Sunday, July 27, 2008

4 dogs and a baby!

What a weekend it has been! Saturday we got to babysit one of our favorite munchcans Abby (aka Fro Mama) while her parents went out of town to celebrate their anniversary! On top of that our other good friends Karis and Wes are headed off into the ocean for an awesome cruise to celebrate 10 years of wedding bliss! While they are gone we are dog sitting their Min Pin Mattie! It's a zoo at the Hawkins house right now!

Abby came over Saturday morning and after picking up pine cones in our front yard for about an hour (one of her favorite things to do!) We headed off to do what every girl likes to do...SHOP! After shopping for a while we stopped for lunch and then her and Brando took a power nap while I went to a wedding.

Once I got home I changed so that we could take Abby to eat and play at Gatti Land! This was her first time to experience all the fun stuff to do at Gatti's! She had a blast and ate a ton of pizza on top of it all! That little belly can hold ALOT of food!

Once it got a little cooler we went to the park to blow bubbles and play! We had so much fun! Abby is now a professional bubble blower and slider! She also like long walks in the sand! :o)

After a long day of fun it was time to get home and take a bath! Bath time = fun time with Abby! She even got a new hairstyle courtesy of Aunt Jess! I will be sure to show this picture to one of her future boyfriends!

Once we were all cleaned up we snuggled in bed and watched a little Curious George and then she was out! We had to wake her up at 9 this morning! She NEVER sleeps that late according to her mom! Aunt Jess and Uncle Brandon wore her out!

We also made a HUGE accomplishment while she stayed the night! When Abby was little (not that she is very big now) she had a bad dog experience, which now makes her afraid of dogs. So Brandon and I put our dog whispering skills to use! Before she left today we were totally cool with all the dogs (all 4 of them) being in the house and we actually pet Brew and fed him treats! Way to go Abby!

Thanks Rach and TJ for letting us keep your munchcan this weekend! We had a blast! Love you Fro Mama!

Happy Birthday Jess!

Birthday time is one of my favorite times! I personally think people should have a birthday month! I turned the big 2-7 Wednesday (that's only 3 years away from 30...SCARY!) My birthday started out great! I went in early to work and found a birthday bag on my desk with some stylin' Texas Tech Crocs and a yummy smelling candle from Rach! I am so proud of Rachelle for actually spending money on Tech merchandise (she is one of those psycho OU fans!

Then as I was coming out to set up patient rooms when I spotted my mom walking down the hallway with a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers from my her and my daddy-o! They were HUGE and HEAVY! She also had 2 of my favorite things: a cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin! Breakfast of champions!

Later that day for lunch all of us at work had Johnny Carino's - the classic Ortho/Neuro birthday lunch! It was yummy! Then they surprised me with a bomb-dig cake with "8.5" on the top of it! For those of you who don't know what "8.5" means it is a hilarious story that I can tell you about some other time! I got to leave early from work and come home to spend time with my hubby and kiddos! Bran then took me for a small bite at Murray's that night. I could hardly eat because I had eaten so much during the day!

Now on to Thursday...the night of my birthday dinner! We had a blast! It was so much fun getting all the family together to has been a while since we have been able to do that! The dinner location was at Cattleman's and the food was AWESOME that night! I got to open up a ton of great presents from everyone, but the best part of the night was the laughter! Most of us laughed so hard we cried! I think that is one of the greatest things ever! After dinner it was on to the Beeler's for a night of Pina Coladas and Wii!! Just so everyone knows I hate Mario Cart - maybe it's because I can never win!?! Stupid game!

Me & my seester

My crazy parents!

I was hungry!

Bran & Tana

Nana & Bobby

Mom #2

The WHOLE gang!

It was a great start of my 27th year! How lucky I am to be surrounded by such amazing family and friends! Thanks everyone for a great birthday! Now I am on countdown for my birthday trip to San Antonio from Brandon! Woo Hoo!

A first time hiker, 3 dogs, 12 hours, and 610 miles of adventure!

First of all let me begin by explaining that I am all about spontaneity. My wife on the other hand is not, so the mere fact that this random trip happened is beyond me. Sunday morning, Jess and I skipped church and slept in until about 10:30. As we were laying there in bed, I felt the extreme urge to go somewhere. But…. It was Sunday and we both had to be at work the next morning, and half the day was already over with. Knowing that she would probably reject my idea of a quick road trip, I tossed it out there anyways for at least a glimmer of a shot. To my surprise, she agreed that it would be fun, and asked where I had in mind. Fort Davis…. It’s only two hours away, and we could take the dogs and hike a few trails, and at the very least, just enjoy the scenery!

