Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1 year ago today

A year ago today, I traveled to Kingagop, Kenya to hang out with some pretty cool kids at Into Abba's Arms Orphanage!

I can't believe it has already been a year since I was there, man how time flies!  Into Abba's Arms is actually hosting a benefit concert on May 17th at 6:30 pm at Woodsedge Community Church in the Woodlands, TX.  They are having the Robbie Seay Band come out and perform!

Here are some Kenya related posts:

Countdown to Kenya Post
-Medications for Kenya 
-What I am packing for Kenya-Snacks 
-What I am bring to donate to the kids 
-File Folder Games I brought to Kenya

While in Kenya

-Meet Jacob
-Day 1
-Day 2
-Day 3
-Day 4
-Day 5
-Day 6
-Day 7
-Day 8
-Day 9
-Day 10
-Day 11
-Traveling to and from Kenya
-Final thoughts

Monday, April 14, 2014

7 Acre Wood

On Friday my sister was going with my nephew Hunter to a school field trip and asked me if I wanted to babysit Cole for them.  Of course, I said yes!

As soon as my alarm went off, I headed over there.  She lives almost an hour away without traffic so you can only imagine how long it would have taken me to get over there if I hadn't left at the crack of dawn.  I got over there hoping that I could sleep until Cole woke up, but no such luck!  Cole woke up as soon as they left and I didn't sleep.

Cole and I decided that we wanted to take a trip to the park instead of just stay home all day.  Who wants to stay home?  Boring!  I had heard that there was a place called 7 Acre Wood that was really close to my sisters house.  My sister suggested that I look on Groupon to see if I could get a discount first, and luckily there was!  I bought a 2 person pack for $10 and you get two admissions, two animal feeding cones and two drinks.

Cole just thought we were going to a park, but he was very surprised at this park.  He just looked around for a bit before deciding on where he wanted to play.   There was so much to do at 7 Acre Wood that his little brain couldn't decide what to do first.  There is putt putt, a petting zoo, zipline, big playground, smaller playground, huge checker/chess board, horseshoes, basketball and other games.  He loved doing the zipline, so we did that multiple times.  It isn't a zipline with a harness, it is just one where you stick your feet in the rope and hold on.  I was afraid he would fall so I held on to him the entire time and just ran with him to make him go.  He was giggling the entire time!  It's such a cute sound.

We played basketball and volleyball plus fought off the pirates at the ship that is stranded at sea!

The petting zoo was really interesting too.  We fed the animals with our cones outside the gate (Cole was a little scared) and then went inside to pet them.  One baby goat was hoping from one donkey to the next!

Finally, we played putt-putt, but Cole didn't quite understand the rules of the game, specifically that he needed to not touch the ball.  I have a really cute video on my phone, but it won't upload.

We ate lunch at the park (their chicken salad is really good) and then played some more. Apparently Cole LOVES brownies.  Everything these days is LOVES.

 We left around 2 pm and Cole was pulling out all the tricks to try and stay.  It didn't work! #jail

7 Acre Wood is a really cute place to take kids!

Monday, April 7, 2014

SFASU NCAA Tournament

A few weeks ago, SFA's men's basketball team played in the NCAA Basketball tournament in California.  I got to see first hand how much the alumni of SFASU really cares about it's school and its legacy.  It was a very fun filled weekend! My FB newsfeed was filled with tons of images that cheered the guys on!  SFA spirit really showed that weekend.

On Friday we had a watch party at Lucky's Pub in downtown Houston.  They gave us the backroom of the bar thinking we wouldn't have that many people, but little did they know that we packed out the place with over 300 people!  I got to see a lot of people I went to college with, it was interesting that I had no idea how many SFA alums lived in Houston!  My friend Teri came with us (I told her to wear purple) to the watch party too and she cheered for SFA like it was her school!  That's what friends are for. :)

The game was a nail bitter to say the least!  The game was pretty much neck and neck, though sometimes we were up by 10 or they were.  Towards the end of the game we were starting to lose hope, but one of players got 4 points to tie up the game.    Then, one of the VCU players missed a 3 pointer and sent the game into overtime.  We went wild!

The next 5 minutes were a nail bitter for us, but the boys played well and SFA won the game!  On to the next round!!!  How exciting for them! I know that the VCU students were upset, especially since it looked like they were going to win at one point-I even say one kid with a smug look on his face, but it just wasn't there game.  I really felt sorry for them, especially as one kid was crying on camera. :(

We were called a Cinderella team by the press for making it to the next round.
The next morning the local paper had a headline of Stephen F. Awesome.

