New neighborhood, new neighbors

When we listed our home for sale in April 2012, we weren't sure how everything would play out. We just knew we would trust the Lord as He lead us, whether that was selling the home or staying a little longer in that home. The selling process was not an easy journey. The more we house hunted, both online and in person, the more excited we became for our next house. And, of course, with every house showing we cautiously, yet excitedly, wondered if "this was it." The longer the process went on, the more discouraged we became. So much so, that we even talked with our Realtor about taking our house off the market. She encouraged us to stick with it a little while longer and shortly after that, we went under contract and sold our home....with no new home on the horizon. It was an interesting, stretching time. My parents graciously opened their home to us while we continued to house hunt. We faithfully sought the Lord and His direction in leading us to our new home. It took several months of waiting, per His leading, but we eventually were lead to our new home. Well, new to us. :)

We had no idea, at the time, how very perfect this home is for our family but we see it more and more everyday. And while the neighborhood was one we longed to live in, we had no idea how wonderful the neighborhood would actually be for us, either. Being an older neighborhood, with many people being the original owners of their homes, there is a great sense of community here. People are genuinely interested in knowing you and your family and helping you anytime, in any way. We have learned that first hand.

Many of our neighbors came over to introduce themselves and welcome us to the neighborhood within the first few days and weeks we lived here. We had some unexpected drainage problems with our yard, requiring us to remove a whole row of landscaping in the front of our house. A whole row of Holly bushes...that had been there since 1975. You can imagine the depth and width of those roots. Robert had a good time pulling them out with a truck. Not without trouble, though. It took borrowing our neighbor's chains to pull those suckers out. But our neighbor so willingly offered his assistance to us. It was so kind and different from our last neighborhood. We're embarrassed to admit that after living in our last home for 5 years, we only knew the names of 3 of our neighbors. So sad. That's why we've been so encouraged by our neighbors involvement and interest in our family and vice versa.

Having a large yard now, our push mower didn't cut it...unless we had 6 or so hours to spend push mowing the yard. However, we had not yet purchased a riding lawn mower by the time our grass needed mowed! So, Robert decided to break the mowing down into different days and began mowing our front yard first. One of our neighbors saw him out there mowing, and after talking with Robert, gave us his extra riding lawn mower to borrow for the summer! So very kind and such a blessing to us!

We are so thankful to be in our home and this neighborhood. We're very much looking forward to this summer and being outside more, playing and enjoying the pool, and getting to know our neighbors more. Waiting on Him was so very worth the wait!


DWTS-Show Day!

Monday rolled around and we were able to enjoy a relaxed morning. We were to meet people from ABC down in the reception lobby at 2:00, so we walked around Rodeo Drive and other streets lined with shopping that morning. I had been wanting to get my hair done for the show and finally made an appointment to do it that morning. I was able to get it done at the salon within our hotel, which was really nice. Before I made the appointment, I went to the salon to talk about what I was wanting to get done and find out how much it might cost. When we walked in, there was a man sitting at the reception booth talking on the phone and another guy standing at the end of that booth. I said hello and began talking with the man standing at the end, but OOPS!, I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to talk directly to him without having an appointment. The guy on the phone quickly put the caller on hold and gave me a look like, "what are you doing?!" and asked what I needed. I apologized, but the first guy I talked to quickly put me at ease and said, in his Argentina accent, "No, no you come right over here and talk to me." Whew! Anyway, I scheduled an appointment and Robert and I headed out to walk around and grab some lunch.

I arrived at my appointment on time (I did not want to upset the reception guy again :)) and learned my hairdresser was the man I had originally talked with. I was so relieved! He and I had a nice time chatting for the hour I was there. I have to tell you about some craziness that happened while I was there. Near the end of my appointment, this lady came rushing in all in a huff looking for her stylist and exclaimed that she had an emergency. Being a small salon, everybody "nonchalantly" perked up to find out what the problem was. Well....her driver disappeared! She hadn't been able to reach him for the past hour and a half and, heaven forbid!, had to take a BUS to get to the salon! Yikes! The driver called right after she said that and boy did she let him have it. He obviously was trying to explain what happened, but she shut him down saying there was absolutely no excuse for his behavior and that she was going to call the cops! Sheesh! By that time my hair was finished, so I don't know how everything turned out. Inside I was both shocked by her behavior and laughing at it because it was so ridiculous. I think I'll stick to driving my own minivan around town, hauling my cute kiddos with me. :)

