Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Weekend to Remember



Last weekend, John and I had the privilege to attend a marriage conference called "Weekend to Remember" and boy was it ever! We had an amazing weekend together.

The purpose of the weekend is to put aside all of life's distractions and focus on each other. The conference consisted of going through a workbook while listening to speakers addressing various aspects of marriage. There were breaks in between topics and also periods of time where you and your spouse were to work on an application project. Saturday, for all of the couples, was reserved for a Date Night. We got all dressed up and went out for a delicious dinner at Pappadeaux (the best seafood ever). Over the weekend, we did lots of talking, laughing and some crying too (well I did anyway). They also had a great resource center/bookstore set up with books, CDs, DVDs, games, activites and so on to do with men, women, marriage, parenting, family and so much more. We made a few purchases there!

While we feel that God has blessed us with a truly great marriage, there are always areas we can improve to make it stronger and healthier. This was a wonderful opportunity to listen and learn and realize some changes we can make both individually and together.

There were a little over 1200 couples there - engaged and married, isn't that awesome?! We had NO IDEA there would be that many couples there. We were amazed. The couple there that had been married the shortest amount of time was 6 days and the couple there that had been married the longest was 54 years. So from 6 days to 54 years and and everything in between.

It was held at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine which was beautiful and so enjoyable. Our room was very nice and there were several restaurants, coffee spots, gift shops inside the hotel. The conference was held in the convention center that adjoined to the hotel. It was a perfect location and we really enjoyed are stay there. We may have to go spend a weekend there just for fun sometime or for a special celebration.

This "Weekend to Remember" conference is held every year all over the United States and they have been holding them for several years. I think they try to do about 150 a year. We HIGHLY recommend it to all married couples - you will not be disappointed. We decided that we plan to attend this every year if possible wherever we can. The speakers last weekend were SO GOOD, but they have different speakers at each one and I'm sure they make conference changes over the years. We had never heard about this, but I heard an advertisement on the radio and then checked out the website. We read about all of the details, talked about it and decided to sign up.

We were really sad to see the weekend end, but we look forward to going again next year. It looks like they are going to have it here again in March 2011 - hooray! Thank you John, my incredible husband of 7 years, for weekend I will cherish always. I'm thankful you wanted to experience this conference with me.

This weekend, we get a 3-day 4th of July weekend. How exciting! We have some fun things planned to do over the weekend and also have some things around the house to catch up on. I put a few Independence Day decorations out around the house and took some pictures. I will post those and other pictures from our weekend next week.

Until we meet again ~ God Bless America!
Riley

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fun Times

Carianne and I had a wonderful time last weekend enjoying Seasons of Friendship. It was a great weekend from start to finish full of all kinds of fun. We cooked/baked, ate, shopped, talked, laughed, cried, played games, stayed up late and played with her sweet boy Owen. We also worked on a couple of little projects around her house. We are two wild and crazy girls - haha! It was such a nice weekend. Although nothing is set in stone, we look forward to getting together again sometime in the fall.

This weekend, John and I are going to a marriage conference called "Weekend to Remember". We are really excited! There's nothing at all wrong with our marriage, we just want to make our great marriage even better. It's important for us to take care of it. The conference is here in our area, but still about an hour from our house. We will stay in the hotel where the conference is taking place so it'll have the feel of being away on vacation. The conference is full of "talks" by various speakers on different aspects of marriage. There are also several breaks in between speakers and a few application projects we will have to work on throughout the weekend. On Saturday, the conference ends for the day at 5pm to give you and your spouse the opportunity to go out on a date night and spend the evening together. We will surely snap a few pictures of our great weekend and share with soon.

The weekend to follow will be 4th of July weekend (a 3-day weekend for us) and we have several fun things planned mixed in with our normal weekend activites.

Have a great rest of your week and weekend!
Until we meet again...
Riley

Friday, June 18, 2010

Seasons of Friendship

This afternoon, I am flying out to spend the weekend with my best friend, Carianne. We met in summer marching band before our sophomore year in high school (way back in '94). We have been the best of friends ever since - that's 16 years! We truly are forever friends. We been through so many joys and sorrows together in life and we were each other's Maid/Matron of Honor. We have memories galore!!!
Obviously, I live in Dallas and she lives in Lubbock - so with a few hours and miles separating us, and very busy schedules and calendars, we don't get to see each other that often. We decided to make more of an effort to see each other a few times a year - either I go visit her, she comes here or we meet somewhere together. We decided a great way to keep up with it is to try and get together once a season. Surely, every three months we can find time to catch up and have some fun. Carianne came up with the brilliant name "Seasons of Friendship". She even made this adorable banks for us to save money in between seasons for our trip. It has all sorts of cute seasonal stickers on it representing each season. We also decided we have to bring 3 things when we get together...a new recipe we've tried since the last time we met, a gift for the other ($10 or less) and a greeting card to be opened after our weekend is over and we are back home. We are also going to take a picture of us each time we get together and keep them in a photo album. Hopefully we'll have lots of "seasons of friendship" pictures. It should be a fun weekend and more memories will be made. We plan to do some eating, shopping, game playing and lots of talking! We'll also do some playing with her sweet boy, Owen (who will be 7 months old on Father's Day). Carianne is pregnant with Owen in this picture - this was last summer!

