into the night to explore.  As Bryan and I wandered the streets hand in hand, taking it all in, my thoughts drifted to March 2004–a little over TEN years ago, when I was here exploring this city with a group of college friends.  We were on our spring break during a semester in England, and I was 19.  I remember climbing the stairs up to the center of the big bridge over the Grand Canal and looking out over the glistening water.  I thought dreamily of what it would be like to be there with my husband.  I couldn’t imagine a more romantic setting.  So here I was at 29, and Venice hadn’t changed at all.  But I had.  🙂  I’m so grateful for that surreal moment I had holding hands with HIM our first night in Venice and looking out at the Grand Canal from the same spot.

We did a lot of walking during our two days there.  We found the church from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and sought refuge inside when a heavy rain came on suddenly.  IMG_0146They had a DaVinci exhibit going on.  What a brilliant visionary!  Talk about feeling like an underachiever.  They had recreations of many of his inventions with his original sketches.

Of course, we took in beautiful San Marco Square and watched the pigeons (and the people) for awhile.  IMG_5139 IMG_0119 IMG_5132IMG_5142I got my first gelato of the trip while Bryan and I watched Costa Rica play England in the World Cup.  IMG_5144
We bought an umbrella and cuddled up together underneath it as we matched the pace of our steps.  It brought back memories of when we were dating in Costa Rica during rainy season.  We heard a gondolier quote a price of 40 euros for a ride to a European-looking couple just ahead of us on a bridge.  “Cheap!”  As we approached, he assessed our appearances (or, more accurately, my appearance) and shouted out to us, “80 euros!  Cheap!  Cheap!”  We opted to skip the gondala ride based on the “which will you regret more?” philosophy and instead rode the steamboat through the city.  It was great fun, albeit with slightly less ambiance.  The people watching in Italy during high tourist season is fantastic!  We heard bijillions of different languages, and I loved observing people.

Venice was a great start to part 2 of our Italian adventure.  From here, we hop a train to Florence!  See you there.  🙂

World Cup Fever & Sicilian/American Weddings: Romance+Food=Happiness

Today I continue my recap of our trip to Italy!  This may or may not be interesting to read, but I want to remember the details.  🙂  So, here we go…

The bride and groom, along with the groom’s family, were wonderful hosts.  They reserved rooms for us at a B&B in a great location with a big wrap-around patio.  That first morning, we had a Sicilian breakfast of pistachio croissants and granita.  Granita is like a snow cone, almost.  I had them twice in Sicily–coffee and amaretto the first time and strawberry and lemon for the second one.  We rented a car along with two other American bridesmaids, and Bryan masterfully drove us through the crazy streets of Catania, impressing everyone.  Driving in Costa Rica would make me nervous.  Sicily?  I think I’d just learn the bus system.  Dario’s mom made us a wonderful lunch of pasta with tomotoes, bread, fresh mozzarella with basil and chocolate for dessert.  Deliciousness

We arrived in time for me to attend a bridal shower.  It happened to be the day that Costa Rica played Italy in the World Cup.   The plan was for the men to go out for pizza while the shower was taking place at the house of Dario’s sister and her husband.  They had graciously offered to let Bryan watch the game at their house before the shower.  My brave (?) husband put on his Costa Rica soccer jersey.  For those of you unfamiliar with the World Cup, Italy has traditionally been a very competitive team.  Costa Rica was happy just to qualify to go to the World Cup.  So, understandably, Bryan thought he would be safe to wear his jersey.  Fast forward to the last half hour of the game.  Husband is perched on the edge of the couch next to me doing a good job of containing his sheer delight while Italian men float in and out of the living room, eyeing the screen with frustration.  “Feel my heart,” he says.  It was racing.  Moments after the game ended with Costa Rica WINNING 1 to 0, I watched him walk away with a group of twenty or so Italian men in his bright red and blue official Costa Rica jersey.  I was a bit nervous for him, truth be told.  Afterward, I learned that they were good-natured about the whole thing, teasing him that the winner buys pizza for everyone.

You can barely see Bryan in the back left corner wearing his Costa Rica jersey proudly.

You can barely see Bryan in the back left corner wearing his Costa Rica jersey proudly.

