Dallas in a Day

Last weekend Baron had a big surprise in store for me.  When I lived in Jacksonville, Florida I had always expressed an interest in driving to another state, in that case, Georgia, just to have dinner.  One night we were trying to come up with something to do and Baron suggested we jump in the car and head north for dinner.  By the time we got across the Florida/Georgia state line we were starving so we decided to stop at the first place we saw.  With each bite of delicious, fluffy pancakes at the IHOP, I crossed something off of my not-actually-written-down bucket list.

Boy was I surprised when, on Valentine's Day, I got a note that said Baron was taking me to lunch on Sunday at Wolfgang Puck's Restaurant called "Five Sixty"...in Dallas, Texas!  That's right, we were going to Dallas just for lunch, and we'd be back in time for dinner!  I was so excited. This was a major step up from our little trip to IHOP a couple of years ago.

Unfortunately my Grandma passed away on Friday afternoon after a few very rough weeks being in the hospital at the end of her battle with cancer.  After talking with my Mom we've decided to not have a service right away.  My Grandma wished to be cremated and her ashes spread in the ocean.  She wanted all of us to be happy and celebrate that she was in her Heavenly home.  My Mom lost her brother just a few short months ago and our family needs a little of bit of time before we are ready to celebrate, as my Grandma wished, when we lay her to rest.  For now, it is just too painful.  My Grandmother's faith was strong, she believed with all of her heart that when she died she would instantly be in the presence of the Lord and be healed.  I believe this too.  I have moments when I feel so relieved that she is at peace and no longer in any pain, and then moments where the sadness overcomes and I remember that I will not see her ever again on this earth.

We decided to go ahead with our plans to go to Dallas on Sunday.  I know my Grandma would've wanted us to go.  Texas was one of my Grandma's favorite places. She lived in Texas until I was born and she moved to Florida so that she could be closer.  I've heard many stories of my Grandma, in her younger days, living it up in Dallas.  It was a bittersweet coincidence that a few weeks ago, Baron randomly chose the city of Dallas for lunch that day.  I know God had a reason and a plan in every detail of my life. It was a nice distraction to be in Dallas for the day, I know that my Grandma would never want me to shed a single tear because of her.  I hope that she was watching down on us in our travels that day.

Our day started when our alarms went off at four o'clock in the morning.  Ugh.  The only part of the day that I was dreading.  It was surprisingly easy to hop out of bed and get ready for the day.  We made it to the airport in plenty of time and were through the security checkpoint just minutes after arriving.  How nice it was to not have a single bag to check or tote around the airport. Just my purse! 

We had a blissfully uneventful trip to Dallas.  The skies were beautiful and I had a wonderful sense of peace as we floated above the clouds.  We grabbed a cab right outside the airport in Dallas and were on our way to the restaurant. We had a little bit of time to kill before our 11 o'clock reservations so we explored the Hyatt Hotel next to the restaurant and even walked around downtown for a bit.

The restaurant in a revolving restaurant located in the top of Reunion Tower.  It was fun to know that my Mom and my Grandma had eaten there many years ago.  Did you notice there wasn't a cloud in the sky?  When we left home it was 28 degrees!  It was a warm 72 degrees in Dallas, and felt so good to walk around without a jacket.

After walking around the nearby downtown area we realized that there were a lot of people out and about for it being a Sunday morning.  Then we realized that we were in Dealey Plaza, the place where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in the early 1960's.  In the photo below you can see the Texas School Book Depository Building, where JFK's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fatally shot the President from the sixth floor window.

In the next photo you can barely see, at the base of the streetlamp, a small white "x".  This was where JFK was when he was assassinated while driving down Elm Street.  We didn't have enough time to visit the museum now located in the Texas School Book Depository Building but both Baron and I decided that we'd love to return to Dallas to visit for longer next time.

Before we knew it it was time for brunch.  The restaurant in located 560 feet above the ground in giant sphere that rotates.  Baron and I have eaten in a rotating restaurant before, the one in Dallas seemed to rotate a bit faster.  I found myself a little dizzy if I turned my head quickly.  We started brunch with delicious mimosas and a beautiful view of Dallas.

Brunch was delicious!  It was a tapas style, Asian inspired brunch and we tried a bit of everything.  My favorite was a Crispy Eggplant dish, tasted a little more Italian inspired but it was really good.  Of course the Yuzu Cheesecake Brulee was another favorite. Let's start with dessert, shall we?