By 12:30pm we were on the road, us and all three dogs piled into the Accord for a day of adventure! We left Midland, and drove down I-20 until just past Odessa where we stopped for a quick lunch at Dairy Queen (I love me some chicken strips!!). We then continued down the interstate to Pecos where we took Hwy 17 South towards Balmorhea. My wife has never been through this part of Texas (even though she has lived in Midland all of her life), and she was not very impressed with the scenery to this point. This only made the drive more exciting to me because I knew that she would be surprised at how the terrain changes a mere 2 hours from Midland. Anyhow, we took some time to drive into Balmorhea State park and I showed/explained to her the source of the pool there. During the next 35 miles or so to Fort Davis, mountains began to immerge, plants got greener, and my wife’s expression began to change as she realized how amazing this part of West Texas is. Just before arriving at the state park, we stopped to let the dogs stretch their legs and go to the bathroom. There was rain over the park, so I figured that I would let them out now just in case we had to stay in the car for a while to let the rain pass. It was a beautiful 80 degrees, and the smell of rain was simply amazing. We loaded up once more, and drove into the park. Fortunately, the rain was soft so we had no problems getting out in it and being sprinkled on.

Before I continue, some explanation may be in order as to highlight the significance of the whole trip as it pertains to my wife. She has an extremely rare genetic disease call Erythropoietic Protoporphyria that, among other problems, causes her to be allergic to the sun and certain environmental changes (like different plant pollens). So, we only go places that we know without a doubt that she will not have a problem with. Until now, she has never been hiking, or participated in any outdoor activity that requires any amount of time exposed to the sun. We have been thinking about taking a trip to McKittrick Canyon this fall, but were unsure about how her body would react. I knew that the Davis Mtn area would be similar to both Midland, and GUMO, so I thought that this would be a great intermediate test for her to see if she could handle it. And…….IT WORKED!!!! This is a huge step for her, so I am very proud…… anyhow…. To continue my story…

Once in the park (which is very dog friendly I might add), we found a 3.5 mile round trip hike along the skyline view of the mountains. This was a blast! I’m a seasoned hiker, but it is soooo much more fun when you can take someone who hasn’t been before, and get to enjoy new experiences through their eyes. On the way back, we weren’t sure if our Pug was going to make the hike. He kept stopping and sitting with this look on his face, as if he expected us to pick him up and carry him! But, after some persuasion, he carried on and made it back to the car with no problems. After our short hike, we jumped back in the car and decided to drive up to the McDonald Observatory. If you have never been through this area, you should definitely put it on your list. We then finished the scenic circle comprised of Hwys 118 and 166 that loop back to Fort Davis.

At this point, we were having so much fun that we didn’t want to call it quits to our day of exploration. We had originally planned to come to Fort Davis and then drive back home afterward. I suggested that since it was only 7:00pm and there were at least two more hours of good sunlight left, that we should continue our drive south to Marfa and then over through Alpine and even to Marathon before completing our loop back home. Again….my wife surprised me and agreed to the new itinerary. She was definitely not disappointed! There is about 20-30 miles between each of these towns, and even this time in between was filled with incredible West Texas scenery! After Marfa, I was surprised to find a really nice, well built observation deck for viewing the mysterious lights of Marfa. It had been a while since I had been through here, but as far as I could remember, this structure had not been there at that time. It wasn’t dark yet, and there were no people there, so we let the dogs out to run around a bit, and we sat down to enjoy some sandwiches that we had picked up in Fort Davis.

We then drove through Alpine and marveled at how nice a little town this actually was. We were running short on time at this point, so we chose not to stop. This was hard, because there were some really intriguing stores, restaurants and bars that were calling out to us as we drove by. But we left, and continued on our journey to Marathon. In Marathon, we stopped and I showed her the Gage Hotel. She was surprised and amazed that such a nice hotel would be out in the middle of nowhere! I was even actually triumphant in securing her approval at coming here for our next anniversary!! Again, short on time, we didn’t stay long, and were soon back on the road.
This is where I goofed, and missed our turn back towards Midland. Instead of turning in Marathon back onto Hwy 385 to Fort Stockton, I continued east on Hwy 90 that eventually lead us into Sanderson. It was dark at this time, so I didn’t realize that we were headed in the wrong direction until…. Surprise…. Sanderson. Guess what is in Sanderson??? Nothing but a convenience store!! It wouldn’t have been so bad if there had been something to look at, but no… just a T&C. So, we stopped and filled up with gas, laughed about it, and carried on. Instead of completing our trip with the last 2.5 hours from Marathon to Midland, we extended it to 3.5 hours from Marathon to Midland by way of Sanderson! HA! Needless to say, we finally made it home at around 12:30 am. A full 12 hours and 610 miles of hiking, sight seeing, adventure and exploration. What a day (half day)!!!