Jaxty's Place

My place to ramble about my family, my crafts, my travels and life.

Dallas, TX

As soon as we returned from vacation, Carl had to empty his suitcase, reload his overnight bag and head to Dallas for a quick overnight visit for work.

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He went to the Dallas football game on Sunday to observe their procedures for the 50-50 raffle and to hopefully glean some new ideas.

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I’m not sure that he did but hey, free trip!

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This was interesting…he learned that Dallas sells 10,000 “standing room only” tickets for $29 each. People actually pile in and stand for the 3-4 hours during each game. Wow!

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But even more interesting, was a quick side trip during his down time. This is the infamous “grassy knoll” in Dealey Plaza where bystanders stood as John F Kennedy’s motorcade passed by during his assassination.

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Dealey Plaza is bordered by the Texas School Book Depository, where Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy from the sixth floor window (on far right).

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The location of the President’s vehicle at the time of the shooting is marked with a green X in the road.

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Carl then went and saw the theater where Oswald hid out and was eventually arrested in.

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Although the theater still “hosts a mix of repertory cinema and special events,” it shows the name of the movie playing at the time of Oswald’s arrest on one side.

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In light of the news that the country awoke to yesterday morning (as I wrote this) about the horrific and senseless tragedy of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, NV, it feels icky even writing this post about another horrific murder in our country’s past. But evil has existed in our country for all of history and evil will continue to reign until Jesus returns. I read a good article titled “How we should respond to the Las Vegas shooting.”

This is just a small exerpt from the article:

Mercifully, the Word of God can help in bringing theological precision to our thoughts by giving us a way to think about the problem of evil in our world.

Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:26-28

Though I don’t know the particulars, I do know He is making all things come together for His good purposes. Big tragedies need a big God to walk us through them. Without Him, there is no way to endure the works of evil satisfactorily.

I pray that God would help us all to make sense of such senseless tragedies and to lean into Him with the hope and peace that only He can provide. 

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Santa Rosa Beach with Friends

After five nights, our friends, John and Michelle left yesterday. But not before creating fun memories and having lots of laughs together. On Monday, we spent the day at the beach, soaking in the sun.

By the way, Carl and I celebrated our 35th anniversary of meeting this week.

Four years of college, 31 years of marriage, 3 children, 3 dogs, 6 interstate moves and we still like each other! God has certainly blessed us. I’m so grateful for these past 35 years!

On Tuesday, the husbands played golf and fished.

Meanwhile, Michelle and I enjoyed a spa day with massages, manicures and pedicures while enjoying cheese and wine. Such a fun day, thanks to a Groupon deal.

Since the ladies were in no mood for cooking after our day of pampering, we went out to eat, thanks to John and Michelle’s treat.

The next day, we started with a nice 4 mile walk. Since a donut and coffee break was included in the middle, I had to tag along that time.

Afterwards, we shared the cost of a Stand-up Paddleboard rental for our second beach day.

Since it was a little choppy and I apparently have really bad balance skills, I opted to have Carl paddle me around.

The next morning we returned to the beach and since it was smooth as glass, I was able to ride around on my own, which was so fun. Carl even got within 15 feet of dolphins! Very exciting!

We also enjoyed sunsets, cocktails, games and meals together.

I am so happy to have friends to share a special time away together.

And I’m grateful I’ve got this guy by my side for the past 35 years. Happy anniversary of meeting, Carl! What a great vacation together with friends.

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Santa Rosa Beach 2017

I’m so grateful for my Tuesday boss and the great working relationship that we have. And I’m especially grateful that he has a lovely beach vacation home that he shares with family and favored employees for free. This year, Carl and I invited our good friends, John and Michelle to join us for a week of fun and sun at the beach. We drove over one day prior to our friends to get settled in, get some groceries and enjoy our first walk on the beach at sunset.

The next afternoon, John and Michelle joined us.

While waiting for the sunset, Carl and John played bocce ball at the beach.

Our first full day together began with Carl, John and Michelle taking a long walk. Yes, I was the only lazy one. What of it? I’m on vacation. When they got back, Michelle made us her amazing quinoa power breakfast.

Yum! Carl and John watched the Jaguar game on the IPad since it wasn’t playing on local tv while Michelle and I went out for more groceries.

After the game was over, with a Jaguar victory, we drove down Highway 30a to explore some of the cute coastal cities. Our first stop was Seaside.

After wandering around the residential area, we came upon a field with a badminton court so we had to stop and play.

John and Michelle won, which did not make me happy. Plus I broke out in a sweat. Again, not happy. Oh well. At least we had fun! We finally made our way to the town square where they had a series of cute Airstream trailer food trucks so we stopped for some delicious BBQ pork for lunch.