All the ladies got our hair done for the big day.  I was glad Andrea advised me to bring a picture of the style I wanted since my Italian is not so good.  I went for a kind of Elsa from Frozen look.  Simple, elegant, and lasted all night…Elsa hairWedding date

I loved the bridesmaid dresses, too.  The wedding was outdoors, overlooking the Mediterranean (I know!!).  Wedding aerialThey wrote their own vows, and the ceremony was in English and Italian.  It was so emotional and just super romantic.  I love weddings.  (sigh)  The groom’s two nieces and two nephews could not have been any more adorable.  Pre-weddingThe ceremony was followed by appetizers, then we moved inside for a four or five course meal.  Then there was dancing with a live band.  I have no skills, but there was still fun to be had.  Dancin'Then we went back outside for a feast of desserts.  Wow.  The whole thing went from about 6:00pm to about 2:00am.  One thing is for sure.  Italians know how to throw a wedding!Toast

Most importantly, I was so honored to be a part of the festivities, and I’m so, so happy for my friend.  Dario is head over heels for Andrea, and I can’t tell you how much joy it brought me to see them so happy together.  Husband & Wife

In the next post, we’re off to Venice!  🙂

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Howdy!  It’s been less lazy and more crazy lately, truth be told.  June flew by, and here we are in the thick of summer, praising God for a “cold front” this week with highs in the mid 80s.  🙂  I’ll take it.  Cloudy weather is my fave.

The view from my office this morning.

The view from my office this morning.

Husband and I returned July 3rd from a trip we had been planning for and praying about since last fall.  We went to Italy, and it was everything that you might expect.  It was amazing.  I’ll talk about our trip over the next few posts.

I don’t think we would have made the decision to go to Italy just on our own.  We would have had too many justifications for not going.  BUT, the reason we decided to take this epic trip was the best reason of all…LOVE.  Specifically, one of my best friends from college lived in Italy for more than two years, she met a wonderful man from Sicily, and they fell in love.  When they decided to get married in Sicily, we knew we wanted to be there.

We got to spend some time with the happy couple and get to know Dario a bit when they visited Texas before getting engaged.

We introduced Dario to country western dancing at Oplin, a true Texas experience.

We introduced Dario to country western dancing at Oplin, a true Texas experience.

I asked Andrea to be a bridesmaid in my wedding in 2011, and she bestowed the same honor on me.

Andrea is on my right  :)

Andrea is on my right 🙂

So we planned and prepared for many months.  My ambitious husband even started learning Italian, much to my chagrin.  (No, Honey!  If you learn a third language, then I have to get another degree.)  I might have an inferiority complex.  🙂

Anyway…our journey started with three flights.  Texas==>London==>Rome==>Sicily.  The trip went very smoothly, overall.  The first long flight was rough for me for the last two hours or so.  I’m convinced that I have undiagnosed restless leg syndrome.  I could not get comfortable.  Then, in London, the only real almost-mishap happened.  We thought we had about an hour, so Bryan got in line at a sandwich shop while I went to the restroom.  When I emerged, I heard them over the loudspeaker doing a LAST CALL for our gate.  What?!  I panicked for about three seconds and decided to run to my husband (the opposite direction of the gate).  When I got there he was still waiting in line.  I breathlessly conveyed to him that our flight was boarding, and they were about the close the gate.  “I’m going to tell them to stop the plane!  You come as fast as you can!”  I believe those were my exact words.  Please keep in mind that this is after an overnight flight with no sleep.

I grabbed a coffee from him and started running.  Bad combination.  I’m not one to enjoy being stared at (particularly in a negative situation), but there was no way I was letting us miss that plane to Rome.  Latte splashing, purse flopping, I jogged through the terminal and arrived in front of two slightly amused women working at the gate.  I explained as they looked at me with sympathy.  They wanted to know if my husband was running, too.  Minutes passed.  They called him over the intercom.  I smiled nervously.  It seemed inevitable that they would give up and send me on my way at any moment, and then Bryan sauntered around the corner with our sandwiches.  I beckoned to him to run as the ladies reached for my boarding pass.  I was picturing a full flight with every person glaring us down as we made our way to our seats at the back.  Strangely enough, once we made it into the tunnel, we found ourselves in line.  There were at least 15 or 20 people ahead of us not quite on the plane yet.  No one even knew that we were late.  We sat down with our hearts still pounding, so relieved.  A few minutes later a cart came by with–you guessed it–sandwiches.  We just looked at each other and laughed.  And so began our Italian adventure…

Day Fifteen: Juan and Douglas

Douglas and Juan are two of my husband’s best friends in the whole world.  They’ve all known each other since they were young chicos in school, and I know that Bryan wouldn’t be the man he is today without their support and encouragement.  Their loyalty means a lot to him…and to me.  Douglas is hilarious and fun-loving and has a huge heart.  Juan is pensive, sweet, sincere and steady.  They are good people that I am proud to call my friends.

I have so many great memories with these guys, and I love the time we’re able to spend with them whether in Texas or Costa Rica.  They watched me and Bryan fall in love that autumn when I was in language school, and they made an effort to get to know me—helping me with my Spanish, enjoying my cooking, making sure I found the right bus routes.  🙂IMG_2002Having both of them travel to Texas to be groomsmen in our wedding was a blessing I won’t ever forget.  wedding -23 reception-46They have always been supportive of our relationship, and that means more to me than they probably realize.  I know they miss their friend who lives in Texas with me now, but what makes their friendship genuine is that his happiness is their happiness.  Juan is coming to visit in December, and I can’t wait!  They are welcome in our home anytime.

