Wednesday, October 31, 2012

happy halloween from kendall & julie & ben & malcolm!


get it??  our halloween costumes...  i'm julie & she's me!

hot pink tee, hot pink glasses, straight hair, statement necklace.  well played, julie byrd.

chevron skirt, chevron tights, bear ears, baby boy.  nailed it.

& blakey thus had to be ben.  phillies hat, cardigan, norman shirt.  {he changed after this picture.  you'll see it in a bit.}

{the vandaveer family}

my friends joined in the halloween celebration of lindsey's birthday!!  cari as lindsey vonn, the olympic skier & ashley as a recorder rocker chick.  

{we are awesome.}

{more girl fun!  so happy to see you too, mrs billings!}

{the soon-to-be mr & mrs.  
nice winter theme there.
also, you look pretty comfy with little malcolm...}

{flip cup.  totally still appropriate.}

happy halloween, friends!!  hope you get to do something fun.  or at least get to eat a delicious treat or two.

love love,

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

play like a champion!

even with a big L at the end of the game, the OU vs notre dame experience was pretty darn fantastic.  i had never seen so many people on campus, so many people cheering on our sooners.  the joy & excitement walking around campus, tailgating with our loved ones, a surprise birthday party, a fabulously spirited stadium, more time with loved ones in our seats, a drop in by a former ou player.  could not have asked for more!

well, a win.  i could've asked for a win.

{the start of gameday at dad's in the gorgeous fall weather.}

this was blake & my first home game since we moved to alabama!  oooh, i had missed it.  campus corner, crimson & cream, & so many familiar faces...

{dave & two of his boys}

{so fun seeing you all!
trent & sarah & cara & beau}

{randy dandy!  where you gunna go now?}

two of our favorite friends in medical school were back in town to celebrate a big 30th birthday.  katie threw a fantastic surprise birthday party for her husband.  we got to walk in with luke to find his surprise & see the happiness on his face.  priceless.  so wonderful to see you both!!

{the doctors cunningham}

{happy birthday, luke!!!}

as you probably know, blakey & i are in complete agreement to disagree on the best seats in the stadium.  he thinks his family's seats in the endzone are the best because you can see plays unfold.  i am positive my family's seats are the best, as they are on the 45 yard line, 36 rows up.  the perfect seats.

so we don't sit together.  but that gave me the opportunity to enjoy the game with my daddy byrd & my sister & my armstrong!

enjoy your seats, blakey.  mine are better :)

{the home of the brave.
& the sooners.}

{the intro video}

{the stadium really looked neat with its red & white stripes}

mark clayton stopped by to sit with us!  & by "us", i mean armstrong.  they're friends.  that's so cool.  he really is a very nice guy.  his first time sitting in the stands.  & he was freezing.  it was pretty funny.  glad we had a blanket to share.  great to meat you, mark!

{live on, university!}

an experience of a lifetime.  i look forward to beating you in your home next year, irish.

love love,

Monday, October 29, 2012

bike to the lower 9th ward.

one of the neatest things we did while we were in new orleans was a bike tour through the lower 9th ward in new orleans.  {in case you are going, we chose ninth ward rebirth bike tours, from the original bike tour company in new orleans.  it was fabulous - totally recommend it.}  i would very much like to point out this was not a tour of devastation & despair but a tour of hope & rebuilding.

{our tour guide, derek}

first off, it was quite awesome to ride around in the warm sun on a bicycle.  i hadn't ridden a bicycle in... years.  i felt quite awkward in the beginning, but i now fully understand the saying "it's like riding a bicycle."  you certainly remember how to do so quickly.  & a little athletic activity was quite nice at the end of this culinary tour.

secondly, it was a really neat way to explore a big part of the city that you would likely otherwise not see.  we rode our bikes from frenchmen, where the locals hang out, to the streets outside of the touristy part of the city, where the locals live, down streets full of history from before, during, & after the storm to one of nola's historical cemeteries & then down to the lower ninth ward.  all the while learning & understanding so much more about this vibrant city.

{a previously abandoned warehouse
that the city is turning into a local market}

{the national shrine of saint roch.
patron saint of miraculous cures.}

& lastly, i am so grateful to have learned more about katrina & the people affected & the hope in the city.  we rode from the lesser devastated parts to the more devastated parts.  the french quarter itself is the highest part of the city, so it did not flood like the rest of the city.  as we went out, you could see how more & more water was present.

