Five on Friday

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Friday has graced us with it’s presence once more and I couldn’t be more pleased. A veritable cold front also moved through (it’s only 84 outside…what magic…what wonder….) and so that’s really made today all the more lovely. 

Now…if only I could share the dire need to go back to sleep…all would be well. My alarm shocked me to life this morning and I haven’t quite recovered since. *sigh* Onward to the five…




One.  Job 37:5 –  “God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding.”

I think that sometimes when a verse pops up…oh…more than once or twice in the span of a couple days, maybe the Lord is saying “PAY ATTENTION TO ME HARD-HEADED CHILD.” I tend to need frequent reminders that my life is not my own; that the Lord has a plan and that He will “work all things together for the good of those that love Him…” I just struggle to remember that. So, the frequency of this verse this week…well it hit me and I thought maybe I’d share, in case you need that subtle reminder too. 

Because I know that it’s true.
And I know that He’s working.
And I pray that I would patiently trust Him – whatever His timetable might be.

And also – I used all caps not because I think the Lord yells – I do think that Lord’s voice thunders…because…the verse y’all. Pay attention!

Two. Billy Joel – Who I’ll be seeing in concert tomorrow night. So that should be all manner of lovely, delightful and good…if only the weather forecast would change. Right now, there’s a 60% chance of thunderstorms and well…Nationals Park doesn’t have a roof. *sigh* 

I think Nationals Park will look a little different tomorrow night...

Three. Winning – I know; you’re wondering if I mean winning at life, and while most days I feel like I am doing that (insert ironic laughter here)…I actually won something, so that’s what winning means!

A couple days ago the Instagram account for the Washington Nationals TV presenter/station asked fans to post their best picture from Nationals Park with all the corresponding hashtags and follow their account: the best photo would win a signed baseball. So…I just threw one of my photos from this past Saturday’s game out there and lo and behold…they contacted me on Thursday afternoon to let me know I’d won and get my address. What are the odds?!? 

Let me assure you – the excitement level is peak. I’m over the moon and can’t wait to get that baseball!

The winning shot – in all it’s glory.

Four. Nationals Baseball – Of course, I’ll segue into baseball after the above post. This week has been..well, filled with both the good and the bad. I’ll start with the bad: Jonathan Papelbon. Funnily enough; he’s been the bad before when he choked Bryce Harper last year… This year he’s choking in a completely different way. Somehow (oh wait – bad pitching) he blew the Nationals games on Sunday afternoon against the Padres and Tuesday night against the Indians. He tried to blow the game last night, but Ollie Perez and Shawn Kelley saved the day (night).

The good is that with last night’s win against the Giants, the Nationals were only the second team in baseball to reach 60 wins so far this season. The Nationals also have the second best record in ALL of baseball, second only to the Cubs…and let’s be real; the Cubs are on fire this season and they only have one more win than the Nationals. There are still miles to go before the season ends…but the trade deadline is looming and we need a new closer… 

Also: Trea Turner is FAST. So very fast. 

Tanner & Wilson – owning the Giants on 7/28


Five. The Fitness – I’m walking again…two miles (at least) and I need to really ramp it up…because the Bubble Run is in T-minus two weeks and I’m hoping Danielle doesn’t abandon my slow butt in the middle of a bubble bog! 

I’ve been using the My Fitness Pal app to track what I’m eating; I set a weight loss goal and the app tells me where I need to stay to achieve that. I’ve only been using it for about two weeks now but I’m liking how it works so far and plan to keep using it as I move along. It’s pretty remarkable to see just how much you do/don’t eat when you are actively paying attention…


And…that’s all for this week’s edition of Five on Friday! If you are like me, you’re counting down the hours until you are home free to relax. Here’s hoping this weekend doesn’t fly by!

The Flashback – July

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How are there just three days until August? I’m not counting today…by the way… so really there are only three days left in July. This month has included so many good things this year and in the years of the past. 
I noticed my family really has a penchant for going to Disney World in July – which honestly; of course we would pick the hottest month on the calendar to go to Florida! 

