Thursday, March 29, 2012

now my feet won't touch the ground

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for keeping my dad in their prayers.  There's a couple of things that are certain in this life, one of them being that anytime your phone rings at 5:00 AM, you know it's bad news on the other end.  I've gotten too many of those lately... but hopefully this will be the last for a long, long time.

This morning we left Houston at 3:30 AM and headed to Memphis to see my dad.  We arrived just after 3:00 PM.  I'm not sure if it was the long car ride or what, but Sarah's been feeling pretty bad today.  Hopefully she didn't catch something while out in Houston.  We headed up to see my dad, and he looked tired and weary, but also very confident.  I think more than anything he's just ready to go play golf again!  We visited with my parents for a little while and finally reached home at around 7:00 PM, 15.5 hours after we first piled into the Xterra this morning.

I feel like I needed to finish up our mini-Expidition with a final rundown since we haven't updated since Monday.  We visited Minute Maid Park (home of the Astros) where we walked on the field, hung out in the dugout, saw the clubhouse, and saw some pretty neat stuff that not too many other people get to see.

We swung by the Houston Aquarium, which in addition to fish, also had a White Tiger exhibit.  They have four total Tigers which they rotate every couple of hours.  This particular Tiger was obviously underfed.

If not for the protective glass, Sarah might be an only child.  They also had a Sting Ray petting area. Weird, but I definitely had to partake.  Sting Ray's enjoy being petted, who knew?

We also stopped by the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where they had Dino Bones, Mayan Artifacts and stuff they'd drug up from the Titanic.  They even had a Crystal Skull similar to the one from latest Indiana Jones film.  The History Majors in Sarah and I always push us to this type of stuff.  It never disappoints.

That's about it from Houston.  It was a great trip and we met some great people.  Glad we finally got to see where Joe calls home.

Enough can't be said about how blessed and thankful we all are for the prayers extended out for my dad.  He obviously is a little discouraged about being in the hospital again, but we think being at Memphis will really help get to the bottom of what's wrong.  Whatever the outcome may be, we can't say it enough, THANK YOU for your thoughts and prayers.

Sarah and I go in for our 3D/4D Ultrasound on April 3rd, and when we get done, I'm sure Sarah will be back to post the first ever pictures of Robert Deegan Cooper.

Until next time...

Monday, March 26, 2012

galveston, oh galveston I still hear your sea waves crashin'

I figured the title for this post was appropriate, considering Beau and I went to visit Galveston, TX this morning.  Not only that, I drove Beau crazy singing the Glen Campbell song pretty much the whole time we were there.  I think the thing that probably made it worse though, was that I only actually knew one line.

Beau and I left for Galveston this morning after my "happy" breakfast of cuties and a banana. (picture to follow) We decided that Galveston had some pretty cool tourist attractions, and was actually very well prepared for the whole beach/vacation thing.  The only thing they were lacking was a beach.  You may ask, "But I thought Galveston was a beach city, how could they not have a beach?" Well, technically I guess it can be called a beach because there is a coastline and a little bit of sand, however, we have apparently been spoiled by our Alabama beaches because there was no comparison.  It made me remember that our state has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, so I guess it's not really fair to compare.  I do have to give Galveston credit for what looked like a pretty great water park called Schlitterbahn.  It's known for being one of the best water parks in the country.  Beau was also excited to see that the local elections had him running for Mayor of Galveston.  We would appreciate your support in this campaign.  

After Galveston, we came back to Houston and had lunch with Joe at a place called Ninfa's on Navigation.  Apparently, you have to eat at the one on Navigation or it's not even like eating at the same restaurant.  Even though it's a Mexican restaurant, it's known for having the best burger in the entire city.  It's called the Fiesta Burger, and instead of ground beef, they use fajita steak.  As for the best burger in Houston?  I've only eaten this one, but it would be hard to beat.  They do have plenty of authentic Mexican dishes as well.  I compare it to a local Rosie's Cantina like we have in Florence, except this place was good.  Sorry to those of you who like to eat at Rosie's.  I'm about to burst your bubble:  Rosie's is not good.  This place however, was very good!  We were also able to go by the church after lunch and meet all the people Joe works with.  