{the more fortunate part of the 9th ward: 
the water was "only" up to those house numbers next to the front door.}

when katrina came, the city had a mandatory evacuation.  the rescue officials went door to door to make sure everyone had left.  to mark that a house had been checked, a big "X" was spray painted on the house.  the rescue officials' symbol was tagged to say who checked.  then a tag of what action was taken - if they entered & what the found.  the way i understood it was that the officials knocked.  if they didn't hear anything or didn't {warning: graphic} smell anything, they marked a "NE" for "no entry".  if a person or animal was found, that was instead marked.  many many houses still had these Xs on them.  some are still abandoned & some were on brick & hard to erase & some were left for what looked like a reminder.  

{hard to see, but this house's X is behind the posts on the porch}

{the fats domino's house & recording studio 
before katrina in the lower 9th ward}

we stopped at ronald lewis' house of dance & feathers, a little museum honoring his mardi gras & katrina memorabilia.  mr lewis told us about his community & their strong desire to return home & rebuild after the storm.

after the museum, we headed towards the levy that broke.  as we got closer & closer, there were fewer & fewer houses remaining.  partly because abandoned houses had been purchased & torn down.  partly because many of the houses near the levy were actually picked up by the force & moved & destroyed off the property.  it certainly makes you wonder how strong that force was & what it was like.

{a street with almost no buildings remaining,
yet these beautiful oaks still stand tall.}

& we ended our tour of the 9th ward at the new neighborhood of green homes being built by mr brad pitt & friends.  one corner has a garden to walk through, porch remains to sit at, & history of the storm to learn from.  

{a view of the broken levy & the water & the barge that broke the levy}

{the red shows houses that are no longer,
while the black are houses that remain.}

{the new green houses being built.}

a really really neat experience to see & learn & understand more.  it's a wonderful city.

& on the hurricane note, prayers for you all on the east coast! stay safe & take it seriously, even if they haven't ended up serious before please.

love love,

Friday, October 26, 2012

a pumpkin truffle.

mmmmm.... fall.  pumpkin truffles with creamcheese & cinnamon & ginger dipped in cinnamon bitter chocolate & sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs.  fall.

i love the fall.

blakey & i will be spending this beautiful fall weekend in OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOklahoma! seeing our families & meeting our nephew!!!  & experiencing the ou vs notre dame on owen field.

epic fall weekend.

fun fact friday: to entertain me on airplanes, i really like to watch silly movies.  40 year old virgin is my go to.  but since i've been flying a lot in the last couple of years, i've had to branch out.  chick flicks are always a good choice.  this time i went with what to expect when you're expecting.  i expect it to be horribly entertaining :)

happy weekend to you!

love love,

Thursday, October 25, 2012

thankful thursday: beautiful nola.

blakey & i both admit that i am the planner of this marriage.  the planner, the organizer, the schedule-keeper.  but for some reason, i just don't like to plan vacations.  luckily for me, blakey is really really good at planning vacations.  this trip was the perfect example.  so i am thankful.  for my wonderful husband.  for his fantastic vacation planning skills.  for a fabulous vacation.  & for beautiful new orleans.


{strolling down the river on a beautiful morning}

{the river, the bridge, downtown, & the french quarter}

{the beautiful st louis cathedral}

{& the beautiful inside}

{blakey is always learning.}

{jackson square & the gigantic live oaks}

{what a smart tree - you cut off my limb, i will grow a new branch}

{a stroll through magazine street}

{a peak into a private courtyard in the french quarter}

{blakey loves pirates}

{the rules of new orleans.
cat selling has something to do with
america's oldest profession...}

oh, the hotel blakey booked was perfect too.  le richelieu in the french quarter.  a beautiful boutique hotel.  perfectly nola with our second story balcony & wrought iron railing.

{always always learning.}

{our across the street neighbor!
i loved this man & his morning coffee.}

{enjoying a little thursday afternoon fantasy football on the balcony}

{love you, husband & your perfect vacations!}

i hope you can think of something today for which you are thankful.

love love,