The next game was scheduled for that Sunday evening.  I got there early to help setup the bar for the party with another alumni that I met on Friday.    Unfortutnely, we were losing most of the game by 5+ points.  The guys tried hard to hold them off, but the team was much more experienced and they were meant to go on to the next round.  God already had it worked out as to who was going to win.  SFA played well, but it was someone else's turn to win.

The players were really upset at the loss, but only one team can go on to the next round.  It was heartbreaking to see how sad they were.  I truly believe they thought they were going to go all the way.  I wanted them to.

If just one more student heard about SFA or is debating which school to attend, and they heard of SFA from this tournament, I say awesome!  I love my school and a little ole' town called Nacogdoches.  I would encourage any student to at least look at the campus before making a decision.  It may not be the biggest campus or the most exciting town, but there is something about those piney woods that gets in your soul.  I fell more in love with my school more in the weekend of this tournament.  This tournament showed me how proud I am to be a Lumberjack and what an honor is was to go there.  I loved it then and will always love it (even if they choose a new ugly logo).

Axe 'em Jacks!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Taxing the Childless

I read this article tonight about a blogger who think that taxing people who are childless would be a better solution.  As a person who is childless, I say absolutely not!  This made me so mad!

First of all, it is not my problem that you had a kid, or multiple children.  Everyone goes through hard times, but putting a regular tax on people and try to make 'your child' have a better start is B.S.  Seriously.  I am choosing not to have children at this point, because I can't afford them at this point.  Yes, I make more than $51K a year (which is the rate which he says the childless should be taxed more), but that doesn't mean I should be punished for making more money than you.  How is that my fault?  If you are jealous of me having more money because you have 3 other people to feed, sorry!  I have no control over how much your boss pays you or your expenses.  I shouldn't have another tax added because you think it is 'unfair'.  Go cry to your mom!  It's called "choices" and "responsibilities" if you feel like you should have the same life as a non-parent, that's too bad.  It was you 'choice' to have children (yes, you did have the choice to have them or not, even if you don't believe in that) and now it is YOUR 'responsibility' to take care of them, not mine.

Secondly, what about the people who cannot have children?  You are punishing them for something that is biologically wrong with them? 

Third, parents already get a tax credit, why add more? I know lots of people who get $5K plus in tax refunds each year because they have children.  That tax is already one I pay, but to add more of a tax to it is ridiculous! I already pay for a public school system that I don't use and I am OK with that.  Kids need an education, because we all know that if it wasn't free, most people wouldn't send their kids to school.  I went to public school myself, however my parents paid that tax when I was in school, so technically I shouldn't have to pay for it now (but I do).

You should get a tax break for helping overpopulate the world?  It is not a countries duty to feed or cloth you.  You need to WORK you booty off to provide for your family or do not have children.  It's called birth control.  The world is getting overpopulated as it is, if you can't afford children, then don't have them.

Help yourself people!  It is not my responsibility or my neighbors responsibility to help you.  I should not be forced to help people.  I give my money to people and charities who I know need it.  Its a good thing to do.  I shouldn't have to give my money to someone who sits on their behind all day collecting welfare checks because they have had kids and don't want to work.  Now, I understand that some people are trying to get off welfare and I say good for them!  I am more than happy to help them get on their feet.  Show me how you are helping yourself before you ask for my help.  If you are on welfare and drive a nicer car, have a nicer cell phone, more 'bling', eat out more than me, or buy more crap than me, well then I don't think you deserve my help.  Stop popping out kids and working the system.

My mom was a single mom and she got through it and makes really good money now. She WORKED her way up in her jobs, she didn't 'welfare' her way through life.  Take a lesson from her.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Roc Race Recap

On Saturday morning I drove to Baytown to run in the ROC Race with the Wino Warriors.  A group of about 6 of us were supposed to race, but only 3 of us were able to race.  Well, we aren't sure about two of the team members, but Krista, Tyler and I for sure represented for Team Wino Warriors.