2016

Fireworks at Antietam National Battlefield.
Fourth of July at Nationals Park.
We do love ourselves some Nationals baseball.
Rally Cap Action in late July….
Rally Cap reward in late July….
2015
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on a breezy July day…
Cheering the Nationals to a win at Camden Yard.
Birthday snuggles with Amelia!
Going underground with Rachel & Sophia!
Star Wars Day at Nationals Park
Blackberry Delight with Katie at the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
2014
You’ll never forget your first sip of Butterbeer.
Star Tours – Now Leaving from Ports on Earth…
Obviously riding something intense…although, probably not. Ha!
Post Splash Down splashing….
Taking in the sights at Gaston’s Tavern.
Ready to race on Test Track!
Taking a final spin on the monorail…
Cinderella’s Castle by night. *sigh*
2013
Cheesing in the cornfield…
My very first visit to Long Branch Plantation…
Also a first – as in my first Washington Nationals game.
Just posing…moments later I would notice a spider on my shoulder & lose my mind.
Open your eyes Natalie! 
2012

Has anyone else noticed that I can never find pictures from 2012?? What in the world was going on in 2012?!? I don’t know…but I know I can’t ever find photographic evidence. Ha-ha!
2011
Storage before the big move to my new home.
The Fourth of July weekend in Strasburg, VA.
Delicious desserts at Shenandoah Lodge.
Cruising along on the Metro.
Sweet times with a sweet friend & her baby girl.
Posing on the porch of my new home.
The “last supper” at our home in Mississippi.
2010
Hosting Kristen & Megen for Junior Miss.
The whole “Junior Miss family.”
2009
Acting like we have no home training…
Hey look – it’s Disney in July again! 
We have a wild time – no matter where we are!
I think I might have gotten a little wet…
Ready to rock on!
Hello terrible camera lighting…
A magical ending!
Having dinner with Brock.
2008
Just for vacation in 2008…little did I know…
July Fourth with Nicole on the steps of the Archives.
A Capitol Fourth!
First time ever eating at Five Guys (in Georgetown) – nice face Lindsey.
Up to no good at the Crime & Punishment Museum…
Posing with the current home state.
Enjoying the scenery in Yorktown, VA.
Welcoming Lindsey to Jamestown.
Remember the Alamo – because I also went to San Antonio in July of 2008.
On the Riverwalk…
Mission La Concepcion
The Japanese (Chinese) Hanging Gardens…
2007
Oak Alley Plantation, Vacherie LA
Riding the street cars in New Orleans…
Caught in the act!
Feeling the Mardi Gras spirit…just a few months late…
I have no clue what Lindsey is doing…
2006
The summer of Hallmark with Brock…the only picture I could find…
And as always, now that I’ve made it ten years back in time…if you’ll forgive that I completely omitted the year of 2012…because no pictures…of course, a couple pictures from WAY back in the day. 
Pictures that further cement my theory: my family loves to take vacations in July in tropical climates to frolic with large animals. Hahahaha…you know, Disney World…
2001
We are especially fond of large rodents…
They are just our most fave…hehehe.
I think I’m all of about sixteen here…
That’s all for this month’s edition of The Flashback! I cannot wrap my head around the fact that there are only five months left in this year. What in the world?!? 

This Better Be A Walk-Off…And Other Things You Think of In Excessive Heat…

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It was 100 degrees in the shade on Saturday…and honestly that might be putting things lightly. It was HOTT. Yes, it was so hot out that it requires more than one T on the end. I bought these tickets weeks ago, before the surface of the sun decided to descend on Northern Virginia and scorch everything…so we braced for the heat…and hoped that Max Scherzer was throwing heat.
Waterfalls…on the Transportation Walk.
All the children in the water feature at Yards Park.

Now – rest assured the first two photos have nothing to do with baseball – but it was hot and they both have water in them. Ha! 