Day Ten: Shared History

When I was a sophomore in college, I studied abroad for a semester in England.  I believe there were fifteen girls and ten guys in our group.  We lived in two houses next door to each other.  We studied together, shared all of our meals, traveled together, worshiped together, etc, etc.

It was a pivotal chapter in my life—spiritually and emotionally.  I think it was for a lot of us.  You could feel God working.  So many conversations and experiences from that semester will stay with me forever.  Whispered words between four girls on a late night bus ride from Oxford to London, watching a powerful thunderstorm roll in off the Mediterranean from a cliff in Cinque Terre, Italy, befriending a Australian in a Scottish hostel, watching a pack of wild horses canter past us during an Easter sunrise devotional…God was there in all of it, working in our hearts and creating an unbreakable bond among us.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity I had to share that time with that particular group of people.  These days, I don’t see many of them too often.  We keep in touch via Facebook or Instagram.  Oh, that’s a depressing sentence for an old fashioned girl like me.  It’s a good thing I’ve heard talk of a reunion in the works.  I follow some of their blogs.  Several of my study abroad friends are incredibly talented writers.  No matter where they are or how long it’s been since we’ve spoken, I still care for each of them.  The thing about shared history is that when you have meaningful experiences with people then you associate them with the emotions you felt at the time.  Because that semester was such a positive, life-giving time for me, I think happy thoughts when I think about those friends.  I will always feel a connection with them, but beyond that, thinking about them is truly uplifting.  And I think that’s pretty cool.

snow in Oxford

Day Five: A Story About a Palace, Part II

I’m behind schedule already!  This really is a challenge.  You can read the first part of this story here.

When I was in grad school, my sister spent a semester studying abroad in England.  I had done this as a sophomore in college, too.  So, when my parents decided to visit her, I jumped at the chance to tag along and revisit the city I loved so much.  We had a wonderful time exploring together.  One of the most beautiful places we visited was Blenheim Palace.  It is a breathtaking estate where lots of movies have been filmed (Batman, Harry Potter, etc.), and it was once the home of Winston Churchill.

Now sometimes I get myself into predicaments that make me feel like my life is an episode of I Love Lucy.  I could write an entire blog series on the topic of awkward situations that I’ve gotten myself into.  While we were at Blenheim Palace, my mom, sister and I went to a restroom on the ground floor.  I walked in last and the only unoccupied stall was the large one on the end with a heavy sliding door.  It felt like rolling the stone in front of the entrance to a tomb when I closed it.  When I attempted to leave the stall, the door wouldn’t budge.  I tried everything.  I called over Mom and Katie, and they tried to help me from the other side.  We were unsuccessful.  My mom went for help while Katie tried to sympathize with me.  My dad and brother waited in the hallway, wondering what was going on.  I believe my mom filled them in when she walked past with two handy men and reentered the ladies room.  I paced as the two men worked for several minutes on the jammed door.

My mom joked that I had always wanted to live in a palace, and before we knew we were all laughing.  It was that hard, bellyaching, teary-eyed kind of laughter that only happens when you’re truly tickled by something.  And in that moment, laughing with my mom and sister and the handy men and a woman with a walkie talkie and whoever else happened to witness this situation, I felt pure joy.  My mom and sister had walked with me through some difficult seasons.  I was growing up, but I was still the goofy Kara that they knew and loved.  I was fully present and able to laugh at myself with them.  I was all at once a daughter, a sister and a friend.

I’m so thankful that these two women are now some of the first people I turn to when I’m making a tough decision or struggling with something.  Their support means the world to me, and I love opportunities to encourage them as well.   Sometimes, maybe we feel that our families know us too well, but I think they can be the best kind of friends.  And now, in case you didn’t believe me about locking myself in the bathroom at Blenheim Palace, here’s a little photographic evidence…

my palace

bathroom rescuethe captive

Day 2: The Friends Who Help Us Get Where We Need to Go

I think God knew that I would need Jordan with me in Costa Rica.  When she found herself with a few months to travel before joining a law firm and I found myself wanting to study Spanish again after a missed opportunity following college graduation, we booked our tickets and set off on an adventure.  She and her cousin, Shannon, are the reason I met my husband.  (You can read that story here, if you’re interested. ) And she is a big part of the reason I dared to hope that we could be together.  

