An Easy Way to be the Best Wedding Guest

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We’re getting ready for Paul’s brother wedding in Indiana and weddings are just on my mind. After our wedding, Paul noted that he had a friend who made sure his drink never got empty. Considering it can be next to impossible at your own wedding to migrate from one point at a wedding to the bar without finding another guest who you haven’t spoken to or getting distracted by something, getting a drink can be a challenge! Therefore, a gratuitous refill is so appreciated.

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After noticing how nice it was to never worry about having an empty drink, Paul decided to make that a sort of “gift” to all other couples at weddings he attends.

Whenever he get a chance, Paul just quickly asks the couple what they would like to drink without unduly interrupting their current conversation. Then, throughout the night, Paul just steals a quick glance at the couple to see the status of their drinks. If they need a drink or are nearly time for a refill, he makes a quick run to the bar then kindly switches the couple’s drink.

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After weddings, brides and grooms have commented to me how nice it was to never have to worry about their drink! Its almost easier when just one person takes the drink refill task as their own so the couple never has to mention what their having to anyone else. Paul saves the day, the couple has one less thing to worry about, and everyone gets to visit with the couple more : )

Weekend Links

via Cabin Porn

GOLDEN WEEKEND! Woohoo. Keeping up with our goal to get out and do things every time Paul has a golden weekend, we’re headed to see our friends at Canyon Lake. Its beautiful and the water stays cool even in the hot Texas summers. What are your plans?

-Have you been following the Design Sponge essay contest? I particularly loved this one.

This video has been everywhere. Its hysterical!

-Whaaat?!? Margarita inside a watermelon? Gimme.

Grace has been swearing by girlfriend jeans and they’re super cute. I think I’ll take a pair of these.

-I got this Facial in a Box a couple of weeks ago and loved it.

Cabin Porn. My inner escapist can’t get enough.

-Loving the pattern floor on this laundry room and the mint paint is so happy.

Indiana – What I’m Missing

Remember wayyyyyy back when when I was all emotional over leaving my beloved Texas and moving to Indiana? And I told you all the things that I was looking forward to about Indiana and what I’d miss about Texas?

Welllllll, now that I’m back in Texas and missing Indiana, I thought I’d look back and see what may have changed; what I ended up loving and miss about Indiana.

  1. Fall Colors. Seriously?! Its not even fall yet and I’m missing even the idea of it. Crisp mornings, pretty colors. *sigh* Thankfully, Paul’s brother is getting married to this lovely lady, so we get to back in September. IMG_2829
  2. Small Indiana towns. Indiana does small towns very well. Every town has a perfect downtown and great adorable bungalows.
  3. Germanfest. Our church’s big fundraiser and one of the biggest festivals in town. There was awesome food and dirndls and lederhosen and German dancing and the local brewery made a special brew for the occasion.

    Decked out for Germanfest
    Decked out for Germanfest
  4. My people. Like nothing else, I miss the community we had in Indiana. I’m so glad we had Finn while I was there because I learned so much about being a wife, and a mom, and a wife while a mom. Good people, great parties, lots of joy.
  5. Small town life. In Indiana, we lived in West Lafayette, home of Purdue University. I worked just across the river in Lafayette and most of our friends were there. But, West Lafayette was tiny. During the school year, we had access to cool concerts and plays because of the University. But, in the summer, when the college kids were gone, we would walk to campus to go to our coffee shop and favorite used bookstore and everything was wonderfully empty. I’m not a big city girl and West Lafayette became home very easily. IMG_3857

Camino de Santiago – Day 1

From the end of May through mid June, Paul, Finn and I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain. This is part of the recap of that trip. Find more here

After doing our {not} relaxing bit in Barcelona, we began the trip to Roncesvalles where we would begin the Camino Frances, one of the numerous and the most popular route to Santiago. There are two traditional “starting points.” One is just on the other side of the border in France, St. Jean de Pied de Port and the other is Roncesvalles. After some reading, we determined that Ronsesvalles would be much easier to get to and would allow us to skip the really bad hike up the mountain from St. Jean. We later found out that there was lots of rain and hail and altogether bad weather so we’re really glad we didn’t pack Finn through that.

Train shenangans
Train shenangans

We had an early train to catch from Barcelona so we set our alarms and headed out early in the morning for the train station. We raced there and were getting pretty worried we were running late and THEN had some mini communications issues in which some of the train employees said Finn needed his own ticket and then others didn’t and then they all talked about it while we waited and tapped our toes and worried we were going to miss the train altogether and then FINALLY got on the train and settled in. Minor heart attack, thankyouverymuch.

