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Road Trip – Part 3

Day 3 of our little road trip began with me getting up at 7 for another trek on the treadmill.

I knew that I’d be spending some time in the car, so getting my legs moving, while I could, was paramount.

Once the Mr. woke up, we packed our things and prepared to load up the car.

I had to chuckle when I compared my pile . . .

With his . . .

To be fair, that red laundry bag should have sat between the stacks of bags since both of our clothes were in it.

As we headed out, sans kids (boo), the weather wasn’t looking that great.

I was reminded, once again, of God’s grace the day before when the weather had been spectacular for the game.

When we were planning this trip, we had decided not to go straight home.

Our next destination: Auburn!

Atlanta sits less than two hours east of the prettiest town known to man, so we couldn’t allow the opportunity to visit pass us by.

We made a pit stop at a Chick fil A to potty, and I was struck by this dispenser in the rest room:

Something to fight the chicken biscuit bad breath, I guess. I wouldn’t know since I’m a vegan.

Anyhoo, it didn’t seem long before we entered Auburn’s city limits, and things just felt so good.

We headed into town to grab some lunch.

One of the kids had told us about a place called Pieology, which has similar pizzas to Blaze. Coincidentally, there was one right across from Toomer Drugs. Here’s what we saw when we went in . . .

When I first saw the crust advertised, I was excited. Then, I asked the girl working behind the counter if it was vegan. She told me that it had dairy in it. Dang! Their gluten-free crust is also vegan, though, so I opted for that.

There was also this sign . . .

Y’all, the world is slowly becoming a vegan-friendly place, let me tell you!

For the record, I am a vegan who doesn’t necessarily miss the taste of meat. I’d never been a huge fan of ground beef, and sausage was okay, but hey, I was up for trying new things, so I ordered my pizza with half “meatball” and half “sausage.” They were out of the “chicken.”

See that cheese? That’s Daiya – one of my favorite vegan cheeses. The gal had been extremely helpful when preparing this. She had a lot of knowledge of the products I could eat since she has to watch her diet as well.

I must have been hungry because I ate the entire thing!

Fueled by the delicious food, we were read to shop!

Now, if you’ve never been in Auburn on game day, you wouldn’t be able to compare the shopping experience we had during our road trip with a game day foray. There were some people out and about, but we were actually able to maneuver inside the stores fairly easily. We found several things on sale, and I tried on a few items.

I also purchased a few things because, well, when you’re in Auburn, you must buy all the things.

It’s tradition.

The Mr. and I did discover, after a long, hot walk, that the University Bookstore (my personal favorite because of its size) wasn’t open. Dang! Classes don’t start for another month, so they had no need for such silliness quite yet.

The Mr. was not happy.

As I said, it was hot, and our walk had been a long one.

We made our way back across campus, and he reluctantly posed with me for a selfie in front of Samford Hall.

We headed back towards Toomer’s Corner because of this . . .

This place is known for the VERY best lemonade you will ever have.

In fact, ESPN Game Day once did a story about this very special corner of lemonade heaven. I kid you not!

Of course a photo was in order – just to prove that the above pictures aren’t Google images. Ha!

What you don’t see in the picture above are the bottles I bought for later.

They’re labeled as being good up to four days post-purchase. I’m here to tell you that they can last up to a week (I drank the one above yesterday).

Ahem.

We rode around town, enjoying the scenery, talking of how much things have changed since we lived there almost thirty years ago, and enjoying the foliage, which we don’t have much of anymore because of stupid Hurricane Michael.

Then, we hit the road – destination home.

This was the hardest part of our road trip – returning to what we knew would be a house with one member missing.

I immersed myself in my knitting as a distraction and reflected on the wonderful trip.

I was thankful for its timing.

No, it hadn’t been great for Gambit, bless his heart.

For us, though, it had been a welcome respite from the stress we’d been under caring for an ailing pupper. Oh, we had enjoyed taking care of him and would have done it for years just to keep him with us, but if you’ve ever cared for a sick person or animal, you know that it wears on you.

The time away with family – especially after pretty much staying local since last October – had been a blessing as well.

Except for our trip to see family during Christmas and a couple of shopping trips to Destin after Thanksgiving, we had not left town since the hurricane.

The change of scenery and routine had suited us well.

