Pacman makes a comeback

We went to Leon this past weekend for our nephew’s 5th birthday. He wanted a Pacman theme so his naturally creative mother threw all this together (she is the creative genius behind this piñata). If I ever have children, I plan to just shamelessly copy + paste all of her party themes and crafts.

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Us with two of our nieces and the birthday boy. Love the expression on his face.

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The time Charlie’s Angels visited Mexico City

Kennetta, Jess, and I took a trip to Mexico City…. I want to say it was 13 or 14 years ago..?

We stayed at a hostel somewhere in Zona Rosa for 100 pesos a night or something ridiculous like that. Once in a great long while (usually when I am moving house and should be busy packing but would rather procrastinate), I pull out old pictures from the shoe box they reside in and whenever I see these I laugh because I remember how the three of us were walking around Parque Chapultepec and one of the street vendors saw us and shouted after us, “Hey! It’s Charlie’s Angels!” To this day, I get a kick out of that. I can’t believe he is the only one who’s ever noticed my striking resemblance to Lucy Liu.

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Beautiful back yards

Matt and Brenda have a great yard. It is large and green and peaceful. IMG_1390IMG_1393IMG_1394IMG_1391Brenda is the Queen of Repurposing. She bought that Mary statue at an auction (which people fondly refer to as One-Armed Mary, though you can’t see her handicap very well from the angle of the shot) and then that dome you see covering her? That’s an old bathtub she found.

IMG_1392Isn’t it awesome? I love seeing what people do with their yards in Idaho. When I was up for Daria’s graduation in June, this is the sort of taxing thing you would have found me doing:

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Becky and I enjoying the yard and the 20 minutes of sun! (it was unseasonably chilly for June)

Adan and I talk about having a garden some day. For the moment, it is made up of one baby lime tree. When Adan brought it home and planted it, I joked that we would probably have college-bound children before it bore fruit.

Speaking of college-bound, I was in Idaho for Daria’s high school graduation, of course.

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her graduation party!

She is off starting college. Seems like just yesterday that she would sneak into my room in the basement in footie pajamas and steal all my chocolates. IQ9A5240 I am incredibly proud of her because she’s such an accomplished and intelligent young person. But more so because she is accepting of people’s differences and kind to others, which I think is more important. Can’t wait to see what trail she blazes for herself.

 

bread & wine

This past Sunday Adan and I visited the Presbyterian Church in town and participated in communion. Before breaking the bread, the person performing the rite asked, “Who can partake of this meal? Those that are good? Those who try hard and behave well? No. Those who have deposited their trust in Jesus and have been baptized in the faith.” Then he takes the bread and breaks it in half as a representation of Jesus’s body being broken for our sins. He raises the cup as a symbol of his blood being shed on the cross for my salvation. When I am at the table, it stirs me and the substitutional death of Christ in my stead seems more real to me here than in any other place. Even, and especially, when my faith is at its coldest, most apathetic or tired, deader-than-a-doornail breaking point.

I was reminded this morning of my friend Jess’s oldest Reagan, who has a little giraffe blanket she loves, has loved it since she was a baby. It is probably one of her most treasured possessions and though to look at it, it is ratty and nothing special, her great love for it makes it priceless. I come to the table with my ratty, deader-than-a-doornail faith and I feel that God looks on me as His treasured child, and imbues fresh life into my faith.

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Reagan and her little brother Zeke

Happy Birthday, Shannon!

