- each embraces New York with the intense excitement of first love, with the fresh yes of an adventurer -

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dear NY, I care.

Last Saturday was the annual New York Cares volunteer day. It's the designated day that thousands of New Yorkers volunteer to help clean-up Manhattan and the boroughs.

This year my company sponsored a volunteer group, paid the registration fees and encouraged everyone to spend the day giving back to the city. I should probably also mention that they offered an extra PTO day to all volunteers...lil extra sign-up incentive.

And since I happen to be short a few PTO days for the year, this was all I needed to hear before signing myself right up for a day-o-caring! Well, this and quick email correspondence with a few co-workers who also decided it would be a lovely way to spend the Saturday with substantial reward - the giving back of course, never would I suggest that an extra PTO day was motivation for volunteering...never.

So very early last Saturday morning I met Jamie on the UWS and we set out on our NY Cares adventure. A few things we did not consider as we began our day-of-good-doing. (a) We did not have the faintest idea who Pixie, our team leader, actually was. (b) Nor did we know anyone else from our agency who was riding the bus out to Queens. (c) The craziness that we were actually getting ourselves into.

Good news though, being the friendly gals that we are, we ended up chatting with the girls sitting across from us on the bus, one of whom was the aforementioned Pixie. By 9:30am, team leader, check. Volunteer t-shirt, check. Throwback old yellow school bus - with seatbelts, check. Bright, sunny, warm springy forecast for the day, check check!

Our service site was Little Bay Park in Queens. Don't ask me where said park is in relation to Manhattan, I have no idea. I do know that it is on the bay of the Long Island Sound. Do with that what you will. Our charge was to rid the park of debris that has accumulated along the rocky edges of the bay. So armed with our "grabbers," gloves and trash bags we headed towards the water.

First thoughts - How hard can this be? We have grabbers, we don't even have to bend down to pick anything up. We have gloves. We have trash bags. Easy. And we can break for lunch at 1pm. And it's so sunny and warm, what a perfect day to be outside. Great, go!

Second thoughts - Um, this is a lot of trash. Ew. Don't fall! What's the point of this grabber anyway? This stuff has been here so long it's practically part of the earth! Every time I think I've got it all, I uncover more. Gross. Who leaves THIS?! What time is it now? Only 11am? Yikes...

Right, just to clarify, NOT easy work people. By Noon we were hurting. Sore arms, blistered hands, heavy trash bags. In order to pass the time, we decided to take inventory on the strangest trash items we had picked up. A catalog of sorts that detailed our findings.

Trash items discarded at Little Bay Park include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Countless glass bottles - beer, liquor, iced tea
  • Plastic bags
  • A tire
  • Blackberry battery
  • Feminine products (really ladies? on the rocks at the park? sick.)
  • Plastic bottles
  • A syringe
  • One tennis shoe
  • Permanent marker
  • What we are fairly certain was a diaper
  • Rope
  • Chicken wire
  • A hula hoop
  • Aluminum foil
  • Tin pan
  • Arm + cupholder from a lounge chair
  • An assortment of bottle caps, cigarette butts and other random small things that are impossible to pick up
I'd also like to note that we felt like we were in an episode of CSI and we weren't sure what we were going to uncover next. A finger? A gun? A dead body? You just never know.

In another biazzare twist, at the end of our shift, the park director decided that we should take a tour of Fort Totten, the recently closed Army base right next to Little Bay Park. Huh? Why was this a part of NY Cares day? No clue. But we went. And saw the Magazine and the Battery that overlooked the water. Hey, at least we weren't cleaning up trash?

In conclusion...Think twice before you throw your trash on the ground. It's gross. It takes people a long time to clean it up and even so, they'll never get it all.

Dear New York,
I volunteered. I filled at least 6 giant trash bags. I'm scraped up. I'm sunburned. I toured Ft. Totten. Clearly I care.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sloan Elizabeth Turns One!

Never has there ever been a more precious Birthday Princess!

As warned, more gushing over my cutie niece. Yes, her 1st birthday party was the kind of occasion that requires it's very own blog post. It was a day-o-fun filled with delicious cake, super fantastic pressie's and lots of giggling. She's such a happy girl and it was such fun to spend the day at Shane & Berit's house for the celebration!