I didn’t take them for that sole reason. We went into DC ahead of the game to have an early dinner at Yards Park; to be more specific, we ate at Willie’s Brew N Que and it was delicious. I’m never one to turn down good barbecue…although if you’d ask me five years ago…I’d have turned it down, but we’ll just agree I was obviously having some mental instability at that time. Because barbecue = all the goodness. Of course, no quick stop in at Yards Park is complete without at least a scoop of ice cream from Ice Cream Jubilee because it is GOOD and it just calls to me when I get anywhere close to Yards Park…
If you are ever in DC – I’d very highly recommend that you check out Yards Park and definitely get yourself a scoop (or two or three…) of ice cream from Ice Cream Jubilee. This should all happen before (or after) attending a Washington Nationals game…of course! DC Tourism Blurb: complete.

The glory of Nationals Park – from the top of the Park.
Clouds looming in the distance…
You’ve got to love the red cheeks & the way my hair is already frizzing uncontrollably…yay heat.

After making the jaunt from Yards Park to Nationals Park (all the parks y’all…) my Momma immediately went into a Team Store and bought a personal misting fan. I’m not even kidding when I tell you that she didn’t even bat an eye at the $20 price tag because – well – all of the heat, you know. Nationals Park also had not one…but two cooling rooms that were available for the extent of the pre-game fun and throughout the game and offered ice water and air conditioning. My Momma made a beeline for that room and stayed there for a considerable amount of time…while my Dad and I decided to go all the way to the top of the Park and then work our way down. Because who doesn’t love doing all the walking in 99+ degree heat?

The view of the Anacostia from the top of the Park.
Player Parking Lot – I’d wager there are some expensive cars parked there…

I braved the heat and went to our seats at about 6:30…and can I tell you…because I feel like this is a safe space; I was so sweaty I was literally sliding around in my seat. Want to take a look at the scoreboard? Just slide to the left… Want to take a look up into the stands? Just slide to the right… Well, it was a feeling…that’s one way to describe it. Shortly after the start of the game, the two guys in front of us stood up – and well – there is no polite way to describe this: they looked like they’d wet their pants and it was like all my worst fears were confirmed and I thought to myself “well – I am not standing up again until this game is over…no ma’am, I am not.” It’s one thing to feel sweat rolling down your back and in between your shoulder blades, wiping it away from your forehead and having your legs slip and slide across one another…but standing up and looking like you’d had an accident. Nope.

The view from Section 106
Willing the clouds to keep covering the sun…
Jayson…turn around & wave…

The Nationals were playing the San Diego Padres and this game; for me, was like a reliving of my first Nationals game ever. You see, the first game I ever attended was on a Saturday in July and the Nationals played the Padres…they also won the game, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The game is just starting. Mad Max was on the mound for the Nationals and leads the Major League in strikeouts… The first inning and the second inning included four strike-outs for Max and while the outs were coming pretty easy initially, that other statistic that Max also leads in got us in the second. That other statistic? Max leads the Major League in surrendering home runs – blegh. Ryan Schimpf hit a two run homerun that put the Padres up 0-2 in the second.

The ballgame under way…
A rainbow appeared in the bottom of the second…
I (personally) took it as a sign that the Nationals would win.

In the bottom of the third, the Nationals started to fight back – which is always good. Edwin Jackson (the pitcher for San Diego) walked Ben Revere and since that boy can run…when Jayson Werth singled, Ben went from first to third. The next batter up was Daniel Murphy and I think it’s fair to say that Murphy is THE driving force of the Nationals offense this season…and so he got a productive out; lining out to right but allowing Ben to score and make it 2-1.

Not much happened in the fourth…the score stayed steady at 2-1 and Max continued to throw fire…he’d eventually get 10 strikeouts on the night. The bottom of the fifth was when the Nationals tied things up: Danny Espinosa doubled to start things off and then moved on over to third base on Max Scherzer’s sacrifice bunt. Ben Revere doubled, bringing Danny home and making the score 2-2.

Daniel Murphy & the Rally Pigeon.
Some gorgeous clouds as the sun started to set…
The Racing Presidents & the sunset.

