Saturday, December 12, 2009

winter wonderland

we've driven across the entire country this last week, and i'm pretty sure the whole continental US was having a cold front/blizzard. this is just perfect because the one thing that I happened to forget to bring on this tour was a coat! i've been making due with my Uggs (ugly but they sure are warm), a (fake) fur lined vest and a sweatshirt type jacket. on our way from richmond, Va to Colorado Springs we got stuck in Selena, Kansas in the middle of a blizzard. we stopped at a truck stop (our bus and trailer is the size of an 18-wheeler so we are always at Flying J's. I'm starting to feel a connection to all the truck drivers, like i understand their life or something) and since the next exit with gas stations and food wasn't for another 100 miles we decided to call it a day. so we got a hotel room and tried to stay warm.

across the street was an IHOP (the eating kind) and so we walked there for dinner. it was a short but brutal walk

this was the street in the middle of an intersection

our neighbors

thank goodness for the warmth of uggs

we got to stop for a day and night at the IHOP in Kansas City (the praying kind), which was so amazing. it felt so refreshing to sit in the house of prayer all day, and that night we got to go to a revival meeting (a revival has been going on there for a few weeks). i got to worship some, but little man was all over the place so i took him to the nursery to play. they had a great room filled with toys and 1-2 year olds. i couldn't leave him because it was too cute to watch him interact. i realized how much he's grown. he played with the kids and the toys so nicely, and sat in a chair during storytime while he munched on a graham cracker. he crawled up the back of a plastic slide and slid down all by himself, squealing. it was so much fun! 

the beauty of the drive through colorado and utah blew me away, and i've gotten to experience below 0 temperatures for the first time in my life. at least now i know how to prepare for a month in canada this january!

Friday, December 11, 2009

end of tour

after boston we headed to my fav- nyc. one of the perks of my new life of traveling is that i get to go to nyc all the time now. it makes it so much more fun because i don't have to stress about seeing a whole lot (i have quite a few 'favorite' spots) when i'm there. i can pick one area to stick to and just relax and soak it all in because i know i'll be right back soon. this trip i decided to focus on my little man. the bus was parked in gramercy park, so the other wife and i walked the kids up Park Ave and 5th all the way to central park, where we spent almost the entire day in FAO Schwartz with the kids! it was really fun. so fun in fact that we went back the next day too with music man, haha. and guess what--little man is 11 months and walking!

my hubs had to work so much that he really didn't get to enjoy the city with us much:( all we really did was walk to FAO Schwartz and eat dinner, he was so exhausted. but i got to meet up with Michelle, one of my best friends from middle school and high school. i haven't seen her since graduation, and in fact she is the one person that i regret not keeping in touch with. she lives in nashville, but i randomly saw on her facebook that she was in the city, so i contacted her. it was great to reunite with her, and very surreal that it has actually been 8 years since graduation!

next we went to Baltimore, which sits pretty on the water. little man and i walked around the waterfront before heading back to the bus at sundown. natalie drove in and i got to meet her Evan. stephanie and cem (turkish...pronounced jim) also can after the show to spend some time with us:)

next we went to philadelphia. i was thankful it was sunny this time. i walked my man around the old historic part of town. philadelphia is a beautiful city.
on our way to atlanta, we stopped overnight in Durham and had a 'family' thanksgiving with the main band. we used a conference room in our hotel, and the kithenettes in our suites to have a huge dinner. i think i got more stuffed that night than on the real thanksgiving!

and finally, atlanta. how fun to see so many friends and family all in one night! ok, so it was a little overwhelming, but still good, and i did my best not to get stressed out. my mom and stepdad, my dad and stepmom, my 80 year old a whole schlew of friends. it was great

Saturday, November 21, 2009

chicago, toronto,!!!

after spending a week in jacksonville for Dolly's funeral, our family took an early morning flight to Chicago to join back up with the tour. thankfully, little man napped for 3 hours and I was able to get some rest too. Rachael took the day off of work to see me, which meant the world to me! it was like a breath of fresh air to be with her. she is one of the most beautiful people alive on this earth and i actually feel priviledged just to know her! she took me and the other wife and the babies to a coffee shop nearby and then to her little nest and cooked us grilled cheese and soup for dinner:) then we all headed to the show, where I got to meet her wonderful new husband, Fletcher, and see Sarah, who also lives there! background: Sarah and I became friends when we spent 6 weeks together in Russia one summer. she always talked about this Rachael that she just knew i would love, so when we got home she introduced us....we decided that moment to live together the coming school year. Sarah just finished Med School and is doing her residency in Chicago. she is specializing in pediatrics, so i got her to look in little man's ears to see if his ear infection was gone:) it was! thanks to breastmilk in the ears...seriously, it is a cure-all

long awaited hugs

so good with children (as long as he doesn't fall on his head!)