The ROC Race had waves all day, starting at 8 am and ending at 6:30 pm, and our wave was at 9 am.  I woke up around 6:30 am and headed to Baytown to meet Krista at Wal-Mart and carpool together.  the race had a $10 parking fee in addition to the registration fee, so to save $$, we drove together.  I don't exactly know how much the race fee was, but it was over $50, plus fees, so free parking should have been included.  I'm sure it was the hosting site and not the race itself, but they should have negotiated the parking with the rental. 

Anyway, we got to the race right at 8 am and got the race packets.  I had picked mine up the day before, but Krista and Tyler got theirs that morning.  Krista's mom, Ginger,  came to watch baby Levi while we were racing.  While we were waiting for them to come, I took this photo of them.  Ready to 'ROC'. ;)

There were 12 obstacles covering 3 miles.  You run on the track for a bit, hop over a wall, and then run around another track.  The first water station was at the weirdest place, about a quarter mile in.  We weren't even thirsty yet! 

From the ROC race website

The first few obstacles were easy, but I could not do some of them like the monkey bars (no upper body strength-workin' on it though) or the bouncy balls.  On the 2nd or 3rd obstacle, there was a pool of water at the end of a slide and then the next obstacle was a wooden wall that you needed to climb that was very slippery.  Logistically, that wasn't a smart move. LOL.  There were three heights of the wall, I took the shortest, since I am a shorty and I didn't want to get hurt.  There was also a big bouncy thing where you take a running leap and slide across a field of bubbles.  That was cool.

Go here to see a video of the obstacles on the ROC Race website. (a few of these obstacles were not on our course-I guess they have a few that are rotating amongst cities)

My favorite obstacles were at the end.  The three coolest ones were at the end, the rotating bar, the swinging red balls with a balance beam, and a GIANT slide.  The big red balls were rotating with a crane and you had to run across a balance beam that sort of rotated.  Out of me, Krista and Tyler, Krista is the only one that made it across without falling.  I fell almost immediately into the pool of heavily chlorinated water.  It was super fun. 
Charlie's Angels waiting in line for the rotating bar.

The rotating bar was also on a sort of platform. I had to duck about 3 times to make it across-easy but fun!  Then the last obstacle was a huge slide that you walk up...omg so much fun!!!  They squirt you down with a water before you slide, so you are soaking wet at the finish.  I want one for a birthday party of mine!!!!

At the end, you can get your picture taken in an area full of bubbles.  Team Wino Warriors!

We had a lot of fun at this race!  It wasn't timed, so I have no idea what my final time was.  We all stuck together the entire time.  Krista fell in the weirdest angle on the bouncy ball obstacle (I will say that those were a hazard because the first ball-at least on ours-ws not inflated enough), it was painful to watch, but I think it only hurt her pride. I am sure she was very sore the next day!  There were a few bumps and bruises that we saw along the way.  One lady snapped her ankle and left in an ambulance after falling on the rotating wrecking balls into the water (the lifeguard had to jump in to save her) and one guy busted his head open with blood everywhere after sliding down too fast on the rotating beam.

There wasn't much swag with the high price of admission, only a t-shirt and a bib.  No water at the end or anything.  I guess that is part of the traveling race companies-they gotta make that money!  We did have fun though, I would recommend doing it with friends.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Emergency Kits

 I fell into a rabbit hole on Pinterest the other day with survival pins and found pin after pin and blog after blog about survival a disaster.  I had no idea how many survivalist thinking people there are out there, but honestly it makes a TON of sense.  It never crossed my mind that I might need an emergency kit in the event that I couldn't get home right away for whatever reason.  Once I saw these posts, I started thinking about all the places I go, such as Nacogdoches.  What if I had a flat tire or broke down and all the shops were closed and I couldn't get home until at least the next day?  Would I be comfortable at a hotel without a change of clothes or toothbrush?  Probably not.  I wouldn't ask someone to come and get me when the auto shop will open soon and I wouldn't want to buy some clothes and toiletries for a few hours.  If I had them already in my pack, I am good to go!

