Nathan’s 26th Birthday & Back to Running

This week was Nathan’s 26th Birthday! We celebrated by going out to his favorite restaurant in the city, Chama Gaucho Brazillian Steakhouse. The food is gourmet and the service is so accommodating, they treat you like royalty from the moment you step into the restaurant. All the different cuts of meat were so well seasoned and flavorful. When you flip your card to red that signals the chefs to stop bringing you different handcuts of meat and then when you flip it back to green that signals them to bring on the meat. My favorite part was the delicious salad bar filled with every type of salad and aged cheese. This birthday boy was one happy guy!Once we arrived home I handed him his birthday gifts and arranged some of his favorite treats for him.  This Sunday I’m throwing him a birthday party with all of his friends, It’s going to be a great time!  I got Nathan a new top of the line disc golf bag that he LOVES and some brand new discs that he couldn’t wait to go try out.
   

We also hit up Fish City Grill and ordered our favorite entrees. Unfortunately being gluten free I couldn’t eat my favorite oyster nachos so I settled for some yummy soup and fresh grouper tacos.  
  I’ve been back at it in the running department. I ran 6 miles on Sunday and 6.3 miles Friday. I ran a few shorter runs in between there too but I’m slowly but surely gettin back to the running game. It’s been so hot here that I’ve had to make a cold refreshing smoothie to drink after each longer run.Last night my school had their annual Gala fundraiser. Nathan and I got dolled up and headed out for a night of good food, great friends/colleagues, and photo booths. Nathan and I had to pop into the photo booth and  then my elementary teacher ladies and I jumped on in for a hilarious photo session. These ladies never fail to crack me up, we have so much fun!  

 Before Gala selfie😉  

 

This morning as the coffee was brewing and Nathan and I were reading our Bibles, I glanced out the window at Brandy and smiled. She loves just sitting on the deck and taking in the smells and sights of the city. I’m gonna miss this house! 

   

We have a busy day today ! I’m about to run some errands for Nathan’s birthday party tomorrow, I’m getting a massage, and then I have a lingerie/ Pajama party to attend for a friend later this evening. It’s going to be a great day!

Catch ya later!

Lauren❤

The Zoo and a Trip to Waco:

 Let me catch you up to speed on life here. We have been taking advantage of the 80* days we’ve been having and spending tons of time outdoors. We’ve been playing our new favorite sport of disc golf a few times each weekend with a group of friends. We’ve been trying out new courses and taking Brandy with us for some extra exercise for her. Disc golf is a great workout because you walk so much. We usually always play 18 holes so we average about 300-500 calories each time we play.  
    

 Some of us get pretty excited when we win…;)

The school year is winding down and I am trying to incorporate more fun activities into my lessons lately. When learning the different phases of the moon, I had my students use Oreos  to represent each phase. My students were giddy with excitement and got to snack on some Oreos when they finished their models.   
We planned an elementary wide field trip to the San Antonio Zoo. Us teachers had to get a group picture to commemorate our last year of teaching all together with so many of us moving on and going our separate ways. I will never forget this wonderful group of women that helped mold me into the teacher I am today.  While at the Zoo you know we had to stop and feed the giraffes! 
The very next day I was in charge of another field trip for a program called Young Authors and Illustrators. I took about 15 students from our school who placed in the competition with their wonderful books that they authored and illustrated on their very own! It was a proud teacher moment for sure. The next evening we had a concert/cancer benefit for my friend Liz Byrd who had been battling cancer most of her life. She just beat cancer for a THIRD time and is such an incredible example of hope and trust in her Lord and Savior.  
   
After the benefit we were all starving and hungry for some Texas BBQ,which led us to Rudy’s where we dined on some tasty BBQ meats and sides.   Saturday mornings have become our Pancakes and Devotion times. We’ve been having some students over for breakfast and time in the Word. I’m loving this new tradition.
 In other news we discovered an awesome new card game called Saboteur that we have now introduced to our friends .
 My friend Hannah came over last weekend for a girls night and some painting. We decided to do our own painting with a twist! We found images that we wanted to paint, bought canvases and supplies and got to work. I made white chicken chillie enchiladas and we had plenty of snacks, it was a blast!

