Monday, January 19, 2009

The Odd Couple

This is one of the sweetest things I've ever seen. yes, I'm an animal lover but we should all learn from this.......
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Friday, January 16, 2009

Growing like weeds....

Oh how times are a-changin'! This post was originally to update all the faithful readers on the "puppies" that are soon to lose that title. HOWEVER, upon signing in to dear old Blogger, I noticed Carly and Matt (sis-in-law & brother) updated their page with the exciting news that they are having a BOY in July. Carly went for her 14-week appointment and sure enough, the little guy was cooperative and showed his stuff for a nearly certain assumption that it is in fact a boy. That excites me beyond belief because A. I knew they wanted and were trying to have a boy and B. this will be a very entertaining 6 more months of the name game. Truly, these two aren't even in the same solar system when it comes to boys names. Perhaps its the blood relation or perhaps its the simple fact that matt and i have remained good friends through sibling-hood, but we are typically on the same page with baby names. We talked about names we did and didn't like for as long as I can remember. Family names are always great and Matt has had a strange liking for typical "western" names.(I use 'strange' because he's not very western...aka - wyatt). Now that its the "real thing" and he's discussing potential names with his wife and mother of his child, its probably a lot harder than when you are 24-28 and talking about it with your sister. Recently when I ask about any common names, I get a response of "uh, no." I can only imagine how exciting it would be to find out that you are having a boy only to sit down and list 100 names of which neither can agree on. I will love anything they pick and can't wait to get to know the little nugget regardless of what his name is! AND, it should be noted that regardless of what his legal name will be, I'm sure he'll generate a nickname or two before its all said and done. I'm thinking Peanut or Catfish.....Catfish Raynor. That doesn't have a bad ring, does it? Anyways, we are so excited and cannot wait for them to live in Chapel Hill so I can see the whole family more often!

So now I will get back to MY babies...Hank & Reba. They are 4.5 months old and continue to grow, much to my dismay. There is something ridiculously cute about little puppies and although these dogs take the cake on being cute, they are getting bigger. Therefore, the cute puppy antics are not quite as easy to deal with (ie- jumping up). I got a nice paw-in-the-face yesterday when Hank wanted to give me a hug. The nature of these dogs is so wonderful and they are so loving and playful, but they haven't mastered the obedience training just yet. They are getting better at "Here," "Sit," and "Kennel" though. Anyways, I got a new lense for my camera from Santa Claus and decided to play with it using the dogs as subjects. Click on the title of the post to link to the album on picasa but a couple of shots for instant gratification are below.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Life is good in Mexico

We just returned from our annual Team Gymnastics trip and this year we chose Cancun, Mexico. It was quite a good choice considering we had perfect weather, great activities, ocean front condos for $100 per night and wonderful people to travel with. I organized this trip and all the stress that went into that was worth it. The girls had a great time, as did our staff and parents that joined us. We ended up taking 13 of our optional team girls ranging in age from 11-17. There were three coaches (Louie, Sue and me), Janice, Mary Ann, Ricky, Jackie & Ryan. When we flew in to Cancun we immediately put on our bathing suits and walked to find a place to eat. There are so many all-inclusives that we ended up at this local fish hut (literally a hut) that definitely doesnt have any kind of sanitation inspection. I'm not saying it was dirty, but it was authentic. The food was amazing, however.

After that we went back to the hotel and down to the beach. The water was pretty rough and there was actually someone who drowned the week before b/c of a rip current. We fully explained how to get out of a rip tide to the girls and anytime they wanted to go in the ocean, they had to be with an adult. We stayed out as long as we could stand (it got chilly in the water when the sun went down) and made our way back up the rooms and my roof-top terrace for pizza. Some of the adults braved the unknown bus system (which turned out to be amazing) and went to the store. A few people ventured all the way out to Walmart but Mary Ann and I were not interested due to time and wanting to get back to feed the kids pizza.

We bought plenty of breakfast and lunch foods for the girls so we wouldn't have to go out for every meal. After dinner, the girls had free time in our section of the hotel (there were leftover NYE celebrations this night so we decided not to let the girls roam). They had to stay in groups of atleast three and luckily all of our rooms were very close to each other. Friday morning, we woke up early and met for practice. Took the bus over to the gym and worked out for a couple of hours. After that, we came back to the hotel, did the beach/pool thing again before heading back to the gym for the college competition. We got to see UNC, Michigan, Boise State and LSU compete in each of their first meets. After that we all went to Margaritaville (duh) for dinner. We got the girls on stage to teach all the waiters their Cotton-Eyed Joe dance.

We shopped a little bit after that before coming on back.

Saturday morning the coaches took the Level 7's and 8's to the meet and the upper levels girls met us there later. The Level 7's all placed on something and the Level 8's rocked by winning 1st, 2nd & 3rd all-around and the team competition.

That afternoon we did more beach/pool time before heading back to the gym for the Level 9 & 10 competition.

Everyone in those levels came home with medals as well! We were very proud of how the girls did this early in the season.

That night, the parents stayed at the hotel with the girls while the coaches/staff got a chance to go out in Cancun. We were supposed to meet some other coaches at a restaurant/bar but it ended up being closed and since no one had good cell phone service, we couldn't find them. We ended up at Senor Frogs with every other college age student there. We actually had a great time....our waiter, Ury, was awesome.