Tonight, we all went to see The Hunger Games.  It was great!  I think it may have even convinced Beau to read the books.  :)  Imagine that, the first books Beau will have read since High School!  Tomorrow, I think the plan may be to see the zoo and the aquarium.  We're just kind of playing it by ear.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

sounds like hallelujah

Beau has been updating the blog for the past couple days, so I suppose I'll give him a break.  This morning we visited Joe's church:  Christ the King Presbyterian.  It was great to finally see where Joe works and plays.  And when I say play, I mean play.  It must be great to have a job where you spend half your time testing out fun games and ideas.  We enjoyed the service and being a part of the youth group for Sunday School.  It's great to see Joe do what he loves.

Here's a quick run-down of the events of today:

- After church, Beau, Joe, and I ate lunch and drove around Houston for a tour.  Joe said Sunday was a good day to do this because we'd be able to avoid the usual weekday traffic... but I still saw lots of cars
- We found out where Roger Clemens lives and drove by his house.  It was easily recognizable from the giant C on his front gate and the giant Texas Longhorns flag fluttering above his front door.
- After the tour, we caught up on some NCAA basketball we had recorded on the DVR.
- Later, we went back to the church for the evening youth activities.  We watched everyone play a game called "GaGa" which is actually Israeli Dodgeball.  Then, we listened to Joe's second lesson of the day, both of which were very good!  
- After church, we picked up some chicken wings from Wing Stop.  Mine were the garlic parmesan flavor so I could avoid the inevitable heartburn that would surely follow buffalo flavored wings.
- We then caught up on the rest of our basketball games.  All three of our brackets are basically worthless now,  Thanks Tarheels.  

I know this has not been very long or overly entertaining, but I am very sleepy and it's past mine and Baby Cooper's bedtime.  Tomorrow, we're headed to check out the beaches of Galveston, and possibly the Houston Zoo.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

rivers and roads

If you're from Louisiana, or currently call it home, you might want to skip these next 2 paragraphs.

The state of Louisiana (at least the part along I-10) is one giant litter box filled with rusty 1984 Chrysler Lebaron's, burned down EZ-Cash stores and smoggy oil refineries. If I saw one smokestack today I saw 10,000.

90% of the state smells like a toxic mixture of swamp gas and rotten fish.  BUT, they did do at least one thing right.

I know this will sound strange coming from me, an Alabama fan, but you guys nailed it with Baton Rouge. I've been to most SEC campuses and so far, LSU's is my favorite.

I was taken aback with the prevalence and beauty of the Spanish-styled architecture. The campus was large, yet comfortable and the Live Oak lined streets gave the entire place the feel of a turn-of-the-century plantation. The campus was spotless, and walking up to Tiger Stadium felt like I was approaching a grand cathedral. You guys did good when you put together your Capitol.

Oh and New Orleans. You did pretty good with New Orleans too.  Although I feel like asking for forgiveness just from glancing at the Bourbon St. sign, I can't ignore how special the rest of the city is.

One of the first stops we made today was Chalmette National Historic Park. Here, we walked the battlefields where General Stonewall Jackson defended New Orleans against the British in one of the final and most decisive battles of the War of 1812.

Afterwards we headed into the city and stopped at Jackson Square for breakfast and a look at some local art.  We visited the New Orleans Jazz Historic Park in the French Quarter, visited a couple of local shops and headed out. We did swing by the Superdome on the way out of town which was already decorated for the Final 4.

Didn't do too much else today since we had a ways to drive. We did stop at a rest area in Grosse Tete that housed a live Bengal Tiger. And We stopped in Orange, Texas and took a walking tour of Blue Elbow Swamp.