Also, living in Houston, I started to think of the different disasters that could happen at any time.  Somethings are less likely than others, but Houston  is the 4th largest city in America.  If an attack were going to happen, we would be very high on the list.  Think about it, which industry is the biggest in Houston?  Oil and Gas!  Do you think terrorist would want to cut off our resources and cripple the industry?  Not only attacks, but also natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wild fires, power plant failures, gas leaks, wide spread disease (think swine flu), etc can happen around us.  Oh, and who can forget about zombies and aliens! :)

A 72-Hour emergency kit that is kept in your house or your car will help you in the event that you can't get home or perhaps that you have to stay at a shelter/hotel for a few days.  If you are evacuated and do not have much time to pack, you might forget something (like toothpaste or underwear), but if you already have it packed, you can be semi-comfortable for a few days.  Each person in your family should have their own items in their own packs because you never know if you will be separated or say that you are at home and your significant other is at work-if you have all of the food, he won't have anything to eat (or substitute first aid or water, etc)

So, what to put in your emergency kit?  Every person/family is different.  It is just me, so my pack is different than if I had children or a husband, but there are universal things that can go in everyone's kits.  BTW, I have googled and pinned a lot of this stuff on Pinterest, from a ton of different sources, I didn't come up with this on my own and I am no expert!

All of my stuff is in individual ziplock type bags for a few reasons: 
  1. If it rains your stuff won't get wet/ruined
  2. It is easier for you to pull out the 'category' and check for expired items or new sizes for clothes instead of pulling out a million different pieces
  3. For clothes, you can separate the dirty clothes from the clean clothes in the ziplocks after use
  4. Stuff like lotions and soaps can spill or leak-you don't want stuff to ruin other items
  5. For food items it is easier to keep each day separate for rationing.  If the kids eat all of their fruit snacks in one day, that wouldn't be good
  6. They can serve as trash bags when you are done with them

What type of bag:
  • A sturdy backpack-if you have to run away on foot, you don't want to carry stuff in your hands. Plus, if you have kids, you might be holding their hands or pulling a wagon with them in it, you don't want to have to worry about carrying bags too.  Just strap the backpack on your back and go.  Mine is just an old school backpack that I used during college.
  • A sling purse-I have a purse that I carry when I travel that slings around my body, so I won't have to worry about it slipping off my shoulder. 
What to add-Clothes

  • 1 set of clothes-I added a running top and running/yoga type pants.  The material is wicking so you don't have to worry about cotton clothes getting super sweaty and weighing you down.  If you don't want to worry about changing the clothes out every season, bring a long sleeve shirt and pants-you can always cut them off if you get too hot.  Plus, pants are always better if you are walking through debris.
  • 2 underwear-obvious reasons.  You could probably get away with 1 pair, but it's up to you.
  • 2 sets of socks-In case one gets wet, you have another to change into.
  • 1 Hat-I don't wear hats, but I figured I might want one in case it rains or is super sunny.  Plus, it hides dirty hair! :) In this picture you will see a light clipped to my hat, so that I can wear it if it get dark and I don't want to carry a flashlight.
  • 1 pair of 'work' gloves-In case you have to help in the clean up process, plus if it's cold,it will keep you warm.
  • Tennis shoes-I don't own hiking boots and I am not about to buy some just for this pack.  Old tennis shoes with a good sole will do just fine.  They won't fit in the backpack, so they are tied to the side of it.
  • Flip flops-I heart flippy floppies!  Depending where you are, you may want to wear sandles/flip flops while showering-you do not want someones foot fungus! 
  • Jacket-I have a rain slicking jacket with fleece lining that I am going to use too.  I will just add it to my trunk to have all of the time.  It is getting warmer (yay for summer!), but you never know when you will need it.
What to Add-Hygiene

  • Tampons/Pads-You never know when an emergency will happen
  • Hair ties and bobby pins
  • Brush (you will see a brush/mirror combo that folds together.  The mirror can also be used if you are stranded and need to attract attention)
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Wet wipes-you might not get to take a shower, wipes work wonders!
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tissues (also could double as toilet paper)
  • Toiler Paper-either smoosh it down or take out the inside roll to save space-put in it's own separate ziplock
What to Add-Food
Each day is separated by a ziplock baggie.  The food is meant to contain you over 72 hours, not make you stuffed!  Don't put items that you have to heat up or cook with water since you don't know if a heat source will be available.  Items like ramen, oatmeal, soups or hot chocolate are examples of stuff you shouldn't pack since they need to be heated or cooked.  Also, stay away from items like mint and beef jerky because the flavors absorb and everything will taste like beefy mint! Gross.  And obviously chocolate too since it melts easily. Boo!

I bought tuna packages, Kind Bars and fruit pouches. I know those fruit pouches are for kids, but I figured it was a good snack and added some calories for me.  Also, you will see energy Gu and Beans.  I use them for running all of the time and I figured that if I have been traveling, or I am really tired, they will give me a boost-hey, they worked during my  marathon, I am sure they will work in an emergency situation.  Not pictured:  fruit snacks, oreos, nuts, crackers.