Streets of Pamplona
Streets of Pamplona

It was a long train ride to Pamplona but we all napped and Finn got to move and walk around a little more than he did on the plane and the whole thing was wonderfully uneventful. Which, when travelling with a kid, becomes noteworthy and an accomplishment in and of itself : )

As we got closer and closer to Pamplona we noticed that more and more travellers had backpacks and may be Camino bound. We noticed a group of 4 older, very fit, gentlemen who got off at Pamplona and stared walking into town. Eventually we were all a bit lost getting from the bus station to the city and we kept bumping into them and waiving and smiling. We finally made it into the old city (HINT: there is an elevator that everyone in town uses up into the old city from the river! SO much better than climbing up) and toured around a bit. We went to the main square and Finn chased pigeons and played hide and seek and had enough fun to wear him out just a little.

I think I'll move here
I think I’ll move here
Not the best hider
Not the best hider
Running from the bulls
Running from the bulls

In the old square we also talked to a couple of American peregrinos (pilgrims) who had just walked from St. Jean to Pamplona and they began asking all about us walking and gave us great encouragement for taking Finn with us. It was great to hear because I was getting more and more anxiety about it as we got closer to the big walk.

We popped into Cafe Iruna where Hemmingway spent lots of time and had some cortados before strolling around the city some more and running into the 4 gentlemen from the train a few more times. Finally, we went to El Corte Ingles to get snacks and things before our bus left for Roncesvalles. We picnicked in a nearby park and let Finn get some more energy out of his system before heading to the bus station to ensure there was no transportation drama like the train station. Sure enough the 4 gentlemen from the train were there as well and we realized we had our first Camino friends. They spoke little English but we saw them every day for the next few weeks and they would always tickle Finn and smile and we would all try to talk as much as we could.

I spy a Finn man
I spy a Finn man
Waiting for our bus
Waiting for our bus

The bus ride was wonderfully uneventful. There was a little fuss from Finn here and there, but mostly we got to watch the landscape change and take note of the little towns and get a little excited for the days ahead.

When we finally got to Roncesvalles, it was about 7:30, which is practically bedtime on pilgrim time. Finn was still not sleeping wonderfully well so we wanted a private room for the night. We’d called ahead but couldn’t find any in Roncesvalles, so we booked a room just 3km down the road in Burguete. I had looked forward to staying in the alburgue with the pilgrims, but Finn just wasn’t sleeping so well. He was jet-lagged, with a cough, and working on a couple of molars. Sooooo we decided we’d all be better off with a private room. Also, teething is the pits. We got our credencials stamped, toured around the town just a little and I remember seeing people who would later become our friends on the way. Finally we headed out to make the short walk through the in the misty rain. Something about it was so idyllic and medieval feeling. I’m sure its because I always imagine things were muddy back then and had nothing to do with any actual historical significance, but oh well. It was exciting just to get going, even just a little.

Church in Rocesvalles with nubby little Spanish trees
Church in Roncesvalles with nubby little Spanish trees
And we're off!!
And we’re off!!

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Once we got into Burguete, we had some snacks, drank some wine and called it a night. It would be an early morning on the trail.

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Becoming quite the little picture - looker ; )
Becoming quite the little picture – looker ; )

Finn – 1.5 years – Starting to really play pretend making car sounds when he drives his toy cars and even lining up the dining room chairs like a train and saying “choo choo!” I can barely take a picture of him anymore without him immediately running at me and trying to take the phone or camera to get a look at the screen. Kids these days.

My mom has a raised mole on her neck that Finn fiddles with and says “mole. mole.” So he has started to touch his nipples and say “mole. mole” and refuses to stop no matter how much I correct him. The other day I was sitting at my desk when he came up to me saying “Mama. Mole. MA-MAAA. Mole. Mole. MOLE!”  I said “ok, where is the mole, Finn?” He ran up to our sweet dog, Kora, and pointed to her nipples saying “mole. mole. mole.”

……mmmmkay?? With that anatomy knowledge, lets just all hope he doesn’t follow in his dad’s surgical shoes.

Exploring – We found our new go-to donut spot in town. So that counts, right?