   Our paintings turned out well. I totally wish I’d have used a different font for mine but it’s okay we had a blast.
 

The next day Chris, Liz, Nathan, and I loaded up two vehicles full of suitcases, snacks, and the HS tennis team for a two day state tournament in Waco, TX. I took Monday and Tuesday off of work so that I could attend/ be a driver and chaperone for the HS girls. 

Nathan in his coaching gear, how handsome!
   
 All of our players were up bright and early for their first matches!   It got extremely hot that day and Liz and I were far too hot but kept cheering on our team and supplying lots of snacks and sunblock.😉

    The matches were finally over that evening so we packed up and headed for a late night dinner at George’s, a Waco favorite. I was so proud of these kids and the heart they played with.
  Today is a rainy one here in San Antonio but I have lots to do around the house and want to squeeze in a workout at some point. Have a great week!

Lauren❤

Easter 2016:

This past week has been a great one! Good Friday morning my friend Hannah and I panned to get breakfast and coffee at Local coffee down by the river walk and get some work done on our laptops. I worked on lesson plans while sipping THE BEST latte and oatmeal with dried fruit.  

   Every year I make Nathan an Easter basket filled with some of his favorite things. This year was no different and he got lots of Reese’s, beef jerky, Werthers, and a chocolate bunny.
  
  

Hannah and I tried out a cute restaurant on the river called La Gloria. It specializes in Mexican street food. We split two orders of fish tacos and their homemade chips and salsa. I keep telling Nathan we need to go there because I know he would love it, the food is rediculous! 
Saturday morning our church had their annual Easter Eggstravaganza. We set up a youth booth where we sold drinks and deep fried Oreos. We made lots of money which will go to helping students pay for summer camp that are in financial need.

  
Easter Sunday was an early one for us. We had three services to attend and serve at. After services Nathan and I had plans to go to the Gristmill for Easter lunch like we have every year since living in Texas. The weather was gorgeous and we ordered our favorite dishes from there. We kept smiling at eachother and just enjoyed eachother’s company the whole day. We topped Easter off with 18 holes of disc golf with some friends.
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Brandy even came disc golfing with us!

 
I also had Monday off with Nathan and we got together with friends to play 2 different disc golf courses 18 holes each. Talk about a lot of steps! We had a great time fishing discs out of ponds, hopping fences to retrieve stray discs, and laughing with wonderful friends.

 
 
  
  I love this image because it is such a wonderful reminder that it IS finished and our debt has been paid by Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross! If you have any questions about this please message me and I would love to talk with you about this wonderful sacrifice Christ made for you and I!

Have a wonderful week!

Lauren❤
   
 

Girls Night,Star Wars, & Long Hikes:

  Last week some of my close girlfriends and I planned a girls night out to Cheesecake Factory followed by some chick flicks and facials at my house. We got all dolled up and had a great evening.  

The next day we had plans to host a Star Wars themed birthday bash for our Star Wars obsessed friend Chris. Everyone came dressed as their favorite Star Wars character. We had pizza, Yoda soda, Jeti juice, and cheesecake brownies. I dressed like Yoda and Nathan was Hans Solo, we had a great time!

  
My friend Hannah and I tried out some fun looking couples yoga poses the other night and had a blast laughing and getting a workout at the same time.  This pose was my favorite, yoga is HARD.
Hannah and I decided to lace up our hiking shoes and hit the trails for a few miles of hiking  at Government Canyon State Park. They were said to have real live dinosaur footprints there at the end of the hike so we were determined to see those footprints!      

We finally made it to the Dino prints but most of them were covered by water. Regardless it was a great 2 hour hike!

  
for date night lately we’ve been having a blast! We went to the Alamo Draft house on Sunday night to see Zootopia. At this theater they serve you restaurant style at your chair while watching the movie. I got a huge silver bowl full of unlimited popcorn with decadent butter on top and Nathan got a bacon cheeseburger and we shared some drinks. It is definitely my new favorite way to see a movie.

