July 8, 2015

a spectacular fourth!

I intended to post this yesterday, but then I got a speeding ticket and my day went to pot. Now on to happier things!

My mom and I just returned from a wonderful weekend in Indiana visiting my sister and brother-in-law. Val and Greg live in my college town, and it's always fun to go back, especially when we happen to be there on a Sunday and can go to the church I attended in college (which is also the church they attend).

We set out mid-morning on Thursday ... and it was just about the longest trip ever. From heavy rain to me not feeling well to my mom's shingles (which she came down with the week before), it felt like the trip that would never end! (This picture was obviously taken at the beginning of the trip.)

Finally, though, we made it. And we met this cutie:

Seriously, Miss Chloe is just about the cutest thing ever! Just like her "cousin" Skaara, she loves chasing pink fabric.

We slept in on Friday, and then we wandered around the shops in the Village at Winona for a while. We also hit the local T.J. Maxx, which is a bit, uh, classier than the one in Grand Island ... and there I bought some size 10 pants. Seriously? Size 10??? I haven't been a 10 since junior high! (I'm probably closer to a 12 normally, but the 10 of this particular brand is what fit.)

That evening, we ate at The Boathouse, where I longed to have my favorite dish, the chicken & bacon wrap ... but I was good, stuck to the gluten free thing, and had a cheeseburger with no bun. Then we girls saw Bye Bye Birdie at the Wagon Wheel Theatre. I'd heard all about the Wagon Wheel when I was at Grace, but this was the first show I saw there. It was fantastic! The acting was great, and the show was so fun. Bravo!

Saturday was super relaxing. I read this book for a while, we played Rummy (I lost ... but it wasn't a massacre like it sometimes is), and Greg grilled burgers for supper. Also, Val and Mom conspired to kill me--Val prayed for our meal, and she tacked on a quick "and please help us get good seats for the concert" onto the end. Mom proceeded to mock her, and I couldn't help but laugh ... with a mouthful of water. Basically, I ended up choking--I absolutely could not breathe. I did eventually recover :-)

Then we went down to Winona Lake for the Masterworks Patriotic Pops Concert and fireworks.

Lots of people were already there when we arrived, so we ended up sitting to the side of the orchestra. Val decided that, since we couldn't see very well anyway, we should face the lake, as that's where the fireworks after the concert would be.

So Mom spent the concert like this:
Something about her discomfort at being turned a different direction than everyone else was hilarious to Val and me. And when you think about it, Val's reasoning didn't make any sense, but we all went along with it.

Then, when it was time for fireworks, we moved--so Mom's discomfort was for nothing!

On Sunday, we went to Christ's Covenant (it's always so great to be back, even though I really don't know anyone there anymore) before heading to Fort Wayne for the afternoon: lunch at Granite City, shopping at Target, and watching Jurassic World.

We had to say goodbye to Greg, Val, and Chloe and head back to real life on Monday. This drive didn't feel quite as long as the first, though. Maybe because we stopped for lunch at Cracker Barrel, and then we meandered through several stores at the Tanger Outlets in Iowa. Mom even found a deeply discounted dress and ridiculously cheap dress pants (something like $7)! And we had to get coffee and chocolate at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory before getting back on the road. (My selfie skills were not on point ...)

Really, we made great time! And then I came home to this:

It's not pretty; it's a $35 stove I got off a garage sale. It's not my dream stove by any means...but it is a GAS stove. For someone who learned to cook on gas and hasn't had a gas stove since moving out of her parents' house 10 years ago, this is a big deal! My dad, who stayed home to work on a variety of projects, made running a gas line and hooking up the stove one of those projects. Thanks, Dad! It's very much appreciated :-)

Overall, it was a fantastic way to spend the Fourth of July. I just wish the vacation could have lasted longer ...


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