Back in the room, we got all gussied up and I tried to calm my nerves. I was so excited about the event ahead and surprisingly nervous. Plus, knowing we wouldn't be able to take our phones with us and the impending severe weather threatening at home didn't help either. Nonetheless, we got dressed and headed downstairs. Turns out, there were a total of 15 winners and guests from across the country that were also staying at the hotel and attending the show. It was really fun meeting people from near and far and seeing everybody all dressed up looking nice. We were also able to visit with the 3 people from ABC that escorted us everywhere. They were so nice!! In fact, one guy used to live in Tulsa and worked at KOTV and KJRH, so we had a good time talking with him about the area. And another guy has family that lives in Muskogee. Small world!

Our motor coach was a big bus that took us to the studios. An interesting fact about the show is that it is filmed in a CBS studio but is an ABC show. I thought it was interesting. On our way to the studio, we played trivia games for prizes. Once we arrived on set, we saw a huge line of people standing outside the gates of the studio hoping to get in to watch the show. Unfortunately, most of them never made it inside. Once we were in the gates, though, the hunt was on for celebrities. Being a Bachelor and Bachelorette fan, judge if you must, I wanted to find Sean and Catherine. The first star we saw was Robert Herjavec from Shark Tank. We had to wait outside for awhile while they processed people through security, but again it was fun seeing everybody all dressed up and watching for celebrities.

Once inside, they broke us up into 2 groups. One group headed to one balcony, the other group to a different balcony. We ended up sitting right beside our ABC escort, Brad, who was around our age. We really enjoyed visiting with him throughout the show. I felt like a sponge when we made it to our seats. I was just soaking up everything I could about the show and set, all while watching for Sean and Catherine. Side note: we were in the first row of the first balcony behind the judges. The first star I saw inside was Maks. He had on super bright red pants and it was nearly impossible to miss him. :) After that, I spotted Catherine! Yay!! And next to hear was Sean. And next to him was Lisa Vanderpump. Behind them was Victor Ortiz. On the other side of the aisle was Emmitt Smith and his wife. In another part of the audience, we saw Kellie Picklers family and Jacoby's mom. We also saw Hugh Hefner's current wife. (Gag!)

Not long after we were seated, the show began. Watching a live show and everything it takes to put it on was so fun! And all the people required to put it on, too! There was an MC who interacted with the audience anytime we weren't live and he also had us clapping almost non stop throughout the show. Seriously, pretty much only during the commercial breaks were we not clapping and had a chance to sit down. But it was SO fun!! And the time went by so quickly. There were 2 different times that night that Tom Burgeron was on the balcony. And both times, he was RIGHT beside us. Seriously, if they would have turned the camera ever so slightly to the left, we would have been the crazy Okies on TV. :) But it was still so fun to be that close to him and "a part" of TV. Something interesting, is that we heard very little of what the judges, Tom or Brooke said that night. It was so loud from the constant clapping that we just couldn't hear them.

Once the show ended, we made our way outside to some benches to wait until our whole group was together again. While we were out there, we got to meet Kristi Yamaguchi and Dorothy Hamill! They are so beautiful and so very nice!! They took several pictures with us and visited with us for a bit. It was a lot of fun. After that, we loaded up in the bus again and made our way around the studio. We drove right by the stars trailers and were able to see the stars from the show again. It was fun watching them interact with people who made it back that way for pictures with them.

We made it back to our hotel in time to watch the show. We watched a little bit, but were so hungry we went out to grab a bite to eat. When we came home Tuesday night, we sat down to watch the results show and discovered from the little clips from Monday night, that we were in fact on TV a couple times! Now, if you didn't know where we were sitting, there's no way you would have seen us. But we do plan to watch the Monday night show to see if there are any better pictures of us on TV.

Overall, we had such a fun time!! It was certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity for us. Even if we someday attend another taping of a show, we'll likely never do it in this fashion. So we kept that in mind our entire visit and tried to soak everything in. Here are some pictures the ABC people took for us.

It was a fun trip indeed! We are so grateful for the chance to get away just the two of us and enjoy something so different and extravagant. Thank you ABC and KTUL!!


