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A very special weekend.

10 Nov

This past weekend’s trip up north was awesome. From laughing hysterically to sharing memories to finishing 13.1 in honor of Dad to shedding tears together – it was a fabulous and very special time. The healing continues.

Ryan summarizes it so well, I figured I’d just send you over to his blog to read about it here.

Thanks to everyone for the prayers and for those who sent us encouraging texts, emails, and FB messages! I’ll leave you all with some pics.

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Tomorrow we fly to Boston.

4 Nov

Tomorrow morning, we are getting up early to take the girls to Grandma’s and then Ryan and I will head to DFW to hop on a plane to Boston! This upcoming weekend is one that is sure to be special. A memory maker.

We are going to Manchester, NH to run in a half marathon. But not just any half marathon. My Dad was registered to run in this race…the last race he had registered for and one none of us could have ever imagined that he wouldn’t be here to run in. He & my sister did this race last year and both had registered to do it again. Here’s a pic of them last year that I absolutely love. It captures so much.

So we are all headed North to run it in his honor. In fact, my brother Kelly is going to pick up my Dad’s bib at the expo and run as Kip Clark. Knowing my Dad – he would love this and think its neat.

My Aunt Debbie (Dad’s sister) and her family live there and we will get to stay with them for the weekend. I look forward to spending time with them. My Dad loved visiting Boston and New Hampshire – he along with my sister Jen have told me all about it there and I can’t wait to see the sites and experience it for myself.

Its going to be a special weekend and one of celebration of my Dad’s life. I will post pics and details about the weekend and race day soon. But, in the mean time, we certainly appreciate your prayers…for my siblings, Ryan, and myself as we travel and as we run – no doubt, it will be the most emotional race we’ve done.

DIY: Fire pit.

31 Oct

Ryan and I have been wanting to get a fire pit for our backyard for a while. Well, really ever since we went to visit my brother in Austin a few months back and sat out by their’s one night. So relaxing and provides such great ambiance! Plus, we love camping so much – we thought this would bring a part of that experience right into our backyard. We shopped around some and even looked into chimineas.

My very creative and super manly husband (wink) decided he was going to build one of his own. It seriously took him maybe thirty minutes and it looks awesome! I know I was impressed with his skillz. We used it last night and loved it. We sat out by the fire and enjoyed some chocolate chip cookies while cuddling with the girls – memory maker.

So, for anyone out there who’s interested in building your very own fire pit, here’s how we did it!

1. Find a spot in your yard for your fire pit location. Obviously a safe distance from your home and other burnable stuff. We used 16 – 1 ft x 1 ft path stones for our base.

2. Dig up the grass where the stones will be placed so the base will be level with the rest of the yard. Place stones about a 1/4 inch apart, pressing each down into fresh dirt. Then cover with one bag of paver sand and press into cracks.

3. Assemble flagstone landscape blocks of your choice into a circle. We bought 20 blocks total, 10 for each layer. Leave a small space between each to allow for better air flow.

4. We found some river rocks in the base of a potted plant, so we used those inside the circle of blocks along with the excess sand to create a safe burning spot.

5. On the second layer of landscape blocks, lay them offset from the first layer for strength and aesthetics. Then, sweep up remaining sand and put in center of pit.

That’s it! Our very own custom built fire pit. Super easy and cheaper than buying a store bought one. Plus, it was fun to do! It will last for a long time and provide many opportunities for relaxing Fall evenings of great discussions with friends around a fire and smore making with our babies.

Beavers Bend 2010

17 Oct

We had a great camping trip! Ryan, Ross and I headed to Beavers Bend, Oklahoma yesterday morning. We enjoyed canoeing down the river, cooking on the campfire, hiking some trails and I’m fairly certain we ate our weight in tortillas. Tort Fest 2010 baby! Very fun and very relaxing. We love going out into nature, away from everything else, and just taking a deep breath…it’s good for your soul.

Pardon my laziness, but I think I’ll just let the pictures do the talking for me on this post…

Friday the 15th

15 Oct

The last few day have been a lot of fun. Staring with Ryan’s birthday on Wednesday. I don’t know how most people do birthdays, but we celebrate birthday weeks! The full week is about celebrating that person. Much fun, especially when it’s your turn!