I am so very glad that I was able to be in Tejas for the fiesta, I would have been incredibly sad if I'd missed it. I could sit and watch this little girl play for hours and hours, endless entertainment really. At 1-year-old, she has a sparkling personality that keeps everyone smiling. She loves her baby dolls, rocking chairs and being outside.

I just can't get enough of her! Absolutely. Presh. Here are a few of my fave party pics. Love love!

Singing Happy Birthday

A lil uncertain about this cake stuff...

...wait, this is actually really yummy!

loves it!

You want some too?

Hey Daddy, you definitely should try this!

GrandBuddy makes her giggle

She climbed right up into her new rocking chair, ohsofun!

Birthday's. Are. Fab.

Me and the Birthday Girl


Ridin' in style with Aunt LeLe

Thursday, April 23, 2009

happy happy happy

Today is my parent's 32nd wedding anniversary!

Yes, that's right, 32 years spent with the same person. I don't know about you, but 32 years sounds like an eternity to me. It practically is!
32 years = 1,664 weeks. 11,648 days. 279,552 hours. 16,733,120 minutes. 1,003,987,200 seconds.
Seriously, 279,552 hours? That's a ridiculous amount of time to spend with the same person. Every day, every night. I'm just sayin'...

While at this point in my life, I cannot quite fathom wanting to spend that many hours with one person, I can say that I hope to have the desire someday. I hope that I experience the kind of love that after so many hours, days and weeks together, I still struggle to sleep knowing that he's in the hospital overnight. That I still stress about the exact right birthday gift to get him. And I still worry that he forgot things when he travels by himself.

I am so very thankful that my parent's relationship has always been a picture of unfailing love. Let's face it, 32 years of marriage doesn't come without trial. Their relationship is one built on faith, trust, compromise. They are always selfless. Laugh it off. Forgive and forget.

Because after so many days, weeks, years together...this is the kind of love that truly lasts. And by their example, I've come to know the kind of love that I want for myself. The 32+ years kind.

Happy 32nd Anniversary Mom & Dad!

lots of love! <3

Friday, April 17, 2009

i require these

An email exchange between me and Leslee last night --

Several things to point out...

(a) she knows me so well that she knew I would appreciate her fab find. since I do have an appreciation for well-writing pens, I'll be picking up a pack of these soon.

(b) these are little things that if I didn't live so far away would be casually shared in conversation. thankfully we have email / iPhone's that allow for immediate communication.

(c) attention sharpie pen, why do you not come up in my gmail google ads? if you were smart, you'd purchase some keywords so that I could have clicked directly to your site instead of Googling for more info. just sayin'...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

sweet southern comfort

There's just no place like home.

A bit cliche perhaps, but there is simply no other explanation for the immediate feeling of comfort I experience when flying into DFW, seeing my parents waiting for me at the baggage claim and walking into the house that I grew up in. It doesn't matter if I've spent 5+ hours on a delayed plane, if it's 10am or midnight, I am always just excited to be back in Texas.

I don't usually go south for Easter. It just worked out that this year my niece's first birthday and Easter fell on the same weekend. And I got a good deal on a flight. And I was cold in NYC and desperately needed out. Call it a slight case of restlessness, of needing something to look forward to. And I always look forward to Texas.

This lil trip proved to be quite the roller coaster experience. Evidentiary Support of said roller coaster weekend found below:

exhibit a - meet Sydney
the ferocious miniture schnauzer who thinks she owns my parents house. I was anxious to meet her after Les convinced mom & dad that they couldn't just let this sweet, starving puppy go to a shelter 2 months ago. and after she almost bit my hand off in our first meeting (she's quite territorial), she spent the rest of the weekend following me around. it's probable that she thought I was Leslee. regardless, I now love this silly dog as much as they do. she's exponentially more quirky that I will ever be, starved for attention and she thinks she's terrifying. hah!

exhibit b - the sheets
one deep breath and I am comforted by the familiar smell of home. how does my mom get them to smell so good? and how come I am not able to successfully recreate the same smell with my sheets? this is a mystery to me.

exhibit c - S&D Oyster Company...and trolley's
super-cute restaurant Uptown where I joined my parents and their friends for their weekly Friday night dinner. it has been decided that I shall live in Uptown if / when I move back to Dallas. I was sold at the trolley's.

