The Most Unlikely of Roommates

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A lot of you probably don’t know this, but Daniel and I have had a roommate! My cousin Jennifer has been living with us since November. She’s in medical school, and one of her rotations took place in my town. When she first mentioned the possibility of coming to Durant’s hospital about a year ago, I immediately offered up the spare bedroom in our house without a second thought. I knew student housing would have been provided for her,  but I figured that if she had to spend that much time away from her husband, Stacey, she might as well spend it with family.

Right after I agreed to let her live with us, I had a five-second mental breakdown.

“Okay…what did I just do. I know we grew up together, but what if this was a bad idea? What if she hates living with us?? She’s gonna find out how awful of a ‘housewife’ I am…”

I’ll never forget the day she moved in. We brought in boxes, books, and basically her entire closet from the back of her car, and I thought, “This is going to be weird.”

But early this morning, she packed all of that stuff back in her car, and it about broke my heart. Her time here FLEW by, and although I’m so happy that she finally gets to go home to her husband and dog-child for a little while, I hate saying goodbye to her. I hate it. We’ve spent our whole lives living at least 45 minutes apart from each other, and I never could have guessed that we would get to live under the same roof for a short time. 8-year-old Jennifer and Laura would be jumping for joy, haha!

Jennifer fits every description that exists for the phrase “best friend.” I think she’s seen me in every possible context by now, and I hope I was as fun to live with as she was! She introduced me to Yoga With Adriene; she turned Daniel into a Grey’s Anatomy fan; she became my dog’s best friend; she kept me company on the nights Daniel had to work late; and she taught me another decent way to make potatoes. ;) We are the most unlikely of roommates, but the last four months have been THE BEST.

We realized too late that we took zero pictures together the entire time she lived with us, and the only ones I took were of her trying to make Fitz (our dog) fall in love with her (which he did). We asked Daniel to take a picture of us last night, which of course was the worst idea ever, but he actually got some cute ones of us laughing!

Jen – you were the best roommate ever!! I hate how empty your room is, but I know you’ll be back. I’ll remember the conversations we had in this house forever. ♥ Love you and miss you already!

Vacation Reveal: We’re Traveling To…!!

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…..ALASKA!!

WE’RE CRUISING TO ALASKA!! I can barely breathe every time I think about it! Both of us have wanted to do this for years, and it still hasn’t sunk in yet that we’re actually going. We’ll be cruising with Princess, a first for us – our only other cruise was with Royal Caribbean, and we visited Honduras, Belize, and Cozumel. For this cruise, we have four ports of call in Alaska and British Columbia, and we’ll be doing some scenic cruising through Glacier Bay. We even get to explore Seattle for a day or two to bookend the trip!

We’ll be stopping in:

I’ve been doing so much Googling and Pinteresting and TripAdvisor-ing, and my WORD, the photos!! My heart has skipped so many beats it’s unhealthy. My dream location is almost always a big body of water next to awe-inspiring mountains, so this is basically heaven. And being the organizer that I am, I’ve already been planning everything down to the tiniest detail – even mapping out the route from our cabin to different locations on the ship, making lists of “must-see’s” and good eats at each port, and figuring out how much time we’ll need to walk everywhere. There’s only one thing that I’m unsure of, and that’s what to do with our bags on the last day of the trip.

Here’s our problem: We arrive back in Seattle on a Saturday around 7:00 am. Our flight isn’t until around 5:00 pm that night. We’ll need a few hours to depart the ship, pick up our bags, and go through customs, but we have a big chunk of time to kill, and I’m not sure what we should do in the meantime. I figured it would be nice to try another local restaurant, but do we just drag our bags around with us? I’m stumped. Any ideas?

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As far as general Alaskan cruise advice goes, here’s what others have told us so far:

  • Bring your own binoculars for wildlife sightings on the cruise because the ship will charge you an arm and a leg for a pair
  • Pack clothing pieces that you can easily layer for more warmth or remove to cool off, depending on what the weather does
  • Explore the ship fully as soon as possible so you can find your favorite place to enjoy the view for the rest of the trip
  • Visit the Mendenhall Glacier ice caves in Juneau
  • Don’t spend the extra money on a room with a balcony – there are lots of places to take in the scenery on the ship, and you’ll hardly spend any time in your room anyway
  • Remember to pack a few things you don’t normally need for a Caribbean cruise (rain gear, warmer jackets, gloves, hats)

As the trip gets closer, I’ll share my packing list, travel checklist, and maybe even a peek in my suitcase…!

Oh, who am I kidding; you’ll definitely see the inside of my suitcase.

Have you been on an Alaskan cruise before? I welcome any advice or suggestions!

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Christmas in Chicago

If you had told me at the beginning of December that I’d be spending part of my Christmas ice skating and being introduced to Downton Abbey in Chicago, I would have thought you were nuts. But that’s exactly what happened, and the three days I got to spend with my sister and grandparents were such a blast!

The week before Christmas, Robyn and I spontaneously decided to book plane tickets for the following Monday. Meaning, we booked a flight that was less than a week away, and the day after Christmas, no less. Meaning, I had three days to do about ten loads of laundry in order to pack for three separate Christmases (Daniel’s parents, my parents, and one set of grandparents) AND pack a suitcase for plane travel. Oh and I was also still doped up on pain meds from getting my wisdom teeth out. Lol. First time for everything!

We flew out of OKC to Dallas, then from Dallas to Chicago. And let me tell you something – when we got on the plane in Dallas, it was THE NICEST plane I have ever been on!! I’m not exaggerating, this thing was superb. The aisles were wider, it had three sections of seats instead of two, the snacks were better, the seats were more comfortable, AND – best part – every seat had its own power outlet and TV screen in front of it with hundreds of TV shows and movies to choose from. I was thoroughly impressed.

The first day and half was spent relaxing, eating, hanging out with our grandparents (who I somehow never took a picture with, *thumbs down*), and trying to get Grandma’s cat Bethany to like us.

Robyn finally convinced her! She’s the cutest.

Wednesday, we conquered Chicago on our own! We took the train into the city, then a taxi to the Field Museum of Natural History. I had been before in 2006, but I enjoyed going back! One of the larger special exhibits, “China’s First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors,” included real terracotta pieces brought over from China, some of which dated back as far as 221 BC.

Looking at clay statues that were carved by hand 200 years before Jesus was even born…it stole my breath.

We didn’t have an endless amount of time in the museum, but we sure had fun wandering around while we were there!

Arguably the happiest picture from the trip. :)

Since we were only a few city blocks from Millennium Park (our next destination), we just walked! The weather was gorgeous, and we got to enjoy the view more than we would from the back of a cab.

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The highlight of our adventure was ice skating in Millennium Park! Although “ice skating” barely describes what we were actually doing. We both put one foot on the ice and realized we had made a huge mistake, but we managed to make it around the rink three times. It took us seventeen hours, but still. Three times!

We were better at people watching and throwing shade.

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Nobody but Robyn will really ever understand why the photo on the left is so funny. Let’s just chalk it up to my terrible photography skills and leave it at that. :) The important part is that she is a great travel buddy, this trip was good for my soul, and now we can smugly tell people that we ice skated in Millennium Park at Christmastime (and conveniently leave out the part about the adorably tiny 3-year-old girl who literally skated circles around us while we clung to the railing).

Enjoy my travel posts? Buckle up, because I’ve got not one, but TWO 2017 vacation reveals coming soon!! Stay tuned :)