More DWTS weekend

After we got cleaned up, we decided to head down to Santa Monica for dinner and to see the ocean and the Santa Monica pier. Finding parking and eating our dinner took longer than expected, so we weren't able to see the pier or Venice beach like we had hoped to. But, we did enjoy seeing the sun set over the ocean and getting a glimpse of Venice beach.

By the end of the day, we were worn out but still excited about our day to come! Here are a few more pictures from driving around LA.

Traffic and a Target truck :)

I am a beach girl, through and through, however I'm learning to love the mountains more and more! I loved all the palm trees and lush landscaping everywhere, too!


DWTS weekend-Sunday

We're back from our weekend to LA for Dancing with the Stars! We had such a good time and are so thankful for the quick getaway we were able to have together. For only being there 2 days, I feel like we did quite a few things, so I'll break our time down into a few posts so I don't bore or overwhelm you. :) First up, Sunday....

We arrived in LA about 11:00 Sunday morning. We decided to rent a car while we were there, so that was our first stop. After picking up our car, we headed straight for In N' Out. We found one relatively close to the airport but it was packed! So, we headed out to find another one. This one was equally packed with no seating inside, so we got it to go and enjoyed it in our car. It was good, but surprisingly, it wasn't as good as we remembered it being. We both agreed we'd take Freddy's over In N' Out.

After lunch, our next stop was the Hollywood Hills. We decided to go on a hike at Runyon Canyon. It took us so long to get there and then even longer to find a place to park. This, really, was our first time in LA. We did go on a "babymoon" to California before we had Collin, but we headed north and then drove down the coast finishing our trip off visiting friends in a LA suburb. That being said, we were immediately overwhelmed with the amount of people, businesses and stuff in LA. It was almost overload for our senses. We didn't feel like we could take it all in because there was so much to look at. So, we were excited to finally reach Runyon Canyon and see the city from up high.

The hike and views did not disappoint.
It was a really beautiful, warm day out. There were many people out hiking, running, doing yoga. I was hoping we'd run into some celebrities, but no luck on that. We finished our hike a bit sooner than we expected, but made up the time traveling to our hotel.
So, after our hike we headed to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The closer we got, that more apparent it became that we were definitely in Beverly Hills and not Oklahoma anymore. If I'm being honest, I pretty quickly felt out of place. Something we didn't realize until we reached our hotel is that it was at the end of Rodeo Drive. We needed to find a place to park the car and luckily there was a parking garage right across from our hotel. This was no ordinary parking garage, though.
We pulled off the street and began driving down into the parking garage and I immediately told Robert, "We should not be parking here!" This was an incredibly nice, valet only, Mercedes, Porsche, Lamborghini, Audi vehicles everywhere! And here we were rolling up in our car all sweaty and stinky. Uncomfortable! But, we went ahead and parked there. We proceeded to unload our luggage and take it up the elevator and right out into a courtyard area of Rodeo Drive. It was awful!!! People were looking at us like "What in the world are you doing?!" Seriously, I kid you not that every eye was on us as I was wrangling our luggage down Rodeo Dr., down two flights stairs beside a beautiful fountain. I was nearly in tears.
We finally made it to our hotel. The lady who checked us into our room was so friendly and nice. Even as I was shaking and accidently dropped/threw our credit card at her for incidentals. I could not wait to get up to our room, cleaned up and out of sight for a few minutes. We made it up to our room and it did not disappoint.
It was certainly a nice room but I wasn't afraid to touch things like I thought I might be. :) It was actually very comfortable. We got cleaned up before heading out to Santa Monica. This post is getting a bit lengthy, so stay tuned for more later. And thanks for sticking with me this far and wanting to know about our weekend!!


DWTS Update

I received our flight confirmation, hotel confirmation and a few show details late last week and let me tell you, this is almost too good to be true! We arrive Sunday morning in LA at 11:00 and have the rest of the day to do whatever we'd like. We've talked about going on a hike to see the city and the Hollywood sign and are looking for other fun things to do on Sunday. If you have any suggestions of something we absolutely have to do, we're open to those. :)

Monday is the show, obviously, and our "fun" begins around 1:30. We'll receive definitive times later this week, but that's the tentative time 3 people from ABC will meet us in our hotel lobby to take photos and escort us to the show. They are taking us in a "motor coach" and escorting us to our seats in the studio. Then after the show they'll take us back to the "motor coach" and take us back to the hotel. Those are the most details on the show that I have right now, but those alone make me super excited!!