Wednesday afternoon, we headed to Dallas with three main things to accomplish. 1. Go to Apple Store and get Ryan’s iPhone fixed. It was recently cursed with the white screen of death. 2. Enjoy birthday dinner at Chuys…thanks to my Mom for the “gift card.” 3. Pick up Ross, Ryan’s little brother, from the airport! Mission accomplished.

Got home very late that evening and then stayed up talking to Ross until almost 2! He lives in Minnesota and we get to see him about once a year. The last time we saw him was in San Fran last July for the half marathon/Napa Valley trip. We are thrilled he is here!

Ryan took off work the rest of the week while Ross is here. Yay! So, Thursday, the girls went to school and we all headed out to the lake, so I could show off my new place of employment. I had some work to get done…have I told you lately how much I love my new job? Still praising God for it! Then we had lunch at BWW, a little shopping, and the night ended with Ryan & Ross making homemade pizza. Great day…almost. It was great until about 9 p.m. My stomach started killing me. I thought I was just overly full…ya know, with all of the creamy jalapeno dip, Caribbean jerk wings, and stuffed crust pizza I had inhaled the last couple of days. I was feeling miserable and thinking it was definitely time to go on a diet. I was hurting. Went to bed early trying to shake it…but apparently I had a little bug or something. Ugh. Feeling better today though, thankfully.

Tonight, we took Ross to another one of our fave places to eat here in Tyler, Villa Montez. Then, to have a cappuccino at Cafe Tazza – which, by the way, is amazing. Best cappuccino ever. Funny how much of our lives revolve around FOOD! Of course, that is one of the main reasons we run.

Tomorrow, we are heading to Beaver’s Bend for a camping trip! Ryan & I went last year and had a blast. We determined we wanted to make it an annual birthday tradition. Excited to spend some time in the peace & quiet of the woods down by the river.

Here are some pics from the last couple of days…

 

This weekend…

8 Oct

Busy weekend coming up! Tonight is our Date Night Co-op. On Ryan & I’s agenda for a date tonight? Run 5 miles at the trails, cook chicken lettuce wraps, then end the night at Andy’s for a pumpkin pie concrete…delish! Sounds like a perfect night to me.

Tomorrow is the Grand Opening event at Brown’s Landing, so I’ll be working there. Excited about this new venture! It’s been a great first week, by the way. Loving my new job and the girls are loving their new school! Back to Saturday…Ryan has a studio mix session that afternoon with a band he recorded live recently. Tomorrow night, we are looking forward to hanging out with the Blalock’s! Alison is coming all the way from Lubbock to run in the FULL marathon this weekend. We are going to Joe’s to get carb-loaded before the race with them.

Sunday is race day! This will be the first of three half marathons Ryan & I are registered this Fall. We went this afternoon to pick up our race packets. So exciting. Have I told you how much I love running?!

Monday. And it’s a GREAT day.

4 Oct

Its a beautiful Monday. I have spent all morning with two adorable munchkins and have constantly thanked God for this new opportunity he has given our family. I don’t actually begin work until tomorrow. I’m excited to get started, but am thankful to have a day off to recover from our fast and furious weekend to Austin. The girls just went down for a nap and I’m getting caught up on emails, FB, and laundry.

This weekend, we headed down to central Texas, one of our favorite places to be. Saturday after our last long run before this weekend’s half marathon, we drove into Georgetown. We had a relaxing evening hanging with my brother and his family as we chowed down on Cheryl’s chicken & dumplings. My girls LOVE their cousin Kendrick. It’s a bonus too, because when Kendrick is around, she plays with and watches the girls for us, so it gives Mommy & Daddy a break!

