Friday, May 17, 2013

Kentucky Derby 2013

Back when I was in high school I participated in FFA (Future Farmers of America for all you non-small towners). My senior year I got to attend the FFA National Convention which happened to be in Louisville. Churchill Downs hosted FFA at the Downs Day, and ever since that exact moment I have been t-totally hooked on horse racing.

In the spring we usually made at least 1 trip down to Hot Springs for the horse races, but going to Churchill Downs was the experience of experiences for horse enthusiasts such as myself. $2 bets + horses = Avery in a very happy and cheap state.

Anyway, I desperately wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby this year, but I think we ended up having a better time right here in Midland, Texas, watching with friends. One of my girlfriends (Kelli) met her husband while going to graduate school about 30 minutes from Louisville, so she was instrumental in helping me figure out how to throw a real ol' fashioned Derby party.

Kelli and her twin for the day Todd in matching blue seersucker
 Tip #1: Seersucker is always in in the South.

Bethany and Whitney: both OSU grads poking people
 Tip #2: Have friends who all have connections. (I don't know if that's a real tip. But it was fun that every couple we invited all had a connection even though a few had never met.)

Cash and Matt
Tip #3: Have a bartender who is willing to go pick mint out of a friend's garden the day of the Derby just to have mint juleps for the afternoon. True story.

Bethany, Elizabeth, Kelli, myself, and Whitney
 Tip #4: Wear big hats.

Elizabeth and Kelli finding out they were in the same sorority
 Tip #5: Very similar to Tip #2...have friends who find out they were in the same sorority at different colleges.

mint julep making king

Run for the Roses
 Tip #6: Remember. This is the Run for the Roses. Decorate with roses.

Point made about the roses

Todd and his sweet, gorgeous wife Elizabeth
Tip #7: Invite people who are not only fun but also ecstatic about dressing up for the Derby.

Tip #8: Have lots of biscuits, ham, derby pie, dips, bourbon balls, mint juleps, and sweet tea; you can never go wrong with sweet tea.

Big Winners!
 Tip #9: Definitely have a contest during the race. This leads to all sorts of chanting and excitement. (Unless you live in oil country where everyone had a horse but secretly rooted for Frac Daddy so all of America would cheer for fracking. We REALLLLYYYY wanted Frac Daddy in the front.) Regardless, Matt was the big winner of a bottle of bourbon. He wasn't too upset. :)

Todd and Whitney: the big winners!
Tip #10: Have a best dressed contest. (And make sure you don't make Todd take pictures with every woman there. I just realized this. hahahaha)

A co-worker and I were discussing the Derby the week after, and he couldn't get over how silly it was to him that people spend all this money on 2 minutes of racing. Oh, my heart broke. Everything about growing up in the South, dressing like a lady/gentleman, drinking sweet tea like your momma made, watching horses and trainers and jockeys alike...all those things come together in one big event that in my heart of hearts cannot be topped by any other major sporting event.

To me the Kentucky Derby epitomizes the South. And frankly, I love the South.

And of course I love competition, winning, and gambling just a little bit.

Now it's off to the preakness and belmont. Until then...


Avery Jane

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wedding and Trips and I-40

As you can tell by my title, we've seen a lot of I-40 lately. And I-40 is about 7 hours from here. *sigh*

My "Hub" brother (that's a whole different post on the Hub) got married April 6, so it was an absolutely must for me to get to Arkansas to that wedding. It was a gorgeous wedding, but seeing my family and some friends added even more excitment to the trip.

Saturday we drove around the farm looking at the cattle, hit the dirt roads to go see my great uncle, and checked my dad's garden.

riding around on "the bullet" with my dad and hubby
 I love living in Midland. Deep, deep, deep down I cannot imagine leaving; I seriously am in love with this town. However, those days when I get homesick to visit my family I daydream about riding around on my parents' farm. That is my happy place.

Cash and my dad working in the garden
When I was teaching in Alma, I enjoyed so much going down on weeknnights to eat with my parents and watch them work in their garden. Cash and I aren't big veggy eaters, but something about growing food yourself; that's pretty cool.

hold on, honey!

I grew up riding 4-wheelers and in the back of trucks and doing miscellaneous things in the country. Cash did not. It just tickles me to take him to my parents' house, because so many of things that used to be second nature to me are brand new experiences for him.

On top of riding around all day, we had breakfast with all of my grandparents and loved on a certain niece and a certain nephew. (He is pining for his aunt to buy him an iPod touch. I'm losing that one.)

How do you say "no" to a kid who lets you put lip marks on his sweet little cheeks?!?!

Then that night we spent time with my Hub family on top of a mountain overlooking the stunning Arkansas River. An outdoor ceremony, beautiful weather, breathtaking views, and an amazing Christian couple means a perfect wedding.

Mom and Dad with the AR River in the background

my 3 favorite girls: my sis, my mom, my niece

the prettiest little girl I know

Bond. James Bond.
007 reporting for duty; gah, he's super good looking!!
 Sunday we had to make the 10 hour trek back to West Texas, but it was all worth it to be there to see Kit and Tony get hitched. I just love 'em!

It was sad to leave...but...we were back a few weeks later for TuRkEy CaMp. We had originally decided I wouldn't go since I had to work, but Cash ended up getting me a one way ticket on Friday night to fly up there. Then we made the journey back to Midland again that Sunday. We were both exhausted of I-40, but it was so worth it to be at turkey camp for breakfast.

The following weekend our friends Jessica and Shawn got married here in Midland, and it was beautiful as well! Plus, a good friend of mine from work was there with her soon-to-be hubs, so we had a great time with them. I am finding more and more why God led me to the bank I work for. The friends I have made and the managers I work for are unparalleled.

B and I with Jessica
cash, me, christian, britton, jeff
Britton and me and my farmer's sunburn
Seriously. Love that chica bonita.

Oh, and a definite highlight of J and S's wedding was watching my non-dancing husband glow on the dance floor to "Oh, you know it makes me want to SHOUT!" Boy, he lit it up out there.

A photo booth. A 2 meat dinner. A wedding planner who checks you off the "invite list" as you come in. A hopping dance floor. The end.

as the local weatherman, Horace, calls him: Tom Cruise and myself

Wedding season has begun and is in full swing now. Next week Britton and Jeff tie the knot, and I absolutely can't wait to see her beautiful self walking down the aisle. Love those lovebirds!

Tomorrow is Holli's wedding shower too! Eek! I get overwhelmed with all sorts of exciting emotions when my friends find the perfect man for them. Seeing people happy in marriage is what it's all about. I tweeted somewhat about this today, but ladies, the world needs to see us lifting up our men not tearing them down. We hear a lot of griping from women about their husbands not doing this or that or saying this or that. And I'm not saying the men are perfect. But maybe if we started with ourselves and gave our men a little public positivity, we wouldn't see so much of the imperfections.

In the words of Ruth Graham, "Show your mate (and the world) the positive, and show God the negative." As wedding season ramps up, I just hope we all remember to protect our marriage. Above. Everything.

That man is your helpmate in this world. Love him fiercely, and protect him boldly.

Love you, ladies (and men?!). Happy summer days!

XOXO and WPS!!

Avery Jane