And then to top it off, we all split a giant Sea Salt Chocolate 100 layer cronut (fried croissant) stuffed with chocolate filling.

What an incredible way to blow our carb count for the day! We then made our way further down Hwy 30a, ending at Rosemary Beach.

After taking a coffee/tea break, and sending the above photo to our pastor, who vacations there each year with his family, we walked around this area too for a while.

We finally made our way back home where John and Michelle prepared our awesome dinner of rib eye steaks, veggies and cucumber/tomato salad.

Then it was time for some games. Our first choice was Sequence.

By the end of the night, the women beat the men three games to two.

Losers.

It was a super fun day spent with friends. We are so happy to be spending our vacation with them. More fun to come!

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Arizona

After dropping me off in Tucson at my Aunt Sandy’s house, I spent the week doing the following (in the order of occurrence):

  • Seeing a local production of The Producers with Aunt Sandy, her half-brother (and my half-uncle) Larry and wife Judy and a few of their friends. It was very entertaining and well done.
  • Attending the local Sovereign Grace church for my weekly fill-up!
  • Having a day of pampering with a pedicure and massage

  • Attending the neighborhood water aerobics class three times that week. It was actually way more fun than I thought it would be.
  • Playing Scrabble at the IHOP, officially making me feel like an old lady between the water aerobics and this!

  • Formulating a plan with Aunt Sandy on our next genealogy project together on her father’s side of the family. We sorted through photos and began figuring out our plan of attack and we are excited about our direction.
  • Having dinner with my niece, Abby, in Phoenix (after spending the day with Anthony). Anthony was originally supposed to join us for dinner but ended up having too much homework that night.

  • Attending Aunt Sandy’s weekly watercolor art class which has really inspired me to start spending time in my craft room more.

I painted the parrot on the left…

And these flowers…

  • Visiting Judy and Larry at their ranch in the country and meeting their horses.

  • Having lunch with Judy and Larry and Sandra’s friend, Joy.

  • Playing several games of scrabble during the week, ending with my victory on the last night!


It was a great week away and I’m blessed to have such a beautiful and relaxing place to escape to at my Aunt Sandy’s mountain resort. It was the perfect place to recuperate after the long drive across the country and always such a special treat to spend time with my aunt. Thanks for everything, Aunt Sandy. Until next time!

And a very happy 80th birthday to my Aunt Sandy later this week!! I’m sorry that you missed your surprise party!

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College Bound

For the second time in two years, I made the 28-hour drive from Jacksonville to Tucson in Anthony’s pick up truck.

We drove 10 hours to Lafayette, LA the first day, 10 hours to Ft. Stockton, TX the second day and 8 hours to Tucson on the third day, where Anthony dropped me off at my Aunt Sandy’s house.

We were so blessed to be one day ahead of the devastating hurricane Harvey, as we drove through Houston the day prior. Other than some brief rain and numerous highway signs warning drivers to avoid the Texas coast, we traveled without any difficulties.

I did borrow Aunt Sandra’s car to drive up to Phoenix on Wednesday to visit Anthony at Grand Canyon University and see his apartment.

I took him to Costco to stock up on groceries and household supplies.

We also went to a few Goodwill stores to find a tv stand and two kitchen chairs for a total of $12!

It was good to spend time with the college boy and help him get set up in his apartment.

I wish him a great third year of college!

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Happy 21st Birthday!

Our second child, Anthony, has reached the momentous milestone of his 21st birthday!

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After finishing his second year of college this April, Anthony immediately flew to Seattle to spend two weeks on the West Coast visiting with a friend from college.

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From there, he was blessed to return to Camp Homelani for his second year working for the Salvation Army camp in Hawaii.

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He had another amazing year living just a few steps from the beach on the North Shore, making many new friends, like this guy….

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After camp finished for the summer, he stayed with his friend Josh for another week to celebrate his 21st birthday in Hawaii, the place that has claimed a special place in his heart.

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On Friday, he will be leaving Hawaii and flying to Chicago for a long weekend to visit his birth family. Next Tuesday, he will be returning to Jacksonville for a week. And then Anthony and I will make the 3-day/30-hour drive from JAX to Phoenix with his pickup truck. The redeeming part for me is that I will then get to spend a week being pampered by my Aunt Sandy in Tucson so it will be worth it in the end.

We are so excited to welcome Anthony home next week and are very grateful to God for giving Anthony so many amazing opportunities.

Happy Birthday, Anthony! We love you! We look forward to celebrating with you next week!

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The Rest of our Chicago Trip

Some other highlights from our week in Chicago….