Sunday morning, we went to the 11:15 service of the Austin Stone and it was, as always, amazing. After church, we enjoyed a great lunch at a tasty pizza place with Ryan’s cousin, Aaron. We also went over the Ivey’s new house and recording studio. Ryan and Aaron spoke in audio language for a little while. You know…where to put this acoustic panel, how to position the monitors, how to trap bass, what sound absorption material should be on this wall, etc. All that stuff is way over my head! It’s so neat to see how God is using the Ivey’s as they intentionally live a life of mission there in Austin. Inspiring! We look forward to hanging out with them for a full week next month on our cruise…7 weeks and counting.

Sunday evening, we headed back to Georgetown. My brother Kelly is the Minister of Adults at his church there and was having an ordination service that night. It was a special service and I’m glad we were there. I am so very proud of Kelly and feel blessed to be his sister! My favorite part of the service was when he gave a high five to the sky from the stage. Dad will certainly be missed in everything we do, but never, ever forgotten. Love you Kelly!

Night away in the big D.

27 Sep

Ryan & I left the kids and escaped away to Dallas this weekend! My friend Loretta was getting married Saturday night, so we decided to go see her & enjoy a night away. We headed out and drove straight to Chuy’s for lunch. Obviously we couldn’t focus on getting anything else done in Dallas without going there first and consuming massive amounts of creamy jalapeno dip. YUM. I couldn’t be more excited that we are getting one here in Tyler!!! That rumor better be true or else I will be highly upset.

Anyways, after lunch we went to the Apple store to check out the new shuffles, which are very cool. Didn’t get one, don’t need one…just went to admire. Then, we headed over to Luke’s Locker. Such a cool place. There is something inspiring about going to running stores! Got some shoe recommendations and Ryan got a flashy light to wear when he runs in the dark. Next on the list…Central Market. The grocery store of all grocery stores. This place amazes me. The produce aisle is unbelievable. They also have a great wine selection. And a whole aisle dedicated to granola, are you kidding me? Are we weird that we love going to grocery stores while out of town? We are foodie dweebs.

Saturday night was the wedding and it was much fun. It was at the Biblical Museum of Art, which was interesting. Great to see Loretta and meet her man! We stayed the night with my cousin Danny & his wife Kelly at their new place in Las Colinas. Always good to see them…I love my cousins!

Then, Sunday morning, Ryan and I got up and ran at White Rock Lake. My Dad always tried to go run ten miles around White Rock every year for his birthday. Since his birthday is this coming Thursday, we decided we’d run around the lake while we were there in his honor. Perfect weather for our run. It was overcast and cool, with a slight breeze. When we started the run, I looked across the beautiful lake as the sun was rising and my emotions overcame me. I burst into tears. I so longed for Dad to be running his birthday run with us. I miss him so bad. I thought of him the entire time. I prayed that my life would be meaningful, like his was. I prayed that I would make a difference and make my life count, like he did. I imagined God calling Dad over and saying, “Kip, I want you to see something” as he pushed back a cloud to show him us running. That made me smile to think of Dad watching me. It was a great run physically, but tough emotionally. We finished with a high five to the sky and a few more tears.

We headed back, stinky & sweaty, for our normal Sunday lunch in Quitman and to pick up our babies. Great night away with my love!

Our trip to Lubbock.

7 Sep

We went to the good ole L-B-K for Labor Day weekend and had such a great time! Its been a while since we’ve been back to visit friends, so it was time. We also felt it would be good as part of our healing process, to see people who knew and loved my Dad. He loved Lubbock and the people there.

We got in late Thursday night or actually, extremely early Friday morning. A 7 1/2 hour drive turned into a 9 hour drive somehow. I’m guessing a 2 and 4 year old had something to do with that. Oh and as a side note, never exit off the Interstate in Abilene…just saying. It was so neat driving in late because we got to see a lightning storm in the huge skies of West Texas. It was beautiful. There may not be trees and it may be flat, but the skies are abundant and the stars are gorgeous!

The first two nights, we stayed with our friends Tim & Christy. We love these two dearly and appreciate their friendship. Addi & Kam love them too! It was adorable because they would choose to hold their hands, instead of mine & Ryan’s when we would go out places. I think it gave Tim & Christy a taste of having their own kids!