Taxi in San Jose

Jordan is vivacious, spontaneous, outgoing and smart as a whip.  She set up our first meeting and affirmed my attraction to him along the way.  She encouraged me when I doubted that I should open my heart and celebrated with me when I started to realize that I had found something very real and special.  Jordan and I traveled and studied together that semester and talked about everything.  I trusted her, and having her support gave me confidence in my desire to spend time with Bryan.  Along with him and his two best friends, we had a blast exploring and practicing our Spanish.  When my rational side started to battle with my heart reminding me how crazy it would be to get involved with someone from a different country, Jordan was there to remind me that he was a really good guy.  She saw something between us, and she knew that it was worth pursuing.  Before too long, I couldn’t deny it, and the rest is history.  

I owe Jordan so much gratitude for her encouragement during what I now know was a very important time in my life.  It was incredibly cool to share in the joy of her wedding and have her there to celebrate with me at mine a few months later.  

Jordan and Shannon

When I think about what she did for me, it makes me want to be that person for my friends.  I want to really engage in conversations with the people that God places in my path and pay attention to what is going on in their lives so that I can help them identify goals and desires and give my encouragement.  I think a lot of us need a little nudge or validation or show of support during those crucial crossroads moments.  Obviously, I know firsthand what a gift that is, and I want to pay it forward.  So, friends, if you need someone to listen and walk with you through a confusing time, please know that I’m here.  🙂

The In Between

Well, it’s been a month since I’ve written here.  Adjusting is a delicate process that requires a lot of mental, emotional and even physical energy.  At least it has been for me.  Let me back up a bit.

We were so blessed to have many Abilene friends show up to help us move.  You never feel so loved as when people come to help you to load your possessions and send you off well.  We had the U-Haul packed in about an hour and made the journey without incident.  They didn’t have a midsize available, so Bryan got to drive a very large truck.  He didn’t seem to mind. IMG_4054From there, things started to get weird.  Monday was a holiday, and we took advantage of the free time to buy a second car.  We are now a two car family for the first time.  Our plan is to live in the middle, and everyday after we drink our coffee, we’ll get in our separate cars.  And he’ll drive north, and I’ll drive south.  It will be quite different than working/studying on the same university campus and having lunch together almost every day.  Hopefully, the time apart will just make our time together in the evenings that much sweeter (it will be homework free, after all!).  🙂  Monday night, Bryan drove back to Abilene to finish up a short course.  He stayed with our dear friends, Derek and Rachel (the couple he lived with before we got married).  Meanwhile, I stayed with my parents and commuted 45 minutes (or more) to my new job to start training.  It was a bit rough after two and a half years of my 4 minute commute.  I’m loving the new job, and I’m so thankful for it!  However, those three days were disorienting to say the least.  I wasn’t sleeping well, I was absorbing a lot of new information, meeting a plethora of people and reuniting with familiar faces from my time there as an intern back in 2009.  My favorite part was getting to observe the sweet lady I was replacing giving a refugee couple an English test.  I’ll have more reflections on the new job later.  Thursday night, Bryan returned and we watched my brother, Moses, graduate from high school.  It was a sweet moment indeed.  He’s a bit camera-shy, so I won’t post a photo.

Friday, we flew to Costa Rica.  Now the past two summers we have been spoiled to spend a month there due to Bryan’s status as a student and my work contract.  This visit was only a week.  It usually takes me three or four days to readjust to speaking in Spanish, living the Costa Rican lifestyle, etc.  So, as you can imagine, it wasn’t the most relaxing trip.  It was, however, wonderful and totally worth it to have some quality time with our precious family.  IMG_4090Bryan and I even snuck in a day at the beach.  Jaco is a special place for us.  It’s the first beach we visited together.  Bryan drove to a spot where he thought we might watch the sun set over the water, and we ended up on a totally secluded shoreline.  It was pretty magical, I must say.  Being near the ocean inevitably makes me feel small in a really good way and completely awestruck by the vast splendor of God’s artistry.  Can any of you relate?  Sharing that beach sunset with Bryan was one of those delicious, rare moments where time stands still.IMG_4132

When we returned to Texas, it was well into June.  Our plan was to stay with family in the area while we looked for a place to live and start a lease somewhere July 1st.  We moved our things to my aunt and uncle’s house very close to Bryan’s workplace and began our respective first weeks.  Bryan’s went well.  Mine was a bit more chaotic.  Though my aunt and uncle are geographically quite a bit closer to my office than my parents’ house, the roads are not great.  I’m embarrassed to say that it took me more than two hours to find my way back to their house through the traffic and construction after that first long day at the new job.  I might have even cried.  Low point number one.  We did enjoy having some time with my sweet family.  Some of the cousins were home, too, between jobs and degrees.  We went for walks in the neighborhood, played board games boys against girls (girls won, obviously) and enjoyed family meals together.  I wish I had a picture of my two red-headed cousins with their two red-headed dogs.  It was the cutest thing ever.  We moved back to my parents’ house the next weekend to stay there with my brother while my parents were away this week.

The saga continues in the next post…