exhibit d - unexpected reunion
with a few Coppell favorites at Sherlocks. why does everyone hang out there? as soon as Kris and Mark knew that I was with Les, they were happy to meet up with us. Seriously guys, she has. a. boyfriend. will this obsession ever pass? no? great...
d1. also must give a shout out to Matt, who hilariously admitted that he reads my blog (which of course, prompted some nerdy response about my love for Google Analytics...this is why I'm single) and who continued to call me Peggy for the remainder of the night. note that I have not been called Peggy regularly since high school. thanks for bringing it back Tepper.

exhibit e - Sloan's 1st birthday bash!
never has there ever been a more precious 1-year-old. don't worry, more on her later.

exhibit f - mission: cool whip

no less than 5 grocery store employees smiled, said hello and asked if I needed anything on my walk to the freezer aisle to pick up cool whip for mom's Easter fruit salad. seems insignificant, yes, but these small gestures make life down south just a lil more sweet.

exhibit g - we wii!
in case you missed my twitter updates, please see my uber-intense sister and Keith fighting it out in the boxing rink below...wii-style. this is how we spend our family time. I wish there were words to describe the hilariousness that occurred when Uncle Jeff busted out the wii fit. uncontrollable laughter. love. it.

exhibit h - homeowners
I guess growing up is inevitable. my cousin Ashley and her husband just bought a super-cute new home! and they are expecting a lil one in October! I predict a boy, just callin' it now...

exhibit i - daddy's back surgery
what a way to end my exciting Texas weekend, right? yes it was planned. but he was supposed to get to go home. lil set-back required a full 3 days flat on his back. I'm really glad that I was there, talk about emotional exhaustion. thank you for all the prayers, he's doing great and was able to go home today!

In conclusion, Easter weekend in the south proved to be just as sweet and comforting as I had expected. Really nowhere else I'd rather be. Texas is always familiar, always welcoming. And even though my life is so very different now, being there always feels like things haven't really changed at all. Comfortable.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

He is Risen!

17And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17)

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:45-46)

5The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. (Matthew 28:5-6)

Easter is the story of the most ultimate love. The love that our God has for the world, for us. The love He has for His Son, His Son that He sent to show us love. He condemned His Son, that He loves, to the most horrifying and humiliating death. And Christ painfully died on the cross. Died to prove His love for His Father and to solidify His love for us. The ultimate sacrifice. The ultimate display of love. Crazy love.

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save

Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again

And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand

Thursday, April 9, 2009

woke up this morning. . .

. . .with Texas on my mind.

Dear Texas,

It's been a long 3 & 1/2 months since our last rendezvous. I am so looking forward to a joyous reunion this weekend. That's right, 4 glorious jacket-less days filled with Chick-fil-a, Target, windows down, radio up, bare legs & sandals. The sheer anticipation has made it impossible to sleep. Please prepare the sunshine for my arrival, I have been anxiously awaiting it's warmth for several cold New York weeks.

xoxo! lauren

". . .dreamin' of standin' in the Texas sun"

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It Does Exist!

(a) I received a lil note from my cousin Robin in my mailbox yesterday. It included a super cute Save the Date card for her son Beckam's 4th Birthday - a Kentucky Derby themed event which will naturally require appropriate Derby Day attire. Classic, I love it. And the tasty Mint Juleps that will inevitably be served to adult attendees. Because if you're going to do it Derby style, you gotta do it right.

(Sidenote: Ohmygosh, I can't believe Becks is already 4! He is the cutest kid I know...aside from my niece Sloan of course...and he's absolutely hilarious.)

(b) Robin's note also included another treasure....the infamous Hawaii quarter! And it's not just any Hawaii quarter, it's a Hawaii P quarter! YAY! I was beginning to think it didn't exist! Robin clearly believes my quarter fascination to be 'quirky' as opposed to 'just weird.'

You can only imagine my excitement at her thoughtfulness. This. Is. Huge. Proof of its existence below:

(c) People DO read my blog! Ok, so my family reads my blog. Whatever, it still counts.

Thanks Robin for making me smile yesterday! I'm ohsoglad to hear that you enjoy reading my bloggy blog and I'll do my very best to keep it entertaining.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009


As predicted: UNC 2009 NCAA National Champions!

That's right, I'm officially the CHAMP across all my NCAA pools. Sadly this does not equal extra dinero. But Daddy says he'll buy me dinner. Might he be convinced to throw in a glass or 2 of wine? I'll take it.

ESPN Tournament Challenge:

Facebook Pool #1:

Facebook Pool #2:

And this shall end my March Madness bragging rights. Until next year...