Friday, we went by to say hi to some people around town – old places of work, church, drove by Tech (wreck ’em!), etc. Stopped by for lunch at West Crust Pizza, which was quite tasty I must say. We also stopped by the Veterans Memorial, so I could see my Dad’s brick. Just when I thought I could not be any prouder of him, I am reminded of yet another reason to add to the list that is still growing, even though he’s gone. Special. Then, Friday evening we met up with our old youth group for dinner & had a fabulous time. We are so very proud of our Fusion kids & the grown-ups they have become! This night was good for my soul. And Julie Patterson – YOU impacted MY life dear.

Saturday, after yummy homemade blueberry muffins made by Christy herself, we met up with my friend/college roommate Amanda for coffee. So great seeing her & catching up! Come run the Turkey Trot in Dallas with us Amanda!

Then, we headed out to Levelland for lunch with the Pace’s (Christy’s parents). These people mean so much to us and my family. When my Dad passed away, they loaded up their car, along with their son Jason and Tim & Christy and drove all the way to Quitman just to be there for us and hug us. It meant the world to me. I love all of you guys so much!

Saturday afternoon, we headed over to Danny & Ashley’s for the remainder of the weekend. Oh my word, we laughed so much! We had so much fun just doing absolutely nothing but hanging out. Their daughter Grace is so adorable, Addi & Kam had a great time with her. Baths, dress up time, watching movies, swimming, etc.When we got in the car to drive home, Kam said, “That was so fun!” and Addi has been saying, “I’m sad…I want to go back to Grace’s house.” One night while we were there, Ashley arranged for a babysitter so we could go out for some adult time. We went up to Stella’s, where she sings on occassion and got to hear her sing a set.  I got to meet Alison, a friend I have gotten to know through blogs and Facebook. She’s a runner too & is actually coming to Tyler next month to run the Tyler Rose Marathon. Fun night!

Monday morning, we loaded up, drove through & got a Josie’s burrito and headed back East. The girls were sooooo good and well behaved. Thank you Lord! It was a fun trip and a great Labor Day weekend. We miss all of our West Texas friends already. Now its your turn to come to Tyler!

Weekend Overload.

31 May

This has been one jam-packed, fun-filled weekend for sure! Prepare yourself for tons of pics & weekend details that may cause exhaustion.

Starting on Friday with the 30th birthday of yours truly. What an amazing day it was! My family, friends & coworkers made this birthday the best one yet. From a mocha brought to my desk first thing that morning, to cupcakes & Bruno’s pizza for lunch, to flowers delivered from my sweet cousin, to an edible arrangement from my brother-in-law, to a romantic date night with Ryan, and then a last minute party at KE Cellars with friends to top off the evening- wow, it was fabulous day! I appreciate all the FB posts, phone calls, texts and cards – I feel so blessed to have you all in my life. 30 isn’t so bad! Here are some pics from the day…

Saturday, I took the girls to the cutest little tea party ever! One of their little friend’s was turning 5 and had a tea party birthday party – so stinkin adorable! The girls loved it…Addi was in heaven with all of the dress up stuff and Kam was happy because they served ice cream at ten in the morning.

Saturday evening, we had dinner at our friends, the Lee’s house and enjoyed some tasty burgers and an intense game of Balderdash – so much fun. Our girls have a blast playing with their two girls…its cute to listen to them all giggle & squeal!

Then, Sunday after church, we headed to Quitman. It was the 2nd annual Skinner Cousin get-together on the lake. Tubing, sunbathing, swimming with all my cousins…great times were had. Then, that evening my mom cooked some yummy comfort foods for my bday dinner…meatloaf, mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, rolls, chocolate cake – was soooo good, especially after spending the afternoon on the lake! My Aunt Debbie from New Hampshire was also in town…its always so good to see her & her smiling face.

And that brings us to Monday. A day of rest & relaxation! We had plans for the day, but overslept & honestly didn’t even care. After all of the events of the weekend, we were all exhausted! We left the house once to go run on the trails, then cooked out and had popsicles. Ryan smoked ribs to go with our baked beans and grilled corn… love days like this!

Happy Memorial Day friends & family!