After Boston we headed to Pittsburgh. Last time we were in the pittsburgh area we were in Munhall, outside of the city. but on our way there we drove through the city and it was SO beautiful that we've wanted to go there ever since. so, we were pretty excited about this date. unfortunately we were terribly mislead. the venue was actually in Midvale, which is just as boring as Munhall. it was in an old church and attached to it was the 'parsonage', which is now the green room. but with 3 living rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom, it was basically a house. so we had wonderful showers there (believe me, it is a big deal), and the main band's camp cooked a huge dinner for all of us...and Midvale was redeemed after all.
Next we headed to Toronto, for the 3rd time (same venue too). but this was the first time that we realized how close a really cool area was to our venue. the other two times i've hung out at the grocery store and pharmacy that our bus parks at haha. but just a half mile away is Kensington Market. our family walked there to explore, and then split a yummy pizza between the three of us:)

my favorite was Boston! we had two days off before the Boston show so we headed there and got to spend 3 full days in boston! the bus was parked downtown, so every day i walked over to Newbury Street, which is a beautiful street with lots of shopping and great restaurants and coffee. Espresso Royale Caffe was there and it was amazing. every morning i went there for a latte (decaf:) and a bagel. it is rare for me to have a coffee these days (i drink tea now) but this place was that good!

the next day i walked around with the other wife and babe, and then Grace picked me up at 4 and we went back to Cambridge, where she lives. I briefly said hello to her husband, who is back in grad-school and so must study 24/7, and then we walked around Harvard Square (which i love) and ate at a quaint little cafe. the next day she came to the show as well, and hung out with us afterwards. i was really happy to spend some time with her!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Love and Haight

it started on the drive from Reno, NV to San Francisco--the beautiful morning views that i now look forward to every morning when i wake up. that morning i woke and saw that we were surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful views. i've always had a sneaky suspicion that the northwest might be my favorite part of the country, but i am just now seeing it at the age of 26. such beautiful sights can only be bottled up and tucked away in my memory--no picture on camera can ever capture it right. so i haven't even bothered to try.
coming out of the 'desert' areas in california going into northern california, the transformation is gorgeous. the rocky and barren hills turn into rolling green hills with grass (finally) and sparse trees. higher up, huge evergreen trees dart high up into the sky. i have never seen these trees before, and never even knew i was missing anything. approaching san francisco, the land opened up to the water, the large bay areas and islands and bridges, surrounded by the rolling hills i described above, except now there were houses up and down the hills, whose windows catch the light of the sun just enough to make the landscape appear to be sparkling. so, i'm wondering.....
why do i live where i live?
ahh san francisco. i was so happy to finally be there, yet the reality i found was that i really needed a week there to experience it all. we had halloween off there, so our family took the bus over to Haight-Ashbury district. there are so many freaks there, and Lord knows i love freaky people. and they were all dressed up for Halloween. very fun... even my little munchkin was dressed up all day. he was a boxer. 

Haight street is lined with the coolest boutique stores and consignment stores. i wouldn't advise anyone to visit there without having some money they plan on spending! i unfortunately did not, and it was a miracle that we managed to get our of there without spending a dime. we did stop in the Pork Store Cafe to eat a late brunch

after that we headed down to the water to Fisherman's Wharf. It was getting chilly, so we looked around, saw a thousand sea lions (to our surprise), and then went back to the bus. little man fell asleep at 6:30 that night, which was just as well.... we figured downtown SF was no place to be out late on halloween.