A huge thanks goes out to the Mr. and Rooster for planning this, our children who worked the trip into their schedules, and those who prayed for us while we were gone.

Sibling Time

A few weeks ago, the Mr. had an idea.

He’d recently subscribed to a year of ESPN+’s UFC fighting packages, and he thought that our siblings (aka his brother and my sister, who are married to each other) would like to come over for the weekend to watch. They only live a couple of hours away, so the drive would be short for them.

They agreed, and THIS was the weekend!

Y’all, surprisingly enough, adulting sucks most of your free time, so the only time we get to see them is usually around the holidays.

I eagerly washed sheets, cleaned the bathroom, and prepared treats because, well, why not.

Peanut Butter Cake for the Mr.

They arrived around 3pm, and we hit the ground running – literally.

I mean, this was the first REAL time they’d come over, without it being Thanksgiving, and without children in tow. They’re almost empty nesters; their oldest is on his own, and their youngest will be a junior in college but is away playing baseball this summer.

We were getting to be grownups for REALZ.

Super Sis and I went to Lucky’s for some much-needed food stuffs; however, the store was kind of closed because the power had gone out numerous times due to horrendous weather we’d been having, so they couldn’t run the cash registers. We ran to Publix next.

In true sister form, we ditzed our way through. We are silly, y’all, and chatty. We have the absolute MOST fun when we are together. As we left, I asked if she didn’t want to try Lucky’s again just in case the power had come on. Since Lynn Haven is a small town and nothing is far apart, she was game.

Good thing, because it was OPEN! We were able to get the ingredients I needed for vegan jalapeno poppers.

Absolutely delicious! It definitely is smoky but also has a delightfully smooth texture.

The Mr. called about that time and told me that I was sorely low on margarita ingredients – a true travesty – so we ran to Walmart, where more mischief ensued (and an interesting conversation with an “interesting” fellow – ahem).

After all of that running, we were ready to get down to some food prep, but then the Mr. informed me that I’d have to go BACK down the road to pick up a chicken nugget platter he’d ordered from Chick fil A.

Say what?

Ahem.

So sister dear and I got BACK into the car and had another fun adventure where there was no record of the Mr.’s order (the second time this has happened recently). Sigh. Fortunately, Chick fil A employees are the sweetest, so they knocked 20% off and fixed it on the spot.

Seester and I finally got back home for good, so I prepped our drinks first because, well, cooking is way more fun that way, is it not?

Isn’t she pretty?

We also had to take a National Donut Day selfie – one day late.

I’d actually made these from scratch after seeing a recipe here. They’re vegan, of course, but you would never know it. The icing tastes even better than Krispy Kreme’s.

So delicious!!!

Next, I started working on the poppers. I’d randomly gotten a hankering for them a week ago and had found a recipe here. Y’all, I’d never made them before and was surprised at how easy they were to prepare. I immediately put them on my menu when I found out we were having company. Super Sis helped out a lot!

Air frying is my jam, y’all, and this recipe doesn’t disappoint.

The Vegan Zombie’s Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers

We had quite the spread on the table when all was said and done.

It wasn’t the healthiest, but when you don’t do stuff like this very often, it’s acceptable.

We divided our TV time between my nephew’s baseball game, which we were watching through an app on the Firestick, and World Cup soccer. Then, the guys turned over to fighting, and we went into another room. I don’t like watching people beat each other up.

We wound up playing a fierce game of Battleship while the dogs slept near us. I got a stunning come-from-behind win!

Then, we started up a new Netflix movie, I am Mother.

Terrible movie, by the way, that has absolutely no point in the end. I don’t recommend it.

It was late by then, and the guys had one last fight to watch before we all headed to bed.

Super Sis and I got up first thing and did Day 21 of Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix Extreme. It was a yoga workout and a lot of fun to do with my sweet sister.

Then, they headed home. The Mr. had already left for a rare Sunday at work.

I’m so thankful that our siblings made the drive over despite the rain and all. It was such a wonderful way to spend my first weekend of summer vacation!

Weekending with Auburnchick

How do you do the weekends?

Do you clean the house from top to bottom, your to-do list a mile long, or do you sleep in and take things as you go?

The Mr. and I spent many years running our kiddos to soccer practices and games, so it probably won’t surprise you to know that we have scaled back our activities as empty nesters.