  
I’m out the door to have dinner with my friend Hannah! Catch you later!

Lauren❤

  
 

Spring Break 2016:

Spring break was this past week for the school that I teach at. My mom made plans to fly in for the week! Before we picked her up at the airport on Sunday, we had a going away lunch with some friends of ours who are moving to Washington.

   
We went to Cheddars for the send off lunch and it was so good to spend some extra time with our good friends before their big move.


Sunday evening we picked up my beautiful mama and headed to Canes for a fried chicken dinner at her request. It was so great to see her smiling face after not sing her since Christmas time. 

  
We ordered some lemonade and fried chicken. I was unable to eat any because of the breading but I enjoyed a few of Nathan’s fries and lemonade. 

 The next day mom and I got dressed up and headed out to the shopping center at La Cantera. We shopped and had a blast as we looked around in all the beautiful shops. We made a few purchases at the Clinique counter and smelled all the delicious perfumes. 

 

Mom was such an incredible help to me this week, she cooked her delicious spaghetti and made the best meatballs using  veal, pork, and beef. It was so nice to have some of my moms amazing homecooking again! How cute is she?
 
We also made a trip to At Home and bought all the fixings to create an Easter wreath. I am super happy with how this wreath looks on the door!

   
  

While she was here we had to take advantage of the beautiful 90* weather so we put on our tank tops and shorts and sat out in the driveway to catch some rays.

Since the rest of the week was raininy, we decided to go check out some coffee shops and around a little city of Gruene.

 

I got a delicious latte from Kona coffee shop and mom and I spent the rest of the afternoon hiking around the area.
   
  

We stopped for a picture at this gorgeous and huge Live Oak.
Spring break spent with my mom was so refreshing and just what I needed. You never get too old that you stop needing your momma!

It’s been back to the grind at work, but I’m so thankful for the time off.

Have a great Easter week! 
He is risen indeed❤️

Canceled Plans:

Last weekend Nathan’s brother Robby flew in for a quick visit! We took him to our favorite breakfast spot in the city, Magnolia Pancake Haus. Two of my youth girls wanted to get breakfast that morning, so we turned it into a group event. I had the most delicious omelette filled with goat cheese, spinach, and applewood smoked bacon accompanied by a side of gluten free buckwheat pancakes. We all left stuffed!   I love these girls!
 Nathan and I and one of our good friends went out for endless appetizers Wednesday night after youth. I ordered a mango smoothie and we had lots of unhealthy but delicious plates come out. It was a fun night!


Our local grocery store sells ready to pop in the oven salmon dishes, so I picked one up to try for dinner the other night and it was fabulous. Salmon is so good for you and I love broccoli, so it was a win win. I will be getting more of these in the near future.  
 In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday week, we celebrated with green eggs and ham this week. I love seeing my students reaction to the bright green eggs when I hand them a plate, but they were good sports and I think everyone at least tried them.   
The second grade teacher and I tried to get creative and decorate our classroom doors like Thing one and Thing two. I’d say they turned alright. The kids LOVED the doors on Monday morning, so it was a success.😉


 Yesterday was the last day of school before Spring Break, which I am officially on as of this morning!  Upon arriving home from school yesterday afternoon, I was so exhausted that I fell asleep until dinner time. Once I woke up I was starving and when Nathan suggest Papoulis, I was sold. We went out to dinner where I ordered the best hummus and Greek salad followed by a trip to pick up some icecream to make milkshakes at home. We made milkshakes and watched movies last night, such a great start to SB. 

 
  
We woke up early this Saturday morning to to get some lab work done at my doctor when we got there and realized it was closed, even though it said it was open online. I was bummed that we had driven all the way downtown for nothing, and I still hadn’t had any coffee or breakfast yet since I was supposed to fast. We quickly realized that the Farmers Market at the Pearl was opened and made our way over. The Pearl was bustling and the weather was just gorgeous so we were thankful for the change in plans.:)
  

After walking around to all the different vendors, we found a cute little coffee shop and I ordered a latte.  
    