Sunday morning, we woke up and gave the girls a chance to have some free time before heading on our adventure to Selvatica (meaning "Citizen of the Jungle"). At Selvatica, our guides (who were amazing) led us on a 2-mile zip line course with about 12 different lines. Most everyone got the chance to go upside down which was a lot of fun. After that, we (us and our guides) loaded onto mountain bikes to ride to a cenote (sink hole). They had a zipline, a cliff jump and ropes to hang onto in the cenote. It was a pretty cool sight and the kids all had a good time. Poor Ana did a back tuck off the cliff and over-rotated it straight to her back. Luckily she was fine but she was not without a lot of pain for a couple days. After our time at the cenote, we biked back to Selvatica for a great lunch of chicken fajitas, beans and rice. German (pronounced Air-Mon), Alex, David, Carlos and the rest of the guides were amazing to us and made the trip to Selvatica a wonderful experience. I highly recommend it for anyone of any age.

After that, we got back to the hotel and decided to "pool-crash" the Hilton. Ana's parents were staying there, so we hopped on the bus to the Hilton. Once we got there, we had to strategically walk in the hotel in groups of 4 or 5 and make our way to the pool which was AMAZING. Not quite amazing enough to pay for 9 rooms there but amazing enough to pool-crash. It was 5-acres of connected pools and hot tubs, beach beds, hammocks, swim-up bars, etc.

We stayed there through dinner and came on back to Solymar and our condos. Once we got back, we had a Dance-Off. Each room was supposed to make up a dance (they've been working on it for a month) and that night we had a competition. We threw some kinks in the girls plan as we told them they also had to do a "blind dance" (didn't know the music) and they had to pick a solo dancer. It was extremely entertaining and Bree, Gilly & Haley's room won the grand prize. Brittany got an honorable mention for her solo dance.

On Monday, we had to go relunctantly. No one was ready to leave Cancun but after our four hour layover in the Fort Lauderdale airport, we were all ready to be back home. The experience for everyone in Cancun was great. I think we would all go back again in a heartbeat. The place we stayed (Solymar) was great for us. Michelle & Peter Hermick, who I've worked with for 6+ months live right on sight and own a few condos as well as managing a few others. They were there for us whenever we needed them and nothing was over-looked. I highly recommend them and their condos as well. It isn't right in the hustle and bustle area of Cancun which was perfect for us. It is close to everything though! All in all the trip was amazing and I'm already thinking of what to do next year.....New York, Chicago, Vegas, Hawaii anyone?

Christmas in NC

Its been a while since I posted anything and I was reminded of that yesterday (thanks lew)! I do love this bloggin' concept so hopefully I'll get back on the wagon through competition season. ANYWAYS....Christmas was great, as always! We spent the weekend before Christmas in Whiteville with David's family. There were a lot of people there since all of the cousins now live in the area or came down from VA. We had great food and great fun and its always nice to get together and let the kids go wild and adults catch up. Granny wasn't feeling to well so she stayed in her bedroom, but she was with us nonetheless!

We went to Southern Pines on the 23rd and did nothing that night. I wish I would have gone downtown because rumor has it that everyone who graduated from 1980-2008 was there. The morning of the 24th, David went hunting with a good family friend, Scott Newton and although he didn't see or shoot anything, he had a great time and looks forward to doing it again. I went to Klug's house to catch up with her and Nat and see Baby Hadley.

We walked in her neighborhood and I seriously think we walked 20 miles. It was probably only 5 but the beach doesn't have hills like Southern Pines does.

We went to church that night with the Camerons and had dinner at our house following that. Everyone went their separate ways that night as Cullen, Jen, Chris & Kelcey went to see Suzy & Jim in Cary.

We had fun watching Baby Kileigh open presents (she knows what she likes!) and enjoyed our family time together.

Christmas Day we opened presents and everyone loved all that they got. Dad even wore his new clothes (pants from me and shirt from matt) that day. Mom, Dad & I went to the Harrell's house for a bloody mary and good conversation since Matt & Carly weren't here. Matt has gone to their house on Christmas day for as long as I can remember so we felt we should continue that tradition. After that, we walked up to Anne & Wiley's house and were thoroughly entertained by all of their grandkids.

Then it was on to Clinton for the Raynor side of things. We decided to not do presents on that side of the family, so we just ate, visited with each other and left around supper time.

I took advantage of having a day of NOTHING on the 26th and shopped. I worked on the 27th & 28th, then headed back to the Pines to see some college friends. I met up with Em, Greg and Natalie and ate lunch. We were quite bummed that Em didn't bring her 1.5 year old boy, Nate, but he wasn't feeling well and they didn't want to suffer through 4 hours in the car with sick boy. So I don't blame them!

That night I drove up to Sanford to meet up with Alyssa & Jordan Krol, who I haven't seen in what seems like forever! I met them at their house and eventually their mom and stepdad got home and we all went out to dinner. They have two little brothers now (matt & danny) and they are so cute! It was really nice to catch up with them. Jordan is a cheerleader at UNC-Charlotte as a freshman and Alyssa is graduating high school this year. I coached them for a short time while I was in college and we have managed to stay in touch since then.

The next day, mom and I drove up to Chapel Hill to meet up with Matt who had flown in to interview at UNC Hospital. We walked up and down Franklin Street, walked all through campus, took pictures and eventually made our way to Southpoint.

That was after we spent a good chunk of time house shopping for Matt. We drove around and saw some good houses, some not-so-good houses and when it was all said and done and Carly had seen what we found, they decided they may get a townhouse or something. We had a good time with Matt & I hate I didnt get to see Carly (she didn't fly in until I was leaving for Cancun).

So, the Holidays were good to me......three trips home after a weekend in whiteville and I loved every second of it! Next time, I'll have to go out while in the Pines so I can actually see some of the old cronies.