On Saturday, we stayed at home – my choice – because there were two World Cup games on.  The Mr. headed to the gym after the first game, and I turned on my Beach Body Roku app and completed my Saturday workout.

The Mr. ran to the grocery store to pick up a few necessities, which I put away while we watched the afternoon soccer game.

I had been eying a recipe on my Instagram feed that I wanted to try.  These are Vegan Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.

They paired nicely with the Off Dry Riesling that I’d purchased during our recent trip to Napa.  This was the first bottle of wine I’d opened since receiving my order.

I think we spent part of the evening, after dinner at Chili’s, catching up on DVR’d shows  We have a couple of series that we enjoy watching together.

While the TV was running, I did some knitting, resuming work on the Lace Sampler that I started last year.

Later, the Mr. went into his man cave to watch other stuff, and I finished up Arrow.  When the summer began, I had sixteen episodes to watch.  Yeah.  That’s pretty bad, eh?

Oh my heart.  Why can’t superheros have happy endings?

On Sunday, I got up a little earlier intent on going for a walk; however, the weather wasn’t cooperating, so I did a Country Heat video instead.

I’ve really got to work on my moves.  I love line dancing, but my coordination needs some help.

It was a deceptively great workout and made me sweat a lot!  Thank goodness I clean up well.  The Mr. and I headed to church to hear our new pastor preach for the first time.

Afterward, we ran to Sam’s to get more dog food because we had used up every last bit the day before.  I was so pleased when I ran into Julia, a former student of mine.  She graduated three or four years ago and will forever be one of my favorite kiddos.  We share the same last name, so we had often joked that she was one of my daughters.  I’d recently thought of her and wondered what she’d been up to.  Our accidental meeting was certainly orchestrated by God.  ❤

When we got home, the Mr. and I spent a couple of hours with the dogs before heading to one of our happy places – our neighborhood pool.

Oh word, but it was hot and steamy!  Hello July!

I finished a book while we were there.

This is the first book in the series and one I’d had an eye on in my classroom for a few years.  The concept of the book is that when kids turn sixteen, they have an operation to turn them pretty.  The Uglies and Pretties live in different towns; there’s a lot of commentary on how society judges its members based on superficial appearances.  The main character meets a friend who opens her eyes to a whole new world – one that challenges her to think differently.

This was a fairly quick read – a bit superficial in character development – but not bad.  I started the second novel in the series that evening.

Sunday wound up being even more relaxing than Saturday.  We really did not do much.  The Mr. grilled out, and I ate a veggie burger I dug out of the freezer.

We’re real exciting, y’all.  Bet that you can’t wait to hang out with us sometime!

Beach Day

I thought I’d give you a recap of how the Mr. and I spent our 4th of July.

Being empty nesters allows us to march to our own beat, so to speak.

First, we both slept in.  I started off the summer so well . . . getting up early each day to walk.  Since getting back from California, I haven’t been able to, though.  I was exhausted the first week and gave myself some grace.  I hurt my back the second week and am still healing, so walking has been out.

I did manage to get dressed in my favorite workout shirt, an homage to my Rooster, and do Leg Day of the 80 Day Obsession program I’ve been making my way through.

Excuse the bed head.  I had not even brushed it at this point.  I knew I needed to get on the ball with my exercising before the Mr. started hollering.

A couple of hours later, we headed out to one of our favorite spots . . . the beach.

Parking was a bit of a nightmare with a bajillion other people taking advantage of the gloriously sunny day.  Fortunately, we found a space on our second pass-through.  We’d packed a little lighter because of my back and settled in for the afternoon.

The Mr. had ordered me a patriotic bikini, and the visor was the one I’d found at the BX during our visit to Rooster’s base.

Ahhh . . . toes in the sand (the prettiest sand I’ve ever seen).

Oh my word, but the beach was c-r-o-w-d-e-d.

People were almost sitting on top of one another.  I can’t say that I like it when it’s that busy.

I’d read that the water had been clear for the past few days.  Boy, was it ever.  It was also freakishly hot, so many, many people stayed in the water.

A big gripe now.  I really wish that smoking would be banned from the beach.  Even though I grew up in a home where the adults smoked, I have become very sensitive to it.  It seemed as though EVERYONE around us was smoking that day.  It was so gross and gave me a headache.

Ugh.

One more grip:  Why are people so rude and sit in front of you and then set up tents?  We are very careful when we set up shop so that we won’t block others’ views of the water.  Ugh.

