Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Michigan 4th of July

For the 4th of July, Adam and I drove up to Michigan to spend a week with his family.  The 4th is his family's "big" holiday where all the family comes back to his parents.  Adam is one of 5 siblings so they have a very large family especially when you factor in spouses/fiances/girlfriends/kids/animals.  Adam and his brother Jason are the only ones that have moved away from his hometown so I know his mom is over the moon to have all her kids back under one roof. 

We spent the week swimming in the pool, jet skiing and boating in the lake, playing with the dogs, eatting and relaxing.  Oh, and I did sneak a quick trip in to Ikea on the 4th - - Love that place!!! 

Henderson loves going to his Nani's house for several reasons but especially because he gets to sleep on all the comfy furniture!!
Boating with Henderson

Beauitful sunset over the lake at Adam's parents

I also made my first trip to Mackinac Island.  Adam's brother flew us and his fiance Sarah up for the morning/afternoon.  We were going to go last year but the weather wasn't clear enough to fly so we finally got to go up this year.  I really enjoyed walking around the island and seeing all the pretty Victorian houses.  It was right up my alley.  I got some amazing Oreo fudge too!!
Before we took off for Mackinac

The Grand Village Hotel

Sarah, John, Adam and Me

Ariel shot of Mackinac on the way back home
The other big event while we were there was his sister Ashleigh's wedding!  She had a beauitful outdoor wedding and reception at her boyfriend's stepdad's house on the lake.  I don't know how she pulled it all off - she just got engaged in February! - but she did and it was a good time had by all.  His brother Jonathan is actually getting married a week before Christmas so there has been lots of wedding planning for the Gray family this year.     
All dressed up at the wedding - I actually had bought this dress for a Mardi Gras ball we had tickets to in Baton Rouge.  Unforunately, that's when my grandpa passed away and obviously we didn't go to the Ball.  So, I finally got to wear my dress that had been hiding away in the closet :-)

Adam's adorable nieces were flower girls - Sidney and Brooklyn

Gorgeous little bride!

Friday, July 15, 2011

"She doesn't have weapons - only her mouth."

Anybody else catch the season premiere of the new Lifetime show Dance Moms?  Of course, spending 16 years of my life dancing (private studio, competition and high school dance team) had me greatly intrigued so I dvr'd it and indulged last night.  

Now, I know that people are "portrayed" different when it comes to reality TV but I really think the owner of the studio in Pittsburgh - Abbey Lee - is REALLY as crazy and awful as she seems!  Then again, parents are paying her (GASP - one woman said she pays $16,000/year for her to teach her 6 year old!) so who really is the crazy one in the picture?!  Not to mention, the woman verbally abuses the girls from the minute their dance class starts to the minute it ends.  She doesn't even hold back when it comes to the parents... The woman runs a tight ship but she needs to find a way to get perfection from her dancers without all the verbal and physicological abuse.  Case in point... during a trio at competition one little girl's headpiece fell forward ... Abbey's comments to the mother..."Next time it better be sewed to her head!"  So while she was out in the lobby screaming at the mother, both the teacher and the mother missed seeing the little girl win first place for her trio. 

For me, dancing is one of the best memories I have from growing up.  I made lasting friendships and got to compete up and down the US.  When it came to perfection, time spent dancing, and expectations - I was way harder on myself than my parents ever were - I can't even imagine how these little stick-thin 6-year-olds are going to turn out after being told half the stuff their dance teacher screams at them on a routine basis.

Yes - part of the beauty of dance is the perfection, effortless, percise artistic movement - and lifelong lessons that can be learned from the art - discipline, dedication, showmanship, sportmanship - but as with everything else, someone can make it look bad for everyone else.  With this TV show, there will be a gauntlet of bad press about the dance world while at the same time, I would almost be willing to bet that the Abbey Lee Dance Company will have waiting lists out the wazoo of pushy moms wanting their daughters trained by the 'best".

Here's Abbey telling the 5-6 year olds and their mothers that she is going to have a pyramid each week of who is on top and who is in the bottom.  Nice lesson for 5 year olds don't you think? 

Tune in next time and see what you think... here's the previews from Lifetime's website...

Dance Moms


Monday, July 11, 2011

Romantic Getaway with my Love

It's really quite funny how things work out... in May, Adam and I were talking about how June was going to be such a good, slow, relaxing month because we didn't have to travel anywhere, no visitors, etc.  So, being the planner that I am, I thought well, wouldn't it be nice to sneak away to Asheville for a night and go see the Biltmore together???  About that same time, the Biltmore actually emailed out that they were running a special where you could get admission tickets for 50% off so I thought it was meant to be.  So, I booked non-refundable Biltmore tickets and a hotel room.  Naturally I ended up in Las Vegas that week and flew back Thursday evening.  Then, Adam's parents made an unexpected trip south and were staying with us Saturday night.  So sandwiched between Las Vegas and his parent's visit was our quick but fun trip to Asheville.  

It was a really nice drive over - I think it only took about 3.5 hours.  Adam had made reservations at a random restaurant he found online and it actually ended up being in the Biltmore Village right at the entrance to the Estate!!  He did such a nice job picking the place and the food was sooooo good!!  How cute are we??  (PS - doesn't the deer on the wall resemble Henderson?!)   

Love my strappy sexy little shoes! 
We knew time was going to be limited since his parents were en route on Saturday so it was up and out early to beat the crowds and the heat at the Estate.  After a semi-battle, Adam agreed to wear the head seat (that I had already bought as part of the package!) for the tour.  I think sometimes he just likes to get my feathers ruffled for the fun of it.. :-)  No matter how many times I see the Biltmore I still think it's beautiful!!  There's just something magical about it.   
We decided this would be a nice size yard for Henderson

After the house tour, we grabbed some ice cream and strolled through the gardens.  Our goal was the bass pond.  It was BOILING by the time we made it to the pond.  I think that was my first time venturing through the garden though - not much was in bloom - I guess we missed all the pretty flowers. 

We wrapped up our trip and headed back West to Ooltewah to wait for his parents to arrive.  It was their first time coming to see the new house and we had a good, but brief visit.  Even though our trip to the Biltmore was a little rushed I still loved getting to spend some quality love with my man :-)