Max ended the night after the seventh inning and with the game still tied at 2-2, Shawn Kelley came in and pitched a 16 pitch inning to keep the score at 2-2; the Nationals didn’t do much in the bottom of the eighth and so with the arrival of the ninth inning we also saw the arrival of Jonathan Papelbon. Now – sometimes Pap does fine and sometimes he doesn’t (don’t get me started on Sunday’s game) but he mostly likes to take things to the brink and make everyone a nervous wreck. Pap let Matt Kemp double and then somehow managed to still get those three outs…while everyone in the stands was watching with baited breath.

As a Nationals commentator I follow on Twitter says: here comes Papelbon, time to clench.

One more cloud photo…because…obviously…
Invoking the power of the Rally Cap in the bottom of the ninth…

Kevin Quackenbush (how about that last name?) came in to pitch for the Padres in the ninth and Anthony Rendon singled to start things off. Stephen Drew – side note, he had been sick for the past few days; sick in the way that he was hooked up to IV’s – came up to bat for the Nationals and with everyone in that stadium wishing and hoping and thinking and praying (are you singing it in your head?) that the ballgame wouldn’t go to extra innings… Stephen smashed a triple to deep center field, Anthony raced home and the game was over. Nationals win 3-2 on a walk-off triple!

Funnily enough, the day before I’d been thinking about how much fun walk-off games are. Sure, you’re on the edge of your seat and hoping with all your heart that this next hit…just this one hit…will be the one that wins the game. And when it does happen – the response is electric! And so, I got my walk-off that I’d been thinking about…and that electric response too.

When you don’t know your picture is being taken….
Curly W!
The hero of the night: Stephen Drew!
Heading home happy after a Curly W!

And – just for fun – a little flashback to the first Nationals game I attended three years ago, when the bug first took hold.

First Nationals game ever. 
2013 on left – 2016 on right

I Can’t Even Deal

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It’s Monday – I can’t even deal.

Okay – so that picture is from last Monday – and while I can deal; I just felt like Watson was obviously feeling the stress when I took that picture last week. Granted, what could possibly stress Watson out is a mystery to me as I think he leads a pretty charmed life…but we all have our issues, right?

The past week seems like a blur…and July is almost completely gone; so that also feels like a blur, time is speeding by this year! The work week passed in fits and starts; a good example of a “fit” would be when I returned to the doctor for the follow-up to my blood work to be told she’d ordered the wrong test. You know what that means – right? I’ll be returning to be submitted to the vampires once more so they can steal and analyze my blood once more… *sigh*. 
I brought Watson into the office with me on Wednesday (he was with me on Monday too…but that’s neither here nor there) so he could take his very first trip to the groomers. He did excellently well and apparently being pampered in such a way is absolutely exhausting because once we got home, he could not function anymore… The most intense level of commitment he had to anything was laying stretched out across my bed and sleeping.

Being pampered really takes it out of you…

Thursday afternoon was eventful…to say the least. I won’t elaborate too much, but I got home from work and found that I had no way into the house. I’d left my key for the cleaning ladies and no one had thought about the fact that I might need a key to get into the house after work…and so I was stranded on the stoop. Thankfully I had my cellphone and a podcast (The Pop Cast) to listen to while I was awaiting my rescue. Thankfully I had my little sister to talk to and the heat wave hadn’t arrived yet so I didn’t melt. And when it was all said and done, we went out to eat after the rescue and so I suppose spending thirty minutes on the front porch watching the world go past wasn’t so bad.

Just relaxing on the stoop…

Friday evening after a LONG day at the office, I got to explore my apartment…which now has walls up and actually is starting to look like a home! Of course, with the walls up I start to really imagine all the things I want to do…ha-ha! I’m excited and hesitant and anxious and well, I just have all the emotions as far as that is concerned…so perhaps I’ll step away from that and just say – I’m having all the ideas. I closed out my night watching the original Ghost Busters for the time first time. That’s right; I had not seen Ghost Busters EVER until Friday, July 22nd at around 8:45 PM. It is what it is. My verdict on Ghost Busters (the original) is just…wow those special effects in 1984 were a thing of beauty. Insert hilarious laughter here. No really though – it was a good movie. 