Yuzu Cheesecake Brulee with Blueberries and Burnt Honey

Sea Scallop Sui Mai with Lobster Emulsion

Crispy Eggplant

After lunch we hopped in a cab and made it to the airport right on time.  We had another uneventful flight back home and were happy to sleep in our own bed that night.  The dogs were a little bit confused that we didn't go to work that day ;)  We decided this might be our new "thing".  Next time...Chicago!


She is Whole Again

My sweet Grandma Bunny went to be with the Lord on Friday afternoon, February 15, 2013. Although it was expected, it doesn't lessen the hurt. I thank God for His grace in her last few days as she was able to slip into His arms peacefully. She was such a strong encouragement to me all throughout my life and I am heartbroken to think of my life without her in it. I find peace knowing that she is healed and I will see her again.
Rest in peace, Grandma Bunny. I pray that you know how much you meant to me. I'll love you forever and always be grateful to have had you in my life.


A Sweet Birthday

My sweet Macey turns five years old today!  I can't believe that I've had her for five years, it seems like just yesterday that I brought her home as a sweet little rolly polly pup. Happy Birthday sweet girl!

"Mom, this look a lot like a Valentine's Day cake."
"Yes, in fact, I'm sure this is a Valentine's Day cake."
"Valentine Schmalentine, can I have it now?!"

Happy Birthday Sweet Macey

Baron and I are also celebrating our fourth Valentine's Day together.  I've always loved Valentine's Day, even back when I was single I enjoyed celebrating this holiday of love.  Baron surprised me with a bunch of chocolate and sweets, along with a beautiful bouquet of roses and tulips (my favorite!).  Apparently he also has another surprise in store for me this weekend. I'm no good at the waiting patiently thing. I've got a hot pink sweater to put on and I think we'll go for a quick lunch together today. I have to work tomorrow so we don't feel like fighting the crowds tonight; I guess that makes us old married folks now.

Sweets for my Sweetie

I got Baron a chalkboard mug that isn't dishwasher/microwave safe. I'll let you take a guess how often we use this one! Ha!

Let's see how long I can keep these puppies alive
 Baron, I love you so much! I'm so thankful to have you in my life. You are the perfect balance to all of my craziness and I wouldn't want to do life with anyone else. Thanks for making this Valentine's Day so special! -xoxo

I wish you all a sweet Valentine's Day today!  If you're single do something sweet for yourself today, you deserve it! And if you have a special Valentine in your life, let them know how much you care.  Hope this day is fabulous!


Grandma Bunny

I guess I'll just jump right in.  My Grandma was moved to an inpatient Hospice facility late Thursday night.  The nurses told my Mom to expect about another week before she would pass.  Her first day at Hospice was horrible. She was very agitated, upset, in pain, and probably very confused.  My only prayer for her was for peace.  I know she is dying and as bad as it sounds I would like it to be soon because she is so miserable.  The next day was much better.  Although she isn't eating, drinking, or able to converse with anyone, she rested much better.  I ask you all for your prayers for her to continue to be at peace and comfortable until she passes.  They are telling my Mom that it will be very soon.

I ask for your prayers for my Mom too.  She's doing this all on her own, as her only brother passed away in November (in a terrible coincidence, it was on my Mom's birthday).   My Dad is a wonderful man and has been my Mom's rock during this time. When my Mom is upset and can't be in my Grandmother's room for a bit, he sits with her and talks to her for hours.  My Mom has told me that she doesn't want me to come to Florida right now.  I have mixed emotions because I want to be there for my Mom, but I've decided to listen to her advice and stay put.  I'll probably travel down to Florida after my Grandma passes just to spend some time with my Mom and Dad.  When I went to Florida after Christmas, I said my goodbyes to my Grandma.  I had a strong feeling that it would be the last time that I ever saw her, so I made sure she knew how much I loved her.  I am at peace with my relationship with my Grandma. 

My Grandma at my age...beautiful!

My Grandma and I at my bridal shower- April 2011

I ask for your prayers for my family.  We will get through this and be okay, because I know my Grandma will be whole again in just a few short days.  I know I will see her again.  My own selfishness causes me to want her to stay here with us, but I know that what's best is for to go be with Jesus now.  I ask for prayers for my parents.  My Grandma has no other family left besides my Mom, my brother, a cousin in Texas, and myself.  My Grandma has a large network of friends and as you know, sometimes people don't act they way that we do when they are grieving.  Would you pray that people would respect my Mom and the fact that it is her mother that she is losing? 