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This is my friend Shannon with her two youngest, Tabitha and Scotland. She makes the best nachos on the planet. Also, she makes cute babies. I mean, just look at all that adorableness in those sweet faces. (I purposefully didn’t post a picture of all four of her children because I thought that might just be too much cuteness in one post and if you haven’t built up a cuteness tolerance it might give you the ultimate cuteness hangover tomorrow morning.) She introduced me to the game Monopoly Deal, which Adan and I are addicted to. And though she and her husband also love to play games and amicably talk trash while they do so (it’s a family rule that you have to say things like, “You’re going to get served a big helping of humble pie!” while playing games), I have never heard her say a single mean thing about another person in real life. She gets sarcasm. She is a great hostess. Not in the Martha Stewart-candles-and-table-settings-fine-china kind of way, but in a making-everyone-comfortable-and-welcome kind of way, opening up her life as it is. I remember when her eldest Adara was born, friends from church would drop off meals and she would often just put out extra silverware and invite said friends to stay and enjoy the meal with them. Isn’t that awesome? She is never “too busy” to help out or make time for you when you are going through a hard time. I hope to be like her when I grow up. Happy birthday, sweet friend!

 

A perfect fall day in Chicago

In case you were wondering, this is what a perfect fall day in Chicago looks like:

20161112_160440Adan and I were up there last weekend and we had unbelievable weather considering that it was mid-November. We spent the entire day walking around the city, we could not get enough of the views.

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The architectural boat tour. Yes, just like in the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding. Yes, it was freezing to be on the water, even on the mildest of November days. Yes, totally worth it.

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Our amazing tour guide and even more amazing friend, Marisa.

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there were quite a few couples getting their wedding pictures taken. can’t imagine a more gorgeous backdrop.

The city is in a state of euphoric jubilation because apparently this happened not too long ago, after a rather long dry spell:

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We kept seeing homages to their victory:20161112_142829

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We were the walking definition of tourists. Witness Exhibit A: the Bean. Believe me, it does not get any more touristy than this. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a local Chicagoan to be found within a five mile radius.

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Exhibit B: stopping foot traffic in all sorts of inconvenient places to take pictures. (Not pictured, the multitudes having to dodge around us as we posed for this shot)

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Exhibit C: eating all of the typical Chicago foods.

This was Adan´s favorite thing about Chicago, their hot dogs.
This was Adan’s favorite thing about Chicago, their hot dogs.
This was mine, Korean burritos.
This was mine, Korean burritos.

(We, of course, also ate and loved deep dish pizza. We are not stupid.)

Exhibit D: riding the L to get downtown from Marisa’s house:

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Look at us, we’re dying of excitement to be riding public transportation in Chicago!!

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The perfect fall day was followed by perfect fall night in Chicago:

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As if all this were not enough my-cup-runneth-over, I also had a few days with my friend Jess:

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This is me with her two older kids, Colby and Reagan. We took them to see the movie Trolls, which they both highly recommend you watch.

Not pictured (because it was way past her bedtime) is her youngest, Gracie, who is two years old and has the vocabulary and verbal skills of a trial lawyer (not even joking), the face of a baby panda (is there anything cuter than a baby panda? This is not a rhetorical question, I really do want to know.) and the energy of the Energizer bunny (would probably leave him behind in the dust). I had the best time hanging out with them.

Every amazing beach trip starts with a broken down bus on the side of the highway

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This shirt was sponsored by my friend Becky, and is the litmus test of cool if you get the reference. (hint: people are always asking me if it’s the name of a band, and NO, not a band)
As you may have guessed from the title, Adan and I decided to take the bus to the beach this time rather than driving because we were mistakenly under the notion that we would arrive more relaxed that way. An hour an a half on the side of the highway made us see the error of our ways. When we finally made it to Puerto Vallarta 8 hours after we’d set out in the morning, we were suffering from hunger, low blood sugar, bus fatigue (a disease similar to Garlic Bread Deficiency in that it just doesn’t get enough attention from the press due to it’s lack of sexiness), restless leg syndrome, and, in my case, extreme crabiness.

Totally worth it, though.

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Marisa flew in from Chicago!
These two pictures above sum up the entirety of our trip. All we did for four days was to enjoy the view of the ocean and eat shrimp. (Sidenote: if you ever go to La Lagosta Loca in Vallarta, you must try the coconut shrimp). In my humble opinion, what really makes for a stratospherically amazing beach trip is the company that you’re with, so this definitely qualified as such.