I'm really looking forward to the weekend. I will however miss my two sweet boys...
They went to visit John's parents and family in Arkansas for the weekend. I know they are having a great time!

Hope you have a fun weekend...until we meet again!
Riley

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

I am VERY late in posting about our Memorial Day trip back home (which I mentioned here). Life has been busy since we returned a couple of weeks ago, so I'm just now getting around to posting a few pictures (we took over 150 so I'm just going to post some of the highlights). We arrived there on Friday evening and drove back home the following Tuesday, so it was a full and fun extended weekend! We went to celebrate both the graduation and wedding of our niece Hillary (and her now husband Jake). We also got to relax and enjoy some time with my family. It was a great trip!!
We of course enjoyed all of the graduation and wedding festivites for Hillary and Jake. We also did some swimming, visiting and catching up, board game playing, shopping and LOTS of eating. There was a lot of family in town for the celebrations so my Dad's house was full of people and fun activity. I was also very blessed to spend some quality time with my Mom and Grammy - just us three girls. We had yummy Starbucks and played cards, watched TV, drove around to look at some of our old houses, went out for lunch, did a little shopping and talked the day away. It was wonderful and did my heart good!!

We also did lots of baking and cake decorating at my Dad's house. In lieu of a wedding cake, Hillary and Jake had a HUGE cupcake with a variety of other sized cupcakes spread out around their cupcake. Wedding guests were able to come up and grab whatever sized cupcake they wanted - there were 3 sizes to chose from. What an awesome idea!! My step-sister Carla, Hillary's Mom, was the head of the cupcake making and decorating, but all of us enjoyed helping her as much as we could. There was cake batter, cupcake pans and frosting everywhere...homemade, delicious frosting at that. The were so good.

We got to go check out Hillary and Jake's new apartment...it's really cute and perfect for them. We took them a basket of goodies as their wedding gift from us full of stuff for their apartment and new life together. My favorite part of the gift was their "Mr." & "Mrs." mugs. We got them at Lifeway and they have a scripture from Song of Solomon on the inside, "I have found the one my heart loves".
Hillary hadn't made her "BOW"quet for the wedding rehearsal so I had her give me a few of her bows and ribbons and I whipped something up for her. It will be a memory I will treasure - getting to do that for her. After the rehearsal dinner, we decorated for the reception and Uncle John was sweet enough to play with our nephew Brody while we worked in the Fellowship Hall.

Once again, it was a VERY full weekend, but such a great time. It was so wonderful to see and spend time with all of my family and celebrate these special events. Here are just a few more of the MANY pictures we have...

Oh how I love road trips with the sweet boy above - I am blessed indeed! Have a wonderful rest of your week.

Until we meet again...
Riley

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flower Bed Facelift

Our two flower beds in the front yard have been in major need of some TLC. Sadly, they have been neglected for a while. We want to do so much more in them, but for now we just gave them a little clean up and facelift. Hopefully next spring we can do some serious improvements in them. Since it's so late in the spring season and almost summer, we decided not to plant anything in the flower beds, but to spruce them up in other ways for the time being.

While John was mowing on Saturday, I spent time pulling up the weeds and grass that had grown up into the mulch and existing bushes. Wow - that's a job! I'd pull up a few weeds or a bunch of grass and tons more would appear - it seemed to never end. I wasn't able to get it all, but I did the best I could. After that I added about 3-4 bags of fresh mulch to each flower bed. Then I added some solar lights, hanging baskets and a piece of yard decor. I also planted a pot of marigolds for the walkway up to the front door.

Here is a picture of the smaller flower bed before...
After a few small improvements...Ahhhh - much better! It's not a drastic change, but anything is better than it was.

Here is the larger flower bed before (which wasn't quite as bad)... After...
Here are a few other pictures of the front...
As I worked in the flower beds, John was mowin' and blowin'!
While I was snapping pictures, I took a few of the backyard also. As with everything, we have a few projects we still want to do back here, but we are making progress from when we first moved in. When we bought the house, there was a tiny slab of concrete out the back door and no patio cover. In the past four years, we've been able to extend and cover the patio and add gutters - such a blessing! You'll spot a basket of Calvin's toys, but he prefers to just roll around in the grass and soak up the sun. Speaking of Calvin, on the fence there is a yellow diamond sign that says "Beagle Crossing". On the back porch, the "Ussery Ave" sign we got while in vacation in New Orleans a 5 years ago and the "Porch Sweet Porch" sign I bought on clearance at Kirklands. My Mom just bought us a really cute and brightly colored floral tablecloth that we can put over the table when we eat, play games or whatever else we use the table for outside.

It was SO hot outside while we were working. We were outside by 9am and it was already in the 90s - gotta love the south! After we were done and cleaned up, we both crashed for two hours (which I never do). I guess the heat just took it out of us. It felt really good to have a nice long nap and then we went out on a date night. It was a fun and productive Saturday!

Until we meet again...
Riley