CookingSummer Skillet Gnocchi. We made this for guests and everyone enjoyed it. Get that sweet corn while you can! Also, update from last week’s sourdough starter attempt: I failed. Womp wommmmp. But I will try again!

DrinkingHomemade kombucha. My friend gave me a scoby a couple of weeks ago and my first batch turned out great. I used tart cherry juice for the second ferment and I’m loving it.

Watching – Wayyyyy to much Bachelor in Paradise and getting too involved the Joe/Samantha drama because I’m mature like that. I don’t trust either of them and Joe has quite the temper. Unattractive. And Juellia and Mike?! Didn’t see that coming, but whatevs. What do you think?

Reading – I found a copy of Where the Wild Things Are at TJ Maxx. It quickly became of of Finn’s favorites and he requests it often. Which is great because we need something besides Goodnight Gorilla. Its been Finn’s favorite for awhile now, very much to mine and Paul’s chagrin.

Ruidoso, New Mexico

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Seeing what he could see from the Monjeau Lookout

My mom’s family has been going to Ruidoso, NM for as long as I can remember. We would rent a house and grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles would pile in. We’d spend the week going on ridiculous hikes up ski slopes, taking turns “hugging the porcelain throne” with rotating bouts of mountain sickness, and learning the fine art of horse betting at Ruidoso Downs. In the evenings, we would pile in cars and drive to the dumpsters to watch the black bear come dig through them for dinner.

In the past few years, my parents have been to Ruidoso to regularly attend the All American Quarter Horse Race. Finding themselves there more and more and wanting a reason to go more often, they decided to buy a vacation home there. Week before last, Finn and I went out with my mom to spend some time.

It was so funny to drive around and see the houses we’d rented when I was a kid. I can remember bowling in one of the driveways with some plastic bottles, my cousin and I trying to out spit each other off of one of the decks (ever the ladies ; )), and playing putt-putt in another house that I’m sure lead to more than a few timeouts.

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So, with my mom as a trusty tour guide, I decided to give you a list of some of our favorite things in Ruidoso in case you ever find yourself lucky enough to be there. This is not a comprehensive guide, but just some things I highly recommend!

Eats

Sights/Entertainment

  • Ruidoso Downs – watching the horse races is always fun
  • Monjeau Fire Lookout – you have to drive up a windy mountain road, and then walk up to the lookout, but the views can’t be beat. It also has some historical significance
  • Inn of the Mountain Gods Casino – the casino was recently rebuilt and there are tables now too. And a zipline across the lake. Apparently the golf course is also beautiful.
  • Sacred Grounds – open mic night on Friday and a movie showing on Saturday and sometimes live music.

Shopping

  • Indulgence at Stetthiemers – one of my favorites for jewelry and well-priced clothes
  • Burnell’s – great outdoor shoes and apparel. Lots of cute Patagonia dresses, Pendleton home goods, etc.
  • The Olive Branch – flavored/infused olive oil and balsamic vinegars
  • Lotza Stuff – a flea market with, you guessed it, lotza stuff! Seriously though, there are some really good finds.
  • Casa Decor – really great home furnishings store that I could spend hours browsing

Day Trips

  • Cloudcroft, NM – a small town with a very mountain feel and lots of hiking trails near and around
  • Lincoln, NM – like being in the wild west. Great for kids and you can go to the jail where Billy the Kid escaped.
  • Smokey the Bear Park in Capitan, NM – we loved this as kids. You can learn all about how little Smokey was found/saved
  • White Sands National Monument – Don’t go without a toboggan or cardboard or something to slide down the dunes. I’ve never hiked there, but be careful if you do and take lots of water. Remember, its a desert.

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Weekend Links

Throwback to our wedding ; )
Throwback to our wedding ; )

We have no real plans this weekend and I’m kind of happy about it. Paul and I are going to try to put in raised beds so we can plant for the fall and maybe even get a sandbox ready for Finn who has been trying to dig in anything and everything. No matter what, I just hope to be a happy as my father-in-law is in this photo :)

The Dark Side of Travel – Man, have I experienced some of this. That said, travel is like a drug and I just can’t get enough.

I’m loving the fabrics and clothes at Ace & Jig. Everything looks simple and unique. Like this dress and this jumper.

Made me laugh.

The dining room here has my heart. Its a good mix of styles.

This eye pillow is cute and wonderfully quirky.

I Followed my Mom Around Costco and This is What I Learned

Beautifully said about community and wanting your children to know about a good party.