What to Add-Water
  • I have read you need to add 1 gallon of water per day per person to your bag.  Yikes, that is a lot of water!  I am going to have about 3 water bottles plus a nalgene bottles and iodine tablets.  
  • If you are allergic to iodine (if you have a shell fish allergy, then you probably are allergic to iodine), they sell water filters to carry with you that can filter out just about anything, even pond scum and gross stuff like that).
What to Add-Misc
  • Poncho-obvious reasons
  • Whistle-In case you are separated from your family, you can use it to find each other.  Maybe teach your kids a special 'code'?  I don't have kids, but I still plan on having one in case someone is trying to harm me or I need additional help.
  • Compass-The whistle I bought at Wal-Mart ($4) comes with a compass.  I am attaching the whistle/compass to a lanyard for around my neck.
  • Money-I always have a debit card and rarely cash, but when the power is down, cash will get you places.  Small bills (people may not be able to break larger bills) only and about $100 each person. I know that is a lot, but a hotel each night is about $100 plus other things.  I put my money in a ziplock baggie in case it gets wet and then put the ziplock in a travel soap dish.  I only have a few dollars in there right now, but plan on adding more each month to be about $100.
  • Emegency #'s and at least $1 in change-If your phone dies or doesn't work, can you remember peoples #'s?  I put an index card with people's #'s that I would call in an emergency, or if someone found me and needed to call someone, they would have the #'s to call.  I don't have a laminator so I put clear plastic tape on it to make it sturdy.  $1 in change is in case you find a pay phone and need to make a call.
  • Emergency papers-You are supposed to have things like your social security card, birth certificate, passport, mortgage, insurance, etc on you during an emergency, but I wouldn't want to lose the originals.  I keep those locked up and I don't want to carry them around with me.  I might scan them on to an USB stick.  IDK yet.  I wouldn't want to lose that either.  Perhaps have all of those things together and you can grab them as you walk out the door?
  • Plastic Bags-either grocery type bags or ziplocks for trash or something else you might need it for
  • First Aid Kit-Band-aids (buy kids band-aids in case you run across a crying kid who is hurt or if one of yours is hurt-Dora or Spiderman always puts a smile on a face), hydrogen peroxcide, gauze, tweezers, tylenols/pain meds, upset stomach meds, gloves, mask, etc.  I bought a ready made first aid kit.
  • Small Blanket-I sleep better with a blanket and this one was only $2.99 at Academy
  • Pictures-If you are separated from your family you can hold up a picture to see if someone has seen them.  I think this is especially important for families with children.  I would keep one 'nice' family photo and one 'regular' family photo.  I know that I look a whole lot different with makeup and clean/styled hair then I would if I were muddy and sweaty running for my life after 3 days.
  • Pen/Notepad/Post-its-In case you want to write a note telling someone where you went or to label something.
  • Matches/Lighter-Just in case you need to start a fire.  I put mine in a ziplock to keep it waterproof and then a travel soap container.
  • Sharpie-pens can't be seen from a distance as well as a black sharpie and they are more permanent
  • Sunscreen-obvious reasons
  • Flashlight-obvious reasons, especially with who knows what kind of debris that might be laying around that you can't see at night.
  • Local Map-If you can't travel down a road, a map would come in handy.  Streets look different after storms and street signs might not be where they are supposed to be.
  • Pocket Knife/Utility Knife-You never know what you will need to cut or open-plus a lot of them have a can opener attached and that would be one less thing you will have to carry.

Grab and Go Items
These items are stuff you can't necessarily pack easily ahead of time since you need them for everyday use.  Have a list made up that is with your bags that you can quickly grab and go.
  • Medication
  • Pet food/treats/leash/cat carrier
  • Kids favorite item (like blanket or stuffed animal that they take everywhere)
  • Important papers