Kelly and Avram went clubbing downtown Chicago with Bryanna and friends. It’s nice to see cousins bonding over dancing and drinking.


Game nights!

Bryanna and her boyfriend even came for dinner and a game on our last evening. So nice of them to make time for Aunt Kristy.

Visiting with friends – Scott and family. We even ate REAL Chicago pizza and didn’t even feel guilty. Now the cookie cake for dessert is a different story.

Watched a few movies.


Relaxed around the pool at mom’s complex.


And Carl even got regular work-outs in!


It was a great week in Chicago and we are so grateful for the time spent with family and friends. I am so grateful Carl had the whole week off and we made the trip up north. Thanks for all the hospitality, mom!

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Architectural Boat Tour

On Wednesday, Carl and I took the Metra train downtown to take an architectural boat tour. After I did that last fall with my aunt Sandra, I thought Carl might enjoy it so we used the anniversary gift of money from my mom to buy ourselves tickets.


After getting off the train, we were going to walk a few blocks and then take an Uber to Navy Pier. However, it was a beautiful day and we had time to kill so we ended up walking the whole three miles to Navy Pier. Since this tour originated from Navy Pier, it included a speed boat ride up and down the coast, showing the skyline.


After cruising the coast, we went through the locks to enter the Chicago River. Then we learned about the many of the high-rises along the river. Since this tour included the speed boat ride, we didn’t go as far down the river as the tour with my Aunt Sandy, but it was still very interesting. It was a great anniversary present. Thanks mom!

After the boat tour, we walked down Michigan avenue and around the city.


We had really hoped to win tickets to see Hamilton on that day but it was not to be. Super sad face.


I discovered the soundtrack to Hamilton on Amazon Prime a few months ago and have been obsessively listening to it at least once a week (sometimes more) since then. I was so excited to find out that it was playing in Chicago. Until I found out tickets were running from around $300 on up each. Since we could go on a weekend cruise for $500, we just couldn’t pay that much for tickets. However, I found out that they have a lottery for 44 tickets for $10 each every show. So Carl and I had 7 opportunities while we were in town. But with an average of 10,000 people entering every lottery, we didn’t win. Darn it. The show is coming to Orlando in 2018 though so we WILL be going. In the meantime, I’ll listen to the soundtrack another 150 times.

It was a fun day exploring a beautiful city on an equally beautiful day.

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Independence Day

Carl and I started our Independence Day holiday by attending a local parade that we heard from friends was the largest in the area.


Carl and I were very sad that my sister-in-law, Lisa, and my two nephews (neither of which Carl has met, the youngest I haven’t met) were out of town with her family while we were visiting. But that didn’t stop my brother Rob from hosting a BBQ on the 4th of July.


Rob’s daughter, Bryanna, and her boyfriend, Jimmy, joined us.


Rob did an amazing job, grilling hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, butterfly shrimp and vegetables. Nicely done, Rob!


It was nice to spend time at Rob’s lovely home. Nothing like good food and good company!


On the way home, we decided to take a small detour to visit the house we lived in with Kelly when she was ages 1 to 6.


The house looked exactly the same, with the same paint job from 20 years ago! We think it might be the same owners living there. I guess they must really like the house just the way Carl and I left it :).

Since it was so close, we also found the townhouse we lived in during my high school years.


After mom took us to a different unit and claimed it was where we lived and we repeatedly questioned the people in the clubhouse over the location of the clubhouse moving since it wasn’t where we remembered it to be, we walked over the hill back to our car and realized our former unit was right in front of us. Mom and I have the worst memories ever!

Then, since it was vacation after all, we decided to be naughty and get Dairy Queen.


If you are going to eat carbs, that’s a great way to go!

Instead of watching fireworks, since it was Kelly and Avram’s last night with us, we just stayed home and played some games. It was so good to spend time with them both and we are very grateful they came to Chicago. God Bless America!

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Chicago Trip

At long last…a new blog post. In fact, I have a whole bunch coming all week. Last week, Carl had the whole week off of work. So we decided to take advantage of the days off to fly to Chicago to visit family and friends. And even better, was the fact that Kelly and her boyfriend drove over from MSP as well to be with us through the 4th of July holiday.

On Sunday, my Aunt Gale hosted a BBQ for my dad’s side of the family. 

My dad and his new roommate, Tony, came. It was nice to meet Tony and I’m glad my dad has someone that seems to actually enjoy living with him!


Two out of three of Gale’s sons were there.

Jeff, the oldest, and his girlfriend, Jill

Justin, the middle son; Jessica, his wife; their boys


It was great seeing everyone.


We are grateful to Gale for hosting and to Carl for manning the Grill. Family time is the best time!

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