Thankful for a leisurely Saturday spent with my man❤

   
Once I got my coffee and took a sip, I was blown away by the smoothness and bold espresso flavor of the latte. This is probably the best latte I’ve ever had, and I’ve had lots of them. 

Our growling bellies led us to a nearby crepe stand that advertised all gluten free batter. I ordered the traditional crepe with ham, egg, and cheese, while Nathan opted for the chicken Capri with chicken, tomatoe, spinach, pesto, and motzerella.     
We took our number and sat down to drink our coffee and wait for our crepes. It was so fun to watch all the people and so many cute dogs pass by, it made me wish we had brought Brandy with us. 

  
Once our crepes were up, we picked a cute little table in the shade to sit and eat. The crepes were delicious and I told Nathan that I think this needs to become a Saturday morning tradition.   

Well, my mom is flying in tomorrow for the week and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve got some cleaning to do and groceries to get, but first some disc golf is in order. 

Have a great day!

Lauren <3 

Valentine’s Day & the Rodeo

 I ran 11 miles with a friend followed by a speed workout on a nearby highschool track bright and early the other morning. I’ve decided to begin training for my full marathon. Operation 26 by 26 aka run 26 miles by my 26th birthday.  

We celebrated Valentines Day in the elementary grades by putting on a Family Love Day performance followed by an icecream social.
  

  
Valentine’s weekend was a long one but I’ve been under the weather for a while now. Nathan and I managed to make it to Carabbas for a late Valentines dinner, in our athletic clothes no less. This Valentines was much different than all the other extravagant ones we have spent together, but It’s amazing to me that this was probably my favorite one yet. Nothing fancy, just some pasta, calamari, and gelato, but through life’s circumstances and the journey we’re on together I have never felt closer or more in sync with the wonderful man God has given me to spend my years with. I told Nathan that this was probably my favorite Valentine’s Day with him yet.

  

We scored some tickets to the San Antonio Rodeo for Christian night last week, so took advantage of going a bit early to eat dinner before the rodeo and concert began. Walking the grounds was a blast and the deep fried fair foods all smelled delicious. It was hard to decide on what we wanted but in the end Nathan went with his favorite glazed doughnut bacon cheeseburger and deep fried Oreos. I settled for a hot fudge sundae the size of my head. 

The rodeo began and my favorite parts are always the mutton busting and the bucking Broncos. The concert was Casting Crowns and I just love their worship music. It’s always so neat to see all the other believers gathered in this huge arena singing praises to our Heavenly Father.  

I told Nathan that his Valentines gift to me could be a new hair cut of my choice. Yesterday we went to Sports Clips and he got his new do. I absolutely love it and think he looks much more grown up now.😉   
 

Today I had to skip church due to a fever and bad cough/ sore throat. So, I’m here chugging fluids and watching too many lifetime movies. It’s good to rest. This is going to be another busy week!

Catch ya later,

Lauren❤

Winter Camp & A Trip to Dallas:

I began this post weeks ago but life got crazy so I am just now getting to it. Here it goes!

 Winter camp was a wonderful experience. We spent the weekend with 85 students and our youth leader team on the banks of the Alto Frio River. The bottom bus picture is on the way to camp and the top bus picture is the drive back from camp.  Can you tell we were a little wiped out? The hiking picture is from a hike we went on that led us to the top of a 4oo foot mountain,  it was breathtaking. Camp was so busy with the constant chaos of kickball games, team challenges, and mentoring troubled teens. 

 As a teacher, we take the 100th day of school very seriously.   So seriously that I dressed up like I was 100 years old to celebrate the day! 

   

We had so much fun celebrating the 100th day in the classroom and my students went crazy for my get up.😉
 

Knowing we had a get away to Dallas in the works for that weekend, directly after school I dashed home to wash the baby powder out of my 100 year old hair so we could get on the road. I realized that I was starving and know we wouldn’t meet up at the hotel until around 8pm which meant a late night  dinner, we decided to swing by Chick Fil A for a “snack”.  

