Saturday, December 31, 2011

Celebrating with Friends

December 30th marked 35 years of marriage.  And we're still smiling.

Has it always been easy?  Um, no.  

I would venture to say we're now at that dreaded epic milestone that we can start giving marital advice.  So for those of you still struggling in the early stages of marriage, listen up.

#1.  Love God.  That's it.  Love God.  I could probably stop here, as that pretty much sums up the entirety of life...marriage being just one small fraction.

#2.  Be committed.  And I don't mean to an asylum.  Although at times, you'll feel you need the break.

#3.  Find (and be) good friends.

Here are ours.

And though you may think it odd that we choose to celebrate our anniversaries with each other, rather than a romantic evening alone, we think it makes perfect sense.

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Christmas to Remember

And I quote, "Mom, this will go down in the books as one of the best Christmases ever!"

We've talked for years about a destination Christmas.  Well this year--albeit last minute--we (sort of) planned a ski trip to New Mexico.  And by that I mean I planned a ski trip to New Mexico.  So not only do I accept the blame for poorly planned routes, I also claim the credit for a wonderful Christmas vacation.

Despite long hours in the car (my grandkids are the best travelers in the universe) and a few treacherous roadways, we had a very memorable holiday in the Sacramento Mountains.

Oh the weather outside is frightful,

But the fire is so delightful,

And since we've no place to go...

Let it snow,

let it snow,

let it snow.

33" base.  Ruidoso has already gotten over 67" so far this year!!!

Thanks goodness for Nintendo DS.

Jeff & Heather snowboarded.

 The rest of us preferred skis.

I didn't even miss the turkey and dressing OR the pumpkin pie!

This is Lauren's expression from the minute she gets up in the morning until she hits the sack.  Unless you interrupt her in mid-song.  Then she gives you the evil-eye.

Here are a few things we learned:

1.  Tire chains or 4-wheel drive is a must.
2.  Heavy duty trash bags will NOT hold up at a speed of 75 mph.  Bite the bullet and purchase or rent an enclosed carrier for the luggage rack.
3.  There are no towns/restrooms between Odessa, TX and Ruidoso NM.  (At least none worthy of a rest stop.)
4.  Phone signals are few and far between in New Mexico.
5.  Kids need ALL-DAY ski school.  Not just 90 minutes.
6.  As much as you may love coffee, the third cup is not worth the ordeal of removing layers of ski clothes in a tiny bathroom stall.
7.  Santa CAN find you in Ruidoso and doesn't need a chimney to enter the cabin. I know. Freaky.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Blevins!!!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fleece Sheets

FLEECE SHEETS!  That's #2.  (Important facts I learned last weekend.)  #1 - Fuel Gauge Arrow  #2 - Fleece Sheets.  Who knew?  I'll be checking out white sales after the New Year!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pre-Holiday Getaway

I spent the weekend with some pretty terrific gals in Branson.  The best way to begin a hectic holiday season is definitely a few days of relaxation.  In a condo on the lake.

With shopping and restaurants nearby.

There's a lot more to these ladies than meets the eye.  I learned two very important pieces of information over the weekend (besides the fact that you should always pack Christmas colors).  #1.  Did you know that all fuel gauges have a red arrow that points to the side of the vehicle with the gas tank?  ME NEITHER!  Great little tidbit if you drive lots of rental cars.  #2.  I cannot for the life of me remember #2.  But at least I'm not stressing over it.

There was cooking, crocheting, movie-watching, shopping, eating, "quick scrabble" playing, jacuzzi soaking, and lots and lots of talking.  We also managed to sleep a little.

Sunday morning we were greeted with God's beautiful display of frost.

Wonderful Weekend!  Thanks Terri!!!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A few things I'm thankful for....

Help in the kitchen.

 Including a Cajun cook (Tammy from Baton Rouge) and daughter-in-law (Heather).

 Tammy's teenage son, Dusty, even got roped into helping.
 Perfect little nutter butter acorns.

 Neal got teary-eyed seeing his daughter-in-law emerging from the woods in her camo.

 An abundance of food.
An abundance of family.

Couldn't get much better.

Monday, November 21, 2011

C'est fini

After almost 3 months, I'm finally wrapping up my European journal.  Do I hear a collective sigh of relief?

Friday was our last full day and we definitely did not waste it.  Grand finale--Versailles!

Here are just a few of the 87 photos I took at the home of Kings Louis XIV, XV & XVI:

Entering the palace...

The chapel...

The gardens....

I had a crick in my neck for days after staring at all these ceilings.  I was just starting to recover from The Louvre!

Awesome sculpture in the gardens...

Awesome o.j. for some hot and tired tourists...

We left Versailles to return to Paris for an early flight Saturday morning.  Our timing wasn't great, as we ended up in 5:00 traffic in Paris, with an empty gas tank.  But every misadventure turns into a great story.  I'm sure someone (Susan?) has pictures of our mighty leader begging various Parisiennes to use their credit card to buy our gas, and let him pay them in Euros.  The credit card story is another debacle.  The U.S. has GOT to get on board with the "chip" card!!!  That will be my next crusade.

Thus ends the great European adventure.  Ready to go back next year.  Who's with me?

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Thursday we reluctantly left Switzerland.  Destination--Mâcon, France.  And can I just tell you how excited I am to have finally figured out how to put the little carrot-top on the a?

Mâcon (I may have to type that word several times just cause I'm so proud of myself) was how you say....vewee dee-fer-ant.  Probably THE most strange/different city we visited.

The Saint-Laurent bridge was built in the 11th century!

Saint Vincent Cathedral
Base of towers constructed in the 11th century and octagonal tops in the 13th.

Here's something interesting.  The Wooden House--circa 1490-1510.

It was adorned with rows of these ugly carved monkeys.  In several different "awkward" positions.

They really kinda creeped me out.

And then we had dinner at the most extravagant, expensive restaurant of the entire trip. There were like 23 courses or something.  Janet dressed up for the occasion.  Wearing her SSCC VBS t-shirt (that she slept in the night before) with a pirate on the front...circa 2011.  We tried to nonchalantly fade her into the background. But she doesn't make it easy.

Next stop--Versailles.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


to Switzerland!

And our trip is far from winding down.

First stop is Thun, where we made the long climb up to the castle... 

and enjoyed the view of the lake (Thunness).

Then it was on to our destination of Lauterbrunnen.

Views from our balcony:

The next three days were all about scenery, nature, fresh Alpine air and relaxation.  We had seen--and would see--some beautiful places in Europe, but Switzerland, ahhh, Switzerland was the best.  

Good thing we were all still getting along.
This would've been the perfect place to throw someone over a cliff.
Not that the thought even occurred to me.
Just sayin'.  This would've been the perfect place.

Who knew such a small amount of snow could make so many snowballs? :)

 In the revolving restaurant at Schilthorn.

I picked up pinecones on this hike to bring back to Oklahoma.
The Customs agent had a different idea. :(

A brief stop at Lake Geneva for picnic lunch, then heading back to France.

Au revoir, Switzerland.  I still miss you.