Life Updates

Morning friends! How exactly should you start writing when you haven't written in months? I guess just jump right in?  I'll try to do a catch-up post to fill y'all in but goodness knows, I'll forget something.

- My best friend delivered her first baby, a healthy baby girl on October 25 of last year.  Hailee was born by c-section and in a too good to be true coincidence I was able to be there for her delivery! My middle name is Hailee and I can't tell you the tears that were present when her husband came out of the operating room and said "It's a girl! Her name is Hailee!"

- Baron and I hosted Thanksgiving in our home for both our parents this past year.  I've always had dreams of having Thanksgiving in our home and was so excited to finally be able to do that. Granted we ate at the bar while two of us stood at the kitchen sink, but it was great! Hopefully next year we'll have a table big enough for all of us.

- On the last day of my parents' visit we got a phone call that my uncle (my mom's brother) had passed away.  He had a lot of struggles throughout his lifetime and I'm thankful that he is finally at peace.  My parents left the next day in order to get arrangments made for his service.

- We had a wonderful first Christmas in our new house.  I may have gone a little overboard with decorations but I was so excited to finally have a home (and a MANTLE!) to decorate. 

- A few days after Christmas I went home to Florida for a trip for a whirlwind trip of less than 72 hours. I'm getting pretty good at those whirlwind trips!  I wanted to visit my best friend and her little girl before my friend's maternity leave was over.  I absolutely loved seeing my friend as a mom.  She's doing a wonderful job and just looked like such a natural.  We went shopping at an outlet mall halfway between where my parents live and where my friend lives so my parents met us there for lunch and shopping. My friend told me that her feelings wouldn't be hurt if I stayed with my parents for my last night and she told me that she just felt like "I should".  So after tearful goodbye's I headed off with my parents.  That night my mom and I ended up taking my grandmother to the emergency room because she was in so much pain. 6 hours, a bunch of tests, and some pain medicine later, we found out that her cancer had returned with a vengance. I went to bed at 4am that day and was up at 7 in order to catch my flight back to Alabama.  When I got off the plane and into my husband's arms, I never felt so far away from "home".

- My grandma had a major stroke on Sunday and has been in the intensive care unit ever since. They are trying to decide whether to send her to a rehab center or hospice. She's not herself anymore and is in a lot of pain. I hurt for my mom who is trying to figure all this out on her own. Again, I feel like I am so far away.

- Next month I am finally going PRN at my job, meaning I can work as little as six shifts every two months or as much as full time if I wish. I've always said that it's that third day that kills you so I told the scheduling person to put me two days a week for now and we'll see how it goes. To say that I'm excited is an understatement!

- Baron is doing well, he's been busy at work and hasn't had at all over the past few months.  He's still enjoying his job. I'm so proud of him and all of his hard work.

- Baron told me about a year ago that he wanted to go to Hawaii for our second anniversary.  I was totally on board but a little hestitant about spending a bunch of money. After all, we were about to close on our home when he first brougth this up.  He told me that he wanted to pay for our trip using credit card miles.  I thought to myself, "Maybe we'll make it by our 15th anniversary, there's no way we'll be able to get enough miles to get to Hawaii."  About a month ago Baron told me we had enough miles to get there...first class...and we'd only have to pay twenty bucks for taxes and fees!  Obviously when you buy a house, you spend a lot of money. A painful amount of money.  But Baron used his smarts to work it out a little in our favor and use the right cards in order to get us tickets to paradise. Way to go, hubby! And I guess we can thank our refridgerator, washer and dryer, living room furniture, bedroom furniture, fence company, etc. It's nice to get a little "reward" for spending all of our money on our new house. 

- Our trip to Hawaii is in May and I'm very excited! I've been playing with our camera a little more, trying to figure out the settings and even...gasp...Manual mode! I want to document our trip, it will be an exciting getaway!

- In honor of all my camera practice, I give you, a photo dump:

A few weeks ago, we had a significant amount of snow (for these Florida people!)

Loved this rainbow we found :)

I hope to keep my little neck of the blog world more up to date than I have been, but who knows. Maybe you'll hear from me tomorrow, maybe in a year or so!  I love to be able to look back at our lives and see what we've done, things we've been through, and lessons we've learned.