Kids and Baby Emergency Packs
This blog has a good list for kids and babies . It's just me and a handsome 26 lb cat to worry about, so I don't have to make a kids kit, but having nephews around me, I researched it.  Don't make their packs too heavy, kids are slow and tire easily on a good day, much less carrying a heavy backpack!  In addition to clothes and toiletries from above, you  might consider:
  • Coloring book and map pencils/colored pencils-no crayons in Texas because they will melt! Don't forget a small sharpener if you bring colored pencils.
  • 1-2 small toys without batteries-Can you imagine having to lug around extra batteries, plus anything that makes noise will get old REALLY fast.
  • Diapers/Pull ups-kids have accidents, especially when they are stressed or freaked out, even kids that have been potty trained for awhile.  And having to stop every 5 minutes for each kid to go to the bathroom will not be fun, especially if you are having to get out of the area quickly or stuck in a traffic jam.  We all know  that kids have to go to the bathroom at different times, they never seem to have to go all together when they are away from home.  Maybe even buy some cloth diapers just in case.
  • Card game-or perhaps a word search book to keep their minds off of what is happening
  • Important information-parent contact info (address and phone #), additional family member contact info, where you are going in an emergency, allergy information, note about a reward for safe arrival back to parents.
  • Light Stick/Glow Stick-if it is dark and your kids wonder away, wouldn't it be a lot easier to find them if they had a glow necklace or bracelet?
  • Money-About $20 in 1's and 5's is good for a child (not a toddler).  Maybe some coins attached to a phone # card in case they get separated and can find a pay phone that works.
  • Current Family Picture-I mentioned it earlier, but it is especially important in kids packs.
  • Food-if other kids are as picky as my adorable nephews, it might be hard to find stuff they will like.  Don't put food in their packs that they won't eat or can't open by themselves.  If they get separated from you and can't wait or open the food, what is the point of them lugging it all around?
  • Flashlight-wouldn't you feel safer/more in control with your own personal flashlight?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Veronica Mars Movie Premier

A year ago, my sister Laura mentioned that one of our favorite TV shows, Veronica Mars wanted to make a movie based on the series and was using Kickstarter to fund it.  Laura and I both contributed to it and officially became backers and received updates about the movies progress.  Originally, the goal of the Kickstarter campaign was to raise $2 Million, but the Marshmallow united and raised that in 11 hours, and by the end of their campaign, they had raised over $5.7 Million with over 91,000 backers that donated.  Talk about fans!

A year to the day that the Kickstarter campaign was kicked off, the Veronica Mars movie was released.  The movie is on a limited release at AMC Theaters throughout the country (and will be available for digital release soon too) and backers were the first ones invited to the special movie fan event the night before.  I have always wanted to attend a movie release party...what does that mean?  Bucket List item!!!!!!!  Yep, #2 for the year.  Technically, it says 'attend a mid-night movie release' but I meant a movie that you have to stand in line for, get tickets early, and perhaps a fan item.  This movie premier was at 8 pm on a Thursday, not quite midnight, but it still counts to me!

About a month before the movie release, they sent out an email to Backers letting us know about the premier fan event and that they would let us by them starting at 7 am before they were released to the general public at 9 am.  Whoo hoo, two hours.  Laura drops the boys off at school at that time, so I was in charge of waking up early and buying them.  Well, I forgot to wake up early, but still was able to purchase them after a bit of a freak out when my phone wouldn't work!  I got two tickets and we were all set to go to the premier, we just had to wait about a month before it actually got here

The fan event premier was held at AMC Theaters in Sugarland, TX.  I had no idea how close Sugarland was from me, I thought I had to travel down 59-S, but I didn't.  It turns out, I only had to drive about 10 miles down Highway 6.  Cool.  Anyway, I got there early to pick up our tickets and scope out the line.  It was about 5 pm and there were already about 10 people waiting in line.  There were two theaters opening up for us, so I decided  to go ahead and get dinner first and then come back to get in line.  I have to sit about 3/4 of the way up or to the top at the movies, otherwise I get motion sick.  Plus, my cousin Stephen and his new wife, Lauren decided to come with us. I was told earlier that there were only 38 tickets left (out of two theaters), so I went ahead and bought their tickets for them, just in case it was to sell out.
This is about at 7 pm when they were letting us inside.  Keep in mind that this is about halfway through the line and there were about 100 people in each line.  Crazy marshmallows!

I officially got in line about 6 pm and there were about 30 people in line (two different lines, one for each theater) and I wasn't worried about not getting a seat since I was so close in line.  I was more worried about saving 3 additional seats, but luckily, once I found the row I wanted to sit in, the people next to me were great about helping me save them.  They let us go in the theater right at 7 pm, and they gave us a lanyard and a reunion t-shirt.  I loved it so much that I wore it on Friday!