All of my complaining aside, it was a glorious day.  The forecast had called for rain.  I’m glad we ignored it because we didn’t see anything.

People watching is something we enjoy doing at the beach.  Take a look at this guy . . .

He was feeling the holiday.

We left around 4pm, sandy, tired, and hungry.

After feeding the dogs, who were extremely happy to see us, a shower, and a change of clothes, we headed out to dinner.  Nobody felt like cooking, that was for sure.

We had a 50% coupon for Bonefish Grill, a reward we’d earned after three qualified visits.  What can I say?  We really like this place.

I had been wanting a beachy drink.  This one hit the spot.

Dinner was wonderful, as it always is.  I always get the House Salad.  It’s light and hits the spot.  A former student who works as a server came over and spoke to us for a few minutes.  We see him almost every time we dine at Bonefish.  It’s always fun to catch up with my kids once they’ve left high school.  He’s turning out well, which does my heart good.

There was a long table beside us filled with some older folks.  One cute-as-pie lady gave us sparklers, which she’d made, and told us to have fun.  We assured her that as empty nesters, we were doing just that.

The Mr. suggested that we watch one of the many fireworks displays in town, but I said no.  I’m a homebody at the core of my being and just wanted to be with my fur babies.  Plus, I needed time to mourn for Molly (I didn’t say this to the Mr.).  The sad stuff had been building all day and it just needed to come out, privately.

It turns out that this was the best decision because he didn’t feel too great later that evening.  It had been a fun, albeit exhausting day.

Plus, we’re old like that.

Vitamin Sea Therapy

Weekends in Florida during the spring.

They are simply the best – especially when you have a demanding job like mine.

The Mr. and I had been waiting for a warm, rain-free day, and we finally got it on Saturday.

We loaded up the car and headed out . . .

How fancy are we?

It didn’t take us long to get set up ,and all I can say is oh my happy.  I was exactly where I needed to be.

It was a fairly windy day, and our tent blew over around 3.  By 4, we were ready to go.  The temperature had dropped a little, but the wind made it feel even cooler.

We had planned on going to the pool on Sunday; however, there was an issue with the water (city problem), so we had to come up with something else.  The weather, surprisingly, was cooperating with us a second day in a row.  I told the Mr. and that I couldn’t spend the day inside.

After coming home from church, we got ourselves ready and headed out for round two.

Snacks had been packed; a quick trip to Publix for ice followed.  I waited for the hubby in the car . . .

My friend, Megan, met us out there, and we just could not have asked for a more perfect day.

Well, okay, maybe if the water had not been filled with seaweed, it would have been perfect, but it was close enough for me.

As of tonight, we have five more Mondays until summer vacation – when Sundays won’t be sad, and I can be even more relaxed when I go to the beach.

A Weekend of Pampering

Y’all, I just love my weekends.  Now that I’ve gotten used to leaving work at work (except for one evening a week to lesson plan), I am finding myself more relaxed.

This past weekend was so wonderful, ushered in by having Friday off in honor of Veteran’s Day.

I do love getting to turn off my alarms.

After I worked out, I took Gambit to Petsmart for a bath.

He was a smelly boy, y’all!  I hadn’t really noticed his funk until the day before when I’d taken him to get his yearly shots.  Mercy!  He was a bit freaked out and stuck to my leg with what could only be likened to a toddler’s death grip.

He was such a wuss.  He didn’t even want the treat offered to him by the vet tech . . .

He was a happy dog when we got home . . .

Not to mention a tired guy . . .

But he was stinky, so I made an appointment online the night before and headed out first thing Friday morning.  The sweetest groomer met me at the counter and assured me that Gambit would be fine.  I wish I’d gotten a picture of him as I walked away.  It reminded me of the days I used to take the kids to daycare, and they would look back at me sadly as I left.

When I returned home, Pele was depressed.  He missed his brother and didn’t understand why Gambit hadn’t returned with me.

I called a couple of hours later to check on Gambit’s progress and then headed over.  He was one happy dog, let me tell you, and he even came home with a “Pawgress” Report.  He’d done good except when he’d growled at the gal when she tried to grind one of his back paws.  Sigh.

Pele checked him over to make sure nothing bad had happened to him.