This morning i awoke on the drive from SF to Eugene, OR and it was the same----amazing. surrounded by high mountains filled with tall evergreens, with streams and rivers going through the valleys. large rock formations jetting out of the ground, and farther out snow-capped mountains. we get the day off in Eugene today, the half-way point to Seattle tomorrow.  i've been wanting to come here to Oregon ever since I started reading Don Miller books.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

reno 911

reno 911...get me outta here!
....not impressed with Reno. granted, we were literally in the hood and never got to see any more of that city. (so, reno, i'm sure you have much more to offer than what i got to see) i don't even know how to describe where we were, but i tried to take some pictures of it. about a mile down the road was a huge casino called The Nugget. after walking around for a long time looking for food we ended up there and found some. casino's weird me out.
we found an authentic mexican pastry shop and bought these to enjoy while we walked these weird streets

the music venue

across the street was a $5.95 buffet at this casino...we did not eat there

surrounding the venue...

Monday, October 26, 2009

an autumn treat

words cannot even express how needed my visit to Rhode Island was. i couldn't get off that bus of sickness fast enough, but the people i was running to is what made it so sweet.
my brother and sister and niece. (and her wonderful parents too!)
every day we did something fun, and every night was spent with her parents, in their welcoming Victorian house surrounded by the bright colors of fall. it was everything that i had anticipated it would be in the previous months as i anxiously awaited my trip there: crisp fall air (but surprisingly warm enough to spend the days outside), beautiful peak foliage, the cutest New England towns you ever did see, and days filled with fun kids activities.
when she picked us up, it was pleasantly warm for a change, so we headed straight to the park

our first full day there we went to the Zoo! it was little man's first zoo experience...

peaking at the giraffes

petting the sheep...

two little pumpkins...

the next day was going to be the warmest day, so we went to the beach!  at Narragansett..

winter clothes covered in sand...i like it

crawling around with the birds

the moment that 'windy' turned to cold we gathered all our stuff and ran for the car. the kiddos slept while joanna drove me through jamestown, just so i could see what it was like. i've already been to newport and some other parts of Rhode Island, and i just have to say that i think every single part of that state is beautiful. especially at this time of the year, of course. here's some pictures of Beavertail, a spot near Jamestown...

and the next day we went to an apple orchard. i have been wanting to take little man to a pumpkin patch, since he has some strange fascination with pumpkins. whenever he sees one he perks up and strains his neck to keep his eye on it and says "pa pa pa". if i let him hold one he won't give it up without screaming crying. i knew his obsession had reached a new level when i was in a grocery store shopping, and i stopped in the vegetables to gather some things. he saw a bunch of pumpkins on the floor and was looking at them, but i was unaware and so i started walking away. he started crying really hard and then i realized what was going on. they didn't have any small enough for him to hold, so i had to give him a small green squash that was the shape of a pumpkin to hold while i did the rest of my cute. but back to my update.
my sister took us to the cutest little place for apple picking that had a pumpkin patch too. we didn't actually pick any apples, and the pumpkin patch was actually bare except for about 3 ginormous pumpkins. but we still had fun pulling the kids in her red wagon and letting them look at all the pumpkins and apples and fall colors...

jo is one of the greatest blessings in my life. a friend so wonderful, i'm not sure i could have scored her except that she was forced into my life by marrying my brother:) i'll forever be in debt to him for that one! if you've met her you know that she has positively the best personality. one of those people that you just wish you could emulate, but can't. not only is she a great friend (to all of her friends), but she is one of the best mothers i have ever seen, pouring 200% of herself into her child every day. she is my inspiration. i learn so much from her, and love being around her so that i can absorb some of her energy.
and she is married one of my other favorites in this world: my brother, who has always been the greatest friend in my life. (i have two of the most wonderful brothers in the world! i could go on and on about both of them!)
watching him become a husband and a father has been so sweet. i always knew he'd be the best, but to see it is just remarkable. he is a real man-- a man of faith, of character, of principles, of fun, of family...i am so proud of him and who he is every day.
i didn't get to spend as much time with him on this trip as i'd have liked, but did get some, and for that I am thankful. i can't wait til little man gets bigger and his uncle can teach him how to play football (and how important it is to watch it every saturday!)

so after all of that, i had to get on a plane for 8 hours and go to southern california, with all it's palm trees and sun and warmth. usually this would be cause for excitement, but not this time around. i definitely entered into a state of depression for the first 24 hours, and cried a lot. it was hard to adjust.
so here i am in LA. the next tour starts this Thursday. this tour i am very excited about. first of all we get a brand new, freakin' BA tour bus. second of all, check out our schedule: LA, Reno, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, Boulder, Minneapolis, Chicago, Pittsburg, Montreal, Boston, NYC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlanta.
are you kidding me? so cool! and so C-O-L-D.....