Laura, Steven and Lauren got there about 7:15 pm and they got there free goodies as well.  I wanted to get a drink, but the line was outrageous!  I figured they would have more lines open for such a big theater, but only the main one was open and the line was about 30 minutes long.  Crazy!  If you wanted food or just drinks, you still had to wait in the same line so it took forever!  I debated whether or not to get a margarita at the bar, but decided against it.

The movie started out with someone from AMC interviewing the stars of the film on the red carpet.  Let me just say, Ryan Hansen is hilarious!  So funny.  Other cast members were funny too, but his answers were the best.  Then the recap of the TV series came on to catch anyone up that didn't see the show, but I had already seen the first 8 minutes of the movie online.  Throughout the movie, each time an old character came back, the audience cheered.  Even the characters that weren't too popular during the series.  The one-liners in the movie were so funny too.  I don't want to give away spoilers, but it was an awesome movie with a few surprises.  One person seemed out of place (James Franco), and I am not sure why he had to be included.  Don't get me wrong, I like James Franco, it just seemed weird that he was in the movie. (BTW, that wasn't a spoiler!)


I loved attending the fan event at AMC Theaters! I followed them on FB and Twitter so I can be in the know about other fan events that are coming up.  Hopefully I can start going to these things more often!  I thought you had to know someone to attend these sort of events, turns out you just have to follow their social media pages. :)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Volunteering at the Rodeo Houston

Wow!  My final shift at the HLSR for the Special Children's Committee was last night and boy was it a long week!  I had a ton of fun and it was super rewarding, but it was exhausting.

I had to volunteer 5 times total (one being the Top Hands Horse Show), 3 concert nights and 1 day tour.

The HLSR is a huge event and has over 28,000 volunteers (plus a small staff) that puts on the rodeo each year and gives out a ton of money in scholarships.

The committee I volunteer for is the Special Children's Committee, which hosts mentally and physically handicapped kids and adults (plus chaperones) during day tours and concerts.  During the concerts we have a special entrance and special seats reserved for them.  We greet them off the bus, walk them to their seats, give them popcorn and drinks, and dance with them and help them back to their vehicles when the concert is over.  Normally I just helped them to their car, but during my break last night (Jake Owen Concert) I stayed with them and danced.  I had hte most fun!  I 'slow danced' in the aisle with a few of the kids and when they went to leave, I was going to shake their hands, but two of them kissed me on my cheek.  It was so cute! :)  I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of this committee this year.  It was a blessing to hang out with them!

My day started super early, so I of course had to get some coffee when I got to the park.  We had a concert the night before (REO Speedwagon) and I didn't get home until past midnight.  The next day (Tuesday) I woke up to my annoyingly cute alarm to get dressed and head to Reliant.  I knew I would be there all day, so coffee was a must!
On Tuesday (typing this out of order), we had a day tour with the kids. They came on buses and we escorted them throughout the rodeo to see the different animals (petting zoos and attractions) and we also gave them lunch.  There is section with pig races that the kids all loved.  They have four sections and each section has a colored flag.  Whatever section you are in, you cheer that pig on during the race (I think my groups section was orange).  They would tell you about each of them and how fast they were, then they would race down a shoot (looking for food I'm sure!).  The kids would cheer and cheer for there little pig.  It was sweet to watch.

About 1 pm all of the groups headed back to their buses to head home for the day.  My sister was supposed to bring my nephew to the carnival around 3 pm, so I went to hang out with one of my friends who was volunteering too.

Laura and Cole got there and we bought some carnival tickets.  We rode the slide and Cole loved it.  I swear, that kid is fearless. He rode tons of rides (well, as many as $20 worth of tickets gets you, LOL) and then we went inside to look at the animals and to eat lunch.  I wanted to get some fried food, but I was good and didn't (I still have over a week though!).  While Laura was in line for the bathroom, Cole wanted to ride the escalator over and over and over and over and over again.  We shouldn't have bought carnival tickets, we could have just stuck him on that thing and he would have been happy. I couldn't say no to this cute face. :)

 Part of the rodeo is art work that students submit.  They were all wonderful and some of them go for a lot of money at auction.  I love this pig one!  I do not know what the different ribbons mean though.  I know they are different prizes, but I am not sure what is the top prize and I didn't see a sign, but I could have missed it.