Can I admit that when we saw the new Ghost Busters on Sunday…I liked it more. Don’t hate.

Look at all this wide open space..space that shall be mine…
Friday night lights.
Saturday morning snuggles…

Saturday – well what I can tell you about Saturday is that it was hotter than the surface of the sun. I’m not even joking when I say that; I haven’t experienced heat like I felt on Saturday since I moved from Mississippi to Virginia. It was BRUTAL. And can you guess what activity we had planned for the hottest day on record this summer (so far)? Baseball! Glorious, fabulous baseball! Happily, the game started at 7:05 in the evening…but considering at 7:05 it was still 96….well, that isn’t exactly much of a trade off, is it? 

I mean – yes, the Nationals provided a large cooling off room; it felt like walking into a sub-zero fridge from the hells of the Sahara desert and it was lovely, but I’m not sitting at the ball park and watching the game on TV when it’s unfolding right outside the doors. We all battled the heat like champs…but I have never been more afraid to stand up then I was during that game…because I knew my whole rear end would be soaked. I was sweating so profusely that I could literally slide around in my seat and when the guys in front of us stood up and their pants literally looked like they’d wet themselves? Worst fears confirmed.
Y’all – that is a record level of hot right there.

Ball Park – the view from the top.
A Werth’s eye view; as it were.
The promise of a win…a promise fulfilled in the 9th inning.

On the way home I may have mixed up some medication(s)…because listen…did you know that Pamprin (is that TMI – I’m sorry – it’s also just real life) has a muscle relaxer in it?? I did not and I took one Pamprin and one PM pain pill and expected that it would just relieve my headache a bit… Instead, it laid me out. There was a stretch of the drive home that honestly…I do not remember. I walked my dog in a fog and when I got into the bed, I slept like…well…like I was drugged. I guess I was! Ha! It was some of the best sleep I’ve had in a good while though and so I guess I know that if I really want some sleep…I’ve got the perfect drug cocktail. 

I’m kidding guys. I’m kidding. It was some good sleep though.

Taking that whole “day of rest” very seriously.

I joined my sweet Momma for brunch at the restaurant Region’s 117 – the restaurant that is part of the extensive clubhouse that my parents will have access to because of where their house is being built. Let me tell you that I must have told my Momma over and over that they’d made an excellent (just fantastic, really really well done) life choice by building their house at this location. We enjoyed some absolutely delicious Peach and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Vanilla Bourbon syrup and Pee Wee’s Home Fries…I ate every single bite. We also had an artisan cheese plate with local honey, dried fruit and nuts and some delicious bread to sample with the cheese. It was all delicious and the surroundings were pretty impressive too!

Clubhouse views – outside.
Clubhouse views – inside (and outside again too…)
Delicious brunch.

After watching some baseball in the early afternoon – this time from the air conditioned living room – we all headed to the movies to see the new and (in my humble opinion) improved Ghost Busters. We followed our movie with supper at the Green Turtle and then raced to beat a storm home…and made record time, allowing me to sit on the stoop while Watson relaxed in the grass and watched the clouds roll in. The storm finally broke open around 9:00 and it poured…although it only lasted a little while. It didn’t do much to cool it off, but by 9:30 I was in the bed (I’d been fighting a headache all day and I’m kind of a grandma about sleep) and putting a cap on the weekend.

Awaiting a late afternoon storm…
Anticipating the cloud burst.

And that’s all I’ve got for the week in review… I can’t believe that the next time I do one of these “in the past week” style posts, it will be August. AUGUST. And there will only be five months of this year left. I can’t even deal…

Five on Friday

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Friday – the most splendid day of the work week! This week hasn’t been particularly taxing but I don’t think there is a person among us who doesn’t love to see Friday arrive and know that the weekend is stretching out ahead. *sigh* It’s a lovely thought really.

I thought I’d go a different direction this week and share five books I want to read before the summer ends…which means I don’t have a ton of time! Of course if summer; according to the calendar, lasts until September 22nd then I guess I have a bit more time than I think! There are two reasons for this…1) I actually have five books I’m looking forward to reading and 2) my wrist has been giving me some issues, so less typing = better for me.