I was a happy camper with my grilled nuggets and lemonade/ice tea combo and in true Friday fashion  I fell asleep on the drive to Dallas. Poor Nathan is used to me falling asleep early on Friday’s because teaching is exhausting.
  

We checked in to our hotel and met up with Lindsay and Ben to hit the town for dinner. We ended up at a delicious steak house where we got oysters to start and delicious steaks all around.

   
  

The next morning after a continental breakfast and checkout, we hit the road for the Fort Worth Stock Yards! 

  
  The weather was gorgeous and we walked around the historic yards shortly after all the longhorn stampeded the streets like they do each day. We worked up an appetite which led us to H3 bar and grill for a late lunch.
 
   

I surprised myself and ordered the baby back ribs, sausage, and corn on the cob and N got the bacon burger, or course.  We all split some appetizers and were stuffed walking out of there. 

 

We walked around the stock yards and enjoyed eachother’s company while we went into all the different saddle shops, coffee companies, and candy barrels. 

         
It was a short lived trip but any time we get to spend with Lindsay and Ben is so special to us. 

Once we arrived home, it was back to the grind with work and church but Nathan and I took advantage of our favorite Sunday night past time, tennis!     
   It was just the two of us but it was a perfect workout to end the weekend. 

Have a blessed week!

Lauren❤

A Week In Review: Lindsay & Ben Visit

 I last left off when Lindsay and Ben arrived for an impromptu weekend late Friday night. We were so thrilled to get a weekend with the two of them and spend some time catching up. I was so excited Saturday morning that I bounced right out of bed and brewed a fresh pot of Jamacian Me Crazy coffee and got started on breakfast for everyone. After everyone woke up and ate a filling breakfast of bacon, eggs, and smoothies, we laced up our hiking shoes and went for a few mile hike around the block.  Soaking in the mid Winter sunshine with my beautiful sister!
After a leisurely morning of hiking, lounging, and chatting, our stomaches told us it was time for later lunch. We had plans for a late dinner at the famous Gristmill that evening, so settled on a lighter lunch from Papoulis Greek Restaurant. The boys each ordered the lamburger with fries, Lindsay got a chicken pita wrap, and I got a salad with a side of hummus and veggies.

 Nathan had to be at our church’s Saturday night service so Lindsay, Ben, and I hung around the house and got ready for dinner while we waited. I poured everyone some Arnold Palmer in fancy wine glasses to sip on. In our house we always have Arnold Palmer on hand, it’s Nathan’s favorite drink which consists of sweet tea mixed with lemonade.
    

 Once we got some good sister pictures  Nathan arrived home and we were out the door for a late dinner in the quaint little town of Gruene.

My forever date❤

    We arrived to dinner only to find it was an hour and a half wait to be seated. However, the hostess was awesome and somehow got us right in without a wait at all. We joked that we must have been on “the list” or that Nathan slipped her some money, either way it was extremely welcomed because we were all ravenous.

  

For our main entrees Lindsay and I got the seared ahi tuna to split, Nathan got the full rack of ribs, and Ben got the sirloin. We gave the food rave reviews as usual.

  

  

    

  On Sunday morning Lindsay and I went for a run before attending the later 11:15 church service. We had some baked oatmeal and coffee and made our way to church.  Sunday selfie!❤
  

  

Before church I marinaded some chicken for kebabs on the grill for lunch after church. Once we all arrived back from church the boys busted out the grill and began cooking the chicken kebabs while us girls worked on the sides. Eventually we joined the men outside in the beautiful sunshine and spent some time discussing the church service and talking while the food cooked.

   
 

Relaxing while the guys do the work😉
   

Monday morning-ish Lindsay and Ben loaded up and hit the road back to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for another month of Air traffic Control School. We are so excited for them and to see where in the U.S. God places them after Ben finishes classes. 