As we were traveling west on I-10, we passed a couple of Bandidos bikers. If you've ever seen an episode of Gangland you'd know why I was terrified of even being within 20 feet of these guys.  It was a harrowing few minutes as we approached, then passed these nefarious characters. For the next 20 miles I obsessively stared  in my rearview mirror knowing without a doubt the Bandidos were coming to hunt me down for looking at them funny when we passed. I made eye contact with one of the guys and it was like staring into an endless pit of terror.

Maybe most of that last paragraph was just my delirious sleep deprived mind playing tricks on me. But we really did pass some Bandidos on the interstate.

We arrived in Houston around 6:00 PM well traveled and worn out.  It's 11:45 PM now, and after watching DVR'd NCAA tournament basketball, it's time for bed.  Although to be honest, I am a little worried about going to sleep you guys. I'm afraid the Bandidos will terrorize me in my dreams.

Friday, March 23, 2012

another one in the dark

An arbitrary list of the top 5 Worst Cities I've ever visited. (Written at 1:33AM)

1. Cairo, IL
2. West Memphis, AR
3. Slidell, LA
4. Cody, WY
5. Green River, UT

But Slidell you say? It always seems so nice. Jim Cantore seems to love visiting every summer during Hurricane season.

Nope. It's the pits. Only took one picture in this crummy town, but it sums the whole place up nicely.

That was taken outside of our room at the La Quinta Inn. (No we didn't stay. No way I was letting my pregnant wife anywhere near asbestos.) We got our money back and looked for somewhere else. I guess the management isn't real keen about the long term health of its guests. No need for repeat customers in this town!

New Orleans tomorrow. And hopefully a well rested, non-grumpy pregnant wife.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

we're just praying that we're doin' this right

It's been a while since my last blog post, and honestly, I don't even know yet what I'll say in this one.  My brain seems a little foggy since waking up from my 2 hour nap.

I don't normally take naps, and some of you may think, "being pregnant will make you take more naps" or "just wait until you've had that'll want to take a nap."  True, true; and while I have found that pregnancy has made me more tired, I try not to take too many naps because I'm the type of person that feels unproductive when I nap, and that drives me crazy.  Yes, I know I'm strange.  So, I chalk this long Sunday afternoon nap up to a combination of baby and losing an hour with the time change.  (Yes, I do have to have a legit excuse for myself when I take a nap).

I'm 24 weeks and a few days pregnant now.  Little Robert Deegan Cooper (in case you haven't yet heard the name) is doing well and kicking fairly often.  It's not too much kicking; just enough that it's perfect for a little Mommy/Baby bonding time...and when Daddy's around we let him feel the kicking too. :)  Deegan's 24 week appointment went great.  There was not an ultrasound with this one, but we still got to hear the heartbeat.  It's still going strong at 154.  At our 20 week appointment we did have an ultrasound and we're still on track for a due date of June 29.  He was growing right on track.  It was so fun to be able to see him kicking too!

In other news (as if there really is any other news, since Deegan is all I ever think about all day), Beau and I are planning to go to Houston, TX for a few days over my spring break in a few weeks.   We finally get to visit Joe and see what his big city life is all about.  On the way, Beau and I plan to stop in New Orleans since I have never been there before.  I've never even been to Louisiana, so I will be knocking another state off my list! Take that Beau Cooper.

Beau has been busy working on a water system mapping project for his job.  He goes out to Double Springs, AL almost every day out of the week for this project, and he always has some interesting stories and facts about the little town and the surrounding Bankhead National Forest.

Beau and I have recently been working on a project.  My mom had this old, tarnished chandelier at her house that she replaced with a new light fixture.  So, I took the chandelier and spray painted it a Jade color.  After much hard work, my very smart husband was able to install it in our front hallway.  I have to say, I am pleased.  I think it adds a little character to that hallway.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I believe I'll go enjoy the rest of my 4 day weekend (yes, I did say 4 day....I love when built in snow days aren't used at school).  If it doesn't rain tomorrow morning, I'll have tennis practice with my tennis team, and then....who knows?  That's what's so great about days off!