One. Giddy Up Eunice (Because Women Need Each Other) – It’s easy for women to focus on what seems to separate us: differences in age, parenting styles, career goals, or maybe even core beliefs about whether leggings can adequately serve as pants (the struggle is real, y’all). The reality, though, is that we have far more in common than we realize, and since Scripture shows us the blessing of friendships across generations, it’s high time we step out of our same-age, same-stage silos. Life is so much better that way.

Two. The Girl on the Train – Intersecting, overlapping, not-quite-what-they-seem lives. Jealousies and betrayals and wounded hearts. A haunting unease that clutches and won’t let go. All this and more helps propel Paula Hawkins’s addictive debut into a new stratum of the psychological thriller genre. From the opening line, the reader knows what they’re in for: “She’s buried beneath a silver birch tree, down towards the old train tracks…” But Hawkins teases out the mystery with a veteran’s finesse. The “girl on the train” is Rachel, who commutes into London and back each day, rolling past the backyard of a happy-looking couple she names Jess and Jason. Then one day Rachel sees “Jess” kissing another man. The day after that, Jess goes missing. The story is told from three character’s not-to-be-trusted perspectives: Rachel, who mourns the loss of her former life with the help of canned gin and tonics; Megan (aka Jess); and Anna, Rachel’s ex-husband’s wife, who happens to be Jess/Megan’s neighbor. Rachel’s voyeuristic yearning for the seemingly idyllic life of Jess and Jason lures her closer and closer to the investigation into Jess/Megan’s disappearance, and closer to a deeper understanding of who she really is. And who she isn’t. 

Three. The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan – When Kim Barker first arrived in Kabul as a journalist in 2002, she barely owned a passport, spoke only English and had little idea how to do the “Taliban Shuffle” between Afghanistan and Pakistan. No matter—her stories about Islamic militants and shaky reconstruction were soon overshadowed by the bigger news in Iraq. But as she delved deeper into Pakistan and Afghanistan, her love for the hapless countries grew, along with her fear for their future stability. In this darkly comic and unsparing memoir, Barker uses her wry, incisive voice to expose the absurdities and tragedies of the “forgotten war,” finding humor and humanity amid the rubble and heartbreak.

Four. Finding Fraser – On the cusp of thirty, Emma Sheridan is desperately in need of a change. After a string of failed relationships, she can admit that no man has ever lived up to her idea of perfection: the Scottish fictional star of romantic fantasies the world over—James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. Her ideal man might be ripped from the pages of a book, but Emma hopes that by making one life-altering decision she might be able to turn fiction into fact. After selling all her worldly possessions, Emma takes off for Scotland with nothing but her burgeoning travel blog to confide in. But as she scours the country’s rolling green hills and crumbling castles, Emma discovers that in searching for her own Jamie Fraser, she just might find herself.

Five. Harry Potter & the Cursed Child: Parts One & Two – It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Disclaimer – All summaries were 100% borrowed from Amazon because…yep…my wrist hurts and all of the typing…no good.

So, that will do it for me for this Friday. Any books you have read this summer that you loved and would like to share? Something you’re looking forward to reading??

Watson Wednesday

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Today’s post is a little delayed…because my handsome little guy went to the groomer this morning and I decided I’d wait and share some photos of him after his grooming adventure!
Posing so sweetly.
Getting groomed wears a pup out…

So – yes. My Watson has never been to the groomer! While I’m sure that there was probably somewhere he could have gone when we lived in Mississippi…it just wasn’t ever a thought. He spent so much of his time running wild and free all day long and (especially in the Summer) well into the evenings.. Life in Virginia is a little different and he spends a lot of time indoors and on the end of the leash.

A dear friend takes her pups to a groomer that is literally right across the street from our office and so I called up and made Watson an appointment and today, away we went! I was nervous for him but I don’t know why – he loves meeting new people and having adventures! When I picked him up, they told me he did an excellent job and was so well-behaved! Talk about making his Momma proud!