Once Linds and Ben left Nathan and I got ready to go play some disc golf with friends at a nearby course that we have begun to enjoy playing at. My studly disc golfer😉

  

  

I’m not much good at the sport, but I can hold my own with the guys who throw 3 times as far as me.  It was so great to see how many other people were out at the park taking advantage of the georgous weather we have during the winter.  

 This picture is from Youth last night. I took this as the students were singing out gracious tempest and it touched my heart so much that I wanted to capture the moment. We had over 100 students out at youth last night. I am really starting to see the fruit that has been born from all that we’ve been doing with God’s help while on our journey here in Texas. Hearts are changing and God is getting a hold of lives and I am so beyond thankful to be a part of it!

   
   We are packing up tonight because tomorrow at 5 pm our busses leave for Winter Camp in Leaky, TX. It’s going to be a great weekend and I can’t wait to see how God shows up and moves this weekend.

Have a blessed weekend!

Lauren❤

Meal prep & Surprise Houseguests

After two weeks away for Christmas, I knew it was important to do some meal prepping ahead of time to get us through the coming weeks in a healthy manner. I knew my system was in need of a healthy reboot with fresh smoothies, oatmeal bakes, detox soups, and big salads. I found myself craving fresh healthy foods instead of the sugary fatty foods I’d allowed myself to indulge in over vacation. I am glad that I didn’t restrict myself too much and allowed myself a few splurges over the holidays, because duh it’s vacation!

Pictured below is a hearty chicken noodle soup I made for some lunches. I followed this recipe and used rice instead of egg noodles to make it Gluten Free.

   

Last weekend we were out watching one of our youth’s basketball game and realized that we were pretty close to Shogun Sushi . Since Shogun is one of our favorites, we decided to take advantage of being close by and grab an early dinner there.
   
   

This coming weekend we are heading up to Leaky, TX to HEB camp located right on the beautiful Alto Frio River. We will be hosting our annual Winter Camp there this year, and the theme this year is REBELATION. We want to build up an army of teens who are so on fire for the Lord and seeking hard after Him.
  

I got this blurry action shot as proof that I did run once last week…I’ve been dealing with some personal issues and felt that I needed to take some time off running for a bit.

   

Jumping back to meal planning, here is an example of some breakfast staples in our house. I usually do an egg and sausage bake for Nathan, oatmeal bake for me, and home fries on the side. Each of these foods reheat well and are convenient for quick breakfasts throughout the week.

We’ve been making breakfast for dinner lately and found the best maple bacon at HEB that makes the whole house smell like pancakes for days after you make it. Pictured below are some breakfast tacos Nathan made for dinner last week. So GOOD!

    

I promise this is the last food picture! In the winter I crave hearty soups (even though TX isn’t really that cold) I have found that chili makes a great lunch that sticks with you and doesn’t leave me hungry an hour after lunch. As a teacher, foods that fuel me for a long time are ideal because I’m on my feet all day running her and there, and if I’m properly fueled then I have more energy for my lessons, I’m not hANGRY😉, and I don’t go running to the fridge right when I get home and spoil my dinner. 
  

If you haven’t heard the new worship song, give it a listen. The man who originally wrote “It is Well With my Soul” wrote it after his wife and children died and it drove him to pen this beautiful song in the midst of his suffering and anguish. Such beautiful words.

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 My classroom has been FREEZING lately, so I’ve been rocking my scarf and coat while teaching until it gets warmer. BRRR. I’m such a freeze baby, I hate to be cold.

 

Friday after school I went to get groceries for the next week and because we had two houseguest coming to stay with us for the Long weekend!! We had two carts because one was for our house and the other was for Winter Camp supplies we decided to knock out at the same time. Needless to say it was a loooong shopping trip.

   

On Wednesday after youth, my sister Lindsay texted me and asked what we were doing for the long weekend and I told her we didn’t have too many plans but had to be in the area because Nathan was scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday services. Our conversation quickly escalated into them making the 7 hour journey from Oklahoma City to San Antonio for the weekend! They arrived late Friday night and it was so great to see them! Here is a picture of breakfast the next morning. More recapping to come!
 

Have a blessed week!

Lauren❤