But get this, we are staying at the Beverly Wilshire hotel!!

I just don't even know what to think about this! I'll be real honest, I was worrying about wondering what kind of hotel we'd be staying in. When we travel, I don't need a fancy hotel but I absolutely need a clean hotel. Therefore, there are only a few hotels I'll stay at...maybe I'm a hotel snob. They aren't super expensive hotels, but they are ones I feel confident are kept clean. That being said, I was a little nervous about somebody else booking our hotel. Of course it would been fine, especially since they are paying for it, but I was really hoping we'd be a decent hotel. So when I received the hotel confirmation stating where we're staying, I was blown away! Seriously blown away!! Apart from our honeymoon, I've never stayed in a hotel this nice. I hope I'm not afraid to touch things in our room. :)

This has been a fun experience so far....planning our trip and thinking about what our hotel will be like and what it'll be like at the show. Something I wasn't expecting, though, are the occasional feelings of insecurity that have snuck up on me thinking about being in Hollywood and not "being Hollywood" at all. Does that make sense? Really silly, and likely superficial, I know. However, the Lord has convicted me about this and, at the same time, given me an inner confidence to be who I am in Him.

It's been so fun seeing Robert get more and more excited about the trip, even the show. I think for him, and me too, receiving more details made everything more real and more exciting. This is something we'll likely never do again, especially not in the manner we're doing it, so we're going to live it up. We've been talking about how much fun it'll be to not have to be back to the hotel by 7:00 for bedtime. :)

Can't wait to share more with you as we get details and then definitely after the whole experience!


Dancing with the Stars

So, I recieved some exciting news yesterday! For the past week or so, one of the local news stations here was advertising a chance to win a trip for 2 to the final taping of Dancing with the Stars. The trip included 2 tickets to the show, 3 days/2 nights hotel accomodations and transportation from the hotel to the show. Life has been so very crazy the past year and a half, I thought it would be so fun to try to win this trip for Robert and I to have a quick little giveaway. So, I entered everyday, missing a day or two, while the contest ran. Robert knew that I was entering and jokingly said that he'd love if I won the trip but would have to "hide his face" so his buddies didn't see him at the show.

Well guess what.......I WON!!!

I received a call yesterday from a lady with Merry Media informing me I was a qualifier for the grand prize. She just needed to know if I would be available to travel May 19 and May 21. I said yes, no problem, to which she said "Congratulations" and that she would be emailing me some paperwork to fill out. She also told me that KTUL would be providing round trip airfare! Honestly, I misunderstood her call and thought that she was telling me I was one of maybe 3 or 4 others who were finalists to win the trip. Well, I got busy meeting and visiting with some new neighbors and forgot about the phone call for a couple hours. Then I checked my email....

What did I find?!?! An email congratulating me on winning the grand prize trip to Dancing with the Stars! All I needed to do was complete the paperwork and return it to them within 2 days. How stinkin exciting is that?!?!

Robert is at Elite this week, the last week of it praise the LORD!!!! I tried getting in touch with him for 2 hours, 2 hours!, to tell him the exciting news! I was both excited and frustrated at the same time. I finally got ahold of him and he, of course, thought I was joking. I kept assuring him that no, I really won until he finally believed me.

So, today I faxed in the paperwork and should receive the hotel and flight confirmations by the end of the week. We're LA bound, baby, for the final show!! I'm a fan of Dancing with the Stars, so I know I'll enjoy the show no doubt. Plus how fun will it be to see all these celeberities?! Generally speaking, I don't think I get too star struck, but then again I've never met anybody famous. So, this is a bit different.

Honestly, this is the kind of thing that happens to other people. I'm in disbelief I really won. Obviously I entered hoping I'd win but I've never won anything like this nor known anybody who has won anything like this, so it makes you wonder sometimes if these are real and who actually wins, ya know? Now, now I'm a believer. Go enter those contests...you never know! :)

Looks like I need to go shopping pronto and find a great new dress for the show!!