Monday, September 15, 2014

When Mommy was sent to Time Out

Last Christmas I received the best Christmas present ever: Chandler gave me a ticket to Time Out for Women and the flight to Texas to be able to attend. To top it ALL off we stayed at a hotel where the beds were oh-so fluffy. I flew in Thursday night and we stayed up far to late ignoring those fluffy beds and talking. A LOT. Oh, and we got Whataburger and Dr Pepper, so we were probably a little buzzed on caffeine. Friday morning we had breakfast:

TEXAS shaped waffles!! How much cooler can breakfast get??

After breakfast we went to visit Nyssa and co. It was so fun to spend a while with them, I actually saw them more in that visit than I had in Nauvoo!! It was so nice. The kids are so big, and MXM is so cuddly and snuggly, and their house is just adorable with a wonderfully British red door. Oh, and I got to give bitty MXM his bitty quilt. I didn't get any pictures of it, so I stole this one off of Nyssa's instagram page:

I was so sad to leave them. But then I got this fantastic text from Nyssa:
 *sigh* They are my favorite nieces and nephews! ;)

Then we stopped by Chandler's house for a bit. I had to document that I got to have Perrier water. Jonathan and I have been making fun of their Hulu commercials all summer. I won't make fun of the flavor, it was actually pretty good.

We stopped by my parents' house for a bit, but they weren't home. They were actually picking Holly and Henry up from the airport. But I got to play with Rusty (their dog) for a bit. Such a big dog. And very well trained. (I want a dog....) So Chandler and I ran out and got In-N-Out. YUM!!!
 Why, WHY??? Why must In-N-Out come to Texas AFTER I leave?? Oh well. So good. And my two burger requests were met. Chandler is the best.

We headed back to my parents' place and hung around and talked for a while. Emma got home, and for the first time in a LONG time all of my family was in the old house at the same time. I've not been to Texas in four years, so it was at least that long....

And then Chandler and I went to the first night of Time Out for Women. There were some great talks, Sister Swinton and Sister Dalton spoke. But we were a little weirded out by the boy band:
 Terrible picture of them. But that's okay, you don't need to know what they look like. Just know it was a little like being at an N'Sync concert only the screaming people around you were all grown, married women, some of whom had children the same age as these young men.... Yeah, we weren't at all sure we wanted to go back for Saturday.... We decided to sleep on it (in our fluffy beds).

And we went back.
 And I'm so glad we did! The presenters were amazing! I came home with more notes about how to help my family and relationships with God and husband. It was just the breath of fresh air I needed. And I got to see some amazing friends I haven't seen in a long time:
 Like Carrie, whose incredible faith and strength has helped me a lot over the last summer. I saw old single ward buddies, friends from our old Arlington ward... SO many people. It was rather amazing. And so much fun! Hilary Weeks was a better musical performance person, and I loved her song "My Favorite Things", sung to the same tune found in Sound of Music. She changed the lyrics to reflect her favorite things with her kids. For example, "Bed time and nap time and bed time and nap time. Bed time and nap time and bed time and nap time. Oh, did I mention when my kids fall asleep? These are a few of my favorite things!" Yes. To all of that. HA!

For lunch we had some amazing Mexican food. Chandler's sister-in-law's mother (Lindsey's mom, Kelly) recommended a place called Blue Mesa. If you have one in your area GO. It was delicious. And exactly fit the bill for what I've been craving for the last two years.

After TOFW ended we raced off to the temple. Emma went through for the first time, and it was just so nice to have my entire family there. I can't wait to do that again! We went to Chili's afterwards, a family tradition it seems. :)

Sunday I went to church with my family while Chandler went to the singles ward and taught. We had a massive lunch at my parents' after church. Waffles again!

 I tried forever to get this kid to take a picture with me and SMILE at the same time. I just couldn't get him to smile, stinker.

 Chandler can, though:

 So she got him to smile while I snapped a picture of the two of us:

 She's got the magic touch.

Then we drew names for Christmas. Here, family, it is documented for us for when we inevitably forget or lose the card:

Holly was the first to go. We grabbed a picture before she took off. It looks remarkably similar to one we took at her wedding....

After I went and surprised a friend. I'd lied (sorry!!) and told her my mom had something to get to her, would she be home. She was, and told her husband to expect "Caroline's mom". But it was me. And she had the best reaction ever. She moved faster down her stairs than any pregnant lady should and we shared hugs and tears and more hugs!
I spent a whole glorious hour with Jamie, and it wasn't nearly enough time. I gave her a baby blanket I'd made for their second little girl (their doctor is 87% sure it is a girl, and that blanket is about as PINK as a blanket can get so she had better be a she!!). I was so happy to see her and meet her little girl, E. I am so, so blessed with amazing friends. I can't even begin to put into words what all of these wonderful people mean to me. We were just missing Brittany (*cough*AHEM!!!*cough*). Someday we'll get all of us into the same room again.

Then we were back at Chandler's house, laughing and enjoying time with Chandler's mom and dad, and at the last second Luke. I wish we could have stayed a whole day there! But then we were off to say good-bye to Emma as she headed back to school. And then it was time for me to go. And Chandler and I cried and cried the whole way to the airport. It was the worst. But I made it home, safe and sound, and got to hug my littles and kiss their wonderful faces.

I can't even describe how incredible this whole weekend was for me. It was a most amazing and timely blessing. Chandler could not have known how much I would need this weekend NOW, at THIS moment. We'd looked at going to TOFW in Ohio, but it was earlier in the year before all of the crazy of the year had happened. I needed this moment, to step back, breathe, rest, and recharge with her and my family and friends NOW, not months ago. It was confirmation to me that someone is really looking out for me upstairs. And again, I am so grateful, with so few words with which to describe that happy gratitude, that I just might burst. Or cry. And since bursting is a bad idea I'll just cry instead. Happy, joyful tears.

And by the way, Chandler and I decided we're going to TOFW again next year. We've decided to do a destination trip, Richmond, VA being our location of choice. We'll spend Friday in Washington DC at the temple and checking out the tourist spots, then we'll head down to Richmond for TOFW. So. SO. excited. :)

And I'm really looking forward to our Thanksgiving trip to Texas. Gah! Just a few more weeks!

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