Don’t tell Pele, but he’s getting his turn at the puppy spa on Saturday.  😀

Later that afternoon, the Mr. and I headed out to a going away party for one of his coworkers.  We stayed out late.  I guess we forgot that we aren’t spring chickens any more.  What can I say?  It was hard to pull ourselves away from the fire pit his friends had built . . . so perfect for the chilly night.

The dogs were ready to have our hides for being out past our curfew.  They hadn’t eaten yet and were waiting for us in the dark house.  Oops.  We’d forgotten to leave a light on for them.  Gambit was exhausted by the time he went to bed.

I got up before my alarm clock on Saturday (thank you, time change) and worked out . . .

I spy myself walking past the mirror.

After grabbing a quick shower, I headed out to my hair appointment.  First, though, was a stop at Petsmart to pick up a couple of dog beds that I’d seen the day before – because I didn’t already have enough with three in the house.

My hair appointment was a MUST.  I get foil highlights twice a year, and I was way overdue.

I guess all of those extra vitamins I’d been taking for my bones made my hair grow out faster because my roots were long!  I think I’ll probably get my roots done a little more often.  The above is the “before” photo.

I love my hairdresser and consider her a dear friend.  We laugh so much when we get together.

She went all out and dried and straightened my hair without charging me extra.  I may have padded her tip extra to make up for that.  😉

Here’s the “after” photo . . .

When I got home, the dogs were, at first, a little leery of their new beds; however, it didn’t take them long to climb on them and settle in for the day.

Now, these beds will stay in my bedroom so I don’t have to drag beds back and forth, but I wanted to let the boys break them in first.

As you can see, the boys were quite comfortable, as was I, while we watched our Auburn Tigers BEAT Georgia.

That called for a celebration . . .

Sunday, the Mr. and I went to church, did a bit of shopping, ate dinner out, and then enjoyed a quiet evening at home.  My mood was already turning with the approach of Monday . . .

All Photos-534

Who doesn’t love a good Snapchat filter?

I’m already counting down the days until Friday and the beginning of an entire week off!

Flowers on Friday

My school district cancelled classes on Friday because of Hurricane Irma.

I intended to get up around 7 to walk, but my alarm didn’t go off, and I didn’t wake up until 9.  I had stuff to do – fuel to top off and water to hunt down, so I quickly got dressed.

About that time, my phone rang.  It was my principal’s secretary.  She told me that Fed Ex had delivered a package to the school for me.  I scratched my head in confusion until she told me that the box appeared to be from my husband.

That’s when I pieced things together . . .

Flowers . . .

Then, I panicked.

Was Friday my anniversary, and had I missed saying something to the hubby before he’d left for work?

But no.  It was only the 8th.  My anniversary wasn’t until the next day, so I was good, and the hubby wouldn’t have anything to hold over my head.

Whew!

I ran to the school and picked up my box (along with the salad I’d left in the fridge the day before when I didn’t have time to eat because life, y’all).

When I got home, I opened them up . . .

The anticipation grew as I wondered what kind of flowers I’d find . . .

Roses, y’all!

Aren’t they pretty?  They smell amazing too!

So, Saturday was our 28th anniversary.

That’s a long time.

All the while, Hurricane Irma was bearing down on Florida.

I found it ironic.  I mean, my guy and I have weathered quite a few storms over the past ten months with my ankle, his Crohn’s, and Molly’s passing.

It’s been tough.

Yet, we’ve grown stronger, with God’s help.

I’m so grateful for this guy.  He puts up with a lot.  Being the spouse of a teacher isn’t easy.

Truth be told, being a spouse to me would challenge even the easiest-going person.

What can I say?  I keep things real around here.

That’s not to say that I don’t put up with a lot as well because, y’all, he’s a guy.  In other words, it’s sometimes like I still have a child at home.

Ha!

All joking (ahem) aside, I do love this man, and I’m thankful that God put him in my life that fateful Friday night at the high school game we were both attending.

I’m happy that the then-not-even-a-boyfriend-but-just-a-cute-guy had a car that broke down and I had to drive him back to his grandparents’ house.

Yeah.  That guy.

He’s the logical to my freakout.

I’m the I’ll-find-a-way to his I’ll-call-a-person.

I pray that this year is easier, and when we celebrate our 29th, we will be able to look back on a year of rest and healing (and no breakage of any kind).

 

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