So overall I was at the rodeo from 4:30 pm-12:30 pm on Monday, 8 am-9:30 pm on Tuesday and 5 pm til 1:30 pm on Wednesday.  So tired, but it was super fun and worth it!  Tonight is the Veronica Mars premier at AMC in Sugarland!!  Can't wait.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cute Picture

I fell down a rabbit hole while surfing the internet and came across this picture.

I know that I want to be in the front row during my life!  What about you?

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Woodland's Half Marathon Race Recap

So, yeah, the Woodland's Half Marathon, let's just say it wasn't my favorite race ever.  Not because the race itself wasn't fun, but because of my lack of training.  I did not train for this race AT ALL and I paid for it that hot and muggy Saturday morning.

My day started at 4 am when I woke up and ate breakfast (PB toast) and drove to the race site.  I didn't know what the traffic and parking would be like, so I made sure to leave no later than 5:15 am.  Luckily, I found parking easily and walked over to the finish line to check my bag.  It was sprinkling a bit at this point, so I stayed under a canopy and stretched until it was almost time to go.

The race started with the National Anthem and we were off!  I ran for about a mile straight before I stopped to walk, it actually probably wasn't that long (I didn't have my watch).  I was struggling already and I knew that I had  a looooong way to go before I could finish this thing and I was seriously thinking about calling it quits right then.  I saw my friend Sarah at mile 2 and she had a huge smile of her face and encouraged me not to quit.  Around this time I also met a group of women that were doing a 1 minute walk and 1 minute run the entire way, and I asked if I could stay with them and they said sure.  I am so thankful for them because without them, I would have not finished.  They were running for a little girl at their school who has spinal bifida, and I believe their entire team won an award for the most money raised.

I had my hand-held water bottle with me the entire time, but I still took cups of water/gatorade at some of the stations.  My stomach started to feel like I was going to throw up multiple times on the course, I think it was the humidity and the lack of training that almost did me in.  Luckily, my new friends wouldn't let me stop and encouraged me to keep going.  When I was training for my marathon or even other half's, I never realized how long a half marathon is. LOL.  That distance is a monster without training.  Note to self:  Do not attempt a half marathon without training ever again.  I have a half marathon coming up in April, I need to actually train for that one.

The finish line was a small portion on the water way, but not as much as I would have liked.  There were a lot of people at the finish line (being close to the mall in all), but the course it self was lacking people.  I finished, got my medal, took a group photo with my new spinal bifida friends, and then headed to the food line.  The food selection was great in my opinion (but I heard they were running low for the marathon finishers that finished after 4 hours), you had the choice of either 2 breakfast tacos or a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-a, and also they had cookies, fruit, muffins, and drinks (I got chocolate milk).

While in line for food, I saw my blog friend Tabitha!  We have been blog friends since last year, but this is the first time we have met in person.  I went with her to her team's tent and we chatted for a bit, then I said good bye and headed to my sisters house to shower and nap before we went to a wedding that night.  I showed my medal to my nephews and they were unimpressed.  Thanks kids. :/ LOL.

Cons of this race:
Overall, I think it was a well organized race, but it did have its down sides.  A few things that I didn't like (and that I saw others complaining about on the race FB page) were packet pick up was only on Thursday and Friday before the race, and no race day pickup.  For those of you who do not know where the Woodland's is, it is about 30-45 minutes (depending on traffic) from Houston and on a Friday afternoon after work, it is about 1.5 hours.  I understand with 7,000 people running a race and trying to pick up their packet the morning of the race, it might be difficult to have it on race day morning, but if the race wasn't forever far away, then it wouldn't be too bad.  I usually look at that before I register, but this time I didn't notice that.

Also, the 1st water stop on the 1/2 course wasn't well stocked, they seemed to be very unprepared for this race.  Luckily, I had my water bottle with me, but others had to stop and wait until they could pour them a cup.  Crowd support on the course was lacking and the course itself was a bit boring and not much to see.

Finishers Medal to add to my collection:

I noticed right after I crossed the finish line that it had a ding in the black part of the medal, but I didn't want to turn it in because it gave it character and a little black sharpie will fix it right up.  Plus, it sort of summarizes how the race went and how I felt afterwards--beat up!

Now, before you see my time for this event, realize that my PR is 2:25 and when I train I can be much better, but there is no excuses for my lack of training.  I should have done better and it is 100% my fault that I did so poorly.

Overall finish time:  3:09.25
Age group rank:  #377 out of 417